“How long will You forget me, O LORD? For ever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:1-6 (KJB)
“O LORD, rebuke me not in Your anger, neither chasten me in Your hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but You, O LORD, how long? Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for Your mercies’ sake.” Psalm 6:1-4 (KJB)
“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: You have enlarged me in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.” Psalm 4:1 (KJB)
“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But You, O LORD, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” Psalm 3:1-3
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 (KJB)
I will let another speak today. the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown…
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning — “instruction”
through, etc. — “through the comfort and the patience of the Scriptures”
might have hope — that is, “Think not that because such portions of Scripture relate immediately to Christ, they are inapplicable to you; for though Christ’s sufferings, as a Savior, were exclusively His own, the motives that prompted them, the spirit in which they were endured, and the general principle involved in His whole work – self-sacrifice for the good of others – furnish our most perfect and beautiful model; and so all Scripture relating to these is for our instruction; and since the duty of forbearance, the strong with the weak, requires ‘patience,’ and this again needs ‘comfort,’ all those Scriptures which tell of patience and consolation, particularly of the patience of Christ, and of the consolation which sustained Him under it, are our appointed and appropriate nutriment, ministering to us ‘hope’ of that blessed day when these shall no more be needed.” See on Rom_4:25, Note 7. (For the same connection between “patience and hope” see on Rom_12:12, and see on 1Th_1:3).” From the JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY
“What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Romans 6:15 (KJB)
There were some in Paul’s day who were accusing him of teaching that if one is saved by grace alone then one can live how ever they please; and the apostle is correcting this mistaken gross idea.
Sadly it is a notion of many of today’s professing “Christians” that “I can go ahead and do this thing, I can live with this girl or this guy without marriage to see if it works out or not; I can divorce my wife or husband, and marry this other one; and God will forgive me”. Put what ever element of sin into the equation you choose, and it has probably been thought, and acted upon.
If a man or woman who professes Christ can do such a thing, then live with the enjoyment of their act, they will not enjoy God. There, in fact, cannot be forgiveness.
Verse 14 of this chapter of Romans says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you”.
The truly redeemed, born again child of God; the true Christian hates their sin, seeks every opportunity to put away sin, stay away from the sin that tempts them, does not seek it out. Neither can the Christian enjoy living in sin, letting sin have dominion over them.
If you call yourself a Christian, and can enjoy sinful acts, thoughts, and living, and you are not disciplined by the Lord, then, you are not His (Hebrews 12:7-8)
Let our prayer today be that of the Psalmist…
“Order my steps in Thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” Psalm 119:133
Grace is not a license, and approval, from God or freedom from God to sin. It is, in fact, the freedom from sin, and the power to take authority over sin.
“Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feedingplace of the young lions, where the lion, the old lion, walked, and the lion’s whelp, and none made them afraid?” Nahum 2:11 (KJB)
Nineveh was the city to which God called Jonah to go about 100 years previous to Nahum’s prophecy. God sending Jonah, though a reluctant prophet, was God in His grace and mercy reaching out to a lost and condemned people.
Nineveh was a fierce people. At the time of Jonah God numbers the city with 120 thousand souls too young to know their left from their right hand (Jonah 4:11). That would be young children, babies. Yet, the whole city from the least to the greatest of the people repented and turned to the LORD due to Jonah’s preaching (Jonah 3:5).
Now a hundred years later they have returned to their old ways, against the LORD, and against the people of GOD.
Who are these “Lions of Nineveh?” The lion is a feared creature of the field, and the jungle. The roar of the old male is a fearful thing to hear to its prey, yet we have these “lions” in fear. Why? Because the LORD is about to show up in His wrath against the whole city. The lions are the king, the other rulers, and the young ones coming up in leadership.
The most fearful thing that people of all places, countries, cities, and provinces is that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God (Hebrews 10:31). It is by God’s grace we can fall into the hands of the loving Creator, God, Savior, and King Jesus Christ. He took the curse that was ours, dying on the cross, was buried, and He rose again; and He forever lives and reigns.
Call on His name, and He will deliver you from the bondage of sin and shame.
“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, ‘I pray Thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that Thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest Thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech Thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.’ ” Jonah 4:1-3 (KJB)
It do not know, and yet I do know; I believe God was displeased with Jonah’s attitude; and he had to be disciplined. I am not sure by the end of the chapter and short book that Jonah had learned about mercy and grace.
The prophet Jonah was a patriot to the nation of Israel. It was the godly nation. It was the nation of God’s people. Here he is angry because God had mercy on a heathen people.
Let us who are saved by the grace of God through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; the only begotten Son of God; was buried, and He rose from the grave, always remember that God desires the whole world to know that He is the LORD God. That is stated again and again through out Scripture.
Let us rejoice that enemies of God and our faith become our brethren, and love the Lord just as we do. We too, were once enemies of God, and the cross of Christ (Romans 5:8-10).
Rejoice every time a soul is redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, who is Jesus Christ.
“And My people are bent to backsliding from Me: though they called them to the Most High, none at all would exalt Him.” Hosea 11:7 (KJB)
The prophet is speaking of the people of Israel. Their hearts were set on turning from the Lord GOD. Yet, God in His great mercy and grace was set on redeeming them.
He called prophets who would teach them, deliver them, and warn them of the path of rejection and rebellion they were walking, living in.
I must be honest with you, that for me, and I believe every Christian; one of the easiest things for us to do is to go our own way. To worship God, and Him alone takes a devoted, undivided heart for God, and His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.
That is why it is a necessity to be a faithful student of the word of God – the Bible. We must be people who see it as our necessary diet for daily strength. When we get in His Word, and it through the Holy Spirit gets into us God makes us a different and powerful person for the glory of the Lord.
Father, turn Your backsliden people back to You. May we all turn our eyes upon Jesus Christ, His death on the cross for our sins, His burial carrying away all our sin, our shame, and condemnation, and His resurrection; and knowing that He lives is evidence that we too shall live with Him forever.
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till He come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12 (KJB)
Well I am back. I never really went anywhere; just felt I needed to take a break from this blog, and focus on some other things.
The following is from a former post back in May of 2013. It is just a portion of that dealing with verse 12 of Hosea 10.
“The “Fallow ground” of verse twelve is land that had previously been plowed, but now left unused. God’s Word and His Spirit is the plow that is needed to break up the soil of a hard heart (See Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23). Hard hearts cannot yield crops of righteousness and mercy.
It is a prominent theme in Hosea that the children of Israel will reap exactly what they have sown. It is a law of God’s created order to reap what we have sown – and that, no matter the timeline, culture or society which we may live.
Hosea gives us three steps to heal the land:
- Break up your fallow ground (v. 12);
- Put God’s Word in your heart – “sow with a view of righteousness” (NAS v. 12);
- “Reap in accordance with kindness (NAS) referring to the breaking of their hard hearts through repentance and sowing the seed of God’s Word in their lives.
God gives Israel every opportunity to repent. It is God’s desire then to cleanse them, and make them a vessel of His grace. Judgment would come.” From BROKEN PIECES of May 04, 2013
There is a very relevant need for Christians of 2019 to realize the seeds we are sowing. We are in the time of year where in the agricultural world there is harvesting going on. That does not happen by accident. The farmers sow seeds to bring in a harvest, and when God blesses with good soil conditions, and rainfall these men and women have a great harvest when the time of harvest comes.
They sow seeds of what they desire to harvest. They desire to reap a harvest like the seed they have sown; and they will not reap any other type seed.
There is a real life lesson for us in this and it is found in the apostle Paul’s letter to the Church of Galatia…
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Galatians 6:7-8
The only fruit worth the harvest is the fruit we bear because of Jesus Christ through His death, burial, and bodily resurrection. We can only do that through faith in Him; faith that works; not for salvation, but because of salvation by grace.
