The Mark of Salvation

“And the LORD said unto him,

‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.’

And to the others He said in mine hearing,

‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.’

Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. And he said unto them,

‘Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth.’

And they went forth, and slew in the city. And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, ‘Ah Lord GOD! Wilt Thou destroy all the residue of Israel in Thy pouring out of Thy fury upon Jerusalem?” Ezekiel 9:4-8 (KJB)

From the Matthew Henry Commentary on verses 1-4:

“What this notice is. There are those that have charge over the city to destroy it, not the Chaldean armies, they are to be indeed employed in this work, but they are not the visitors, they are only the servants, or tools rather. God’s angels have received a charge now to lay that city waste, which they had long had a charge to protect and watch over. They are at hand, as destroying angels, as ministers of wrath, for every man has his destroying weapon in his hand, as the angel that kept the way of the tree of life with a flaming sword. Note, Those that have by sin made God their enemy have made the good angels their enemies too. These visitors are called and caused to draw near. Note, God has ministers of wrath always within call, always at command, invisible powers, by whom he accomplishes is purposes. The prophet is made to see this in vision, that he might with the greater assurance in his preaching denounce these judgments. God told it him with a loud voice, taught it him with a strong hand (Isa_8:11), that it might make the deeper impression upon him and that he might thus proclaim it in the people’s ears.”

As believers in 2019 we need to consider the words of the apostle Peter…

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

 

I share these posts because they are what the word of the LORD has given me for the day. I would much rather share a positive thought, and maybe that would be selfish of me to always be presenting the positive of Scripture. God is the only One who sees things as they ought to be, and is working all things for our good, and His glory.

The Church of Jesus Christ is the power of God on earth when we are sound in our faith, practice, life and living in the Spirit.  However when we get away from the Scriptures, begin equating it to only the past, and believing the word is powerless, and not believing that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only power of God unto salvation; then we have become instruments of the world, and no benefit to the way of salvation.

O will you turn to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. He is the only hope for the world. Call on His name. He will hear your cry, and He will save you.

Gethsemane

It has been some time since I posted anything.  I received this today by email from Bible Gateway, and thought I would share it with you.  It is from a sermon preached by Charles H. Spurgeon February 08, 1863.

Gethsemane

‘And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’ Luke 22:44

Suggested Further Reading: Mark 14:32–42

Behold the Saviour’s unutterable woe. The emotions of that dolorous night are expressed by several words in Scripture. John describes him as saying four days before his passion, ‘Now is my soul troubled;’ as he marked the gathering clouds he hardly knew where to turn himself, and cried out ‘What shall I say?’ Matthew writes of him, ‘he began to be sorrowful and very heavy.’ Upon the word ademonein translated ‘very heavy,’ Goodwin remarks that there was a distraction in the Saviour’s agony since the root of the word signifies ‘separated from the people—men in distraction, being separated from mankind.’ What a thought, my brethren, that our blessed Lord should be driven to the very verge of distraction by the intensity of his anguish. Matthew represents the Saviour himself as saying ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.’ Here the word perilupos means encompassed, encircled, overwhelmed with grief. ‘He was plunged head and ears in sorrow and had no breathing-hole,’ is the strong expression of Goodwin. Mark records that he began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy. In this case thambeisthai, with the prefix ek, shows extremity of amazement, like that of Moses when he did exceedingly fear and quake. Luke uses the strong language of my text—‘being in an agony.’ These expressions are quite sufficient to show that the grief of the Saviour was of the most extraordinary character, well justifying the prophetic exclamation ‘Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow which is done unto me.’

For meditation: The instruments we associate with the shedding of Christ’s blood were wielded by men—the scourge, crown of thorns, nails and spear (John 19:1–2,18,34). The fact that he sweat ‘great drops of blood’ in Gethsemane before any man could lay a finger on him gives us an important glimpse behind the scenes—his life was not taken from him by men; it was given by him for men (John 10:17–18).

Sermon no. 493
8 February (1863)

B F & M – The Family

This will be the final article on the Articles of our Statement of Faith, called the “Baptist Faith and Message”.

This Article was added to the 1963 version of the BF&M in the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention.  It was a needed article.  It clarifies where we as Southern Baptists stand on family issues.  It does make clear that marriage is to be one man and one woman, thus ruling out homosexual or same sex marriage and/or conduct, and all sexual immorality.

The family is the foundational institution which God created from the beginning.  God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone, and He created the woman from the rib of Adam, making her his wife, friend, confidant, and lover.  The family was instituted before the Church, it was instituted before human government; thus it is an integral part of humanity and godliness.

Here is our Statement of Faith on “The Family”:

“XVIII. The Family

God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.

Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.

Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.

Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.”

This Article shows the order for the Biblical/Christian family.  If there is to be order in any business, church, government, or organization; there will of necessity be leaders who will be designated to make decisions based on recommendations from others.  The same is true in families.  God has ordained that the man be the “Head of the wife”, as Christ is the “Head of the Church” (Ephesians 5:22-23), and I like the way this is worded in the BF&M statement, “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.”; especially “…to the servant leadership of her husband…”.  Men this is not a matter of having your way.  It is a matter of love, and “Servant leadership”.

This Article also deals with the children, and their discipline.  One of my thoughts on the things we give our children is, and I have often told others; “The best thing we can give our kids, is to let them see Dad loving and cherishing their Mother”.  A marriage should never be divided by the children.  The marriage came first, in the Biblical situation, and you will be living with your spouse for the rest of  your life.  That should not be so of your children.  They are to go out from your home and make a life for themselves.

In the healthy, godly home there will be no abusive situation.

-T.A.

B F & M – Last Things (Eschatology)

The study of “Last things” is one of my own favorite lines for ruminating Scriptures.  There are a vast aray of differences of the understanding of “Last thing”, that the BF&M of 2000, covers most of what we as Baptists believe concerning the return of Jesus Christ.

Studying the Revelation, the Major and Minor Prophets of the Old Testament, and their prophecies concerning the first coming of Jesus, and also concerning the second coming of Jesus is a fascinating endeavor.

There is blessing and reward for those who love the appearing of the Lord: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” 2 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV).  This is clearly concerning the appearing of Christ when He comes in all His glory, and becomes King of Jerusalem, and the world.

Our Statement of Faith:

“X. Last Things

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.”

There are many things which happen before the appearing of Jesus in His glory.  There are several views concerning these events, and some views which do not believe in some of the events that I do.

Some believe in the “Rapture of the Church” which there are probably three views concerning this as to the timing of the rapture.  There is the “pre-tribulation rapture” view; then, the “mid-tribulation rapture” view, and some who believe in a “post-tribulation” view.  There are some who do not believe in a rapture.

There are some of us who believe in a millennial [one thousand year] reign of Christ on earth when He comes in His glory.  There are some who believe that all prophecy has been fulfilled.  I will not get into that study here.  The study of “Last things” is called – “Eschatology”

For my beliefs on these “Last things” you can go to Fire and Hammer, or click Revelation or Thessalonians in the sidebar called Gleanings (categories).

-T.A.

Power On Their Lives – Mark 16:15-20

“And He said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.’
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”  Mark 16:15-20

Jesus gives us the Great Commission in Matthew 28 and it is longer and more detailed in its application there.  Here, however, we have a simple “Go and preach the gospel to every creature”, and then, what follows are signs, evidence that they are servants of God.  Because of the newness of this message of grace, that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again, there must of necessity have been proofs of their words being true.  The gospel is true and powerful to save, but the Scriptures [New Testament] had not yet even started to be written.  Today, we have the completed Scriptures [Old and New Testaments], and we no longer need evidence of the power of the gospel to save.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” seems like a salvation of works, but any one who comes believing in Jesus will in obedience follow the Lord in water baptism.  It is the “Public confession” of one’s faith in Jesus.   When a person comes to faith in Jesus they have a desire to obey Him in all things.  The first step of obedience, and the believer’s first call is a public testimony, and that is shown in baptism.  Baptism is the testimony of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection, and by baptism you tell the world of your faith in Jesus and that you have died to the old life, been buried putting it all away, and have risen to new life in Him.

According to the apostle John in the gospel he wrote, “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).  You could  ask the question, a fearful question, “What does one have to do to go to Hell?  The answer to that is absolutely nothing.  You can be saved by grace through faith in Jesus, His finished work on the cross and the resurrection, and enjoy the glory of Jesus for all eternity.  You can do absolutely nothing and spend eternity in Hell.  The truth of the matter is we are all condemned, dying, hellbound sinners.  We are born in that condition – separated from God, hating God, loving ourselves, and seeking our own way, and not God’s way.  There are some who believe that once this life is over that is it.  There are even some professing Christians who believe only the saved will have an “Eternal life” while those who do not know God through His Son Jesus will simply go back to the dust, and their “spirits” will cease to exist.  Part of the way that God created us in His image is that He gave us an eternal soul and spirit.  Not “Eternal” in the sense that He is; like “Eternal past”, but an eternal future, and our eternity with Christ actually begins with our faith in Him.  The condemned person’s eternity without Christ begins at the death of the physical body, and it will be an eternity without light, without friends, without satisfaction of desires.  It will be an eternity of torment, or flames, heat, no water, nothing to quench your thirst.  It will be a place without God’s love, only wrath.

These were signs of authentication.  They were evidence of the power of God to save those who believe, and the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.  The first sign Jesus gives is the power to “…Cast out devils [demons]”.  There is evidence of this in Acts with a young girl who is “demon possessed”, and brings great profit to her owner, because she can “Foretell” the future.  Paul was bitten by a poisonous serpent, and without harm (Acts 28).  The apostles Peter and John, on their way to the temple, meet a man who is lame, and by their words, “Rise up and walk” he gets up and walks (Acts 3).  Paul raises a young man named Eutychus from death (Acts 20).  There are many accounts in the book of Acts of the work of the Spirit of God in the lives of the apostles, doing miracles, signs and wonders, to confirm the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is the Gospel which is being promoted not the miracles, and we must always remember that.

The changed lives of millions through the years is evidence of the power of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Men and women who have had hate filled, murderous hearts are changed into loving, compassionate, caring individuals who reach out to others with the truth of Christ.  Men and women who have selfishly stolen from others through greed, lust, and larceny are changed into giving, unselfish individuals who love Christ and have given their all for Him.

One sign of the resurrection of Jesus is His ascension into Heaven to His Father’s right hand.  The apostles all witnessed it.  Peter, James and John, Matthew, and all the rest, except Paul for he had not yet come to faith in Jesus.  Jesus fulfilled all the Scriptures concerning the things concerning Himself and His first coming, and He will fulfill all the things concerning His Second coming.

The disciples/apostles were the ones who are responsible, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the beginning of the Church – the Body of Christ.  Without the Holy Spirit confirming their word, there would be no church.

Can we go out in the same power of the Spirit that they did?  Most certainly, and now we have something much better than miracles, signs and wonders.  We have God’s Spirit confirming His written Word.  It is finished.  There is no more being added to it, and anyone that does add to it or take away from it will find the curses of His Word in their lives (Rev. 22:18-19).

There is nothing impossible to those who walk in the Spirit of God.  Praying for the power of the Spirit on Christian lives.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Resurrection – Unbelief and Hardness of Heart; Mark 16:9-14

“Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven devils. 10 And she went and told them that had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And they, when they had heard that He was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. 12 After that He appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
14 Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen.”  Mark 16:9-14 (KJV)

By the testimony of verse 9 the resurrected Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene.  Who is this Mary?  She is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke,

“And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils” (Luke 8:2).

This Mary had been terribly bound, and was probably involved in great evil.  The Lord Jesus had freed her and cast the demons from her.  By His great glory He appeared to her first and gave her  the privilege of telling the sceptical disciples of the resurrection.  When she came to the disciples and told them they did not believe her report.

According to verse 10 the disciples were in mourning and were weeping.  They were quite sorrowful over the death of Jesus.  Why, O why, would they not believe Mary?  Would not her countenance be aglow with joy?  Would not her words have been filled with excitement?  Saying,  “Our Lord’s grave is empty, He is alive.  I have seen Him.  He has spoken to me.”  I think I would have at least been curious.  This would have, of course, been after Mary has been to the tomb, found it empty, went to Peter and John, they run to see it empty, and then return, as John writes,

” Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.”  (John 20:10).

