The Green Tree, and the Dry

“And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him.  But Jesus turning unto them said,
‘Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.  For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.’ Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us;’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’  For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?’” Luke 23:27-31  (KJB)

This event and Jesus’s words are only spoken here in Luke’s account of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He has spoken similar words in teaching the disciples in Matthew 24 – 25, and in portions of Mark, and John; but not directly as a warning for those who are following behind Him as He goes to His death.

These “Daughters of Jerusalem” are not of those who love Him, and have spent time with Him for verse 49 of this same chapter says,

“And all His acquaintance, and the women that followed Him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.” v. 49

These were women of the city of Jerusalem who had heard of His mighty works, His authority in God’s words, and His deeds; but had never committed to Him. Jesus warns them of a time coming in the not distant future for them that would cause them to cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them, because the judgment was so severe.

If you would read the prophet Isaiah, and chapter 2 you would see some of these same words from the word of God spoken by the prophet.

Just to explain the “green tree” and the “dry”….  Jesus is the green tree and they were killing Him, He is alive.  The dry was Israel or Jerusalem; a worse time was coming for them.

Why are these words important for the Christian of 2019?  Do they have any importance for the unbelieving of 2019?

To answer the first question for the Christian it should be a wakeup call for us to be diligent in living for Christ, reading the Scriptures [Holy Bible], applying its teachings to our lives,  praying for daily filling of the Spirit of God, and being a vibrant witness for Jesus to  a lost and dying world.  Remember the words of Jesus,

“…Lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.” Luke 21:28

To answer the second, it is important for your life, your eternal soul that you heed the words of Jesus.  Those women of Jerusalem had heard of Jesus, maybe even recognized Him as a good man, great teacher and prophet, but were experiencing great emotion about His death; but yet did not believe Him.  Maybe one reading this feels badly concerning the illegal, manufactured, lying judgments brought against Jesus, and the sentence given this guiltless Man; yet, you have not called on His name for salvation.  Will you do so today?

Jesus went on to the cross, laid Himself down on it, and died for our sins.  He was taken down from the cross dead, and was buried in a borrowed tomb.  Three days later He came out of that grave alive.  You can trust Him.  Believe Him.  Receive Him.

The Fashion of His Countenance

“And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.  And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and his raiment white and glistering.  And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.  But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw His glory, and the two men that stood with Him.  And it came to pass, as they departed from Him, Peter said unto Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias:’ not knowing what he said.
While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.  And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying,
‘This is My beloved Son: hear Him.’
And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.”  Luke 9:28-36  (KJB)

Let us hear from F. B. Meyer, and what he has written on this glorious scene of our blessed Savior…

“From some aspects this was the highest point in our Savior’s earthly career. He was the second Adam and had not sinned. There was no reason, therefore, that He should die. He might in a moment have been changed; that which was mortal might have been swallowed up of life. The door through which Moses and Elijah had come stood open, and by it our Lord might have returned. But He could never, under those circumstances, have been the Savior of mankind. He knew this, so He turned His back on the joy set before Him and set His face toward Calvary.
Moses came as representing the Law; and Elijah, the Prophets. Each of these great departments of divine revelation had anticipated His coming, Luk_24:27; Luk_24:44. As stars fade in the sunrise, so their mission was now merged in Him. They spoke of His decease, literally, His exodus, and it was from this that Peter caught the term which he applied to his own death, 2Pe_1:15. The Apostles never forgot this manifestation of the glory of the Lord, 1Jn_1:1-4; 2Pe_1:17. When you hear that Christ is the Beloved of God, remember Eph_1:6.” THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY – F.B. Meyer

As They Followed Him They Were Afraid

“And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto Him,
‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles: and they shall mock Him, and shall scourge Him, and shall spit upon Him, and shall kill Him: and the third day He shall rise again.’” Mark 10:32-34  (KJB)

This was the final time Jesus and His disciples would be going up to Jerusalem.  The disciples seemed to understand that, but not really understanding the coming consequences of this trip.  They had heard Jesus mentioned His death; and they had seen the hatred of the religious leaders toward Him.

They probably were afraid of any coming backlash against them, because they were His followers; and of what would become of them following the worst they could imagine.

Verse 32 was my focus as I was reading chapters 10-12 today. There are times I am fearful.  Sometimes it is a senseless fear.  I mean by that it is something contrived in my own mind. Other times it comes from real time and life situations. When ever fear invades is usually when I am not expecting it.  When I am afraid I choose to hear what the Master says, rather than what my fearful thoughts have imagined.

I have learned that I must question my fears; never my faith.  I am still learning that.

Don’t you just love the way Jesus comforts, and encourages His disciples?  He tells them the events that are going to happen; the ones they are fearful of; but does not leave them without the promise, “He shall rise again.”

Are you going through a fearful situation? Is it something too big for you to handle? Is it a contriving of your own mind?  Either way remember He has risen.  He died on the cross for the sins of the world; yours and mine; then, He was buried, and He rose again.  He forever lives that we too might live and reign with Him forever.

The Message Jesus Preached

Going back to the New Testament today…

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”  Matthew 4:17 (KJB)

The Thoughts of F. B. Meyer…

“Our Lord’s earliest ministry seems to have been centered in Jerusalem and its contiguous villages. See Joh_2:1-25; Joh_3:1-36. But on the news of the Baptist’s imprisonment, He took up His testimony to the hearers of the heavenly kingdom, which is the reign of God over the hearts and lives of men. Someone has said that it is “the universal awareness of God.” Yet there was a difference! At the commencement of His work, the Savior showed a tenderness and a winsomeness which were very inviting to the crowds of harried sheep. See Mat_9:36. His ministry resembled the gentle, holy dawn that breaks over the mountains and dispels the black shadows of the night. The evangelist quotes the prophet’s anticipation of the coming of Him who is called “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God.” Oh, do not be afraid when Jesus comes to your heart! You may be as far away from goodness and purity as Naphtali and Zebulun from Jerusalem, but Galilee of the Gentiles is included in Joh_3:16.”