“I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 24:14 (KJB)
From John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible on Ezekiel 24:14…
“I the Lord have spoken it; it shall come to pass,…. What God has said shall be accomplished; his word shall not return void and empty, or be without effect:
and I will do it; being God omnipotent and unchangeable:
I will not go back; from his word, or the thing threatened and denounced; nothing should prevail upon him to act such a part:
neither will I spare; show any mercy or compassion, or abate of the punishment due:
neither will I repent; or change the course and method of Providence; but abide by the decree gone forth, and the sentence pronounced, and thoroughly execute it; a heap of words ascertaining the truth of what is predicted:
according to thy ways and according to thy doings shall they judge thee, saith the Lord God; that is, the Chaldeans shall judge and condemn thee, and execute my judgments on thee in a just and righteous manner, as thy evil ways and works deserve.”
It seems the Christian of 2019 wants to live on the promises of God from the Old Testament; but we tend to forget about those promises or warnings of judgment for neglecting His word, and turning from Him. Every word God has spoken will be done.
“Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
‘Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, and say, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; ‘Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee in thy blood, ‘Live;’ yea, I said unto thee in thy blood, ‘Live.’ ” Ezekiel 16:1-6 (KJB)
Ezekiel’s word from God for Israel is that “You were found by Me in a state of death, and dying. No one else took pity on you. There is no other god who found you, and gave you life. I said unto you, ‘Live’ and gave you My grace and mercy.”
The condition of every man, woman, boy, or girl who has ever been born is death. Apart from the grace of God, and the blood of the Lamb of God, who is Jesus Christ there is only death for all.
The only Man who ever lived without sin died for us all, that we might have life through His name. His name is Jesus.
May we not flaunt His grace through licentious, debaucherous, hate filled living which comes from death.
Paul the apostle tells us, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and he also tells us that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
The Lord GOD through faith in Jesus Christ is the only One who gives life. Call on His name.
“Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me. And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
‘Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face. Should I be enquired of at all by them? Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; that I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from Me through their idols.’ ” Ezekiel 14:1-5 (KJB)
In the United States of America we love our cars, our houses, our freedoms, and just about anything else including sports and education. We far too often give more attention to those things than we do to the One who created us; and who has provided our eternal salvation.
Remember Ezekiel, and those “elders of Israel” who came to him were in Babylon; captives of Nebuchadnezzar. These men were coming to ask the prophet to seek God for them, but God knew their hearts.
“Should I be enquired of at all by them?” Did you catch that question from the LORD? That gets me to thinking of what prayers God will hear.
“The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17
The broken heart is the one who realizes there is no help, no hope, no Savior but in the Lord. The contrite one is is one who is physically and mentally and spiritually collapsed. These are the sacrifices; the prayers God will hear.
The one’s who come to God in the pretense of worship, with feigned words and empty acts of reverence will not be heard.
Remember this. God knows your heart, and your mind. There is nothing about you that is a secret to Him.
Turn to the One [Jesus Christ] who died for your sins. Turn to the One who died on the cross, was buried and He rose again. Come to Him with a broken, contrite, and surrendering heart.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.” Jeremiah 17:9-11 (KJB)
Let me get right to the point. There is no male or female who is without a wicked heart, until that heart has been changed through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the perfect, sinless, Son of God; the only One who did not have a wicked heart.
Apart from the grace of God displayed on the cross that wicked heart can still make an appearance if we stray for walking with the LORD.
The part of these verses that caught my attention this morning was verse 11 dealing with the partridge; apparently a bird that could have been known for taking eggs of another bird, sitting on them, an leaving them at the first sign of trouble.
The wicked heart of Adam’s kind steals from others, and is shown to be a fool in his end.
God knows your heart. You may think you do. When you have seen some evil, wicked thing; you may have thought, or even said out loud, “I would never do anything like that”. That wicked heart you do not believe you have can show up suddenly, and openly, then the whole world around you will see. It is, in fact, your wicked heart that would lead you to think, and/or say such a thing.
O you of Adam kind will you give your heart, your soul, your mind to Jesus Christ? Do so today.
“I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not My face from shame and spitting.” Isaiah 50:6 (KJB)
This is a prophecy of the trial, pain, beating, the suffering of the sinless Son of God as He gave Himself as the propitiation for our sins. A prophecy given to the prophet Isaiah around 700 years before Jesus was even born in the manger.
From Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on verse six…
“smiters — with scourges and with the open hand (Isa_52:14; Mar_14:65). Literally fulfilled (Mat_27:26; Mat_26:27; Luk_18:33). To “pluck the hair” is the highest insult that can be offered an Oriental (2Sa_10:4; Lam_3:30). “I gave” implies the voluntary nature of His sufferings; His example corresponds to His precept (Mat_5:39).
spitting — To spit in another’s presence is an insult in the East, much more on one; most of all in the face (Job_30:10; Mat_27:30; Luk_18:32).” From the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary
O, come to Jesus Christ who loved us so much He gave Himself to redeem us to the Father God in Glory.
“Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the LORD God of Israel. At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel. And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.” Isaiah 17:6-8 (KJB)
God has spoken of the judgment upon Damascus; and also Ephraim (the northern kingdom also called Israel), and Syria. The word of this text is to Judah.
Christians can, and need to learn much from the discipline of God upon His people of the Old Testament. One is that He will not allow His children to continue living in sin without some form of discipline, even judgment of our sin, to turn our hearts back to Him. Remember what the writer of Hebrews has written,
“…If you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards (or illegitimate), and not sons” Hebrews 12:8
Commentary for Isaiah 17:6-8…
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on verse 6 – 8…
“in it — that is, in the land of Israel.
two or three … in the top — A few poor inhabitants shall be left in Israel, like the two or three olive berries left on the topmost boughs, which it is not worth while taking the trouble to try to reach.”
Verse 7 – “look to his Maker — instead of trusting in their fortresses – (Isa_17:3; Mic_7:7).”
Verse 8 – “groves — A symbolical tree is often found in Assyrian inscriptions, representing the hosts of heaven (“Saba”), answering to Ashteroth or Astarte, the queen of heaven, as Baal or Bel is the king. Hence the expression, “image of the grove,” is explained (2Ki_21:7).
images — literally, “images to the sun,” that is, to Baal, who answers to the sun, as Astarte to the hosts of heaven (2Ki_23:5; Job_31:26).”
Look to your Maker today. He is the One who died on the cross for you, was buried, and He rose again. He is the soon returning King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God, God the Living Son.
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake…” Philippians 1:29 (KJB)
A major automotive company has a commercial of a new medium size truck. In that commercial they show people doing many different things to show how the race of Adam puts himself through a lot of suffering, and all for the fun and adventure of it.
People go to gyms every day of the week to “work out” for the purpose of “staying in shape”, getting in shape, and to be physically fit. They do this then they have aches, and pains, and have even been overheard saying, “I have to go to the gym today.” Some run, many walk pushing themselves to their limit. They suffer with a goal in mind.
We often think nothing of suffering to gain our intended goal; but did you guess that; or did you know that suffering for Jesus Christ and His gospel is a gift from Him…
“…It is given in the behalf of Christ… to suffer for His sake…”
No one enjoys suffering. I am recovering right now from a whole day spent yesterday helping two of my sons put in laminate flooring in our house. We did two rooms. I am grateful to the men for actually doing it; I merely helped supplying the planks, doing saw work, etc. We got it done. The outcome is wonderful.
We could say that the outcome of our suffering for the name of Christ is marvelous, wonderful, and magnificent. When we suffer for the sake of Christ, He is glorified.
I cannot say that I have ever suffered too much for Christ. We do have brothers and sisters in Christ in countries like some of the nations of Africa, India, even Saudi Arabia, and many more. Hang on brethren in those nations. Continue in faith believing not only in Jesus Christ, but also in suffering for Him.
Lord Jesus, I pray that I too will be faithful in times of suffering for Your name. Amen.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. Romans 1:22-23 (KJB)
Who are these Professors of Wisdom? They are the one’s who had the knowledge of God; that He is the Creator of all things, the seen and the unseen, the man and the woman; yet have chosen to reject Him (v. 21).
Who are these Professors of Wisdom? They are numerous in today’s world. they are the one’s who say that their form of “Science” is the truth, when science only means “to know”. We can only know from the evidence before us; that which God has given us.
Who are these Professors of Wisdom? It is those who choose to make God in their own image, and deny what the Scripture says of Him. When we deny the holiness, righteousness, and wrath of God and only see Him as a God of love, mercy, and grace we make Him into the God we want Him to be. This is not according to Scripture.
