All This Was Done

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

He called His name JESUS

“Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:  I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.”  Proverbs 1:24-27

“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 1:24-25

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 091720

“The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him,
‘Follow me.’
Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, ‘We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph.’ And Nathanael said unto him, ‘Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ Philip saith unto him, ‘Come and see.’
Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him,
‘Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!’
Nathanael saith unto Him, ‘Whence knowest thou me?’ Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.’
Nathanael answered and saith unto Him, ‘Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel.’ Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these.’
And He saith unto him,
‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’ ”  John 1:43-51  (KJB)

Jesus in Genesis (7)

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

There are many more pictures, types, likenesses, etc. in the book of Genesis. I chose to do only seven, because that is a number which John the apostle liked and used quite often. You can see his use of the number in the gospel according to John and then, especially in the Revelation. It is a number for fulness, completion, and certainly in Jesus there is fulness and completion.

Our final study in LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS will be of Joseph. In looking at Gleanings In Genesis by A. W. Pink he had 101 examples of Joseph’s pictures of Jesus. I am going to only look at fourteen of them. I went through them and picked what I could consider the favorites, and the most clear. The study covers chapters 37 – 41.

In the first picture we find Joseph as a shepherd. Look at chapter 37 verses 1 – 2a,

“And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren;”

Joseph, “Was feeding the flock with his brethren”. He certainly had a heart for the sheep and that should remind us of the Great Shepherd, and the twenty third Psalm, “The Lord is my Shepherd…”. What does the shepherd do? He feeds, tends, protects, directs, and leads the sheep. Joseph is a picture of Jesus as the Shepherd.

The second type is where we see the father’s love for the son.

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age” (37:3a).

Many people look at this verse and immediately think and/or say, “Well, this just isn’t right. Anytime a parent loves one child more than another it is going to cause problems.” It does in this case. This was different. Joseph was a special son, a unique one. He was the child of Rachel, the wife whom Jacob had chosen, but was tricked and deceived out of. So, of course, Joseph is going to be loved in a very special way. In such a way is Jesus loved by our Heavenly Father. There is a very special relationship and fellowship between the Father and His Son Jesus. That relationship and fellowship caused problems with those who believed they were the “sons of God” – the people of Israel. This led to His crucifixion.

In another picture we find Jacob/Israel having made Joseph ” a coat of many colours.” (v. 3b). This was a very special coat. The word “colors” is translated as being, “a long and sleeved tunic”. The specialty of this is that it is a garment of royalty. The garment of one who is ruler over others. The common worker would have worn a sleevless garment for ease in doing manual labor, but not the one who is the ruling leader. Because of this garment the statement was being made this is the one who is ruling over the family. Jacob, in making the garment, most likely did not realize the full import or impact this message would have upon himself or the rest of the family. Jesus, the favored Son has been appointed as the One who will rule over all, and does.

“Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:6-9).

In the fourth picture we find that the brothers hated Joseph’s words.

“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.” (vv. 5-8).

When Jesus spoke the Sadducees and Pharisees hated the words Jesus spoke. It was because of the words Jesus spoke that they sought to put Him to death. You can read Matthew 22 and 23 and see their hatred for Him. They were condemned by the truth which He spoke. Joseph was hated because of his dreams, and they were dreams which would come to pass. Just as surely as Joseph’s words would come to pass even more so did the words Jesus spoke.

The fifth picture is how he was envied by his brothers. You can see that in verses four and five of chapter 37 [above]. They “hated” Joseph. Surely we can see the envy of Jesus’ brethren, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11). He was rejected and despised according to the prophet Isaiah in chapter 53:3.

Sixthly, we see Joseph being sent by the father.

“And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.” (vv. 12-13).

Jesus was sent by the Father to a world of wickedness to die for the godless and unbelieving. As Joseph went willingly in saying “Here am I”; so too did Jesus go, in full agreement with the Father to His brethren, and there Jesus would die for the sins of the world.

Seventh, there is a conspiracy by the brothers to kill Joseph.

“And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.” (v. 18).

If you will read the New Testament accounts of the anger, envy, hatred by the religious leaders for Jesus, and the arrest and trial of Jesus you will see a conspiracy. The Jewish religious leaders even brought their hated enemy Rome into the picture to get Jesus arrested, tried and convicted to death.

In another picture we see the unbelief of the brothers to Joseph’s words.

“Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” (vv. 19-20).

Their “Unbelief” showed that they actually hated what he had to say. By the arrest, trial, conviction, and crucifixion of Jesus the religious leaders were showing their unbelief, and said,

“Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (Matthew 27:40).