They were not even curious enough to begin a search, they “…went away again to themselves”.

After appearing to Mary Magdalene Jesus appears to two who are walking together.  Luke tells us is was to Emmaeus.  Luke gives us more details of this appearance by Jesus.  These two did not recognize Him.  He shared with them the words of the Prophets concerning Himself, and only when He had broken bread at their table did they recognize Him.   When He first appeared to Mary, she did not recognize Him.  She thought Him to be the gardner.  Maybe due to the sadness, mourning, and tears His identity was covered to them, and maybe due to spiritual influence from Him.  They had been blind to the words Jesus had spoken concerning His rising from the dead, and now they were blind to its reality.  Only by the power of God did they know Him.  Only by the “Drawing” of the Father, and His will can anyone know Him.  These two told the disciples that Jesus was risen, and still they do not believe.  By this time Peter and John had probably already seen Jesus alive due to the words of Luke in chapter 24 verse 34,

“Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.”

When they came to those who had not yet seen Jesus alive the remainder would not believe.  We sometimes jump all over Thomas because he would not believe unless he witnessed the resurrected Jesus personally, but all of the disciples had the same attitude.  Blessed are those who have believed though they have not seen.

Why did Jesus rebuke them for their unbelief?  He had spoken to them many times of His death and resurrection, but they had not heard.  They had had a wrong attitude toward Him.  He was their source of deliverance from captivity of Rome.  He was their hope for amounting to something in “His kingdom”.  Judas was not the only one following Him for the wrong reason(s).  They found it hard to believe that their “Messiah” would even die.  If He was not going to die there was no need for a resurrection.  So in their mind all the problems of the Hebrews were over; then He died.

Jesus rebuked them, because they had not believed His Word.  “Destroy this temple, and in three day I will raise it again”.  You can imagine that now that He has appeared to all of the disciples, they now believe.  Would I have been any different?  Knowing what I know of myself, and having grown up in Missouri [the Show-Me State], I doubt it.  Knowing what I now know, by the testimony of so many witnesses and the testimony of God’s Word, Yes I believe He is risen.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Stone Rolled Away – Mark 16:1-8

And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, ‘Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?’ 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, ‘Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him. 7 But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you.’ 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.”  Mark 16:1-8 (KJV)

Three ladies, Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome come to the tomb where Jesus was laid.  Remember, they had witnessed where Joseph of Arimethea had buried Him (15:47).  There is no mistaken.  They went to the right tomb.  It was very early in the morning, the day after the Sabbath [Saturday], and so it was early Sunday morning the “First day of the week”.

These ladies had a very committed love, respect and awe for Jesus.  They, too had forgotten His words of resurrection.  The eleven apostles had forgotten and were discouraged, doubting, disabled, and in hiding.  For three days now, since the crucifixion, they had been without Jesus.

The “First day of the week” these three women have bought spices to anoint the body of Jesus.  The “First day of the week” they came to the tomb where they had witnessed Joseph lay His body.  They came with a question.  “How will we roll the stone from the door?  Will the guards roll it away for us?”  The stone had not only been rolled over the door, but it had also been sealed with the Roman seal (Matthew 27:66), so it is highly unlikely that Roman guards would have touched it.

Upon arrival at the tomb, they found the stone had already been rolled away, and that they could enter freely.  Upon entering the tomb, they see a “Young man” sitting there in the empty tomb.  They are “affrighted” which means, “G1568 ἐκθαμβέω  ekthambeō  ek-tham-beh’-o  From G1569; to astonish utterly: – affright, greatly (sore) amaze.”  This word means more than afraid, but rather, also “Amazed – utterly amazed”.   This was an angel, who Mark describes as a “Young man”.  He was probably youthful in appearance, but in reality he was an angel – a messenger of God.  His message to the ladies was for them to go and tell the disciples ‘and Peter’ that He had risen.

There is a particular message here for Peter.  Though, Peter was a disciple of Jesus he had denied the Lord during the trial, and was most likely feeling that the Lord would have nothing further to do with him.  This would have been an encouraging word for Peter, to let him know the Lord Jesus had not forgotten him, and that there was a place for him.  It is also an encouraging word for all Christians who, at one time or another have failed to be the Christians that we should be, that God is not finished with us and that, He still has a place for us.

When the ladies had heard the messengers words they left quickly with fear and trembling, and it says they told no one of what they had seen and heard.  Of course they went and told the disciples.

On this Resurrection weekend, remembering the day our Lord was raised from death; let’s commit anew to sharing with all whom God gives us opportunity that Jesus is risen; He is risen indeed.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Body of Jesus – Mark 15:37-47

“And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. 39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. 40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.
42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. 44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. 45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.”  Mark 15:37-47 (KJV)

Jesus had finished the gruelling, cruel, task of bearing the sins of the world.  Jesus spoke seven times from the cross one of which was, “It is finished”, which is recorded by John in chapter 19 verse 30.

Mark records something that is not recorded in the other Gospels, and that is the remark of the centurion in verse 39, “Truly this man was the Son of God”.  Matthew, Mark and Luke mention the “Veil of the temple was rent” with Luke’s version leaving off that it was torn from top to bottom.

The “Veil” separated the “Holy place” from the “Holy of Holies”.  The “veil” allowed only limited access, and that was only once per year on the day of Atonement by the high priest, and with the blood of a spotless sacrifice.  The significance of the torn veil is that now the way has been made for all people to come into the presence of Holy God.  Remember Jesus’ words, “I am the way…”.  He parted the veil and “The Way” has been made.  We can all now, “…Come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16).  The special significance of the veil being torn from “top to bottom” is that it was done by God, not by man, showing that the only way to God is not by the works of flesh and law, but only by God’s grace.

The centurion was so amazed by the strength, power and authority of the voice of Jesus at His last words from the cross it made a lasting impression on him.  Being a “centurion” he would have been in charge of 100 men, and according to the Gospel of Matthew chapter 27 verse 54,

“Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those     things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.   Matt 27:54 (KJV)”.

John MacArthur writes of this in the Study Bible,

those with him. These were probably     men under his charge.  Mark 15:39 says the centurion was the one who uttered  the     words of confession, but he evidently spoke for his men as well.  Their ‘fear’ speaks of an     awareness of their sin, and the word ‘truly’ suggests a certainty and conviction that     bespeaks genuine faith.  These men represent an answer to Jesus’ prayer in Luke 23:34.”

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do”.  (Luke 23:34).

It is not improbable nor unlikely that this man and those with him are with Jesus in heaven.

At His death there were also several women who were there.  Some of them are named here – Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the less, and of Joses, and Salome, and others.  My how the work of women has improved since the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  The New Testament tells us nothing of any wicked women or wicked deeds compared to that of the Old Testament.  Here we see the women had less fear for themselves than the men did, and they were closer to Jesus in His death than many of the disciples were.

At His death there was a man we do not know much about.  He was one who “Waited for the kingdom of God…” and went and asked Pilate for the body of Jesus.  He must have been a silent follower before or became one at His death.  Anyway he has the bold courage to appear before Pilate and asks for the body.  Joseph of Arimathaea is the man.  After Pilate had affirmed that Jesus was dead he gave Joseph the body.  Joseph, then, took the body of Jesus and prepared it with the proper perfumes, wrapped His body in “Fine linen”, and “…Laid Him in a sepulcher which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulcher”.  Matthew writes, “And laid it in his own new tomb,…” (Matthew 27:60).

The final verse of our text tells us that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.  They would not leave until they knew where Jesus would be buried.  Jesus had no personal means of paying for a burial.  He knew that would be taken care of by His Father.

So!  Who was really on trial here? Who should have been crucified? Yet, He hung, He bled, He was accursed and died in our stead. It seems to me that what we see here in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus is the wicked, vile, sinful nature of mankind.  That was what sent Jesus to the trial and to the crucifixion.  It was His love that kept Him stedfast, and faithful to the finish.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus Helped; Scripture Fulfilled

“And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.
22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. 23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. 24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. 25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. 26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. 29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.”  Mark 15:21-36 (KJV)

After Jesus had been beaten with the “Cat o nine tails”, and stricken by the hands of His mockers and accusers Jesus would have been very weak physically.  As they took Jesus on “The way of suffering” called “Via Delorosa” He may have stumbled from the weakness and they compelled one Simon from Cyrene to carry the cross, or help Him carry it.  This wooden cross would have been heavy to bear even for a man who had not lost much blood, as Jesus had.  This Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.  This Rufus is probably the Rufus mentioned in the book of Romans, “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

(Rom 16:13)”.  It is quite possible that because of this experience the man Simon and his two sons, Alexander and Rufus, became followers of Jesus.  Simon was a help to Jesus and Jesus was certainly a help to Simon and his family.

They offered Jesus a “Wine mixed with myrrh to drink”, but He refused it.  It was a drink that would have dulled His senses, and numbed His pain.  Jesus’ choice of love was to endure the pain with all His senses about Him, and to suffer the full pain and retribution of sin, as His Father judged the sin of the world.  Refusing the drink, He would still be able to communicate with His Father, and not sin.

The third “Help” does not seem much like help for Jesus.  They actually were helping themselves to the garments which Jesus wore.  It would take an awfully cold, calloused heart to set at the foot of a cross and gamble for the garments of a condemned man, be he innocent or guilty.  Here these men were playing a game at the feet of an innocent, sinless, guiltless man, and seemingly with no remorse, or shame.  My, how there is varied instance of people’s responses to the death of Jesus.  Some are cold and callous, some are weeping, some are running away, some are just political, and some bow and call Him, Lord.

The time would have been 9 a.m. when the crucifixion took place.  Pilate had a placcard written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, “The King of the Jews”.  John writes, “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews” (John 19:19).
According to John’s Gospel the “chief priests of the Jews” did not like the words, they believed it should say, that He said, “I am king of the Jews”.  Pilate stood his ground and said, “What I have written I have written.”
One of the things Jesus was sure of, and committed to was the “Fulfillment of Scripture”.  Here we have another fulfillment of the Scriptures. “He was numbered with the transgressors” –

“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.   Isaiah 53:12 (KJV)”.

There were three men hung on the tree that day- two thieves and the One who gives life to all who trust in Him.  There is a song with the chorus that says, “The one on the left, he was a sinner, the one on the right was too, but the man in the middle He was the Savior, and He died just to save me and you.”  We know from Scripture that one of these theives put his trust in Jesus (Luke 23:39-43).

The people who passed by the cross where Jesus was spoke in blasphemous, defaming, reviling words.  They mocked His precious words in which He spoke of rising from the dead – “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it once again”.  They commented about “Save Thyself and come down from the cross…”  How could Jesus pay the sin debt of the world if He came down from the cross.   On the cross, Jesus was doing the greatest work He came to do.  He came to minister and give His life a ransom for many (10:45).   His greatest work was to glorify the Father, and He did that by completing the task which was given Him.  To die on the cross was the glory of the heavenly Father, and made it possible that wicked, sinful, blemished, spotted man might be reconciled to Him.  If they had known what they were asking they would not have asked.  Knowing what I know of this today, my question would be, “How could You do that for me?”

Likewise the “chief priests” were demanding that if He was indeed the Son of God, “Save yourself” and “…that we may see and believe”.  They had seen the mighty works which He had done.  They still would not believe, and because of that, and because they would not believe their scriptures, they would not believe though He arose from the dead.

There was a period of darkness over the land.  My personal belief is that this darkness was more than just a local phenomonen.  It was worldwide.  The main and maybe only reason I believe that is, that, the reason Jesus died was for the sins of the world, thus the whole world would, most likely, have gone into this great darkness.  It was a spiritual darkness unlike anything the world had ever seen.  It was a total darkness.  It lasted for three hours while Jesus suffered the wrath and judgment of the Father for sin – our sin.  It was the darkest and most dreaded day of Jesus’ life.  “My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me” was His cry after the judgment had been made.  The Father had turned His back on His Son, because He had been made sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).