We take God in the entirety of what Scripture says of His character. We see God as holy, righteous, just, and judging sin; He is loving, merciful, and full of grace. By the way, I have not exhausted the words for His character. Search the Scriptures and you will see them.
God in His great mercy, love, and grace gave us the gift of His Son Jesus. Why? Because we were ones in that state of heart and mind. Jesus Christ took upon Himself all the sins of the world, and died a cruel, tortured death; He was buried, and He rose again. He is our only hope.
“And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’ But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him.’ Pilate saith unto them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.'” John 19:14-15 (KJB)
In this scene Jesus is being tried for accused sins and transgressions; not actual charges, but false charges brought about by those who hated God, His word, and His Son.
Jesus is the King of the Jews. It was those who should have known the Scripture best which denied Him, were jealous of His successes, His power, and His followers. One of the chief priest even said that “One must die for our nation” (John 11:49-51).
Here stood the Man, the God-Man whose character, power, miracles, grace, mercy, holiness, and justness was clearly displayed by His life. He lived solely to do the business of His Father (Luke 2:49), from the early age of 12 years. He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, cleansed lepers, raised the dead. Hey, He defied the elements by walking on water, speaking to storms and they ceased. He cast out demons.
How could these religious “Leaders” be so blind? Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?”. Their sad, and hateful words say it all about their dark hearts… “We have no king but Caesar?”
When citizens of a nation which is enslaved by another nation chooses the king of the occupying nation over their own king; especially like these do they are denying God. These Jewish leaders should have been looking for the coming of their Messiah; maybe they were, but were not expecting this Jesus; this suffering Servant of God; willing to die for the sins of the world.
For the Christian of 2019 are you aware of; are you alert to the words of your King? Jesus is your King. He has called us unto Himself, turning from sin to His righteousness, to live in holiness. Are we saying the same thing those religious leaders of His day said when we choose to go our own way, do our own thing? Are we not saying, “I have no king but Caesar/myself?”
“And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him. But Jesus turning unto them said,
‘Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.’ Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us;’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?’” Luke 23:27-31 (KJB)
This event and Jesus’s words are only spoken here in Luke’s account of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has spoken similar words in teaching the disciples in Matthew 24 – 25, and in portions of Mark, and John; but not directly as a warning for those who are following behind Him as He goes to His death.
These “Daughters of Jerusalem” are not of those who love Him, and have spent time with Him for verse 49 of this same chapter says,
“And all His acquaintance, and the women that followed Him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.” v. 49
These were women of the city of Jerusalem who had heard of His mighty works, His authority in God’s words, and His deeds; but had never committed to Him. Jesus warns them of a time coming in the not distant future for them that would cause them to cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them, because the judgment was so severe.
If you would read the prophet Isaiah, and chapter 2 you would see some of these same words from the word of God spoken by the prophet.
Just to explain the “green tree” and the “dry”…. Jesus is the green tree and they were killing Him, He is alive. The dry was Israel or Jerusalem; a worse time was coming for them.
Why are these words important for the Christian of 2019? Do they have any importance for the unbelieving of 2019?
To answer the first question for the Christian it should be a wakeup call for us to be diligent in living for Christ, reading the Scriptures [Holy Bible], applying its teachings to our lives, praying for daily filling of the Spirit of God, and being a vibrant witness for Jesus to a lost and dying world. Remember the words of Jesus,
“…Lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.” Luke 21:28
To answer the second, it is important for your life, your eternal soul that you heed the words of Jesus. Those women of Jerusalem had heard of Jesus, maybe even recognized Him as a good man, great teacher and prophet, but were experiencing great emotion about His death; but yet did not believe Him. Maybe one reading this feels badly concerning the illegal, manufactured, lying judgments brought against Jesus, and the sentence given this guiltless Man; yet, you have not called on His name for salvation. Will you do so today?
Jesus went on to the cross, laid Himself down on it, and died for our sins. He was taken down from the cross dead, and was buried in a borrowed tomb. Three days later He came out of that grave alive. You can trust Him. Believe Him. Receive Him.
“And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’” Luke 18:9-14 (KJB)
Two men are mentioned who went to pray. That is not to say that it could be members of the feminine sex as well, because there are those two kinds of women as well.
One full of themselves; and the other repentant and humble, realizing they are in need of God’s bountiful grace and mercy.
The Pharisee knew the law, and exalted himself in his own purity, and talk about judging others unjustly; this Pharisee certainly did. He saw himself as better than the publican. The Pharisee being a “great” religious leader.
The publican (not Republican), was a despised, and hated tax collector. He gathered taxes from his own people (the Hebrews), and many counted them as traitors to Israel. Matthew was a tax collector when Jesus called him to follow, and he left his table and followed Jesus (Matthew 9:9; 10:3).
It is the heart that our Lord sees. Repentance, humility, before the throne of God is what He desires.
God does not hear neither grant request from an arrogant and prideful heart. It was the hated, despised tax collector who went home justified by God.
The apostle Paul writing on the matter of Justification said,,,
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2
It is by God’s own declaration of justification that we are made just; not our own. Who then are made just? Those who come before the cross of Jesus Christ, lost, lonely, sinful, broken, and ashamed, and plead for His mercy, love, and grace.
“Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer, and to beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith, which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; that the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by you, brother.
Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin you that which is convenient, yet for love’s sake I rather beseech, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I beseech you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: which in time past was to you unprofitable, but now profitable to you and to me: whom I have sent again: you therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: whom I would have retained with me, that in your stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: but without your mind would I do nothing; that your benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly. For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that you should receive him for ever; not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto you, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
If you count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. If he has wronged you, or owes anything, put that on my account; I Paul have written with mine own hand, I will repay, because I do not say to you, how you owe unto me even your own self besides. Yea, brother, let me have joy of you in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord. Having confidence in your obedience I wrote unto you, knowing that you will also do more than I say. But immediately prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.
There, you salute Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow laborers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Philemon 1:1-25
REFERENCES: Ephesians 1:2; 3:1; 2 Corinthians 7:13; 9:7; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 16:17; Colossians 4:9; Genesis 45:5
“What shall we say then? Unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For He saith to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.’ So then not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, ‘Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.’ Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will, and whom He will He hardeneth.
Thou wilt say then unto me, ‘Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will?’ Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed, ‘Why hast thou made me thus?’ Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? If God, willing to shew wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” Romans 9:14-24 (KJB)
Reference: Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 92:15; 2 Chronicles 20:6; 2 Timothy 2:20; Colossians 1:27
“And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.’” Luke 19:41-44 (KJB)
I looked up the word “Visitation” and it is found at least 15 times throughout the Bible; from Numbers through First Peter. Much of the time it is speaking of God’s showing Himself unto His people in mercy; however when they do not hear, and believe Him the visitation is in judgment.
The following is from exposition by Alexander MacLaren…
“Who can venture to speak of that infinitely pathetic scene? The fair city, smiling across the glen, brings before His vision the awful contrast of its lying compassed by armies and in ruins. He hears not the acclamation of the crowd. ‘He wept,’ or, rather, ‘wailed,’-for the word does not imply tears so much as cries. That sorrow is a sign of His real manhood, but it is also a part of His revelation of the very heart of God. The form is human, the substance divine. The man weeps because God pities. Christ’s sorrow does not hinder His judgments. The woes which wring His heart will nevertheless be inflicted by Him. Judgment is His ‘strange work,’ alien from His desires; but it is His work. The eyes which are as a flame of fire are filled with tears, but their glance burns up the evil.
Note the yearning in the unfinished sentence, ‘If thou hadst known.’ Note the decisive closing of the time of repentance. Note the minute prophetic details of the siege, which, if ever they were spoken, are a distinct proof of His all-seeing eye. And from all let us fix in our hearts the conviction of the pity of the judge, and of the judgment by the pitying Christ.” From the EXPOSITION OF HOLY SCRIPTURE by Alexander MacLaren Luke19:41-44
May the Lord always remember mercy toward us. The cross of Christ is the evidence that He does.