The Thoughts of John Gill…

“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say,…. Not from the time he dwelt in Capernaum; for he had preached in Nazareth before he came there, Luk_4:16 nor from the time of John’s being cast into prison; for he had preached, and made disciples, who were baptized by his orders, before John’s imprisonment, Joh_3:22 Joh_4:1 but from the time that Satan left tempting him; as soon as that combat was over, immediately he went into Galilee, began to preach, and called his disciples. The words with which he began his ministry are the same with which John begun his; which shows the entire agreement between them, in that they not only preached the same doctrine, but in the same words; See Gill on Mat_3:2.”

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand — Thus did our Lord not only take up the strain, but give forth the identical summons of His honored forerunner. Our Lord sometimes speaks of the new kingdom as already come – in His own Person and ministry; but the economy of it was only “at hand” until the blood of the cross was shed, and the Spirit on the day of Pentecost opened the fountain for sin and for uncleanness to the world at large.”

It is time for all who call themselves Christian to turn to Christ, turning away from sin.  It is time for you who do not know Jesus to know that He loves you so much He paid the penalty for sin by His death on the cross, He was buried, and He rose again.

Call on His name today.

Temple Thrown Down

“And as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples saith unto Him, ‘Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings!’And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘Seest thou these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’ And as He sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, ‘Tell us, when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?'” Mark 13:1-4  (KJB)

From the past…

This was the last time that Jesus would be in the temple.  He had just applauded the widow as she gave all she possessed, and chided the religious leaders because they had only given according to their riches.  What matters to God is the attitude of one’s heart not the amount one gives or their prestige, or position.

There was nothing in all the world like this temple in its grandeur.  It had beautiful marble stones with gold ornamentation which reached a height of 100 feet, there were colonaded walkways, courtyards, and stairways that filled 20 acres of the most prominent landscape in Jerusalem.  From our human perspective it is no wonder the disciples made such a statement.

“These buildings”  were those of the temple and probably surrounding area which were marvelous architectural wonders.  They would not be able to endure the “wrath” that would come showing God’s disapproval of the Hebrew’s rejection of their Messiah.  When the temple would fall their sacrifices would cease, and they [the Hebrews] would be scattered to the “ends of the earth”.

When looking at this time and the situation they were in we must ask ourselves, “What is important in life?”  Is it buildings and lands?  Is it money and finances?  Maybe it is science and technology?  Wilfred Hahn a global portfolio manager has dubbed these as MOFI and SCITE.  There is a third one called GLOBO, which is a growing desire for global unity and tying of all nations to one another in the above things.  To explain these names are an acronyn for MOFI = Money/Finance; SCITE = Science/Technology; GLOBO = Global orgainization and unity.

The Jewish leaders; religious and otherwise; would learn in the years to come that what they held so dear would not stand.  What about us?  Can we learn from their foolishness?  I pray so.

He Looked Around

“And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when He had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, He went out unto Bethany with the twelve.” Mark 11:11  (KJB)

This was during the week of His presentation, and the giving of His gift from God to Adam kind; the gift of His life.  His public presentation as King was received by many, as He came in on the donkey; with people singing and saying

“Hosanna: Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that comes in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” Mark 11:9-10

We are told in verse 11 that He came to Jerusalem, and entered the temple. He looked around.  Of these words John Gill wrote…

and when he had looked round about upon all things; that is, in the temple, as the Lord and proprietor of it; and made a thorough visitation of it, and search into it, and corrected what was amiss in it:” John Gill

Jesus is Lord and Proprietor of the temple.  Today the temple of the Lord is each individual who has been redeemed by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and secured by the resurrection of Christ from the grave (1 Corinthians 3:17; 6:19).

He is in you.  He is in me.  He is in us who confess Him as our Lord and Savior. He has every right and authority to look around in His temple.  He will lead us in the paths of righteousness as we yield to His word and Holy Spirit.

Believe Him

Up To Jerusalem

The way to Jerusalem is always up.  You never hear of going over to Jerusalem, down to Jerusalem; but always up.  For Jesus this trek to the city would be His final one before He is crucified.  Now He; one more time; tell His disciples what is about to happen…

“And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify: and the third day He shall rise again.’” Matthew 20:17-19  (KJB)

He is willingly going to face the accusers, and the Roman governor, and giving His life for the world (John 3:16).  The following is the commentary of John Gill on verse 19 of the above text…

And shall deliver him to the Gentiles,…. To Pilate, an Heathen governor, and to the Roman officers and soldiers under him; see Joh_18:35.

To mock him, as they did, by putting on him a scarlet robe, platting a crown of thorns, and placing it on his head, and a reed in his hand; and then bowed the knee to him, and cried, hail, king of the Jews!

and to scourge him: as he was by Pilate, at least by his orders: Mark adds, “and spit upon him”; as not only did the Jews in the palace of the high priest, but also the Gentiles, the Roman soldiers, after they had mocked him in the manner before described:

and to crucify him: which, as it was a cruel and shameful death, such as slaves and the worst of malefactors were put to, so it was a Roman one; for which reason, the Jews choose to deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. The Persic version here adds, “and put him into the grave”: which though it followed his crucifixion, was not done by the Gentiles, but by Joseph of Arimathea, a Jew, and a disciple of Jesus; and that not in a contemptuous, but honourable manner

and the third day he shall rise again: this he said for the comfort of his disciples; but now, though these things were so clearly and distinctly expressed by Christ, and which show his omniscience, and give proof both of his deity and Messiahship, yet Luke observes of the disciples, “that they understood none of these things, and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken”: the words were plain, the grammatical sense of them was easy, but they could not imagine that they were to be taken literally; which was such a glaring contradiction to their received and rooted principles of the temporal kingdom of the Messiah, and the grandeur of it, that they fancied these expressions carried a mystical, secret meaning in them, which they were not masters of: and certain it is, that what our Lord now said, was so far from destroying, or weakening these prejudices of theirs, that it rather confirmed them in them; particularly, what he said about rising again, which seemed to have put them afresh in mind, and to excite their hopes of this external felicity, as appears from the following case.” John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

Jesus went up to Jerusalem to die for you and me, so that we might be redeemed unto the Creator of all that is; and have fellowship with Him.  Will you take up your cross and follow Him?

