The Heart of the Righteous King

The Heart of the Righteous King –  Proverbs 16:10-15

In the United States of America we have no Monarchy.  We live in a Republic which is governed of the people, by the people and for the people.  I do believe, however, that seeing our leaders as under the same rules as a king would be sufficient to show us how a ruler should govern the people.
This surely is reference to the King of kings, and all are to pattern themselves after Him.

Verse 10 –  The godly ruler is one who represents God to the people; and should speak the “Divine sentences” “Oracles” of God.  Solomon’s wisdom was known and respected (1 Kings 3:28).  See Proverbs 20:28; and 28:15-16.

Verse 11 –  Though a monarch or any ruler is not mentioned in the verse it is certainly a decree that leaders/rulers are to operate function in business with the proper scales and weights.  Proverbs 11:1.

Verse 12 –  It is a moral tragedy for leaders to place their leadership; whether it be king or President; over the throne and sovereign power of God.  The throne of David, and every king of Israel was established due to the righteousness of the king.  Proverbs 25:5; 29:14; Isaiah 16:5.

Verse 13 –  Righteous words and lips should be the desire of kings and all leadership who lead people.  Proverbs 14:35;  22:11.  We must remember that what is in the heart will be manisfested through the lips and the life (Matthew 15:10-20).

Verse 14 –  John Gill from e-Sword:

The wrath of a king is as messengers of death,…. Or, “angels of death”, as the Targum. As the wrath of Ahasuerus was to Haman; when it is either discovered in the countenance of a king, or expressed by his words, or signified by a messenger; it sometimes has been immediate death to a person, and often as terrible as if a messenger brought the sentence of death; yea, it is as if one messenger after another was sent on such an errand, and therefore the word is in the plural number. How terrible is the wrath of the King of kings; and even to kings themselves, who are represented as flying to rocks and mountains to hide them from it! Rev_6:15;

but a wise man will pacify it; by a proper acknowledgment of the offence committed; or by a prudent representation of his case, or the case of his friends; by soft answers and strong arguments, as Jonathan pacified the wrath of King Saul his father against David. He is a wise man that believes in Christ, and pleads his propitiatory sacrifice for the expiation of his sin, at the same time frankly acknowledging it.”

Verse 15 –  Just as the “wrath of the king” is as “Messengers of death” so is the “Light of the king’s countenance”… “Life”.

The “Latter rain” was the final rain fall before the harvest of the crops; and was the necessary rain for nourishing the harvest.  So the king’s favor would be like that rain.
“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34

Glory into Shame

“O you sons of men, how long will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.” Psalm 4:2 (KJV)

The following is from The Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon…

“In this second division of the Psalm, we are led from the closet of prayer into the field of conflict. Remark the undaunted courage of the man of God. He allows that his enemies are great men (for such is the import of the Hebrew words translated – sons of men), but still he believes them to be foolish men, and therefore chides them, as though they were but children. He tells them that they love vanity, and seek after leasing, that is, lying, empty fancies, vain conceits, wicked fabrications. He asks them how long they mean to make his honour a jest, and his fame a mockery? A little of such mirth is too much, why need they continue to indulge in it? Had they not been long enough upon the watch for his halting? Had not repeated disappointments convinced them that the Lord’s anointed was not to be overcome by all their calumnies? Did they mean to jest their souls into hell, and go on with their laughter until swift vengeance should turn their merriment into howling? In the contemplation of their perverse continuance in their vain and lying pursuits, the Psalmist solemnly pauses and inserts a Selah. Surely we too may stop awhile, and meditate upon the deep-seated folly of the wicked, their continuance in evil, and their sure destruction; and we may learn to admire that grace which has made us to differ, and taught us to love truth, and seek after righteousness.”

Something for us to keep in mind as we look at two of Psalm 4 is that the “sons of men” of whom David refers are sons of the enemy of David and of God.  It is these sons who turn the glory of David into shame.  We must also remember that David is the character of Scripture of whom God said, “The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart” 1 Samuel 13:4, and Acts 13:22.

These sons of men seek their own welfare and glory, not the King’s neither the King of kings.  When I get to the word “Selah” of the Psalms or anywhere in Scripture, I see it as a chance to pause and meditate on what has just been said.

Jesus Christ is the King of kings. He came unto men through King David.  Let us rejoice in our King Jesus who came to earth to die on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.  One day He is returning as the Sovereign that He is promised to be.  O will you be ready for Him?

The Battle Against the King of kings and Lord of lords

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.
And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. Revelation 19:11-21 (KJV)

The term “heaven opened” is used only once in the Revelation. It is, however, used three other times in the New Testament; in Matthew 3:16; John 1:51; and Acts 7:56. In each case, it is a very special and glorious event.

At heaven’s opening, here we see a great army being led by none other than the glorified, risen Jesus Christ. This is not the same horse or rider that is mentioned in 6:2-3. The first rider went out to conquer with the deceit of false peace. This second white horse rider goes out to conquer and to put an end to every evil man and deed.

He is given several names in these verses.

  1. “Faithful and True”, thus fitting with the final sentence of verse nine (v. 11);
  2. One name that “no man knew”, but He Himself (v. 12);
  3. “The Word of God” – identifying Him as the One John earlier spoke of in John 1:1-5, 14 (v. 13).
  4. “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (v. 16), for truly all kings will bow before Him and, the devil, that is, Satan, the liar will bow before Him as Lord.

The “second coming” of Jesus will be to make war, not peace. War against His enemies who have rejected, neglected, and blasphemed His every attempt for redemption. War against those who considered their way better. War against those who despised His written Word. He will put them down by the Word of His mouth (2 Thes. 2:8).

Let us look now at the description of His appearance (vv. 12-16).

  1. “Eyes…as a flame of fire”. They are piercing, looking, judging righteous judgment. Surely, He would have been righteous in His judgment even had He chosen to redeem no one;
  2. “On His head were many crowns” – Could this be the crowns awarded the saints at the ‘judgment seat of Christ’? Awards the saints received only to lay them at the feet of Jesus recognizing Him as the One worthy of the crowns;
  3. “A name, no man knew”;
  4. “A vesture [robe] dipped in blood” – This is not His blood, but the blood of those who were trampled beneath His feet. If our sins are not paid for with the blood of Christ, then our own blood will be required to pay the eternal debt.
  5. “His name the Word of God” – This identifies Him as our Creator (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16) and as the One who gave His life for sinful man.

The “armies of Heaven” would probably include the angels of God as well as the Bride of Christ. Notice the reference back to verse 8, “fine linen, white and clean”. Verse 8 says, “…the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints”. Certainly, then, the ‘army’ includes the saints at least.

He puts down the nations with His Word. We can find reference to verse 15 of Psalm 2:9, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel”. His love, mercy, and grace have been extended over millennials of time. Now His ultimate wrath is poured out. The end of the reign of man has come and Jesus Christ shall reign forever more.

Because of the carnage, vultures are called to the scene. In the Old Testament, it was a sign of divine judgment when corpses of the dead were eaten by the beasts of the field. For example, read about Jezebel’s death in 1 Kings 21:23; 2 Kings 9:30-37. As a contrast to the above, read about the prophet in 1 Kings 13, and pay special attention to verses 23-25.

Needless to say the vultures, at man’s war with the glorified Jesus, have the feast of a lifetime.

The nations of earth could not keep their own “peace accords” and through this, God in His sovereignty calls them to “Armageddon” (16:16) where they fight one another only to suddenly be confronted by the Son of God. Confronted by Him sitting on the ‘white horse’ they unite against Him, recognizing a common enemy, only to be slain and fed to the vultures by the Lamb of God.

The Beast (13:4) and the false prophet (13:11) are cast into “a lake of fire burning with brimstone”. The smoke of their torment ascending day and night forever. The rest are slain by “Him that sat upon the horse”, and the “fowls were filled with their flesh”.

In conclusion, if this is the end of man’s anarchy against God, and his Word what will be your destiny? Will you be in the blessing of His presence on the glorious day of the LORD? Will you be at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and riding with Him when He comes with His saints, and in wrath upon His enemies?

The wrath for our sin has already been bourne by Christ Jesus on the cross.  The curse of sin and its debt paid by the blood of Christ.

To Fulfill God’s Will

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And He saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. Revelation 17:14-18

From verses 12 – 13 of the previous post, The “Ten horns” are ten kings which will rule the earth.

These unite to make war with the Lamb. They will be defeated by the Lamb because He is the “Lord of lords, and King of kings”.

There are four descriptions of the people of Christ: 1) They are with Him, 2) Are called, 3) Chosen, and 4) Faithful.

The fall of Religious Babylon is described in these verses. The sovereignty of God is seen throughout all of Scripture and it is none the less so here. God using a wicked political system to put away the wicked religious system. God hates hypocrisy and destroys all religion that opposes His plan and will for mankind. Remember this, “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will… until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”  God does work in mysterious ways; His wonders to perform.

When these political rulers think they are serving their own purposes and plans they will actually be carrying out the judgment of the Holy God upon the unholy harlot.

Any religion that bases salvation of man upon works, rather than by grace through faith, is a false religion and will fall under the judgment of our holy God.

The keeping of sacraments, indulgences, confession, rosary, witnessing, saying empty words, are works; and not grace provided by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. To claim works obtain salvation is to make void the cross of Christ, and commit “spiritual adultery”.

WORKS ARE THE FRUIT OF SALVATION, NOT THE CAUSE.

This will be THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MOTHER/CHILD RELIGION. Let me pose a question. Could this beast be the beast of democracy?

Religion rides highly in democratic governments, in most cases. Just think about many of the political campaigns of our day. Somehow “god” always comes into the picture. God is a big campaign word.  It is sad when the name of God is used in Church to make personal gain.  It is sad to see it in politics as well.  It is even spiritually gross to hear His name used to promote wrong, vile, and evil things.

O, friend, will you turn your life; your heart, your mind, your soul, and your strength over to Him now?  He died on the cross for you, was buried, and He arose alive, and lives forever.  Call on His name and He will hear you, save you, and give you eternal life.

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Six

What do I want for Christmas?

I want everyone to understand the true meaning of Easter; that it is about the death, burial and bodily resurrection of the Lord and Savior of all creation; that the only hope for our world is Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, eternally alive, and reigning as the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Fear not; I am the First and the Last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” [Jesus Christ] Revelation 1:17b-18 (KJV)

Also see Isaiah 41:4 and 44:6

Leaky gods Vs. Living Water

The men who were supposed to be the spiritual leaders of Judah had forsaken the LORD. They did not even realize their spiritual condition. That is a horrible thing for the “man of God” not to even notice that God is not present. The false prophets were prophesying by Baal, a false god, of pleasure. He was the god that took the place of the LORD in the hearts of Jerusalem.

Are things any different in the day in which we live (2013)? With Oprah’s “Secret”, a god that is not “Jealous”, and television commercials which make gods and godesses out of men and women with their products, we are becoming more and more of a pagan people.  We are a vain people.  In my mind there does not seem to be any difference; with the exception of clothing, and location.

In the text we look at today we see the LORD is bringing charges against the children of Jacob (v. 4).

HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD –

“Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children’s children will I plead. For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? But My people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”  Jeremiah 2:9-13 (KJV)

The charge brought against them is forsaking Him. What does it take to forsake the Living God? The answer to that is: Just by diliberately turning to another source of encouragement, and strength one forsakes the Living God.

Notice this charge. What other nation has forsaken their gods? None. Earlier in the Nation’s life they wanted to be like other nations by wanting a king. Read First Samuel, and you will see their request for a king. How is it that now they could not be like these other nations, and trust only in their God. The God of gods, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

When a follower of Christ Jesus follows someone or anything else they lose the Glory that was theirs in Christ. The Psalmist wrote –

“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake. Wherefore should the heathen say, ‘Where is now their God?’ But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: they have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.”  Psalm 115:1-8 (KJV)

Why would someone want to drink water from a cistern, when you can have flowing fresh clean water? That is what had happened to the people of God. They had left the glory of the LORD to pattern their lives after that of death and darkness. Any time God’s people follow the world, the flesh and the devil we get out of His glory, ie., the Glory of God.

These cisterns God tells us of, are even leaky cisterns. They cannot even hold water. These cisterns would catch the water from what little rainfall they might receive, and dew falling from the roof of the mornings, then go out of the morning and find only a wet well, but no water to drink.

You become like what you worship. So beware.  The “Secret” which Oprah promotes is no secret at all.  It began with the lies of the devil in the garden of Eden, “You shall be like God…”.   And they died.  Follow the Word of the Lord, and you shall live.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 3:4-5)

No Love Like God’s Love 3

“For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their King; and shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.” Hosea 3:4-5 (KJV)

The children of Israel are still in this stage of being without a king or a prince.  From the time of the return of the exiles from Babylon Israel ahs not been given to idolatry, they have not had a king or a prince; since the destruction of the temple (70 A.D.) their sacrifices have been abolished, and they have not had a Levite or a priest.

Hosea had placed Gomer in the disciplined lifestyle:

  1. Providing circumstances for her to respond to his love;
  2. “To convey through prophetic symbolism the deprivation into which God would bring Israel.”  From the STUDY BOOK.

This would make it possible for Israel to respond to God’s unconditional love.  While there is enjoyment in sin there is no opportunity of turning to God.

God would remove the false as well as the true.  “For many days” in verses three and four, imply a long period of time.  Probably as long as would be necessary to prepare them to return to God.

There is victory in God’s redemption.  Each of these first three chapters speak of Israel returning to God for full and completer redemption and forgiveness.  This is God’s purpose and plan for Israel and for His Church.

“Afterwards” – after the days of discipline.  After days, years, centuries, even millenniums “Israel shall return.”  There are not “Ifs” or “buts” about it.  They shall return.  They will “Seek the LORD their God”, and turn to “David their King” [fulfilled in Jesus Christ].  See Luke 1:32-33.

This prophecy has yet to take place.  It will in the Lord’s appointed time come to pass just as the prophecies forth tell.  When?  “In the last days.”

Jesus is the King of kings; rules over all the earth.  He is Lord of lords and has all things in His hands.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God will Fulfill His Word

“And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.  And he saith unto me, ‘The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.  And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.  For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”  Revelation 17:12-17 (KJV)

For the Christian and living in these troubled times; we need not fear men, nor trust their governments to do what is right and good for mankind.  God and His Lamb has demonstrated His love to us.  God will fulfill His Word.  God will see to it that every dot of the “i” and every cross of the “T” will be fulfilled.  Just as He has said.

-T.A.

Chief of Sinners

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.  Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  1 Timothy 1:12-17 (KJV)

It is quite often we make judgments about other people’s sins.  There is a time and place for doing so, and that is after we have first examined our own lives; to be sure we are not guilty of sin; the same sin as the one we accuse.  We also need to know “I am a sinner” too, and be gracious and merciful in our judgment.

I heard the story of a preacher who had been experiencing great trouble in the church congregation.  Accusations of others sins; bitterness, and anger against others.  It had not bee too pleasant for any in that church; then, one morning following his sermon, the preacher announced, “In this evening’s service I am going to declare the greatest sinner  in this church, and the biggest problem of this congregation.  The people passed the day with anticipation.  They were eager to return to evening service that night.  “Who could it be?” was the chief thing on their mind.  “Who would the preacher declare to be the greatest offense to this church?”  It came time for the meeting, all eyes were looking elsewhere with questioning eyes, asking, “Is it my neighbor?”, “Is it the deacon?”, “Is it… ___________?”  The preacher stepped into the pulpit, began his sermon; and when he ended the message he ended by saying,  “I promised to tell you who the greatest sinner was this evening, and I will.  It is me.”

Paul the apostle saw himself as the chief of sinners.  That is how every Christian should view sin.  I have no right to condemn my brother, sister, or my lost neighbor.  We are to see ourselves as the greatest offense, the greatest sinner around.  When we see ourselves in the light as sinners having received mercy and grace, then we too can be merciful and gracious.

Just so some will know.  I am not advocating not making wise judgments, but doing so with mercy and grace.  “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

-T.A.

 

In the Rule, and Fall of the Kingdoms of Men

…In The Rule, And Fall Of The Kingdom’s Of Men

Daniel 2:24-49

purpose – To show the peril and fallacious thinking in putting confidence in the rule of man; and the wisdom in putting your confidence in God and the rule of God.

“The reason we have democracy is because we don’t have righteous-rule monarchy. We need some kind of checks and balances, which is why our government is established as it is.” Dr. David Jeremiah THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL pg. 62.

The following  is a quote from Professor Alexander Tyler which he wrote concerning the fall of the Athenian republic which fell over a thousand years ago. He said,

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.” IBID. pg. 62.

One of the things we can see from the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and its interpretation is that man’s kingdoms are not eternal, they will fall; and that those who believe God and live for Him are promised a future eternal kingdom.  God’s King will overthrow the kingdoms of this world.  Now, for those who are “inhabiters of this world”, ie., those who love this world; they will be angry at our King, however,  their anger will go to naught.

INTRODUCTORY OUTLINE –

I.  DANIEL WAS A MAN WITH A HEART FOR OTHERS, AND A HEART FOR GOD (vv. 24-30).
II.  DANIEL WAS THE REVEALER GOD CHOSE TO REVEAL THE SECRETS OF THE KING’S MIND (vv. 31-35).
III.  DANIEL WAS GIVEN THE SECRET OF THE DREAMS INTERPRETATION (vv. 36-45).
IV.  DANIEL WAS THOUGHTFUL OF HIS FRIENDS AND WAS REWARDED (vv. 46-49).