Will you repent of your sins today, turn to Him and be delivered from the guilt and condemnation of your sins?
“And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for His word was with power.” Luke 4:31-32 (KJB)
Speaking of Jesus of course; He spoke amazing things. His doctrine [teaching] was with power and authority which is probably a redundancy, but for strength and clarity it is repeated.
I pray that I will grow so in love with the Lord Jesus and His word and walk [live] in the fullness of His Spirit [the Holy Spirit] that I too will have that authority. I do not desire it for myself, but for His name’s sake; and that others might come to know Him as their own personal Lord and Savior. I pray this for every pastor, every man and woman of God, and every youth who has given their lives to Him.
Let us grow in the Spirit and power of Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.
The Beginning of Sin
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Genesis 3:1-24 (KJV)
The Committed Living Sacrifice
In chapters 1-3 Paul writes his opening greeting, and from the greeting to verse 20 of chapter three he writes of the sinfulness of mankind, and our condemnation. From chapter 3 and verse 21 to chapter 8 verse 39 he has written of the righteousness of God, and that there is justification for all who will come through faith in Jesus Christ. In chapters 9 – 11 we have Paul’s theology and eschatology on the Nation of Israel, and their place in “God’s Plan of Salvation”. In the remainder of the book of Romans we will be looking at the practicality of the theology which Paul has written.
It would seem to me that Paul; using the background of the previous three chapters; is reminding us to be unlike Israel. Those chapters have an inherent warning of turning away from the Lord. It too, does have promise for the Nation of Israel, that God has not forsaken them. The warning and the promise should be especially meaningful to Christians.
There are a few words and phrases in these two verses that will be necessary for clearer understanding of what Paul is teaching us.
1. “Beseech” – is a word which is from the same word family where the word “Comforter” is taken for the Holy Spirit = “Paraklete” “parakaleō par-ak-al-eh’-o From G3844 and G2564; to call near, that is, invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation): – beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), intreat, pray.” See John 14:26. Paul strongly urges the believer.
2. “Mercies of God” – We receive mercy from God every day. It is not something we often thank Him for. These mercies include His love, and all that Paul has reminded us of through chapter eleven, than again here. “His mercy is everlasting”; “His mercy endureth forever”.
3. “Present your bodies a living sacrifice” – There are some who believe and teach that God is only interested in our soul or spirit. That is not true, however. Here we see Paul strongly urging the believer to “come along side” with God’s mercies, and give our “bodies” as “Living sacrifices”. Giving the body as a living sacrifice means sacrificing the fleshly appetites which would take us away from holiness, and away from being “holy and acceptable unto God”. The body, after all will be redeemed from the grave, a brand new body. This present body must be presented fully unto God, that He might do a work in us for cleansing, purging, and making it holy unto Him.
4. “Reasonable service” – The MacArthur Study Bible note on this verse, “reasonable service. ‘Reasonable’ is from the Gr. For ‘logic.’ In light of all the spiritual riches believers enjoy solely as the fruit of God’s mercies (Rom. 11:33,36), it logically follows that they owe God their highest form of service. Understood here is the idea of priestly, spiritual service, which was such an integral part of OT worship.” p.1716. The LORD God, our Lord and Savior deserves the highest form of worship and service.
5. “Be not conformed to this world” – Conforming is taking on an identity that is not the genuine reflection of the heart or the inner being. A sheep putting on a wolf’s clothing [skins] in order to dwell among the wolves for example. Why do we have Christians who may have the greatest motives wanting to put on the array of the harlot, the gambler, the drunk? It is not the array of God. The prince and princess should dress and act accordingly, so as not to bring shame to the King.
6. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” – a metamorphosis refers to an outward change that has transpired which is a result of the inward change. It represents a change for the whole person. Not just for a short period of time, but day by day, and for every moment of each day. This kind of “transformation occurs only by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the life of the believer, and the power of the Word of God working in our lives. The renewed mind is saturated with the Word of God. “Order my steps in Thy Word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV). “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word” (Psalm 119:9 KJV).
7. “That you may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God” – Basically the only way to be good, acceptable and in the perfect will of God is by being the living sacrifice to God that Paul has admonished us to be. The individual who does not know God’s will for their life is in disobedience in their life.
The practical message here is that our bodies are to be presented as living sacrifices. Yielded to the Lord for His service, His will and His glory. We are strongly urged to do so, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God. It is proved by living such lives before the eyes of a watching world whom we do not think is watching.
-Tim A. Blankenship
NO PEOPLE LEFT OUT
There may have been accusations against Paul’s teaching, claiming that He was preaching an unjust and unrighteous God. That is not what Paul preached, nor is it the teaching of Scripture.
Because God is holy, righteous, and just He has every right to be “Merciful to whom He will be merciful” and to “Have compassion on whom He will have compassion”. He has did everything that His glory, holiness, righteousness, and justness allowed Him to do in order that the lost might be saved.
Hosea’s wife Gomer is brought into this picture of God’s salvation. She had become a harlot, yet God commanded Hosea to love her, and redeem her from her slavery (Hosea 2:1-22; 3:1-5). Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah saying, “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: for He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth”. (vv. 27-28; Isaiah 10:22-23). These quotations make it quite plain that God’s intentions has always been to save people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. He has blessed the nation of Israel with the blessing of giving the world His Word and the Living Word [His Son Jesus], and is blessing them again, by bringing them back to Himself, though they have strayed, and not believed Him. (See Isaiah 1:9 and 13:9).
Hosea 2:23 Paul has given as the Word of God for calling people for Himself from the Gentile nations.
Vv. 25-26 — The quotation from Hosea concerning those not “My people” and called “Children of the living God”;
Vv. 27-29 — The numerous number of Israel shows God’s fulfillment to make of them a “Great Nation”, however, due to their unfaithfulness, there will only be a small number (a remnant) from that number who will be delivered; thus, He will finish the things which He has said concerning Israel, and He will fulfill His word in short order. Except the Lord saved a remnant the Nation would have been like Sodom and Gomorrha, in destruction;
Vv. 30-32 — You can almost begin to see that there have been questions concerning the Jews about what Paul is teaching, and he is answering them; “What about these Gentiles who never pursued righteousness, and now are righteous?” It is theirs because of faith, ie., trusting God implicitly, and no other – no works – just a simple faith that realizes that it is solely by grace through faith we are saved. Israel, on the other hand, had the law, pursuing it by their works, and deeds and failed to attain righteousness by the law. The reason Israel failed is they were seeking to obtain it by the keeping of the law, rather than trusting the Lord and His grace; they had not the faith; and when it came to Jesus, their Messiah/Christ, He was a “Stumbling stone”;
v. 33 — In Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16 the prophet tells us basically what Paul is quoting; Jesus, the One who died on the cross to may a way for “His own”, and the nations, was rejected, because the cross was and still is an “Offense”. It is not only an offense to the Jew it is an offense to many who are Gentiles.
In 1993 the Barna Research Group conducted a poll on beliefs among those who professed being born again, as compared to the total population. The statement, “All good people, whether they consider Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior or not, will live in Heaven after they die on earth” was read to those who participated. Of those who professed to be “Born again” thirty two percent [32%] agreed with the statement. Forty eight [48%] of those churched agreed, along with forty four percent [44%] of the total population.
“All good people, whether they consider Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior or not will live in Heaven after they die on earth.”
Professing Born again …. 32 percent agreed;
Those who attend church …. 48 percent agreed;
Total population …. 44 percent agreed.
It is evident even today  that this has not improved. It has most likely worsened. How terrible it would be to stand before Jesus one day and have our only answer being, “I thought I could make it on my own. I was a good man/woman.” Then, to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you worker of iniquity”.
There will be no shame for those who take God at His Word and believe in Jesus. We will be able to stand before Him with confidence in His finished work and all the glory will belong solely to Him, and that will be our glorification.
God’s Will Of Mercy
Is God unrighteous because He chooses some and not others? NO! NO! NO! NEVER! He is God. He is the Creator of all things. He is not limited in any way. If He cannot choose whom He will, then, He is not sovereign and is not God.