Some who were standing there thought Jesus was calling for Elijah to come and rescue Him from the cross.  One ran to get a sponge full of vinegar which Jesus now receives (John 19:30).  His work was finished.  There was no more for Him to do for the atonement of sin.  I am so thankful that He was not calling for Elijah to come and remove Him from the cross, though I know He would have used other means.  He could have called thousands of angels to come to His aid.  He could have spoken a word, and it would have all been over.  He could have called to the Father, “I cannot bear it”, but He bore it for you and for me.  If He had not bourne it for us we would be forever doomed to eternal torment.

-Tim A. Blankenship

What will ye then that I shall do unto Him…?

“And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate. 2 And Pilate asked Him, ‘Art thou the King of the Jews?’ And He answering said unto him, ‘Thou sayest it.’ 3 And the chief priests accused Him of many things: but He answered nothing. 4 And Pilate asked Him again, saying, ‘Answerest Thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against Thee.’ 5 But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled. 6 Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. 7 And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. 8 And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. 9 But Pilate answered them, saying, ‘Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?’ 10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered Him for envy. 11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. 12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, ‘What will ye then that I shall do unto Him whom ye call the King of the Jews?’ 13 And they cried out again, ‘Crucify Him.’ 14 Then Pilate said unto them, ‘Why, what evil hath He done?’ And they cried out the more exceedingly, ‘Crucify Him.’
15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged Him, to be crucified. 16 And the soldiers led Him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band.  17 And they clothed Him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about His head, 18 And began to salute Him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ 19 And they smote Him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon Him, and bowing their knees worshipped Him. 20 And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple from Him, and put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.”  Mark 15:1-20 (KJV)

Due to the  fact that Israel was not a free country, but was under Roman rule, they had lost their authority to put anyone to death.  Therefore, they must take Jesus to the Roman governor, who is Pilate.  The religious leaders had found Jesus guilty of blasphemy.  The charge was actually that He had said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it again”.

God is on trial before humanity, but who is really the condemned here?  Who are the guilty ones?  Why is an innocent, guiltless, sinless, spotless, and blemishless man being sentenced to death?  To answer those questions – The one’s who are pronouncing death to Jesus.  That answers the first two questions.  To answer the final one – Because only the death of an innocent, guiltless, sinless, spotless, and blemishless man can atone for sin before holy God, and Jesus fit the bill.  It was guilty, sinful, spotted, blemished mankind that condemned Him, but it was for those who condemned Him that He died for the real condemned.

Pilate knows Jesus to be innocent of the charge brought against Him, and that the charge has only been brought  due to “envy” (v. 10).  Due to the pressure from the people, though, Pilate offers a choice between a murderer [Barabbas], and Jesus.  Because of the conspiracy of the religious leaders the people and the priests choose Barabbas (v. 11).  When the people cried out for Barabbas Pilate asked, “What shall I do with Jesus, whom you call, ‘King of the Jews?”  Their answer to that was, “Crucify Him.”

What a horrible way for a man to die.  What an awfully horrible way for the God/Man to die who was not guilty of any sin or wrong doing.  Yet, it was determined in the foreknowledge of God, from the foundation of the world, that the Godly should die for the ungodly; the Righteous should die for the unrighteous; the Just should die for the unjust; that the Sinless should die for the sinful.  “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8).

“And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”  1 Peter 1:17-21

The hands of sinful men striking the sinless Son of God.  The thorns of a tree representing the wages of sin placed on Jesus’ head and mocking Him as king.  The words of men against the Living Word of God, condemning Him to die a cruel, cursing death.  It is a “Cursing death” because the Scriptures say, “(For he that is hanged is accursed of God;)” (Deut.21:23;  Gal. 3:13).

What will you do with Jesus?  Will you just account Him as a good man, a good teacher, a good example; or maybe a work of fiction?  Your indecision about Jesus has eternal consequences as well as the wrong decision.  No decision is your decision.  Choose Jesus as the God-Man who died for your sins, was buried carrying your sin away, and rose bodily from the grave and eternally lives.  Trust Him with your life, and you too can live with Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031711

The gospel of Mark is and interesting, inspirational, and instructional read.  I preached a sermon from Mark 15 many years ago in a revival meeting on the North side of the Missouri River, and in a Missouri Baptist church.  A lady in the church the following night brought me a copy of a poem she had written based upon the text I used from Mark, and gave it to me in a picture frame.  Now, to let you know, I was truly honored by her gift.  I still have both, and read the poem occasionally.

This account of the gospel of Jesus Christ is much shorter than the other three, though there are many scholars who believe that the other three were probably written using Mark as a source.  I don’t know about that, nor if it can even be proven yea or nay.  It makes little or no difference if we believe that they are all inspired by the Spirit of God and are the truth; which I do.

The final three chapters of Mark give us the message of the crucifixion; which every time I read the message of the cross tears begin to flow as I think of my blessed Lord and Savior dying for me.

In chapter 14 we read of the beginning of the “Lord’s Supper” or communion; and Jesus going to the garden of Gethsemane to pray.  Mark does something really special in Jesus’s prayer.  Jesus calls God “Abba, Father” (14:36), Abba being a much more personal term than “Father”.  It is Jesus’s word for “Daddy”.  Only a son or daughter can call their father “Daddy”.  None of the other gospels give such a personal accounting of the Son to the Father; though it is certainly implied.

When the soldiers came and took Jesus, after being betrayed by Judas, the other disciples fled for their lives; and “Peter followed Him afar off”  (14:54).  Jesus is tried before the hierarchy of religion, found guilty and sent to Pilate (15:1-2).  Pilate, after practically pleading for Jesus’s life, finally succumbs to the whims and wishes of the priest of Israel and the misled people’s desire for his crucifixion.  They cry out “Crucify Him”, and Pilate does.  Jew and Gentile alike are the culprits of the crucifixion of the innocent, spotless, without blemish Lamb of God.  He is blasphemed, He is cursed, He is brutalized; He is mocked; and no one comes to His aid.

There were events on that day which defy description.  Darkness, earthquakes which cannot be explained by mere human faculties.  The events described took place because there was a grievance between the holy and the holy.  One holy person, Jesus the Son of God, had taken on Him the unholiness of men; and received the wrath of God that was due to us.

Chapter 16 shows that death could not hold the Son of the Living God.  He was buried in a borrowed tomb which had been carved from rock.  When Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought sweet spices they found the stone rolled away from the tomb entrance.  As I write this I am realizing that there is no way for me to express the excitement of the moment they must have experienced the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  The stone was rolled away, Jesus was gone, His body was gone, and “a young man” says to them,

“Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him.  But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee:  there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you.” (16:6)

It seems to me that the stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out of the tomb, but, rather to let witnesses in to see that He was risen.  He is alive.

Because He lives we too can have eternal life, believing in Him, surrendering our lives to Him and His word and will.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031611

Today’s Reading is from Mark 11 – 13.

The religious leaders of Jesus ‘s day were having trouble with the idea of Messiah being more than a man; however, Jesus asks them a question concerning a writing of David, a king of Israel whom they all respected, and admired.

“And Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, ‘How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?  For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, ‘The LORD said to my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.’  David therefore himself calleth Him Lord; and whence is He then his son?’ And the common people heard Him gladly.”  Mark 12:35-37 (KJV)

In this statement which is quoted from Psalm 110:1 declares Messiah to be David’s Lord.  The scribes are correct in calling Christ or Messiah the “Son of David”; however, since David is calling Him “Lord” then there is a great confession from David that the Christ is also the Son of God, the God-Man.

The following is a quote from the MacArthur Study Bible on verse 37;

12:37 David himself calls Him ‘Lord.’ Jesus interpreted Ps. 110:1 for the Pharisees.  David would not have called one of his descendants “Lord.”  Thus the Messiah is more than the “Son of David”– He is also the “Son of God.”  Jesus was proclaiming the Messiah’s deity, and thus His own (cf. Rom. 1:3; 2 Tim. 2:8; Matt. 22:45).

and from the ESV Study Bible;

Mark 12:35–37 While in the temple, Jesus publicly raises a question that he has already discussed in private with his disciples: who is the Messiah of God—is he essentially the son of David or the Lord of David? Jesus’ point is not to deny that the Messiah is a descendant of David (e.g., Ps. 2:1–12; 89:1–52; Isa. 9:1–7; Jer. 23:5–6; Ezek. 34:23–24). The issue is that, in this passage (i.e., Ps. 110:1–5), there is no mention of the Messiah being the son of David; rather, the Messiah is here the “Lord of David” (see note on Matt. 22:41–46). Jesus affirms the divine inspiration of the Psalm through the Holy Spirit. The Lord (Hb. Yahweh) grants to David’s Lord (Hb. ’Adonay) an exclusive place of honor at his right hand and helps David’s Lord overcome his enemies. Jesus anticipates being exalted to the right hand of God, and thus he far transcends any expectation of a merely political, Davidic messiah.

When anyone argues against the deity of Jesus Christ they argue against the very word of God; Old and New Testaments.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031511

Reading today from Mark 8 – 10.

There is much mention of leaven throughout scripture.  It was forbidden in the house of a Hebrew on Passover; it is a symbol of delay, and God commanded them to make haste concerning their departure from Egypt.  Leaven also symbolizes the spread of pride and evil; it is puffed up with self and selfish ambition; with no time or room for God.

In my observations of scripture there is no time when leaven is used as a symbol or type of anything good.  For today’s observation we will look at the lesson Jesus gives concerning the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod;

“Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.  And He charged them, saying, ‘Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.’  And they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘It is because we have no bread.’  And when Jesus knew it, He saith unto them, ‘Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?  Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?  When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?’ They say unto him, Twelve.  ‘And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?’ And they said, Seven.  And He said unto them, ‘How is it that ye do not understand?'”  Mark 8:14-21 (KJV)

These verses begin by telling the reader that the disciples had gotten into the boat with only one loaf of bread, and no more.  This gives us a clue as to the disciples thoughts on bread, and their misunderstanding.  Jesus says, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod.”  Now His disciples begin thinking that Jesus is concerned about the lack of bread.

Jesus reminds them of the miracles of the fish and the loaves in the feeding of 5,000 men, not counting women and children; and of the miracle of the loaves to 4,000 men, not counting women and children; and their worried about bread? They are not understanding.

Jesus is speaking of an arrogant, pride filled heart; a puffed up attitude of one’s self and leadership.  With an attitude similar to the Pharisees and of Herod there is nothing but destruction awaiting that type of person.  Have you ever noticed with the use of leaven that it never adds anything to taste, or even to its content.  Leaven/Yeast merely puffs up a loaf of bread, makes it appear to be more than what it is; when all it really is is simply air.

The thing the disciples needed to understand, and that many professing believers of our day need to understand is who Jesus really is.  It had not quite clicked in their hearts just yet.  They had witnessed the miracles of the loaves and fishes, the opening of the eyes of the blind; and the healing of the deaf ears; but yet they were not fully seeing who Jesus is, nor hearing all that He said.

In just a bit Peter makes his confession of who Jesus is, “Thou art the Christ.” and in Matthew (16:16) the words, “Son of the living God” are spoken.

Sin and pride; its leaven; blinds eyes, and closes hearts to the understanding of who Jesus is.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031411

Reading today from Mark 5 – 7

I want us to consider the charges Jesus makes against the scribes and Pharisees concerning their hypocrisy, and “Making the word of God of none effect…”  Just how does one go about making the word of God of no effect?  First of all this means, giving; in this case; more authority and power to something less powerful, such as their traditions.

The following are the words of Jesus,

“He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.   For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: but ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.  And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”  Mark 7:6-13

Sometimes traditions are good, might even be great; however when we make tradition greater than Scripture we are in danger of being hypocrites, and of honoring God with lip service, but having no heart for Him.  The danger the scribes and Pharisees were in was due to one thing that Jesus mentions in verses 10 – 12.  Their tradition allowed them to take what would be used for honoring their father and mother; call it God’s, thus, making that sacred, and then they were unable to use that material thing for the honor of their parents.

