He Read From the Prophet Isaiah

“And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, ‘Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.’  And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
Then the Spirit said unto Philip, ‘Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.’  And Philip ran thither to and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, ‘Understandest thou what thou readest?’  And he said, ‘How can I, except some man should guide me?’ And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
The place of the Scripture which he read was this, ‘He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened He not His mouth: in His humiliation His judgment was taken away: and who shall declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.’
And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, ‘I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this of himself, or of some other man?’  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?’  And Philip said, ‘If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.  But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.”  Acts 8:26-40  (KJB)

Jesus in Genesis (5)

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

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

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

The command from God to Abraham is,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seeing, Hearing and Understanding

Seeing and hearing are an important part of human living and existence. Without seeing we could not see the beauties of the created order around us; neither could we see to navigate as we walk, ride or drive through a countryside.

Without hearing we could not hear the sounds of animals in the creation, neither the cries of our children as young babies crying out for care and nourishment; neither the voices of our spouses and friends, or other family members. We would not be able to hear the warning shouts of someone warning us of an upcoming danger.

These two senses are an important part of human life. They are also an important part of our spiritual existence. In the spiritual realm we can be very easily deceived, unless we have someone in whom we can trust and depend.

In Jesus’s days on earth He taught people, and called people to Himself; teaching them how to live in the Word of God, to do justly, to love mercy, and how to walk humbly with God. Yet, there were many who would not hear; nor would they see who He really is. Jesus says that this too is a fulfillment of prophecy:

“And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” Matthew 13:14-16 (KJV)

Isaiah is the prophet whom Jesus quotes (Isaiah 6:9-10). The blindness and deafness of the religious leaders was fulfillment of that. It is a truth we cannot neglect to hear. When the truth of Scripture is rejected the truths of God will grow more and more dim; the hearing will fade away into oblivion and there will be no knowledge or understanding of God or His Word.

Those who know God through His Son Jesus Christ love the Word of God, and hide in the heart that we might not sin against God (Psalm 119:11), and make it a light for our path (Psalm 119:105).

The path to understanding God and His Word is through the cross of Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave. Believe Him, trust His Word. It is the way of life, and life everlasting.

When Truth Has Fallen in the Street

“Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before Thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; in transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.” Isaiah 59:9-15

There is a problem with being a prophet of God. One is that what ever he prophesies is what he will endure, receive and go through as well as the people he warns. Whether it is a prophecy for good; or a prophecy for judgment he will endure it as well.

The above verses are a confessional prayer/statement to the LORD, and to the nation. Note that Isaiah includes himself in the confession “Judgment [Justice] is far from us”, “but we walk in darkness”, and “we grope”, “we had no eyes”, “we stumble”. You get my point I am sure.

Even though the prophet had probably not committed these atrocities, these sins he includes himself in the array, because this was his nation, his people, and God had been offended by the sins of the people; the kings, princes, nobles and all.

Where we have sinned let us confess it and forsake it. Let us turn our backs on sin; not on God. Let us forsake evil and sin, not our God. Let us stand for truth, though it may be fallen in the street. Though we turn our backs on evil and sin; though we may become a prey because we do so. Let us do so.

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

The cleansing means that we turn our backs on sin, to not live it in repetition.

Seek Out the Book

“Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for My mouth it hath commanded, and His Spirit it hath gathered them. And He hath cast the lot for them, and His hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.” Isaiah 34:16-17 (KJV)

The prophecy given in this chapter is toward Edom. They had not aided the people of Israel, but had been a sore to them. Thus God was going to destroy them and make their land desolate, a habitat for the wild beasts of the field and birds of the air.

The prophet calls on Israel to “Seek ye out the book of the LORD, and read…” This is one way of assuring God’s people that the Book of the LORD is sure, stedfast, and true. Though the words “None shall want her mate” may have to do with the animals not lacking their mates; rather, they are dealing with the word of God not lacking “her mate” meaning that Scripture is supported by Scripture; and is of no private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20).

Just as the land of Israel [Canaan] was divided to the tribes of Israel; so will Edom be divided to the animals and beasts of the field in the day when the Messiah comes back to earth and make things right.

Jesus Christ is the Messiah of Israel. They will turn to Him. You need to turn to Him today. He died for your sins, was buried carrying all your sins, condemnation, guilt, shame, and death away; and He rose bodily from the grave and is alive forever more (1 Corinthians 15:1-10). He is returning to put an end to sin, and to reign.

Also read Hebrews 4:12.

Israeli scholar says 1st century Jews awaited Messiah who would die & rise again. Argues “third day resurrection” an idea that pre-dates Jesus.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

“The Messiah Before Jesus: The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” a fascinating book by Dr. Israel Knohl of Hebrew University. “The Messiah Before Jesus: The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” a fascinating book by Dr. Israel Knohl of Hebrew University.

This is the week of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of First Fruits. Millions of Jews in Israel and around the world are celebrating the story of how the Jewish people were saved from the “angel of death” in ancient times if they put the blood of a perfect slain lamb on the doorposts of their homes in Egypt.

This is also the week of Good Friday and Easter. Billions of Christians around the world are celebrating the death of Jesus of Nazareth, and His resurrection from the tomb three days later, and the belief that all mankind can be saved from the “angel of death” in our times if we, too, trust in the blood of a perfect slain Passover Lamb.

But did the Jews of the first century really believe the Messiah would one day come…

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Commandments of God – Traditions of Men

“Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honour thy father and mother:’ and, ‘He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.’ But ye say, ‘Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, ‘It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;’ and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, ‘This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.'”  ~Jesus  (Matthew 15:1-9)

Blessed are The Eyes that See, and The Ears That Hear What Jesus Says

“Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.  And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, ‘By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.’  But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.  For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”  ~Jesus  (Matthew 13:11-17)

Words for Christian Living 060313

“Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises unto the fathers: and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, ‘For this cause I will confess to Thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto Thy name.’ And again he saith, ‘Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people.’ And again, ‘Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud Him, all ye people.’  And again, Esaias saith, ‘There shall be a root of Jesse, and He that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in Him shall the Gentiles trust.'”  Romans 15:7-12 (KJV)

Jesus Christ Himself was a confirmation to the promises that were made to the patriarchs of the faith.  He was the fulfillment of them; yet many of Jewish people did not believe, and the message was sent to the Gentiles.  Gentiles are all who are not Hebrews.  Jesus, the Root of Jesse will reign over the entire world.  Rejoice.  Live in Him.  He is coming soon.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Woes of Trust

Trusting is a necessary in many places of life.  It is necessary that husbands and wives trust one another fully.  It is necessary that friends trust one another.  It is necessary that business partners trust one another.  In these relationships, if there is little or no trust the relationship will not last long.

Trusting takes a willingness to be the one who takes the loss, should it come to that.  Take a loss without revenge, or getting even.  Trust means being the one who endeavors to right the wrongs, or absorb the wrong in behalf of the other.  This trust of which I presently speak, of course, is of human relationships.  When it comes to trusting the Divine One; our GOD, and Lord, then that trust is completely without risk, in faith.

The people of Judah were trusting in Egypt, yet failing to trust the LORD.  That is Isaiah’s message to the people when he writes to them –

“Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!”  Isaiah 31:1 (KJV)

When it comes to the humanity of us we are pretty quick to trust in what we can see.  For instance, if we see a company or an individual who is successful in making wealth, we will almost automatically trust that individual or company to give us good advice, and sometimes even trust them with our wealth.  We judge pragmatically thinking, “If it has worked for them, then, no doubt it will work for me.”  We can end up being “burned”, “Scalped”, and left holding an “empty bag”.

Human reason often leaves GOD out of the matter of safety, economy, politics, personal wealth,  health, etc.  We think “That is not anything I need to concern God about”, or “I can handle this matter myself”.  So thought Israel, and they were trusting Egypt to come to their aid against Babylon, and they were defeated.

It will bring peril for an individual to place their trust in human advice alone; without seeking the LORD’s leadership.  We can go to a financial adviser/counsellor to get advice on a financial matter; however, if this adviser gives shady advice then we better have the counsel of the LORD on the matter; or we will find ourselves in the proverbial “hot water”.   Then, where will that adviser be.

Israel was about to be let down by trusting in the defenses of Egypt and her great army; because they did not have the heart and mind of GOD.

Having safety and security is not dependent upon any human government.  Our economic prosperity is not dependent upon the Congress, the Senate, or the President of the USA.  Our dependence for safety, economic blessing, protection from enemy attack comes only from our LORD, and that only when His people trust solely upon Him.

Woe to them that go to China for help, who trust in their own military might, or the power of the congress, senate and/or President, and power of the dollar; because they are strong; but they look not unto the Holy One…, neither seek the LORD!

Let’s call unto the Lord God, humble ourselves before Him, repent of our sins, turn from our wicked ways, and trust Him to forgive our sins, and heal our land, then we will be renewed and strengthened, and healed.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Death Grip

Anyone who thinks or believes that living the Christian life is “easy” has not begun to live the Christian life.  Several years ago, I was preaching in a Baptist Church [my conviction] on the difficulties of living the Christian life.  I had a woman who came to me afterwards and said, “I don’t find living the Christian life difficult.”  Now, I don’t know if she quite got a grasp of what I was saying, or if she did not know what the Christian life was about; but living it is difficult; even when we have the Spirit of God living within.

Death Grip is what sin has on those who are human.  The sad part of that is; that even when someone trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we still have a battle with sin’s death grip.  Every Christian struggles with sin.  We will continue to struggle with it until this body, this shell of flesh we live in takes its last breath, and the heart beats its last beat.

That is why as a Christian we are admonished by the Word of God to “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11).  The promise of the Word is that we are no longer a slave to sin (Romans 6:16-17), as long as long as we “have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you”.  That doctrine, of course, is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Yet, we struggle against sin.  Yes!  Christians still commit sin.  Not because we love it, but because of the death grip of sin.  The prophet Isaiah said, “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope…” Isaiah 5:18.  Most of our struggle with sin is due to our own weakness to resist it.  We have the power to resist temptation because of the work of Jesus Christ and His “earnest payment” left us; the Holy Spirit.  Yet we are in that death grip.

Back during the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix, AZ.  Dr. Al Mohler upset a lot of our folks by some comments he made using words, such as “Homophobic” and “Choice”.  It was falsely reported by one news agency that the SBC had recanted and changed its view of homosexuality; NOT SO.

Dr. Mohler believes as I do that homosexuality is sin.  Just as adultery is sin, murder is sin, stealing is sin, lust is sin, murderous thinking is sin, disobedience to God and His Word is sin.  Homosexuality, in scripture is called an abomination.

When an individual comes to faith in Christ we are not perfect, but we enter a state of growth where we are growing more into the image of Christ.  That, though, will not be perfected until we see Jesus face to face.

Sin’s Death Grip is like Isaiah’s iniquity, and cart rope; we still drag that sinful flesh along with us.  It is a burden, a drag, yet we desire to be free from it; and one day we will.  Until then, let us put off the works of the flesh, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  When we fall, let us take the hand of our Savior, arise forgiven, cleansed, and continue on the journey.

There is forgiveness for all who will call on the name of Jesus Christ in faith.  Christian remember this, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

From Dr. David Jeremiah

The following is the daily e-devotional from Dr. David Jeremiah.  I believe you will be blessed, and challenged by it.  I know that I was.

Proclaimers of God’s Word: John Hyde

You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
Isaiah 62:6-7

Recommended Reading
Isaiah 62:1-7

John (“Praying”) Hyde sailed to India in 1892 to evangelize Punjab. After struggling for several years, Hyde rededicated himself to working through prayer. He believed Isaiah 62 commands us to remind God of His promises and “give Him no rest” till He answers.