During the rule and fall of the kingdom’s of men we must follow the heart of our Savior and Lord.  It was also the heart of Daniel.

I.  AS CHRISTIANS WE HAVE THE ANSWER FOR MANKIND’S PROBLEMS; WE MUST  BE LOVING TOWARD OTHERS (vv. 24-30).
The answer to governments who rule, and don’t rule well is Jesus Christ.  The answer for an empty bank account, is to trust the Lord.  These answers may not put food on the table or money in the bank, but it is the answer to peace of mind and heart.  Jesus saving the soul of troubled people changes the minds and hearts of government, eventually, Jesus will rule and reign on the earth.  Peace of mind, and especially “peace with God” is the greatest thing in this world to possess.

Do we sincerely believe that Jesus is the means of mankind’s salvation?  Do we sincerely believe that He [Jesus Christ] died on a cross, was buried, and three days later came out of that grave alive?  Christian, if you sincerely believe that then we need to be sharing that message.  Daniel had the answer for the king, but when he received the answer his immediate response wasn’t to run in declaring, “I have the interpretation.  I know the dream and its interpretation.”   His immediate response was for the lives of the “wise men”.  We live under the governments of men; which at any time could turn on its people and declare anything unlawful, and with a mad ruler could declare “Christians are unfit to live.  We declare it just and legal to kill anyone who calls themselves ‘Christian’”.  Let’s pray that doesn’t happen; but it could.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”  Acts 4:12 (KJV)

When Arioch hears of Daniel’s revelation he immediately tells the king, “I have found a man…”.  It seems as though he is trying to assume at least part of the responsiblity for discovering the secret.  I guess we all want some approval for what we do.

As Daniel we to should not take credit for what God has done.  We must give Him the glory for the answer for our hearts problems, and fears, and declare along with Daniel, “There is a God in heaven…”, and this is as opposed to statues, cash, bank accounts, health care, investments, bonds, any material possession; even family; which are temporary.  There is a God in heaven who has made all things, holds them together, and saves His prized creation from the death brought on by our sin.

We cannot avoid the issue of the “Latter days”.  What days is Daniel speaking of.  It seems that those latter days which the Old Testament speaks of is those days which referr to the coming of Jesus Christ; and beginning with His first coming where He died for our sins and rose from the dead, until the time He returns and sets up His kingdom upon earth; ruling and reigning from Jerusalem.  We are in those latter days.  If people don’t know Jesus Christ trusting Him for their eternity and life, then, they will be part of those who are crushed by the “stone cut out without hands”.

II.  WHEN UNGODLY RULERS SEE THE GREAT IMAGE, CHRISTIANS SEE THE GREAT MOUNTAIN (vv. 31-45).

“For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”  Habakkuk 2:14 (KJV)

When Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed of this great image, which may be the inspiration for the design of the image he erects in his own honor in chapter three; we find that Daniel sees these things as “Beasts” in chapter seven when he begins to dream of these things.  We will cover this more when we get to chapter seven, however, the beasts which Daniel sees are devouring beasts, and that is how governments of men behave.  Not only do they devour people, but they devour people’s goods and gold.  Ruling men often see their empires as “great images” to pattern others by; God sees them as devouring beasts.

Rulers often see their kingdoms brightly arrayed, and glorious; and Daniel was respectful.  Nebuchadnezzar was a proud man, and “pride goes before destruction”.  How long will it take for wicked rulers to realize that their kingdoms cannot defeat the power and authority of God?  Only until Jesus comes again and defeats wicked men’s hearts will they continue on their slippery slope to destruction.

You will notice in the interpretation of the dream that the metals become less and less precious; less and less valuable.  The most valuable being gold down to the feet which are “iron mixed with clay”.  The kingdoms become more and more inferior.  John Calvin in his commentary of Daniel writing of the kings following writes,

“We see then that his kingdom is not called inferior through having less splendour or opulence in human estimation, but because the general condition of the world was worse under the second monarchy, as men’s vices and corruptions increase more and more.”  John Calvin Commentary pg. 173 Daniel 2:39

If this be the case and I believe that it is then, how far have we slid since then?  Kings and kingdoms seem even more set on setting themselves over all men and over all the earth and over God’s Word and will.

In the dream Nebuchadnezzar saw an image with a head of gold; arms and chest of silver; belly and thighs of brass [bronze]; legs of iron; and feet of iron mixed with clay.  These are representative of five nations which succeed one from the other, having great power, but deteriorating in moral strength and character.  The head of gold is representative of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar; the arms and chest of silver represent the Medo-Persian empire; the belly and thighs of brass represent Greece; the legs of iron represent Rome; and the feet of iron and clay represent the future  new world order.

It is a wonderful and gracious thing to have the assurance, that all the kingdoms of this world are under the authoritative hand of Almighty God.  The world and her “rulers” may see an “great and awesome” image, but in the eyes of the Almighty they are devouring beasts.  Sounds like Jesus’s description of the “thief”,

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10 (KJV)

The Psalmist tells us where we are not to put our trust; and that is in the princes of this world; including the “prince of darkness”,

“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.”  Psalms 146:3 (KJV)

There is no help in man or beasts.  Our help and our hope is in the Lord God Almighty.

III.  THERE IS REWARD AWAITING THE FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN IN THE KINGDOM OF JESUS CHRIST (vv. 46-49).
Jesus said, “Great is your reward in heaven” when referring to the blessed who are persecuted in Matthew 5:12.  There are other places He mentions reward; having “their own reward”, or not receiving “reward” because it was already received.  (See Matthew 5:46; 6:1-18;  10:41-42; 16:27).  God will always honor faithfulness to Himself and His Word.  He has promised rewards to the faitful.  The greatest reward is not escaping hell, death, punishment; not walking on “streets of gold” or through “gates of pearl”, or living in a “mansion” in heaven;  the greatest reward will be beholding the face of our Lord who bled, died, was buried, and rose again that we might be saved.

There is nothing wrong with expecting reward for faithfulness in ministry.  It is wrong if that is the only reason, or the main reason for doing the ministry.  The main reason for serving the Lord in ministry is loving Him, and giving the opportunity to others to love Him.  Remember we can only love Him, because He first loved us;

“We love Him, because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19.

Loving Him can stand alone; even with no other reward; because we cannot love Him, except we first realize His great love for us in dying on the cross for our sin, being buried, then rising again from the grave paying the debt that was ours to pay.

God loves you and me enough to send the very best; His Son.  He loves you so much to save us as we are; He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.

There is fear and dread in the rule of the kings and kingdom’s of men.  However, there is peace in knowing that God rules in the political, economical, social, and national affairs of kings.  The King of all kings reigns supremely.

application –

i.  Christians love others through Christ Jesus, and stand for their rights and their lives.
ii.  Christians are committed to the King of kings, and will loyally serve the kings of earth, in Christ.
iii.  Christians serve the Lord; the King of kings; because of love for Him, and are expecting the rewards He has promised.
iv.  Christians, by faith, know and believe that all things are in the hands of the Almighty God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Messengers Going

These sermon notes were originally posted at Fire and Hammer.

The King’s Messengers Going

As we look at this tenth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, we will see some great things concerning those who were Jesus’s disciples during that time while He walked as man among mankind whom He created. We also see some great things concerning disciples of Jesus through all of time.

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

The disciples of the King are sent forth and they go where He sends them. He tells them not to go to the Gentiles. His message is first to the house of Israel; His people by birth (“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” John 1:11 KJV). This was a “Command” of the King. “Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”, and as Paul the apostle wrote, “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek”.

Jesus will not always send His disciples to the most comfortable places. For the most part the places where it is needed that we go may be the most uncomfortable, and seemingly forsaken. It is the King’s command to go. He sends us to where He will.

Of all the people who should have known and recognized Him it should be the house of Israel. Why? They had the writings of the Word of God. They were a called out people to a special task. They had been chosen by God to receive the oracles of God, preserved them, present them to the world, and to live them for the glory of the Lord. They had continually received the mercy and the grace of God; and were on display to the world of the graciousness of God.

The very fact that their Messiah would send His messengers to the house of Israel shows that He saw their greatest need. That greatest need was not miracles. It was Himself; but they finally would reject Him, try Him, find Him guilty, mock Him, crucify Him, but ultimately they will be delivered by Him.

The message of the heralds/disciples is that the kingdom of the King is at hand. The kingdom for which Jesus addresses is His kingdom, and it is near. The time of His rule on earth is coming soon. Some may look at this and think, “Well! It has been nearly 2000 years since He spoke these words and it is not here yet”. On that I would differ. He has said that it is near and that it is “In you”. The message of John the Baptist was “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” Matthew 3:2 (KJV). The message of John and Jesus were the same. A call to repentance because the kingdom was approaching soon.

My idea of the kingdom of heaven is probably unlike many of our day, particularly in Baptists circles. The kingdom of heaven is the rule and reign of Jesus Christ in all creation. It is not the salvation of the lost, though, it could include that. It is not a program to get Christians active in doing the “work of the kingdom”. It is the present activity and reign of Jesus Christ in the hearts and lives of people, and all the created order. We cannot help but be involved in it. We can decide whether we will be active or passive in our involvement, in proclaiming the message of His kingdom. The message of repentance for the kingdom of heaven is at hand is still a needed, and pertinent message. We must proclaim the kingdom of our King.

Usually when we decide to go somewhere, particularly if it is of some distance and will take some time, we prepare and get ready to go. This commissioning/sending is urgent. It requires leaving without preparation, packing, and there is certainly no time for parking. People are perishing is the urgency of the call. This is not saying that one does not need to be prepared with knowledge of the Word of God, and dealing with people. When you have got filled up body, mind and soul, the work of the gospel of the kingdom is not one that requires a lot of baggage. The beginning of Abraham’s journey of faith shows us quite clearly that when we begin the journey with excess baggage God has a way of getting shed of it. On the beginning of his journey his father died. When they got into the Promised Land to stay the herds of Lot and Abraham grew where the herdsmen of both men began to quarrel, and so they separated there, thus Abraham is now without the baggage he began with.

The things Jesus spoke of in verses 9-10 was baggage. Baggage they would only have to keep up with. It was a way of dealing with only what is important in life. It is the way of the King to say, “You will need to trust Me on this mission. You may not understand, but I will provide all your need, as you walk with Me”. There will be those on the journey who will come to your aid, and you will not be tied to all those worldly possessions. It allows us to do what we must do with diligence and haste, in the fear of the LORD.

Wherever the disciple/herald of the King goes he needs to be a stable influence on the people where he/she is. If the disciple moves from one good home to another there is absolutely no picture of stability. John Gill writing on this writes:

and there abide till ye go out; of that city or town, to another city or town: for to be often changing houses would bring upon them an ill character, as if they were difficult to be pleased, not content with the provision made for them; and would look as if they sought to serve their own bellies, and gratify their appetites, more than to do good to the souls of men; and besides, moving from the house of a bountiful man, might bring some reproach upon his character, as if he had not used them well, and therefore left him. In short, Christ’s meaning is, that he would not have his disciples be difficult, and dainty, or fickle, and inconstant, but be content with such things they should have provided for them; and not seek for other, and better quarters, nor fear being troublesome where they were.” From e-Sword commentary on Matthew 10:11.

The disciple is to be a source of faith and stability, and not one that seems to be always uneasy, unsure, and dissatisfied. How stable do the Christians of 2007 and beyond appear before a world who needs the message of the King, and the King Himself.

One thing that is most needed by the disciple of Jesus Christ is discernment. It looks to me like there are many Christians who are laying “discernment” aside for the sake of “Unity” so called. Giving up on presenting the Christ like life as one of holiness, sound thinking and a sound mind. Many are more concerned with what draws a crowd than they are with holiness, and being separate from the world. Use it if it draws the people is the pragmatic approach in “ministry” of the day. The early disciple never used that approach. What did they do? They proclaimed the message of the King, and left the results up to the Spirit of God and each individual heart who heard the message of the kingdom.

Most of us, I am fairly certain, have been in the home of an individual where you had been invited in, but you just did not feel at all comfortable. As a matter of fact your thoughts were, “I am getting out of here just as quickly as I can”. It is sad to say, but in far too many homes the Christian and the message of Jesus Christ is not at all welcome. They do not want to hear it, most of them will tell you so, and there is no light in that house at all. The disciple of Jesus is not to have any part in that house, but go to the other where there is a warm welcome waiting.

When those disciples went into a house or a city and they were not welcomed warmly, that place was to be treated as though they were heathen by the Jews. “Shake off the dust of your feet” was the words of Jesus. Sodom and Gomorrah would be treated better in the day of judgment than that house or city who does not welcome the disciple of Jesus. Some do not agree, but the Bible does teach degrees of punishment in eternal hell. Verse 15 here in our text, and others. From Vine’s Word Study of e-Sword:

Mat 10:14 – Shake off (ἐκτινάξατε) “The very dust of a heathen country was unclean, and it defiled by contact. It was regarded like a grave, or like the putrescence of death. If a spot of heathen dust had touched an offering, it must at once be burnt. More than that, if by mischance any heathen dust had been brought into Palestine, it did not and could not mingle with that of ‘the land,’ but remained to the end what it had been – unclean, defiled and defiling everything to which it adhered.” The apostles, therefore, were not only to leave the house or city which should refuse to receive them, “but it was to be considered and treated as if it were heathen, just as in the similar case mentioned in Mat_18:17. All contact with such must be avoided, all trace of it shaken off” (Edersheim, “Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ”). The symbolic act indicated that the apostles and their Lord regarded them not only as unclean, but as entirely responsible for their uncleanness. See Act_18:6.

The disciple of Jesus the King needs to realize the tragedy of rejecting the message of the King and His kingdom. We should also warn all those who are in the way of rejection. God is never pleased that the wicked perish. (Read Ezekiel 18. See verses 23 and 32). Thus, the message of the King’s kingdom must continue. Receive the King and His kingdom.

-T.A.

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 60 – Knowing the LORD God

Reading the prophecy of Ezekiel can lead a person to only one good conclusion, and that is that GOD wants people to know Him.  Some of the reading sounds harsh, deadly, and judgmental; however we are speaking of our Creator; and who are we to question how He works.  Can the clay say to the potter, “You don’t know what you are doing”.  Not at all.  The God of creation has one thing in mind, and that is the glory of His name; and He will accomplish what He has started to do – that the people of the earth know Him.

My reading this morning was Ezekiel 24 – 37.  I have mentioned it in passing, but today I will spend some time with the phrase, “…Know that I am the LORD”.  In looking at this phrase and its use in Ezekiel we find it at least 24 times in today’s reading.  I will only give you a few of those references.

First in today’s reading I read these words being spoken to Israel of Ezekiel’s service,

“Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 24:24 (KJV)

Ezekiel’s wife had died.  He was not to weep or mourn publicly because of her death.  By this Ezekiel was a sign for Israel and their captivity; no time for grief and mourning over the dead.  The second time in my reading this morning is in verse 27,

“In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.” 24:27

Previously, Ezekiel had been unable to speak, but now the LORD was going to open his mouth, and he would speak, and by this the people would know that Jehovah/YHWH is the LORD.  Remember the LORD is proper and just, Righteous, and holy and can do how He pleases to bring people to the one conclusion the human race needs to know; and that is that He is the LORD.

“And I will execute judgments upon Moab; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”  25:11

The LORD of hosts speaks these words through Ezekiel and to other people; not just to Israel.  He desires the nations to know Him.  He desires Moab to know that He is the LORD.  One day at the final day of judgment the world will know that He is the LORD.  That however does not mean, that all will be with Him in His glory.

To the land of Tyre [Tyrus] God says,

“And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.  It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a spoil to the nations.  And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”  26:4-6

Many an arrogant nation have exalted themselves over what GOD had for them.  Many of these nations will be removed from the earth, their lands left desolate; and never restored.  It is to the king of Tyrus that we find him to be filled with the evil of Satan himself (28:12-15).

The Nile River is a very important river in Egypt.  However the nation’s leader had exalted himself to the point of being Egypt’s god, claiming to have made the river himself and it being his river.  To this arrogance the Lord says, through the prophet,

“And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it.”  29:9

God is especially grieved when His people; the one’s He has chosen to be His light, and the glory of His name; when we turn our backs on Him to other gods [idols made by the minds and hands of men in their own images].  This was the guilt of Judah and Israel. God says to Israel again,

“For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through.   Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.”  33:28-29

God will not leave His people without judgment.  In fact He will judge His people first and foremost.  The arrogance of Israel was so bad, so gross they had been secure in the temple, also made by the hands of men; in thinking and saying, “God will never destroy this nation, or this temple.  It is the Temple of  the LORD”.  They found out differently.  God is more involved and careful that we might know Him, than He is in our security, survival or success.

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.  As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD.”  36:37-38

God will not leave His people without hope.  In their captivity He continually reminds them of their return to the land.  It will of course be after the land has been restored its sabbaths lost by the years of neglect of sabbaths by her  people.  A final promise I want to leave with you is that,

“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.”  37:24-25

“David My servant” is none other than the King of kings, born in Bethlehem, died on a cross in Jerusalem, buried, and bodily raised from the dead; justifying all who will believe in Him.  The world will know that Jesus Chirst is LORD.  Bow now; or bow later.  It is your choice.

-Tim A. Blankenship

B F & M – The Kingdom

There is a kingdom coming on earth which is unlike any kingdom to ever exist.  It seems that the “Crusades” which were foolish “Christian” attempts to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth has brought legend and myth to the idea of a heavenly kingdom.