 

Our Hearts Burn Within Us

“And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?’
And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, ‘The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.’ And they told what things were done in the way, and how He was known of them in breaking of bread.” Luke 24:31-35  (KJB)

When we are first introduced to these two from Emmaus we are told, “But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him” (v. 16).  On the way the resurrected Lord spoke the Scriptures of Moses and the Prophets, and taught them of the Christ.  It was not until He broke bread with them in their home that their eyes were opened.

Jesus disappears from their sight.  They get up from their table, and return to Jerusalem to find the others, and share with them about their personal encounter with Jesus.

As I read this, this morning, it was fresh and new to me like I was reading it for the first time.  Though nothing new was revealed to me, but it was like the Lord Jesus was very very near to me, and He always is, but like a refresher filling of the Spirit. He is near.  He is always near.

He is risen just as He said.  Remember the Scriptures.  They tell us of Him.  That is when our hearts burn within us.  Our hearts burn, yearning, longing, desiring to see our Lord, and to hear Him speak to us.  Is your heart burning for Him?  The fuel for the fire is the Scriptures.

The Visitation

“And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.’” Luke 19:41-44  (KJB)

I looked up the word “Visitation” and it is found at least 15 times throughout the Bible; from Numbers through First Peter.  Much of the time it is speaking of God’s showing Himself unto His people in mercy; however when they do not hear, and believe Him the visitation is in judgment.

The following is from exposition by Alexander MacLaren…

“Who can venture to speak of that infinitely pathetic scene? The fair city, smiling across the glen, brings before His vision the awful contrast of its lying compassed by armies and in ruins. He hears not the acclamation of the crowd. ‘He wept,’ or, rather, ‘wailed,’-for the word does not imply tears so much as cries. That sorrow is a sign of His real manhood, but it is also a part of His revelation of the very heart of God. The form is human, the substance divine. The man weeps because God pities. Christ’s sorrow does not hinder His judgments. The woes which wring His heart will nevertheless be inflicted by Him. Judgment is His ‘strange work,’ alien from His desires; but it is His work. The eyes which are as a flame of fire are filled with tears, but their glance burns up the evil.
Note the yearning in the unfinished sentence, ‘If thou hadst known.’ Note the decisive closing of the time of repentance. Note the minute prophetic details of the siege, which, if ever they were spoken, are a distinct proof of His all-seeing eye. And from all let us fix in our hearts the conviction of the pity of the judge, and of the judgment by the pitying Christ.” From the EXPOSITION OF HOLY SCRIPTURE by Alexander MacLaren Luke19:41-44

May the Lord always remember mercy toward us.  The cross of Christ is the evidence that He does.

Will you repent of your sins today, turn to Him and be delivered from the guilt and condemnation of your sins?

Words of the Prophets – Zechariah

Jerusalem Safely Inhabited

“And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.”  Zechariah 14:8-15 (KJV)

The Breaking Heart

“And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.” 2 Samuel 15:13 (KJB)

How does one respond when they get news from a messenger that their son has schemed against them, and is taking over your business or the kingdom?  How does King David respond when the son he loves, has greatly indulged in allowances of grief, murdering his brother, and all, has brought him back to Jerusalem?

No one of us would like getting this kind of news.  We all like good news.

Why would something like this happen to a king whose heart was like unto God’s heart?  Remember what David did?  He slept with a soldier’s wife; a warrior who was one of the top 37 men in his forces; then had him murdered on the battlefield.  God’s word to him was that he would not die because of his sin but their would be chaos in his family (2 Samuel 12:11), and this is now happening.

There is however for you and me a good message of hope and salvation; if we will hear it.  Jesus Chris the Son of God, God the Son has died on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again.  That hope does not end there, however.  He is returning and all the kingdoms of men will fall before him.

Why do we worry?  Why do we fear?  Let us stand strong and faithful to God, His Son, and His word.

He Will Help, Strengthen, and Remember You

The LORD hear you in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend you; send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion; remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice; Selah. Grant you according to your own heart, and fulfil all your counsel.”  Psalm 20:1-4 (KJV)

In this Psalm of David he writes that the LORD will hear you, defend you, send you help from the sanctuary, strengthen you, remember your offerings, and accept your costly sacrifices.

Let us as Christians today come with the expectant heart of David, and God will be rich in blessing toward us as well.

Looking at verses 2 – 4 of the text above; it is GOD who sends help from our time of worship.  You see wherever we are in the worship of the Most High, holy, and Almighty God that is the sanctuary; the one who worships Him though throughout the week – Monday – Saturday – will not forsake the gathering with other believers on the first day of the week as the early church did.  He is our help.

Looking at the “strength out of Zion” we can see Zion is Jerusalem the City of David.  It is the city on a hill.  A city of strength.  You can notice from Scripture that when every one left Jerusalem they were always going down to Jericho, or down to Bethel, and down to Capernaum, etc..  A picture of strength, and a reminder to the Hebrew people where their strength came from.

The “offerings… and burnt sacrifice” are those things which David would have offered to the LORD.  In these verses he is offering praise, and worship.  The burnt sacrifice would have been the sacrifice of a bull, lamb, ram, goat, dove etc.  We do not sacrifice animals today.  We do not need to; neither are we commanded to.  So what is the offerings and sacrifices we give?  Ourselves; our surrender to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ God’s Son, God the Son.

When we give our all to Him He gives us a desire to live for Him.  A desire to love like He does, to love what He loves; and to hate the things He hates.  He will fulfill the desires of the heart that is given to Him (Psalm 37:4); in life, liberty, and love.

The Victory of the Lord’s Witnesses

“And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 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. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.”  Revelation 11:7-14

The ministry of these two witnesses will be short. A number of 1,260 days is what they will have. Really, we who are witnesses only have a short time, but most have longer than 3.5 years.

