The People in Expectation

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

In the days preceding the days of the appearance of the Christ there was a longing, a strong desire and passion for the coming of Messiah.  The prophet John the Baptist was to be the last of the Old Testament prophets.

A new Man was coming on the scene.  People and things were about to change.

I do not know about you, but I can almost see and hear these words the people said, and asked.  Maybe some were direct and asked, “John, are you the Messiah?”  There was much chatter.  There were probably many questions.

The prophet John, like the prophets before him were preachers, forth tellers of the word of God.  They said what God put in their hearts and minds to say, by the power of the Spirit of God.  They spoke without fear or favor of men.  Like those prophets he spoke of another mightier than himself.

The people were in expectation.  They were looking for hope, for deliverance, for salvation from the Roman conquerors, their accusers and abusers.  That is not unlike people of 2019.

Many of us are looking again for the reappearing of our Lord and Savior. He is the One whom John preached about.  He is the One whom John said,

“…One mightier than I comes, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.”

John spoke of Jesus, the Christ.  He was about to appear.  We as Christians today are to be proclaiming the coming of our Lord.  We are to watch and pray and preach; preach Jesus.  Preach the death of Jesus on the cross to redeem us from our sins.  Preach that He was buried and carried our sins away, leaving them in the depths of the earth never to be held captive by them again; and that He rose again from death and the grave; and that He is alive.

He is coming.  He said He would (John 14:1-3).

Without Observation

“And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, ‘Lo here!’ or, ‘Lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.’”  Luke 17:20-21  (KJB)

The coming kingdom of God is more than an event that is celebrated with pomp and circumstance.  For many years the religious leaders of Israel had been pronouncing the coming of Messiah as an event where He would show up in power and glory and give the land of Israel back to the people of Israel.

The Person of the kingdom of God was standing in front of them.  He had done many mighty deeds; giving sight to the blind, making the lame walk, healing lepers, raising the dead, calming storms, walking on water; and yet they could not see.

Jesus tells the disciples in the following verses how it will be.  Even that He will be killed.

The coming of the kingdom of God was without much notice at all.  If they would not believe Moses and the Prophets they would not believe even though One would rise from the dead.

The kingdom of God shows up in the soul that is redeemed.  Do we notice? He is present within us.

I realize that this is so much deeper than I can know.  The whole thought is that Jesus can be missed if those who desire Him are looking for signs rather than Jesus Himself.

The Ministry of the New Born Prophet

“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David; as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant; the oath which He sware to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.”  Luke 1:67-80  (KJB)

The ministry of the prophet John was strong and in the Spirit of the Lord heralding the Lord Jesus as the Messiah of Israel; and preparing many in Israel to receive Him.

That is the ministry of the Biblical preacher and pastor in 2019; declaring the Lord Jesus, His life, His death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection.  If we let ourselves stand in the way…  Well you finish the sentence.

Lift up the Dayspring.  He is Jesus.

Temple Thrown Down

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

From the past…

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

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

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

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

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

Not Forsaken; Not Forgotten

Set Aside; But Not Forgotten

Romans 11:1-6

Paul has now pointed out clearly Israel’s rejection of Jesus as Messiah. Israel is a very religious people, but lost as a nation. Is this not enough evidence to prove to us that the rejection of Jesus is also rejecting God and His righteousness. It should be enough.

In this portion of this study of chapter eleven we learn that God has not forsaken, or cast away Israel. Paul, an Israelite, is evidence of that, along with Peter, James, John, Matthew… They are part of the remnant to which Paul is referring.

CAN GOD BE TRUSTED TO FULFILL HIS WORD TO HIS PEOPLE (v. 1)?

“I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.“ Romans 11:1 (KJV).

‘Cast away’ – the meaning is to be cast out to never be blessed with God’s presence again. The idea is presented by some that God is finished with Israel for all time. That the only hope for Israel is to come into the Church, and of course that would be ideal. That is the purpose of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection; however, the house of Israel rejected Jesus, but they will, one day look on Him whom they pierced.

‘I also am an Israelite’ – The fact of Paul’s presence in salvation through faith in Christ is promise to the Jewish people, that a remnant of them will be saved. Paul’s conversion is evidence that Israel is not forsaken. God still desires the whole Nation of Israel to trust His Son Jesus.

WHAT THE SCRIPTURES SAY OF ELIJAH (v. 2).

“ God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,…” Romans 11:2 (KJV).

Elijah was praying against the nation of Israel. He was grieved by their rejection of God and how they had turned to Baal (Read 1 Kings 19:10-18). Elijah following the victory on Mount Carmel ran for his life from the queen [Jezebel], and believed himself to be the only true follower of Jehovah. Even prophets can allow the flesh to intervene and ruin their lives, but God will set them straight; just as He did Elijah.

‘God has not cast away His people’ – There is not much clearer statement in all Scripture that God will fulfill His Word and save His people.

THERE ARE MANY WHOM GOD HAS RESERVED, AND KEPT AS WORSHIPPERS OF MESSIAH (vv. 3-4).

“Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.  But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” Romans 11:3-4 (KJV).

‘Killed Thy prophets…’ – It had been the order of queen Jezebel to kill the prophets of Jehovah, God of Israel, thus many of the men of God had died. There were also many who were hiding out in some of the caves. Obadiah a servant to king Ahab was a God-fearing man, knew the treachery of Jezebel – that she had killed many prophets – thus, he hid a hundred in two different caves and fed them (See 1 Kings 18:1-4).

‘Digged down Thine Altars’ – It was Jezebel’s intent to destroy the worship of Jehovah. She loved her pleasure, power and pomp. She was the one who ruled the throne of Israel – the Northern Kingdom. Everywhere there was an altar to Jehovah it was torn down, but she could not control the hearts of Elijah, nor the other prophets being hid, nor the 7,000 who had bowed their knee to Baal – Jezebel.

ACCORDING TO THE ELECTION OF GRACE (vv. 5-6).

“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Romans 11:5-6 (KJV).

‘At this present time’ – During the days of Paul. Paul and the other Jews who had been saved are evidences of the grace of God.

‘There is a remnant’ – Just as God had a remnant who believed Him in Elijah’s day He had one for the days following the resurrection of Jesus, and He has a remnant for the return of Jesus. The remnant are “Children of the seed” or of ‘the Promise’(9:6-7). God’s children became God’s children by God’s promise. It was not by their own efforts. Is a baby born by his/her own choosing? NO! Is it born by God’s choice? YES! No one, who is physically born had a choice in the matter. It was determined by an act of the mother, the father and the sovereignty of God. The Scofield Study Bible defines “Remnant” as ‘A spiritual Israel within the national Israel” (p. 1205).

‘No more of works’ – We often say that we are saved by grace alone. Sometimes we say, or at least I do, that “We are saved by grace alone, plus nothing, minus nothing”. Since we are saved by “Grace alone” there can be no works which redeem us. If we are saved by grace, we are kept by grace, grow by grace, and appear before Jesus by grace.

‘No more grace’ – If we attribute any part of the saving work of Christ to our works, then, there is no more grace. Grace cancels out works, and/or works cancels out grace. The two are exclusive. You can be saved only by works alone, or by Grace alone. We are saved by grace alone. There is no other way of being right with God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The ONE Who Inhabits Praises

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. But You are holy, O You that inhabits the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:1-3 (KJV)

This is named as another Psalm of David.  Now, whatever David was experiencing I do not think he realized this was going to be a song the Messiah would sing; but it was, and it is His Song.  You can see the words of this first verse as Jesus was coming out of the darkness of the crucifixion, and they are words even David could not express except the LORD had given them. Yet, how could David know the intensity, the suffering, the agony both on the cross and in the garden of Gethsemane?