The following are the study notes of the English Standard Version of the Bible for verses 10 – 13;

Mark 7:10–13 honor your father and your mother (cf. Ex. 20:12; 21:17; Deut. 5:16). No one questions the importance of this law in the Ten Commandments; disregarding it was punishable with death in ancient Israel. Part of honoring father and mother is to care for them, both financially and personally, in their old age. However, Jewish tradition allowed that funds originally dedicated to the care of parents could be declared Corban (Hebrew/Aramaic for legally “dedicated to God”; cf. Lev. 1:2; 2:1; etc.), meaning that the person would no longer be required to do anything for … father or mother. These funds could now be given to the temple, if so desired. Such human traditions thus allow room for the depravity of the human heart, directly opposing the Law of Moses which so often serves to protect the weak and helpless, in this case, parents in their feeble old age (making void the word of God). The “Corban” tradition is an example (along with many such things you do) of disregarding and rejecting the more important aspects of the Mosaic law.

As Christians of today let’s be careful to follow the guidance of the Word of God, and not our traditions over the Word.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031311

The reading today is from the Gospel of Mark chapters 1 – 4.

The gospel of Matthew is related to the King and His kingdom.  The gospel of Mark is related to Jesus as a servant.  These characteristics are seen in the Old Testament in the book of the prophet Ezekiel (1:10), and also in the Revelation of Jesus Christ (4:7).  There are four faces mentioned; the face of a lion – the King;  the face of an calf/ox – servant or serving;  the face of a man – humanity;  the face of an eagle.  The Revelation even calls it a “flying eagle”.  I will deal with the significance of the others when we get to their respective gospels.  Right now we will deal with Mark.

Let me make something as plain and clear as I can.  There are not four different gospels.  There are four different points of view so that we may have a more clear, and lovely picture of our Lord.  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John though penned from different experiences are just as inspired by God as the other.  They do not contradict but explain, and enhance, and complement one another.

The experience of Mark begins differently than the other three accounts.  Matthew begins with a genealogy of our Lord and His Kingship.  Luke, in chapter 3 has the genealogy from Mary’s side of the family, thus showing his humanity.  John has no genealogy, but rather states quite clearly His deity with the first five verses, with verse 1 saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.

Mark includes no genealogy, because servants  had no genealogy in that day; not publicly recorded.  Looking at the total life of Jesus we see a King, a servant, a man, and His Divinity.

Look with me at the beginning of the gospel;

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets, ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee.  The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make His paths straight.'” Mark 1:1-3

Mark seems to make the service of Jesus to the Father a point in a greater way than the others do.  Many may frown on the idea of Jesus as a servant, but He said it Himself:

“Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.  But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:41-45

The work of Jesus while on earth was to fulfill the Father’s will, not His own.  He was a servant/minister to do the bidding of His Father.  He had come also to serve mankind by giving His life as a ransom for our sin, paying the sin debt which we owed.

Surely the best we have to offer Him is ourselves, believing what He has said, living for Him and His glory.  We need to do as the apostle Paul says, “…Present your bodies a living sacrifice…” (Romans 12:1-2).

-Tim A. Blankenship

…Ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven

“And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. 54 And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire. 55 And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. 56 For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. 57 And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, 58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. 59 But neither so did their witness agree together. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? 64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. 65 And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.
66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. 69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. 70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. 71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.”  Mark 14:53-72 (KJV)

It was very early in the morning and the “High priest, all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes” were all assembled together and for the distinct purpose of putting Jesus on trial.  It was not the time of week they preferred, but it was the time ordained by God.  It was illegal to hold a trial this early, but there was nothing legal about the arrest of Jesus either.  He was arrested out of pure envy, because of sin in the hearts of wicked men.
We are told by the writer that “Peter followed Him afar off…”.  Peter followed all the way to the home “Palace” of the high priest.  It was there that he sat with the “Servants” and warmed himself at their fire.

These religious leaders sought for testimony against Jesus, and did not find any (v. 55).  There were many who bore “False witness” against Him, but it was not in agreement.  They kept searching until they found two who would agree as to the destroying and rebuilding of the temple.  These “Leaders” were desparate.  This testimony was on Jesus’s statement where He had said, “Destroy this temple [speaking of His own body], and in three days I will raise it again.”  (John 2:19).   There was no accusation against Jesus which would stand in a real court of law where a judge was fair and just.  But, then, all men are liars when compared to the justice of God.

Jesus is asked if He is the Messiah/Christ, and He answers, “I Am…”  He goes on telling of seeing His coming glory (v. 62).  That really upset the high priest to the point of hypocritically ripping his garment.  This was an outward show of grief, despair, even at times repentance – which he certainly needed right now, but even more later.   The sound is more and more the echo of Psalm 2,

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

At the trial before the religious leaders they began to spit on Him and strike him with their hands.  It is a grievous thing to read and think that the God of the universe placed Himself in the hands of sinners; He Himself being sinless, to give His life as the  payment for sin, and giving to those who believe in Him His righteousness.  My what  a Savior.
Peter, the disciple, John MacArthur calls “The disciple with the foot-shaped mouth”.  He has previously said that he would never be offended because of Jesus (vv. 27-30), now denies Him.  In these seven verses (66-72) we have three accounts where he does just that.

At one point he even goes into a “Fit” of cursing; denying that he knows Jesus.  He went out not believing the word of Jesus about “All being offended in Him”, and finds himself doing exactly what Jesus said.  We need not fear that the Word of God and His Son Jesus will be performed.

Peter’s weeping was not the weeping of one who silently sheds tears, but one who “Wailed” loudly where it could have been heard by people around him.  When that rooster crowed the second time Peter saw the eyes of Jesus looking at him (Luke 22:61), and it grieved his heart.

Have I denied Jesus?  Have I betrayed Him?  Do I need to ask?  Yes!  To all three questions.  I must ask for His forgiveness, and He forgives, cleanses and sets me free.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

“And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. 45 And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. 46 And they laid their hands on him, and took him. 47 And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. 50 And they all forsook him, and fled. 51 And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: 52 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.”  Mark 14:43-52

Judas goes about doing his dirty, dispicable, dastardly deed.  He betrays Jesus with the highest symbol of friendship in that society.  This kiss was the way best of friends greeted one another, but Judas’s was an act of hypocrisy, betrayal.

They come with a large mob, to take the one who offered nothing to them except peace, hope, love, mercy, grace, and joy.  They came as though He were a murderer, or a thief.  The real thief was leading the way, and betraying the Master.

The lowly, miserable, sinful, unclean, wicked, deceitful, betraying, mob took hold of the sinless, perfect, holy, just, righteous, Son of God to take Him to a “trial” and then to take His life.

Peter’s response was to take the sword and attack, which he did and cut off the ear of a servant to the “High priest”.  Other Gospel accounts tell us that Jesus healed this man’s ear (Luke 22:50-51).  Peter was brave, but at a time when it was not necessary to act so brashly and without thought, but then, this was the character of Peter.

Jesus was always for the fulfillment of Scripture.  In order for Him to be the true Christ [Messiah of Israel] all Scripture must be fulfilled.  Not one “jot” or “Tittle” could go unperformed.  God does not leave anything undone which He has spoken, nor will His Son.  Jesus’s life, work, death and resurrection fulfill all Scriptures concerning Him and those events.  Not one thing has been left undone.  Just as the Scriptures had declared, and Jesus had said Himself all the disciples fled for their lives.

There is a young man, who is not identified,  in the garden, and he flees without any garment.  This “Young man” has been thought by some to have been John Mark – the writer of this Gospel.  I see no problem believing that.  Mark not wanting to draw any great attention to himself just identifies himself as a “Young man” who flees from the mob.  He may have been hiding in the trees and rocks, looking onto the events of Jesus and His disciples, and was there when the mob came to take Jesus away.

Do we often try to hide when conflict comes?  Jesus was willing to face the shame of the cross for our sins, and He willingly offered Himself for our sins.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Gethsemane: “Thy Will Be Done”

“And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and He saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. 33 And He taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. 35 And He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. 37 And He cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? 38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. 39 And again He went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer Him. 41 And He cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth Me is at hand.”  Mark14:32-42 (KJV)

This is the place called, “Gethsemane” which means “Oil press”.  It must have been the place where the harvested olives were pressed for the oil.  There probably can be no better representation of the “Press” Jesus Himself must have been in at this moment in time.  Of course, Jesus’s press was a spiritual one; affecting Him physically; which was pressing on Him to fulfill the will and work of God in His life, and that was His will and choice as well.  He came to do His Father’s will.

Jesus tells the disciples to sit in a certain place while He goes to pray.  He takes with Him Peter, James, and John to stay a little closer with Him and to pray while He goes to be alone with the Father.  The weight, agony, passion weighs heavily upon Jesus as this is being done, and he commands the three with Him to “Watch”; that is “Be vigilant”, “Be watchful” (v. 34).

At least from the time of the beginning of His ministry at the age of thirty the heart and mind of Jesus was on the cross; dying there for the sins of mankind.  As the only blood atonement for all our sin.  That was, afterall, the plan of the Father.  That was His plan too.  Having that as His heart and mind; is the old idea we have heard the right one, or could it be that He thought He could possibly die before He reached the cross due to His physically weakened condition; due to His grief and sorrow – His agony?

Could He truly have been praying that this time of passion “Might pass from Him”? If indeed that had been His heart and mind for many years? If so it would not be that He was questioning the Father’s will, it was the agony of His coming separation from the Father that was causing Him so much pain and agony.  He is the Son of God in flesh, never away from the presence of God, and to take away the sin of the world would require separtion to provide justification, cleansing, and in the end our glorification.  His death for sin was the only means by which a holy God could save mankind from their sins, and still remain just and holy.  Jesus knew that, and thus prayed, “…Not what I will, but what Thou wilt” (v. 36).

Remember Jesus had told Peter, James, and John to be vigilant, watchful and pray, but He finds them sleeping.  In the time of His own personal crisis His disciples – the three closest to Him at that – seem unaware at what is happening to Jesus.  It may also be that they are so troubled that they are overwhelmed, and they are emotionally exhausted.  It was a very trying time for them, but especially for their Master.  That was the time for them to pray, not to sleep.

He went back to pray and returned again only to find them sleeping again.  It happened again a third time and this time He tells them, “Sleep on”.  The time of His betrayal was at hand.  There was nothing more that they could do.  Judas was coming with the mob to take Him and lead Him to trial for His murder.

One thing we can learn from this event is that we need to be diligent, alert, and aware in our praying.  Sadly, there are far too many Christians asleep at spiritual living; especially in prayer.  At the darkest points of our lives we must be praying.  Maybe we are not even aware of those “darkest points”.  We need to be.  When we see the dark points of friends and family; we need to pray diligently.  Lord help us to pray as we ought.

Lord,  When we are in Gethsemane [the press] help us to pray, “Thy will be done”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Lamb Of God Celebrating Passover

“And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, His disciples said unto Him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?  13 And He sendeth forth two of His disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. 14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with My disciples? 15 And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. 16 And His disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as He had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. 17 And in the evening He cometh with the twelve. 18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with Me shall betray Me. 19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto Him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? 20 And He answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with Me in the dish. 21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of Him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born. 22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is My body. 23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, He gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 24 And He said unto them, This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. 25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. 26 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.  27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of Me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.  28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. 29 But Peter said unto Him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. 30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny Me thrice. 31 But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.”  Mark 14:12-31 (KJV)

Because it is drawing near to the evening of the Passover and feast of unleavened bread Jesus gives direction to two of His disciples on how to search for that place.  Whether the Lord had prearranged the event or not is not the question, though I personally do not believe that Jesus had it prearranged except through the Father.

Everything worked out just as Jesus had said.  Now we have the True Passover Lamb being prepared and preparing His disciples for the hours which lie ahead.  Ever since the deliverance of Israel from Egypt following the night of the Passover this event was prophetic of the True Lamb who would one day come to deliver mankind from sins bondage.  Just as the Passover lamb in Egypt died to deliver Israel from death, so too, the Son of God the Perfect Lamb, must die to deliver us from our sins.  It is quite fitting that it would be on the evening of the annual event remembering the deliverance from the land of bondage.

At this Passover meal Jesus tells His disciples that one of them will betray Him, and they will all flee from Him.  At the Passover meal they wonder, “Who is it?”  They even ask “Is it I?’  Even Judas to cover himself asked the question.  It seems to me that it would be proper to say that Judas was not present when the Lord instituted the “Lord’s Supper”.  According to John’s Gospel there is a place where Jesus said, “What you do do quickly…” and “…having received the sop went immediately out:…” (Read John 13:27-30).  The “Sop” would have been a piece of the unleavened bread from the “Passover meal” not that of what was the “Lord’s Supper”; that came shortly after Judas went to do his devious act of betrayal.