God does not allow them to be harmed until their testimony is finished. The “Beast” (not of those mentioned in 4:6-8) arises to wreak havoc and he has hated these messengers of God. According to 13:3 the “beast” receives a deadly head wound and is healed. This undoubtedly means he is a man struck in the head, is killed, and is raised supernaturally [using means of deceit] by the devil himself – “The beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit”. It is he whom, when their mission is finished, God allows to capture and kill them.

Where does this event take place? Their dead bodies are allowed to lay in the streets of this city. Here, God allows spiritualizing, because He does it, “Which spiritually is Sodom and Egypt”. What is this place? It is the city of Jerusalem, “Where…our Lord was crucified”. In verse 2 it is called the “Holy city” now in verse 8 it is called “Spiritually…Sodom and Egypt”. Sodom, a place of depravity and great immoral behavior. Egypt, a place of many gods, which are not gods at all, and the place which hated God’s people. Most of the problems for God’s people come within religion, within the visible Church. We can see that in the death of the two witnesses.

For many days the people “that dwell upon the earth” have been tormented by the prophets of God. The Word of God torments self-serving, evil, God-despising souls.

The Scripture tells us that the dead bodies of the prophets lay in the streets of Jerusalem for the whole world to see. Their depravity is shown in thinking they could be spiteful to an empty human body which lays decaying in the streets.

These are so evil in their hearts, that they rejoice and celebrate over the prophets deaths. Elijah the prophet was asked by King Ahab, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” The king accusing the prophet of the trouble. It was not the prophet who troubled Israel, but the kings vile and wicked ways. There is nothing more wicked, vile and evil than putting on the pretense of worship. Elijah answered back the king saying, “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim” (1 Kings 18:17-18). When these people see their “troublers” are dead they celebrate, glad because the “beast” has overcome them. What they do not realize is that God had protected them for 3.5 years. The unrighteous are rejoicing today when the righteous fall, or are removed through death or tragedy.

Their celebration is, however, short-lived, for when the 3.5 days have expired the people hear a voice from Heaven. Notice the words used. “Come up hither” the same words used in 4:1. There are similarities in the rapture of the Church and this, but they differ as well. The bodies of these prophets are seen by the world being resurrected and ascending into Heaven.

Probably for the first time in some time they recognize a power even greater than the “beast” and “Great fear fell upon them”.

These people “of the earth” are enemies of the prophets. They were thus the enemies of God but look at God’s mercy. It is shown in His sending the prophets to warn them. The people who are the enemies of the prophets are the enemies of God. Jesus said, “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward” (Matthew 10:41). If you have a problem getting along with the man of God, you have a problem with God. Certainly, these people “of the earth” had a problem getting along with “God’s men”.

“The same hour” judgment fell upon God’s enemies. At the opening of the sixth seal, there is an earthquake (6:14). At the ending of the sixth trumpet, which is the “second woe” there is another earthquake. This quake destroys one-tenth part of Jerusalem, seven thousand men are slain, and the remainder of those alive are fearful. One almost surprising thing is that those who remain give “glory to the God of Heaven”. Does this mean that they believe God and trust His way of salvation? Some think so. It does not mean that it was glory God received. It probably means, that they saw His power, but not believing Him.

It is sad, even today when the glory of God is seen through His mercy, grace, His people, and in creation, and people still reject Him and His Son Jesus. So sad it is too, to see such power displayed and yet they proceed after their own ways, hardening their hearts to God and His Spirit (Hebrews 3:7-11).  Maybe because they cannot see.

Remember the “woes” are mentioned in 8:13 and begin with the fifth trumpet in 9:1. The first “woe” is past in chapter 9:12 and the second begins. The pronouncement given in 8:13 is warning of the seriousness of these next three trumpet judgments. When this “second woe is past” it is like God is saying, “This was it. Your chance of repentance, of salvation, is past. There will be no more delay. No more prophets” (Amos 3:7). “The third woe cometh quickly” is certain to relay that message.

One great victory for God’s witnesses in any period of time is seeing the word of God, which was spoken, fulfilled.

The Roar from Zion

Many times looking at Scripture, even looking at the prophets of the Old Testament we get a rather gloomy picture of Judah and Israel.  However, gloom and doom is not the total picture.  We must see from the beginning to the end, and that is why God gave us the Scriptures and His only begotten Son.  He does have a purpose, and an expected ending.

Today we hear from the prophet Joel…

“The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.”  Joel 3:15-17

To those who love this old earth, and all its ways the above verses sound gloomy, and believe me, if you do not know the LORD God, then it will not only be a gloomy day for you, but it will be your doom as well.

One of the things we can learn from the Bible is that God will have people know that He is the LORD God of hosts.  That is what He is working toward today.

The following is the study note form The Prophecy Study Bible page 939…

“3:15-16  The earthquake and blackout seem parallel with events described in Zechariah 14:4-5, which describes an earthquake that restructures a valley near the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.  This remodeling of Jerusalem will be accompanied by signs in the heavens, as God powerfully defends and vindicates His people Israel.”

Get ready.  Jesus is coming soon.

There is chaos, pain and sorrow in the world today; but through Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection there is hope for the future.  Hope in this life, and then, eternal life with Him.  That “Roar from Zion” will be the voice of the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” the returning Christ Jesus.

Preparing to Rebuild the Temple

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

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

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

Consider the following verses from Paul’s epistles…

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

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

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

Committed to the Gospel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ministry Led By the Holy Spirit

“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:4 (KJV)

In chapter six there was some contention over the neglect of some of the Grecians because their widows were not being cared for; at least the way the families thought they ought to be.

The Church in Jerusalem was growing.  People were being delivered from sin and condemnation.  The apostles were loaded with many responsibilities, thus the accusations of neglect.

The apostles were chosen by the Spirit of God to be preachers of the gospel; so in that they would, and should give themselves to the ministry of prayer, and the preaching of the word.  O that the preachers of God’s word today would get that burden; for if we are not in the word of God and prayer we will be powerless, and find ourselves struggling with emptiness of heart and soul, wondering about if we are doing what we are called to do or not.

It is not that the apostles, or the preacher today would be neglecting their duties of service, and ministry; they are rather giving themselves to the greater responsibility of calling people to Christ, and His work in and through them.

With every Christian gifted by the Spirit of God to serve one another, the Church is blessed and it grows as God blesses and leads.  See Romans 12:3-15;  1 Corinthians 12.

The Church chose seven men.  The most remembered one is Stephen.  These seven men were full of the Spirit of God, they did the work they were chosen to do, and the apostles were able to do the work they were called and chosen to do, and the Church was blessed…

“…Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:6-7

You will note also, that, many priests of the Hebrews became believers as well.  Is God good, great, marvelous or what? He is.  He is indeed.

Israel – A Reminder for this New Year

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3 (KJV)

With the recent UN resolution against the nation of Israel, and our leaders response against Israel by abstention from voting, and refusing to veto the action of the world court our nation has placed itself in great jeopardy.

I realize there are Palestinian Christians, and I realize there are people on the opposing side of Israel who may be peaceful; but the objection of Palestinian leaders is not a two state solution, but the destruction of Israel and then a one State solution.

Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as did David millenniums ago…

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.” Psalm 122:6-9

 

Christmas Day One Hundred One

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want peace to reign always in my heart; and in my home, family, friends, and in the world; I want the world to know the peace that comes only through faith in Jesus and His death, burial and resurrection, and that He is coming again and all will be made right.

But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.’ For the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.  For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” Micah 4:1-5 (KJV)

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Forty and Seven

“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.” Isaiah 65:17-19 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want you and the world to know the One who is, and will create new heavens and a new earth; who is able to make your life brand new, forgiving all your sin, and making you clean and more whole than you have ever been; I want you to know that He has done that through sending His Son Jesus Christ, to die on the cross, was buried, and He rose again, to be ready for His second coming; and of that time we do not know, but is coming, and will provide us a place with no more weeping or crying.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Sixty and Two

“For Jerusalem stumbled,
And Judah is fallen,
Because their tongue and their doings
Are against the LORD,
To provoke the eyes of His glory.
The look on their countenance witnesses against them,
And they declare their sin as Sodom;
They do not hide it.
Woe to their soul!
For they have brought evil upon themselves.” Isaiah 3:8-9 (NKJV)

This prophecy is a message directed to the city of Jerusalem in the prophets day, and the people of Judah.  We can, however, see that the message would fit with the Christianity as well in the Twenty First century.

What do I want for Christmas?

Seeing that many sins, shame, and condemnation is within the lives of many who call themselves “Christian” and there is no remorse, no repentance; I want the power of the Spirit of God to come over  every Christian, including myself, to make us aware of our guilt, our sins, unto repentance, and to embolden us to stand for Christ Jesus, His cross, His burial, His resurrection; and His second coming, and to tell others of His power, glory, and His glorious salvation through faith in Christ.

 

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Eighty and Three

Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: but I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: nor by the earth; for it is His footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” Matthew 5:33-37 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to live by the words Jesus has spoken above; that His name might be honored and glorified; so others might more desire to know the One who died, was buried and rose again; to know my Redeemer; I want my “Yes!” to be Yes, and my “No!” to be No without making a vow, or taking an oath.

Christmas – Day 281

What do I want for Christmas?

On this Palm Sunday, remembering the last days in the life of our Savior before His death on the cross, burial, and bodily resurrection; I want to grow more in love with my Lord and Savior, and to appreciate everyday as a day He has given me to celebrate Him.

And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the Mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto Me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set Him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when He was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” Matthew 21:1-11 (KJV)

What Do I Want For Christmas? Day 356

What do I want for Christmas?

At Christmas time; from about mid November through December 25th each year we suddenly begin to be generous in our heart toward others.  Christian, that is the way we ought to be 365 days of every year, except when it is leap year; such as 2016; then it is 366 days of the year.

What do I want for Christmas?  I want there to be peace in Jerusalem; and when there is peace, genuine peace in Jerusalem, there will be peace in the Middle East, and the rest of the world.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Psalm 122:6 (KJV)

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” Romans 5:1

What Do I Want For Christmas? Day 357

What do I want for Christmas?

I want every pastor who believes the Bible to be the inerrant, infallible word of God, and that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God; and God the Living Son to begin writing on a weblog [Blog] such as this; and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the possibility of reaching millions, maybe billions of souls for the name of Christ.

Jesus said,

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NKJV)

Amazed by the Power of God

We ought always be amazed by the power of God. We ought always realize that God is working, moving, accomplishing His purposes in the world around us and in our own lives.

Previous to the verses we look at today Jesus had been on the Mount called “Transfiguration”, and He was speaking with Moses and Elijah. A wonderful experience for Peter, James and John, and where they heard the Father say, “This is My Beloved Son: hear Him”.

Coming down from the mountain they encounter a man who has a son possessed of a demon, and is tormented by the evil one; tearing, tossing, torturing him with great pain, and grief to the father of the son. The other nine disciples have been powerless to cast out the demon. Jesus has come and speaks to the “unclean spirit”, and the demon leaves, the son is healed, and is delivered to his father (Luke 9:28-42)

Jesus knew the time of His death was near. He had spoken to the disciples of His death on previous occasions, but they did not yet understand.

“And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, He said unto His disciples, Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of Man shall be delivered into the hands of men. But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask Him of that saying.” Luke 9:43-45 (KJV)

In verses 51 and 53 we can note that Jesus had His “face set to go to Jerusalem”, and that means all the way to the cross, and to death for our sins.

In the words of the text above Jesus wanted the disciples to know and to understand; but it just had not happened yet.

In the Gospel account of Matthew Peter attempts to rebuke Jesus after Jesus has spoken of His coming death (Matthew 16:21-23). A disciple rebuking his Master? I almost laugh at the thought; but Jesus rebukes Peter, and even tells Satan “Get behind me Satan”. For man, or the whole human race to think that they can thwart the power, plan, and purposes of God is even more laughable. See Psalm 2:4.

For the Christian today we can understand what has taken place; yet we must have the heart, mind and soul for hearing it, hiding His Word in our hearts, and obeying it. We can pray for understanding and wisdom in the Word; but if we never read it, and study it, there will not be any of wisdom or understanding. There will also be no growing faith in Him.

O Christian; hear Him. Do His word. Let these sayings sink down into your ears; and your heart. Jesus has been delivered into the hands of men. He died, was buried, and bodily arose and came out of that grave, and He ever lives.

Waiting Patience

There is a lack of patience in me. There is a lack of patience in me toward other people at times; especially when I am driving down the highway; or in the city. I must often correct my mind and thinking as I am driving. Many times; probably all the time; that correction comes from God’s Spirit in me.

In the 49 plus years that I have been born again I can see that God has grown me, and improved my patience and understanding for others, and probably less for myself. Where am I going with the “Patience” thing? I am going to tell you about a man who had waited for many years for the coming of Messiah; the first coming.

It is written,

“And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the law, then took he Him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel. And Joseph and His mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of Him.” Luke 2:25-33 (KJV)

Simeon had been promised by God that he would not die until he had seen the Christ [Messiah] of Israel, and Saviour of the world.

Now, here was a man who was patient; waiting for the coming of Christ. I am fairly certain he must have occasionally thought that it was not going to happen; but he keeps holding on to God’s promise.

You see faith is not the absence of doubt; it is believing in spite of the doubt. The enemy will continuously throw detours, roadblocks, and lies at you; but you just keep believing. You must keep believing and trusting God, and His Word. God has never failed, and He never will.

As Christians in 2015, and beyond, we believe that God has promised that His Son Jesus is returning soon; and Jesus has said Himself, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself…” (John 14:3); so either we patiently await His coming, or we quit believing, and in doing; and so we end up saying, that God is a liar. He is faithful, and will bring to pass every word He has spoken.

Let us patiently wait. Wait and occupy until He comes (Luke 19:13). He is coming. Get ready by calling on His name, believing that He died for your sins, was buried, and He bodily rose from the grave; and He is alive today.

A Journey of Passion

This was Jesus’s final journey to the city on the hill. He would not make it again, and He knew it. Yet, He journeyed to the place where He would die.

Would you with joy, and passion go to the place you knew would mean your death? Of course you or I cannot know those things, as He did. We do need to know, though, that every day could be our last. None of us have any assurance of the next day.

Knowing His days on earth were few; Jesus traveled on teaching His disciples, and telling them what death He would die:

“And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him: and the third day He shall rise again.” Matthew 20:17-19 (KJV)

We read in other places that He had his mind set on going to Jerusalem (Matthew 16:21; Luke 13:22; 17:11; 18:31; 19:28). Some have called this journey “His Passion”, and I think that to be a good description of His heart and mind.

He came to live for the righteousness, and glory of the Father; and to die for the sins of mankind; to conquer death, sin, hell and the grave. That is what He means when He says, “And the third day He shall rise again”.

His journey in life was to glorify His Father, and to do so through obedience, even unto death. He died for you and me. He carried our sins, and its condemnations away in burial, and left them there; and rose bodily from the grave. He forever lives and saves all who will come to Him.

Becoming One Again

We have been looking at the prophecy of Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a captive in Babylon when he was given this prophecy. He spoke much of the nation’s return to their homeland, but it would not take place until after a period of 70 years. In the Scripture and prophecy for today’s study we see a promise, and prophecy that they would return as not two nations divided; but as one.

“The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: and join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.” Ezekiel 37:15-19 (KJV)

The prophet does not use the name “Israel” in reference to the Northern Kingdom; but rather uses Joseph or Ephraim. The prophet Hosea refers to Ephraim rather than “Israel”.

This prophecy was only partially fulfilled with the return of the nation from captivity to their homeland. They have not had a king. When King Jesus came, they rejected Him, and crucified Him; and they paid the price for that in 70 A.D. with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and the temple, and being scattered once again unto the four quarters of the earth.

As the Lord has renewed the nation of Israel (May 14, 1948) there are still numerous Hebrew people scattered around the world, but one day they will all be in their homeland; they will have a new temple, and they will recognize Jesus as their Messiah and King.

There is much that is going to happen between now and the time Israel will see Jesus as the Son of God; God the Son; and as their Messiah and King. Yet, because God has said it; it shall be done; it shall be done.

The point today is that you believe and receive Him as your Lord, your Saviour and your King.

The Danger of Preaching the Truth

“Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die.” Jeremiah 26:8 (KJV)

Jeremiah was not the only prophet of Judah or Jerusalem. There were others. There were others who were preaching the truth, just not as recognized as Jeremiah. There were also those who were popular with the people and the evil priests who were forsaking God, His word and the temple; but were ignorant of their peril.

These priests and people believed the temple was secure in God, that it would never be destroyed, and that Jerusalem would never fall. They believed that they could live any way they wanted to; going after the gods of the surrounding nations, with pagan temples, temple prostitution, and worship that caused the people to stray from God.

The prophet Jeremiah gave them the word of God, and did not hold back one word (26:2). He did it knowing it would not be popular. He preached because God called him to preach, not because momma called him. He preached because it was a fire in his heart, and he could not keep it back. He preached because he first of all loved God and His Word; secondly because he loved his people, and wanted them to be right with God; and he loved his country, and wanted the country to be delivered from its evil ways.

When a preacher preaches the word of God he will not always be popular. He will not always fill churches, or temples. He will most likely; especially when sin is running rampant around the world will be called a “Nut case”, laughed at, mocked, and even have his life threatened. Like Jeremiah, though, he will be faithful to the LORD and His Word.

Preacher, if God called you; and not your momma; not your career; but God called you, then you have one obligation, and that is to proclaim the Word of God; even if it hurts. Part of that obligation is to live that same word you preach. It can be hazardous. But you do it because of God, and His Son Jesus Christ.

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2

Knowing the Judgment of God

“Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; Shall they fall, and not arise? Shall he turn away, and not return? Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? Every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but My people know not the judgment of the LORD.” Jeremiah 8:4-7 (KJV)

Along about Spring, and usually days before the official arrival of Spring, Robins begin showing up in our backyard. A while before Spring the bald eagle leaves, and is not seen until about October in our backyard. It is amazing how one can learn from God’s creation and created order. My how much we can learn from what we call “Nature”.

The prophet being used by the LORD speaks of three different birds of the Palestinian area. The stork, the turtle dove, the crane, and the swallow. They are all what we might call migratory birds, which show up in the Spring, then probably in the Autumn of the year they fly away to a suitable climate for the rest of the year.

How is it that these birds, and others like them know when to go? It is given them by their Creator. We call it “Instinct”; but it is a God-given instinct. They know.

The lesson Jeremiah is giving us, and the question being asked is this: Since the birds know their timing for going; why do God’s people not know the judgments of the LORD? We can be under God’s discipline, and justice, and blame it on weather activity, or inactivity. We experience great numbers of animal attacks on humans, and we call it a “Freak of an animal”, or “animal anxiety” or something, but never the judgment of God.

Humankind is blind to the judgment of God. It has been upon us because we have turned our backs on God, and His Son Jesus. Let me tell you something about the judgment, or justice of God. In Washington, D.C. stands and idol unto “Lady Justice”, she is blindfolded with a set of scales in her hands; symbolizing to us that our justice is blind; meaning it is supposed to be fair to all. Well! God’s justice is much different. He judges with His eyes wide open, and it is just still. Just as He judges with His eyes open; He also forgives with His eyes wide open.

When God judged our sins upon His Son; His eyes were open. When we come to Him broken and contrite (and that is the only way we can approach Him), seeking forgiveness He forgives with His eyes wide open.

We do not have to fear the judgment of God; today’s, tomorrow’s or in eternity. We/You can seek His forgiveness today through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ His only, holy and blessed Son.

To Know that the LORD is God

“Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the LORD, even Thou only.” Isaiah 37:20 (KJV)

These words are from the prayer of King Hezekiah, after he has received letter from Sennacherib General of the Assyrian army who has been mocking God, and Israel; and threatening destruction of the city of Jerusalem, capture of the people, and destruction of the Temple.

Hezekiah was one of the godly kings of Judah. When threatened by the ungodly he prayed. Verses 16-20 is his prayer, and God heard his prayer. Sennacherib went home after 185,000 of his army was slain by God, he was defeated; and when he arrived home he was killed by two of his sons in the temple of their god Nisroch (37:36-38).

It should always be in the hearts of God’s people to pray that God be the benefactor, and receive all the glory for our battles.

After I read the above verse while reading Isaiah 36 – 38, I wrote in my journal the following…

“This phrase (“that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the LORD…), is used throughout the Old Testament; at least 63 times in the book of Ezekiel alone. As a continuing theme throughout the O.T. it seems quite clear that God desires that the world know Him; and one day every knee will bow to Him and every tongue will confess to God that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

That is why God sent His only begotten Son. That the world may know that He is LORD.

I am convinced and hold deeply to the conviction that Jesus Christ is Lord; and one day every false god, idol, and icon will fall before Him shattered, broken and shown to be false; and all who worshipped the false will bow before Him, and call Him Lord. For those who will be compelled to do it then; it will be eternally too late.

The time to bow before Him and confess Him as Lord is now; it is now. Do not wait.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.” Psalm 122:6-9 (KJV)

The word “Peace” is used three times in these four verses. Peace is a sought after thing for most people. The name “Jerusalem” means “city of peace”; and yet this city has been one of the most fought over places in all the centuries since the death of Christ.

David took Jebus from the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5), and called it Jerusalem. He later would bring the tabernacle, and the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. This city is called “the city of David” (2 Samuel 5:7). There are references to the “City of God” which could be references to this city as well (Psalms 46:4; 48:1; 87:3).

David longed for the peace of Jerusalem, even to the building of the temple, and making it a place for all people to come and worship the one God of all creation and all people; a place where they could come, worship and pray;

“And He taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves.” Mark 11:17

We all; those who love God, Israel, and Jerusalem must pray for the peace of Jerusalem. For when there is peace in Jerusalem there will be peace in the world. That will come only when the Prince of Peace returns to reign from His rightful throne in Jerusalem. His name is Jesus the Christ Son of the Living God

With the enemies of God, and of Israel crouching around the land today; Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Jesus  will be returning soon.

The Reign of God in the Earth

“God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness. The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: He is greatly exalted.” Psalm 47:8-9 (KJV)

God not only reigns over the heathen; He also reigns over the hearts of all men, all the people of the earth. It may not appear to be so at times but He does.

The name of God given three times in the above verses is “Elohim” representing the whole of the Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is the only one qualified, worthy and able to sit on the throne of His holiness.

These verses do seem to point to the time when the Messiah [Jesus Christ] comes, and reigns from His throne in Jerusalem. The “Princes” could be all those who have been redeemed through the ages, and are gathered together to do His bidding in all the earth.

The “Shields of the earth” are those given kingdom power and authority to carry out the word and will of God in the earth.

Even those in the earth in our world today who have been given authority to rule, have been given that authority by God; and this is what the apostle Paul says of that;

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.” Romans 13:1-6

If you will notice this authority has been given them for the “Good”, not to be a terror to the people.  When the authorities rebel against the good laws of God, and bring terror on the people the people of God must stand up, and stand against the tyranny.

However, God still reigns, and is directing the course of this world; preparing for the day He rules and reigns righteousness in the earth.

Joyous, Glorious Salvation

“Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.” Nehemiah 12:43 (KJV)

The rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, and their return to Jerusalem was cause for great joy. It was celebrated by the sacrifices; great numbers of lambs, bulls and the bringing of the first fruits of the fields were offered. There was much music and singing.

The celebration was filled with joy. It was the “joy of Jerusalem”. The people had returned after 70 years of captivity.

Everyday the Christian should celebrate the deliverance which Jesus Christ has provided for us through the sacrifice of His own blood. There were many sacrifices offered that day in Jerusalem, but all that blood was only a portrayal of the blood of the one sacrifice that could eternally take away sin.

When an individual trust in Christ as the sacrifice for sin we can rest assured that our salvation; our redemption is secured for all eternity. There is “Great Joy” in the heart of the follower of Jesus Christ. The sacrifice of Jesus will never occur again.

See these verse: 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 7:17 – 27

The Worship of Demons

“And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz. For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem. And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.” 2 Chronicles 28:22-25 (KJV)

Ahaz was an evil king of Judah. He was in distress, and against the only, and Holy God of Judah and Israel; and the world for that matter. He had sacrificed his sons to fire according to the ways of those who had been driven out of Canaan (28:3). He had no heart for the LORD.

You may wonder why this is titled “Worshipping Demons”. It is because of what he apostle Paul says,

“What say I then? That the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” 1 Corinthians 10:19-22

The worship of any “god” other than Jehovah through His Son Jesus Christ, and His atoning blood is demon worship.

If that offends you, then repent of your sins and turn to the One who died for your sins, was buried and rose again, and He will forgive your sins and give you eternal life in the presence of holy GOD.

Dealing with Division

“And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel. So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem.” 2 Samuel 20:1-2 (KJV)

The king was experiencing the chastening of the LORD. He had been driven out of Jerusalem by his son Absalom. Absalom had been slain while hanging in an oak tree by his hair. Now, upon David’s return to the city there is a rabble rouser, a trouble maker, a division maker who speaks against the king, and calls for Israel to follow him.

There are always divisions in life. What is the reason for them in the life of a Christian? First of all they can be a source of God’s chastisement; secondly, they can be a source of strengthening one’s faith; third, they can be a way of showing the good from the bad, separating the sheep from the goats.

Jesus the Son of God, God the Son spoke of divisions when he said,

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:34-36

Sheba ended up being beheaded by a woman; at least his head was delivered by her (vv. 14-22).  In the times of division, like David, the Christian must stand firm, believe the Lord, and trust that He will have His way in our life’s situation; and He will be glorified.

Loyalty to the King

“Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us? Return to thy place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile. Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? Seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee. And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be. And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him.” 2 Samuel 15:19-22 (KJV)

There is much that could be said for loyalty. It should probably be left to someone who knows more about such things, but here are my thoughts, and a short study of the matter.

Loyalty is shown in Ittai the Gittite. He is relatively new to serving king David, and he finds himself the servant of a king who is now losing, or seems to be losing his throne of the kingdom. The king’s own son, Absalom has turned against his father. This is a part of the fulfillment of Nathan’s prophecy (2 Samuel 12:11), and it is God’s judgment upon David for his adultery and murder of Uriah.

We see Ittai rewarded by David later in chapter 18 verses 2, 5, and 12 he is mentioned as being the commander over one third of the army of David, with Joab and Abishai.

David gives Ittai freedom to leave and return to his own, but he stays with David, in flight from his own son.

Now, how many people would stay with a falling king when they see his kingdom crumbling around them? Some might think, “Only a fool would do such a thing”. Ittai shows that he is trusting the GOD of David; he even calls Him by His name Jehovah [YHWH]. He is faithful to God, and loyal to king David, despite the circumstances.

The Son of David, King Jesus deserves our faithfulness, and our loyalty. He has not failed us. He has died for us, carried our sins away in His burial, and risen victoriously over sin, death, hell and the grave. Call on His name, believe Him and be delivered from all you sins.

I Was Glad…

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” Psalm 122:1 (KJV)

To the Israelite the house of God was the Tabernacle in the wilderness during their journey to the Promised Land after deliverance out of Egypt;  it was Shiloh up intil David was king; and after David became king the ark of the covenant was moved to Jerusalem, so that was the house of God.

The “House of God” is the place where God dwells.  In all of God’s Word the plan of God is that He dwell in the hearts of His people.  That was impossible with a holy God.  Yet, God Himself made it possible.  When Jesus Christ walked on earth He was and is the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).  He was without sin in the midst of the sinful, the vile, the corrupt; He remained incorruptible.

Because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ when we trust in Him He comes to live within us in the person of the Holy Spirit.  Those who know Jesus, and are known of Him have only to go to His Word, and hear the Holy Spirit within themselves to worship God.

The follower of Christ still desires to go and meet in places of worship with God’s people.  We call those places “Houses of worship”, even “House of God”; and that is not wrong.  Rest assured that where ever you are as a believer; a follower of Jesus Christ He is there with you.

Like the Psalmist says, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.”  Let us always be glad to go into the place of worship.  Like the writer of Hebrews has said,

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

If you missed joining with brothers and sisters in Christ yesterday, or have for several weeks; be sure you commit yourself to renewing that bond next Sunday.

Cause of Prayer – For the Restoration of Jerusalem to the Messiah – Jesus Christ

“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself…” Daniel 9:25-26a (KJV)

In the eighth place we are told of THE RESTORATION OF JERUSALEM UNTO THE MESSIAH – WHO IS CHRIST JESUS (vv.25-26a). A decree would go forth for the restoration of Jerusalem from a Gentile king. There was such a decree that went forth from a king to Nehemiah to go and rebuild the walls of the city (Nehemiah 2).

The restoration of Jerusalem was done in 49 years. This period of time equals the ‘seven weeks’. There are 7 days in a week times 7 weeks equals 49 days. Each day equals 1 year. After the restoration of Jerusalem it would be 62 weeks until Messiah was ‘cut off’ this would equal 483 years. The Messiah, that is Jesus Chris, would be crucified on a cross in Jerusalem.

NOTICE – Seventy (70) weeks times 7 equals 490 weeks. This means that only 69 weeks have been fulfilled. The first 483 have been fulfilled exactly as God told Daniel. There have been approximately 2000 years since the completion of the 483 years. There remains 7 yet to be fulfilled. That seven years is known by at least two different titles; first, “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7); secondly, we know it better; as Christians today by “Tribulation period” – “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds” (Rev. 2:22). It is also known as the “Day of the LORD” in many Old Testament passages.

I for one am anxiously awaiting the second coming of Jesus to restore His kingdom on earth, and rule from His throne in Jerusalem. Come quickly Lord Jesus.