God told Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (v. 15; Exodus 33:19). Pharoah was even chosen by God to be an instrument of God’s glory by his hardened heart (v. 17; Exodus 9:16).
Anyone rejecting God’s way will be an instrument of His glory and a vessel of His wrath. Pharoah had rejected the word of God through His servant Moses, therefore He was used in His rebellion to fulfill God’s will and glory.
God is the potter, we are the clay. If God chooses to save some, then, we ought to rejoice rather than question His character. Honest questions due to lack of understanding and knowledge are acceptable, but bringing charges by frivolous questioning; against our Maker; of unrighteous conduct is blasphemous.
God is patient and waits for “Vessels of wrath” to repent. He does this to show the “Riches of His glory”. From every tribe, tongue, and Nation He does this.
v. 14 — There is no unrighteousness in God because He chooses one rather than another. His grace and His mercy is far beyond our understanding. The only thing we should say is, “Thank You Father”;
v. 15 — Paul here quotes Moses from Exodus 33:19 establishing the Old Testament link of God’s mercy and compassion on whom He chooses;
v. 16 — Paul is reasserting the fact of God’s grace fully given in salvation. No one wills on their own to be saved. No one can pick the day they choose for salvation; that is of God alone – If you aren’t saved the day He calls, then, you could be condemned forever;
v. 17 — God chose Pharoah for His own glory to be a vessel of wrath; God had given Pharoah ample opportunity to do the right thing and let the people go, but he would not;
v. 18 — Mercy had been extended to Pharoah in God’s offer, through the word spoken by Moses, “Let My people go, that they may serve me”. God did not have to go to Pharoah in this manner, but he did in order to show mercy; after Pharoah hardened his heart to God and His Word, God hardens his heart;
v. 19 — If God does this, why are we charged with sin? If this be so does that, then, mean that God is the author of sin? NO!!! It means that sin has no authority over God; it can also mean that our own sin will be our judge (SEE Jeremiah 2:19); We are all guilty of sin. We all stand accountable to God;
vv. 20-21 — Making charges of such foolishness against God is unrighteous in itself; If you built a house and that house could question you and ask you, “Why did you make me a quarter inch off square?” It would not have a right to do so. Maybe a better question would be, “Why did you spend so much time in building me, and then, decided to live elsewhere?” God is as our potter, and we are the clay; He has power to appoint us as He wills and chooses. One can be chosen for honor, and another to dishonor;
vv. 22-24 — Within Paul’s question is much to think on. It is a lengthy question. The answer is within the question, and the previous remarks. By His mercy, He has extended the opportunity to others to come to faith in Jesus Christ. God has extended long periods of patience in mercy toward the evil ones, and given them ample opportunity to repent and believe, but they have not.
Mercy has been extended to all the world. Many seem to believe that God is not merciful, but if you could see through the eyes of mercy you could see that mercy is everywhere. When you have experienced mercy, there is mercy for others from you. God has called and chosen not only from the Jews, but also from the Gentiles.
God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and upon whom He wills He will have compassion. Mercy = God’s not giving to us what we truly deserve; and that is His wrath.
-Tim A. Blankenship
Since God Is For Us
When you get to thinking about the goodness, grace and mercy of God, and you see things taught us in Scripture as, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8); and, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…” (5:10); would it not be perfectly fitting of God to do even more wondrous things for those who are no longer His enemies.
Things we can see which God has done for us, and gives us, and continues to do in and through us:
1. Christ was given as our Substitute for sin; to freely give us all things; that is basically forgiveness. That is the most wondrous thing, along with the fellowship which we can have with the Father. We no longer have guilt, excusing us to flee from God’s presence, and we now have the presence of God within us who calls us to the throne of grace to receive forgiveness (vv. 31-32);
2. There is no charge that can be brought against us. The only Ones who can bring any legitimate charge against us will not, because we have been cleansed and forgiven by them. When you forgive someone a debt owed to you by them; you are the one who paid the debt. That is actually what forgiveness is. Until a debt is paid; it is owed. God could charge us with sin, but instead He has justified us; Jesus could also, but He died for us, rising again, is seated at the right hand of God and intercedes for us (vv. 33-34);
3. There is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. Sin has been the source of all our separation from God; now sin has been dealt with in a death blow that is for all eternity; It is the love of Jesus Christ which is being spoke of in verse thirty five – in all these things mentioned they are rather sources of strength building rather than sources of separation and they are building blocks of our faith. We are at our Lord’s mercy, and for His glory (vv. 35-36);
4. The term, “More than conquerors” is one that is sometimes heard in other places other than church and Christian atmosphere. It is heard on school campuses. It is heard in youth discussions; Come what may, let the devil beware we will stand. We must understand that we cannot overcome, we cannot be “Conquerors” in our strength – it is in the power, Spirit and glory of Jesus Christ that we conquer (v. 37);
5. There are many things which Paul uses here to show us that there is nothing that can separate us from the “love of God…in Christ Jesus”; Notice if you will the first two – “Death nor life”; now death is separation of life from the body; but what is this doing here – especially ‘Life’? There are times we can let life get between us and God; however, if we are God’s that is not the end; “…angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing (even yourself), shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
O, what a wonder and glory it is; this thing called grace, this privilege called grace; this merciful eternal act of God. None deserve it. Few receive it. All who receive it will glorify Jesus. “Since God be for us, who can be against us”? No not one.
-Tim A. Blankenship
The Proud Look
This is the first in a seven part series I call “SEVEN ABOMINATIONS WHICH GOD HATES. It is taken from Proverbs 6:16-19 as the text. I began this series on Sunday morning July 09, 2006, and I believe it covers the sins that are the cause of all the ills of the earth. Of course, sin is the cause of all the ills on earth. I pray all who read this will learn to serve and glorify the Lord Jesus for His abundant grace and mercy He has provided for us all upon the cross of Calvary.
“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16-19
A PROUD LOOK equals “Haughty eyes” or arrogant ambition.
IT IS THE LOOK THAT DEFIES GOD. “But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” Numbers15:30. Note the condemnation of one who sins defiantly/presumptuously. Also look at the words of Isaiah to the king of Assyria because of his “High looks”. A man in the New Testament who would fit into this category could be the one who tore down his old barns to build new ones. Isaiah also says in 2:11, “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.”
C. S. Lewis said,
“A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
THIS PRIDE WILL CAUSE THE FALL OF THE ONE WHO PRACTICES IT.
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18.
King Nebuchadnezzar was brought low by the arrogance he had against God, and in the end He glorified the Lord God (YHWH). So will it be with all who exalt themselves over the will of God.
Look at this verse which reminds us of the peril of a Proud look. ” An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.” Proverbs 21:4
In the Beatitudes of Matthew 5 we find a great contrast to this PROUD LOOK.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (v. 3).
THE ‘PROUD LOOK’ IS THE LOOK WHICH SAYS, ‘I KNOW BETTER THAN GOD’. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:21, “Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.” It is the PROUD LOOK of the man which says, ‘I will not love my wife as Christ loved the Church…”, or just plainly refuses to do so. It is the PROUD LOOK of the woman who refuses to ’submit’ to her husband ‘as to the Lord’. It is the PROUD LOOK of the rebellious child or teenager who will not honor and obey their parents; or the adult who shuns and will not honor their parents; or the husband and/or wife who are not be submissive one to another; nor fulfilling their godly duties to the other.
THE ANSWER IS FOUND IN A HUMBLE HEART TOWARD GOD.
” The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17.
Someone once said,
“Humility is a funny thing; when you think you have it, you don’t”.
Some Christians beat themselves up verbally in an attempt at “Humility”. That is really a lot of pride manifesting itself in the person to draw others attention toward themselves. How do I know that? How can I say that? Because I have been there. I have been guilty of doing it.
Humility is not trying to make yourself lower than others – true humility is not thinking of yourself at all. The humble person rest in Christ Jesus, and lives for Him and serves others without thought of reward or recognition.
Thank the Lord for those humble people of Christ’s who serve and are not seen.
-Tim A. Blankenship
Righteousness is a godly thing. As a matter of fact it is a GOD thing. There is no righteousness apart from God; neither is there any truth apart from God.