When Jesus was with us on earth, He said to His disciples as He sent them to preach, “…As you go, preach saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.  That meaning, of course, that it was very near.  The Gospel of Matthew uses the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven”.  “Kingdom of God” is used mostly by the other Gospel writers.  There are some who believe that means it is speaking of two realms of divine reign; and most believe one encompassing the other.

Here is our Statement of Faith concerning the Kingdom:

“IX. The Kingdom

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.

Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.”

There is one thing we can know for sure and that is that Jesus Christ is the King of the kingdom of heaven, and His kingdom which will come on the earth.

In His kingdom on earth, there will be no more wars, but peace will abound.  There will be no more sickness, health will abound.  There will be only beauty, joy, and love.  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom.

Those who refuse Jesus as their King will be cast alive into everlasting fire.  The blessed kingdom reign of Jesus is coming when Jesus comes again.

-T.A.

…A Good Work On Me…

After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. 2 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.  Mark 14:1-2 (KJV)

You will notice the season of the year.  It was the time of the  Passover when the Hebrews would remember the deliverance of the nation from Egypt by the hand and will of God.  It was also the time for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  These two events took place during the same week each year.  You could even say they took place simultaneously.

The Passover was instituted when God commanded – through Moses – for each home to sacrifice a lamb and spread its blood on the door post and lintel of their home.  Exodus chapter 12 gives the details of this event.  It even tells us that this was to be the beginning of their year (EX. 12:2).

This conspiracy to kill Jesus has a political, popularity angle to it.  These “Religious” leaders want it to be done after all the multitudes of people have gone.  They know that with a lot of the people Jesus is very popular.  These “Leaders” see Him as a threat to their positions and to their religion.

In the heart and mind of God the Father the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread was the perfect time for His Lamb to die for the sins of mankind.  These “Religious leaders” plotted and planned the death of Jesus, but to no avail in getting it done in their time slot.  God rules in the affairs of men, and if men think not to let God rule, He overrules.  Psalm 2:1-4 helps us better understand the minds and workings of man against God, and how God overrules their plans.

And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard  very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.  4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. 6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. 7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. 8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. 9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. Mark 14:3-9 (KJV)

In the minds of some who were at this gathering with Jesus the anointing of Jesus with this oil was an extravagant waste. Matthew 26:8 tells us, “But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, To what purpose is this waste? “.  John wrote,

” Then said one of His disciples (Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who was to betray Him)   Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”

The murmuring of it must have come from the disciples, but Judas was the only one who spoke, and it was not because he cared for the poor, but “because he was a thief, and held the money bag” (John 12:6).

The value of this ointment was around a years wages.  It was quite valuable, but we must ask the question, “Of how much worth is Jesus?”  This woman, Mary, who was probably not a wealthy woman, did “All she could” for Jesus.  How many of us could honestly say “We have done all we could for Jesus”?  How many of us could have Jesus say of us “She has done what she could”?

Who was this woman?  John identifies her as Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus [whom Jesus raised from death after four days in the tomb].  It seems she and others knew of Jesus’ approaching death.  That is how Jesus describes her anointing His feet, “She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for the burying.” (v. 8).

“Spikenard” according to John MacArthur Study Bible, quote,

“This actually  represents two words in the Greek that could be translated ‘pure nard’.  The oil was derived from the nard plant, which was native to India.  That it was pure meant it was genuine and unadulterated, which is what made it so costly”.

The “Flask” – again from John MacArthur Study Bible –

“This long-necked bottle was made out of a special variety of marble, a material which proved to be the best container for preserving expensive perfumes and oils”. (Page 1493).

The flask being made from marble which was mined in Egypt would be very expensive itself.  Thus, Mary’s breaking of the flask made the offering that much more expensive.

In our daily lives we spend and spend and spend on things which really do not matter for eternity.  What have we really sacrificed for our Lord and Savior who gave His life for us?  We may not have much, but we must surrender it all to Him.  He bought us with the price of His blood.

In Luke chapter 7 there is another incident of a woman having an alabaster box and washing Jesus’s feet with her tears, wiping them with the hairs of her head, then anointing His feet with the oil.  This must be a completely different occasion.  It takes place in a Pharisees home, the woman is evidently a woman of disrepute, and the Pharisee’s comment sets it apart too.  The time, also, is earlier in the ministry of Jesus.

As born again children of the King of kings it is in our hearts to do all we can for His name and glory.  If it cost nothing it is not a sacrifice.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Presentation Of The King

The Presentation Of The King

Matthew 21:1-16

This study and message is from a study of the final days of our Lord’s life walking among mankind.  This is in fact the beginning of the final week of His life, before His crucifixion.  My intent is to do a study of the final week of Christ before the death on the cross.

This study will consist of about ten sermons, preached on Sunday morning and evening through the fourth of April, 2010.  It will cover chapters 21 through 23; chapters 26 through 28; and must keep in mind that this will not be an exhausted study – there will be much more to learn when my study is finished on this matter.  Of course, the final messages will deal with our Lord’s resurrection, and His appearances to His followers, and the Great Commission.

We see from other passages of Scripture that Jesus had a mind set for Jerusalem in those final days of His life.  He saw the goal in sight; and that goal was to do His Father’s will, and glorify His name; and to provide salvation and redemption for the people of the world.

For three years Jesus had avoided being forced to be the king (John 6:15), and forced into an early death (Luke 4:28-30).  Now, it is as though, He realizes that it is time to present Himself as the servant King who comes to die for His people.  More than a king He is the Lamb, and will die as the Passover Lamb for the sins of the people.

OUTLINE –

I.  THE KING’S REQUESTS (vv.1-5).
II.  THE PRESENTATION OF THE KING FOR PASSOVER (vv. 6-11).
III.  THE KING AND THE TEMPLE THIEVES (vv. 12-16).

THE KING’S REQUESTS (vv. 1-5).
The heart of Jesus from the time He was a boy was to do the will of His Father (Luke 2:49).  He has lived, believed and known that all things were in His Father’s hands; even the time of His sacrifice; and trusted Him to that purpose and goal.  It may not seem; to us; like much of a goal – to come to die – however, for Jesus that was His purpose for being on earth, and always to glorify the Father.

When Jesus and His disciples came to Bethphage, near the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples to a certain place where there were two donkeys tied.  They were to bring them to Jesus.  If the owners of these donkeys asked what they were doing, then they were to respond, “The Lord has need of them”, and the men would let them go.  When the disciples arrived at the designated spot, they found the donkeys just as Jesus had said, and sure enough the owners asked, “What are you doing loosing the colt?” (Mark 11:5).  This was an act of the sovereign mind and will of God; directing the affairs of His holy Son.

The requests was for the donkeys.  Though there was actually no asking necessary we are not told who owned the donkeys.  We do however know that God is the Owner of all things, thus, He directs their use and purpose for His glory.  The thing we must realize in this matter is that Jesus’s heart was to fulfull the word of God,

“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”  21:4-5 (KJV)  and this is a quote from

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”  Zechariah 9:9 (KJV)

THE PRESENTATION OF THE KING FOR PASSOVER (vv. 6-11).
This has been called the “Triumphal Entry”, “King’s coronation” and maybe other things as well.  Those are probably two of the most popular.  It is more like the “King’s Offering”, than one of triumph or coronation.

Traditionally, this day has been believed to have been on Sunday – Palm Sunday, the Sunday before we celebrate Easter.  It is, however, believed by some that this was on Monday and Jesus entered Jerusalem exactly four days before Passover.  Let’s consider that this was Monday 10th day Nisan [Abib] and Passover was on the 14th Nisan [Friday].  Whether it was Sunday or Monday there would still be the four days, and fulfillment of the requirements of the law according to Exodus 12:2-6.  Verse 6 there tells us;

“And ye shall keep it up [the lamb] until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.”  Exodus 12:6 (KJV)

When the King came into Jerusalem through the East gate on that donkey colt, never been rode before; I just suspect that colt recognized His Master; and humbly submitted to His sovereign rein on him.  It appeared that the people who were present for His appearance were into the “coronation”.  There was much praising, celebrating; spreading their garments on the road, cutting off palm branches for the way.  The multitude who was praising Him was also shouting “Hosanna” which means “save now”; and was expecting a quick solution to their problems.  It is sad to think how fickle people are, and that many of these same ones who were at this moment ready to crown Him King would in a few short days be in the crown screaming, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him” when they are asked, “What shall I do with Jesus?”.

“Son of David” is a Messianic title and the Scripture Jesus gives reference to is from Psalm 8 verse 2.  Psalm two is in fact a messianic Psalm speaking of the Messiah who will come and save the world.

THE KING AND THE TEMPLE THIEVES (vv. 12-16).
Early in the ministry of Jesus He entered the court of the Gentiles and cleansed it lighting the fuses of hostility among the religious leaders.  His house was being violated; and in the last days of His ministry He finds that it needs done again.  He enters the court and in anger drives out the moneychangers, sellers of doves, and lambs for sacrifice, overthrew the tables.  Jesus calls this house “My house” (v. 13).  However in Matthew 23 Jesus says,

“Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”  Matthew 23:38 (KJV)

The court of the Gentiles was a place for all nations (Mark 11:17) to gather and learn from Israel about the Lord God, and for prayer.  Now it was not anything more than a place of business for the greedy merchants taking advantage of the weary travelers who needed to buy their sacrifices for the Passover.  It is quite possible that the merchants even would condemn a perfectly healthy lamb in order to sell one of theirs to the owner of the condemned lamb.  Then, they would turn around and sell the formerly condemned lamb as a clean lamb to another weary traveler.  They had quite the scam going, and Jesus knew it.

Those who think it is alright to take advantage of other peoples situations for profit need only see the reaction of Jesus to these acts of thievery.  It is sad to admit and say, but some of this stuff goes on in “Christian” Book stores, and in some churches too.  It is too often seen on what calls itself “Christian television” with “Send in your offering, and you will be healed” statements.  Making extreme profit in the name of Jesus is still thievery, and Jesus is not pleased by it.

Still the religious leaders just don’t get it.  They question Jesus, as though to get Him to rebuke the people for crying out to Him.  Perfected praise in the mouths of “babes and sucklings”.  Now that is something we must consider.  The humble, dependent heart of the child is what the religious leaders of that day and our needs.

application –

i.  We must hear the King’s requests or commands, obey them and also have the heart for fulfilling the word of the Lord in our lives and the world.
ii.  Recognize that the King has presented Himself as a sacrifice for sin; trust Him, believe Him, yield to Him, and let Him rule and reign in your life.
iii.  The house of our King is holy; our body is the temple of the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:16-17); it is the “House of prayer”; keep it from becoming a den of thieves.

-Tim A. Blankenship

King Jesus and Children

Children are precious.  It still boggles the mind, for me, to hear of people abusing children, whether it is physically in anger or sexual molestation.  That also causes me to get a “little” angry down inside.  To think a “mature” individual could do harm to a child is beyond my understanding.

Children are trusting, caring, unless they have their minds twisted by twisted adults.  Don’t take me wrong; I am not saying children are perfect, but they are young, dependent upon those who are mature, and trust them with their welfare.

Jesus the King loved children and he calls them to Himself.  We see an example of that in Matthew’s gospel,

“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”  Matthew 18:2-5 (KJV)

In verse one the disciples had come to Jesus and asked, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  That is the question many are asking today.  Maybe not with words, but in their actions and behavior.  Government actions offering more money for their state if they will go along with one thing or another.  Men offering their wives more money to stay with them rather than going public with a divorce.  Police taking money to turn their heads at crime.  It all has to do with someone being the “greatest” in their kingdom.

Upon hearing the question Jesus calls a child to Himself, set this child in the middle of them all and proceeded to tell them who was the greatest.  His answers violates the answers that the world system offers us.  “Boast of your personal assets and abilities”.  That is what the world wants of you  and I.

However consider Jesus’s words, “Except you be converted, and become as little children…”  There must be a life changing event that has happened in your life which has changed you; particularly becoming a loving/obedient follower of Jesus Christ; and that will give you the heart of a child.  Children are loving, trusting, humble; having no personal accomplishments, no real life achievements, in which to commend themselves.

When one is truly converted to Christ they lay all the self accomplishments aside, all their failures, all their sins are put away.  The life of faith is growing to become more childlike in faith.  In the physical world we grow from childhood to maturity; at least that’s the idea.  In the life of Christ we go from being mature in ourselves to growing in childlike faith.  From maturity to childhood.

That may sound a bit backwards for some, however, that is the way we are to grow.  Into completely trusting our Lord and Savior.

The ones who have this type of faith are the only ones who will even enter the kingdom of heaven.

Put aside, lay aside your achievements and personal accomplishments, and trust the King of kings and Lord of lords who has given His life on the cross for our sins.  You can trust Him for your needs.  Your greatest need is salvation from the condemnation of this world and sin.  Jesus has made the only way possible for salvation.

“Whosoever  calls on the name of the LORD  shall be saved” (Romans 10:13)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Becoming A Hero Of The Faith

Caleb is a hero of the Scriptures.  He is heroic in faith.  He is a champion of the Lord.  Wouldn’t it be great to be known by others as a champion of the LORD.  Let’s look at a time in Caleb’s life.  At this point they have reached a destination and battles have been fought and won, and some lost.

“Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel“  Joshua 14:14 (KJV).

Caleb was one of two who when they had returned from spying out the Promised Land, before they would enter it, who had the faith to enter after seeing that there was a hard war to be fought (READ Numbers chapter 13).  Because of his faith he and Joshua were the only people over the age of 20, at the time of the rebellion, that was allowed to enter and dwell in the Promised Land.

Now, we see Caleb being rewarded once again.  In verse 12 we find Caleb saying, “Give me this mountain”, and he said it knowing there were “Giants” in that mountain.  He thrived in the struggle.  His further statement was, “If so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.”

O, how the one’s who follow Jesus Christ need this heart of faith.  To not be hindered by the barriers, and some of those are self imposed.  To not be loaded down with the baggage of fear and doubt.  How was it that Caleb could go and conquer?

“Because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel”.  Let’s be sure we wholly follow the Lord Jesus, Son of God, King of kings, and LORD of lords.  Through faith in Jesus Christ we can take that mountain that looks daunting at the moment.

-Tim A. Blankenship

King Jesus And Taxes

What a crazy world we live in.  People being taxed to oblivion to pay for wants that someone else wants for us.  Sometimes, much of the time taxes just don’t seem fair, nor impartial.

Jesus Christ, Son of the living God is King, and Lord or all; yet He subjected Himself to the affairs of men; even the paying of taxes.  The taxes we look at in this study is a gift for the temple basically.  You will find the beginning of this tax in Exodus 30:13, and it tells us that every male above the age of twenty, once per year was to pay this to fund the upkeep of the tabernacle and the temple.

There are some practical things we can see in this lesson; but we must not miss the miracle which was performed either.

“And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?  He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.  Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.”  Matthew 17:24-27 (KJV)

First of all they were at headquarters, the place where they met most often, for recuperation, and be with family and friends – Capernaum.  Peter is questioned about the temple tax.  Then, Jesus questions Peter concerning the matter of taxes.  Who pays taxes sons or strangers?  Of course we must realize that the government Jesus is referring to is a monarchy, a rule by king, and the king nor his sons would be required to pay taxes.  After all they are the one’s receiving the tax.

Jesus illustrates that the children of the king are also free from taxes; but goes on to say, “Lest we should offend them, go…”  Jesus is the King of the temple, He owns the temple, He is Lord of the temple, therefore free from the taxes of the temple, and then He states, “Then are the children free.”  So as not to offend Jesus sends Peter on a fishing trip.

Here on this fishing trip is where the miracle takes place and a good lesson of faith, and practicality.  Peter was called to follow Jesus, and he left his nets [fishing] and followed Him.  Now when there is an immediate need Jesus sends Him back to do something he knows, but only for what he needs, and Jesus’s need as well.

The practical thing could be that Peter went fishing caught fish, sold them and then brought the money to pay the taxes for he and Jesus, but then we would miss the miracle.  If Peter would have done that he would have missed it.  How many times have we missed a miracle because we were doing what Jesus sent us to do, but we did more than what He said?

“Take up the fish that first cometh up.” was the word of Jesus to Peter, “and thou shalt find a piece of money”.  If Peter would have taken all the fish in the net, and sold them, he would have missed the miracle of Jesus’s supply.

We should be able to learn from this that there are jobs, careers, vocations, which are honorable, bring us great rewards, and when we do them with honor, and joy, helping others along the way, then we can be blessed.  Now it isn’t every fisherman who can go, catch a fish, open its mouth and find a coin, and it be the exact amount needed to pay taxes for two men.

Peter, for once, did what he was commanded to do.  In doing so he was blessed and unnecessary offense was avoided.

Let us go and do likewise.  Jesus is the King of kings.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Death Of The King

Just as surely as I post this writing of THE DEATH OF THE KING there will be some who will immediately think that I am writing of Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson.  Not so on my part.  As I thought of this title I was not even thinking of those two but of the One who is the genuine King of all kings; including the king of rock, and of pop as the world has called them.

It is sad that far too many people mourn the lives of two men whose lives were controlled by popularity, power, money, and drugs; and eventually taken possibly by the same things and drugs.  Their lives are sad examples of wasted living, and wasted lives.

Enough about those lives, and on to the One whose life, though short was lived to glorify the Father, and to give His own life for the salvation of sinful men, and women.