Both David and the Messiah understood the fact that praises only belong to the One who inhabits those praises.  That is God.

Jesus as He willingly laid down His life on the cross knew the agony, the pain, and the suffering that was coming, yet He laid it down.  The pain worse than death by the tormenting beatings, the nails in His hands and feet, and even the spear in His side was the pain He felt when in that darkness He experienced what life and death was like without God, His Father.

For the very first time in His life Jesus experienced being apart from His Father and this is the first prayer He prays where He refers to His Father as “My God, My God…”.  Even in the prayer He still hangs on to the truth of resurrection, faith in the One who will raise Him is faith in the the One who inhabits the praises of Israel; the praises of His people.

No matter what you are going through today you can believe, and know that the One who knows you loves you best, and He has already suffered in what you are suffering.  He knows your pain.  He knows your sin and has paid the price to redeem you from all your sin.

Jesus in Genesis (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sixthly, we see Joseph being sent by the father.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They too were in unbelief.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas Day 2 (Christmas Day)

What do I want for Christmas today?

Welcome to Christmas Eve.

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

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn Son: and he called His name JESUS.” Matthew 1:18-25 (KJV)

Day Two Hundred Sixty and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

I want all the Nation of Israel to know that God has your back; He is watching over you; and I want you to know that  Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and God the Son, and that one day you will look upon Him, bow before Him as your King and Messiah.

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Romans 11:26-29 (KJV)

“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the LORD; My Spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.” Isaiah 59:20-21

Waiting Patience

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

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

It is written,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Becoming One Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The City Shall Be Built to the LORD

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city shall be built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath. And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the LORD; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.” Jeremiah 31:38-40 (KJV)

The Lord of all the earth has made a new covenant with Israel. Jeremiah has spoken it in the previous verses. If we apply these verses to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ alone, then we spiritualize the text, and rob God of the promise He made; and make the promise of no affect to Israel, or the Church.

Of course the city was rebuilt following the return; after 70 total years in Babylon; and the city was destroyed again about 70 A.D. This does not mean that God broke the covenant. This is speaking of a day when all the previous things Jeremiah has spoken in this chapter have come to pass; and that is when Jesus returns in power and great glory and basically rebuilds it Himself.

The people of Israel will see their Messiah Jesus and will believe; and their hearts and minds will be changed by His grace, power and glory. God will not allow one single word He has spoken to fall to the ground void or empty.

Christian this is the evidence we can trust God with our salvation through the cross of Jesus. If He will not keep His covenant with Israel there can be no assurance of our salvation. Look unto Jesus Christ and live forever.

Back to the Smiters

“The Lord GOD hath opened Mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. 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. For the Lord GOD will help Me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set My face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” Isaiah 50:5-7 (KJV)

This is more dealing with the Servant prophecies. Isaiah writing of the Messiah who was coming, and came; and His name is Jesus, the Christ; or Messiah.

The prophecy above speaks of His coming in what is called the first advent. He was born as a baby in a manger. He came into the world just like the rest of us did, by human birth. He was, and is the Lamb of God, and it is quite fitting that He would be born in a manger where the animals fed.

Jesus was not rebellious to do the Father’s will. He said,

“I do always those things that please Him.” John 8:29

Even at the age of twelve He told Mary and Joseph,

“How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” Luke 2:49

As Jesus was tried in the unjust, early, trial He was beaten, and willingly gave His back to the whip, His cheeks to those who plucked off His beard, and spit in His face (Matthew 26:67; 27:26; Mark 14:65; Luke 22:64; John 19:1).

The Obedient Servant, Jesus the Christ obeyed the Father all the way to the cross so that those who believe, trust in Him might be saved from their sins. He went to the cross, in obedience and without shame; because He had a mindset for the glory of the Father.

Seek Out the Book

“Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for My mouth it hath commanded, and His Spirit it hath gathered them. And He hath cast the lot for them, and His hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.” Isaiah 34:16-17 (KJV)

The prophecy given in this chapter is toward Edom. They had not aided the people of Israel, but had been a sore to them. Thus God was going to destroy them and make their land desolate, a habitat for the wild beasts of the field and birds of the air.

The prophet calls on Israel to “Seek ye out the book of the LORD, and read…” This is one way of assuring God’s people that the Book of the LORD is sure, stedfast, and true. Though the words “None shall want her mate” may have to do with the animals not lacking their mates; rather, they are dealing with the word of God not lacking “her mate” meaning that Scripture is supported by Scripture; and is of no private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20).

Just as the land of Israel [Canaan] was divided to the tribes of Israel; so will Edom be divided to the animals and beasts of the field in the day when the Messiah comes back to earth and make things right.

Jesus Christ is the Messiah of Israel. They will turn to Him. You need to turn to Him today. He died for your sins, was buried carrying all your sins, condemnation, guilt, shame, and death away; and He rose bodily from the grave and is alive forever more (1 Corinthians 15:1-10). He is returning to put an end to sin, and to reign.

Also read Hebrews 4:12.

Comfort for the Broken Hearted

“Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” Psalm 69:20-21 (KJV)

You have experienced it I am sure. Those times when you think a friend or loved one will stand with you, and for you; and they do not. The Psalmist David was experiencing one of those times when this Psalm was written.

Within it are 5 verses which are quoted in the New Testament concerning the Messiah. He had one of those days too. They gave Jesus vinegar to drink, mixed with gall, but He did not drink it (Matthew 27:34). That was while He was dying on the cross.

Now, what is “Gall”? It is a poisonous, bitter herb. It has come to mean “bitterness” like from others. What is reproach? “To find fault with (a person, group, etc.); blame; censure.” from Dictionary.com.

These words “Reproach”, “Gall” and “Vinegar” show us that the Psalmist was hurting and no one was coming to his aid. We have all felt that way at one time or another. Let us remember our Saviour.

Jesus was a sinless, blameless, faithful Man of God, and Son of God, who did always those things that pleased the Father/God. He was accused of blasphemy against God. He was found guilty of sin, which He was not guilty of. He was given vinegar mixed with gall for “refreshment” while He was suffering. Do you still think you are having a bad day?

Not only all of that, but then, He was rejected by the Father, because He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Can you imagine the most heavenly man who ever walked on earth, being forsaken by all of heaven; when just hours before the angels of heaven were in attention awaiting His call to deliver Him; which did not come; and they now have turned their backs to Him?

If you think you have had it so bad; you have a lot of gall.

But Jesus said,

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus knows your broken heart, your every need, and He will not give you gall or vinegar to drink.

The Reign of God in the Earth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israeli scholar says 1st century Jews awaited Messiah who would die & rise again. Argues “third day resurrection” an idea that pre-dates Jesus.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

“The Messiah Before Jesus: The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” a fascinating book by Dr. Israel Knohl of Hebrew University. “The Messiah Before Jesus: The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” a fascinating book by Dr. Israel Knohl of Hebrew University.

This is the week of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of First Fruits. Millions of Jews in Israel and around the world are celebrating the story of how the Jewish people were saved from the “angel of death” in ancient times if they put the blood of a perfect slain lamb on the doorposts of their homes in Egypt.

This is also the week of Good Friday and Easter. Billions of Christians around the world are celebrating the death of Jesus of Nazareth, and His resurrection from the tomb three days later, and the belief that all mankind can be saved from the “angel of death” in our times if we, too, trust in the blood of a perfect slain Passover Lamb.