In early 1908, Hyde prayed to win at least one soul to Christ per day. By December 31, he had recorded 400 converts. The following year, the Lord laid two souls per day on his heart, and his prayer was again answered. The next year he prayed for four souls daily with similar results.

Once, stopping at a cottage for water, Praying Hyde asked God for ten souls. He presented the Gospel, and all nine members of the family were saved. But what of number ten? A nephew who had been playing outside ran into the room and was promptly converted.

“Praying” became Hyde’s middle name. It should be ours as well, for the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective (James 5:16, NIV).

-posted by Tim A. Blankenship

The Light of the Sun

As I was preparing for my Sunday evening sermon Isaiah 30:26 took on a whole new light for me.

“Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.”  Isaiah 30:26 (KJV)

I noticed that verses 18 – 26 have to do with the prophecy of the millennial kingdom of Christ on earth.  It is not called that in the text, but it is speaking of a future day of blessing for Israel when they will all turn to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Messiah.

In our day we are being warned to not go out into the sunlight for too long at a time.  “You can get skin cancer”, we are told; and that may be true, but look at the verse above.

I have for years thought this to be a part of the judgment to come on the earth due to mankinds rebellion against God and disobedience to His Word.  However, I do see now that this is speaking of the sun being a healing agent during this wonderful time of Christ’s blessing.

Notice that it says the “Light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun”.  The night sky will be so bright as to help crops grow even during the night. Also see that the “Light of the sun shall be sevenfold”.  If that means seven times brighter during the day; just imagine the perfection of the sunlight during that time.

No more need to worry about the affects of sunlight, but there will be rejoicing, and healing in the sunlight.

Even in our day there is a need for the sunlight, and there has been much of it recently.  Without the sun we would freeze to death, and not even exist.

Without the Son of God we would be forever condemned, and die and go to hell forever.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Beauty is a Fading Flower

Chapter 28 of Isaiah the prophet begins a series of “Woe” against Israel and Judah, Jerusalem; and within these woes are also promises, encouragements to lead them back to YaHWeH the Eternal, Self-Sufficient One who called them to Himself.

The Northern kingdom called Ephraim in our text was prideful and fell.  The “Woe” is warning Judah of her fall should she fail to repent and turn again to the LORD.  The problem with Judah was they were putting more faith in the power of politics, and the politicians of their day than in the LORD, thus were failing to heed God’s leadership.  Just as Israel’s pride brought them down so too would the pride of Judah bring them down; like the beauty of the fading flower.

“Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!  Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.  The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet: and the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.  In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people, and for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.” Isaiah 28:1-6 (KJV)

Ephraim had a problem with parties, drinking inebriating drinks, and their leaders all conspiring to do the same.  Their judges, priests and others; along with their prophets in drunkenness (v. 7); making rule and law in their soberless state of mind.  Is it much different in today’s USA?  Not at all.  Warren Wiersbe quotes a U.S. government official in his book on Isaiah “Be Comforted”  as having said,

“We have three  parties in this city [Washington D. C.]: the Democratic party, the Republican party, and the cocktail party.”

I don’t doubt that to be true.  I wonder how many of our leaders go into their Congressional sessions, Senate sessions, and even investigations under the influence of alcohol?  Is it any wonder that our nation is in the bankrupt condition it is in.  The beauty of the United States and her glory is quickly fading and will continue until the Lord Jesus returns or their is revival in the land.

In verse sixteen we read,

“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.”

When God’s people are resting upon the LORD, trusting in Him there will be no need to fear or flee from what is coming into the world, or a nation.  Our hope, our only hope is in the LORD.  It is not in returning to new tax structures, political ideologies, or even only to making right laws.  We need to return to the fear of the LORD, and set our hearts on Him alone.

The LORD has said, “I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation…” and that is not just an Old Testament thought, but one of Paul the apostle’s writings as well (Romans 9:33).  That Stone was rejected, tried, beaten, mocked, and finally hung on a brutal cross where He bled and died for the sins of the world.

In verse 21 God says He will do a “strange work”.

“For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.”

Just what is this “Strange work”, “Strange act”?  It appears to be that God will allow His people’s own sin to be their judgment.  Even the prophet Jeremiah says,

“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee…” Jeremiah 2:19a

Maybe like your mother letting you gorge yourself on that jar full of cookies, after telling you two or three times, “Only one!”, and then you end up feeling deathly ill, throwing up, and in bed the rest of the day.  Moses said, “Be sure  your sins will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

One thing we can be assured of, and that is that God does His work; His strange work, His strange act in the order it should be in.  That is the prophet’s message in verses 23 – 29;

“Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground?  When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place?  For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.  For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.  Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.  This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.”

Isaiah uses the illustration of the farmer plowing and sowing seeds.  It is done in an orderly manner.  The ground is plowed and prepared then each type of seed is sown according to its own fashion.  The fitches and cummin [seeds for condiment purposes] are scattered or broadcasted around on the ground.  Wheat and barley are sown in  rows.  They are all threshed in different fashion as well.  Some of the harvest grains are threshed by beating, some are rolled with a crushing wheel.  I hope you see the picture.

God’s judgment will not always be the same for everyone.  It will, however, come due, and there will be judgment according to God’s own grace and mercy.  Remember that the judgment we are talking about is not on the world, but upon God’s own people.  Peter the apostle wrote,

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17 (KJV)

Isaiah’s warning Israel and Judah is also a warning to those who are Christians.  Get right with God, and be right with God always.  Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  Love Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Vineyard of Red Wine

The title above comes from verse two of Isaiah 27.  It is a far cry from the verses of chapter five of the prophet.  A vineyard in chaos, worthy of destruction, and to grow without care and protection from its owner.

“In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine.” Isaiah 27:2 (KJV)

I know nothing of the flavor of “red wine”, but I have drank the sweet flavorful juice of the red grape, and it is fabulous.  That is what the LORD and the prophet Isaiah is telling us.  No more will Israel be judged, but, rather she will be fruitful, flavorful, and sweet.  She will blossom as a rose and her enemies will be put away.

The LORD says, “I will keep it night and day” (v. 3).  Then to leave no doubt of whom He is speaking He says,

“He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.”  Isaiah 27:6

Through the many years Israel has departed from the LORD and through those many years God has chastised them, and continues to chastise them.  God is working in the nation to bring them to the place where they will love Him, and He will prosper them greatly; just as He has promised for all these years.  Not one word of God will fall, or fail.

“Hath He smitten him, as He smote those that smote him? or is He slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by Him?  In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind.   By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.”  Isaiah 27:7-9

The LORD will not have mercy on those who had or have no mercy on the people of Israel.  He will show them no favor (v. 11).  There will be no grace [favor of God] toward those who have rejected Him and His people.  When will this come to pass.  I don’t know.  I believe it will be soon; and by that I don’t mean tomorrow or even next year; but within the years of God’s own timing.

In that time all God’s people of Israel will gather to worship their Messiah around the throne in Jerusalem;

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”  Isaiah 27:12-13

One of the things that Christians and unbelievers can learn from this is that God will carry through with His promises.  Not one word shall fall to the ground.  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).  Rest assured Christian.  Repent and believe unbeliever.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Day of the LORD is at Hand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

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

Wells Of Salvation

Though chapter twelve is a  short one it is full of song.  In fact it has two songs.  They are songs of the deliverance of Israel for the final time.  It is of a time yet future.  The prophet Isaiah shares with Israel/Judah that there is coming a day when they will be praising the LORD of host; the Holy One of Israel.

“And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise Thee: though Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou comfortedst me.  Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation.  Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.  And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon His name, declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted.  Sing unto the LORD; for He hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.  Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”  Isaiah 12:1-6 (KJV)

Some things which I want to point out-

  1. The people recognize the LORD’s anger, now in that future day forgiveness;
  2. The people, the prophet recognize the LORD  is their salvation;
  3. The LORD shows Himself doubly able to save in the phrase “LORD JEHOVAH” through this song.
  4. The people will “draw water out of the wells of salvation”
  5. There will be praise in the mouth of the people when they see the Holy One of Israel in their midst.

This is very relevant for the Christian of our day, any day as a matter of fact.  We always need to remember that the LORD hates disobedience which is sin, and all sins committed or sins of omitted obedient acts; and with our Lord there is forgiveness.  We must always remember that God is my salvation.  Remember the name of the prophet Isaiah means “God is salvation”.  The Lord’s use of the double “Jehovah” assures us that He is God, He is awesome, He is all powerful, all Present, all knowing, invisible, unexplainable, and immutable [unchanging].

According to John’s gospel chapter 4 we could see that those who know Jesus Christ are in a sense “Wells of salvation” –

“Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”  John 4:13-14 (KJV)

Until Jesus comes we have within us the water of everlasting life flowing from our hearts and lives because of the work of Jesus Christ on His cross.

We look forward to that day when Israel will look upon Him whom they have pierced and be saved.  We are delighted, full of excitement, when one lost sheep comes into the fold of our Lord.

There will be singing in that glorious day.  Let everyday of your life be a musical.  Sing unto the LORD.  Be that overflowing well of salvation you are called to be as a Christian.

-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

Peace In the Kingdom of Christ On Earth

People of earth long for peace.  Even those who are fighting in wars have a longing for peace, yet peace seems so far away.

Many people wonder if peace is possible, and also wonder about animals and the future of the earth.  The nations of the world are trying to bring peace to the Middle East, and fail; particularly with peace concerning Jerusalem.  The nations want things their way; not God’s way; and until the Prince of peace is come there will not be peace on earth; except as we find peace in our own hearts and lives through the cross of Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection.

What will peace look like when Jesus comes to earth again?  We must realize that when He comes again there will first be a reckoning with all that is evil.  It will be put away.  The poor will be judged with righteousness the wicked bankers, financiers, CEO’s of big corporations  who have labored to fill their pockets, and rob their employees will destroyed.

What about the animal kingdom?  We can see the results of the “fall of mankind” by watching the animal kingdom, and that of the kingdom of men.  With animals we have meat eating beast, flying, and non-flying; and they feed themselves on the lesser sized animals.  In most situations that I have witnessed a cat and dog cannot dwell together side by side without the dog growling, or attacking the cat; there are a few exceptions, but rare.  My brother used to have a dog that would allow an old yellow cat to lay on his back while he was resting.  Rare indeed.  In Isaiah 11 we find these verses concerning our Lord’s coming reign on earth and animals…

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.   And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.   And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.   They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”  Isaiah 11:6-9 (KJV)

If you will notice these animals listed are from the gentle, meek type to the ferocious, meat eater and poisonous kind.  The wolf, the lamb, the leopard, the baby goat, the calf, the lion cub, the fatling; and not to leave man out; a little child “leading them”.  The child leading them would probably mean that it would not be uncommon in that day to see a spontaneous parade of these animals together with a child in the lead.  “Fiction” you may think or say.  Not if God says it.  Nor do I believe it to be allegorical of a general peace on earth.  To make this allegorical you would need to make the rest of prophecy, even that of the first coming of Messiah, as allegory; and that just would be a lie, and deception.

The wolf and the lamb dwelling together!  Is this really possible?  It happened one other time following the “fall of man”.  At the flood [believing what God says in His Word] God brought two of every kind of land animal to the ark; two wolves, two sheep, two leopards, two goats, two bovine, and two lions and two bears; and there was peace while they were coming to the ark, getting on the ark, on the ark, and getting off the ark.  When they disembarked from the ark the sin nature of humanity affected them once more.

The millennial kingdom or our Lord fascinates and excites me.  I long for that day when I will look into the eyes of my Master, then fall at His feet, and worship my Lord and Savior.  Then will spend the Millennium with Him, serving those who populate the earth and worshipping Him for all eternity.

If you want to be assured you will be there too check this out.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Twelve – One through Twelve

“And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. 2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. 4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. 5 And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. 6 Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. 7 But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. 8 And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. 9 What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. 10 And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: 11 This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 12 And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.”  Mark 12:1-12 (KJV)

In the fifth chapter of Isaiah, the prophet likens the nation of Israel to a “Vineyard”.  It to is a parable.  It is the story of a man who plants the vineyard, builds a fence around it, cleaned up the rocks, even built a tower for the vineyard, but then the vineyard does not produce anything but “wild grapes” – that is “worthless grapes”.  The vineyard brought forth no useful fruit for its owner.

It seems that these religious leaders were reminded that they were the vineyard.  Jesus is showing them as a prosperous vineyard, producing much fruit, but not giving the “Owner” what is due Him.  In this parable Jesus speaks of a “Landowner” who prepared the vineyard, and then “leased” it out to others.  The idea was that the “Owner” would collect his due when the harvest was over.

The story is really one of Israel, and their trek down through about 1500 years – from the time of Abraham.  They had had prophet after prophet come to them with the message of God and His Word, but would often refuse the word of the prophet, and beat, abuse him and drive him from their presence.  Just as the people leasing the land would not give the “owner” his due, these so called “People of God” would not yield to the “Messengers” which God sent them.

The message Jesus gives through this parable is that since they would not give God what was due Him, then the Kingdom would be given to others.

We might should pause and think about that.  Have we heard God and surrendered to His Word and His will?  Have we sent away His “Messengers” without even a thought of what He said?  Are we making a mess of God’s kingdom?  Have we sent His “Messengers” away empty handed, injured and bleeding?  Maybe not physically, but spiritually?

Jesus tells us in the parable that these “Husbandmen” would do the same with the “son” when he would come to collect his due.  The prophets of God were rejected, and ultimately the Son would be rejected and put to death on Calvary’s cross.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Prophecy Of Our Lord’s Birth

The following is an outline of a sermon I preached in December of 2006, and posted at Wings As Eagles on December 11, 2006.  I repost it here for this season of remembering His birth.

THE BIRTH FORETOLD

Isaiah 7:1-14

OUTLINE –

I. JUDAH/JERUSALEM WAS UNDER SEIGE, AND GREAT THREAT FROM THE SYRIANS WITH SUPPORT FROM EPHRAIM/ISRAEL (vv. 1-2)

II. GOD SENT ISAIAH TO AHAZ, THE GRANDSON OF UZZIAH TO COMFORT AND ENCOURAGE HIM CONCERNING THE TERRORISM AT THEIR GATES (vv. 3-7).

III. GOD’S WORDS CONCERNING THOSE WHO RISE UP AGAINST THE RIGHTEOUS REMNANT (vv. 8-9).

IV. GOD GIVES A SIGN, DESPITE THE ARROGANCE AND UNWILLINGNESS TO OBEY FROM AHAZ; OF THE GOD-MAN WHO WOULD COME BY WAY OF A VIRGIN (vv. 10-16).

INTRODUCTION –

I. Living In An Affluent Society As We Do; We Often Do Not Realize The Fears and Battles Which Others In the World Are Going Through; Yet, There Are Many In Our Own Country Which Suffer Due To Hideous Things, Threats, Sickness, and Other Things.

II. Some People Are Asking “Why Doesn’t God Intervene?”, and The Answer To That Is; He Has and Presently Is.

III. The Word Of God Gives Us The Way Of Life and the Way Of Faith, Comfort, Encouragement, and We All Need It In Our Lives.

IV. God Came Down and Dwelt Among Us, and He Is Still With Us.

Even though this is the Christmas season; the season, the time of the year when we remember our Lord’s birth. Those who are not suffering from delusion will readily admit that these are not pleasant times, but let’s not be disheartened, discouraged or downheartedd. Remember, Jesus, the one whose birth we celebrate is Lord over all.

Christmas is about God. It is about God sending His Son, born of a virgin, born to die for the sins of the world.

I. THESE MAY BE DAYS OF SEIGE FROM THE ENEMY AND DARK FORCES FROM EVERY SIDE, AND THESE CAN CAUSE GREAT FEAR (vv. 1-2).

A. Ahaz was surrounded by the trouble of his Sister Nation, and the Syrians, so we may be as well, surrounded by an enemy who is set to destroy us and our testimony for Christ.

B. When we are not right with God we will be fearful; if we are right with God, having our sins confessed and obeying His call and direction for our lives, then, we need not fear, nor will we be fearful.

Someone once said, “If we fear God; we need fear nothing else”.

II. GOD HAS SENT HIS MESSENGER TO GIVE US COMFORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT FOR FACING THE ENEMY WHICH TRIES SO HARD TO DETRACT US AND GET US AWAY FROM GOD AND HIS PLAN FOR OUR LIVES (vv. 3-7).

A. Every time we are afraid God sends a messenger by way of the Holy Spirit; the message is found in God’s Word.

B. God’s messenger will speak a relevant message for the time and place.

1. Notice, that God sent ‘Shearjashub’ with Isaiah as a message of comfort – his name means, “A remnant shall return”.

2. The land of Judah would not be forgotten by God – that promise is true of all those who are in the faith of the Lord Jesus.

C. The greatest messenger of all is God’s Son Jesus Christ.

The Psalmist has written, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” (Ps. 56:3). And, in verse eleven he wrote, “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.”

D. Be assured; the enemy of our peace shall not prevail – Jesus Christ won the victory.

1. These “Smoking firebrands” may be hot, but they are going to burn out and burn up, and be nothing but ash.

III. GOD’S WORD IS HERE FOR OUR INSTRUCTION, REBUKE, CORRECTION, INSPIRATION, AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH TO MATURITY IN JESUS CHRIST (vv. 8-9).

A. God is in control of the matters of our lives; so let’s not let our troubles detract us from the will of God.

B. God’s Word is the means by which we can resist the lies, snares, pits, and deceit of the enemy.

1. The Word of God, with the Spirit of God gets us to the place God wants us when we hear and obey.

2. By the Word of God we know the afflictions are often, if not always, for our benefit.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy Word” (Ps. 119:67).

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes” (Ps. 119:71).

C. Those who will not take heed to God and His Word will certainly be without help (v. 9b).

IV. FOR US GOD HAS GIVEN US THE SIGN OF THE GOD-MAN WHO WAS BORN OF A VIRGIN IN THE STABLE OF BETHLEHEM (vv. 10 – 16).

A. Like Ahaz, some do not want a sign from God, because it would humble them, and cause them to realize their weaknesses, and God’s strength.

B. Despite the unwillingness of some to request a sign, God has given us one anyway.

1. That sign is the birth of the God-man Jesus Christ to the virgin mother who was willing to risk her reputation, and future marriage, and possibly her own life, to bring the Son of God to earth to pay the price for the sins of mankind, and redeem us unto God.

2. That sign, even now, causes controversy in the hearts of many who profess Christ as their Savior.

C. The unwillingness does not negate the fact, though, it strengthens it.

1. He was born of the woman – a virgin – who had no seed.

2. He could not have had a human father, the sinful seed comes from the man.

3. He was born of the seed of God, thus, having no sin, and fully qualified to die for mankind’s sin and bring reconciliation between God and mankind.

D. This prophecy was fulfilled in the following verses,

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS” Matthew 1:18-25

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:1-7.

SUMMARY –

I. LOOK TO THE MESSENGER OF GOD’S WORD – AS JEREMIAH SAID, ‘THERE IS A WORD FROM THE LORD”.

II. LOOK TO THE SIGN WHICH HAS BEEN GIVEN US – THE SIGN OF HIS VIRGIN BIRTH AND THE SIGN OF HIS CROSS.

III. TRUST GOD’S WORD WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO GUIDE YOU, SECURE YOU, GIVE YOU PEACE IN THE MIDST OF ATTACKS AND AFFLICTION.

IV. THERE ARE ACTUALLY THREE SIGNS GOD HAS GIVEN US FOR ASSURANCE AND PEACE – 1) THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF CHRIST; 2) CHRIST’S DEATH ON THE CROSS; 3) AND THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD.

V. CAN YOU TRUST SUCH A ONE AS THIS JESUS? DEFFINITELY.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Five Qualities Of The Believer’s Hope

Five Qualities Of The Believer’s Hope

1 John 2:28 – 3:3

It needs to be understood at the beginning of this message that none are perfect nor can we be perfect in this life.  Our Lord is working in us toward perfection when we shall see Him face to face.  However, we must, by the Holy Spirit within us who know personally the Lord Jesus as Lord and Savior have Christ as the central being of our lives.

As a Christian we have new hope and desires; the first of which is seeing  Him one day; and seeing Him face to face.  We also desire to one day be like Him, and as verse three of chapter 3 tells us; “We shall see Him as He is”.  What a glorious day that will be.

In this message we will look at FIVE QUALITIES OF THE BELIEVER’S HOPE.

I.  A LONGING FOR – A DESIRING FOR THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST (v. 2:28).

A.  A longing for the appearing will motivate the believer to “abide in Him”.

1. It is like the  branch abides in the vine (John 15:1-11).
2. It is similar to your home – the place you live.

a.  You may leave it to go to work, on vacation, etc., but you know there is no place like home – you return.

b.  It is the place where you receive nourishment, and love.

B.  This abiding ‘in Him’ keeps us from being ashamed when he returns.

1. When we ‘abide in Him’ we keep His commandments;
2. When we ‘abide in Him’ we have the anointing –

“But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.”  1 John 2:20 (KJV)

II.  KNOWING JESUS IS RIGHTEOUS – THOSE BORN OF HIM PRACTICES RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 2:29).

A.  Jesus is righteous – He is Deity [God].

1. He is righteous as the Christ;
2. He is righteous as the sin-bearer;
3. He is righteous as the resurrected One.

B.  Those who do righteousness are born of Him.

1. Doing what is right in one’s life;
2. Doing what is right according to God’s law;
3. Doing what is right to others.

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”  Matthew 7:12 (KJV)

III.  ENAMORED, AWED, AND STRENGTHENED BY HIS GLORIOUS SALVATION (v. 3:1).

A.  Nothing in this world is comparable to the love of God.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:35-39 (KJV)

1. Love ‘bestowed upon us’ by our benevolent, loving Father through His precious loving Son.
2. John seems to be awe-struck with the thought Himself.

B.  Love so great we are called ‘the sons of God’.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:12-13 (KJV)

C.  The ‘Inhabiters of earth’ are so enamored with the world, they miss God.

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”  Revelation 3:10 (KJV)

“And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”  Revelation 6:10 (KJV)

“And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!”  Revelation 8:13 (KJV)

“And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.”  Revelation 11:10 (KJV)

“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”  Revelation 12:12 (KJV)

“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.”
“And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.”
” And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.”  Revelation 13:8, 12, 14 (KJV)

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people…”  Revelation 14:6 (KJV)

“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”  Revelation 17:8 (KJV)

IV.  EXPECTANT OF BEING CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST – NOT CHRIST, BUT LIKE HIM (v. 3:2).

A.  In moral character.

1. Not Christ, not deity, but of His character and love for the Father and one another.

B.  Now the ‘Sons of God’.

1. That means living like ’sons of God’ – Kings and priests.
2. Living right in the present time unto the day of His appearing.

C.  We will see Jesus as He is.

V.  KEEPING THEMSELVES READY FOR HIS APPEARING (v. 3:3).

A.  The hope and promise of His appearing is the greatest hope of mankind.

1. His appearing otherwise known as Second Coming is a grand promise of change according to the Scriptures;
2. It will mean the change in ge0logy (Zechariah 14), environment, government and most of all in the hearts and lives of mankind;
3. It will also means change in the animals of the earth as well.

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”  Isaiah 11:6-9 (KJV)

B.  Those who are prepared for His coming will be keeping themselves ready.

1. The presence and  gift of His Spirit within directs us to preparation.
2. There is a place being prepared for the prepared.
3. We must fight the good fight – there is a war going on daily in our lives.

“1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  John 14:1-3 (KJV)

“7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:7-8 (KJV)

C.  Let’s keep ourselves pure – as much as Christ is in us.

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”
2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV)

1. Because of Jesus’s wonderful gift;
2. Because of these precious promises;
3. Because we are the ’sons of God’.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Servant, The Word, and Traditions of Men

Mark 7:1-37

“1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. 2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. 5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?” Mark 7:1-5 (KJV)

If there is fault to find the fault would be with those who seek to find fault with that which is perfect.  The disciples, or followers of Jesus are not perfect, but they do follow a perfect Lord and Savior.  The “Nay-sayers” and “fault finders” are simply without any evidence of truth, and so object to any one who is living out the truth; which is the life of Jesus.

In the day we live in there are good health reasons for washing of hands.  To wash hands after using the restroom is certainly a means of preventing disease, illness, or sickness.  Washing one’s hands after using a handrail or shaking hands with people is a good idea, to prevent colds, the Swine flu [h1n1] threat of the day, or other sickness.  There is much sickness that is passed from one person to another just by the hands, so washing them often is a good idea, but let’s not be obnoxious about it.

There are a lot of people who believe the saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is in the Bible.  It is not.  I think the religious leaders of Jesus’ day must have thought that it was.  They had developed a tradition of “Handwashing” which they had elevated over Scriptures.  Not only had they done that, but they had neglected to practice the practical teachings of Scripture concerning caring for parents (vv. 10-11).

Verse 3 –  “except they wash”

G3538
νίπτω
niptō
nip’-to
To cleanse (especially the hands or the feet or the face); ceremonially to perform ablution: – wash. Compare G3068.

v. 4 – “except they wash”

G907
βαπτίζω
baptizō
bap-tid’-zo
From a derivative of G911; to make whelmed (that is, fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism: – baptist, baptize, wash.

In verses three and four we have the word “wash” used in  two different ways.  The one in verse three has to do with the washing of hands before eating their meal in a ceremonial fashion.

“The ceremony involved someone pouring water out of a jar onto another’s hands; whose fingers must be pointing up.  As long as the water dripped off at the wrist, the person could proceed to the next step.  He then had water poured over both hands with the fingers pointing down.  Then each hand was to be rubbed with the fist of the other hand.” FROM MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE pg. 1473.

Verse four is our word for “Baptism”, and it leaves us with the idea that after these men had been to the market, around a lot of people, they were required to take a ceremonial bath [it could be only the immersing of their hands in water] before they could even eat a meal.  That seems like a whole lot of trouble to eat a meal.

The disciples were eating without the ceremonial cleansing of their hands.  The question was brought up by the Pharisees as to why this was so.  Nit pickers is the word I would use concerning them.  Eating without washing the hands defiles no one.

The Pharisees were actually accusing Jesus of teaching the disciples against the “traditions of the elders”.
For verses 1 – 13 J. C. Ryle wrote, 1)

“The first thing which demands our attention in these verses, is the low and degraded condition of Jewish religion, when our Lord was upon earth.”;   2) “The second thing, that demands our attention, is the uselessness of mere lip-service in the worship of God.”;   3)  “The last thing that demands our attention in these verses, is the tendency of man’s inventions in religion to supplant God’s word.”

“6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. 14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. 16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. 18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; 19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? 20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”  Mark 7:6-23 (KJV)

When the traditions of men become as important or in the case of the Pharisees more important than the clear teachings of God’s Word, then hypocrisy had crept in and the Word of God has no affect on the heart.  These were, in effect, honoring God with their lips, but their heart was unclean and far from God – “Wherefore the Lord said, ‘Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men…” (Isaiah 29:13).

The Pharisees were teaching the traditions of men as though they were “doctrine” with the same authority and inspiration of Scriptures.  They were wrong.  Are there ways by which we can put “traditions” above Scripture?  How about some rules concerning our buildings, area of worship, music in worship, giving of offerings in worship, our dress, physical appearance, etc.?  Can a born again/Christian be a hypocrite?  NO!  Can we be hypocritical?  YES!

G5273
ὑποκριτής
hupokritēs
hoop-ok-ree-tace’
From G5271; an actor under an assumed character (stage player), that is, (figuratively) a dissembler (“hypocrite”): – hypocrite.

A “Hypocrite” is, “an actor under an assumed character”.  Basically someone pretending to be something they are not.  They can boast long and loud of their faith and character, but there is no fruit, proof, or evidence of it.  Jesus called these men “You hypocrites…”.  They were “Hypocrites” not just hypocritical.  They put on a good religious front, but had nothing of the heart.

They had even taken the commandment of God which says, “Honor your father and mother” and put a tradition with it which allowed them to withhold support from their elderly parents if they had designated the support need as “a gift”.  “Corban” was the phrase they used to exonerate themselves from supporting their parents.  That is one of their traditions which had taken the place of Scripture.  They had in affect made of “None effect” by their traditions.

The heart of man is desperately wicked.  It is from the heart that man is defiled and made unclean.  Nothing from without us can make us unclean.  It is due to an unclean heart that we stand condemned by God, to a Christless eternity.  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV)”.   Can we hear the words of Jesus as He tells us that He is more concerned with the depraved heart of man than He is with “sacrifice”; “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.  1 Samuel 15:22-23 (KJV)”.  Although this is Old Testament it certainly portrays the depraved heart, in thinking that an act of “sacrifice” is greater than the written Word of God.

J. C. Ryle writes for verses 14 – 23, 1)

“We see in the beginning of this passage, how slow of understanding men are in spiritual things.”;   2)  “We see, in the second place, from this passage, that the heart is the chief source of defilement and impurity in God’s sight.”;   3)  “We see, in the last place, from this passage, what a black catalogue of evils the human heart contains.”

“24 And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. 25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: 26  The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. 27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. 28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. 29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. 30 And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.”  Mark 7:24-30 (KJV)

The “dogs” to which Jesus refers is not a derogatory term of meaning “mean, vicious, or mangy”, but most likely a family pet.  Jesus ministry was to be to the household of Israel, and this woman was a Gentile, “And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.”  Matthew 15:22 (NASB)”, and He viewed this woman and her child as part of the household, but not a prominent part of it.  The “dogs” were under the table.

This was a test of the woman’s faith.  How would she respond?  Would she leave disappointed or would she keep on believing, and trust the Savior to do His work in her and her daughter?  She would believe.  The woman’s daughter was another one who was demon possessed.  It does not go into any details to tell us the situation of the daughter – how this demon effected her life – it just simply tells us she “had an unclean spirit”.

Just by His Word Jesus delivers the daughter, and the mother leaves believing the saying to be true.  That is a wonderful faith.  Concoction of rules does not a righteous person make.  Believing the Word of God and obeying is the path of righteousness.

J. C. Ryle on verses 24 – 30,

1)  “In the first place, this passage is meant to encourage us to pray for others.”;   2)  “In the second place, this passage is meant to teach us to persevere in praying for others.”

“31 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. 32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. 33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. 35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. 36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; 37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.”  Mark 7:31-37 (KJV)

Someone has said, “We have two ears and one mouth, so that means we are to do twice as much listening as we do speaking”.  That is really good advice.  It is with that that it seems Jesus may have thought the same thing, because He opened up his hearing first.  Part of that would be because most people who do not hear cannot speak, or cannot speak well also.

It is important that we listen; especially to the Word of the Lord; so that we might faithfully and powerfully proclaim it to a world that is lost and condemned by sin.  Hear the Word of God then proclaim it.  Jesus said above, “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (v.16).  All that Jesus said and taught is worth our hearing and doing.

The Lord opened the ears so me might hear the Gospel of Christ and be saved, and He gave us speech so that we might praise Him, and sound forth the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.  Do you have redeemed ears, and a redeemed mouth?  If you are in Jesus Christ you have.

Ryle wrote,

1)”The first thing that demands our notice in these verses, is the mighty miracle that is here recorded.”;   2)  “The second thing which demands our notice in these verses, is the peculiar manner in which our Lord thought good to work the miracle here recorded.”;   3)  “But there is one simple lesson to be learned from our Lord’s conduct on this occasion. That lesson is, that Christ was not tied to the use of any one means in doing His works among men.”;   4)  “We see the same thing going on still in the Church of Christ. We see continual proof that the Lord is not tied to the use of any one means exclusively in conveying grace to the soul.”;   5)  “The last thing which demands our notice in these verses, is the remarkable testimony which was borne by those who saw the miracle here recorded.”

If we do not do what we hear we are hypocrites and do not glorify the Lord of life. The miracle of your changed life is what others will see.

-Tim A. Blankenship

2 Peter 3:1-18

The Second Coming Of Jesus – A Certain Event

In second Peter we see Peter writing to encourage and motivate the followers of Christ – Christians – toward developing a Christ like character (chapter 1);  We see then Peter warns of the dangers, and deception of false teachers and their demise (chapter 2); and in chapter three we see that he gives us some reasons for what seems as delay of the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The first reason Peter gives seems to be that there will be scoffers.  Scoffers speak of the delay as evidence that the Lord is not coming.  Some of these scoffers are those who improvise there teaching to fit with the delay they envision.

2 Peter 1-10

THE STIRRING OF THE PROPHET’S AND APOSTLES WRITINGS (vv. 1-2).  I mentioned a few weeks ago in a sermon at Carr Lane Baptist Church that this “stirring” is similar to taking a pot of soup which needs stirred up to bring all the settled foods into balance with the rest of the ingredients.  When you do that to a bowl of stew or soup you have a much better soup for your bowl.

This is somewhat similar to what Peter is stirring up for the followers of Jesus when he writes of stirring.  There are many people, pastors and preachers who are getting away from the teachings of the prophets, prophecy, and the coming of the Lord teachings.  Peter was stirring it up reminding us of His soon appearing.  Are we failing our Lord and His calling in our lives if we shun to proclaim the prophecy of Scripture of the second coming of Jesus.  Is it relevant for our day?  Most certainly it is.  Peter considered it relevant.

We should shun the words of the scoffers who will proclaim to us that “the second coming is when someone gets saved”; or ” the second coming is when a believer dies and Jesus comes to escort them home”; or “the second coming is only a spiritual metaphor for the church overcoming the world”.  Anyway you get the idea.  The second coming is in fact the bodily appearance of Jesus coming back with His saints, to Jerusalem, and setting up His kingdom;  ruling and reigning on earth as King of kings, and Lord of lords.

THERE WILL BE THOSE WHO SCOFF AT THE PROMISE (vv. 3-7).  Some scoffers are just out and out haters of the second coming idea.  “It’s been said and taught for two thousand years.  If it was going to happen it would have happened by now” is the thoughts and idea of many an unbeliever.  Is that form of “scoffing any different that that the professing Christian may use when teaching the ideas presented in the above paragraph?  The above Ideas only present a “christianized” thought of the scoffers.

“Where is the promise of His coming?”  The promise is sure.  It is my conviction, and one backed up by Scripture that just as surely as the first coming of Jesus was fulfilled and happened just as promised; so too will the second coming of Jesus be fulfilled just as promised.  Just as Jesus came the first time born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and is recorded in the New Testament as being fulfilled (Matthew 1:18-2:23); He will return with His saints to Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:1-5), and reign on the earth.  It will happen in God’s good timing and fulfill His purposes and glory; not ours.

Just as Noah; while he was building the ark (Genesis 6:9-22); was preaching and warning of coming judgment by the flood.  The many prophets warning Israel of God’s wrath upon sin should they refuse to turn from sin would surely come.  So will the coming destruction by fire come about in God’s timing and for His glory.  The world, the earth is being “Kept in store” for that great day, then the world “Will know that I am the LORD”, says our God.

THE LORD IS NOT SLACK IN HIS PROMISE AND CALLS FOR REPENTANCE (vv. 8-9).  One thing we need to realize is that God is not delaying the return of His Son.  He is not slack concerning His promise, the promise of Jesus “I will come again, and receive you unto myself…” (John 14:3) will be fulfilled just as He has promised.

God says “It will come”  it is assured us, so we best be calling many to repentance and faith in Christ.  This idea that is being presented by the Oprahites that God is in all people, we make our own destiny, life and such is a lie from hell.  The only way to life, and life eternal is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I guess you could say that another reason for the seeming delay is God’s “longsuffering” or patience.  He is waiting for that moment in time when that final individual will be saved completing the Church.  We do not know what day that will be, but we can know that it will be one great triumphant day.  When it happens the events which take place in this world will be horrific, for those who are “earth dwellers”; loving the world and all that is in it.  He is giving all who live and breath today a chance to repent, and be saved.  He is not required to and does only because of His grace and mercy.  All are in His hands of justice, righteousness, and holiness.

THE THIEF AND THE “DAY OF THE LORD”.  “The day of the Lord” will be a day that will make the flood appear as a small and forgetful thing in comparison.  It will be a day when the world will know that God is the LORD of all the earth and of all creation.  The evolutionist will be in awe, and in their pride, unless they repent and believe, will be stricken and die in their rebellion.

We must remember, be reminded, that “the day of the Lord” is not restricted to a twenty four hour period but is  most likely a time of judgment, and is probably equivalent to about 7 years.  What ever length of time; whether it be 3.5 years or less; it will be sufficient time to rid the world of the leadership of Satan, his followers, and all evil.

The thief will come when no one is suspecting it.  The thief will come when the lights are out most times.  He/she may come when you are asleep.  There are many sleeping today, unaware and unprepared for the coming of Jesus Christ.  I have even heard some young believers say things like, “I don’t want Jesus to come yet.  I want to have children and watch them grow up”.  I am afraid that some with attitude either don’t know what they are saying, or don’t love the “appearing of our Lord”.  Nothing can take the place of the coming of the Lord

Getting Ready/Being Ready For The Second Coming

In this final part of chapter two we see the need for preparing, being ready for when the Lord returns.  Some accuse those of us who will teach and preach the second coming of Jesus as being relevant for the times.  There could actually be nothing more relevant than getting people prepared for when Jesus comes again.  The world is full of troubles and strife.  People need to know Jesus; the end of troubles and strife for the world.  He changes hearts and lives, strengthens us for the troubles we face on earth, and prepares us for eternity.

2 Peter 3:11-18)

KEEP LOOKING FOR THE NEW (vv. 11-13).  In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read, “Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new”.  Verse 10 above speaks of “elements melting with fervent heat” and things “dissolving”.  That is the purpose of making all things new.

Individuals do not need to wait until the cosmos is changed.  You and I can be changed by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ by our faith in Him, today.  Yes!  We look for that day when all things are made new in this world.  However, when we have been made new through our faith in Jesus Christ the world takes on a different hue in our view anyway.  We are changed.  We are made new, then one day when Jesus comes again the world, the cosmos will also be changed and made new.

Note Peters question which is also a very clear statement as well.  “What manner of persons ought ye to be…?  This is Peter’s words for getting our lives on the “straight and narrow” and keeping them in the way; being prepared for the coming of Christ.  Living so that others may see Him living within for His glory.  The new heavens and new earth will be a place where there will be nothing but righteousness.

MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO BE AT PEACE WITH GOD (vv. 14-16).  God has made the way for us to be at peace with Him.  “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Romans 5:1).  Our justification comes from God through the cross.  He has made us just.  Being just we have peace with God.  Nothing takes that justness or peace away, however, when we get away from daily committing ourselves to God in His Word, and prayer we stand to lose the peace of mind that only He gives.

Keep in the peace that He gives by daily committing to the reading and study of His Word.  Spend time in prayer, praising and adoring the One who died for your sins and His Father.  “The peace of God which passes understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7)

Be at peace with the Word of God.  When you twist it as those Peter writes about you cannot have peace with God.  They and you twist it to your own destruction.  The sad part about it is that others may follow your teaching and twisting.  Any teaching that takes away from Jesus and glorifies man or his teaching is from hell.

STAND AGAINST ERROR (v. 17).  There are many false teachers in the world today.  Some of those profess Jesus Christ with their lips, but their lives and teaching show something completely different.  Professing Jesus Christ these will give credibility to other beliefs for the access of heaven and God.  Do they understand the atonement of Jesus Christ; His death, burial and resurrection?  It really doesn’t seem likely that they do.  They teach error, and those who fall for their lies will find themselves in hell on judgment day.

Those who teach anything other than Christ Jesus and Him crucified are deceiving the people.  I mean this in the matter of salvation.  Any who teach or preach apart from the Scriptures/the Bible are out of God’s will and not worthy of being heard.

THE GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF HIM FOR HIS GLORY (v. 18).  It was the hearts desire for Peter that the followers of Jesus Christ grow in grace and knowledge of Him.  When a baby is born we expect that baby to mature and grow.  I have heard parents or some grandparents say things so silly sometimes like, “It’s too bad that they grow up”.  They really don’t mean it; not if they stop to really think about what they said.  A healthy baby will grow, and mature into an adult; and that is as it should be.

Peter, nor any pastor who is worth their salt, wants those who come to faith in Christ desire for them to stay an “infant” of faith.  That is the reason for preaching and teaching.  To motivate, encourage, feed, strengthen, and guide them into the proper food and eating for the life they live and for what is ahead for their lives.

The Lord’s “tarrying” in His coming is for our growth, and knowledge as well.  He knows the right time, and I believe that time is set, and has been for all time and eternity.  He knows the time, the day and the hour.  Our task in life is to preach, teach, learn, grow, and be prepared, be ready; for the coming of the Lord is nearer than when we first believed.

The time and day will come, and He will come fulfilling  His promise.

-Tim A. Blankenship

These are sermon study notes I will be preaching at Carr Lane Baptist Church on Sunday October 18, 2009 morning and evening services.

The Destruction Of Evil

I have heard the question asked so many times, “If there is a god, and if this god is good, why does he allow evil?”  I guess I have even asked that question or one similar.  There are many questions that need to asked along with this:  Is God all powerful?  Is God all knowing?  Is God all present?  Is God unchanging?  Is God a god of love and mercy?  If you answer all of those from a Biblical perspective then you can answer the question of evil.

Let’s look at part of the prayer of the Psalmist and his concern about evil.

A prayer of the Psalmist.

“Break Thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till Thou find none.”  Psalm 10:15 (KJV).

One of the first things that comes to my mind as I read this is a question.  “Who are the wicked?”  To be extremely accurate about it, that would mean me, you, all of us.  Because God is holy, righteous, and just, and He cannot look upon iniquity, ie. evil.  Then He must rid the world of us.

I want to assure you that He has broken the arm of the wicked.  The arm of the wicked was broken when sin was put to death with Jesus on the cross.  “Boy, it sure doesn’t seem like it.  Look at what’s happening in the world, and in my life”.  Be assured that all sin has been paid for.

The way God has dealt with my evil and yours is by judging it on His Son Jesus Christ.  He paid the debt for our sin.  Ultimately there will be no more sin.  It will one day reach a height, and plunge into the eternity of nothingness.

When Jesus comes into our hearts to live, abide, and stay evil is banished.  You are no more evil.  That begs another question.  “Then, who are the evil?”  All those who reject the free gift of grace in Christ Jesus.

One day, and it may be soon Jesus will come and all evil will be eternally put away.  Even the lamb and the lion will roam together, and without threat to the lamb.  The small child will be able to play over the den of the serpent without any fear (See Isaiah 11).  There will be no more ruthless rulers in the world.  Jesus will rule in the hearts and lives of people the world wide.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Taught By God

“It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall be taught of God’.  Every man therefore that hath heard, and learned of the Father, cometh unto Me.”  Jesus  (John 6:45 KJV).

The prophets to whom Jesus was referring and the address of the words written in the prophets are Isaiah 54:13; Jeremiah 31:34; and Micah 4:2.  Maybe some who read this think, “My goodness is Jesus all he has to write about?”  He is the very reason for my being.  The very reason for my existence, and for yours as well.  He is worthy of so much more than what I can write or say.

You read in Genesis, and you will see Jesus when God has given you Light to see Him.  In Exodus Jesus is there as the lamb’s blood is put on the door posts and the lintel.  He is the Passover Lamb.  As the children of Israel journey through the wilderness,  Jesus is the Healing of the waters at Marah.  He is the Rock that followed them through the desert.  All of Scriptures testify of Jesus.

Do I ever get tired of speaking or writing about my Jesus?  Never.  I cannot do it enough.  The Revelator [John] wrote in the Spirit of the Lord, “…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”  Revelation 19:10 (KJV).  Jesus told those who hated Him; speaking of the Scriptures, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.”  Jesus (John 5:39 KJV).  To know God one must be Taught By God.

If you want peace, hope, encouragement in this life, and eternal life; then, give yourself completely to Jesus.  He gave His for you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Divine Architect

Ephesians 2:18-22

The chapter begins by the apostles reminder that we were “dead in trespasses and sins”, and gives us good reason for believing it so.  Even more does he remind us that we have been “quickened” or “made alive”, and delivered from the old course we were once walking.

We are also told of God’s rich, marvelous, wonderful and glorious grace and mercy due to His great love for us.  That we have been raised up with Christ to sit with Him in “heavenly places” (v. 6).  Then in verses 8-10 the good and  faithful words, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV).  It does not seem right, nor Biblical, nor even teaching if we do not include verse 10 in there with verses 8 and 9.

The Gentiles of Ephesus, and you and I who are not Jewish, are reminded that we were not or are not of the “common wealth of Israel”; we did not receive the oracles, the Word of God, nor have we ever had the presence of God previous to the birth of the Church.  We were once strangers, separated from any hope, but God sent His Son.  It was like a wall of separation, that now, “through the blood of Christ” are made near, and brought into the Family of God.

THE WALL IS TORN DOWN BY THE DEATH OF JESUS ON THE CROSS (vv. 18-19).  God raised up a nation of people who would follow Him, and be a light to other nations ( ).  The nation of Israel has not been faithful to the LORD’s calling, and were not an obedient people.  However, the LORD still used them to give us His Word; both the written oracles, and the Living Oracle [Jesus Christ].

It was and is the  will of God to bring together in the one body of Christ people from all nations, races, cultures.  With the people of Israel, through the call of Abraham from Ur, to go to a land he knew not of, with Sarah his wife, and to a land yet inhabited, but promised to his people in a future day; God promised to make of him a blessed nation.  God promised to him, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3); and we have with the oracles [Scriptures] which have been written for us. The Law, History, Poetry [Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and Lamentations], and the Prophets (Major and Minor).

Where all seemed to be specifically for the Jew; now through the cross of Jesus Christ, there is access for all.  When Jesus died on the cross, the veil which separated the holy place in the Temple from the most Holy place was torn from top to bottom; signifying to us that the way was made by God Himself, into the very presence of the throne of God.

Those who come to God through Jesus (which is the exclusive way) become the “…Household of God”.  No longer strangers, no longer aliens, but brothers and sisters, with one Father.

THE DIVINE ARCHITECT’S FOUNDATION AND CORNERSTONE (v. 20).  Before there is a building there must of necessity be a foundation and a cornerstone.  Jesus Christ is that cornerstone.  It is the cornerstone which determines the size, the shape of buildings made of stone.

Hear what God says of this cornerstone:

“The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” (Psalm 118:22)

“Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation…” (Isaiah 28:16)

“For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11)

Actually before there was the “foundation of the apostles and prophets”, there was the cornerstone which is the beginning of the foundation.  The “Apostles and prophets” have spoken, and written the words of God for us to hear and read, applying them to life and heart that we through the power of the Holy Spirit, believing would be living stones, added to the “building” of this “household of God”.  Since the “Apostles and prophets” are the foundation, and this is dealing with Scriptures, then, there can be no more apostles and prophets.  They have already spoken and written what God has given us.  Let’s be more diligent by His Spirit to obey what we have received; instead of searching for something new which will most likely be deceptive, and seek to lead astray.

Hear what the apostle Peter has written:

“To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” 1 Peter 2:4-8 (KJV)

According to Peter’s inspired words we are, through faith in Jesus Christ, “living [lively] stones, are built up a spiritual house”.  That house is the “household of God”.  It can be called the “Family of God”.

THE DIVINE ARCHITECT FITS ALL WHO BELIEVE INTO THE “BUILDING” AS HE SEES FIT (v. 21).  It is only the Divine Architect who can “organize compactly” all those who are called to fit in just right for His glory.  A stone building designed correctly will have each stone in its proper place, fitting every niche, so that it will sit well with the one below it, beside it and over it.

Think of it this way.  Each part of this “household of God” is placed into this household in its proper time, proper place, and proper service.  It is Jesus Christ who determines this.  It is He who shapes and molds us for that fit that He needs, at that time He places us into His household.

WE HAVE BEEN DESIGNED TO BE THE PLACE OF GOD’S DWELLING ON EARTH (v. 22).  Everyone who is born again is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  Together all born again believers are the Temple of God, giving Him even greater glory.

It is a sin against Him when we refuse to join together.  It shames His glory when we have the opportunity of gathering with brothers and sisters, and refuse to because of some carnal mindset, such as hurt feelings, something is not quite the way you like, envy,  jealousy, etc..  What shame.  Glorify God in your body and your bodily presence with the other saints in Christ gathered together for His glory.

Together we are strengthened.  Together we are encouraged.  Together we are empowered to resist sinful desire and temptation.  Together we can assault the gates of hell.  Together we can pray with authority and power.  Together we are the Body of Christ.

You are the place of God’s dwelling.  Let others rejoice with you by joining with other dwellings of God, becoming one with Him.  God does not have any “Only child”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Returning Remnant

The prophet has given a very solemn, and somewhat discouraging words.  The ministry of the prophet of God is to speak the truth of God’s Word, no matter to whom they are speaking.

When one is called by God to proclaim the Word of God it is to God, and to God alone that we are held accountable.  Isaiah knew this and he never withheld a word.  He warned the laid back, at ease people of Zion that, though they had it made at that present time there was judgment coming from Assyria, the Chaldeans, the Babylonians; that they would be taken into captivity, and then he also let them know that God would lead some – a remnant – back to their blessed land.

This prophecy is given at least 100 years before it would take place.  Isaiah would not live to see it happen.  We know from the records of Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Daniel that it did come to pass just as Isaiah had said.

As we journey through the Scriptures reading, meditating upon them, learning, we find that there are many times God is not pleased with Israel.  They are divided into a Northern kingdom called Israel, Ephraim; and into a Southern kingdom called Judah, and this was an act of chastisement from God for their departure from the way of David, and overtaxing of the people.  They were often afflicted by surrounding enemies, because they turned their back on God.  Of all the kings named in the Northern kingdom there is not one of whom it is said, that he “did right in the eyes of the LORD”.

When God’s people turn their backs on God, His Word, His prophets and begin to hate and kill His prophets, and despise the way of God, then God will send judgment to chastise His people.  With Israel (both Northern and Southern kingdoms) they would go into captivity, and Jeremiah the prophet says it would be for a period of seventy years (Jeremiah 25:11, 12; 29:10).  After that seventy years are accomplished God would allow a “Remnant” to return to the land.

There are many who have given up on the nation of Israel today.  Some say, “God is through with Israel as a nation”.  One national ruler says, “We will destroy Israel”.  At this time this man’s “kingdom” is in jeopardy due to charges of an unfair election process.  The kingdoms of men fall.  None of these things said by such rulers are so, nor will they come to pass.  God has not given up on Israel.  He still has a remnant who will one day call on the name of the One whom “they have pierced”, and call Him Lord, and the kingdom of David will be forever established with Jesus Christ as King.

Where the nation has trusted many times upon their captors, their “protectors” – such as those who are siding with Israel today; though their protection is like whitewash – they [Israel] will come to a place their hope and stay [trust] will be upon the LORD alone.  Israel’s only protection is the LORD.  Your protection;  also mine is the LORD of hosts.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.” Isaiah 10:20-23 (KJV)

Paul the apostle writes of the promises and hope of Israel in Romans 9-11, and there he tells us, “All Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26).  Let us all pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), remembering that the only true and lasting peace will come when the Prince of Peace comes and sits on His throne in Jerusalem, and His name is Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Hand Stretched Out Still

God has spoken of grace and mercy to His people, and they have refused it.  The prophet ever faithful to proclaim the  truth of God’s Word to those people must surely grow frustrated.  The prophet has told them of a light that is coming (9:2), he has told them of a Child that will be born, and His name will be called Immanuel (7:14), and yet there is no repentance; no returning to God

God is preparing to send judgment upon the nation of Judah and Israel; it seems in small doses at first, then what ever is needed.  There are some who have a problem with the thought of “God pursuing His people”, but it seems to me that that is exactly what He does.

God is angry with sin.  He hates sin. Not only does sin distract from the glory of God, but it also breaks fellowship between God and His people.  Those who think that God does not judge sin does not know the God of the Bible.  He will accomplish His purposes and fulfill His glory.

In chapter nine of Isaiah the following words are written three times, and one time in chapter ten:

“For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.” Isaiah 9:12,17, 21 and 10:4 (NKJV).

The LORD will perform His Word.  There will be nothing left undone which God has spoken.  His anger will not be turned away until the people of God find their rest, peace, hope, and faith in Him (See chapter 12 of Isaiah).

God is never glorified by the sin of His people, but He will be glorified as He exposes it, judges it, and purges it from the lives of His people.  The people of God should never reach a state of mind, or heart where they think they have gotten away with sin.  The man Moses, inspired by God’s Spirit wrote, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

We are told in the Psalms, “God is angry with the wicked everyday” (Psalm 7:11).  The wicked would be those who hear the Word of God spoken by the prophets, and the written word, refuse to hear it, refuse to obey, and refuse to follow the way of God.  Does God get angry with His people?  He gets angry with our sin, and He judges it.

“…But His hand is stretched out still” is a part of the verse that is somewhat mysterious.  Jabez prayed, “…That Thine hand might be with me…” (1 Chronicles 4:10).  The hand of God can be good or it can be bad.  I would prefer His hand be good toward me.  That hand of God can be used for gentle nudgings in the right direction, steering away from a wrong direction.  That hand can be for a comforting, encouraging touch.  The prophet mentions later in his writing “…I the shadow of His hand hath He hid me…” (49:2).  That is a great place to be.  That hand could be used for a good whipping for discipline, chastisement, and/or punishment.

I see in the statement, “God’s anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still”, that God will continue to be angry with their sin, and He will continue to judge it; His hand is stretched out in judgment even as Isaiah speaks and writes, even as I write today; and His hand is stretched out with an open palm, as an invitation to return to Him.

Why do God’s people continue in sin when they know God’s hand is judging, yet He has an open palm to take you back into His fellowship; and He will love you and nourish you and give you strength.

As long as you have breath to breathe, God’s hand is stretched out to you.  To those who have never received God’s grace through His Son Jesus Christ that invitation is to believe in Him who died, was buried and rose again for your justification.  Justification simply means that through the sacrifice of Jesus you are declared Just by God Himself.

Will you continue in your sin, or will you believe, repent, and be saved?  God has given you the choice to make.  Choose Jesus.  The hand stretched out.

-Tim A. Blankenship

His Kingdom Is Forever

When He came He established His headquarters in Capernaum which was within the area of Isaiah’s prophecy.  In Matthew 4:12-16 the apostle has written, “…That it might be fulfilled  which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet…” then Matthew quotes the first two verse of chapter nine of Isaiah the prophet.

It leaves no doubt of whom the prophet is speaking.  Joy will increase under His government, and then we read these wonderful words;

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”  Isaiah 9:6-7 (NKJV).

If you will remember the promise of Isaiah 7:14 the prophet spoke, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”  and Matthew says after quoting these words, “Which is translated, ‘God with us’. (Matthew 1:23).  I just don’t understand how so many can miss these words.  Clearly speaking of the coming of the Messiah, and He is called Emmanuel in the New Testament by Matthew the apostle.  The disciples heard it, seen His works, heard His words, and they believed Him.

In these verses is further reason for hope for us and for Israel.  These promises are first of all to Israel, then to the rest of the world.  This Child born is born to be “God with us”.  He would come live as one of us.  Suffer our hurts and pains, and frustrations.  He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.  He truly endured even knowing that His purpose in coming this time was not to set up His kingdom, but to die on a cross under the hands of the ruling human government, and for the sins of mankind.

“A Child is born” – ‘unto us’, thus, a “Son is given”.  John the apostle wrote the words of our Savior when He said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…“  In this verse we have a Child born, a very certain Child; born ‘unto us’, and when He becomes a man He is the “Son given” for the redemption of our sins.

If we were to look at these as all these events happening in the same age we could see why the disciples, and many of the unbelieving Jewish leaders of Jesus’s day and our own could reach the conclusion that Jesus doesn’t meet the criteria.  Yes, He was a “Child born…”, and yes He was “given”, but He didn’t stick around and carry out the rest of the prophecy.  That is because of His mercy and grace.  In the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus He justified all who believe in Him; and took back the ruling power which was given to Adam in the first place.  In His death sin died.  In His burial all sin was carried away, cast into the depths of the sea, and cast as far away as East is from West; then He arose from the grave proving and showing to all that He had accomplished His purposes as God incarnate, and fulfilling our justification – for all who believe.

This is a divided prophecy.  Just because it has not been fulfilled yet does not mean that it won’t be fulfilled.  While we await His coming again, hearts are being changed, lives are being delivered from the bondage of sin, shame and self-righteousness which is as “filthy rags” before the God of all Creation.

There is coming a day when the “government will be upon His shoulder”, and we shall not have a thing to fear.  Look at these names.  Though the King James Version separates “Wonderful” and “Counselor” it seems that they belong as one name.  He will have supernatural wisdom, because He is the Son of God and incarnate God, born, died, buried and raised again; returned, glorified upon the earth.  As “Mighty God” He is the warrior who can conquer all things evil, and holds all things in His hand.  He is sovereign, and even in this day when it seems that evil rules; He still overrules.  As Everlasting Father He comforts, encourages, and meets the needs of His children, and He disciplines them when needed.  As Prince of Peace, there can be no peace without Him.  Paul the apostle wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”.  That has just about everything to do with peace.  When we are at peace with God there will be no more war.

The kingdom of which Isaiah speaks is an everlasting kingdom, and it will have no end.  He will see to its order and establishment, and everything will be carried out just as the Scriptures say.  The Lord Himself, in His righteousness and zeal will see that all of these things come to pass.