It is sad to see a man live His life for good, God, and His glory; and then to have it taken from Him due to sin.  Lust, power, envy, greed, politics, covetousness, popularity, and every sin among men who loved darkness rather than light had this man condemned to die.  The ugliest of mankind was seen on the day or our Lord’s death.

Hear the words of Jesus –

“And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:  And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.”  Matthew 17:22-23 (KJV)

Jesus had just spent time correcting His disciples concerning the reason why they could not cast a demon from a young man.  They had tried and failed.  The father of the boy was frustrated with them, and when Jesus came down from the mountain where He was transfigured before their eyes, took this boy and cast the demon out of him without much thought.

Now, while they are in Galilee Jesus tells them, as He has before of His death which is approaching.  There is much evidence in the Gospels that Jesus’s heart was set on going to Jerusalem for the distinct purpose to die; and to do so for the sins of the world.  And by the hands of sinful men be judged, found guilty (without guilt), beaten and whipped, mocked, be nailed to a cross, and hung on that tree (“Cursed is the man that hangeth on a tree” Galations 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:23), and took the curse that was meant for us all; the curse of sin and death.

It seems that the disciples, as Jesus spoke to them, were not thinking of who He was talking about or something.    It had not sunk into their blind minds of whom He referred.

Of course Jesus was speaking of Himself who would die, and on the “third day rise again”.  It could be too, that they heard the part about His death, but the part of the resurrection was not assimilated into their thinking.  Thus they were sorry for His death.

We have this assurance that Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-8), and there was a multitude of witnesses.

Believe on Jesus Christ, trust your life to His care, and you will be saved for all eternity.  There is no other way but through Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

All Wise Savior

“To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.” Jude 25 (NKJV).

In this closing statement by Jude he clearly declares the deity of the One we call Savior. “To God our Savior”. Anyone, person or religious organization who would deny the deity of Jesus Christ; or decrees deity to all who could or would achieve the “christ-spirit” or whatever they would call it; denies the very heart of Christ Jesus; therefore they do not know Him. They are in fact worshipping a different “Jesus”; a demon.

The Jesus whom Jude, Peter, James, John; and Matthew, Mark and Luke write of is Jesus Christ the Son of the living God, who is God made flesh, and “dwelt among us”. He alone is the One who died for the sins of the whole world, was buried in a dead human body; and rose victoriously over sin, death and hell in a glorified human body. If you don’t know the Jesus who died as the incarnate God, was buried as the incarnate God, and rose again as the bodily form of God, then you know not my Jesus.

Jude gives Jesus as the One “who alone is wise”. We can read the eighth and ninth chapters of Proverbs, and you see the Personification of wisdom, and that Person is none other than Jesus the Christ. Solomon is often given credit as being “the wisest man who ever lived”, but then, there is Jesus; the One who gave Him His wisdom. Jesus was wise to follow the guidance and direction of His heavenly Father. He desired to always do those things which pleased His Father, even to the death on the cross.

The glory of Jesus is in the fact that He did the Father’s will. We have all sinned and fell short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Jesus came, as like sinful men, yet without sin, and Himself was the glory of God on earth. He fulfilled the task which the first Adam failed to fulfill. As followers of Jesus Christ, and by imputation – the reckoning of God – we fulfill the glory of God. When we see Jesus we will see Him in all His glory and majesty. A couple of things we have which are symbols of majesty on earth are the eagle in the sky, and the lion. These pale in comparison to the majesty of Jesus.

With Jesus is all power, and He rules in the hearts of rulers, and will ultimately have His way in this world. One day the Lord Jesus will return to this earth, will overthrow the kingdoms of this world, and its rulers, and He Himself will rule, and sin will no more have rule and dominion in the hearts and minds of men or women. These qualities which Jude ascribes to Jesus are given to Him also by the angels, and the saints in heaven according to Revelation 4:10, 11; 5:12-14.

Give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father by believing in Jesus, and the work He has done on the cross, becoming sin for us, receiving the wrath of God that was ours, taking our sins away in His burial, then, rising victoriously over it all. Proving once and for all that He is all that He said He is. Proving that there is life after death, and that eternal life is found solely through the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

“To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Be Wise – Be Instructed

“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.  Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.  Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him” Psalm 2:10-12 (KJV).

It is wise to be on the King’s side.  Whatever one’s place in this world; be we king, prime minister, senator; our place is to glorify our King, and that King is Jesus Christ.  When we are “nudging up” to the man of flesh, then Jesus is not the One who is being “kissed”. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” Psalm 111:10; and there is a lack in this great wisdom for our day.

Wisdom is a necessary attribute.  Godly wisdom is what we are concerned with in this text and context.  It is sad to think that there are many world rulers in our day who do not have godly wisdom, and are working against all things godly.  The rulers of our world are working against the Nation which God has ordained, and called out as a Nation in our days; to even remain a Nation.  They are not wise.  It is written in THE TREASURY OF DAVID by C. H. Spurgeon, “True wisdom, fit for kings and judges, lies in obeying Christ.” Vol. 1, p. 20.

A love for God with fear brings rejoicing, and causes us to serve and joy in His presence.  He is our hope, our cause for rejoicing. Serve Him with fear, ie., great awe, and reverence.

To “Kiss the Son” is to be in complete agreement with Him.  We acknowledge He is always right, and will never lead us astray.  Many will reject Him and refuse to kiss Him, unless it be as Judas who betrayed Him, and those who refuse will go into eternal judgment of fire.

Happy [Blessed] is the lot of those who put their trust in the blessed King of kings, Judge of judges, and Lord of lords.  Put all your trust in Him.  You are Blessed.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Rod

The last time in the Psalm 2 we looked at verse 8, and we see that God has promised as an inheritance, to His Son. the nations, and the uttermost parts of the earth are given Him as His possession.  It is His rightful possession, because in His death, He paid the sin debt of the whole world, but for the most part has been rejected.

In the Twenty third Psalm we find the phrase, “Thy rod, and thy staff they comfort me…” (Psalm 23:4b).  The use of that rod and staff sounds encouraging, and blessed, but the one we will look at here today, does not sound very pleasant at all.  This “rod, and… staff” is one instrument.  The shepherd’s staff, often seen with a crook on the upper end also had the rod on the other, and could be used for a walking stick over rough terrain, driving off wolves, bears, lions, and for correcting straying sheep.

“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Psalm 2:9 (KJV).

Nations are ruled by the “prince of the  power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) on earth.  These nations have rejected Christ, hated Christ, and you can see from the beginning of the Psalm have sought to work against Him and defeat Him, but always to no avail.

This “rod of iron” is a means of judgment.  Judgment is in the hands of the Son –

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”  John 5:22 (KJV).

In this Psalm, it is clearly judgment that it is speaking of.  The Potter’s vessel’s are all baked brittle, and and iron rod would easily smash them to pieces.  The judgment will be just and righteous.  Jesus would judge no other type judgment.  This will be a judgment of the nations who have plotted and worked against the God of gods, the King of kings, and Lord of lords to have their own way in the world.  It is these nations which are out to destroy God’s  people, and develop their own kingdom, establish their own god; setting themselves up on the throne or royalty; and acknowledging no other.  They will be broken, shattered, smashed to pieces by the rod of God.

The rod which Moses carried became the “Rod of God” for the deliverance of Israel from Egypt (Exodus 4:20; 17:9).  It is only a foreshadowing of the deliverance Jesus Himself will do in delivering Israel from the clutches of evil nations as they seek to destroy Israel.  Those who have the discernment can see the nations lining up against Israel even now.  The judgment of these aligned nations will be swift, unexpected and sure.

You can experience the comforting staff of the Shepherd of the Twenty third Psalm rather than the iron rod.  That is by submitting to the Lordship of Jesus over all your life.  Confess you have sinned against Him, repent of your sin, believe that He died on the cross, was buried and that He rose from the grave and now is seated at the Father’s right hand.

If you enjoy singing you should like the Psalms of the Bible.  The songs which several men penned, inspired by the Spirit of God, concerning their walk with the Lord, and they go so far, at times, of naming some of their sorrows, griefs, and even frustrations with God and other men.

Sing and make melody in your heart to the LORD; for He is coming soon to let the world know that He is Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Only Begotten One

The Psalms are the hymn book of the Bible.  They are songs written and sung by kings, and sinners.  King David is recognized as the Psalmist, but there were others who wrote and sung some of them.  For instance Moses probably wrote Psalms 95-100, then there is a man named Asaph which little is known of him.  He is referred to in several verses of 1 Chronicles, and is given as the author of the fiftieth Psalm.  We have a good variety to sing.

Now, back to the Second Psalm.  Jesus is the king referred to in verse six.  He is King of His enemies, King of saints, and King of His Father.

“I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, ‘Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee” Psalm 2:7 (KJV).

This verse is one which clarifies that Jesus was with the Father from the beginning.  The Father declares to the Son, before He was born into the human race, “This day have I begotten Thee. ” How could the Father say to a non-existent being ‘Today you are born’ and ‘You are My Son’?  He could, I guess, but it certainly would not make sense.  It also would be for the day that the Father would decree for the blessed virgin to conceive.

Jesus, the only begotten Son of God the Father decreed before time and eternity that Jesus – the Word – would become flesh and dwell among us without sin, and die for the sins of all mankind.  The day God became flesh, and “(we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father)” full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (KJV).  And dwelt among us, thus the name “Immanuel” – God with us.

This is the One whom others have mocked.  He is the One who has made all things, and has set them in order.  He is the One whom the Roman soldiers drove the nails in His hands and feet.  This One who was with the Father from the beginning became man, that He would die, and atone for the sins of mankind. Why is it so many turn their backs on Him, deny Him, and choose to hate Him; when He is worthy of so much love, devotion and worship?

Rage on wicked rulers if you so desire.  The “Desire of nations” will come and reign on the earth whether you approve or not.  He is coming.  As the prophet Amos said, “Prepare to meet thy God”.

Many times it just seems as though there is not much in our lives that seems worthwhile.  Sometimes those thoughts can be a wake up call.  Wake up and realize that there is more to life than “Me”.  There is so much more to this life than “Me”.  There is GOD, and in the person of His Son showed His love for you by judging our sin on the cross of His Son Jesus Christ.  The “begotten” One became our sin – “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

God Calls Him, “MY KING”

We have seen the arrogance of the world leaders, and their attempt to overthrow God and His ways.  We see it everyday as they make their futile attempts at “peace” with nations who want no peace, but through the destruction of God’s people.  We have seen that their futile attempts are only laughable to the Most High God – the One who sits ‘in the heavens’.  Judgment surely awaits those who attempt to take God’s position and sit on His throne.

“Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion” Psalm 2:6 (KJV).

To destroy His foes all God needs do is speak a word, and it is done.  How foolish and arrogant of man to attempt to take the throne of the Almighty. Yet we attempt it everyday.  Even the Christian who is not walking in the Spirit of God, but after the flesh (Romans 8:1-4); is attempting to overthrow the leadership, and power of God in their lives.  It is a failing proposition.

In the TREASURY OF DAVID by C. H. Spurgeon  is written, “Jesus Christ is a threefold King. First, His enemies’ King;  secondly, His saints’ King;  thirdly, His Father’s King”.  Let’s look at this quote on this matter.

“First. Christ is His enemies’ King, that is, He is King over His enemies.  Christ is a King above all kings.  What are all the mighty men, the great, the honourable men of the earth to Jesus Christ?  They are but like a little bubble in the water; for if all the nations, in comparison to God, be but as the drop of the bucket, or the dust of the balance, as the prophet speaks in Isaiah xl.15 [40:15], how little then must be the kings of the earth!  Nay, beloved, Christ Jesus is not only higher than kings, but He is higher than the angels; yea, He is the head of angels; and, therefore, all the angels in heaven are commanded to worship Him.  Col.ii.12, Heb. i6…..He is King over all kingdoms, over all nations, over all governments, over all powers, over all people Dan. vii. 14….. The very heathen are given to Christ, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession.”

Jesus Christ is truly this King of which the LORD God speaks.

“Secondly. Jesus Christ is His saints’ King.  He is King of the bad, and of the good; but as the wicked, He rules over them by His power and might; but the saints, He rules in them by His Spirit and graces.  Oh! this is Christ’s spiritual kingdom, and here He rules in the hearts of His people, here He rules over their consciences, over their wills, over their affections, over their judgments and understandings, and nobody hath anything to do here but Christ.  Christ is not only the King of nations, but the King of saints; the one He rules over, the other He rules in.”

First, Jesus Christ is King of His enemies; and secondly He is King of His saints.  I am glad that by His grace, I am a saint.  A saint is only a sinner who has been saved because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and by the power of the resurrection.
We now look at the third part of Jesus being a “Threefold king”.

“Thirdly.  Jesus Christ is His Father’s King too, and so His Father calls Him: ‘I have set My King upon My holy hill of Zion.’  Well may He be our King, when He is God’s King.  But you may say, how is Christ the Father’s King?  Because He rules for His Father.  There is a twofold kingdom of God committed to Jesus Christ; first, a spiritual kingdom, by which He rules in the hearts of His people, and so is King of saints; and secondly, a providential kingdom, by which He rules the affairs of this world, and so He is King of nations. — Condensed from William Dyer’s Christ’s Famous Titles, 1665.”

To conclude the teaching with this verse; when we can see Jesus as the “King of His enemies”, “the King of saints”, and as “His Father’s King” surely we can trust all affairs of this life to His care.  He is the sovereign King of kings, and He rules not only in the hearts of men, but over nature as well.  Remember He calmed the storms with merely a word.

All the efforts of the rulers of the earth, which are against the God, the King of glory, will come to naught.  All their efforts of evil will only be used against them to accomplish the will of God in the earth, and in eternity.  To submit to the King of kings, and be an agreeing participant in His work is the only way to peace.  The King of glory became a man to die on the cross, was buried, and rose again, and He ever lives to reign.

Is He your King?  He is whether you recognize Him as such or not.  Recognize Him as your King, be on His side, and have peace. The “peace of God which passes understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Cross

There is something special about the makeup of mankind’s heart and life.  First of all it is patterned after our Creator.  He made us in His image, though that image be marred by sin. 

The way in which it is special is that we are most at peace when we are most like Him.  That is; peaceful, loving, kind, faithful, gracious, merciful, joyful, serving, patient, gentle, and having self-control.  There are some who try and be the opposite of these things, and live in abject misery; yet thinking, “Now this is the life!”

There is only one way to be as our Creator would have us, and that is to follow His Son Jesus Christ.  He said,

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26 (KJV)

Jesus’s own words are “If you will follow Me…”  Following Him is to be like Him and His life.  He sacrificed His time, His life in ministry to help people and minister to them.  He was never distracted from His reason for coming, and that was to die on His cross for the sins of all mankind; His destiny in this life was to give His life as the payment for our sins.  With Him; in His mind and heart; that was as good as already done when He was speaking to His disciples at this point in time.

In the verses above He calls for all who would follow Him to take up their own cross and follow.  What is our cross, if we are to follow Him?  The cross in that day was an object of death.  It was a tool of the Roman government to punish capital criminals, and put them to death.  So when Jesus speaks of “taking up your cross” He is meaning the laying down of our lives.

No woman or man can be a true follower of Jesus Christ who has not given up their very lives to do so.  To not lay one’s life down for Christ and His gospel is to lose your life.  To lay down your life for Christ is to gain your life, and eternity with Him.

Paul the apostle probably had these words in His mind when he 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 (KJV)

To have the fruits of the Spirit of Christ, ie., “…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance…” Galations 5:22-23 (KJV), we must like Paul, the other disciples of Jesus Christ, lay down our lives as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), and showing forth the honors and glory of our Lord and Savior.

Refusing to give your all for Jesus Christ may just gain you the world, and all it possesses, but you lose your soul, your very life; and eternal peace and joy will never be yours.

The King’s Cross is the way to blessing, peace, joy, love, contentment, and eternity with our King.  The King of all kings; and Lord of all lords.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When God Is Not King

Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25

This is going to be a overview of chapters 17 through 21.  It seems that these chapters tie together very strongly in showing what happens when God is not the One ruling individuals, and national life.

The key to understanding these chapters appears to be the phrase, “There was no king…”, and that would certainly mean that even God was not the rule of their hearts and lives.  At least they were not submitted to His rule and reign.  We know and believe as Christians, of course, that God is sovereign, and in complete control of every nation, ruler, and individual.

OUTLINE chapters 17 – 21 –

I.  THE SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP OF THE NATION WAS IN SHAMBLES (17:6-18:31).
II.  LACK OF LOVE, RESPECT, AND COMMITMENT IN MARRIAGE (19:1-21).
III.  SEEMING UNRESTRAINED ANIMAL LUST, AND HUMAN DEPRAVITY (19:22-28).
IV.  WARS BETWEEN BRETHREN (19:29-20:48).
V.  UNHOLY COMPASSIONS (21:1-24).

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THE SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP OF THE CHURCHES, COMMUNITIES, AND NATIONS CRUMBLE (17:6-18-31).  This as a matter of fact is the ultimate reason that nations crumble and fall.  When the spiritual, moral leadership fails, nations are left without a foundation on which to stand.

In this text we have a young man (unnamed) from the  priestly family (Levi) who goes to serve as a priest for one man [Micah] and his family.  He is basically selling the office of priest.  It isn’t long until some group more powerful, with more means comes and buys him away.

This was a young “priest” who was selling his services for gain, to live, and not giving spiritual guidance, or any life guidance what so ever.  Right priestly, spiritual leadership will confront, rebuke, exhort (2 Timothy 3:16-17) through Scriptural counsel.

Right spiritual leadership begins with the priesthood of the home.  The priest of the home is the husband of the wife, father of the children.  This is one of the appointments of God for the Christian man of the house.  That is not to say he is the only priest of the home, the wife, the mother, and each of the children who are Christians are also priests under Jesus Christ, and have the authority to approach the very throne of God.

God has placed the Christian man as the head of spiritual leadership of that home, and when this begins  to fail the foundation begins weakening.  When the husbands and fathers are not leading the homes spiritually, that will show up in the local church, the community, the State government, and the National governments.

This responsibility begins with every Christian.  Make God King of your life through faith in Jesus Christ and His cross.

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE A LACK OF LOVE, RESPECT AND COMMITTMENT IN MARRIAGE (19:1-21)  We have in these verses a Levite who has a “concubine” who has forsaken him and returned to her father.  For all practical purposes we see her here as the only “wife” he has.  He does seem to have a love for her, because he pursues her to her father’s home.

The wife had been unfaithful (v. 2), and went to her father’s home in Bethlehem-Judah, and was there for four months.  He goes to her father’s house to bring her home.  He meets his “father in law” (v. 7) for the first time, and they begin communicating , creating a bond with one another, and the “husband” stays the night;  and it wasn’t until the late afternoon of the fifth day that the man and his ‘concubine’ departed.

She  has shown a lack of commitment in her marriage, by being unfaithful.  He has shown some love for her by  pursuing her to her father’s home, to bring her back with him to their home.  He does not however have much respect for marriage, because a concubine was only for the purpose of man’s pleasure or service, and God actually commands a man have one wife.  We are not told anywhere that she was his “wife”, but only concubine.

It seems that the man made bad choices.  This is certainly evidence of the time of spiritual darkness of that day and time.  She is not his wife, she is his wife.  She is not his wife in the traditional sense of that day; she is his wife in the sense of his responsibility for her.

Just as this issue with the Levite and the concubine is confusing so too has the marriage issue of our day become quite confusing.  God ordained that a man leave his father and mother, and cleave only to his wife (Genesis 2:24).  He has ordained that one man and one woman wed, and be together until they are parted by death.  Because of sin God has given allowances for divorce;  Jesus said, “Because of the hardness of your hearts…” (Matthew 19:8;  Mark 10:5).

When God is not king in marriage, then there will be confusion about the rights and wrongs of marriage, divorce, and remarriage.  There will be arguments over authority, rights, and all kinds of family issues; similar to whether a woman should have children if she is not married, and especially if an unmarried woman should be allowed to have fourteen children, through medical means.

When God is King we follow His plans for life, love and marriage and family.

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE UNRESTRAINED LUST AND HUMAN DEPRAVITY (19:22-28).  This Levite showed same careless attitude of many people, including many Christians of our day;

1. Any judgment that may be coming is somewhere around the corner in another time and place;
2. Still longing for more fun, more partying and more amusement.

He took no thought for his or her own life when he decided to leave her father’s home so late, and found himself on the streets of an unholy place.

A fine, courteous man invites them to his home for safety, and shelter.  The man accepts the invitation, and they are soon approached by the “sons of Belial” (v. 22), and they sound much like the people who approached Lot’s door requesting to “know” the men he had in his house (Genesis 20:4-5).  Only these were not struck with blindness or later destroyed by fire and brimstone.

Lust was in the hearts of these people.  They had no self restraint, no fear of God, and no care for anyone but self.

The sad part about it is that the Levite and his host seem to have no love for anything but self either.  The “good guys” are not so great after all, are they?  Now, I know all the arguments about this; and I clearly see it, but no man who is right with God in any time or culture would sell their wife, daughter; nor any other man’s wife or daughter for their life.  We will not cast them out to the savages for our own benefit, and to leave them lying dead on the “thresholds” after having wanted back in.

When God is King there is love in the marriage, the home, and respect for one another; and a heart for what is right, wrong, and responsibilities for guidance and protection of that home.

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE WARS AND UNREST BETWEEN BRETHREN (19:29-20:48).  Though rightly angry over the death of this woman; I cannot help but believe that part of his actions in cutting up her body is from guilt.  Why didn’t I stand my ground?  Why didn’t I stand to protect her and the man’s daughter (19:24)?  So now he wants to get all the people of Israel involved in his sin.  The rush to judgment, though they had consulted God in the matter, led to the eventual destruction of the tribe of Benjamin.   Though God had given approval for the first two attacks He had not promised them victory until the third attack.

The nation needed to learn from this event.  Their sins, their lack of trust in God, and dependence upon Him was their major offense.  Now they have come to God these three times, it would seem, as only a crutch, or a spare tire.

How should it have been handled?  Should they have been obeying God’s commandments, God’s laws?  YES!  Should they have had only one wife?  YES!  Sometimes even at all times when we just insist on having our own way God allows us to do it.  Then we suffer the thorns and thistles of the life we chose.  That young lady who was counselled by her pastor she shouldn’t marry that non-christian boy, but went ahead with it and, is now troubled by a drunken husband who beats her, cheats on her, and abuses the kids and won’t bring home the check for groceries and rent, but gambles, and drinks it away; she now wants to blame God for her choice.  You were warned young lady.  God gave you the word and you didn’t hear it, you rejected it for your self desire, and will; now you are paying.

When God is King there is obedience to His commandments, and prayer and right choices lead to a life of blessing.  Do we who are Christians ever make wrong choices?  Most definitely.  We pay for our wrong choices.  When God is King it will not lead to unrest between brethren.  He is not a crutch or a spare tire; to be only called upon when in dire straits.

When God is King His Word will be believed and practiced and feared.  When God is King there will be no conflict over whether the Word of God is inerrant, infallible, and eternal

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE UNHOLY COMPASSIONS (21:1-24).  The tribe of Israel had basically been destroyed.   Now they suddenly grow concerned about that one tribe, and begin doing all kinds of compromising things to justify their actions.  A plan, a scheme of kidnapping women, and joining of the kidnapped with the living Benjamites, and the kidnapped women being from a city of Judea which has been destroyed due to their lack of participation in the war.  When God is not King man schemes, plots, and eventually loses out on the blessings of God.

Compassion is a good, and sometimes even godly thing.  Any compassion that is based on godlessness is not godly.  It may have been right to preserve the tribe of Benjamin, but the plots and scheming was not right.  It would not have need to be done should things been done according to God’s Word, guidance and direction.

When God is King there will be holy compassion and holy unions, all without schemes, and plots around the desires of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Error Of Balaam

Numbers 31:16

There are some in the work of the ministry for the ministry of keeping, or getting into others wallets, billfolds, and purses.  Maybe it should be called the taking of others wallets, billfolds, and purses.  This is not a new thing.  The man who is called by God to proclaim the message of God’s word can find himself in many temptations.  One of the strongest is that of obtaining all the wealth of this world he can.

That tends to be the problem with Balaam.

The Bible says;

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Jude 1:11 (KJV)

There are two other men named in this verse; Cain of Genesis 4, and Korah [Core] from Numbers 16.  Cain killed his brother; Korah verbally attacked and led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron.  What is the “error of Balaam”?  Greed for reward.  And that is not only gold, silver, precious stones; but it can be power, prestige, position, performance, and/or profit.

Let’s look at Balaam, and his life, his acts – both good and bad, and his demise.

I.  KNOWN TO BE A PROPHET; HE IS REQUESTED TO CURSE THOSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (Numbers 22:6-14).

II.  SEEN TO BE AN ANXIOUS PROPHET TO CURSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (vv. 15-21).

III.  GOES TO BALAK, BECAUSE HE CANNOT SEE (vv. 22-35).

IV.  BALAAM EVIDENTLY HAS THE RIGHT WORDS; BUT NOT THE RIGHT HEART (23:7-12, 18-24).

V.  BALAAM’S EYES ARE OPENED TO THE TRUTH OF ISRAEL (24:2-9, 15).

VI.  BALAAM PROPHESIES OF ISRAEL AND THEIR FUTURE BLESSING (vv. 15-24).

VII.  BALAK BRINGS A CURSE UPON THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL (chapter 25).

VIII.  WHAT BALAAM DID TO AID IN THE CURSE UPON THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL (Numbers 31:16)

NO ONE CAN CURSE THOSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (Numbers 22:6-14).  God has previously told, and promised, “I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you” (Genesis 12:3).  What Balak was requesting was a curse on himself, but then, they were already cursed by their own fear, hatred, and rejection of God’s people.

Balaam seems to be a sorcerer that was well known among the people of the land of Moab.  His sorcery is spoken of,

“And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.” (Numbers 24:1)

He dealt with “enchantments”, “ritual”, or “performance”, and this is probably the very first time God has intervened in his greedy pursuits; and because it was going to relate to His people.  It can only be but by the mercy and grace of God that He intervened.  This could have been nothing more than God showing them, ie., Balaam, Balak, and the Moabites the power of the One True God of Israel.

The thought of Balaam’s face being set toward the wilderness is that he may find a way to curse them.  He at least desires that he may find a cause for God to judge them.  In other words he is not interested in doing the will of YHWH; he is interested in lining his pockets from the wealth of Moab, and their king.

TOO ANXIOUS, FROM GREED FOR WEALTH, LEADS TO THE ATTEMPTED CURSING OF WHAT GOD HAS BLESSED (22:15-21).  Remember Esau, and Jacobs stew (Genesis 25:29-34)?  Esau had gone to hunt or something; may have been gone for a day and without any game on returning.  He is hungry, tired, and the scent of Jacob’s stew makes his mouth water.  At what price will Esau feed his stomach?  At what price will Balaam feed his greed?  At what price will a pastor sell out his calling, ministry, family, or church?  At what price will the Christian man sell his faith and home for that woman at work who pays him more attention than his wife at home?  At what price will that Christian woman sell her faith, her children, her husband, for that more lavish lifestyle?

Is our faith something we can sell?  Some seem to think they can.  When Balaam set out on the journey which was fanned by the flames of greed and fear; the voice he heard louder than any other was the jingle of the gold and silver coins in their purses, the position, power, prestige and profit he could receive if he would just “curse” these people wandering in the wilderness.

He did the right thing in turning down Balak the first time.  He heard the word of the LORD there.  Then, the servants of Balak returned with a better offer, and if he would have been the man of God he should have been; his answer would have been an immediate, NO!

When God has given a clear answer in the negative; especially in this type of situation; there is no need to seek God’s advice again.  He is simply wanting God’s approval to go with the men (Numbers 22:1-21).  God in his patience with Balaam gives him a clear message which he disobeys (vv. 20-21).  Balaam is one of those who merely use God for his own means.  He is a sorcerer (he uses enchantments (24:1)), and he is also known for using all other kinds of sorcery, thus seeking the guidance of the devil as well.  He is a man, a prophet, with a divided heart, and no loyalty to God, holiness, righteousness, or justice.

What price did Esau pay?  He paid the sum of his birthright.  What price will Balaam pay?  That will become apparent by the end of the message.

WHEN THE DUMB CAN SEE AND SPEAK THE LORD MAY COME AND OPEN BLIND EYES THAT THEY MIGHT SEE (vv. 22-35).  Balaam, being anxious to sin against the will of God, and to get him his wealth arises early the next morning saddles his donkey, and gets himself ready to go.  Did Balaam not hear what God had said?  Hear God’s words to Balaam:

“If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.” 22:20 (KJV)

The text tells us nothing of the men coming to him;  he just rises up and gets ready to go.  His mind, his heart is not on God but wealth.

Why is it that we can get out of the will of God, then blame God for not working in our lives?  “I can’t see God doing anything anymore”; someone might say.  “What have you done to shun God or His Word?” would be my first question.  Have you gone your own way?  It could be that God may have some “donkey” to speak to you so as to spare your life.  And He might for me when I am in a similar situation.

Here are some signs of the blindness of Balaam:

1. It is quite clear that the first approach was from enemies of God’s people;
2. Their payment method of divination, shows us that he was viewed by the haters of Israel as connected with sorcery;
3. He listened to them and their payment a second time without reservation;
4. When God tried to stop him, or at least to get his attention, he could not see it.

When it got right down to the truth it was his lowly donkey who saw the “angel of the LORD” standing in the way, which would have killed him had it not been for the donkey.  Balaam could not see the hand of the Lord ready to slay him; he only thought it to be his donkey.

THOSE WHO SAY THE RIGHT THINGS; BUT DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT HEART (vv. 23:7-12, 18-24).  Can a  prophet or preacher say the right words without being in right relationship with God?  Is it possible for the preacher or prophet to know the Gospel of  Jesus Christ without knowing the Jesus Christ of the Gospel?  It is certain that Balaam knew the right words to say, and evidently God was giving him those words to say.  So the answer to those questions must be; YES!

That can go for the Sunday School Teacher, the Deacon, the Elder, the church Treasurer, or the pastor to the man and woman in the pew.  There are many professors in our churches who are not possessors of the person of Jesus Christ, ie.,  His Spirit within.  They know the right words to say in a personal word testimony, but their life bears no fruit.

Balaam’s life bore no fruit of righteousness.  Even John the apostle writing to the church of Pergamum,

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

This plot between Moab, and the Midianites prove too that it doesn’t matter who is in your family line.  Moab is the eldest of the incestual sons of Lot [Nephew of Abraham] (Genesis 19:36-38).  The Midianites come from Abraham as well; through the wife named Keturah (Genesis 25:1-5); whom Abraham married following Sarah’s death.  Moab gets the Midianites to join them in trying to overthrow Israel.  It is not the bloodline that counts; it is the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses all our sin.

WITH EYES WIDE OPEN; YET CONTINUE TO DENY THE TRUTH FOR SAKE OF LUST (vv. 24:2-9, 15).  It is the confession of Balaam himself that says his eyes were opened.  It is the LORD who opened his eyes (v. 4) to see Israel for who they were.  Yet, this man, who divines, who deceives, who has the revelation from the only true and wise God of the identity, work, and uniqueness of this nation, still hungers, craves, lusts for power, prestige, position, and profit.

Jesus said;

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 (KJV)

and the “things” He speaks of is not wealth, riches, power, prestige, position or profit.

There are many who say they know Christ, but have a greater heart for making wealth than they care to know the One who makes wealth.  All things are in His hands, and no one can take them away from Him.  We are, as Christians, “seated with Christ in heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:20; 2:6).  The thing is the soul that is with Jesus does not have their hearts on the things of the earth.  Those who do fit into the same category with the “earth dwellers” of the Revelation.

Many of these know the truth of the Gospel, may profess to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; but they bear no fruit for Christ, thus are eternally lost.  These fit into the same type relationship with Balaam.

THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL, AND THEIR BLESSINGS (vv. 24:15-24). God has opened the eyes of Balaam.  Remember he couldn’t even see the “angel of the LORD” that would have killed him, but his donkey saved his life; thus the LORD was merciful to this false prophet.

His eyes have been opened to the blessing of God upon the nation of people called Israel.  This term [“eyes open”] is used by the prophet himself in a parable he speaks; and uses it at least three times (vv. 4 third parable, 15, and 16 fourth parable).

In this “parable” is a prophecy of the Lord Jesus; “there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel…” (v. 17).  Moab and Edom had been sources of conflict with Israel; even though related; and the coming King would and will deal with them according to His power and might.

The prophecies of Balaam are promises of Israel, and Balaam never fully realizes the truth of what he has spoken.  The mere mention of his name throughout Scriptures seem to indicate that he was false in his life, and that is one of the keys to the recognition of the man of God.

1. The man of God is true to God;
2. The man of God is faithful to God and His Word;
3. The man of God lines his life with the Word of God;
4. The man of God speaks and the Word of God comes to pass.

There are two examples of these in the five books of Moses (Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:20-22).  Both of these examples speak of turning the hearts of God’s people to other gods (which are not gods at all), and the worship of demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-20).

The God of Israel is the Holy One; He is the only One;  He is the righteous One; beside Him there is no other.  He is known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit; working in the flesh of His Son.  One day all of Israel will turn from their unbelief; and see their God through their Messiah.  The King of kings is coming to rule on His throne in Jerusalem.

AN EVIL THAT CAN BRING GOD’S CHASTISEMENT UPON HIS CHILDREN AND THE ANSWER (Chapter 25).  When God’s people sin it causes grief in the heart of God.  Yet, as the loving, forgiving God and Father that He is He desires to bring them back to Himself.  I have said it many times, and believe it to be a quote from Charles H. Spurgeon, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully”.  His children, His people are those who believe Him and His Son Jesus Christ; and live their lives for Him and His glory.

Since Balaam could not curse the people of Israel; he did one of the worse things that a pretender, hypocrite can do; cause evil to come into the heart of God’s people.  There are those in 2009 who believe that just because they are descendants of Abraham they are God’s children; even John the Baptist and Jesus has something to say about that:

“And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Matthew 3:9 (KJV) [words of John Baptist.]

“I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.” John 8:38-40 (KJV)

Notice those words of Jesus; “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Galations 3:6; James 2:23).

The only righteousness of God available is that righteousness which comes through the shed blood of Jesus on Calvary’s cross.

Though the death of Jesus Christ has paid the price for our sins we still sin; but as a child of God we have the power, and ability through Jesus Christ not to sin.  When we sin God is not pleased, but He does want us to know that we have and Advocate with the Father (1 John 1:9 – 2:1).

The deception of Balaam brought evil into Israel, and a plague destroyed many of the people, and Phineas acted jealously for God, and stopped the plague.  Some of the people of Israel had fell to the lust of other gods which involved prostitution, and it is the worship of demons.  In this plague 24,000 people died.  God will not, and does not allow His children to sin successfully.  There may be times that it seems; at least in our eyes; that He is letting some things slip by.  If you profess to be a child of God and can sin without guilt, shame, or fear of God’s judgment; you are not His child.

We are not to live in fear, but in peace and love and contentment with God.  You cannot have that if there is sin in your life.  Deal with it.  Paul said, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5).  Deal with sin quickly.  “Keep short accounts”.

THE HEART OF BALAAM WHICH WORKS RUIN (Numbers 31:16).  Now, we come to the opening Scripture verse.

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

We see the trespass which Moses mentions in chapter 25, the wrath and judgment of God; the plague upon Israel taking the lives of 24,000 people; and some dying due to God’s commandment to slay all the guilty.

Though the heart of Balaam was with the Moabites and the Midianites; and for the wealth and perks that went along with it; there is in the midst of this immorality, and debauchery; many people who are grieved by the sins taking place in the camp of God.  These are found at the “…door of the tabernacle of the congregation”, and weeping because of this great sin against God and the people of God.

As the people of God we are to seek to bring good and blessing into people’s lives; not ruin, and harm.  We are to be springs of living water – cool and fresh; refreshing the weary soul.  We are to be hotsprings for healing, renewing and strength.  We are to be especially so to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

If we do things to cause a brother to sin; or to stumble and fall; then we fall into the category of the error of Balaam.  If we do or say something that causes us to look good while harming another; then that is the error of Balaam.  You may think, “I am not doing or saying it for pay?”  Oh!  You’re not?  You have taken away something that belonged to another.  You are in the “Error of Balaam”.  The heart of Balaam was to work ruin in the people of Israel.

Let’s always to seek to lift up our Lord Jesus Christ, glorify His name; and we will not be tearing others down to build up ourselves.  Nor, will we be leading others into sin.  Balaam died at the hands of Israel, along with the kings of Midian (Numbers 31:8).  Though the child of God cannot sin successfully; neither will God overlook those who treat His children poorly.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Wonderful, Joyous Birth

Luke 2:1-20

Purpose:  To see and understand the impact of personal salvation come down to mankind and the world through the birth of Jesus Christ.

OUTLINE FOR LUKE 2:1-20 –

I.  THESE EVENTS WERE IN THE HANDS OF OUR SOVEREIGN GOD (vv. 1-5; Micah 5:2).

II.  THE BIRTH OF JESUS WAS IN THE RIGHT TIME, RIGHT PLACE AND INVOLVED THE RIGHT PEOPLE (vv. 6-7;  Galations 4:4).

III.  THROUGH THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST THE LOWLY ARE EXALTED, AND THE HAUGHTY MADE LOW (vv. 8-16; 1:52).

IV.  THE BIRTH OF JESUS IS SPREAD AROUND BROADLY, AND BY THE LOWLY (vv. 17-18),

V.  THE JOY OF THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST (vv. 19-20).

There are many times we do not understand why things happen or are happening as they do.  One of those times could be the present day events in the United States and the world; economically, politically, religiously, medically, or in our families.  Though things seem to be messed up, and wickedness seems out of control we, as Christians, can rest assured that God has it all in His hands, and is working it all out for our good and His glory.  There is no better example of that than the times before the birth of Jesus, the birth of Jesus, and up until now.

God has the good of the world in His hands and heart.  We can trust Him.  The world should trust Him.  He has provided salvation for all who will believe Him, and trust their eternal lives to His care and love.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but would have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).

Let us never think that the people previous to the birth of Jesus believed they had it all figured out; they didn’t.  They did however trust that the Lord was working, and accomplishing His purposes and will.  We have seen men like Zachariah hearing the message of God from the angel Gabriel concerning the birth of  John, and his reception of that message, along with Elisabeth his wife.  Then, we have seen the virgin Mary hearing the message of the birth of her Son, and without a human father; yet she believed.  Even during that 430 years of darkness God was working, moving in the hearts of men, but in silence; waiting for that right time, place, and for the right people to fulfill His Word.

WE CAN TRUST THAT THE EVENTS ARE IN THE HANDS OF OUR SOVEREIGN GOD (vv. 1-5).  None of us like taxes or to take part in census taking.  Both of these may have been the purpose of Caesar’s decree; but the real decree came from God Himself, to fulfill His Word that His Son would be born in Bethlehem, the city of David’s heritage (1 Samuel 16:1-4ff).  The Old Testament passage for that is,

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2 (KJV)

We must understand that while God created us with what has been called “Free will”, that this does not thwart the will of God, nor hinder His will in any way, but works with His sovereignty fulfilling His will.

If the god the Open Theists believe in is what we have, then we are all without hope.  The god of the Open Theists does not know the future any better than you or I; does not direct the affairs of mankind; has no control over what happens tomorrow.

Look at these events with Joseph and Mary.  They receive a decree from the ruler of Rome to go to the place of their heritage, which is Bethlehem, and the child that is within the womb of Mary is that Son of Promise who is to be born in Bethlehem, fulfilling the Scriptures.  Only God who reigns on high could accomplish such a thing.  As Mary was told by Gabriel,  “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” 1:37 (KJV)

ONLY A SOVEREIGN GOD COULD HAVE HIS SON BORN IN THE RIGHT PLACE, AT THE RIGHT TIME, AND TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE (vv. 6-7).  Paul the apostle wrote,

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law…” Galations 4:4 (KJV)

The right place, of course, was the city of David’s heritage and birth; the right time was when there was darkness in the earth, so that the Light might be more clearly seen, heard and received; the right people was a young couple who were awaiting the coming of their Messiah (Though we are not told this specifically, it does seem quite likely, and they received this gift by grace.)  And they were faithful to serving the Lord.

I have no idea what the likelihood is of these things all just happening without divine direction, but I am sure the numbers would be astronomical.  I do not understand why some people find it so hard to believe that it takes the hands of the Devine to direct the affairs of the Devine, and the birth of His Son is certainly a Devine work.

You can try and explain some things only so many ways, but the obvious, until it becomes so very foolish to make circles around the obvious.  In doing so you miss the obvious.

It was the right time and place for the time of our Lord’s life and death.  His crucifixion some 33 years later, and in His own country, by the words of His own people, and by the hands of Gentiles, could not have happened any other time.

It is fascinating to think that the Ark of the covenant had been taken away at least 430 years before the birth of Jesus.  The Ark represented the presence of God, and His glory; now the presence and glory of God came into their midst in Person.  It was the right time, in the right place with the right woman, that the glory of God was revealed to fallen mankind, hated, despised, and laid on the cross by the people who so needed Him.

BY THE SOEREIGN HAND OF GOD, THROUGH THE BIRTH OF HIS SON THE LOWLY ARE EXALTED AND THE HAUGHTY MADE LOW(vv.  8-16; 1:52).  Shepherds were the most lowly and despised of Jewish people; yet these were the first to be notified of the birth of their King and Lord.

We are not told how many shepherds there were, but just know that there was more than one because of the plural usage of “shepherds”.  Whether there was two, or more makes little difference; the more the merrier I would say.  That they were despised by many people only shows that God has in His mind to demonstrate His love to the lonely, the outcasts, and the helpless and hurting.

However many there was we see shepherds “In the field watching their flocks at night”.  If it would have been Winter it does not seem likely that they would be in the field, but in their mangers, caves, keeping their sheep warm, and protected.  At night they needed to good shepherds guarding the sheep from wolves, and thieves.

As they were guarding their sheep an great, awe-inspiring event happened, unlike anything which they had ever experienced.  The angel of the Lord appeared to them, making an announcement of the birth of of the Savior, in the city of David.  Along with the announcement came instructions on where to find him.  There was also a “heavenly host” which joined with the angel, “praising God” and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

The shepherds heard the angels and found the manger where our Lord lay following His birth.  They left the fields “with haste – in a hurry.  Probably even to the point of leaving their flocks behind.  The joy of seeing the new born King, Son of God was more weighty,  personal, costly than the sheep in their folds.  The long awaited King was born.

There is no mention of any king who was told.  We know the history of Herod and his hatred for even his own sons, and killing them out of jealousy, and fear of their taking the throne from him.  Herod was finally brought down.  Those who know Jesus and follow Him are exalted.

THE SOVEREIGN BIRTH OF JESUS HAS BEEN SPREAD ABROAD BY THOSE WHO WERE WITNESSES OF HIS BIRTH (vv. 17-18).  It does seem like an almost automatic response to tell of something you know that has happened which has excited you and others who were with you.   We are not told who they told or how long they spent in telling, just that they scattered the news abroad.

This was such wonderful news that others “wondered” about it.  The following is John Gill’s commentary on part of verse 18:

“…wondered at those things that were told them by the shepherds: for though they expected the Messiah, and that he would be born at Bethlehem, yet they did not imagine that he would be born of such mean parents, and appear in such mean circumstances, and in so contemptible a place; and that shepherds, and not the princes of Israel, should have the first notice of it; and yet the account which these shepherd, who were plain hearted men, and could never be thought to invent such a story, and spread it, and impose on men, without any interest in it, was very surprising; so that they knew not what to say to it, neither to deny, nor believe it; accordingly, the Persic version renders the whole thus, “and whoever heard, wondering, stuck at it”; hesitated about it, and yet astonished at the particulars of it; just as Christ’s hearers were in Luk 4:22 who wondered at his ministry, and the manner of it, and yet objected the meanness of his parentage and education.”

From the e-Sword Commentaries.

THE JOY OF THE SOVEREIGN BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST (vv. 19-20).  Mary was enamored by the things she heard and seen concerning the events of her Son’s birth.  Shepherds coming in from the fields, to see this new born child; a “star” shining over the stable where He lay (Matthew 2:1-2ff); and many other events which include the many fulfillments of the prophetic word of God.

The shepherds after going to see Jesus the new born King returned to their sheepfolds to shepherd their flocks, but with a whole new outlook on things.  They were singing, rejoicing in all the things they had seen and heard.  Though we are not told that they did; I kind believe the shepherds sat down and visited with Mary and Joseph, then Mary told her story, that of Zachariah and Elisabeth, her story of virgin conception, the virgin birth.  Joseph probably told them of how he had about divorced Mary (secretly), except that an angel revealed to Him the unique specialty of this birth and child that would be born (Matthew 1:18-21ff).

Joy, peace, love, gentleness, patience, kindness, self-control, meekness and faith are fruits which follow those who are witnesses, empowered by the presence of this King (Galations 5:22-24).  This King was born as Savior to take away our sins by paying the price that was ours to pay.

Without the birth of this King there would be no Savior, no salvation, no Peace or Joy.  That is why the shepherds returned praising and glorifying God.

Anyone putting their faith and trust in Jesus the King will live and reign with Him forever.  All sins forgiven; the price fully paid by the death of Jesus on the cross, carrying the guilt and shame of sin away in His burial, then His rising for our justification – being made right with God for all eternity, and living for Him, waiting for His return.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Travelling Religion – Ritual Washing

In the Old Testament Law the only washing which I can recall is for the priesthood as they conduct the duties of the tabernacle in the wilderness, at the brazen laver (Exodus 30:17-21). It was for the washing of the feet and hands of Aaron and his sons in going about their daily duties of the tabernacle. Somehow a tradition came to be for every Jew to wash their hands before they ate. So it seems they were condemned if they did not.

Now I would be the first to admit in our day and time that is a good practice, but for health reasons, not religious reasons. To test another Jew because of not washing their hands was what these religious leaders were up to; in particular questioning the Lord Jesus and His disciples; measuring whether He could be the Christ determined by whether He washed His hands ceremonially or not before He ate meals.

Our verses say,

“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” Matthew 15:1-2 (KJV).

We are not told how many of the scribes and Pharisees came to question Jesus; just that they came. They had travelled from Jerusalem to Galilee on a mission of question. Jesus’s popularity was growing. They wanted to check Him out, as though they had not already done so a few times. Oh how miserably we fail when we try to win people to traditions which are not based on Scripture, conviction, and the saving or betterment of society.

There is no tradition which can save a soul from the condemnation of Hell, unless you want to call repentance, and faith a tradition.

These men come to Jesus actually making a charge against Him with their supposed question, “Why do thy disciples transgress…”. It is already in the accusatory form. They were not coming to Jesus to learn from Him, but rather, to accuse Him and His disciples of breaking tradition.

I have a thing about washing hands, especially after visiting the restroom. I was in a men’s restroom in a steak and buffet place a few years ago, when I grew passionate about this washing hands. There was another man who was just leaving the urinal and walked right out the door, right to the buffet line. When I got out there, and yes, after washing my hands; there he was; picking up the utensils for dipping out the food, and I had to touch it if I wanted what he did. I didn’t. I watched where he went, what he dipped and I steered clear. Some have said that the phrase, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is in the Bible, but it is not. It sure is a good thought though.

It is a good practice to wash your hands, and regularly. You can help prevent colds, flu viruses, and conduct all around good hygiene by doing so. However, it is not the means of judging whether one is holy or not. These would judge Jesus, and reject Him because of their tradition, which really had no merit in the Law.

We are declared righteous and just by our Creator, through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross for our sins. It is God’s declaration, not our good behavior or good deeds which cleanse us.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Judgment of Nations

Matthew 25:31-46

The coming of the Son of man in His glory will be at that moment Zechariah the prophet describes, “And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives…” (Zechariah 14:4; 16-19)

When Jesus Christ returns it will be to reign, sitting on His throne in Jerusalem. Some may desire to see this as all spiritual. However, if this is only spiritual, then, Jesus never came physically the first time, there was no physical body of death on the cross, that body was never laid in a tomb, and there was not a physical/bodily resurrection; therefore, we are yet in our sins (Read 1 Corinthians 15).

The prophets foretold the birth of a baby in a manger, not a vision, not an apparition, but a full in the body, flesh and blood baby who grew into a man. The gospel of Matthew gives many Old Testament prophetic references which foretell the birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection; and nearly as numerous as are the letters in this sentence.

To deny the bodily, physical return and rule and reign of Jesus Christ on earth is to make all His life a mockery.

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats” Matthew 25:31-32 (KJV)

It is clear from verse 32 that the judgment initiated will be upon the nations which remain, as the prophet Zechariah has written,

“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.” Zechariah 14:16-17 (KJV)

The time of this event will be at the appearing of Christ in glory, and he will make all things right, before He sets up His kingdom upon the earth. The end of the Tribulation will take place at His appearing. Those who turned and fought against Him are already dead, and awaiting the Great White Throne Judgment which will take place following the Millennial reign (Revelation 20:11-15). The Great White Throne judgment is the final judgment.

It seems that there will be people groups or nations which remain will come before Him, humble themselves, and will receive mercy. At the same time will be those who will not humble themselves before Him, and will not be shown mercy.

These nations will consist of those people who have remained alive through the Tribulation on earth – including Israel – and have refused to receive the mark of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:15-18). There will be a separation of nations, “as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats”. There is more said of nations in the Revelation (Revelation 21:24-26; 22:1-2).

“And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:33-40 (KJV)

It could be in order for us to more clearly understand the sheep and goat separation, that we might want to see the difference between sheep and goats.

Sheep are an almost helpless animal. The only defense they have is to bunch into a circle head first. They always need clean, clear, and still water. They are afraid of water – of getting into the water. They do not know when their supply of grass is finished, they will eat grass clear to the ground, therefore they need their shepherd to move them to green pastures. They are in need of the shepherd. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them…” It is said that the shepherds of Israel, at least in Jesus’s day, new their sheep by name, and called them, and the sheep would come.

There is a story told, and I believe it is true; that if you run a flock of sheep through a livestock chute single file, having a board under the lead sheep, and letting him jump it, then, removing it, that the remaining sheep will continue to jump even though the board is no longer there.

Goats on the other hand are very self sufficient. They are in need of nothing. They will eat or try to eat anything they can get in their mouth. Just about any water is good for them. No common or ordinary fence will hold a goat. You get the idea. They are the complete opposite of the sheep.

In this story of Jesus and His placing the sheep on His right hand we can see why. First of all those who come to Jesus to receive His mercy and grace must come to Him broken and humbled by His Person, beauty, power, Majesty, mercy and grace.

The reward of the sheep is to “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”. How is it that they had received this inheritance? They were the called and chosen, from “the foundation of the world”.

These are shown faithful through the Tribulation. They ministered to Jesus during that time. When Jesus was hungry they fed Him. When He was thirsty they gave Him drink. When He appeared as a stranger they took Him in. When He was destitute and without clothing they gave Him clothing. When He was in prison they visited Him.

“How and when did we do this?”, they asked. “When you did it unto the least of these, My brethren, you have done it unto Me”, said Jesus. If we would notice, there is nothing said of who, what, when, where, or why concerning an individual. It is the fact that it was done. The question is not asked of the hungry, “Are you working to make ends meet?” or a response to that, “If you’re not working that’s your problem”.

The people of the nations who will be good to “His brethren” will be rewarded in that final day.

“And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” Matthew 25:33 (KJV)

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” Matthew 25:41-45 (KJV)

The sheep on His right hand have been rewarded for their humility before Him, and for their kind deeds shown to His brethren. The goats on His left hand are going to be shown something quite different.

With the goats there has been no humility before the Son of man. They only come because they had to do so. They are now under His authority, and must give an accounting of their lives, and deeds. They may not have received the mark of the Antichrist, but they were not about to be marked by any other; even Jesus. They are their own person. They are individualists.