People cry out for justice in our world, and for truth. Many people do not like the pure and unvarnished truth is quite powerful, and often puts Adamkind in our rightful place – condemned, separated and apart from Holy God. We are unrighteous, unjust, unholy, vile, evil, condemned, and headed to the eternal fires of Hell. That is unless God in His grace has truly done something which is beyond our wildest imaginations.
A friend of mine shared something by email which I will share here with you…
“Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve.
But wait a minute; grace is more than that! It is grace that gives at great cost to the giver. It is not cheap. Grace cost the life of God’s Son. Jesus gave freely of Himself in agony and blood.”
Truth is what the good doctor comes and tells you when he discovers you have a cancer in your body, you need emergency surgery to remove it or you will die in a month. Truth is the death rate is 100 percent. Not pleasant to hear, but we need reminded of that from time to time.
Who shall abide in the LORD’S tabernacle? Who will abide in the presence of the LORD? The answers are given in the verses above. No one of us can live a righteous, holy, and upright life and speak the truth in our hearts; except the LORD Himself give it to us. He has done that in the cross – the death of His Son Jesus, His burial, and resurrection. There is no righteousness or truth apart from Him.
“Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but You, O LORD, how long?” Psalm 6:2-3 (KJV)
For today I will let a man who is dead, but he still speaks in his wisdom from the LORD, and his writings of days gone by…
“Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak.” Though I deserve destruction, yet let thy mercy pity my frailty. This is the right way to plead with God if we would prevail. Urge not your goodness or your greatness, but plead your sin and your littleness. Cry, “I am weak,” therefore O Lord, give me strength and crush me not. Send not forth the fury of thy tempest against so weak a vessel. Temper the wind to the shorn lamb. Be tender and pitiful to a poor withering flower, and break it not from its stem. Surely this is the plea that a sick man would urge to move the pity of his fellow if he were striving with him, “Deal gently with me, ‘for I am weak.’” A sense of sin had so spoiled the Psalmist’s pride, so taken away his vaunted strength, that he found himself weak to obey the law, weak through the sorrow that was in him, too weak, perhaps, to lay hold on the promise. “I am weak.” The original may be read, “I am one who droops,” or withered like a blighted plant. Ah! beloved, we know what this means, for we, too, have seen our glory stained, and our beauty like a faded flower.
“O Lord heal me; for my bones are vexed.” Here he prays for healing, not merely the mitigation of the ills he endured, but their entire removal, and the curing of the wounds which had arisen therefrom. His bones were “shaken,” as the Hebrew has it. His terror had become so great that his very bones shook; not only did his flesh quiver, but the bones, the solid pillars of the house of manhood, were made to tremble. “My bones are shaken.” Ah, when the soul has a sense of sin, it is enough to make the bones shake; it is enough to make a man’s hair stand up on end to see the flames of hell beneath him, an angry God above him, and danger and doubt surrounding him. Well might he say, “My bones are shaken.” Lest, however, we should imagine that it was merely bodily sickness – although bodily sickness might be the outward sign – the Psalmist goes on to say, “My soul is also sore vexed.” Soul-trouble is the very soul of trouble. It matters not that the bones shake if the soul be firm, but when the soul itself is also sore vexed this is agony indeed. “But thou, O Lord, how long?” This sentence ends abruptly, for words failed, and grief drowned the little comfort which dawned upon him. The Psalmist had still, however, some hope; but that hope was only in his God. He therefore cries. “O Lord, how long?” The coming of Christ into the soul in his priestly robes of grace is the grand hope of the penitent soul; and, indeed, in some form or other, Christ’s appearance is, and ever has been, the hope of the saints.
Calvin’s favourite exclamation was “Domine usque quo” – “O Lord, how long?” Nor could his sharpest pains, during a life of anguish, force from him any other word. Surely this is the cry of the saints under the altar, “O Lord, how long?” And this should be the cry of the saints waiting for the millennial glories, “Why are his chariots so long in coming; Lord, how long?” Those of us who have passed through conviction of sin knew what it was to count our minutes hours, and our hours years, while mercy delayed its coming. We watched for the dawn of grace, as they that watch for the morning. Earnestly did our anxious spirits ask, “O Lord, how long?” From the Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon (e-Sword)
And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are His judgments: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand.
And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:1-10 (KJV)
“After these things” is certainly speaking of the previous two chapters. The “great whore” was judged by God through the godless. The “great city” was judged by plagues from God.
Remembering the “great whore” represents false religion that basically accepts all beliefs as being legitimate, its fall and the rejoicing of the kings show us that we must stand for truth.
In these first five verses, we find Heaven rejoicing (Revelation 18:20). The “voice” of verses 1 and 5 cannot be the voice of God, according to some. But why not? God does command our worship of Him. There is a possibility that it is that of an angel.
These are rejoicing in the justice and judgment upon world evil and those who tortured and tormented the saints of God.
If you will, notice verse 3. The judgment upon the woman, both as religious, and political/economic Babylon is judged forever – eternally. This could not be speaking of a physical – material city, but of the wicked souls of men who ruled the city. See Isaiah 66:24. Their smoke of torment will rise up forever and ever.
Back around the throne of God again, we find the twenty-four elders and the four Living ones worshipping the One who sat on the throne.
Who else could these ‘elders’ be other than the Church – the redeemed by the cross of Jesus Christ? We see them in chapters 4; 5:14; 7:11; 11:16-18, and then once again in this passage. Every time we find the ‘twenty-four elders’ mentioned we see that they are in Heaven before the throne of God in worship of Him who sits on the throne.
We come now to what is called the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb”. It is correctly called this in the fourth beatitude of the Revelation.
It matters not whose voice is heard in verse 6. It only matters that it is heavenly.
He is calling out invitation to the ‘marriage supper of the Lamb’ for the marriage has already taken place. The Hebrew wedding – to my understanding – has three major aspects:
- There is a marriage contract drawn up between the parents of the children, while the ones who become betrothed are still children;
- At a suitable age the bridegroom along with his friends would go to the brides home to take her to his home (Matthew 25:1-13);
- He would bring her to his home for the marriage supper, to which guests were invited.
The marriage supper of the Lamb precedes the “Day of the LORD”, earth’s blackest, bleakest and most horrible day, yet heaven’s day of rejoicing when evil will be removed from God’s presence.
The Lamb’s wife has made herself ready at the “Judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10) where all the “wood, hay and stubble” (1 Cor. 3:11-15) of every Christian life will be burned up and only the “gold, silver, and precious stones” will remain. Of course, preparation began when each individual is justified (made right with God) by faith (Eph. 2:8-10; 5:25-27).
The beatitude of verse 9 is also a great invitation to people of all ages. “Blessed (Happy) are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb”. Will you be at the marriage supper of the Lamb? By faith in Jesus Christ, becoming wed to Him by the covenant of grace through faith you will be. The marriage supper of the Lamb will be the time of consummation or glorification of the Bride [the saints, the Church].
“These are true sayings of God”. Can God say anything that is not true? Can God lie? Not hardly (Rom. 3:4). Truly the most blessed place to be is at the marriage supper of the Lamb. There is no earthly activity which can compare to the glory of this marriage supper.
The voice spoke of earlier certainly cannot be divine. John falls before the one speaking in worship only to be rebuked and corrected to worship God. All Scripture is centered in Jesus Christ. However, the whole intent of prophecy is to testify of Jesus. All the prophecies, before He came as man, are proof of who He is. Just as surely as the Old Testament prophecies testified of His first coming and were fulfilled, so too, will each unfulfilled Old and New Testament prophecy which testifies of His second coming be fulfilled. The prophecies of Jesus are the means of identifying Him.
Jesus is the one all who reject Him will face one day. It will not be a pleasant day for those rejecters of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus – His payment for our sin. Believe Him today.
And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come. Revelation 18:9-10 (KJV)
I know that posts like I have been sharing recently, are not popular. I do not share them to draw a crowd. I share them because they are the truth, and to give warning to those who are the “Earth dwellers”, and love material things, wealth, houses and lands more than the Lord Jesus and His word. As Jesus says, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.” Even if one is drawn here by the Spirit of God, sees, and hears the word and is delivered from the bondage of sin, then that will be a glorious thing.