Jesus Christ as the Sovereign Lord sees all things to its completion.  Nothing of God’s word will fail; nor will this everlasting government.  HIS KINGDOM IS FOREVER.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Lord Of Joy

There is a need in our world for real joy.  Not joy which is temporary, and because of an increase of wealth, or peace of man; but rather the “peace of God which passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:67).  The world is plagued with sorrow upon sorrow.  Earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, cyclones, sicknesses, disease, hatred, financial collapse.  We do not need to hear much more about it do we?   There is only One who can give us this real, abiding  joy, and He is the one who is the Light that we read about in the previous two verses of this prophet.  The One who brings the light to the “people who walked in darkness”.

“Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.  For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.  For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.”  Isaiah 9:3-5 (KJV)

The  prophecy of  Isaiah was written in the eighth century B.C. so this was approximately 150 years or so before the Babylonian captivity of which Jeremiah writes, and Ezekiel.  Jeremiah was written around the time of the captivity, it covers the time shortly before captivity, and the beginning of the captivity.  Ezekiel the prophet himself was one of the captives writting from Babylon.  The reason I mention those things is because Isaiah is giving a prophetic statement in the above verses.  He warns so often of a captivity that is coming upon Judah and Israel, but then, he gives hope by telling of the return of the captives, and wonderful blessings far beyond a believer’s expectations.

A big portion of this chapter is given to hope.  Verses one through seven are the verses of hope.  In our present verses we see that the prophet is recognizing the fulfillment of God’s Word toward Abraham, His covenant He made with him and with Isaac and Jacob.  “You have multiplied the nation”, is the LORD’s confirmation of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the promise to the nation of Isaiah’s time of its fulfillment.  He has promised that their descendants will be multiplied as numerous as the “sands of the seashore” (Genesis 22:17).

With them comes the joy that has been missing.  Joy of seeing the promises of God fulfilled, and it does have a way of inspiring our hearts and lifting us above our life situation, no matter what burden has been placed on our shoulders.  There will be rejoicing in the cities, the provinces, the homes, and all the land will be rejoicing, and the prophet likens it to soldiers who have won a victory and taken much spoil.

There will come a day, a future day from Isaiah, when God will free Israel from Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and any other nations which have carried them away, and oppressed her.  As in the days of Gideon when he was used by God to deliver them from the burden of Midian, so to will there be a breaking of the yoke again;

“And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath.  And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.”  Judges 7:22-23 (KJV)

Reminding us of the mighty power of God to deliver from our enemies.  Though the enemy of the Christian is not any human being, the threat of the enemy is still real.  Our enemy is the devil, the enemy of Jesus Christ and His Father.  Our enemy is to be fought with the Word of God and prayer.  We ought to never lift our hands or physical weapons aganst a fellow human being except to save life; whether if be our own, our family, or a neighbors.  Then, only when we have no other  choice.  There is freedom to the follower of Jesus Christ.  Freedom from sin and its bondage, and freedom from death; and a life to live for all eternity in the presence of Jesus Christ.

There will come a day in the life of the nation of Israel when soldiers of the earth will stand against them, and God will defeat their enemies.  Their carcases will be devoured by the vultures, and the weapons of the enemies warfare will be burned in fires.  What a joyous victory our Lord will have.  What a great victory the world will experience as the earth will experience the renewing of the One who came bringing this light to the world nations, and  to the nation called Israel.

True peace and joy can only be found through faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for our sins, His burial carrying our sins and their condemnation and guilt far, far away: never to be laid on us again; and believing that God has raised His Son from the dead.  Jesus also said, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself…” John 14:3b.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Blossoming Light

The people of Israel, including the Southern kingdom of Judah and Zebulun, Naphtali, and Galilee were a people who had been given great light.  The light had shined brightly upon them when they were delivered from Egypt.  They walked out of their captivity with great wealth given to them by their captors practically begging them to leave, and they left with payment for the 430 years of labor they had performed for the nation in which they had once found solace, food, and a home.

After their departure from Egypt they found themselves wandering in the desert, guided by the Pillar of Cloud by day, and the Pillar of Fire by night; which was the LORD God.  There were times that the Fire took up the rear guard, and protected them from enemy assault.  They had witnessed the power of God parting the Red Sea, and they crossed over it on dry land, and after safely crossing the walls of water came together crushing the Egyptian army which was pursuing them through the divide.  After questioning God’s provision of the Promised Land, and its being the land of milk and honey, they took the advice of 10 men they had sent to survey the land, and had told them, “We can’t do it.  There are giants in the land, and we are as grasshoppers in their sight” (Read Numbers 13).  Then, because of their unbelief the whole nation, is condemned to wander through the desert for 40 years.  Why?  God had delivered the children of Israel from Egypt in a matter of a few days; He would take forty years to get Egypt out of Israel.

When the forty years were accomplished, they then, stood on the banks of the Jordan River, crossed over just as God told them, trusted the LORD God, and He gave them the land.  However, their faith was not perfect.  After many years of failing, and trusting; and trusting and failing, they found themselves separated from the land, and in the throes of enemy bondage, and that is the place they really find themselves to this day having never fully returned to their God given lands.  Yes!  There is a nation of Israel, but they are still dominated by Gentile rule (United Nations, and the United States of America).

They are a people to whom God gave a great light, and that light went dim, and even went out, at the least, covered  by the ashes of the fire.  Underneath there is a hot coal, waiting for the fuel to spring to life.  O, how sad it is for a people who had light to find themselves in darkness.  There is hope for the nation.

Hear the Word of God through the prophet Isaiah –

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”  Isaiah 9:2 (KJV)

Back in the land following the return from Babylonian captivity to the Roman invasion, they are a land still in darkness until One who came gave them the Light.  The Light shined so brightly that they were blinded by His glory.  It was one of those cases where they “could not see the forest for the trees.”  All they had to do was listen, and receive the message which He proclaimed, but many refused, and even crucified the Light; thinking they had done God a service.  Thus the nation remained and still remains in darkness.

Isaiah presents this prophecy as though it has already happened.  Why does he do this?  First of all because what ever God says will happen; will happen just as He has said, and in the way He has said.  Not one word He has spoken will return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).  He will accomplish what He pleases.  The prophet has not only given promise of the Savior coming, but there is promise of Him coming again in the verses which follow.

Matthew quotes these verses (1 & 2) as being prophecies of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 4:13-15.

With the power of Christ waning in many professing the name of Jesus would it not be a safe say that the power is fading because the light that shines is growing dim.  Jesus told the Church at Ephesus, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”  Revelation 2:5 (KJV)  Any church or professing Christian leader needs desperately to stand and demonstrate their love for Jesus Christ, His Word, His Church, and the Gospel of Christ.

We have been given great Light.  However, if we give in to our culture, its pluralism, and begin speaking politically correct to win the hearts of the enemy of God, then, we become Biblically corrupt; and spiritually bankrupt, with no message that will convert a condemned people.  When we do that the light has gone out.  The salt is good for nothing but to be trampled under the feet of men (Matthew 5:13)

We were in darkness at one time, but we have the great Light of Christ.  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”, Jesus said.  We are told to let the light shine, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that multitudes are going to notice, and surrender to God’s will for their lives.

The way the light continues to burn is by continually adding good fuel to the fire.  The fuel is works of the Spirit of God — the reading and diligent study of God’s Word, fervent prayer, and an obedient life committed to the way of the Lord; done through the faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross.

Today is the greatest day to let your light shine, and the Light of Jesus Christ in us is the Light in the darkness of this world.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Light For The Darkness

There are many people in this world who are living in darkness.  In January of 2007, and December of that same year in the cities and counties surrounding the place I live, there had been ice storms which caused trees to fall, tree limbs to snap and fall onto power lines; and because of that thousands and thousands of homes, businesses, people were left without light and heat.  These events happened again this past Winter (2009) in most of Northern Arkansas, and other areas. This type of darkness comes to an end by renewing electrical power.  Sadly there were some who died as a result of these trials and icy circumstances.

There is,  however, an even icier situation going on in the world.  It is a situation where light is available, but no one wants it.  Many turn cold-heartedly away from the truth of light and darkness, and choose the darkness and cold rather than sight and warmth.  There is an answer to the distress of many people, and it can be found in the truth and light of the Word of God.

Hear the word of the Prophet:

“Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.” Isaiah 9:1 (KJV)

This, of course, is the beginning of a prophetic statement of One who will come and bring light to these two tribes who at a time before had been in great darkness.  The MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE notes on this verse, “Zebulun…Naphtali…Galilee. Zebulun and Naphtali on the northern border in NE Galilee W of the Jordan River were the first to suffer from the invasion by the Assyrian king (2 Kin. 15:29), marking the beginning of dark days for Israel.” p. 968.  The whole northern kingdom of Israel had been wicked from their beginning, turned away from God set up golden calves as idols for their gods in the cities of Bethel and Dan, and were plunged into darkness.  They needed light, and they would receive light.

Zebulun and Naphtali may have been the first to experience the conquering power of the Assyrian king, but they would also be the first to experience the Light that was coming into the world.  If you will remember, Galilee is the place our Lord Jesus was raised by a godly mother and a man who taught Him as though he were His father.

When you realize you are in darkness it is time to call the power company, inform them of your plight, and then they will come and help you.  In the case of spiritual darkness you must first realize your spiritual darkness, and eternal plight, call on the Lord of Light who is Jesus Christ of whom the prophet preaches, and He will give you light.

The people in Springfield, Missouri; Joplin, Missouri; Harrison, Arkansas; Green Forrest, Arkansas, and surrounding cities, and counties eventually got their power back, had light, had heat, and were glad to get back into a warm bed at night and wake the next morning to a warm home.  This thing called “electricity” is a wonderful thing for giving light to darkness, and heat to warm the cold, and cool the heat of a hot Summer day. It does nothing however for eternity.  It is the greatest thing in the world to awake everyday in the Light of Jesus Christ, and know that your whole life is in His light, and that the power of eternity and eternal life is His.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Inquire Of YHWH Alone

I find it fruitless to discuss with some (especially those who have “left Christianity”) the elements of Christianity. If they had truly ever known Jesus Christ there would be no way they would leave. The people are still longing, looking for fulfillment, even though they say they have found it. Instead have become instruments of Satan; destroyers of that which is of God; and never destroying that which is godly. They are looking to their families for fulfillment. Maybe their jobs or careers, and yet they have no peace within. The only place for genuine peace is with God.

Hear the Word of God through the prophet:

“Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion. And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.” Isaiah 8:18-22 (KJV)

Why is it that a people of God would turn against Him, such as has been brought to our attention by Isaiah, and the other prophets. In the first place they have taken their eyes off Him and put them in the material. These mentioned in the verses above find more pleasure in going to the “Mediums and the necromancers”. All they get from them are the same you get from them today. Words that could fit anybody anywhere in the world.

There are television programs on the air now espousing the doctrines of speaking with the dead [necromancers and mediums]. You have the show “Medium”, and “Ghost Whisperer”. I have not seen either one of them. I will not watch them. They have no value whatever to a child of God; but then, there are not many TV shows that do. These are tools of the enemy of God; who is also the enemy of mankind, and who is seeking to destroy mankind, but knows his time is short.

If what the mediums and necromancers speak does not agree with God’s Word, then, you can know it is not of God and that there is no light in them. How is it that the popular atheistic authors are writing against something that does not exist [according to their thinking]. My question is how do you fight against a non-existent being. That sounds like an oxymoronic thought to me. They are not speaking according to the Word of the Lord. They are looking to the same things of the mediums and necromancers, trusting the same things, and the same person.