The individualist is without excuse before holy God. Those of us who work hard to make a living in this life have, and we ought to have, a respect for others who work hard to gain in this world; however, many of those same people who work hard at physical labor, work hard also to gain favor with God. That will not cut it. That is your way, not God’s way. God’s way is Jesus Christ His Son, and His death, burial and resurrection. Any work that the Christian does is from salvation, not for salvation.

Where the “sheep” needs good grass to eat, the goat will eat almost anything. They have been known for eating, at least, chewing on tin cans. How does this fit the analogy of the sheep and goats. Christians are given the Word of God for our eating nourishment, and pleasure, and we are to grow through the reading and study of what God has said, and minister to one another. The goat on the other hand does not have to have a set menu. Grass, straw, tin cans, any ole thing will do.

Like the people today who eat to live healthy, or gain healthy life stats; so too does the Christian eat that which is for their health and well being. When I use the word “eat” concerning the Christian, of course, I am using the analogy of Prophet Ezekiel, and the Apostle John when they are told to “eat the scroll” (Ezekiel 3:1-3; Revelation 10:9). Jeremiah the prophet also said, “Thy words were found and I did eat them…” (Jeremiah 15:16). The sheep, those who love God, and keep His word, His commandments; love His word, devour it, desire to know God and His Word better.

Like the goat, those who merely have a works based faith will still devour things that are not spiritually good for them, and neglect the Word of God. They may enjoy a good camp out, fellowship, working at a fund raiser for a needy family. They may give all their time and devotion to always being busy for good causes and things; however; they do not know God.

Jesus said to them, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels…”. The truth of this matter is that they did not care for the brethren of the Lord. That would be all those who will believe in Him, and could also be reference to the Jewish people.

“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Matthew 25:46 (KJV)

These are entering “everlasting punishment” because they have refused to give glory to the Lord. Though that may not be said specifically; it is definitely implied throughout all of Scripture – “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”; (Romans 3:23) “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God…” (1 Corinthians 10:31); “…He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (2 Corinthians 10:17).

Paul has written to the Church of Ephesus saying, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV). If you will note the word “grace” and the phrase, “Not of works”, and the phrase, “Lest any man should boast”. If any one could gain heaven, God’s favor by good deeds, then the work of Jesus Christ would be meaningless, and unnecessary. Those boasting of their good deeds for salvation will be quickly cast into “everlasting punishment”. We must understand that every individual of every nation at this judgment will give an account through their nation; but no individual will go into “everlasting punishment” who has received the faith of Jesus Christ.

Let’s look at the term “everlasting punishment”. There are so many people who have the illusion that when this life is over, then, that is it. The Lord of heaven and earth, the Creator of all; and the One who inspired, breathed out the words we call the Bible, the Word of God, said, “everlasting punishment”, and that is what He means. Then, there are some who would try to tell us that God is too merciful to cast unbelievers into torment forever, that surely they only are tormented for a short time and then they are annihilated. God cannot destroy that which He created to be eternal. You and I are eternal beings. Eternal, from the foundation of the earth in the mind of God; eternal from conception in spirit and soul; without Christ bodily raised, cast into eternal torment; with Christ bodily raised and enjoying his presence and glory forever.

“Life eternal” is given to the righteous. We do not often think of this much, but all people are going to be raised bodily from their graves; the good and the evil. The good, which are those who have faith in Jesus Christ will go into His glory. The evil will be cast into eternal judgment with their eternal body. There is a verse in the Revelation which tells us this, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” Revelation 20:12-13 (KJV). It could be said that eternal death is given to the unrighteous. Death does not mean annihilation, but separation. Eternal life given to those whose faith is in Jesus Christ will be a life of glory. We do not even fully understand what “Glory” is all about, but when we see Jesus face to face for the first time in His glory we will get a better understanding, and that will be glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

“Let Us Go Up…”

 Prophet’s Possible Perspective

We are in the beginning of another civil year. I have written of the things the LORD has shown me in a vision previously.

The previous things did not look too well, at all. In fact they appear rather bleak for the people of God. We must as the chosen people of God forsake all unrighteous practices, remember how and why we are so blessed a people. The Holy One of Judah and Israel will not tolerate sin. It is only because of His grace, mercy, and longsuffering forbearance, that we have not been destroyed.

I saw the word come to me again, and this is what I have seen concerning Judah and Jerusalem. One day this country and this city will be exalted beyond measure. Far more than in the days of Solomon or David.

There will be people from all over the world who seek to come here, and will come. They will seek the teaching of the God of Jacob and His house. They will come seeking His ways and we will walk in His paths. The law of God will go forth from here and throughout the whole earth.

The King of the nation, at that time, will not only be the King of Jerusalem, but also King of the earth, and His throne will be in Jerusalem. What a blessed and glorious day that will be.

The King will judge from His throne. He will judge the nations, and many people will be rebuked for their disputes with others. Everyone will lay down their weapons and beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks, and there will be no more war.

Neither will war be something that is taught. There will be no need for learning defense in battle. It will truly be a time of great peace, joy, love, and most of all the Holy One of Israel; God who is our Salvation will be glorified.

“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.  O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.” Isaiah 2:1-5 (KJV)

 -Tim A. Blankenship

Not By Might…

It would seem that the prophet Zechariah was asleep at the approaching of the angel who is speaking with him through this prophecy. The prophet has written,

“And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep” Zechariah 4:1 (KJV)

It could be that the prophet has just been awed and overwhelmed by the things he has just heard and seen in chapter three. and now there is more to the prophecy.

In the verses of chapter four we find a message which is familiar with the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It is also familiar with the five books of the Law of Moses. The candlestick was a light for the tabernacle in the wilderness, and within the Temple after it was built. It was the daily task of the priest to keep olive oil in the bowls of the candlestick so it would never go dark. In the Revelation there is a candlestick [Lampstand] for each of the seven churches. Or is there?

The prophecy continues,

“And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.” (vv. 2-3 KJV).

The original menorah of the temple was one candlestick [lampstand] with seven branches, and each had a small bowl for the oil, and a wick for the burning to provide the light. It seems that what the prophet is viewing is heavenly. Does the Word of God not tell us that the design for the tabernacle came from heaven?

Where in the tabernacle and the temple the refueling of the branches was the duties of the priests; we have a picture here of a never ending supply of oil going to the branches from the two olive trees. There is evidently two pipes to supply the seven pipes which provide the oil (v. 12). From “two olive branches” come the two pipes; from these two – one from each side – come the provision of oil for the light of the candlestick.

Jesus said, “Out of your bellies shall flow rivers of living water”, an abundance, an overflow, never ending supply. The supply is God’s and is His to fulfill.

“So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (vv. 4-6 KJV).

It was the daily duties of the priests of Israel to tend to the oil of the lampstand, the bread, and the incense of the altar. Theirs was a task without end. However, when Jesus Christ came, lived, died on the cross, was buried, and bodily rose from the dead; the task of the priesthood is done. Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory fulfilled in these acts the work that was only pictured, foreshadowed, typical of the priesthood of Israel.

By the Holy Spirit, which is given by the Lord Himself, there is a never ending supply from God of power to overcome sin, darkness, wickedness, and every vile deed. There is power to live righteously, justly, holy, and given entirely to the Lord and His work.

We have seen in chapter three the introduction of Joshua the high priest, and now we find a king. Now, isn’t that a wonderful picture. Jesus Christ the holy, just and undefiled High Priest who became our sin offering Himself; and risen to life as the King of kings; full of grace, and power, and glory.

The might, the power of men such as Joshua and Zerubbabel is not sufficient to endure the task of the salvation of men, and the salvation of Israel. Thus it has been given, “Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit, saith, the LORD of hosts.”

In Jesus Christ the risen Lord of glory there is a never ending supply of the oil of the Spirit of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

The King/Good Shepherd Feeds His Flock

“And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.” Matthew 14:14-21 (KJV)

Because of the works and miracles which Jesus had done there was a great multitude of people who had followed Him (v. 13). This was a large group of people. The men were the only ones counted, but considering there would have been wives and children, and if only a wife and one child per man that would be 15,000 people whom Jesus fed on this great day.

 

We see in verse fourteen that many of them followed who had family members who were sick, and many of the men themselves were probably ill as well. Jesus was a compassionate man, the one who was fully man and fully God. His heart burned with compassion for the people. When they brought their sick to Him “He healed their sick”. There was no fanfare, no showmanship, no calling for the sick to even come down an aisle, they came to Jesus, He touched them, and they were healed. He simply spoke the Word to demons and they would flee.

At the approaching of evening, and thus, the time for Supper; the disciples became a little anxious; wondering how they would feed so many. Their thoughts were, “Let’s send them on their way home. We don’t have enough for all these people to eat.” When Jesus said, “They need not depart; give them to eat.” the disciples said to Him, “We have here but five loaves, and two fishes”, and these came from a little boys lunch which he had brought along with him (John 6:9). I don’t think this “lad” could have ever imagined that so little food coming from his home could ever feed so many, nor did the disciples, even when Andrew had discovered the boy, they said, “What is this among so many”.

Needless to say Jesus said, “Bring them to Me”, ie., the five loaves and the two fish. Jesus the Good Shepherd, the King of Israel, knew what He would do. Let me say here that there are people who do not believe that Jesus actually did miracles, by maybe magic tricks. There is one theory I have heard that Jesus had prearranged this event by having baskets of food already stored in caves near the site, and when evening came He prayed over the five loaves and two fish, and POOOF!!! there appeared all this food. That is not what the Scripture text even implies. They took the loaves and the fish, and began dividing it among the people; breaking the bread, and the fish, and as they were giving it out it continued multiplying. The God of creation; who created all things from nothing can surely multiply what has been given to share with others. As the LORD Himself has asked Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14).

At this point in the ministry of Jesus the disciples had seen Jesus do many mighty things. You would think that they would know what Jesus was about to do. They are, however, doubtful and not believing. We could jump on them about their lack of faith, but what about me? What about Christians of our day? The greatest work that Jesus came to do was done on the cross for our sins — His dying, carrying our sins away in His burial, then His resurrection. The miracles, the signs He gave were only evidence the Son of God was here. His death, burial and resurrection is His greatest accomplishment. Why then, are we so surprised about a miracle? The greatest miracle is the saving of a soul. Yet I hear Christians say, “We don’t see miracles today because we don’t have faith.” Oh, we don’t. Then how are you saved? Are you saved? That statement makes a mockery out of His death, burial and resurrection and the faith of every saint of God.

When Jesus had taken the bread and the fish He commanded them to sit down on the grass. Now I am going to take particular interest in this command. That Matthew records that Jesus commanded that they sit down on the grass has great significance. First of all we see him as the Shepherd (Mark 6:34) of David’s 23rd Psalm. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Here Jesus is at the time of their hungering, and He is getting ready to provide for their sustenance. He has provided healing, renewing and strength; and He gave them much teaching as well (Mark 6:34). See the next phrase of the Psalm – “He makes me to lie down in green pastures” Mark’s gospel even records that Jesus said, “green grass”. The grass, of course, was not for the people to eat; as it would be for sheep; but for their comfort while being taught, and for receiving their nourishment for the evening.

One of the things this shows of the multitudes of people is that they were spiritually starving. There spiritual leaders had deserted them as far as good Scriptural teaching was concerned, and they would not only receive this from Jesus, but they would have their physical needs met as well. How are pastors of churches doing today? If we are giving them good, Biblical, Spirit led, and taught messages then, they should be filled and overflowing with the Spirit of God. It is up to the preacher to see that he is delivering the message of the Word of God to the people. It is, however, up to the people to listen, hear, and practice what the Lord is teaching them through their pastor and preacher.

When Jesus had seated the people, He took the bread and the fish, looked to the Father in Heaven and blessed the food; then, he broke the bread and the fish; probably into a portion for each disciple; and then the passed the food around, and it multiplied. Bread and fish was running over the area. The stomachs of the people were filled, and their was a large portion of food remaining over; much more than what they had began with. They all ate; at least 15,000 people; and they were all filled. Not one person was going to go back home, leaving hungry.

There were 12 baskets full of food left over. That could mean that each of the twelve disciples took home a basket of food. God supplies the needs of His workers; caring for the needs of the people. When we have trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives we have plenty to share with our family, our neighors, relatives, and even those who might see us as their enemies. “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38 (KJV). There is an abundant supply; however, access to it may be only for a short time.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Heart Conditions

Heart Conditions

“Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:3b-9 (KJV).

“Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23 (KJV).

The theme of this parable and what Jesus desires His followers to see; and this is discovered by asking; is the condition of the hearts of mankind toward the Word of God. On the surface looking without much thought there appears to be four different types of souls or hearts; however upon further evaluation and study there is only two. Two different heart conditions. The ones who have no heart for God and His Word, and the ones who have a heart for God and His Word.

We are seeing in these studies of Matthew that is Jesus’s day there was a rebellion against the King, and this continues. Jesus is teaching how these things are going to be. Jesus has had some followers who 1) outright rejected His Word – all through the ages; 2) those who followed for awhile, but when trials set in they ran away; 3) those who said they would believe, but soon discovered they had “more important matters to attend”; and 4) those who remained faithful, and fruitful.

This is the second discourse in which Jesus names the Kingdom of heaven. The first one being in the Sermon on the Mount from chapters five through seven. and the term “Kingdom of heaven” is mainly mentioned in the Beatitudes, of verses 3-11 of chapter five, and the whole of the sermon dealing with the deportment of those who have been redeemed. The “kingdom of heaven” includes the Church, with both good and evil within it, and the true and the false. If you doubt that just look at the condition of the kingdom now.

In this parable we find three different aspects of the story. The Sower, the Seed, and the Soil. The first is a person; the second a product; and the third a receiver. The Sower is the witness, the farmer, the broadcaster; the Seed is the Word of God being spread over the field of the world; the Soil is the hearts of men.

We learn from this parable that in the kingdom of heaven there are those who will reject the message of God’s grace, and in fact are not even interested in it, because they see no need. There are others who seem to receive it, and appear to receive it with joy, but then, because of fear they fall away and never bear any fruit. There is another group who give the appearance of receiving it with joy, but are then led away by the draw of the world, pleasures, comfort, wealth, and just the simple cares of the earth bound, and they go their own way. The final soil condition is a condition which has been plowed, tilled, cared for has had plenty of water of the word, and bears much fruit. The ones who bear fruit are the genuine believers; “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” John 15:2 (KJV) Every Christian will bear fruit. It will be a bountiful harvest. Fruitlessness is wickedness.

Let’s look at these soils individually:

First of all there is the soil of rejection (vv. 4, 19). Along side many of the fields of Jesus’s day there were paths which the people would walk. It was hard packed and was not receptive to seeds falling upon it. The path of man’s way is hard topped, and unreceptive to the Word of God. In the days of the Judges of the Old Testament we are told about three times, “There was no king in those days; every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 19:1; 21:25). This is the path that most people would like to walk. To be free of God, free of His Word, free of His witnesses and people, and when the Word of God is preached or sown it is snatched away by the devil and it has no affect on these peoples lives. Let us never think that these are beyond the reach or power of God to grab hold of their hearts and change them into His likeness and image. Let us never think they are unconvertible. God can do marvelous things.

The second soil is one which makes profession but soon falls away (vv.5-6; 20-21). This seed has fallen on shallow soil. The plant breaks forth toward the light, and grows for a time, but then wilts away because of the heat of the sun. There are many who have professed Christ as their personal Lord and Savior earlier in life, but when persecution comes, their friends have rejected their “new lives”, or they just cannot stand the trials that come with the profession they soon fall away. So many of these will profess to be Christian, based solely on the experience they had at the altar. “I prayed the prayer. I said the words the preacher told me to say. It happened on a certain day at a certain time. Surely if I remember the day and time I said those words I’m alright with God”. Where is the fruit? Where is the changed life? Where is the evidence of your salvation? Once being eager to follow and serve. For awhile were interested in always being in worship services on Sunday morning, Sunday Night, Sunday School, Wednesday night services, but then falls away due to trials and bad circumstance.

Many times this one happens as a result of shoddy evangelism techniques which are quick to give the Roman road, or other style of presentation of the gospel without telling them of the COST of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. “Oh, we don’t want to do that. We want converts.” Converts for whom you or for Christ? Your converts are going to fall away and many will have your assurances that no matter what they do, they have eternal life. Then, one day they are going to split hell wide open, and to the evangelist shame. Perseverance is a fruit of the true faith of Christ. True believers will not fall away. A false profession is deceptive and condemning. Remember that when you start telling that soul about Christ, but without telling them there is a COST involved, and that COST is “Take up your cross and follow Me” (Jesus).

The third soil we see is the soil of divided loyalty (vv. 7, 22; James 1:7-8). This soil is under the weeds and thorns, the trash of the field, and is similar to the second, but this one apparently has soil. It is just a matter of its environment. Am I saying that environment makes a difference? Only if that growing seed stays in that environment. When we are talking about agriculture the seed which sprouts forth doesn’t have much choice in where it came up. In some ways this may be so of humanity as well, but as soon as the heart is changed for Christ they would seek the light, and to get out of the environment that would drag it down. The seed has no choice of whether it remains or not the human does. In the case of this type of heart condition it could be that the seed of the Word was received with false motives, such as, beliving that everything will be cushy, and the world will love me. Those things just are not true. This type of heart conditon is quickly sidelined by doing the things of the world, the flesh and the devil rather than the things of God. If there was ever any spiritual understanding it will be lost. Understand spiritual understanding is not equal to spiritual rebirth or godly regeneration. The heart of divided loyalty will be condemned. James tells us that “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8). They allow the material things of earth, friendships and popularity and power become their save all giving themselves to worldliness; “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:15-17 (KJV). These find themselves choked off from the words of life and condemned.