But did the Jews of the first century really believe the Messiah would one day come…

View original post 1,014 more words

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cause of Prayer – There is a Fervent Need

“O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name. And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Daniel 9:19-27 (KJV)

In the fifth place we see that, DANIEL’S PRAYER WAS A FERVENT PRAYER. Daniel’s heart yearned for the day of deliverance. Even though he probably knew he would never see it – he would die in Babylon – still longed for that day when the people would return to Jerusalem, rebuild its walls, streets, temple and everything that goes with it all.

He fervently prayed – ie., with passion, commitment, and fire. Here are some things which accompany fervent prayer:

Humility – Change of garments – to garments of mourning ;; shaving off the hair on the head;
Crying – almost uncontrollable weeping;
Tearing of clothes – an outward sign of sorrow;
Fasting – committed to seeing God’s will done, even to the place of denying one’s self the physical needs one may have;
Sighing, groaning, even the sweating of blood.

Fervent prayer cares nothing for the negative opinions of others – the things listed above will seem fanatical to others who are less devoted, and unconcerned.

Daniel fasted.

Reasons people in the Bible fasted; 1)Private problems; 2) Hannah for a child; 3) Public disasters; 4) The death of a king and his sons (1 Samuel 31); 5) Personal grief; 6) Grief for personal sin; 7) Pity for friends or others; 8) Searching for the will of God. It would do the Church of Jesus Christ wonders, if we would begin doing some fasting. We, today, are more familiar with feasting.

Veil on the Face

“And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.” Exodus 34:33-35 (KJV)

Moses would share with the people the words the LORD gave him.  He would speak as he was commanded to speak.  The words he spoke were not easy words; as the words of the LORD are not often easy.

When Moses would speak with Israel he wore a veil over his face.  On first appearance it would appear that Moses put the veil on his face to cover the glow of his countenance, that the people might not fear or cower in his appearance to them.  When we read Paul’s account of this in the New Testament we read,

“And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: but their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.” 2 Corinthians 3:13-16 (KJV)

The veil was on the face of Moses so they could not see the glory fading.  Yet, Paul says there is a veil on the hearts of the people of Israel, because they have refused to see Jesus as their Messiah.  Oh how I pray for the removal of that veil, that they might see Jesus, and we are informed by Scripture that one day they will “Look upon Him whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10;  John 19:37;  Revelation 1:7).  They will look and they will believe.

Turn, Oh turn to the Lord Jesus Christ; and live in His glory.  The glory of Christ does not fade away.

 

The LORD Has Spoken

“The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.” Psalm 50:1 (KJV)

Of this Psalm, and of this verse Matthew Henry has written,

It is probable that Asaph was not only the chief musician, who was to put a tune to this psalm, but that he was himself the penman of it; for we read that in Hezekiah’s time they praised God in the words of David and of Asaph the seer, 2Ch_29:30. Here is,
I. The court called, in the name of the King of kings (Psa_50:2): The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken – El, Elohim, Jehovah, the God of infinite power justice and mercy, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. God is the Judge, the Son of God came for judgement into the world, and the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of judgment. All the earth is called to attend, not only because the controversy God had with his people Israel for their hypocrisy and ingratitude might safely be referred to any man of reason (nay, let the house of Israel itself judge between God and his vineyard, Isa_5:3), but because all the children of men are concerned to know the right way of worshipping God, in spirit and in truth, because when the kingdom of the Messiah should be set up all should be instructed in the evangelical worship, and invited to join in it (see Mal_1:11, Act_10:34), and because in the day of final judgment all nations shall be gathered together to receive their doom, and every man shall give an account of himself unto God.
Matthew Henry Commentary

God is LORD of all the earth.  From the rising of the sun until its going down He rules, and sets the rising and the fall of kings and kingdoms.  His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom.

God’s plan is being fulfilled today, His will for you and me today is to hear Him, and follow His direction and His Holy Spirit.  If you have no ear for GOD or His Word; repent, and believe Him.

Once a Curse… Spurgeon

The following is from Bible Gateway daily,

Once a curse but now a blessing

‘And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong.’ Zechariah 8:13

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 11:13–24

In the dark ages, to be a Jew was to be deserving of all scorn and cruelty, and of no pity or consideration. To what exactions, to what fines, to what imprisonments and tortures, have not the sons of Jacob been subjected by the professed followers of the Messiah? It is perhaps the greatest of all modern miracles, that there should be one Jew upon earth who is a Christian, for the treatment they have received from pretended Christians has been enough to make them hate the name of Jesus; it has not been simply villainous, but diabolical. Devils in hell could not be more cruel to their victims than professed Christians have been to the sons of Abraham. They have been a curse indeed. Among all nations they have been a hissing and a byword. But the day is coming, and is dawning already, when the whole world shall discern the true dignity of the chosen seed, and shall seek their company, because the Lord has blessed them. In that day when Israel shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for their sins, the Jew shall take his true rank among the nations as an elder brother and a prince. The covenant made with Abraham, to bless all nations by his seed, is not revoked; heaven and earth shall pass away, but the chosen nation shall not be blotted out from the book of remembrance. The Lord has not cast away his people; he has never given their mother a bill of divorcement; he has never put them away; in a little wrath he has hidden his face from them, but with great mercies will he gather them.

For meditation: We should thank God for the Jews; through them he gave us his Word (Romans 3:2; 9:4) and his Son (Romans 9:5); he still has blessings to give to the world through them (Romans 11:12). If you blame them for Christ’s death, remember that he died for sinners, and that you, as a sinner, were also responsible.

Sermon no. 543
6 December (1863)

O what a blessing the Jewish people have been to the Christian and the world.  They have been used by God to provide us the Word of God, and our Lord and Saviour has come through them.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Messengers Going

These sermon notes were originally posted at Fire and Hammer.

The King’s Messengers Going

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-T.A.

Day 55 – The Unsocial Prophet

“The preacher who does not mix with people will never make much of a preacher;” at least that has been said or thought by many.  One thing needs to be understood by many preachers of the 21st century; if a preacher has been called by God to preach the Word of God, then we just do not make our lives, or build our lives around social activities, nor what the people may expect of us.  The preacher is God’s preacher, not man’s smooth talking, easy listening, socially active, friend to everybody servant.

Rantings of a mad preacher?  Maybe.  My reading today was from Jeremiah 11 – 24, and I guess I noticed some things that got a fire burning.  Jeremiah is one of my favorite Prophets of the Old Testament to read, study, and I have rarely preached from the book.

In my title I call it “The Unsocial Prophet” for a couple of reasons.  Jeremiah was a man called by God from a family of priest to be a prophet to the nation of Judah; during the days when Josiah was king, then his son Jehoiakim, and finally the king Zedekiah when Jerusalem was carried away captive by Babylon.

Why I call him “The Unsocial Prophet”.  One of the things God says to Jeremiah is “Do not pray for this people”.

“For thus saith the LORD, ‘Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away My peace from this people,’ saith the LORD, ‘even lovingkindness and mercies.'”  Jeremiah 16:5 (KJV)

The  people of Judah have refused to listen to the Word of the LORD through the prophets He has sent; they have violated the land in not giving them their sabbath rests every seven years, they have violated the weekly sabbaths by continuing to do business, conducting deals and selling as on the other six days, and they have brought idols into their worship, and continue to act in worship to Jehovah/YHWH.

The prophet is sad concerning the plight of his people (9:1), however, his sadness is because they have forsaken the LORD.  He knows that God’s plan for them is the best plan for them.  He is even attacked and hated by his own family, and people.  Another reason I call him “The Unsocial Prophet” is;

“Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink.  For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; ‘Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.'” 16:8

The prophet is to be an influence to the people; not letting the people influence him.  He is to be led by the Spirit of God, His Word, and not the social activities of the day.

Let me give a clear Biblical definition of a “Prophet”.  The prophet of God is a preacher, an expositor of God’s Word.  He is first and foremost a student of Scripture; a man of prayer; an obedient servant of God.  He proclaims what God declares to Him, and then proclaims it to the people.  That in itself can make him an enemy to the people.  Who is going to invite a guy like this to their parties, or even to preach their funerals, or invite him to mourn with them?  In the last verse above we see that God tells Jeremiah that joy and gladness will cease.

Men and women are so deceived today.  Even professing Christians live as though any belief is okay as long as you believe something; have faith in something; as though “faith” is all you need.  There is only one way to approach God according to His Word, but the heart of men have devised alternative ways which lead to death and destruction.  These are other gods, false gods, which lead to death.

God spoke to Jeremiah saying,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” 17:9

You can continue believing as you believe, contrary to God and His Word, and you will receive the just judgment of God. “According to the fruit of his [your] doings” you will receive all that you have coming to you.

Many of the people of Anathoth hated Jeremiah because of his preaching.  They plotted against him to do him harm, but God’s hand of protection was on him (1:19);

“Then said they, ‘Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.'” 18:18

Jeremiah even says that the problem of Judah is due to the smooth talking false prophets who had the hearts of the people;

“Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; ‘Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.'” 23:15

Pastors and preachers of today need to hear the Word of the Lord. Stand and preach the word, not the desires of the hearts of the people.  It is not a popular opinion that matters to the preacher of God, but rather a saved, cleansed, pure live that will glorify God.  God is the center of the preacher’s preaching.  Are you afraid of being called “unsociable”?  Would it not be better to be deemed “unsociable” by the masses than to be deemed an unholy, false preacher by God? And receive the judgment that comes from God for such activities?

Most of this post today seems somewhat negative, but I pray instructive, correcting, and guiding to many who read it.  There is hope and encouragement within what I read today.  Hear the encouragement of God’s Word –

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  23:5-6
“For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.  And I will give them an heart to know Me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart.” 24:6-7

The hope for Judah and Israel is THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS; and that is none other than the Messiah who was to come, and give His life a ransom for many, and then return one day and establish His eternal kingdom.  The people of Judah will return to the LORD with their whole heart.  Because of Jesus their is hope for all have a “wicked heart”, and that is all of us.  “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10)  “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  However Christ died for our sins.  Trust Him, and believe.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 32 – Providence

My reading today consisted of the last five chapters of Esther, and the first nine of Job.  The commentary this morning will deal solely with Esther.

Esther is a book of the Bible that never names the name of God.  God is not even mentioned in person; however the work, power and presence of God is clearly seen by those who have the eyes to see it.  There are many times in Christian life where it feels as though God is nowhere to be found; and all we have to go on is faith.

I have heard the term “Providence”, and usually speaking of the work of God in the events of mankind.  Well, if there is a Biblical case for providence, then, it can certainly be seen throughout the book of Esther.

Let me give you a list of the characters in Esther.  First there is the king, Ahasuerus, “Xerxes” in newer translations; there is the queen who is not in the story very long, but plays a prominent part in the development of the story; there is Mordecai – a Jewish captive from Jerusalem; there is Haman – an Agagite; and then there is Esther – who will be queen.

One thing that can be seen by this event in the story of Israel, its captivity, and return is that even though we may mess up, sin, and seemingly ruin our lives through disobedience we do not thwart the plan and will of God.  That can be seen in the story of Esther as well.

Let us first find out about Haman – the Agagite.  Haman was a descendant of Agag whom king Saul of Israel was disobedient to God in letting him live.  Samuel eventually kills Agag (1 Samuel 15).  For many centuries this hatred for the Jewish people had been stewing in the hearts of the family of Agag; and in this story it came to fruition.  Haman had it in his heart to rid the Persian Empire and the world of the Jewish people.

Though God is not mentioned; He had another plan.  God’s plan was to bring the children of Israel back to their Promised land; so that the Messiah and Savior of the world would one day come, and die for our sins.

Haman sets a course of action after his appointment as prominent leader in Persia.  All others were to bow to him; however Mordecai would not bow to him.  Mordecai knew who Haman was, and saw his heart.  Mordecai had also overheard a plot to assassinate the king, revealed it and the perpetrators were hanged (2:21-23).

One verse that stands out in the book of Esther is one that is well known to many of us –

“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (KJV)

This occurs following the murderous plot of Haman to exterminate the Jewish people.  It is not yet known that Esther is Jewish, and Mordecai, as the uncle of Esther, is telling her that it is time to reveal the truth of her identity, for the salvation of her people.  Mordecai is asking Esther to enter the throne area of the royal house without invitation, and that in the Persian courts could be deadly, meaning immediate and sudden death, if the king did not recognize the one entering by holding out his scepter (4:11); and after three days of fasting she enters the throne room, and the king holds out the scepter (5:1-2).

The night before the banquet of Esther the king cannot sleep remembering what Mordecai had done saving his life from the plot of the two who were hanged for their assassination attempt.  Haman’s plot is known by the king, he has even given him the authority to send the message with the kings signet ring seal on the documents authorizing its execution.  The following day, however, Haman is put to humility by walking Mordecai around the streets of Jerusalem, exalting him for the great deed he has done in exposing the plat of assassination.  Haman probably realizes by now that “his goose is cooked”.

It becomes even more apparent when Esther reveals it to the king at the banquet.  Haman has built a gallows on which to have Mordecai hanged; and finds himself hanging on the device of his own imagination.

God, though not named, is also a prominent presence in the book.  His hand of Providence is seen, in the elevation of Esther, a Jew, to the seat of the queen of Persia; the man despised by the Agagite is exalted to the Agagites position after his plot is foiled.  God’s people do return to Jerusalem; and the Messiah is born, dies on the cross for the sins of the world, is buried, and rises bodily from the grave conquering sin, hell and death.

Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God ever lives; that those who trust in Him might live too.

Christian take note of the Providence of God; even when you do not think He is present and working; take another look.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Vineyard of Red Wine

The title above comes from verse two of Isaiah 27.  It is a far cry from the verses of chapter five of the prophet.  A vineyard in chaos, worthy of destruction, and to grow without care and protection from its owner.

“In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine.” Isaiah 27:2 (KJV)

I know nothing of the flavor of “red wine”, but I have drank the sweet flavorful juice of the red grape, and it is fabulous.  That is what the LORD and the prophet Isaiah is telling us.  No more will Israel be judged, but, rather she will be fruitful, flavorful, and sweet.  She will blossom as a rose and her enemies will be put away.

The LORD says, “I will keep it night and day” (v. 3).  Then to leave no doubt of whom He is speaking He says,

“He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.”  Isaiah 27:6

Through the many years Israel has departed from the LORD and through those many years God has chastised them, and continues to chastise them.  God is working in the nation to bring them to the place where they will love Him, and He will prosper them greatly; just as He has promised for all these years.  Not one word of God will fall, or fail.

“Hath He smitten him, as He smote those that smote him? or is He slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by Him?  In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind.   By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.”  Isaiah 27:7-9

The LORD will not have mercy on those who had or have no mercy on the people of Israel.  He will show them no favor (v. 11).  There will be no grace [favor of God] toward those who have rejected Him and His people.  When will this come to pass.  I don’t know.  I believe it will be soon; and by that I don’t mean tomorrow or even next year; but within the years of God’s own timing.

In that time all God’s people of Israel will gather to worship their Messiah around the throne in Jerusalem;

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”  Isaiah 27:12-13

One of the things that Christians and unbelievers can learn from this is that God will carry through with His promises.  Not one word shall fall to the ground.  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).  Rest assured Christian.  Repent and believe unbeliever.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Acts – 042711

There has not been much posted here on Acts, but I do want to end with one observation as we look at verses 22 – 24 of chapter 28;

“But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.  And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.  And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.”  Acts 27:22-24 (KJV)

Paul the apostle is in Rome about to be tried for the charges his own people have brought against him.  He has been charged with saying things against them, and supposedly against their God; in blasphemy.  Rather than speaking against their God he has spoken plainly, using the Old Testament scriptures they adhered to and proclaiming Jesus Christ their Messiah.

The word “sect” was used, most likely, as a derogatory term meaning that the teaching of Christianity was heretical and was worthy of judgment.  Paul took time with those who came to him expounding the Word of God, and preaching the kingdom of God, persuading some to believe and follow Jesus Christ.

We have the testimony here that “some believed”, and “some believed not” and that is pretty much how things are in our time; as every other time since Paul.

If you will believe the gospel of Jesus Christ then, you will have the assurance of eternity with Him.  If you reject Jesus and His gospel, then you will die and eternal death.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031611

Today’s Reading is from Mark 11 – 13.

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

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

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

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

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

and from the ESV Study Bible;

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Peace In the Kingdom of Christ On Earth

People of earth long for peace.  Even those who are fighting in wars have a longing for peace, yet peace seems so far away.

Many people wonder if peace is possible, and also wonder about animals and the future of the earth.  The nations of the world are trying to bring peace to the Middle East, and fail; particularly with peace concerning Jerusalem.  The nations want things their way; not God’s way; and until the Prince of peace is come there will not be peace on earth; except as we find peace in our own hearts and lives through the cross of Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection.

What will peace look like when Jesus comes to earth again?  We must realize that when He comes again there will first be a reckoning with all that is evil.  It will be put away.  The poor will be judged with righteousness the wicked bankers, financiers, CEO’s of big corporations  who have labored to fill their pockets, and rob their employees will destroyed.

What about the animal kingdom?  We can see the results of the “fall of mankind” by watching the animal kingdom, and that of the kingdom of men.  With animals we have meat eating beast, flying, and non-flying; and they feed themselves on the lesser sized animals.  In most situations that I have witnessed a cat and dog cannot dwell together side by side without the dog growling, or attacking the cat; there are a few exceptions, but rare.  My brother used to have a dog that would allow an old yellow cat to lay on his back while he was resting.  Rare indeed.  In Isaiah 11 we find these verses concerning our Lord’s coming reign on earth and animals…

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.   And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.   And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.   They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”  Isaiah 11:6-9 (KJV)

If you will notice these animals listed are from the gentle, meek type to the ferocious, meat eater and poisonous kind.  The wolf, the lamb, the leopard, the baby goat, the calf, the lion cub, the fatling; and not to leave man out; a little child “leading them”.  The child leading them would probably mean that it would not be uncommon in that day to see a spontaneous parade of these animals together with a child in the lead.  “Fiction” you may think or say.  Not if God says it.  Nor do I believe it to be allegorical of a general peace on earth.  To make this allegorical you would need to make the rest of prophecy, even that of the first coming of Messiah, as allegory; and that just would be a lie, and deception.

The wolf and the lamb dwelling together!  Is this really possible?  It happened one other time following the “fall of man”.  At the flood [believing what God says in His Word] God brought two of every kind of land animal to the ark; two wolves, two sheep, two leopards, two goats, two bovine, and two lions and two bears; and there was peace while they were coming to the ark, getting on the ark, on the ark, and getting off the ark.  When they disembarked from the ark the sin nature of humanity affected them once more.

The millennial kingdom or our Lord fascinates and excites me.  I long for that day when I will look into the eyes of my Master, then fall at His feet, and worship my Lord and Savior.  Then will spend the Millennium with Him, serving those who populate the earth and worshipping Him for all eternity.

If you want to be assured you will be there too check this out.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Temporary Temple

Temporary Temple

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

David’s Christ

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Count My Life Dear Unto Myself???

“And now brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”  Acts 20:32.

It is amazing to me how Paul, while he is about to offer his life a sacrifice for the cause of Jesus Christ, by going to Jerusalem and facing the one’s who hate the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel; can then, be such an encouragement to those who loved and supported him.

Paul loved his supporters, and everyone who needed Jesus as their Savior.  That is why he was willing to go to Jerusalem and tell the Jews there the message of the Messiah, ie., Jesus.  In verse 24 he said, “Neither count I my life dear unto myself so that I might finish my course with joy…”.  Would to God that we as Christians of the day in which we live, would be committed, obedient by faith unto death.

I am praying that for myself and for all who name the name of Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus, God-Man, Servant

The gospels have been identified as being written identifying Christ from four different perspectives.  First, Matthew shows Jesus as the King of the Jews;  Mark shows Him as a servant – there is no genealogy showing His  heritage in birth;  Luke shows him as man – in fact the God-man;  and John shows Him as deity – fully God and fully man, and makes quite clear (to all who can see and understand) that He is Deity.

This picture is even seen in the book of Ezekiel 1:4-14, and verse 10 shows us the faces of the gospel.  The lion would represent royalty – the King;  the ox face would represent service – the Servant;  the man’s face would represent the man – the God-man;  and the eagle represents majesty/deity – the God who became flesh and dwelt among us.  In the Revelation 4:7 the Apostle John even list them in the same order as the gospels are in.

“And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.” Revelation 4:7 (KJV)

Study of Mark 1:1-20:

VV. 1 – 8  —   THE COMING OF THE ONE WHO CARES PROCLAIMED BY THE PROPHET.

The dignity of Jesus is full proclaimed by the messenger who was His fore runner preparing the way for Him – basically preparing the hearts of men to receive Him.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ was a fulfillment of prophecy – a fulfillment of Scripture.

The ministry of John the Baptist produced, for a time, a great effect upon the Jewish nation.

John’s doctrine of Christ was clear and characterized his own preaching – John knows that the one who is coming is mightier than he.  The One coming will not baptize you with water, but with fire.  He will change your life; cleanse you and make you whole.

VV. 9 – 20  —   THE COMMITMENT AND AUTHENTICATION OF JESUS AND HIS MINISTRY.

Jesus, being totally committed to His Father’s direction and plan for His life shows the commitment by following the ordinance of the law, and identifying Himself with mankind in baptism.  The Father confirmed Him by speaking from Heaven as an authentication of who He genuinely was/is.

Jesus was then placed under temptation without sinning to show Himself without sin to man, and as proof of His power to conquer sin and death.

The nature of our Lord’s preaching is similar to John’s in that He was calling sinners to repentance, and different in that He called for obedience to the gospel.  Now; just what is the gospel?  It is a word which means, “Good News”.

Jesus calls two men as He is walking on the sea shore – Simon and Andrew – and calls them to follow Him, and He will make them “Fishers of men”.  They would no longer be fishing for fish, but they would be “fishing” for the souls of men.   According to John’s Gospel chapter 1 and verses 40 – 42 Andrew is one who brought Simon [Peter] to Christ.

“One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.  And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.”John 1:40-42 (KJV)

That is an amazing thing for a brother to do.  There is no contradiction here only further clarification.  When you put the four gospels together you have a full story, not complete, but the story as the writers witnessed it.

These men were called to the office of a preacher.  Not everyone considers the office a great one, but Jesus was a Preacher – a Preacher of preachers – if you will.  Jesus was committed to the work which He came to do.  In the beginning of His ministry it was to preach, and glorify His Father;

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”Luke 4:18-19 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

The LORD’s Razor

Ahaz is the king of Judah as we look at this passage of Scripture. According to Second Kings chapter sixteen Ahaz was a young man of twenty years of age when he began to reign. He also did not follow the path of David, and “Did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God”. He followed the path of the kings of the Northern kingdom.

Ahaz had even “Made his son pass through the fire, according tot he abominations of the nations whom the LORD cast our from before the children of Israel” 2 Kings 16:3 (NKJV). That means that Ahaz sacrificed his son in the fires of worship to Molech, the god of the Moabites. Is it any wonder that YHWH became angry with the sins of Judah.

Here is the judgment that was to follow:

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes. In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep; And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land. And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall even be for briers and thorns. With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns. And on all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle.” Isaiah 7:18-25 (KJV)

 

The “In that day” statements are of a future day for Israel of that day. They do however continue until Jesus Christ the Messiah comes and makes all things new. “The LORD will whistle for the fly” is picturesque of a man calling a dog. It is as though the Lord calls the fly to Judah to become a nuisance to them. A fly is also an insect that comes around uncleanliness, death, and stench. Of course the fly here is representative of Egypt or Assyria coming to carry the people away into captivity.

Assyria is noted for being beekeepers, thus they would be the ones coming to carry away people into captivity as well.

No part of the land of Judah was going to be inaccessible to the foreign invaders. The steep ravines, rock clefts, pastures, thorns would all be places the enemy would find for rest.

When God judges the sins of His people He judges completely. When His people sin they should know it. If they are ignorant of their sin He will inform them, then it is up to them to repent and turn back to the Lord. It is so sad that we live in an era of time when many preachers are not even preaching for the revelation of sins curse and damage to the body of Christ. We hear much more about the goodness and love of God, and how good we are. God will not hold us guiltless for not proclaiming the whole counsel of God and His Word. There will be a judgment day.

The day came to Judah when the land became desolate. It was no longer and agricultural land, ie., growing fruits, vegetables, crops of the field. It became almost desolate, and deserted. Overrun with briers and thorns. Three times in verses 23 – 25 we read about the “Briers and thorns”. “That wherever there could be a thousand vines worth a thousand shekels of silver, it will be briars and thorns” (v. 23). “With arrows and bows men will come there, because all the land will become briars and thorns” (v. 24). “You will not go there for fear of briars and thorns” (v. 25).

There will be an abundance of milk, because there will be no need to till the land, be no way of doing so. The people who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. It was a time of great poverty. The places where there should be a vineyard are places for hunting – the men with “arrows and bows”. It will be a place for cattle and sheep to graze on what there is to graze.

The land of Judah had been a wealthy land. It was during the time of Ahaz, but poverty was on its way. Those of us who live in the good old USA let us not be so haughty to think that poverty may not be right around the corner for us. You can laugh if you will, but this country is in the hands of the Almighty God, and with a snap of His fingers the Stock Market could crash overnight. No matter what the financial experts say. They have no control of our economy, but God does. God has give us ample warnings and we only attribute the warnings to weather, or disease, or being born that way. We are the United States of America. We love our freedom too much to let anything serious happen. A bridge in Minneapolis, MN. collapsed last night (08/01/07 p.m.).

Be alert God is in control. He is good. He also is holy, righteous and just. He will not allow sin to dominate and control His people. He will judge sin completely.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A False Count

“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” Matthew 13:31-33 (KJV).

Remembering the parable of the wheat and the tares will give us a better understanding of these two. The enemy came in under the cover of darkness, while men slept, and planted the tares among the seeds of wheat. When the wheat began to grow, there to be seen by all who could identify it, was the tares. The landowner said, “Let them grow along with the wheat, or you will uproot the wheat also.” The sower is the Son of man, the seeds which He sowed were the children of His kingdom, the tares are the children of the enemy who is Satan. The children of the devil are planted in the kingdom to endeavor to supplant the children of the kingdom, and overrule the kingdom of God.

The “grain of mustard seed” is said to be the smallest of seeds, and yet, it only grows into a normal size of about 6 – 8 feet in height. Jesus uses the mustard seed as a comparison to faith in Matthew 17:20; “…If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain, ‘Remove from here to yonder place;’ and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

Trees of great stature and structure are used to show political power through earthly kingdoms in Scripture. For example in Ezekiel 17:23, it is written, “In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing: in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.” This, of course speaking of the kingdom of Israel under the rule of Messiah. The kingdom and reign which all Christians look for, with great expectations. Note the tree which speaks of the power of Assyria and its world influence; “Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth. All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations.” Ezekiel 31:5-6 (KJV). The tree of Israel is like a cedar tree. The tree of Assyria has no like.

Nebuchadnezzar is likened unto a tree cut down. Before he is cut down this is how Daniel describes him, “The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.” Daniel 4:12 (KJV). John the apostle writes in the Revelation of Babylon, “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” Revelation 18:2 (KJV).

According to Strongs, “G1186 δένδρον, dendron; den’-dron. Probably from δρύς drus (an oak); a tree: – tree”. According to Jesus, “…when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree…” The word “Tree” in this verse is for the Oak, and is no way what is expected of the mustard seed. One thing that can be seen in this is that this “Tree” is representative of political power. It welcomes every kind of animal under its bushes, because of its great size. It seems to indicate an irregular growth, an untimely growth, illigitimate growth, and an ungodly growth.

These two parables if you will notice are placed between the parable of the wheat and the tares, and the explanation of the wheat and the tares. This was intentional so that we might see His intent of the two parables. He is warning us of the deception of the enemy. We all like to see growth in our churches. Hopefully we mean by growth – people being called to Christ through faith in the shed blood of Jesus’s death, His burial, and resurrection. Too many times churches have crowds, members, and numbers, but no salvations. “But Oh, we had a great crowd. There was excitement in the air.” something along this line said, and everybody is feeling great; but is Jesus truly praised, worshipped, and glorified?

Many will read this and think, “This is sure a different way of looking at this than I have ever heard”. If so, I think that is a good thing. I know the other view or interpretation of it. That being, that the growth of this tree is representative of the growth of Christianity, and the numbers of people who are Christians in the world, being a good and positive thing. If that is so, however, then, it gets us away from the other two parables which have preceded these two. Jesus has just given us two points to consider in the other two; One, that the word of God is not received, and continued in all who hear the message; Two, that there is an enemy who has planted his tares [children] in the kingdom of heaven causing much dissension and division and ungodliness. This is the third thing, and it has to do with how the enemy influences the church within the kingdom of heaven.

The growth of the mustard seed would normally be to become the bush of an herb. It, however, becomes like an “Oak tree”. It represents popularity, power, prestige; and for many years Christianity has fit into that realm. When people begin to see that influence of power, popularity, and prestige sinking or falling away the people who are not genuine in their faith will also begin falling away. However, until that time comes the birds of the air and beasts of the field will continue to come and get under the umbrella of its shade, and nests in its branches. Too many times people are in love with Christianity, but not Christ.

How is it that the power, popularity, and prestige of Christianity has increased in past years. It partly has to do with politics. The woman, or religion (Christianity in this case) riding on the back of the beast, or democracy. The true child of the kingdom; the true Christian; is not in love with Christianity, but with Jesus Christ Himself. The power of Christianity in past years has been its numbers, the votes at the election booth. Every Christian has the responsibility in a free country to vote, and vote our convictions, not parties or politics, but our God given, Biblical and moral convictions. Another thing is when we are having popular singers, strong men, and show men perform acts of entertainment, for the crowds and for profit. There may be a message of the gospel presented, and due to emotional excitement, encouragement or a nudge from a friend, some go thinking, “This thing called Christianity is really exciting. I think I want into this thing.” Then, they find out afterward, that there are problems, tribulations, trials, and maybe they find something a little more exciting. What happened to their “faith”. They had never been told the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. They trusted in a moment and not a Lord and Savior.

In the Christianity of today, we see many leaders of it calling for less rhetoric against the Muslim religion, and all false religions. It is okay to speak against “radical Islam”, but let us not put the whole group in that category. Some are even saying, “Let’s try to get along with the Muslim, and find common ground.” The only common ground we have with Islam is that we are part of the human race. The only thing we have in common with them is that apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ we are all condemned to hell. The only thing we have in common with them is that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world; yours, mine, and ours. There is far too much compromising on the part of Christianity (the religion), going along to get along. This is not the day for compromise. We are in the greatest spiritual conflict since the cross of Jesus Christ. It is time to speak the truth, and to speak the truth boldly, courageously, without malice, without personal offense as is possible, and with love.

The devil likes nothing better than for the church and the kingdom to have an unholy, ungodly, supernatural growth. We are accepting people into congregations that call themselves Christian, but they have had no personal experience with Jesus. They are still in their sins, unforgiven, unredeemed. They have not been regenerated by the power of the Spirit of God, they have not been justified, there is no sanctification, and until they have these things they certainly will not be glorified in the presence of Jesus. There are some in the local church who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, they do not love the Word of God, they are more concerned with the children’s activity than their time with God, and are teaching children, or not, “…because there is no one else willing to do it”, and what a shame. It would be better to have no class for children, than to have an unbeliever leading them into God knows what. In one church I know, they had a woman teaching children – all ages – who would spend 5 maybe 10 minutes of an hour with a flannel chart, telling a story of Jesus, then the rest of the hour they got to go play outdoors. These children had no respect for discipline. They pretty much did as they pleased under her “care”.

Now is not the time to be adding numbers without their conversions. “It is time for Thee, LORD, to work; for they have made void Thy law.” (Psalm 119:126). If there was ever a day the church needed to be pure, and shine forth the light of Jesus Christ, it is today. Let us not be so much trying to win souls, but like Jesus commanded us, “Go and teach all nations… Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” that is the making of disciples. Tell them of Jesus, His death on the cross, His burial carrying our sins away, and His resurrection; and the promises of His return. The teaching and making of disciples would include the Sermon on the Mount, His sending of His disciples to preach the gospel, the Olivet Discourse, and all things that He has commanded us. It would also include the teachings of the apostles, and the epistles of the Bible. But, then, when a pastor will preach the Word and the pure gospel of Christ; that does not bring in the crowds. I recently heard a preacher say, “If a preacher will preach the Word people will come”, which sounds much like, “If you build it they will come”. It sounds good and much like Hollywood, but it is not the truth. If a preacher will love the people, and preach to them smooth, encouraging, entertaining, comforting, messages, then, they will come. If the pastor “loves the people” he can preach just about anything that tickles their fancy, and they will come. Who is going to come to church services when all you have is a preacher who expounds the Scriptures, revealing the wickedness of men’s hearts, and the power of the cross of Jesus, and the power of the resurrection? Most times, only the faithful, who love God, His word and their pastor.

There have been a few times I compromised on some principles of my beliefs, but every time I have done so I ended up regretting it. It seems like each time that I have compromised on a Biblical principle, or belief, and I regretted it, that I always became stronger in that principle and/or belief. Should a pastor love God and His Word more than he does the people God has given him to lead, or should he love the people and neglect the Scriptures? How can you love the people if you have no love for the Scriptures? Teaching them the truth, the power of the Word, and of the personal God who is Jesus is the greatest love we can give the people. We should never compromise Scriptures or preaching the Word to gain popularity, or power, or prestige; or for any other reason. That is what the devil will have us do.

The Psalmist wrote in the song, “Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain who build it.” (Psalm 127:1). Rather than relying on “fire under the altar” (1 Kings 18:23, 25) why can the church not depend on the fire of God? Rather than depending on the fires of men, where is the fire of God? We have left it at the altars, unrepaired, and undesired. We depend too much on the methods of the flesh. Then we have our own converts, but none to Christ. We have numbers, but no one fit for heaven. May God forgive us, and may we get on our knees, rebuild our altars and seek the power and the face of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jerusalem… The Throne of the LORD

Jerusalem… The Throne of the LORD

The LORD in the previous verses has spoken through the prophet to plead with Israel to return to Him. It will require them to put away their idolatry, to renew their hearts and their lives in Him. The LORD even says, “I am married to you.” (v.14). The promise is for them when they return. The problem is they have not yet returned to Him. They one day will; by God’s own promise and assurances.

“Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days,’ says the LORD, ‘that they will say no more, ‘ The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore. At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given as an inheritance to your fathers.” Jeremiah 3:16-18 (NKJV).

If you will note this promise is conditional upon their return to Him, from their state of a backsliding heart. I have stated it before and will state it again here, though this is not my own: I think Charles H. Spurgeon has been credited with this statement, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully.” The southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel, since the reigns of Rehoboam and Jereboam, are the children of God, or the nation of God’s choosing. If you will read all of the Old Testament from the Exodus through the book of Malachi, you will find God’s hand of correction, and discipline on the two kingdoms. In them we have examples of what the Christian’s life should be like and God’s discipline upon us when we rebell and sin against Him.

The LORD’s words spoken through the prophet are spoken as an already completed thing. It is completed in the mind of God. When God says something is going to come to pass it is as good as done. You will notice that He says, “When you are mutltiplied and increased in the land…”. It is an already decided and an already accomplished event; it just needs worked out in the people’s hearts and lives. There would be coming a time when the people were going to be carried away to Babylon, and in 70 years they would return. In this return they would return as one nation once again, but this promise has much more prophetic influence than just that fulfillment. The children of the nation of Israel, are still missing the ark of the covenant; they are even looking forward to the return of the ark of the covenant.

Even when Cyrus king of Persia made proclamation for the “house of the LORD” to be built in Jerusalem, and after Nehemiah was given permission to go and rebuild the wall of the city of Jerusalem, the people were still in bondage to a foreign power. Even in the day of Jesus they were still under the powers of the Roman government. Since the Babyloninan captivity they have not really been free. In our day, though they are supposedly a free nation, they are still under the rule of Gentile governments. The United Nations and the United States of America are pretty much their ruling nations.

There will come a day when Messiah reigns in Jerusalem. That in the time and the day they will no longer be depending on the representative power and presence of the Lord, ie., the ark of the covenant; but they will have the real, full, and glorious power and presence of the LORD in person. He will be their king. How is it that some Christians want to take these promises and spiritualize them, and make them for the church? This promise has not happened yet. It has not been fulfilled. It is yet to be fulfilled; and to the letter. The amillennialist would have us believe that these events have already occured and the promise is fulfilled in the Church. The thing is, this prophecy had nothing, has nothing to do with the Church. It has to do with the people of Israel. It is dealing with a real people, in a real land, with a real city of Jerusalem; not a figurative one.

The children of Judah and Israel did come back from Babylon, after seventy years, just as Jeremiah had prophesied; but they have never had free rule of the land. It has been ruled by other nations for centuries. When, however, Jesus sits as king on “The Throne of the LORD”, then will all the nations be gathered into it. It won’t be so that they can rule, but so that they can worship the King. Jerusalem will be The Throne of the Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jealous for Jerusalem

JEALOUS FOR JERUSALEM

“And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.” Zechariah 1:13-17 (KJV)

While there are numerous people who are telling us that the days of Israel, the days of Jerusalem being blessed by God are over; the Word of God declares their greatest days are just ahead. How close that may be we do not know. We do believe they are approaching quickly.

With a little consideration I have come to the conclusion that verse 12 belongs with these five verses. “Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which Thou hast had indignation these three score and ten years.” In every case where the phrase where “angel of the LORD” is used in Old Testament Scriptures it is a reference to a Christophany, or pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ. We will look at this a little more in depth in the commentary following.

Providing that “angel of the LORD” is indeed a Christophany it would fit into the description of the ministry of Jesus Christ following His resurrection and ascension into Heaven. In verse 12 of our text He is pleading with the Father for mercy upon Jerusalem, and the other cities of Judah. Certainly this is fitting with the intercession which we are told of in Hebrews 7:25 – “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” The “three score and ten years” were the years of judgment that they had spent in captivity in Babylon and the land was left desolate. He is our advocate with the Father as I wrote of earlier.

The LORD of hosts who happens to be the Father spoke with “good words” unto the Son, and they were also “comfortable words”. The intercession of the Son always persuades the Father, and He promises good for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. Just what did the LORD of hosts say? We are told that in verses 14 – 17. It should be noted that even in the Old Testament the people of God – Jerusalem and the cities – had an advocate with the Father; who plead for mercy for them. It also should be noted that we get our message through the Lord Jesus. Apart from the cross of Jesus we have no message.

The LORD of hosts has said, “I am jealous for Jerusalem and Zion…”. That explains the reason for the seventy years previously mentioned. When His people forsake Him He will set about to judge their departure, their hypocrisies, their sins. He always judges with the full intent of bringing them back into His grace and fellowship. We are also told that He is “displeased” with the ease of the pagan heathen who have conquered, devoured and taken into captivity His people. He was displeased with the behavior of Judah, Jerusalem, and the cities. Do you not suppose that though we have the names of the cities named He is referring to the occupants of those cities? Cities are made up of people. When Abraham was asking mercy for the “cities of the plain” (Genesis 13:12; 18:23-33), was he not pleading for mercy for the people; especially of Lot? I believe that to be so. The Lord does acknowledge that the heathen who are at the east were His aid for the affliction of His people.

God always desires His people to be at peace with Him, and as long as we are He protects us, keeps us, holds us, even will keep us healthy; but when we turn from Him and begin worshipping other things; those walls of protection, provision, and power come tumbling down. When those walls are down the enemy comes in, devours and captures us, and for God this is as an affliction to lure us into returning to Him. There are times, as well when God Himself will allow His people to be tested, as in the case of Job, in order to strengthen our faith, and in the end He will bless us. Am I saying what some of Job’s friends said concerning Job. They accused him of being unrighteous, therefore he was being judged by God, and all he had to do was repent. My summation of this kind of situation is the one who is going through these trials will know. They will know whether this is judgment for a sin or sins they have committed or if it is a trial from God. The latter one may not be realized until the trial is over, and maybe not until eternity with Jesus. None of us have the right, nor the authority to tell another individual Christian, “What you are experiencing is the judgment of God for sin in your life”, especially if we do not know of any sin in their life that may be the cause of the judgment. When we have known a fellow Christian’s life; when we have seen them live faithfully for the Lord, and they begin to experience hardships, sicknesses, financial ruin and collapse our summation of the matter should be that this is a test of God, and we should let them know that we will be there to help them in any way we possibly can; and that we will be praying for them. We do need to remember that as with the people of Judah so with Christians of today; God will do whatever it takes to make us holy.

God says, “I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: My house shall be built in it, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem”. Jerusalem is the city of God. It is the place where mercy and grace has been displayed to the world, by the death of God’s own Son, for our sins. The MacArthur Study Bible note for verses 16 and 17 state, “Not only would the temple be rebuilt which at that time had only foundations (cf. Hag. 2:18), but the city itself would again expand due to the prosperity (cf.Is.40:9,10). The wall was completed 75 years later. God would again comfort Jerusalem (cf.Is.40:1,2; 51:3, 12), and would again choose it as the place of His earthly throne (cf. Ps. 132:13). This will be fulfilled in the millennial kingdom of Messiah (cf. Rev. 20). Given the fact tht the returning Jews lost sight of their priorities (cf. Hag. 1:1-12), this message reaffirmed God’s plan. It should be noted that the millennial kingdom will provide the presence of God in Jerusalem (Ezek. 48:35), a glorious temple (Ezek.40-48), a rebuilt Jerusalem (Jer. 31:38-40), the nations punished (Matt. 25:31-46), the prosperity of Judah’s cities (Is. 60:4-9) the blessedness of the people (Zech. 9:17), and the comfort of Zion (Is.14:1).” MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE, NKJV, p.1340.

According to Scripture it is apparent that God will not fail in His promises and dealings with His Old Testament people. He will bring them to Christ Jesus their Messiah. “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins'” Romans 11:25-27 (NKJV).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Works

The King’s Works

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Medicine of Laughter

The Medicine of Laughter

“Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.” Genesis 17:17-21 (KJV).

Laughter is a good medicine for faith. There is a place for laughter – this is not one of them – although Abraham does it on his face before God. One thing we see here is the humanity of Abraham. God had promised him a son about 24 years before at the age of 75 years, now he is 99 and Sarah is 89 – wouldn’t you laugh at such a promise? This was actually the first time the promise had included Sarah as the one through whom the Messiah would come. Don’t we laugh at the promises of God sometimes? What about with our health? When God says trust Me through this and we rely more on our feelings and medicine, and the doctor, than we do on God. What about our money when God has given us a good place to start giving (tithing) and as God increases our income we say, “Well it is more now. I shouldn’t have to tithe”. God bless you. He could require you to go back to your previous financial lifestyle.

Laughter is a good medicine. Proverbs 17:22 – “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” When should we laugh in the presence of God? When we see His promises being fulfilled. When our hearts are overwhelmed with joy because of the Lord’s blessings in our lives. The time for Abraham’s and Sarah’s laughter would have been when Isaac was born and it seems that they did because they named him “Laughter” [Isaac]. Isaac, afterall, was the fulfillment of the promise.

“Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.” Romans 9:7-9 (KJV)

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Almighty, the Majestic One

The Almighty, the Majestic One

There is a section of chapter 3 which we are about to finish, and that is verses 3-7, and this section describes the Majesty and Power of the Almighty God. In verse three we see His glory. In verse four His brightness, horns coming out of His hand with His power hidden. In verse five pestilence went before Him and fever followed at His feet. In verse six He stood and measured the earth, and His ways are everlasting. My, O, My what a wonderful, powerful, majestic God we know and serve.

“I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; The curtains of the land of Midian trembled.” Habakkuk 3:7 (NKJV).

We know that as God worked in Egypt to bring the children of Israel out of that land of slavery and oppression, He struck fear into the hearts of the Egyptian people and their king. They were trembling by the time the Pharoah told them they could leave. They were paying them to leave, giving them gold, silver, precious jems, and rich clothing.

The message the prophet Habakkuk is getting to all his people is God has never failed to bring His people to His place. It may not be like we sometimes think, but He will get us through.

The reason I say this in the personal is that is true of the Christian today. It was/is true for the people of Israel. One day this Nation called Israel will see their Messiah, and they will call on His name. The name of the One whom they have pierced, and they will call Him their King and Lord.

The people of Cushan and Midian were nomadic people, meaning that they never stayed in one place very long. We know that because of the “tents” and the “curtains”. We see in other passages of Scripture that God made all the nations tremble before this Nation He had freed from Egypt. That is why Balak called for Balaam to curse this people but could not. He did eventually lead them to a place of bringing God’s curse on them themselves, by joining with the Moabites in sin and wicked practices (See Numbers 25 and 31:1-11).

God never allows His people to sin successfully; and He never allows those who hurt them to escape His judgment. They will tremble before Him.

-by Tim A. Blankenship