As a contrast to chapter 17, in which the kings desolated the “great whore” and “burned her with fire” (17:16), here they “bewail her” and they “lament for her”. They have great sorrow of heart. Their means of wealth has fallen. This in itself shows us this is the commercial or economic Babylon.
The “kings of the earth” are fearful. She had been strong, wealthy, and “beautiful” just a few hours before, now she is FALLEN, poor and desecrated. They stand “afar off” – at a distance – fearful of where their wealth will go, of what will become of them now; is there anyone to protect their losses.
Isn’t it great to know that when one knows and trusts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior our treasure is in Heaven, where thieves cannot break in and steal, where moth and rust cannot corrupt, and that it is riches that can stand the fires of God’s judgment, even coming out of the fires of a purer sort.
The suddenness of judgment upon this economic empire could loosely be likened to the crash of the stock market that caused the Great Depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s. People lost wealth and threw themselves from windows, and committed suicide in various ways. Times like these are certainly times when we find out where our heart and treasure is (Matthew 6:19-21).
It seems that at the time of this judgment the nations of the earth will have been prosperous. Great prosperity will abound in the last days of man’s rule on earth – economically. The banks and governments will be wealthy; the people, for the most part, will be in slavery. Babylon, the city of wealth, has fallen. A sad day for the “kings of the earth”.
There is a kingdom coming which will never fall but will stand forever, and that is the Kingdom of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. See Daniel 2:44-45. Jesus came and died on the cross to build His kingdom. His kingdom is built on the confession of all those who will hear and believe His word, trusting their all completely to Christ and His finished work on the cross. Jesus died, was buried, and He rose again.
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” Revelation 13:1-10 (KJV)
The devil is a showman and desires the attention of mankind, and in this chapter, we will be able to see his mode of entertainment, and his seeming attempt to overthrow the Kingdom of God and His Son, and no matter how vicious it may be, he will come up short.
Some translations of the Bible read, “And he stood” referring to the dragon. It really does no harm to the text to read it either way. If this is a reference to John then he is referring to what he is seeing in the revelation; while, if to the dragon, standing so would place him among the people of earth; them that dwell upon the earth”.
The description given of the beast would imply a great empire. It would be the Roman Empire revived and empowered by the dragon (Revelation 11:7; 17:8). Daniel speaks of these same beasts (Daniel 7:1-8) only he refers to seeing four – the fourth being indescribable. Daniel mentions a lion, a bear, a leopard, and the fourth beast being “Dreadful and terrible”. John sees the leopard, the bear, and the lion; and the fourth must be the dragon.
Let’s look at these as Daniel has them interpreted to him (7:17):
- The lion would be Babylon – Nebuchadnezzar the king;
- The bear would be Medo-Persia – Darius the king;
- The leopard would be the Alexandrian empire – Alexander the Great being the king.
Each of these kingdoms were “Swallowed up” by the one following it. All three of these are swallowed up by the “Indescribable beast” or the Roman empire.
Why are these likened to these beasts? Babylon had majesty and power likened to the lion. The Medo-Persian empire had strength and tenacity like the bear. The Alexandrian empire moved swiftly like the leopard (Daniel 8:5 “…touched not the ground”).
If you will note John sees and writes of these in reverse to Daniel. Daniel is seeing these in the future tense. John is seeing them in the past tense.
The seven heads and ten horns probably refer to the remnants of the Confederacy that formed the Roman empire in the beginning. In Scripture, the horn is symbolic of power. Ten nations of which three were overthrown by the “…little horn” of Daniel 7:8. The ten crowns referring to the symbols of governmental authority. The kings of these confederacies exalted themselves as gods, thus having the “name of blasphemy”.
If we look at this in the light of the other Scriptures the head “…wounded to death” would be one of the Confederacy, probably the Roman empire itself. Since the empire fell many of the confederate nations have risen and fallen silent, but the Roman empire is dead. Of course, the empire is represented by an emperor. For a period of time, the dragon [Satan] will be given the power to deceive. It seems he may even give the appearance of raising an individual from death. It would be so much like him to counterfeit what God has done.
Because of this “resurrection” “…all the world” will follow him. Worship will be directed to the dragon. The dragon giving power to this resurrected beast could be Satan himself possessing this one who has yielded himself to Satan’s will (11:7; 17:8). This individual would probably be the ruler of the revived Roman empire, promising peace to Jerusalem and the world.
It is quite possible that the resurrected beast is a form of government represented by an emperor. The renewed life is the “resurrected” nation able by satanic influence to deceive people and nations.
Here we even see Satan’s counterfeiting the Holy Trinity. The dragon, and he within the anti-christ. The third being the second beast “…out of earth” a messenger of the anti-christ. Antichrist not only means “Against Christ”, but also, “In place of”, or “Instead of”.
This ruler is probably only over the Roman empire until the last three and one-half years of Daniel’s seventieth week. He makes peace with Israel, only to be slain in the midst of the week, raised up in Satan’s power of deceit, then, breaks the covenant with Israel, and becomes the world ruler.
His mouth to speak, is against God and His saints (Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), calling himself god, blasphemes the name of God Most High. In this state of satanic power, he is given 42 months to rule (1260 days or 3.5 years).
The dragon’s purpose instilled in the antichrist will be to attack all that is holy and of God (Daniel 7:21). All those on earth “…whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb” will worship the beast. Only those redeemed by the blood of Jesus will not worship this beast. These are those who have been won to Christ by the 144,000 Hebrew witnesses of Revelation 7. See also 2 Thessalonians 2:5-12. They are not exempt from worshiping the beast. They will give their lives (6:11). “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13). This is where this verse fits into the interpretation of Scripture.
An appeal, maybe even an invitation or warning is given us in verse nine. Listen up! John appeals for us to hear and heed the awfulness that is about to come upon the earth. Verse 8 is quite clear in showing a great ecumenical peace will come at last. A world religion where all give up their beliefs to join one religion. The worship of Satan. Some today promote peace at any price. There can only be peace through the Prince of peace, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice this plea is similar to the ending statements of the letters to the seven churches. The only difference being, this one does not end with “Unto the churches”. This tends to give support to the teaching of the absence of the Church because it has been raptured out at this time. It is also a word to those who profess Christ as their Savior today, but their lives bear no evidence, no fruit of the Spirit, and no Holy Spirit within (Romans 8:9). If you are without Christ you could find yourself at this time worshiping the Beast.
Divine retribution is the topic of verse 10. Those who persecute these saints will be tormented likewise. The faith and patience of the saints, of all ages, is in the fact that that “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay’, saith the Lord”.
Trust the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36).
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” Revelation 11:1-6 (KJV)
God who is rich in mercy provides man with every opportunity to repent and believe on Christ by sending His empowered witnesses to tell of His atoning love, and warn of His coming wrath to deal with sin unrepented of. In the day in which we now live we are witnesses to a people ever increasing in darkness, and away from God and His light.
This beginning in the chapter continues the interlude between the end of the sixth trumpet and the sounding of the seventh.
Previously in chapter 10, John is told, “Thou must prophesy…”. In verse one of our present chapter that seems to be exactly what John does. There is no reason to spiritualize the text here. To do so would only add confusion, and confusion breeds doubt.
“Measure the temple of God” does imply God’s ownership.
The “Reed” was used as a measuring rod. It measured about ten feet in length. This as we note is God’s standard of measure. Since the earthly temple was designed in Heaven it still must meet God’s expectations. All things must be measured by God’s standard, lest we get a false measurement. The temple, the altar, and the worshipper are measured as God’s evaluation of what is His.
As previously mentioned in chapter ten the “Little book” is possibly the Bible, the Word of God. The Scriptures when taught by God’s Spirit measure earthly things and people. The ten-foot rod when stood against any man shows by man’s stature how short he falls from God’s standard (Romans 3:23). We cannot attain God’s standard by fleshly works.
God practically ignores what is called “The court of the Gentiles”. The simple reason being that this “Court which is without [outside] the temple…” was not in the heavenly plan. What was the court of the Gentiles, had become a place for all kinds of idol worship.