All we know of Judas is what we find of him in the Gospels.  He was the “Treasurer” for Jesus and His disciples (John 12:6).  We know he had equal access to the presence of Jesus as the other disciples.  He could have sought forgiveness for his treachery of betrayal, but instead he went out and hanged himself.  He could have taken part in the Lord’s Supper, but chose rather to go and betray his Master.  He slid into Hell from a church pew.  He did these things on one of the most holy weeks of the year for the Hebrew people.  He chose to betray and kill the only One who gave them hope.  By the death of the Lamb of God there was cleansing, forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, and restoration, justification, sanctification, and there will be glorification.

As Jesus and the eleven disciples were on the Mount of Olives he tells them they will all be offended and flee.  Peter says,  “Though all may be offended, yet, I will not be.”  Because of his brash denial of Jesus’s words to all of them Jesus warns Peter that he will deny Him three times.  All of these events happened on Passover evening.  The true Lamb of God [Jesus] is about to be put to the slaughter.

During the time of the Passover meal Jesus prepares His disciples for the hours ahead.  They are yet about unaware of what is to come.

In verse 25 we have Jesus’ promise that He will see the disciples in His Kingdom; showing us that there is a coming Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  It is a great promise.  Jesus also says, “…After that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee”.  That of course saying that He will not only meet them there, because He would see them before they see Him in Galilee, but He would reveal Himself to a far greater  populace of people, “He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once…” (1 Corinthians 15:6).  We also have His assurace that wherever we go for His glory He will go before us in leading.  If He is not leading the way will not be open.

In having the Passover meal with His disciples Jesus was forming a bond and strength in them to help them through what lay ahead.  Peter would realize that His Lord did not make empty promises or vile statements.  He would learn to keep his mouth shut at His Lord’s word.  Peter would also learn of the Lord’s great forgiveness, and would bow at the Lord’s resurrected feet.

As the first Passover lamb was killed to provide blood for the doorposts and lintels of every home of the Hebrews and deliver them from the “Death angel”, the blood of Jesus Christ delivers all who are under His blood.  Life is in the blood.  The shed blood of Jesus gives life to all who are dead in sin, if they will but look to Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

At What Price???

10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.

This text goes from one who, “Has done what she could”; to one who “takes all he can”, and gives nothing in return.  The Gospel of John calls him a “Thief” (John 12:6).  It is quite the contrast.  On which side do we stand? On the side of giving all to Jesus; or taking all we can for self.
Notice the path of the betrayer.  It was not an accident it was a planned, purposeful, plot for material gain.  Judas went to the “Chief priests, to betray Him unto them”.  He went to them.  They did not come to him with words of deception, or a scheme to try and trick Judas into betrayal.  It was in Judas’s  heart.  Then after they had received his offer he sought for a way to set it up – “he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.” (v. 11).  Is this the heart of one who really loves Jesus?  Is this the act of one who really believes in Him?  I think not.
Some may think of Peter and his denial of Jesus, but Peter did not plan, or purposely plot to deny Jesus.  When Judas betrayed Jesus did he seek forgiveness and repent of his action?  No!  He was sorry for what he did, but did not seek the cleansing of forgiveness, rather, the Gospel of Matthew and the book of Acts tells us he went and hanged himself (Matthew 27:3-5;  Acts 1 17-19), and went to his own place.  Peter sought the Lord’s forgiveness for His act.
The woman in verses 3 – 9 sought how best to serve her Lord.  Judas sought how best to serve himself.  Which one sought rightly?  Which one will receive the Lords blessing, and reward?  Which one will spend eternity in Hell?  It is evident to those who know the Lord.

What is the worth of your soul?  What is the worth of Jesus Christ to you?

-Tim A. Blankenship

…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

You Can Believe All That He Teaches

“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: 29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. 30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. 31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”  Mark 13:24-37 (KJV)

BELIEVE EVERYTHING HE TEACHES

The Word of God clearly tells us that there will be a time when all chaos will break lose in the heavens; the sun, nor moon will give their light; the stars will “fall”; the heavenly bodies will all be “shaken”.  The Bible tells us, “…By Him all things consist”  that is “are held together” (Col. 1:17).  At the time shortly before Jesus returns to reign on earth, and after the Antichrist has wreaked havoc on the earth is when these things will take place.  God’s hand removed possibly to show who was really in control of things.  This will be a very chaotic, frightening, and deadly time for residents of planet earth.  People of earth have always wanted a world without God, and at this time they get what they want.  LOOK OUT.

When these things come about then, know that Christ will come with “Power and great glory”, and set up His kingdom on earth.  Jesus will send out the angels to gather the “elect” which is most likely all those who were saved during the seven years of tribulation, the 144,000 Jewish witnesses, etc., and call them to serve in His kingdom.  These will come from all over the earth.  There will be a resurrection of the dead who died for their testimony for Christ, and their bodies and spirits will be united once again.

Look at the signs.  The parable of the “Fig tree” is that you can know when it is time for the figs.  We can know when the time of Jesus’s second coming is near.  We cannot set dates or a time, we do not know, but the signs give us a clue that it is near.

This generation of people will not pass away until all these things are done.  What generation?  The generation who witnesses these events taking place.  How long is a generation?  It varies, depending on who you ask.  It can be 40 years, or 70 years, even 100 years.  That is three thoughts.  It is most important for us to not be carried away by the years, but to think of the event and the signs which we all can see.

In verse 31 we have the assurance of the immutability, and eternalness of God’s Word.  All of heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s Word will stand forever.  That is how we can know that these events which we are looking at will truly come to pass.  God is Truth.  His Word is Truth.  His Son Jesus is Truth in flesh.  We can put our trust in Him.

No one knows the day or the hour.  Not even Jesus as He walked among us in the flesh knew when He would come again.  Now, however, back on His throne, and in His glory He knows the exact day and hour.  As He was here on earth He was God incarnate, but limited His omniscience according to the Father’s discretion.  Now He has been given all things.

It has been given to God’s people, for our day and time, to be diligent, awake and alert to the goings on around us.  Jesus has ascended into the heavens, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and we are waiting His return, but that has responsibilities we are to practice, and live.  Take heed to God’s Word, His guidance, direction.  Watch and pray, for we do not know when He will come again.  The Master of the House is returning.  WATCH.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Keep Your Eyes Open – Watch

“But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: 15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: 16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. 17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. 19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. 20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. 21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: 22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. 23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.” Mark 13:14-23 (KJV)

KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN – WATCH

Daniel speaks of this in his prophecies (Daniel 9:27;  11:31).  Daniel’s prophecy was fulfilled partly in Antiochus Epiphanes in the second century B.C. when he sacrificed a pig on the temple altar.  That was before Jesus was born, so this prophecy must be of another day.  The destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. did not involve an “Abomination of Desolation”.  Since Jesus was speaking of a future day, there must be a future one yet to come.  Daniel’s prophecy covered both events – that of Antiochus Epiphanes and the yet future “Antichrist”.

When this final one appears it will be following a time of peace – three and one half years – then this “Judas” will set himself up as God on the throne in Jerusalem and demand the worship of the Hebrews (2 Thes. 2:1-4).  At this time Jesus tells these people to “…Flee to the mountains”, and “…not go back to get his clothes…”.  He tells that it will be a time of great sorrow, unlike anything known to mankind (v. 19).  This will be a time when material possessions will not matter for protection, security, or safety.

Fleeing from the evil one to live in the hills, woods, and caves will be far better.  However, those of us who are presently “in Christ Jesus” do not need to fear this dark time – “we are not of the darkness” but of the light (1 Thessalonians 5:4-5).  We will be removed from the earth in order that God might deal with His people the Hebrews, and call them back to Himself.  Jeremiah the prophet calls this “…the time of Jacob’s trouble…” (Jeremiah 30:7).

Salvation is of our Lord.  Jesus Christ died for our sins; on the cross; was buried, and rose again.  He promised to come again and receive us unto Himself.  Call on the name of the Lord and you too will be saved from your sins and the wrath to come.

The “Elect” (v. 20) must surely refer to the nation of Israel, and/or those who have received Jesus as their Savior during this time.  There will be “False christ’s”, and “false prophets” who will be able to do mysterious deeds, and wonders and try to deceive the populace, and even, “If possible, even the elect.”  It will be a time for them that they must have their senses sharpened, and their eyes wide open.  Of course that is a good thought for all of us in our day.

Christian; Keep Your Eyes Open – Watch.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Do Not Fear; Be Watchful

“And Jesus answering them began to say, ‘Take heed lest any man deceive you: 6 For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. 8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.  9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them. 10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations. 11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. 12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. 13 And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”  Mark 13:5-13 (KJV)

DO NOT FEAR; BE WATCHFUL.

“There will come in the days of the future”, Jesus said, “times of trouble, and many will say ‘I am Christ”.  That will be a day for one to be watchful.  This appears to be a time following the destruction of the temple [which happened in A.D. 70], but the time Jesus is speaking of here seems to apply to another era of time.

Jesus warns the disciples and us of an approaching time when there will be many “anti-christs” who come for no other reason, but to lie and deceive, and to lead followers after them.  Whether it be in the time of the disciples or in our own time; be it 70 A.D. or 2010 the Word is the same, “BEWARE”, “TAKE HEED”.  These false christs are out for their own well being and not for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells the disciples not to be afraid even though there will be earthquakes, famine, war, etc.  These are only “birthpangs” showing that the second coming of Jesus is near.  They would begin with less intensity, but as the time of the end draws near they will become more and more intense.

In looking at these things we need to be mindful that there is great reason to believe that Jesus is speaking of His second coming in the “Olivet Discourse” both here and in the gospel of Matthew.  There are some things, that,  we who are looking for the appearance of Jesus in the “clouds”, must learn from these passages of Scripture.  First of all, none of these signs Jesus speaks of has to do with the “rapture of the Church”, all the prophecy of Jesus coming for His Bride [Church] has been fulfilled.  Secondly, We too must be on guard, keeping up the watch, being alert, taking heed.  There are false teachers, false professors of Christ, and some who say they are the Christ.  Anyone who professes to be Christ is a liar.  Everyone will know when Jesus comes again, with the exception of the “Snatching away” of believers of Christ Jesus.  A third thing to learn is, we must always be sure we are ready, and that our friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors are ready to “…Meet thy God”.  We can know we are ready by drawing nearer to Jesus through everyday association with Him in prayer, His Word, and in so doing obedience to His Word.

During the time of what Jeremiah calls, “…The time of Jacob’s trouble…” (Jeremiah 30:7), there will be a persecution of the people of God unlike anything the world, or God’s people have ever known.  Those who believe in Jesus at that time will be put to death by the most horrid means imaginable, and in the last three and one half years of “Jacob’s trouble” the Hebrews will be in great distress, yet protected by God.  “But he who endures to the end shall be saved…” is not speaking of a salvation of works, but of those who already have salvation, and by the grace that saved them showing the power of their faith in God.  God gives grace which keeps us to the end.

We must be strong in our Lord.  No matter what the world may throw at us we must “…keep looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”  Even those of us who are looking for the “Rapture” must “…be ready to always give an answer for the hope that is in us” (1 Peter 3:15).  There is none of us who are immune to persecution. “Yea, and all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).  Live for Jesus Christ; He is coming soon.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Temporary Temple

Temporary Temple

1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! 2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? Mark 13:1-4 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Widow’s Gift

38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, 39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: 40 Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.  42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.  43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.   Mark 12:38-44 (KJV)

This sounds similar to many of the religious leaders, preachers on television who promise great dividends for sending in their offerings.  They are really nothing short on theives [wolves] in sheeps clothing.  They love the greetings of the people; they really love the offerings of the people.  What they love most  is approval, and the adulation of the crowds.

Lest someone judge me for making this judgment let me say this.  Jesus is the one who is making this judgment.  You need not worry about my “judgment” it is His which will hold muster in the end.