The final soil representing heart conditions is the soil of perseverance (vv. 8-9, 23). In content the soil is different. It is not hard, shallow, or shaded over with weeds or thorns. This is good soil and God will accomplish what He wills, where He will, and when He wills. The broadcaster or Sower is only responsible for sowing the seed. Who gives the seed? God gives the seed. Who prepares the soil or hearts of men? God does. How does God prepare the soils? By their dealings in life; their loves and losses. He prepares the hearts due to His grace, and because of the humility of the heart and life. When the heart is receptive to the seed of God’s Word, with depth for the root, there will be fruitfulness. There is also a distinct characteristic of the heart. Those who receive the Word brought forth fruit, some brought forth more fruit, and some brought forth much fruit. Understand this has nothing to do with competition. It is according to the heart condition, and God’s provision, and blessing.

Just to note; this final soil is the only one called good ground. The fruitful ones are the ones who heard the Word of God and put it to work. These are the ones whose lives have been genuinely changed. Jesus Christ has made a difference in their lives, and they bear fruit. This is the kingdom of heaven.

In conclusion, When a farmer broadcasts seed upon the soil he is not in full control of where that seed falls. The wind blows and that will change the location of the falling of the seed. The side to side motion of the hand and releasing of the seed will have it landing on the hard places, the shallow places, thorny places and the good places. As God’s people we are called to broadcast the seed of the Word of God. It is not up to us to decide who will hear, or who will not; who will receive the Word and who will not. That is the work of God’s Spirit. Part of the fruitfulness of the receptive soil is not only a changed, pure, contented, joyous, Spirit controlled life, but is also one of sowing the seed.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Inhabited Without Walls

Inhabited Without Walls

 

There is much conflict in and around the city of Jerusalem. There is political conflict between, Hebrews, Catholics, and Muslims over who the city belongs to. My answer to that is not diplomatic, or politically correct, but it is Biblically correct. It belongs to the Hebrews.

It was given to them by God Himself in the book of Genesis 15. God even set their boundaries. “To your descendents I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates–” (NKJV). That should leave absolutely no question. It belongs to the Jewish people, though the time of that fulfillment is yet sometime in the future. They will have peace in Jerusalem, and that peace and protection will be from Almighty God.

Hear the words of the prophet of God:

“And there was an angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him, who said to him, ‘Run, speak to this young man, saying: ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. For I,’ says the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’” Zechariah 2:3-5 (NKJV).

The future for Israel is not so dismal. They will one day experience peace from the Almighty hand of God. This is the Word of the LORD.

Nothing like this has ever been seen in the history of Jerusalem, at least since Solomon, and remember this is going to come from a “greater…than Solomon…”. However, there is coming a false peace for the City by the lies, promises, and covenant with the man who is the chief agent of the serpent – the master of lies and deception.

A similar picture is given in the final verse as that of the children of Israel journeying through the wilderness. As they were travelling through the treacherous desert the Lord was protecting them, and guiding them. He says, “I will be a wall of fire all around her…”. In the Exodus He was a pillar of fire by night. It was this same pillar of fire which stood between the Israelites and the massive Egyptian army, protecting them from danger of death at the hands of the soldiers (See Exodus 14:19-24).

There may be some who will say, “This is a prophecy which has already happened”. Nothing of such a magnitude as this has ever transpired. The Jewish people will come to their land from every nation. The City of Jerusalem will be enlarged beyond the old walls. In fact there will be no human built walls. No walls of stone. No walls of concrete. No walls made of barbed wire or any kind of wire.

People have gotten angry with the Israeli government for erecting fences, or walls. In the day of God’s peace there will be no walls, except the “Wall of fire” which is God [YHWH] surrounding her, protecting her, and her people from harm. Anyone who would dare lift even a single finger against Jerusalem will face the fire of the Almighty.’

The most glorious thing about this City at this time yet to come will be the presence of the glory of the LORD in the midst of her [Jerusalem]. God Himself will be the glory of Jerusalem. That means that Jesus Christ will be their Lord, Savior, and King. For there is no glory for Jerusalem apart from Jesus Christ.

The prophet Isaiah wrote by the Spirit of God:

“Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8 (NKJV).

The message of Isaiah was for them to repent, and get right with God. When they get right with God; and at God’s time, not man’s, then, and only then, will the glory of the LORD be their rear guard.

Those who are in Christ Jesus today have Him as the “rear guard”. We are safe and secure in His arms.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

A Greater King

A Greater King

“The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” Matthew 12:42 (KJV).

We have already gave mention to this verse in the commentary on the preceding verses. It is the third mention of a “greater than”. Jesus is the One who is greater than the temple (v. 6) = the greatest Priest. He is the One who is greater than Jonah (v. 41) = the greatest Prophet. Now we see that He is the One who is greater than Solomon.

What is the significance of Solomon? He was the third king of the nation of Israel. He was the wisest man who ever lived other than the One of whom we speak in this study. He was the wealthiest of all the kings of Israel, and was a king of peace. Under Solomon’s reign was Israel’s greatest days. There was peace all around. When Jesus reigns from His throne in Jerusalem He will then be, and already is, the wisest of all men. His kingdom will be wealthier than it has ever been, He is already the wealthiest of all kings. It will be Israel’s greatest days. There will be peace in every nation. He is in fact the King of kings.

The Queen of Sheba had heard many things concerning Solomon, was on her own search for wisdom so went to Solomon to find out for herself. Here is what the Word of God tells us; “The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, so she came to test Solomon with difficult questions at Jerusalem with a very large retinue, with camels bearing spices, gold in abundance, and precious stones. She came to Solomon and spoke with him about everything that was on her mind. So Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too difficult for Solomon to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba observed Solomon’s wisdom, the palace he had built, the food at his table, his servants’ residence, his attendants’ service and their attire, his cupbearers and their attire, and the burnt offerings he offered at the Lord’s temple, it took her breath away. She said to the king, ‘The report I heard in my own country about your words and about your wisdom is true. But I didn’t believe their reports until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, I was not even told half of your great wisdom! You far exceed the report I heard. How happy are your men. How happy are these servants of yours, who always stand in your presence hearing your wisdom. May the Lord your God be praised! He delighted in you and put you on his throne as king for the Lord your God. Because Your God loved Israel enough to establish them forever, He has set you over them as king to carry out justice and righteousness.’ Then she gave the king four and a half tons of gold, a great quantity of spices, and precious stones. There never were such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. In addition, Hiram’s servants and Solomon’s servants who brought gold from Ophir also brought algum wood and precious stones. The king made the algum wood into walkways for the Lord’s temple and for the king’s palace and into harps and lyres for the singers. Never before had anything like them been seen in the land of Judah. King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba her every desire, whatever she asked—far more than she had brought the king. Then she, along with her servants, returned to her own country.” 2 Chronicles 9:1-12 (HCSB) This is the testimony of one who witnessed the greatness and wisdom of Solomon. There are millions more who have experienced and will experience the greatness and wisdom of Jesus Christ.

Wisdom and understanding for ruling the people was what Solomon petitioned the Lord for in his prayer, and because to this the Lord granted to Him not only the greatest wisdom and understanding, but also power and wealth. There are many scholars and others who seem to think that the queen of Sheba and Solomon had sexual relations. There is really no evidence of such from Scripture, or that she took YaHWeH as her personal God. She only recognized God as the national God of Israel (1 Kings 10:1-10)

The scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus is addressing certainly have none of Solomon’s wisdom and understanding. It is almost certain that had the Lord Jesus been appearing before Solomon he would have known who stood there in his presence. Though the queen of Sheba may not have truly believed in God, her belief was that Solomon’s God had given him great wisdom and riches, and by what she had seen and witnessed stands as a judgment against the generation which condemned and rejected and continues to reject Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ the greatest Priest; the greatest Prophet; and the greatest King. He is the fulfillment of all Scripture – Prophet, Priest, and King.

God had used Solomon to get the attention of a foreign queen and she saw the greatness of God. The generation to whom Jesus spoke had One greater than Solomon, and they were rejecting Him. In our generation of 2008 Jesus Christ still lives, His message of grace through faith is still proclaimed; and there are those on the foolish side who desire to change it; keep out the cross, to never discuss the sinfulness of mankind; but instead make claims of the greatness of mankind, and our achievements, our technology, our wisdom. The people of Nineveh to who Noah preached, and the queen of Sheba still speak against the wisdom of this age, and declare to us Jesus Christ is Lord. Hear Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Works

The King’s Works

 

“Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” Matthew 12:22-24 (KJV)

The man could not see, nor could he speak. It is highly probable that this man could not hear as well. Scripture tells us he was “Possessed with a devil [demon]”. Now we live in a sophistcated society which tries to deny the spiritual in many ways. There are people who see “ghosts”, who see “spirits” and all kinds of certain phenomena, but the thought of demons seems to elude people. Many refuse to see evil as it is often seen.

Whether this man who was brought to Jesus and possessed by the demon had been made mute and blind by the demon is not seen. At any rate when Jesus heals the one possessed he is no longer possessed. He had been shunned because of his condition. Unable, because of strict religious ceremonial laws to attend worship at the temple. Jesus simply heals the man.

Due to Jesus doing this miracle many began to see Him as “the son of David”. This title is a Biblical title for the Messiah. The long awaited promised son of David who would come and deliver God’s people from their sins.

Upon hearing the people saying, “Is this the son of David?” the Pharisees react without grace, without mercy, and begin condemning Jesus. They are blind to the works which Jesus has done and is doing. His works are evidence of who He is. Old Testament Scriptures tell of the Messiah/King doing mighty deeds. The question arose partly from doubt because of Jesus’s position in life – “Acquainted with grief” (Isaiah53:3), and the Pharisees and all religious leaders had no confidence that their Messiah could be suffering or be acquainted with grief. They missed the parts where God speaks of the Suffering Savior, by appointing those verses to themselves, rather than to He who was to come. They saw only one coming of the Messiah, and appointed these miracles of Jesus to acts of the devil. Thus they put themselves in the precarious situation of eternal condemnation. They would take the triumphant Scriptures and appoint them only to the coming of a ruling conquering King, thereby, missing the point of the coming suffering servant, dying for the sins of the world.

In rejecting His works they rejected their king. By rejecting Jesus and His works they condemn themselves by giving Satan the glory for these marvelous works (v. 27). They were more concerned with preserving their traditional laws, and especially their own interpretation of the laws, than they were with meeting the needs of the people. When the preservation of traditional interpretation of the law becomes more important than the saving of a soul, that is when we open ourselves to judgment, and being rejected by our Lord. We must always stand on the truth of the gospel, and stand for it. Without the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, ie., the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; we have no salvation.

These religious leaders were blinded by jealousy, rage, and just an out and out blindness for the truth, in order that Jesus might fulfill the very word of God, and glorify the Father, and provide salvation to a lost world.

When we appoint the works of God and His Son Jesus Christ as works of Satan we put ourselves in the spot of condemnation. No true child of God – follower of Jesus Christ – is going to be condemned; so no true child of God is going to equate the works of Christ to that of the devil. It is sad that people who seem to know the Scriptures will often twist them, or distort them to come to their own interpretation, and in their interpretation miss the whole picture of the Scriptures. The picture is of Jesus; the person is Jesus. John the Revelator wrote by the Spirit, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10b).

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The King Withdraws

The King Withdraws

 

“But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; And charged them that they should not make him known: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.” Matthew 12:15-21 (KJV)

Jesus knowing the conspiracy going on among the religious leaders thought it wise to withdraw from the area, because He knew it was not the right time for His death. There were, however a great multitude of people who followed him, and this because they were fascinated with His gift of miracles. Jesus was not leaving because He was fearful, but knew full well He needed to be out of the reach of the vile and tormented hearts of the religious leaders.

We are told that, “He healed them all”. It seems that it was speaking of only those who were in the multitudes following. There was still multitudes of people through out all Israel who were not healed of their sicknesses and infirmities.

There are other points in the gospels where Jesus speaks to silence the desire to tell others of Him. Here is one of them. The reasons for the commandment of silence are probably numerous. One which might be so is that of being God’s will and timing is of the utmost importance. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus could not be done in haste, but it must be done in order. Jesus’s sole priority is to do the will of His Father, and it would be done. In one place Jesus told a healed leper, “See that you tell no one…” (Matthew 8:4); in Matthew 16:20 Jesus tells His disciples, “…that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.” After healing a deaf mute in Mark 7:36 we are told, “Then He commanded them that they should tell no one…”. For the most part it seems that this was so the Scriptures might be fulfilled. Jesus took great care to see that God’s Word was fulfilled to the letter. Some might see this as personal manipulation on Jesus’s part, it is not manipulation, but rather living it out to its fulness. He desires that His followers – disciples – have that same living out of the Word of God in our lives.

He gives us the reason for this commandment of not telling when He says, “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet…”. God’s glory and God’s Word are very important to God and His Son Jesus. The Psalmist wrote, “For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” Psalm 138:2b (NKJV). The Psalmist also wrote, “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89. Someone has said, “God said it; I believe it; so that settles it”. I think this way, “God said it; that settles it; and that is still true whether I believe it or not”.

Let’s examine what is meant by the prophecy of Isaiah in chapter 42:1-4, and is quoted here in Matthew. Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy as the Servant/Messiah. His coming the first time was not going to be like what the religious leaders had believed. They were expecting a politician, a general of war, a deliverer from Roman government. Jesus, as the fulfillment of this prophecy was quiet, peaceable, gentle, meek, etc. As the prophecy says, “He shall not strive, nor cry, neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.” That is not to say that people did not hear His teachings and preaching; many heard but did not believe. He did not try to stir up a revolution or force His power on any. As a matter of fact there is evidence that many tried to come to Him and force Him to be their king (John 6:15). There is coming a time when Jesus will rule and reign as King on the earth, but the time has not yet come.

Of the “bruised reed” and the “smoking flax”, The MacArthur Study Bible notes,

12:20 bruised reed…smoking flax. The reed was used by shepherds to fashion a small musical instrument. Once cracked or worn, it was useless. A smoldering wick was also useless for giving light. These represent people who are deemed useless by the world. Christ’s work was to restore and rekindle such people, not to ‘break’ them or ‘quench’ them. This speaks of His tender compassion toward the lowliest of the lost. He came not to gather the strong for a revolution, but to show mercy to the weak. Cf. 1 Cor. 1:26-29.” From p. 1414 New King James Version edition of The MacArthur Study Bible.

Our Lord Jesus Christ came the first time to give His life as a payment for the sins of mankind. He paid that debt in full. He will return a second time to take vengeance on those who deny Him, and the world will be once and for all delivered of all evil. The name of Jesus is the name in which all people and nations, tribes and tongues can put their faith and trust. The whole world can find peace in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Leaky gods Vs. Living Water

Leaky gods or Living Water

The men who were supposed to be the spiritual leaders of Judah had forsaken the LORD. They did not even realize their spiritual condition. That is a horrible thing for the “man of God” not to even notice that God is not present. The false prophets were prophesying by Baal, a false god, of pleasure. He was the god that took the place of the LORD in the hearts of Jerusalem.

Are things any different in the day in which we live (2008)? With Oprah’s “Secret”, and television commercials which make gods and godesses out of men and women with their products, we are becoming more and more of a pagan people.  We are a vain people.  In my mind there does not seem to be any difference; with the exception of clothing, and location.

In the text we look at today we see the LORD is bringing charges against the children of Jacob (v. 4).

HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD –

“Therefore I will yet bring charges against you,’ says the LORD, ‘And against your children’s children I will bring charges. For pass beyond the coasts of Cyprus and see, send to Kedar and consider diligently, and see if there has been such a thing. Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory for what does not profit. Be astonished, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; Be very desolate,’ says the LORD. ‘For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters and hewn themselves cisterns — broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:9-13 (NKJV).

The charge brought against them is forsaking Him. What does it take to forsake the Living God? The answer to that is: Just by diliberately turning to another source of encouragement, and strength one forsakes the Living God.

Notice this charge. What other nation has forsaken their gods? None. Earlier in the Nation’s life they wanted to be like other nations by wanting a king. Read First Samuel, and you will see their request for a king. How is it that now they could not be like these other nations, and trust only in their God. The God of gods, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

When a follower of Christ Jesus follows someone or anything else they lose the Glory that was theirs in Christ. The Psalmist wrote –

“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth. Why should the Gentiles say, ‘So where is their God?’ But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like unto them.” Psalm 115:1-8 (NKJV).

Why would someone want to drink water from a cistern, when you can have flowing fresh clean water? That is what had happened to the people of God. They had left the glory of the LORD to pattern their lives after that of death and darkness. Any time God’s people follow the world, the flesh and the devil we get out of His glory, ie., the Glory of God.

These cisterns God tells us of, are even leaky cisterns. They cannot even hold water. These cisterns would catch the water from what little rainfall they might receive, and dew falling from the roof of the mornings, then go out of the morning and find only a wet well, but no water to drink.

You become like what you worship. So beware.  The “Secret” which Oprah promotes is no secret at all.  It began with the lies of the devil in the garden of Eden, “You shall be like God…”.   And they died.  Follow the Word of the Lord, and you shall live.

-by Tim A. Blankenship