The people who have turned their back on God through their prideful heads [“turning their faces upward”] into the air as to say, “I will have it my way”. They do not believe God nor His prophet, and they will face the judgment coming looking to the things of earth, and they will fail them, and receive distress, darkness, the gloom of anguish, and, “they will be driven into darkness” (NKJV).

I used to believe that those who have rebelled against God will have their eyes opened in hell, but too late. I have changed that belief to be that even while they cursed and rebelled against God while living in earth, they will go through eternity cursing God, and all through the time of their eternal suffering. May eyes be opened and people come to faith in YHWH through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ the eternal God-man, Son of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Secure The Documents

The prophecy of Isaiah has been strong. The people who have heard his preaching of these prophetic words of judgment coming are calling him a leader of conspiracy. In fact in conspiring against his own people and nation.

He has told them of one coming who would be a sanctuary and a “Stone of offense and a Rock of stumbling”, in fact “a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem”. Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone who we are told in the New Testament is that Stone of offense and Rock of stumbling, are warned not to let that Rock fall on us, by Jesus Himself (Matthew 21:42-44; Mark 12:10). This is the stone also of which Daniel the prophet would describe coming down out of heaven, and in the kings dream –

 “Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold–the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.” Daniel 2:45 (NKJV); (Also see verses 34-35ff).

The responsibility of keeping these prophecies – writings were those disciples who were following Isaiah, and writing down what he preached (8:2). To “Bind up the testimony” is to secure them for future acknowledgement of the events which the prophet foretold. They have been kept secure now for over 2,700 years. That is in fact what we are reading today.

Hear the Word of the Lord:

“Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.  And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.” Isaiah 8:16-17 (KJV)

The prophet is secure in the preaching of the LORD’s message. The prophet would not see the invasion of the invading forces of Babylon. The word of the LORD which he had spoken, and his disciples who believed the message would have it to show and prove to those who were living at that time that it was foretold.

When we read the words, “Hiding his face” it means in judgment, or shame, or maybe both. God is not looking on “Jacob” in favor is its implication.

Isaiah the prophet will “Wait for the LORD’ and ‘hope in Him”. The confidence of Isaiah is wonderful. He may be tried beyond understanding, and normal patience; but no matter what his faith in God will see him through. We see the nation we live in crumbling morally, and economically around us; when we see the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ watered down with “Feel good” messages, and messages of prosperity and health, without our suffering with Christ; we too have the faith to look to the LORD, and “Wait for the LORD” of heaven to come in all His glory and power, and to put all things under His feet. Let us pray that He is not hiding His face from His people today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Conspiracy Theorists

Prophets were often accused of conspiring with enemy forces. Isaiah was no different. Isaiah was involved in a conspiracy, but not with the enemy of Israel or Judah. He was in a conspiracy with the LORD of hosts. That is “The Conspiracy” I write of in this article. If preachers are to be the men of God we have been called to be we will be accused at times of conspiring against our church, our people, and sometimes even accused of going against tradition, when we really are not.

The prophet Isaiah is told by God, “not to walk in the way of this people”. When our people are going astray, when they are living out of the will of the LORD, when they are in feuds with one another, when they are charging the preacher of conspiracy, then is the time for that preacher to stand and preach like he has never preached the Word before. It is not the time to back down.

Hear the Word of the LORD spoken to Isaiah:

“For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,  Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.  Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.” Isaiah 8:11-15 (KJV)

The prophet is being directed by the LORD to have no walk in the way of his people. They were actually accusing this man of God of conspiring with the enemy, and they wanted to pronounce judgment upon this man Isaiah.

As I look as this passage of Scripture I find myself wondering, “What did they fear?”, “What did they dread?” Were they fearing the dreaded enemy that they had heard was coming? It seems to me that they were probably fearing the failure of the economy. The failure of their insurance policies, ie., their walls. They may have been more fearful of their health failing them as well. What ever they feared Isaiah is told not to fear the same things, but rather to “Regard as holy” Him who is speaking to the prophet. He is assured that God will be his sanctuary – a place of protection and solitude.

The prophet is also told “Let Him (ie., God) be your fear, and let Him be your dread”. The only hope anyone has is in the LORD. It does no one any good whatsoever to fear and dread anything that is human, or thing, or thought, or act of another. We have absolutely no control over other’s lives; but God does.

We can stand assured by God and His Word that those who stand against God, His Word, and His men will find a Rock of offense, they will stumble, they shall fall, and be broken. If there is a conspiracy among the men of God; let “The Conspiracy” be that we are faithful to God, His Word, and His way. Let us be faithful in proclaiming the Word, warning the people, encouraging the people who are weary, “comforting the afflicted; and afflicting the comfortable.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Independence? Godly And/Or Ungodly?

The prophet Isaiah has already warned of dependence upon the Assyrians for the help of Judah. Yet, Ahaz refuses to relent, and depends on them anyway. That rebellion on God is really based on a “Godless Independence”. Anything but depending on the only one who can truly help us.

Due to the rebellion of Ahaz, the Word of the LORD comes to Isaiah once again, and here is what we read:

“The LORD spake also unto me again, saying,  Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son;  Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks: And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.

Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.” Isaiah 8:5-10 (KJV)

Ahaz was independent, or so he thought. He was independent of God, the LORD. He was however, very dependent upon the Assyrians. He truly had a faulty independence.

Many citizens of the United States of America believe themselves to be independent, yet they are in slavery, and dependence upon things which basically control their lives. Like debt. There is the debt on their house they live in. They are in debt for the cars they drive. Some are even indebted to their children. They trust in these things to get them through life. Too many are not depending on God.

The people of Judah had refused the refreshing water that flowed from Shiloah. The “Waters of Shiloah ” was the stream which flowed from the Gihon spring outside Jeruslem’s wall which flowed to the Pool of Siloam which supplied the city’s water. It was a symbol of the people’s dependence upon the LORD, but they, through king Ahaz were forsaking it for the overflow of Assyria.

The prophet likens the Assyria as the banks of the Euphrates River overflowing and coming and conquering the land of Judah, and Israel. “O Immanuel” is a sadness because the land of Immanuel was about to be stripped of her glory. “What a pity that He who owns and will someday possess the land must see it in such a devastated condition!” MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE p.967.

“Be broken you peoples” God says to the Assyrians who are full of pride because of their conquest of the land. “Your time is coming” seems to be God’s warning to them in their arrogance. Your armor, your vast army will be shattered. And, God states this twice as though to give them double damage. The plotting and scheming of the counsel of men cannot stand against the Almighty God. Their words, their plans will fall to nothing, and so will those of the world leaders today. They will come to naught. God is with us.

God is with us, or “Immanuel”. He is still with Israel, and will fulfill all His promises to them. He will never fail to fulfill His Word. His promise is “God is with us”. That is not “Godless Independence”; that is Godly dependence.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Worth Of A Picture…

There were a few times when I was a boy, growing up in the home of my parents, that my Dad would try to explain something to me. When it seemed as though he was not making it clear, Dad would ask, or make a statement; I am not sure if it was a question or a statement; “Do I have to draw you a picture”(?.) Maybe you can answer that for me.

Any way to finish the title of this article “…a Thousand Words”. Pictures explain a lot. If you have seen the Grand Canyon you can tell people about it, but that does not begin to explain it the way a picture can. Think of the Rockies in Colorado, or wherever you have seen them; can you describe them the way that photo you took of them can? There is not enough words in the English vocabulary to explain their grandeur; and a picture can only get close.

Pictures are an important part of life. Sometimes we receive word pictures. Sometimes we give word pictures. A lot of the Bible is word pictures. The prophet Isaiah was pretty good with word pictures.

If you were to look back to the seventh chapter Isaiah had gone to Ahaz the king with a message from God, and had asked the king to ask God for a sign. The king had refused to ask, and had even said, “I will not put the LORD to the test” (7:11-12), feigning humility, but exhibiting pride instead; because God had asked him to ask a sign. So Ahaz received a sign anyway.

It was the prophecy of a baby who would be born. One would be born to prove the truth of this prophecy – a son of the prophet – and the other; who would be the fulfillment of all Bible prophecy; was to be Immanuel [God with us] (7:14).

Now we come to the near fulfillment where the king [Ahaz] is shown that what the prophet has said will come to pass:

“And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz.  For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.” Isaiah 8:3-4 (KJV)

“This boy Mahershalalhashbaz was the picture which the prophet painted for the king to view and to see, and to know, that the invasion of Assyria was going to come on the land of Judah. The close fulfillment would happen just a few short months following the birth of this boy. He would not even be speaking the words, “Daddy” or “Momma”. The picture (given in 7:14) was also with a distant prophecy. A promise picture of a Great Hope for the people and the land of promise.

His name would be Immanuel [God with us]. He did come, and we know Him as Jesus. There was much judgment upon the land, before Jesus came. There was much more after Jesus died, was buried, rose again and ascended into Heaven. There is much more to come. Immanuel will come again, and He will make all things new.

There is a great thing about this too. Being Immanuel we do not have to wait for His physical appearing. He is present with us now. He is making lives brandnew. He is changing old, cold, dead, and heartless lives new, warm, quick, and full of passion for things that are good, and holy, and right. Hear Him as He speaks through His Word and through His Spirit. God will fulfill all His promises. Not one will go undone.

Do you see the picture? If not let the LORD open your eyes that you may see.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Make It Clear

It is sad when we read God’s Word and He uses the heathen, godless nations to bring judgment on His sinning, disobedient people. I am certain that it saddens His heart especially so.

Because He is who He is, and because He is Righteous, Holy and Just He will not tolerate sin in the hearts of His people. He will judge it by ridding us of it through captivity, trials, tribulations, sickness, disease, and even persecution. In chapter eight of Isaiah we begin to see that God is even sending the message to the enemy of Israel/Judah that the time is drawing near for their invasion of the land.

“Moreover the LORD said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz.  And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.“ Isaiah 8:1-2 (KJV)

 

We begin to see the fulfillment of a near prophecy. That is the birth of Isaiah’s son “Speed to the spoil”, and to leave absolutely no doubt that they [the Assyrians] would be the victors the name “Hasten the booty”, ie., enjoy the bounty of the conquered land. The birth of Maher-shalal-hashbaz is the near fulfillment of Isaiah 7:15-17. Of course, the Immanuel who was to be born was Jesus Christ 700 years or so later.

The names of Isaiah’s sons was meaningful and useful for the message of prophecy and the fulfillment of God’s Word. One thing that we can be certain, and that is that God will fulfill His Word. Not one cross of a “t “or the dot of an “i” will fail (Matthew 5:18). Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” Matthew 24:35 (NKJV).

There are two witnesses named who support this prophecy of the prophet. They are most likely priests of the temple of God. They themselves would have been faithful and trusted priests of the Lord and trusted by the believing remnant of people. Their testimony was an accreditation of the Word of God spoken and written by Isaiah.

In the message to Isaiah the LORD says, “Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters…” It was to be large enough and clear enough that all could read it and understand. God speaks clearly through His Word concerning His direction, His will, His Word, and His correction upon His people.

Is terrorism to be the promise of God’s judgment upon a wicked nation as the United States turned away from God? Will the terrorists be the one’s who ‘Hasten to the spoil” of the United States? If we think seriously about it what has happened with the banking business, and financial markets, that is a form of terrorism; especially the thefts by scam artists; such as Bernie Madoff, and the bonuses paid from funds supplied by our tax monies. If we continue to turn a blind eye to the truth of God’s Word, we will continue on our slide down a very slippery slope to destruction. Let us pray for the renewing of hearts to Christ Jesus, and His soon return.

-Tim A. Blankenship