The boastfulness and arrogance of the religious leaders is astounding.  As a matter of fact it makes Jesus sick.  These love to have all the attention focused upon them.  They like the service they do simply because it gives them notoriety and privilege.  They will take the homes of the widows without remorse, and plead for the widow to continue to give unto the end.

A widow woman comes and cast “Two mites” into the “treasury”.  It seems this was all that she had, and Jesus gives her more adulation than those who gave from their wealth.  This woman gave all she had, the wealthy gave only a portion of what they had.  It does not matter how much you give as long as you give it all to the Lord.  If the Lord has it all you will guard what you have left and use it wisely for God’s glory.  Does God have all that you hold in your possession?  Does He have you?

Tim A. Blankenship

David’s Christ

“And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David? 36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. 37 David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.”  Mark 12:35-37

The scribes would profess and teach that the “Messiah” was the “Son of David”, but they were not acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah.  What was their problem?  In the Psalms David calls the Messiah, “Lord” (Ps. 110:1).  The Pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees [religious leaders] were rejecting Jesus as the Christ [Messiah].  Therefore, Jesus is putting forth a lesson they must hear and learn.  If the Messiah is the Son of David, and Jesus is the fulfillment of the coming of Messiah, then He must also be Lord and God in flesh.

Jesus is not disagreeing with the premise that the Messiah is the “Son of David”, but He is strengthening it.  In Psalm 110 verse 1 David is acknowledging the Messiah as Lord.  “The LORD [Father God] said unto my Lord [Messiah/Christ]…”.  In this passage Jesus is declaring the Messiah’s deity, and thus, His own deity.

The religious leaders did not believe the Messiah would be anything more than just a man, and that was the reason for Jesus’ question.  If David is recognizing the Messiah as Lord, then He is more than “just a man”; more than “just the son of David”; He is the incarnate [in the flesh] God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Power Of The Ten Commandments

“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:   And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.   And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:   And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.”  Mark 12:28-34 (KJV)

THE POWER OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Jesus is asked by a scribe, “Which is the greatest commandment?” Jesus’ answer is one which shortens the whole of the Ten Commandments into two short commands. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…”. I have done a study of the Ten Commandments and find some very amazing thoughts of the first four commandments God gave us. The first four Commandments have to do with mankind’s relationship with God. In the first Commandment the “Heart” can have no other gods – there can be only one. In the second, the “Soul” of man cannot unite with other god’s by building an image – we are made in God’s image, not He in ours – thus the soul must be knit only to God. The third, the “Mind” of man must not think thoughts that make the mouth say vain things of God, or curse His name. In the fourth, we need “Strength” so God commanded a day of rest and so that we could devote one whole day for worshipping Him and renewing our physical and spiritual “Strength”. Just as a means of summing up these matters, we must come to the conclusion that there is no place in man’s heart and life for any other god, but the God who created all things, seen and unseen.

On the matter of the second commandment which Jesus gave, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…” we see that the final six of the Ten Commandments have to do with mankind’s relationship to his/her fellowman. From one’s mother and father, marital faithfulness, preciousness of life, sacred ownership, speaking of others, and the possessions and being of your neighbor.

The scribe acknowledges that there is no greater law than these; to love God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength is better than “whole burnt offerings and sacrifices”. This man was a wise man, and even Jesus tells him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God”. Not by keeping commandments is one saved, but in knowing and loving God, and only God can give that to us.

For a list of other studies on the Ten Commandments you may follow this list.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Ignorance Of Scripture

“Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying,  Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.’
‘Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.   And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.   And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.   In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.   And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God?   For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.   And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?   He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.”  Mark 12:18-27 (KJV)

IGNORANCE OF SCRIPTURE.

Remember the Sadducee’s did not believe in the spiritual.  They did not believe in angels, and I suppose even the devil himself, nor did they believe in a resurrection of the dead.  Everything is material.  If you look at it that way, they could not, really, even believe in God.  He is Spirit.  So, this question and story they tell is to try and get Jesus twisted up and “confused”.  They are trying to show people that He is a fraud.  With Jesus it does not work.

It is no wonder that they are ignorant of Scripture.  Not believing in the spiritual world, and most likely in God, why would they want to know the Word of God.  The Sadducees accepted only the writings of Moses.  The “Prophets” meant nothing to them, and that is why they and the Pharisees did not get along, except at times in political matters.  It makes me wonder how they viewed the “disappearance” of Enoch in the fifth chapter of Genesis; the plagues in Egypt; the crossing of the Red Sea; the provision of water from the Rock; the daily provision of “Manna” from heaven; the judgments of the family of Korah by the ground opening up and swallowing them and all who followed them, the serpents in the camp because of excessive complaining, and their deliverance by the lifting up of the bronze serpent on a pole.  These are all in the books which Moses wrote, and they have to do with the spiritual power who made them come about.

The hypothetical question posed by the Sadducees was based on what is called Levirate marriage.  In Deuteronomy 25:5-6 we see the law of Moses giving the levirate marriage law, and where the question of the Sadducees came from.  According to their story a man married a wife, and died without having children,  the second brother took her to wife, and so on until they all had her as wife with no child.  Their question,  “Whose wife will she be in the resurrection?”  My question, Who said they would be in the resurrection?  At least the first one.

Not knowing the Scripture is a sad state for these men of the Sadducees.  They were supposedly knowledgeable of the first five books of Scripture, but they would not believe the spiritual, nor anything having to do with resurrection – living again.  I suppose they must have thought that anything having to do with “Living forever” only meant in a continued family after one’s death, or something.

Anyway Jesus said, “God is the God of the living.”

There is a great tragedy in being ignorant of Scripture.  One can miss out on eternity with Jesus Christ, and/or be the cause of others missing out.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Twelve – Thirteen through Seventeen

“And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. 14 And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. 16 And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s. 17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.”  Mark 12:13-17 (KJV)

THEY TRY TO TRICK JESUS CONCERNING TAXES.

“Shall we pay taxes to Caesar or not?”  That is a question many still ask this day and time.

Is it lawful, is it right, is it godly to pay taxes?  Jesus said, “Render to Caesar, the things which are Caesars, and to God the things that are God’s”.  What kind of society did Jesus live in?  Roman rule was the law.  Did Jesus protest taxes because the Romans were unjust, wicked, and boisterous?  No!  He said, “Pay your taxes”.

Jesus asked for a “penny”, and He looked at the image on the penny.  He asserted that since Caesar’s image was on the penny then it needed to be given to Caesar.  Whose image is on man?  God’s.  Therefore, give to God what is God’s.  That means yourself.

Jeremiah the prophet told the people how they were to live as captives in Babylon, and under Babylonian captivity.

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; 5 Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; 6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. 7 And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.”  Jeremiah 29:4-7 (KJV)

Also consider Romans chapter 13:1-7

Whether we as Christians want to admit it or not; like it or not; makes little difference if we are subjects of our Lord.  We submit to Him, and the laws of our captive land.  We are “captives” of a sort in this world until our redemption in Jesus Christ is completed at His coming.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Twelve – One through Twelve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Eleven – Twenty Seven through Thirty three

“And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, 28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things? 29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me. 31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? 32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed. 33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.”  Mark 11:27-33 (KJV)

WHERE DOES JESUS GET THE AUTHORITY TO DO SUCH THINGS AS PURIFY THE TEMPLE?

If you are anything like me you are thinking to yourself that these religious leaders must be “fuming mad” at Jesus.  Here for the second time in three years He has come into the Temple compound, and tossed tables, money, caused animals to scatter, and “offended” many of the people and upset the business of the Temple people.  The thing we must realize is that God was offended by their “Business” in His house.  They were more concerned with the pocketbook than with the hearts of the people.  They were more upset over the money than they were with the shattered lives of the people around them.

Who gave Jesus the authority to do what He did?  Who did He think He was anyway?  We know the answer to that question – He was/is the Son of God, in the flesh.  He is the Creator of the world.  His authority came from Heaven.  His authority came from His position as Creator, Son, Savior, Messiah, Lord, Redeemer, Master, Healer, Sustainer, the Almighty, and many other titles and names that is given Him.  Now, where does the authority come from?  Who gave Him this power?  Did He need to ask  permission?  NO!  It is all His.

These leaders would not answer Jesus’ question concerning John the Baptist.  They knew what He would say if they would acknowledge John as a prophet of God.  They were also afraid to answer he was just from men lest they received ridicule and rejection from the people.  They would not stand on anything, so they would fall for a lie instead.  They would have suffered rejection from the people because they saw John the Baptist as a prophet of God.  How foolish, and how weak.  It only proves they wanted only popular approval.

Why did Jesus not answer their question?  If they were rejecting John’s message, they would not believe Jesus’ message of Himself.  Why waste the time and effort to bother with an answer.  There are times when an answer is not warranted or deserving of those who ask it.  This was one of those cases.
Jesus was always willing to answer honest questions.  He answered  many of them.  This was not an honest question.  It is like you or me proving our identity, and then, having someone ask us, “Are you sure you are who you say you are?”  Only with Jesus it is much more severe.

Jesus is the Son of God, became flesh, who died for our sins, carried our sins away at His burial, and after three days He rose from the dead for our justification, and He is one day soon returning for those who are His in the rapture of the Church, and then returning to earth to rule and reign for a thousand years and then for all eternity.  Do you know the God/man Jesus?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Eleven – Twelve through Twenty six

“And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: 13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. 15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. 17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. 18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. 19 And when even was come, he went out of the city. 20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. 22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”  Mark 11:12-26 (KJV)

IN THE FIG TREE JESUS SHOWS US THE FRUITLESSNESS OF A DEAD RELIGION AND CONFRONTS IT.
As Jesus and the disciples were  leaving Bethany, back toward Jerusalem, Jesus spots a fig tree with leaves on it – advertising that it had fruit.  When Jesus arrives there they discover it has no fruit.  Jesus curses the fig tree.  To some this may seem unnecessary for Jesus to have done, but it seems to me that there is a message we must hear and heed.

  1. “There was a voice in it for the JEWISH CHURCH. Rich in the leaves of a formal religion, but barren of all fruits of the Spirit, that Church was in fearful danger, at the very time when this withering took place. Well would it have been for the Jewish Church if it had had eyes to see its peril!”
  2. “There was a voice in the fig tree for all the branches of Christ’s VISIBLE CHURCH in every age, and every part of the world. There was a warning against an empty profession of Christianity unaccompanied by sound doctrine and holy living, which some of those branches would have done well to lay to heart.”
  3. “There was a voice in the fig tree for all the branches of Christ’s VISIBLE CHURCH in every age, and every part of the world. There was a warning against an empty profession of Christianity unaccompanied by sound doctrine and holy living, which some of those branches would have done well to lay to heart.”   From J. C. Ryle commentary on Mark’s Gospel.

Dead religion offers nothing but leaves, and like the “fig leaves” which Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with were inadequate, so are the “fig leaves” of a dead religion.  In Scriptures the “Fig tree” often represents the nation of Israel and/or its religion (See Hosea 9:10; Nahum 3:12;  Zechariah 3:10).  It is somewhat intrigueing that we have Jesus’ strong words to this fig tree just before He enters the Temple compound and finds them “Buying and selling”.  You will also notice that when Jesus and the disciples pass by the fig tree again that it is dead.

Why did Jesus “curse” the fig tree.  First of all “it was not the season for figs” according to the text, but it had leaves, and most usually the leaves and the figs grew together.  Secondly, by having leaves but no figs it was “advertising” it had fruit when it did not.

There are many people who do not believe that Jesus ever became angry.  Those who think that must have never read of the two times Jesus cleansed the temple.  He cleansed the temple once when He had just began His ministry three years prior to this, and then He does it again here.  You can read about the first “Cleansing” in John chapter two, verses thirteen through seventeen.

Here is what was going on in the Temple compound.  It was expected that the animals brought to the Temple for sacrifice would be inspected by the priest, but it had became a practice to find fault when there was no fault.  It may have been something like this – A priest would say an animal was at fault then sell the owner of the “faulty” offering an “approved” offering, and then, he would sell this man’s animal as “approved” to someone else.  Some people who travelled great distances may expect to buy a Temple approved offering at the Temple.  It was nothing more than theft, and dishonesty that was taking place in the name of God.  There was no holiness, righteousness, or godliness in the place.  The “House of prayer” had been turned into a “Den of thieves”, and Jesus would not tolerate it.