This temple is not Solomon’s temple or Herod’s temple. It is the temple of the “Seventieth week” of which Daniel writes, or what is called the seven years of tribulation (Daniel 9:24-27).
These measurements are certain to affirm that we fall “short of the glory of God” – we fail to meet His required standard for holiness. The only way to meet that standard is by trusting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. Then, His holiness and righteousness are put to our account, because our filth of sin was put to His account upon the cross.
There is some disagreement to the time of these “Two witnesses” ministry. Some relate it to the first 1260 days (42 months, or 3 1/2 years), and others to the latter.
It would appear – at least to me – that the two prophets ministry is in the latter. I draw that conclusion by looking at the close of verse 2. Because the “Antichrist” leader allows the Hebrews to worship and then breaks his covenant with them in the midst of the week (Daniel 9:27); this happening the prophets would have been free to speak during the first half.
The message these men are given is preached near the end of the “second woe” (v. 14). While the vile and rebellious men of earth are enjoying their sin and having their way, God chooses not to destroy them without opportunity for repentance. God owes; lost, unredeemed, unrepentant humankind, nothing, except to fulfill His every word. These two witnesses are tormentors to evil hearts. It is still that way in the present. People do not want to be confronted with their evil ways.
The length of their ministry is 1260 days. Their days being listed last seems to imply the latter half of the “Seventieth week”. The seventh trumpet would bring in the “Day of the LORD”.
The power of God is the unction of their preaching. They are “Clothed in sackcloth”. This implies that their message is one of repentance and salvation. God’s mercy is astounding.
John the apostle is given the message that these are the “Two olive trees” and the “Two candlesticks”. The olive tree was the source of oil for the lamps – a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and candlesticks were instruments of light. Certainly, the two witnesses are Spirit-empowered and giving light in the darkness. This takes us back to Zechariah 4:2-3, 6, and 14.
Since they are standing before “The God of the earth…” they stand fearlessly. Verse five even tells us that if anyone could harm them, or even try, they have power to devour their enemies.
The powers they are given are from God. Elijah was one who prayed and shut up the heavens – it did not rain for three and one-half years. Moses is the one who turned the Egyptian waters to blood with the rod of God in his hand, and Egypt was smitten with plagues by his hand. Some have said these are Moses and Elijah. It would do us much good to remember that it was Moses and Elijah who appeared with Jesus on the Mount we call “Transfiguration” (Matthew 17:1-8). Others have said Enoch (Genesis 5:21-24), and Elijah because these two never died, but were translated and would be in keeping with Hebrews 9:27. Jesus likened John the Baptist to Elijah (Matthew 17:11-13), but John Baptist said he was not Elijah (John 1:21). What did Jesus mean and what did John the Baptist mean? The same Spirit and fire of Elijah was on John, but he was not a physical “reincarnation” of Elijah. The same is true of these latter-day “Witnesses”. Our concern should not be on who they are, but upon the message, they preach. I see Hebrews 9:27 only stating the fact that death is a certain thing, except in rare circumstances. With the exception of a “Snatching away,” we will all certainly die.
For the child of God, the grace of God is the Son of God. God gave us, and shows us His grace through His Son Jesus Christ.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” Titus 2:11-15 (KJV)
The “grace of God” which has “appeared to all men” can be no other than the Lord Jesus. That appearance took place on Calvary where the best and holiest God had to give gave His life as our very sufficient sacrifice for our sin. Today I want us to hear what the Believer’s Bible Commentary says about these verses.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God … has appeared. Here the grace of God is virtually synonymous with the Son of God. God’s grace appeared when the Lord Jesus visited our planet and especially when He gave Himself for our sins. He appeared for the salvation of all men. His substitutionary work is sufficient for the redemption of all. A bona fide offer of pardon and forgiveness is made to all. But only those who truly receive Him as Lord and Savior are saved. There is no suggestion here or elsewhere in the Bible that everyone will be saved at last. Universal salvation is a lie of the devil.
2:12 The same grace that saves us also trains us in the school of holiness. There are “No-No’s” in that school which we must learn to renounce. The first is ungodliness, which means irreligion. The second is worldly lusts—not just sexual sins, but also the lust for wealth, power, pleasure, fame, or anything else that is essentially worldly.
On the positive side, grace teaches us to live soberly, righteously toward others, and godly in the pure light of His presence. These are the virtues that should characterize us in this world, where everything about us is going to be dissolved. It is the place of our pilgrimage and not our final home.
2:13 While living as aliens in the world, we are inspired by a magnificent hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. By this are we to understand the Rapture, when Christ appears in glory to the church and conveys it to heaven (1 Thess. 4:13–18)? Or does it refer to Christ’s coming to reign, when He appears in glory to the world, puts down His foes, and sets up His kingdom (Rev. 19:11–16)? Basically we believe Paul is speaking of the first—Christ’s coming for His bride, the church. But whether it is His coming as Bridegroom or as King, the believer should be prepared and looking for His glorious arrival.
2:14 As we await His Return we never forget the purpose of His First Coming and of His self-sacrifice. He gave Himself not only to save us from the guilt and penalty of sin but to redeem us from every lawless deed. It would have been a half-way salvation if the penalty of sin had been canceled but its dominion in our lives was left unconquered.
He also gave Himself to purify for Himself His own special people.
2:15 These are things that Titus was commissioned to teach—every thing discussed in the foregoing verses, and particularly the purposes of the Savior’s passion. He was to exhort or encourage the saints to lives of practical godliness and to rebuke any who contradicted the apostolic teachings either by word or by life. And he didn’t have to be apologetic in carrying on a forceful ministry; let him do it with all authority and boldness of the Holy Spirit. Let no one despise you. Titus need have no qualms about his youth, his Gentile background, or any natural disability. He was speaking the word of God, and this made all the difference. BELIEVER’S BIBLE COMMENTARY
Let us in the grace of God love the Lord Jesus Christ with all our hearts, all of our souls, all of our minds, and all of our strength. He loved you and me enough to die on the cross.
…God; not you or me.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:4-10 (KJV)
Do we forget or is it simply ignorance? Do we forget that God saves us because of His great love, not that He owes us something, or that we are worthy of His salvation? I hear the phrase sometimes, “God owes everyone a chance for salvation?” Remember this, God owes us nothing. When a soul is saved it is by God’s grace alone.
Something we need to remember too is that there is a threefold work in salvation; the first is past, the second is present, and the third is future. The theological terms are Justification, second Sanctification, and the third is glorification. All a work of God’s wonderful, marvelous grace. We do nothing to deserve it and can do nothing to earn it. When a man, woman, boy or girl is justified by God through the cross of Christ that individual is eternally saved, and the work of God will continue in and through that person throughout their lifetime (sanctification), and when their body dies they will be glorified.
God is rich in mercy. So rich in fact, that He raises us to life, and justifies us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; then through that same death, burial and resurrection He sanctifies us unto Himself as we daily walk through this world and that is His workmanship in us. One day we have the eternal promise of being with Him through all eternity.
Why is He doing this? “That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us…” It is About God.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (KJV)
We all can admit there is a whole lot of the above mentioned sins going on in our world. Maybe, if you cannot admit it, it is because of your guilt in those matters of sin. Paul the apostle says none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. That really includes the whole human race. So I am guilty. You are guilty.
We all need to know that no unrighteous person can enter the presence of holy God. None of us on our own merit can enter.
I love the apostle’s words, “… And such were some of you…” Don’t you just love that word “were“? It is in the past tense and means that they are no more.
O people, we humans can be so vile, and sometimes show such contradiction of goodness at the same time out of the same life, and heart. God is consistent in His mercy, love, and grace. He will not tolerate sin. He loves us so much that He gave His only Son Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins, that we all might come into His presence, have eternal fellowship with Him and have inheritance in the kingdom.
There is nothing you or I can do to inherit the kingdom of God or eternal life. It has been done by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son. Receiving His gift is all we do, believing He is the One who is powerful to save all who will believe.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:5-7
And from the gospels…
“And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew 9:11-13
Let none think that they can enter the kingdom of God and eternal life by their own efforts, works, and righteousness. None will. It is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-10).