They too were in unbelief.

Joseph was cast into a pit by his brothers (v. 24). Some might say in looking at this, “Now how does that picture Jesus?” It could very well picture His death and burial. The brothers of Joseph had actually conspired to kill him, but decided to cast him into the pit. From the moment of Jesus’ ministry the Pharisees plotted to kill Him. Let me quote here what A. W. Pink has written, “We quote now from Dr. Haldeman: ‘The pit wherein is no water, is another name for Hades, the underworld, the abode of the disembodied dead: of all the dead before the resurrection of Christ. ‘The pit wherein is no water’ (Zech. 9:11). ‘For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’ (Matt. 12:40). It is here our Lord, as to His Soul, abode between death and resurrection.” (GLEANINGS IN GENESIS by A. W. Pink).

In the tenth picture we find Joseph facing temptation, yet without sinning.

“And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.” (39:7-12).

Those who are familiar with the life of Jesus know the Scripture concerning His sinlessness (Matthew 4:1-11; Hebrews 4:15). Was Joseph perfect? No! Was he without sin? The answer again is NO. However, you will not find one accusation against him in the texts which mention him. That alone must be evidence that the Spirit of God intended for Joseph to be a picture of the sinless Son of God.

The eleventh image of Christ we see in Joseph is that he suffered at the hands of Gentiles.

“And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.” (39:20).

Jesus suffered at the hands of Roman guards, and the governor:

“The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,” (Acts 4:26-27).

Twelfth, the picture is of Joseph’s “Predictions come to pass”. The dreams which Joseph dreamed of his father and brothers bowing to him were fulfilled, and also the interpretation of the dreams of the butler and the baker;

“And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand: But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.” (40:20-22).

The Lord Jesus never spoke a word that did not come to pass, or it will one day. He is the Truth. There was no lie that ever came from His lips. Jesus said,

“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32).

Jesus spoke of His death, and He spoke of rising from the dead, and He did. Just to keep us aware, He also spoke that He would come back again. He will.

In the thirteenth picture we will look at we see Joseph exalted at the throne of Egypt.

“And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.” (41:39-45).

In the New Testament following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, we find that Stephen sees Jesus standing at the right hand of the throne of God (Acts 7:55-56). According to A. W. Pink the Egyptian meaning for Joseph’s new name, Zaphnathpaaneah is “Savior of the world”. Jesus has been exalted to the throne (REV. 5).

The final picture we see is that Joseph is given a wife. We see in verse 45 above that he is given a wife. If you have a copy of GLEANINGS IN GENESIS by A. W. Pink you would find it interesting to read his explanation of Joseph’s being given a wife. It is in chapter 44 titled “Joseph The Savior Of The World” and it is the first item in the chapter. One thing I know and that is that this pictures Jesus Christ and His Bride. I believe that His Bride will consist of Israel and the Gentile believer. Jesus came to call the Jew first and then the Gentile. In Jesus “…There is neither Jew nor Greek [Gentile]…” (Gal. 3:28). We will one day see Jesus face to face, and that will be one GLORIOUS DAY.

In closing this study of LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS let me stress this. When we see a photograph of something, say, the Grand Canyon, we may marvel in the picture, but it really does no justice to actually seeing it, actually seeing it; being there. So, too, these pictures, types or shadows, beautiful they may be, really do no justice to what it will really be like seeing Jesus, our Lord and Savior, face to face.

Keep LOOKING FOR JESUS in the Scriptures, in everyday life, and in the air.

Christmas Day 2 (Christmas Day)

What do I want for Christmas today?

Welcome to Christmas Eve.

I want all who have visited this site, to have a wonderful Eve before the day we remember our Savior’s birth; to love your family, friends, neighbors, and that would include those who you may not have been kind to yesterday;  I want to be sure and tell everyone I meet… MERRY CHRISTMAS

“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 (KJV)

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.

How Are Your Thoughts and Attitude?

“Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders: Thou hast declared Thy strength among the people. Thou hast with Thine arm redeemed Thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.” Psalm 77:13-15 (KJV)

This Psalmist, Asaph, has begun the Psalm feeling a bit sorry for himself. His thoughts are on his own life situation, and he is addressing the LORD, but only about his aches and pains of heart and soul. That is the place we all need to take them; but when we have encountered God those thoughts, attitudes will perish.

You alone are in charge of your attitude. It begins with your thoughts. If you are driving to work on one of these busy freeways in the cities, and someone rudely cuts you off; when the traffic is moving quite well; you say, “That affects my attitude”; but does it? It can. It is however your personal responsibility to redirect your thinking toward a different attitude.

The Psalmist began with sorrow, and basically a pity party with God; but he ended up focusing on the LORD; and he saw things completely different.

Asaph began to focus his thoughts on the strength of God; His deliverance of Israel from Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea; and he saw the awesome, power and glory of God. In the verses ending this Psalm, the Psalmist describes the sea as being fearful of the LORD and parting at His appearance. He describes thunder, lightening, and trembling and shaking of the earth.

Oh my; when we see the power and glory of God all our problems melt away. Our thinking and our attitudes will reflect the glory of the LORD. All this begins with having a personal encounter with God through His Son Jesus. There is no other way (John 14:6). There is only one cross, one Saviour, one resurrected Lord, and one returning Lord of lords and King of kings. His name is Jesus.

So what is your problem today?

Shepherd

“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.” Psalm 80:1 (KJV)

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus sweetest name I know.  He fills my every longing.  He keeps me singing as I go.

The Shepherd of Israel is none other than Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.  Jesus can be seen as the Shepherd as He feeds the five thousand men (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:44; Luke 9:14; John 6:10), and as He fed the four thousand men (Matthew 15:38; Mark 8:9).  Notice in those verses where He commanded that they sit down on the grass.

His glory is seen as the one who dwells betwee the cherubims.  They were the ones who are formed bowing on the mercy seat facing one another with their faces toward the ark of the covenant, which represents the presence of GOD.  The ark itself is the representation of the fulness of the Godhead.

“The LORD is my shepherd;  I shall not want.”  Psalm 23:1

Is the Lord Jesus your Shepherd today?  He will give ear to you when you call on Him.

The Beginning of Life and Death

“And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.” Genesis 50:24-26 (KJV)

The book of Genesis, the book of beginnings finds a great divide.  A divide between life and death.  Everyone likes to talk about life.  Not many will even deal with the topic of death.  In the end we must realize that death, though inevitable for us all is merely the absence of life.

God never created death.  God created life.  Disobedience to God brought death; Adam’s and Eve’s sin in the garden produced death from the life God had given.  The choice they had between the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a choice of life and death.  Their choice was death, thus this is the journey of mankind through the end of Genesis, and through our own day as well.

Joseph was sold into Egypt fulfilling God’s plan to make a great nation through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  God gives life for all those who believe Him and trust Him.  Joseph died in Egypt with the promise of God and hope that one day Israel would return to the land of Promise – the land of Canaan.

Because of the sin in the garden death came to mankind, and every man, and woman since that time has gone the way of death; with the exception of two men – Enoch (Genesis 5:21-24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:1-15).  Then there was Jesus the Christ, Son of God who died and was bodily raised conquering the power of death for all who would trust in Him.

One day those who believe and follow Jesus will look upon His face.  We will see Joseph, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the prophets, David, friends, family, and many people we never expected to find there.  All are there through the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial and bodily resurrection.  Death is conquered by the resurrected power of life through Christ Jesus.

That coffin in Egypt which held Joseph will be empty.  Those coffins which have held the bodies of your loved ones who loved Jesus will be empty when Jesus comes for His own.  Contrary to what some believe there is a “First resurrection” (Revelation 20:5), and there is a “second death” (Revelation 20:6, 14).  Which will you have part in?  The second death is the eternal absence of meaningful life and God.

GOD loved us so much He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.  Believe Him and live forever. Reject Him and die forever.

Thus saith the Lord GOD… 012314

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘This shall be the border, whereby ye shall inherit the land according to the twelve tribes of Israel: Joseph shall have two portions. And ye shall inherit it, one as well as another: concerning the which I lifted up Mine hand to give it unto your fathers: and this land shall fall unto you for inheritance.  And this shall be the border of the land toward the north side, from the great sea, the way of Hethlon, as men go to Zedad; Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim, which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath; Hazarhatticon, which is by the coast of Hauran. And the border from the sea shall be Hazarenan, the border of Damascus, and the north northward, and the border of Hamath. And this is the north side. And the east side ye shall measure from Hauran, and from Damascus, and from Gilead, and from the land of Israel by Jordan, from the border unto the east sea. And this is the east side.  And the south side southward, from Tamar even to the waters of strife in Kadesh, the river to the great sea. And this is the south side southward.  The west side also shall be the great sea from the border, till a man come over against Hamath. This is the west side. So shall ye divide this land unto you according to the tribes of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that in what tribe the stranger sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance,’ saith the Lord GOD.”  Ezekiel 47:13-23

Through the Bible in a Year – 012013

Healing Broken Relationships

Genesis 33 – 50

1.  Jacob and Esau (chapters33-36);

2.  Joseph and Brothers at Odds over Dreams (chapters 37 – 38);

3.  Joseph with Purpose in Egypt (chapters 39 – 41);

4.  Joseph Trys his Brothers (chapters 42 – 44);

5.  Joseph, His Father and His Brothers Reunited (chapters 45 – 48)

6.  A Promise and a Coffin in Egypt (chapters 49 – 50).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Two Sticks, David, and The Sanctuary

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.  And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.  And say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be My people, and I will be their God.  And David My servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them.  And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and My servant David shall be their prince for ever.  Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.  My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.'”  Ezekiel 37:15-28 (KJV)

The LORD of hosts will accomplish His purposes for His people.  No matter how difficult it may seem; or how far out the way His people may get; He will bring them to Himself again.

-T.A.

The Time for Wise Actions

For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.  Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.  Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.  Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.  Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus; ‘Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, ‘Alas! alas!’ and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing.  And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD.”  Amos 5:12-17 (KJV)

If you will note the way of things as the prophet Amos declares them.  Bribery, the poor cannot get a fair deal.  His word is to “Seek good, not evil” and to “Hate the evil,…Love the good, establish judgment in the gate…”  We live in an era of decay; moral decay and depravity, injustice in the courts, through wrong and at times idiotic rulings by corrupt judges.

“Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.”  It could be that the prudent or wise, need rather than speaking, just need to act on doing the right things.  Something to think about.  There is of course a time to do both.

-T.A.

 

Day 71 – Son of Man

As we looked at the gospel of Matthew we saw Jesus as the King.  He is the King of kings and Lord of lords at which every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…  In the gospel of Mark Jesus is a servant to men.  In the gospel of Luke He is the Son of man.

Matthew had a genealogy of kings.  Mark has no genealogy.  Luke has a genealogy of man showing Jesus is human, yet the God/Man.  Someone put it this way, “The Son of God became the Son of man; that the sons of men, might become the sons of God”.

My reading today was Mark 15 – 16 and Luke 1 – 12.

In the genealogy of Jesus we find in the beginning of it these words,

“And Jesus Himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli…”  Luke 3:23 (KJV)

That same genealogy ends with,

“Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” 3:38

Matthew’s genealogy begins with Abraham, and goes through Joseph and Mary, through David.  Luke’s account begins with Jesus and goes backwards all the way to Adam.

My reading this morning took me a little longer than it has, due to the length of the chapters in Luke.  Great reading.

Let me leave you with these words from Jesus, the Son of Man,

“Also I say unto you, ‘Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: but he that denieth Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.  And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.”  Luke 12:8-10

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 68 – From Kings to The King

I have spent the last 67 days in the Old Testament.  In the OT we learn of God’s plan for the human race, their departure from Him – in sin and rebellion – and His grace and mercy extended to all who will come to Him believing Him.  We learn in the OT of a Savior and King of kings who is to come.  We read prophecies of One who is to come.

When I attended Boyce Bible School, I had a Professor who told us, “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed”.  A verse in the Revelation of Jesus Christ says, “…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10b).  That meaning that all the Bible is the testimony of Jesus.

It is with great interest and growing love for my Saviour, Lord and King that we enter the New Testament today; and we hear from Him as He walked among men, as a man, yet, more than a man.  He is the God/Man.  Fully God; Fully Man.

We enter the beginning of the testament of our Saviour and King with a genealogy of kings.  I will not post the whole genealogy of Jesus, but the last two verses of that tell us,

“And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.  So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.”  Matthew 1:16-17 (KJV)

In Matthew 5 – 7 we have what could be called the Kings Constitution, or His Kingdom’s Constitution.  How many times have you heard, “I live by the Sermon on the Mount”.  I am telling you, that the Sermon on the Mount as it is called is more condemning than is the 10 Commandments.

It is within the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus says,

“For I say unto you, ‘That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.'” Matthew 5:20

I can only long for the day that I can adhere to every detail of these Beatitudes (5:3-12), commandments, and expectations.  I cannot; though my heart desires it very strongly.  My only hope for heaven is the grace of God through His Son Jesus.  These are in me because Christ lives in me.

In chapter 13 we have a chapter of parables where the King gives us the layout of His kingdom and who is in it.  It is basically those who hear the Word of God and keep it.

How can one have the assurance of spending eternity with the King of kings?  By giving one’s life totally over to Him, believing that He bled and died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and arose bodily from that grave conquering the power of sin, death, and hell.

I pray all will have a glorious Resurrection Sunday.  This is the day when once per year the resurrection is remembered by Christians the world over.  However, every Christian also knows that we remember the Resurrection of our Saviour every Sunday; every Sunday is resurrection Sunday.  That is the day He bodily arose and came out of the grave, and appeared to many.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 3 – Destiny of a Nation

Many trust in what is called fate.  Some trust in faith as though faith has power of its own.  “Just have faith” is what is heard quite often.  What is the difference in “fate” and “faith”.  Fate is events guided by events to the best of my knowledge; “What ever will be will be” mentality.  Faith is belief in something or someone to have power of guiding events or times or things even; but “faith” in what or whom?  It does make a difference what you believe.

As we  continue at reading the Bible through in these next 87 days we will find that there is a Person; a divine Individual who is guiding the events and times of our lives.

That is evident in the life of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  We can see it in the life of Joseph as well.

God told Abraham back in Genesis 15:13-14,

“And He said unto Abram, ‘Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”

Then as we read today in Genesis 29 – 42 we find one of Jacob’s children, a younger son, is sold into slavery by his older brothers due to their jealousy, and Joseph ends up in Egypt, in prison and eventually the Pharoah’s second man ruling the nation.

Joseph was a man of dreams, and passion for God, His promises, and His Word.  Joseph dreamed that all his brethren would one day bow down to him,

“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.  And he said unto them, ‘Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.’  And his brethren said to him, ‘Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?’ And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.  And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, ‘Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.’ And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, ‘What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?’ And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” Genesis 37:5-12 (KJV)

I tell this because it was by his faith in God Joseph was able to deal with the betrayal of his own brethren, the selling into Egypt, the false accusation of Potiphar’s wife, and his imprisonment.  Through it all Joseph kept God as his guide, his comfort and his strength.  Believing that God would bring about what He had shown him in his dreams.

After Joseph has arrived in Egypt and imprison; in prison Joseph continues to say and believe,

“Do not interpretations belong to God?”  Genesis 40:8   and,

“It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”  41:16

The Psalmist even mentions Joseph in the 105th Psalm,

“Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.” (v.19)

Faith that God is guiding the affairs of His people to be a great nation was a part of Joseph’s life.  He believed God, and though it does not say it by verse, and words; it says it by implication; “It was counted to him for righteousness.

God not only guides and directs nations; he directs individual lives.  He prefers to use you for good and His glory.  He will do that through your faith in His Son Jesus; as you humbly bow before Him as your own personal Lord and Savior; believing that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead; and that He is eternally alive; and through Him you will live eternally.

Believe/Trust and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Psalm 80:1

“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.”  Psalm 80:1 (KJV)

“The psalmist here, in the name of the church, applies to God by prayer, with reference to the present afflicted state of Israel.
I. He entreats God’s favour for them (v. 1, 2); that is all in all to the sanctuary when it is desolate, and is to be sought in the first place. Observe, 1. How he eyes God in his address as the Shepherd of Israel, whom he had called the sheep of his pasture (Ps. 79:13), under whose guidance and care Israel was, as the sheep are under the care and conduct of the shepherd. Christ is the great and good Shepherd, to whom we may in faith commit the custody of his sheep that were given to him. He leads Joseph like a flock, to the best pastures, and out of the way of danger; if Joseph follow him not as obsequiously as the sheep do the shepherd, it is his own fault. He dwells between the cherubim, where he is ready to receive petitions and to give directions. The mercy-seat was between the cherubim; and it is very comfortable in prayer to look up to God as sitting on a throne of grace, and that it is so to us is owning to the great propitiation, for the mercy-seat was the propitiatory.”  From Matthew Henry Commentary

-posted by Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 031811

The gospel of Matthew deals with Jesus as King; the gospel of Mark shows Him as servant; in the gospel of Luke we see Him as a man, but more than a man, the God-Man; Son of God and Son of Man.

Someone once said,  “The Son of God became the Son of Man, that the sons of men might become the sons of God.”  O, the grace, mercy, love and power of God; how marvelous He truly is.

Looking at the genealogies of Matthew and then, of Luke we see a difference in the way they are reported.  Matthew begins with Jesus Christ Himself and ends with Joseph.  Luke begins the Joseph and goes backward to God Himself.  Joseph is declared by Luke to be “son of Heli” who is believed to be Joseph’s father in law, thus being Mary’s genealogy.

There are some,  who would tell us that the reports of the two gospel accounts, being so different means they are opposed to one another, thus contradict.  There is another alternative to that.  God never contradicts, this is God’s Word.  It is correct, God is correct.  Matthew gives us the genealogy of Joseph, and Luke gives us the genealogy of Mary.

Who is John the Baptist?

“And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;   John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.  And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.”  Luke 3:15-18 (KJV)

He was the promised son of elderly parents, Zacharias, and Elisabeth.  They had been unable to have children for all the years they had been married, and then, one day while Zacharias is ministering within the temple an angel comes to him and tells him that he and Elisabeth will have a son.  They are to name him John.  He is to be the messenger of the Messiah, preparing the way before Him.

The Baptist gives glory to the Christ of God, and takes none for himself.  He is a man who lived in the wilderness, dressed in camel’s hair, and ate honey and locusts (Matthew 3:4).  He preached the message of repentance, calling the people to be rid of sin in their hearts and lives, the Christ is coming.

Many were seeing the Baptist as though he might be that Christ.  He, however, tells them that he is not worthy to loose the latchet of His shoes.  That One is “mightier than I”.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  John the Baptist points the people to the Messiah/Christ of Israel; who is the Savior of the world.

That One, the Messiah has come to die for the sins of the world.  He is set to come again, to rid the world of sin.  He will come.

-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

The Early Church and the Testimony of Scripture

Acts 7:1-60

Stephen, a spirit filled deacon, a servant of the early church, and serving tables; had stood up and preached the message of Jesus Christ, and was being called a “blasphemer”.  In Acts 6:8-15 we see the beginning of chapter seven and Stephen’s sermon of the testimony of Scripture and the history of the Jewish people.

The charge of “blasphemy” is a serious charge, especially in Israel, during these early days.  In some countries it is still a serious charge and often paid with the death of the accused or guilty.  Blasphemy is the calling someone God who would be human, or using the name of God to proclaim a message that was not of God.  In Stephen’s case all he had apparently done was quote the words Moses had written concerning the Prophet who was coming, and proclaimed Jesus as the Prophet, and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When the true gospel of Jesus is preached it reveals Him in His true character, ie., God-man.  How could a man stop storms, walk on water, raise the dead?  No mere man would willingly go to a cross of death in the place of a sinful world; Jesus did.  No mere man has ever been raised to life in His own power; Jesus has.  To these Jewish leaders Stephen was a blasphemer, because He had proclaimed Jesus as deity – the God-man.  Thus, they sought to put Stephen on trial.

In verse eleven of chapter six we find them bringing in false witnesses against him.  Sound familiar?

THE TESTIMONY OF ABRAHAM AND THE PATRIARCHS (vv. 1-8).  Stephen, filled with the Spirit of God confronts them with their own Scriptures and history.

The history of Abraham is one of the nation of Israel.  Without Abraham there would be no Israel.  Abraham is the man whom God chose to use to birth the nation.  He was a man of faith, and his faith grew.

Called out of Ur of the Chaldeans he left the life he knew to go to a land he had never seen, and did not go where he was going.  All he knew was that he had met God, and God told him to “Get”, and he got going.

Stephen is not answering to the charge of blasphemy; he just gets into the Scriptures proclaiming to them, what they probably do not want to hear.  He gives it to them anyway.  Some preacher I once heard made this statement after telling about being caught in a mob, “When you have an angry crowd, and they are trying to do you bad; then preach”, at least something along that line.  I would not say that is what Stephen is doing, but even if he is, it does not negate the message.

The land was promised to Abraham and he never so much as received one acre of it; with the exception of a tomb for Sarah, and himself (Genesis 23).  Yet, he still believed, trusted the Lord and is an example of great faith to all followers of Jesus Christ today.

Isaac was/is the promised son of Abraham’s faith.  Isaac also received the promise of the land, and of being a great nation; as did his son Jacob as well.

The message of Abraham is faith.  The history of Abraham is faith.  He left all to go where he knew not where.  He faced famine in that land almost immediately upon arriving, yet even though he left the land, he returned and is called the “friend of God”.  The ultimate test of his faith was when God called on him to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice, and in that he was faithful.

THE TESTIMONY OF THE PATRIARCH’S ENVY, JOSEPH, AND EGYPT (vv. 9-16).  When we find that Abraham was counted righteous by God, according to Scripture, we also find that God gave Abraham a bit of prophetic knowledge.  In Genesis 15 we read,

“And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”  Genesis 15:13-14 (KJV)

In verse 6 of Genesis fifteen we find these words,

“And he [Abraham] believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

He was not counted or reckoned “righteous” because of his good works, or for anything he had done, but because God had spoke and he acted on it believing God.

Joseph, the son of Jacob, the first born son of Rachel; Jacob’s beloved wife; was a dreamer of dreams.  These dreams were not brought on by eating too much pizza, or from some dose of crazy weed, but they were from God.  As a dreamer of God dreams he also had an understanding of dreams.  Because of some of his dreams the other brothers got jealous of him.  According to his dreams the brothers and the whole family would one day bow at his feet.

Joseph may not have realized the significance of his dreams.  The significance was that what he was dreaming was going to be the fulfillment of God’s promise/prophecy to Abraham in bringing a nation out of Egypt.  The significance was that God was working through the evil conduct of his brothers.  You may flinch at that thought, but God is sovereign over all things, and so don’t think for a minute that evil thwarts the will of God; in fact He uses it to accomplish His purposes and will.  That in no way means He approves it, causes it, or empowers it; it only means that man has a freewill, and God uses man’s freewill to accomplish His own.

The Psalmist wrote of Joseph:

“He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.” Psalm 105:17-19 (KJV)

Verse 19 in particular is the one we need to see.  “Until the time that his word came the word of the LORD tried him.”  From the time Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery, into Egypt, to Potiphar, then to prison, then freed; there was probably a total of about twenty years.  Do you think Joseph had ever dreamed that he would go through all these trials?  I really doubt it.  Joseph, however, remained ever faithful.  There appears to be no doubts, no complaints, no anger toward God, no heart of vengeance against his brothers (though some may want to disagree with that when he comes face to face with his brothers).  All the time Joseph was waiting for the word of the LORD to come to pass.  Oh, how the Christian today needs that type of faith; that “waiting faith”; that faith that waits on God, and His time and place.

THE TESTIMONY OF MOSES, THE RED SEA, AND THE WILDERNESS (vv. 17-36).  The time between the last verse of Genesis and the birth of Moses, recorded in Exodus 2 is near to 400 years; nearing the promise and prophecy of God to Abraham in Genesis 15.

The descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have grown to quite a large number in those 400 years.  They have become so numerous that the Pharoah who rules at the time of Moses’s birth is a tyrant toward Israel, has no memory of Joseph, and doesn’t care for the people at all; but fears their numbers.  This tyrant Pharoah orders the death of all baby boys born to the Hebrews.  The mother and father of Moses hid him for a period of three months, and then finally put him in a “ark of bulrushes” placed it in the Nile River, along the shore, and floating down near the place where the princess of Egypt bathed; was found and adopted by her.  Only the sovereign LORD could work something like that out.

The Hebrew people were enslaved, and treated like livestock or worse.  They were not allowed to worship God; and maybe only a few really knew about YHWH [YaHWeH].  We know that they did have homes to live in, though what condition we are not aware.

Moses was taken out of the water of the Nile and named Moses by the daughter of Pharoah.  “Drawn out” is the meaning of his name and it is a perfect fit for him.  We see him all his life being “drawn out”.  He was “drawn out” of the water.  He was “drawn out” to his own people.  He was “drawn out” to the desert/wilderness.  He was “drawn out” to serve Jethro for forty years.

For forty years Moses was in Egypt learning the ways of Egypt.  For forty years he was in the desert with Jethro learning the ways of the desert/wilderness.  After delivering the children of Israel from Egypt he spent forty more years in the wilderness preparing  them for life in the Promised Land.

We complain if we must wait a minute or two at a traffic light.  Lord help us.  How we need to learn to wait, and trust the LORD with His word, His church and His people.  Moses had to learn the lesson of waiting on God.  He supposed that when he killed the Egyptian that the people would know that he was God’s deliverer, but it was not the time, and Moses had to leave Egypt to be prepared.

A THOUGHT:  Joseph, by God’s providence, was in Egypt to prepare Egypt for the world famine, and to prepare Israel to become a nation.  Moses fled from Egypt to be prepared to return to Egypt, and deliver the people from the world.

In the wilderness the new nation saw the mighty hand of God the LORD.  When they did not see a way God made a way across the Red Sea.  The LORD delivered them from their enemies by causing the Sea to collapse in upon the soldiers of Egypt, killing them all.  The Almighty provided them water, meat to eat and He provided them with bread from heaven – “Manna” meaning “What is it?”

THE TESTIMONY OF ISRAEL’S REJECTION, REBELLION, AND CAPTIVITIES (vv. 37-50).  Moses testified of One who would come, a Prophet, the Prophet of prophets.  Stephen reminds his listeners, persecutors of the prophecy of Moses and his teachings.  Hear the words of the prophet Moses concerning the Prophet;

“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken…” Deuteronomy 18:15 (KJV).

While Moses was in the wilderness with the people we find them many times rejecting his leadership, such as while he went up on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from the Lord.  They built a golden calf to worship in the place of God.  Our impatience is somewhat astonishing.  God says something and we do the opposite.

We Christians have been accused by some who refer to themselves as atheist or agnostic of being “makers of our own god”, and they mean that of the world religions as well.  With the latter I would agree.  The God of Creation who created all that is is not a god of man’s own making, however.  No man has ever imagined a god who is Almighty, All-Knowing, All-Present, All-Powerful, and Immutable.  No man has ever invented a god who condemns sin and wickedness, and provides a means of fellowship, relationship, justification, sanctification, and  being glorified together with him in an eternal home.  No man has ever created a god that would send his only son to die for the sins of the world.  The God of Christianity is the Creator of the universe, and all that is in it; and He loved us so much He did send His Son to die on a cross for our sins, was buried, and He rose again bodily from the grave and was witnessed by over 500 eyewitnesses.

All the gods of man’s creation allow them to behave and act any way they choose.  The god’s of men cause the immorality of all the world.  The god’s of men’s own making is what causes wars and strife.  Every individual without Jesus Christ is their own god; and will one day crumble, fall at the feet of Jesus, and be cast from His presence into eternal fire.

The “golden calf” for those people of Israel was a reminder of their lives back in Egypt.  They had been freed from its bondage, yet they still cling to it, even to the point of desiring to return and continue as slaves.  Even the gods people worship today, the images, are images which puts no guilt on them, or would make them question their actions.  The world hates any guilt, or shame.  That is one of the things, however, which is needed in the world; ie., guilt and shame. It can be the “straw that broke the camel’s back” and turn them toward the only One who can cleanse them and forgive all their sin.

When people turn to Wall Street, Dow, or other stocks and bonds, etc. for their security; then they have turned their back on God.  Christian we may be in a financial crisis in this nation [USA], however, there is a greater crisis that many do not even realize.  That crisis is a Spiritual crisis.  With greed ruling the day through the lies of satan; there is a genuine spiritual need for God.  Whether it is believed or not; there is only one way to God and heaven, and that is the way He has provided; and that way is by way of the cross of Jesus Christ, his burial and resurrection.

Oh, how we need to understand the fulness, power, vastness, and glory of our God.  The nation of Israel is still in rejection of their God, His Son and their future foretold by God.

THE TESTIMONY OF ISRAEL’S REJECTION OF JESUS AND THE HOLY SPIRIT (vv. 51-54).  These men to whom Stephen was speaking were just as the prophets which foretold the coming of the Prophet, the Messiah, their Deliverer.  “Stiffnecked and uncircumcised heart” shows a rebellious attitude and an unclean heart of these people.

All Stephen did was proclaim to them the truth of their own history, confront them with Jesus, their betrayal of him, and how they had “murdered him” (v. 52).

THE TESTIMONY OF STEPHEN A PERSECUTED, MARTYRED SOUL FOR JESUS CHRIST (vv. 55-60).  When the angry men heard the message delivered by faithful Stephen they proceeded to kill him.

The Word of God works as a sword, a “twoedged sword”.  In the book of Hebrews we read,

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (KJV)

In other words; that means God will make things uncomfortable  for you until He gets you where He desires you to be; if you are His own.  When you are God’s He will not allow you to remain in sinful behavior.

These men hated Stephen and his words that he spoke, then, they proceeded to kill him.

The deacon never sought to strike back.  His last words before his dying breath was, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge”, and then he “fell asleep”.  The stones which were hurled at Stephen, hitting his body, were stones of identity.  It is not without merit to mention that in the Revelation is mentioned a stone,

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” Revelation 2:17

Stephen had his stones, and they were stones of blessing because as he was dying he looked into heaven and could see glory;

“Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”

O, for the passion of our people like Stephen had.  For a fire to burn in our hearts for people who are bound in religion, but hate Jesus Christ, and refuse His death, burial and resurrection, by continually trying to earn their way to God’s presence and favor.  Preaching to the religious may not get you any popular vote, but you will see God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

These are the study notes for a sermon preached on October 05, 2008.