The money changers would charge great fees for exchanging Greek and Roman monies for the Temple money.  They made a great deal of profit by this deed, and took advantage of many poor people by the selling of doves for an extravagant  profit.

The Church of the Lord Jesus this day needs to pay careful attention to this.  The things of God are not for the making of profit.  Using the name of God to attach a price on things is theft, and dishonors the name of the Lord.  There are business men today who attend church so as to maintain a base for their business, and to keep a good name in the community they are in.  Some will even try to conduct a little business in the church.  There are some who think the church should be conducted like a business, when it is not a business, nor should it be conducted as such.  It is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and is to be conducted by His guidelines and for His purposes, and glory.

In looking at the fig tree this is how we could define “Dead religion” – 1.  It offers much but delivers little;  2.  It is cold and formal;  3.  It seems alive by its much activity [its buying and selling], but God is not there;  4.  Its leaves cover its fruitlessness, but not to God’s eyes.

In verses 20 through 26 Jesus gives us a lesson in faith.  The fig tree He “cursed” the day before has already withered – it is dead.  It was so dead that even its roots were dried up.  “Have faith in God” is the statement Jesus issues to the disciples.  It is faith in God that makes all things possible.  Someone has said, “Where God guides, He provides”.  Is that true.  Yes! it is.

Faith is believing in what you cannot see, touch, smell, taste, or hear in the physical realm.  You can see evidences of faith in God, for instance; the rising of the sun, and its setting; the order of the universe; the intricacies of the human body, and the bodies of animals as well;  the singing of the birds;  and all the other details of life.  Faith believes in God, even when there is no possible way of something happening.  Jesus’ words on prayer are strong, and is telling us to ask as if we have already received it “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Mark 11:24(KJV).

That is genuinely the prayer of faith.  Believing you have received it before you do.

Notice the importance Jesus places on “Forgiveness”.  Without forgiveness we cannot expect answer to our prayers.  God is so good to forgive us, we ought also to forgive those whom we believe responsible for offending us.

Remember this, NO FORGIVENESS, NO ANSWER TO PRAYER.  KNOW FORGIVENESS, KNOW ANSWER TO PRAYER.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Eleven – One through Eleven

THE FINAL WEEK OF JESUS’ LIFE IS BEGINNING, AND HE COMES TO JERUSALEM, TO PRESENT HIMSELF AS A SERVANT OFFERING FOR SIN.

“1And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, 2 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. 3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. 4 And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. 5 And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? 6 And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. 8 And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: 10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. 11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.”  Mark 11:1-11 (KJV)

This event is often called the “Triumphal Entry”, but it seems more appropriate to call it a “Servants entry”.  Of course, this is the event that leads to His death, burial and resurrection, and this is exactly what He is doing.  He is not coming into the city as a conquering King, but as a lowly servant.

He is riding a borrowed donkey, not a gallant steed.  The donkey is known as a surefooted, strong, burden carrier, but certainly not an animal for war or for conquering anything.

This is actually a first for Jesus.  He has previously been only with His disciples, and occasional crowds wanting to see His mighty works and miracles.  He has not ran seeking the attention of others, but now He is coming presenting Himself as a lowly, suffering servant.  For the week that is ahead the people will need to make their final dicision as to who Jesus is.  Is He the promised Messiah, or is He a fraud who is faking it all?

Jesus sends two of His disciples to find a donkey colt tied just as Jesus said it would be.  The events happen just as Jesus told them it would.  They begin untying, and someone asked them what they were doing and they told them what the Lord said to say.  Everything was fine with them then.

One of the things we can see from this text is that Jesus never owned anything in this world.  He said He had no place to lay His head.  Any time He was sleeping it was a borrowed place.  To preach to people along the shore of the Sea of Galilee He borrowed a boat.  He died and was buried in a borrowed tomb.  Jesus had no earthly wealth.  Who are we to castigate, ridicule, and despise the poor, when Jesus was poor when He walked among us.

As Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem the people began to pay homage to Him as He rode on this unbroken donkey.  They lay their garments in His path, they cut palm leaves and lay  in the path, and they were singing.  What were they singing?  “Hosanna!Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”  They worship and praise Him now, but in a few days, some of these same people will be crying out, “Crucify Him, crucify Him”.

The people as they sing praise to Jesus are singing Psalms 118:26.  How is it that a multitude of people can praise Him one day and just a few days later, many are willing to “Crucify Him” just because their religious leaders lead it.  It was ordained by God that Jesus die for the sins of mankind, that He be buried – carrying our sins away; never to be seen again;  and the He rise again from death for our justification.  It was the ugliness of man’s sin that caused Him to be their; it was His love that kept Him there; and it was God in His wrath toward sin that struck Him, taking His life, turning His back on His own Son.  It was Joseph of Arimethea who loaned Jesus a tomb in which to be buried, and it was the power of God that raised Him to life again, coming out of the tomb after three days.

-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

Daniel 2:1-23

GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU…
1 Peter 5:7

…When The Challenge Seems Impossible

Daniel 2:1-23

purpose – To display the need for Christians to be sober, courageous, and bold enough to seek the Lord’s guidance, and information from Him in difficult situations and circumstances.

In this the second chapter of Daniel we find that Nebuchadnezzar is a man of troubled dreams.  What we will find later, by the power of God, through the prophet Daniel is that this is a dream related to the history of the Gentile nations throughout human history from Nebuchadnezzar until the appearing of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lord.

In this first message from chapter two we will see an enormous requirement put on the “wisemen” of Babylon.  It is so impossible it leads the Chaldeans to respond that no one can give the dream, “…except the gods”.  The enormous task was that, before they could interpret his dream they had to first, tell him his dream, and then he would know they were being truthful about its interpretation.  Pretty smart of the king; at least I think so.

INTRODUCTION OUTLINE –

I.  THE KING IS TROUBLED BY DREAMS (v. 1).
II.  THE KING ASK FOR THE “WISEMEN” TO TELL HIM HIS DREAM THAT HE HAD DREAMED (vv. 2-9).
III.  THE KING SENDS OUT A DECREE TO KILL ALL THE ‘WISEMEN’ (vv. 10-13).
IV.  THE MAN OF GOD (DANIEL) SEEKS THE KINGS DELAY WHILE HE AND OTHERS PRAY (vv. 14-18).
V.  GOD REVEALS THE DREAM AND ITS INTERPRETATION TO DANIEL (vv. 19-23).

I.  TROUBLING DREAMS, FEARING WHAT MAY BE AHEAD (v. 1).
With a world in economic, political, and moral failure there are many who are having troubling dreams, even fearing what may lie ahead.  Many of us may have dreams while sleeping that we don’t even remember, and some we do, however, Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by his dream.  His dream was one that God had given him.

There should be no trouble in understanding the meaning of “the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign”, and the three years of training for the Hebrew children; as it is possible to have three years involved in two years of reign.  In some reckonings of time a part of a year is counted as a year.  In school years of out time we have one school year taking place in two parts of different years.  You have a school year beginning in August 2009, ending in May 2010; another schoold year beginning in 2010 and ending in 2011; then, another school year beginning in 2011, and you have three years.  I think that is enough to give some understanding in this matter.

In the commentary by his name Matthew Henry writes of Nebuchadnezzar, “Nebuchadnezzar was a troubler of God’s Israel, but God here troubled him; for He that made the soul can make His sword to approach to it”  If there is ever a proof of the love of God it is or should be seen in the trials everyone endures; if indeed they endure them.  Maybe it should be said every trial we go through.  Can we not see the wondrous love of God?

In history we can learn from our mistakes; but looking ahead to trouble is only anguish.  Learning from history is great; if indeed we learn, and then don’t repeat the past.  Looking ahead in faith is not troubling, but peaceful.  When you know who holds tomorrow, and leave the outcome to the One who is in charge you will have peace with the past and the future.  No matter what dreams you dream.

“For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.”  Ecclesiastes 5:7 (KJV)

II.  WHEN THE SEEMING IMPOSSIBLE REQUIRES TRUSTWORTHY PEOPLE (vv. 2-13).
The supposed wisemen of Babylon were wise in the ways of the worship of demons; yet not knowing they worshipped demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-21).  Thus the wisdom of the world has no power but will be pulled down by the mighty power of  Almighty God.

The challenge which went out to the magicians, sorcerers, Chaldeans; and whatever else they were called was one they nor any other Gentile sorcerer had been asked before.  “Tell me my dream”.  Who can tell another man what they dreamed?  No man can.  Only the God of all creation; the God of the universe; the God of all the things; who holds the worlds in His hands.  Only He can tell a man what He has dreamed.

It is my belief that the king lies about not remembering the dream only to check out the response of the “wisemen”.  It is a thing of God to elevate His man to the position to bring glory to Himself.  The king is dependent still upon the old witchcraft, and demonism of the day; and God is preparing Him to hear from God, drawing the king to Himself.

Matthew Henry writes concerning the Chaldeans, The “…confession of the divine omniscience is here extorted from these idolaters, to the honour of God and their own condemnation, who though they knew there is a God in heaven, ‘to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secret is hid,’ yet offered up their prayers and praises to dumb idols, that ‘have eyes and see not, ears and hear not.”

The Chaldeans; which probably includes all these titles referred to in the text could not believe the king would ask such a thing and even confess “There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.  And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”  vv.10-11 (KJV).  The king is furious and he seeks to have all these people killed; and do away with any who are connected with this lying sect.

The king was angry with a “trusted” group of men who were being tested for their honesty, and not proving worthy of trust.  He understood that if anyone could tell him what he had dreamed they would actually be able to give him its true interpretation.  However, he was hasty in ordering the destruction of this sect of people.  He had either forgotten about Daniel and his friends or it didn’t really matter to him.

By this hasty decree the lives of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were threatened as well; but by the sovereign hand of God He worked and got the attention of the king; and the king gave Daniel time to consult with the King of kings.

“For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.”  Amos 4:13 (KJV)

“Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.”  Psalms 139:2 (KJV)

III.  THE TRUSTWORTHY ARE PEOPLE OF GOD AND ARE PRAYING PEOPLE, AND DEPEND ON ONE ANOTHERS BACKING (VV. 14-18).
It is certain that the Chaldeans were “praying” and “praising” in the wrong heart, the wrong way, and wrong place.  There is one correct way of worship; true worship; and that is through the Son of God, God become flesh, whose precious blood was shed for our salvation.  Daniel asked the king’s captain who was sent to kill them, “Why is the decree from the king so urgent?” (v. 15)  This is one example of “haste making waste”; because it would have been waste to kill Daniel and his friends; and it was a waste of the time already put into the effort.

Daniel shows character and goes directly before the king.  He asks the king for time to pray and seek the face and will of God concerning the king’s dream; and the king gives it.  Would to God that God’s people; Christians; of the day were so bold as to approach the king concerning the matters of life and death.  Concerning the matters of morality.  We must, however, have the integrity and character of Daniel, and his prayer life.

Just as Daniel did not approach this matter alone, but went to his friends; Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; and asked them to pray with him; so to must we realize that we must pray together. Daniel asks, “…that they might seek the mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret”, knowing the message would be coming from Him.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV)

One of the things we must learn from Daniel is the power of prayer.  Do you have something that may seem like a trite matter, a small matter in your heart yet it troubles you?  Then go to God in prayer, seeking His face and His will in the matter.  Another thing; get others to join you in praying about the matter.  Of course this was a life and death situation for Daniel, his friends and many others too.

In the time which we live with  the rapture of the church, and  the second coming of Christ drawing nearer with every minute we must be walking with God, praying, praying, and praying even more.  We must be praying for our walk with God to be ever closer; for the witness of Christians; for the life changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be proclaimed with the power and authority of God and His Word; and the drawing power of His Spirit to work gloriously.  We don’t need mushy stories, with heart breaking effort; we need Holy Spirit conviction convicting men and women and boys and girls of their sins to the point of repentance and belief in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross proven by the resurrection from the dead.

If we want to see the power of God to affect change in our life, church, community, State, and federal governments; then, we must pray, work and witness in the power of the Spirit depending on the Spirit to convict of sin and convince of the power of God to save.

IV.  GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE REVEALS HIS SECRETS TO THOSE WHO LOVE HIM (vv. 19-23)

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”  Amos 3:7 (KJV)

The prophets of God knew that they knew nothing but what God revealed it to them.  There was and still is no message from God if He does not reveal it.  When God is silent His prophets are silent as well.  God was not silent in the days of Daniel.  He spoke through Daniel and His friends and He still speaks through them.  Do you hear Him?

The LORD  asked Jeremiah the prophet, “Is there anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27 (KJV)  What seems impossible to the human eye is possible with God.  When the situation seems hopeless and all seems lost; God, the LORD, who holds the universe in His hands can do what we cannot do; “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20), and He will do it for His own glory; not any glory of any human or humanity.

God revealed the secret to Daniel.  It is not of man’s invention or intervention to tell other men their dreams.  In a world filled with those who want to tell you your future there is only One who can.  His name is Jehovah -YHWH.  He reveals Himself to us through His Word, the Bible, and through His Son Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection.

“But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.  Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.  He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.”  Jeremiah 10:10-12 (KJV)

Do you know the God of the impossible?  The One who knows your thoughts and dreams?  He does know you.  Four times in the gospels Jesus used the phrase, “all things are possible” twice “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26;  Mark 10:27); and He uses it two other times, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”  Mark 9:23 (KJV); and “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”  Mark 14:36 (KJV)

Magnify the LORD.  Lift up the name of the LORD.

Application –

i.  Know that the LORD is Lord of all dreams and knows your heart and your fears and dreads.
ii.  Believe the LORD when it seems as though the task, or challenge ahead of you seems impossible, and know that God takes care of you.
iii.  When you are having trouble pray and ask others to join you in prayer; know also that when your community or nation is in dire straits that prayer is a cry to God for His action.
iv.  Know that what lies ahead is revealed to us by God in His written Word through faith in His Living Word, and Holy Son Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Ten – Thirty Two through Fifty Two

“32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, 33 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: 34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. 35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. 36 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? 37  They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. 38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: 40 But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared. 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John. 42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:32-45 (KJV)

There are at least three things we should note that Jesus taught.  First of all, He taught that he would be delivered over to the spiritual leaders of Jerusalem and be put to death, and then the third day he would rise from the dead.  Secondly, when the disciples were asking to sit on His right and on His left hand in His kingdom, He taught them that they were asking something difficult for them, and that it was not for Him to grant their petition, but would be given to the ones for whom it had been prepared.  Thirdly, Jesus taught that even He had not come to be served by the masses of people, but to serve them and to give His life for the salvation of all who would believe in Him.

It is amazing how easily the idea of servanthood is lost and so quickly among political leaders and sometimes even church leaders.  The idea can get into a persons head that they are in that position because they deserve to be, and every body else is there to serve them.

Jesus would teach the disciples contrary to this when He would wash their feet and dry them with a cloth.  Jesus:  What a Servant – What a Savior.

“46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. 50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. 52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”  Mark 10:46-52 (KJV)

A blind man or any blind individual is one who cannot see.  That is a clear statement that everyone should understand.  There are some who are blind, and do not realize it.  That is, those who cannot see the truths of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ.  There were probably many in the crowd who were following Jesus who did not realize who He was, but were following Him merely because they wanted to see His miracles, or they wanted something from Him.

Here was a blind man who was known as the “son of Timaeous” or “Bar-Timaeus”.  He had been cared for by his parents probably most of his life.  Now his parents have  probably died, and he has to beg to get anything to eat, or for clothing and shelter.  He has heard of Jesus.  He has heard Him called, with contempt, “Jesus of Nazareth”.  He has heard the stories of how Jesus has, caused the lame to walk, healed the lepers, cast out demons, and caused the “dumb” to speak, and the deaf to hear.  He has even heard of Jesus raising the dead to life again.

He has probably only hoped to one day get any where near Jesus and ask him to open his eyes that he might see.  Now, He is passing near to where he is sitting by the roadside begging.  His anticipation is bubbling over.  He is anxious, and can hardly wait.  He calls out to Jesus.  Others try to silence him, and that only makes him call out louder and bolder.  Note, he does not call out the name of contempt – Jesus of Nazareth – rather he cries, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.”  He sees Him for who He is without eyes to see the physical, he sees the spiritual, and recognizes Him as the Messiah who was promised years and years earlier, even before anyone who was present was ever conceived in their mother’s womb.

This man used the term “Jesus, thou Son of David.”  twice.  The first time to call Jesus’ attention to himself, and it seems, the second time, to inform the crowd that Jesus, the Son of David was the only one who could opern his eyes and give him physical sight.

O, what a thrill and honor it is to have Jesus call your name, and say “Come”.  Jesus calls us to come to him.  We were, before we knew Jesus, without sight, and we could not see the things of God.  When Jesus called to us to “Come” and we went, then we received our sight and we saw Jesus as the virgin born Son fo God, without sin, holy, blameless, undefiled, righteous, and worthy of praise.

I just imagine that when Jesus called to Bartimaeus, he would have ran to him as best he could.  He was thrilled to hear the Master’s voice.  He was thrilled to hear that the Master had called to Him.  Even though the theme of Mark is Jesus as a Servant, we see Him performing a great kindness to this man in great need.

When Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted Him to do for him, he said, “That I might receive my sight”.  O, how blind are those who see, and yet, do not see.

Jesus did not touch him, He only told him, “Go thy way, Thy faith hath made thee whole.”  The Scripture tells us, that as he was leaving the eyesight came and he was healed, and he followed Jesus “…In the way”.  Was he only following Jesus as He walked this road?  He was following Jesus, “…In the way”; that is the life of Jesus.  In every way He would follow Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Ten – Seventeen through Thirty One

“17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? 27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. 28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. 29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.”  Mark 10:17-31 (KJV)

There is an inheritance which we have through Jesus Christ, but it is not obtained, it is given as a gift.  It is not earned, or purchased.  It is a gift that has been paid for in full by its giver.

This man, asking Jesus what he must do to “inherit” eternal life, is assuming that he must do something to earn it.  Sadly, that is an assumption that many people make in this day and time.  Jesus asks  the man if he knew the commandments.  The one’s which Jesus mentioned all have to do with our fellow man, not one had to do with God – the first four of the commandments.  The man  says, “I have observed these from my youth”.  Had he?  Jesus did not question him about it, but put him to a test.  “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.  Mark 10:21 (KJV)”.

If this man would have followed the Lord in these words this man would have eternal life – the very thing he was asking for – but he would not put Jesus Christ in first place.  He would not put God first in his life.  There can be nothing between those who have eternal life and God.  If there is something between there is another God whom that one is trusting.  This man went away grieved because he had “great possessions” and was not willing to surrender them to the Lord.

There are some people who believe that the “Eye of the needle” to which Jesus is referring is a spot in the wall of Jerusalem where if a person was to enter through that “gate” – with his camel – he would need to unload his camel, then take the camel through.  It is my belief that Jesus was referring to the eye of a needle – as for sewing clothing.  With the former interpretation it is possible for a man to get the camel through the eye of “The needle”, with some effort.  With the sewing needle’s eye it is impossible for man, but with God “Nothing is impossible”.  As long as an individual is looking to his wealth and his own efforts there is absolutely no way to enter the Kingdom of Christ Jesus, but with God, and his laying his burdens down he may enter in.  In this man’s case his burdens were his riches which he would not give up.

There are wonderful blessings to those who give their all for the glory and life of Jesus Christ.  There is nothing this world can offer that can take the place of faith in Him.  He has promised to those who have given up all for Him; and for this time, houses, family, and land.  We must note, however, that He does mention that there will be persecution, and they will have eternal life.

Jesus’ last sentence here may be further mention of servanthood (v. 31).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Ten – Thirteen Through Sixteen

“And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”  Mark 10:13-16 (KJV)

Jesus loves children.  There is much adults could learn from children, if we would only listen and watch them.  We could learn to trust again.

Our area of the world collapses at times; friends forsake us by lying about us, betraying us, and our parents even can let us down at times.  As parents we get disappointed by our children’s behavior at times, and we need to discipline them to show them the right and correct way.  We can learn from them when we don’t see them as being in the way.

Little children are not without sin, because we are all born into sin.  One thing we can learn from children is “Trust”.  When a child trusts their parents, mother or father, they rely on them completely.  If a dad says to his son, “Come on now and jump off the end of the porch, and I will catch you.”;  most of the time the boy will jump into his daddy’s arms (unless daddy  has caused the son not to trust him).  That is the kind of trust we must put in our Heavenly Father, and the finished work of Jesus on the cross.  Children are dependent upon their parents.  They trust them to provide their food, shelter, clothing, and security.  Children are secure with their parents.  The only way this would not be so is, if the parent(s) are brutal, mean and abusing to their children.   I think it would be a bad parent who would teach a child not to trust anyone; even themselves.

When we become adults we often forget about trusting God.  Troubling things happen, and we can find no help in our own abilities, our own strength; like in a sickness, a debilitating accident, a major life changing event; something we had no control over.  When these things happen we need the “faith of a child”, and put our trust completely in the Lord.

“Receiving the kingdom of God as a little child” would be trusting so completely that they look no where else for security or any other need.  Is God able to supply our need for salvation?  Most assuredly.  Is He able to supply our “Daily bread” [our daily needs]; again, most assuredly.  Some of us get a little off on this latter thing, though.  We can believe that God is able to provide our salvation, but when it comes to meeting daily needs, we kind of tend to leave that in our own hands.  Is that the heart of a child.  These verses are not talking of remaining immature in faith, but having that unwavering trust in the Lord no matter what the case may be.

Without this kind of faith no one can enter the kingdom of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Ten – One Through Twelve

MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE QUESTION AS A TRAP FOR JESUS.

“1 And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again. 2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. 3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”  Mark 10:1-12 (KJV)

This question and answer is a very important one for the 21st century and all centuries ahead.  How we view marriage will affect the society and culture we live in.  When God and His Word are honored, obeyed, and heeded then love and respect for others will be prominent in the marriage, home with the children and in governments.

Though this question is put to Jesus to trap Him, it is one Jesus answered, and no other answer is valid, but that of Jesus.  Always looking for a way out, instead of a way to improve, or to make a relationship better; is a cowards way.  The best way is not the easy way, and because something is hard does not make it the wrong way.  Let no one think that God approves of divorce and remarriage.  As a matter of fact He still hates it.

In Matthew’s account (19: 3); the Pharisees came to Jesus and asked the question this way, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”  In asking the question it shows what mentality the Pharisees were of.  It was the belief and practice of that day that a man could “Put away” [divorce] his wife for what ever reason he desired.  If she burnt the toast one morning he could divorce her.  If she looked cross eyed at him he could give her a writing of divorce, and send her hiking out the door of his home.

Here is what the Old Testament says of this,

“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.  Deut 24:1-2 (KJV)”.

The idea of this law was to protect the woman from a life of torment, loneliness, and poverty.  Jesus said, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.” Mark 10:5 .  The “God idea” of marriage was one woman, one man, for a lifetime.   Due to the sin in mankind’s heart God gave provision for divorce.

We must remember that by Old Testament law adultery was punishable by death.  Any man or woman found guilty of adultery was subject to public stoning, unto death.  Who ever, for no  reason other than a “want” of change divorces their spouse  and marries another is guilty of “adultery”.  That is the message Jesus is giving to these Pharisees.  Thus, showing them the fallacies of their beliefs, and teachings that divorce was okay, no matter the reason.  It is important for us in this day to remember what God says in Malachi about divorce;

“Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.”  Mal 2:15-16 (KJV)

J. C. Ryle gives us three rules for marriage,

“The first is to marry only in the Lord, and after prayer for God’s approval and blessing. The second is not to expect too much from their partners, and to remember that marriage is, after all, the union of two sinners, and not of two angels. The third rule is to strive first and foremost for one another’s sanctification. The more holy married people are, the happier they are. “Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify it.” (Eph. 5:25, 26.)”

Let us strengthen our nation, our cities, and our churches by strengthening our faith in God, and His Word; and let’s begin at home in our marriages by loving our spouse with the heart of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship