The Scarlet Thread – Manna

When looking at the series of “The Scarlet Thread” my intention in doing this is to show Jesus Christ.  As we look at the manna – “What is it?” – is the actual meaning of the word.  We must remember Jesus’s words, “I am the Bread of Life.” (John 6:32-35).

Manna was a special bread provide miraculously by GOD for the children of Israel to gather each morning for each day.  It could only be gathered for six days, and enough could be gathered on the six day for the seventh day.  It was given in Exodus 16:14-15.  There is more scripture dealing with it in verses 16 -36.  For the verses we will look at in the book of Numbers I want us to remember Exodus 16:31,

“And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.”

Remembering the taste of it was as “Honey”, or “wafers made with honey”, so it had the taste of sweetness in it.

We read in Numbers 11:8,

“And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.”

Then, they go around murmuring that “There is nothing at all, beside this manna”.  Well!  Is it any wonder?  They have taken a perfect substance, made by the hand of God, miraculously provided, a daily provision; and they try to “Improve” it.

According to Jesus in John 6 He Himself is the Bread of Life.  It is not an overstatement for me to say that there is much people today trying to “Improve” on Jesus.  When people are bored with worship of Jesus preachers try to improve it by adding to the Word of God, adding entertainment to draw a crowd, adding worldly music with spiritual words, and that don’t always include the cross of Christ.  All just so they can have a crowd.  They lose their love for Jesus.

When we look at Jesus and think of Him, worship Him, adore Him; what more could we need?  What more could we want?  We are to desire to be like Him.  How can we be like Him.  He desired to do the Father’s will (Luke 2: 49; John 8:29).  We are to live for Him, just as the Scriptures proclaim; nothing of the flesh.

We are not called to draw a crowd.  We are called to be a witness.  We are called to bear the image of Christ.

The manna is the Bread of Heaven who is Christ.  Follow Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 022011

Reading today from Numbers 34 – 36.

These chapters deal with the borders of the land for the nine tribes and the half tribe on the West side of the Jordan River when they pass over;  the cities of refuge where one who accidentally kills may flee, and stay until the death of the high priest; with intentional murder; and the final chapter of Numbers deals with a land issue for the daughters of Zelophehad.

I want to look at the issue of murder according to chapter 35 and verses 30-34,

“Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.  Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.  And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest.  So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.  Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.”  Numbers 35:30-34 (KJV)

The murder of an individual shall be dealt with by the putting to death of the killer.  One is not to be put to death for the crime only by the witness of one.  There is to be no ransom paid for the murderer.  He is to be sentenced to death.  The blood that he has shed defiles the land; and God dwells in the land; “…For I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.”.

In the society of today there are many who argue against what we call capital punishment, or the death penalty.  Supposedly it is because of the value of every man’s or woman’s life.  After all the question is, “What good does it do the one who was murdered? or his/her family?”  Certainly the family grieves over the loss of the loved one.  To plead for the life of the murderer and in the end give him his life is to place greater value on the murderer’s life than the murdered individual.  It leaves pollution upon the land; and God cannot dwell there.

The only redemption for the murderer is his own blood.

What should the Christian’s response be for murder?  To obey God’s will and His law.  We rejoice not in the death of the murderer, but we should rejoice in God’s dwelling among us in the person of His Son and His shed blood for us.

Remember to read Numbers 34 – 36 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers 021911

Reading today from Numbers chapters 31 – 33.

The observations today will come from chapter 33 verses 50-56.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, ‘Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: and ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.  And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit.   But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.  Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.'”  Numbers 33:50-56 (KJV)

At this point the children of Israel are nearing the time of their entrance into the Promised Land.  GOD is preparing them for their entry.  As you read the above chapters you will see that there are two tribes plus a half tribe who have requested to stay on the East side of the Jordan River and inherit that land rather than the land on the West of Jordan.  Those tribes are Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh.  They were to send their fighting men across Jordan to fight for the land; or lose their inheritance on the East side.  Their preparations were made, the agreement was reached; and then the preparations for the West side were to be made.

In reading the above Scripture text we don’t find the word “If you pass over the Jordan into the land…”  It is “When”.  So with the LORD this was a sure thing that Israel was to do.  When they entered the land they were to drive out the inhabitants; destroy their pictures, images, high  places [places of their demon worship], and take the land for their own.  Once they possessed the land they were to make it their home.

Once they had driven out the inhabitants they were to divide the land between the tribes and each tribes people.  The more people there was in a tribe the more land they would receive.  The less people there was in a tribe the less land they were to receive.  It was a fair way of dividing the land.

It was by the command of the LORD to drive out the inhabitants, even destroy them, putting an end to the evil of their immorality, and demon worship.  Now, some reading this are going to think and say, “This shows how mean and cruel this god of yours is.”  Rather, it shows how holy, just and gracious He is.  Our LORD has given these people over 400 years to repent and change their ways (Genesis 15:12-16).  Now God is cleansing the land and His people in the process.

We must realize that sin is a grievous thing in the eyes of GOD.  It is a dreadful thing, and until we see sin as GOD does there is no hope for us.

How do these passages relate to the Christian?  Paul the apostle spoke of these things being “ensamples” for the Christian,

“Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.  Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’  Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.  Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.  Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”  1 Corinthians 10:6-12 (KJV)

These also apply to the Christian as an example of how the Christian life is a battle against sin, and the devil who desires to destroy anything which belongs to Christ; he desires to destroy our walk with Christ, therefore we must put on the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6:10 ff.  We must drive out the evil desires of the flesh.  We must hate what is evil as GOD does and love what is good and holy.  Anyone who would tell us, “The Christian life is a breeze; it’s easy” is a bald faces liar; or just doesn’t know what they are talking about.  It is a battle.  The inheritance is in Christ Jesus.  We are “joint heirs with Him” (Romans 8:17).

Remember to read Numbers 31 – 33 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021811

Reading for today Numbers 28-30

Much of the reading today is a repeat from Exodus on the sacrifices, however, we will take a short look at chapter 28 verses 1-8.

These verses deal with a daily offering,

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and My bread for My sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savour unto Me, shall ye observe to offer unto Me in their due season.’   And thou shalt say unto them, ‘This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.  The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even; and a tenth part of an ephah of flour for a meat offering, mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil.  It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.  And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering.  And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.'”  Numbers 28:1-8

This offering was an offering of two lambs; two spotless, without blemish lambs.  This, of course represents sinlessness; of which our Savior Jesus Christ Son of the Living GOD was and is sinless.  Yet, He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), receiving in our behalf the judgment for sin which we deserved.  The just for the unjust.  Most important of all is that sacrifice was offered once, and fulfilled the law.

Of these verses the ESV Study Bible note says,

Num. 28:1–8 The Daily Offering. A lamb was offered in the morning and another in the evening at twilight (v. 4). This pattern of prayer in the morning and in the evening has carried on in Jewish and Christian practice throughout the centuries. Pleasing (or “soothing”) aroma is a phrase that regularly describes the effect of sacrifice on God: it soothes his anger at sin (see Gen. 8:21). (p. 311)

There is also a picture for the Christian to offer daily our prayers, daily reading of Scripture, and ourselves to the Lord’s work and ministry.

Writing of the daily offerings the apostle wrote,

“Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself.  For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”  Hebrews 7:25-28

Of course the apostle is speaking of Jesus Christ.

Then again in Hebrews it is written,

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:10-14

We are assured that the work of sacrifice for the forgiveness and cleansing of sin is completed in Christ Jesus.

Read Numbers 28 – 30.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021711

Today’s reading from Numbers 25 – 27.

Chapter 25 deals with Israel’s sin at Peor or Baalpeor; chapter 26 tells us the numbers of the men age twenty and over; and chapter 27 tells us of Moses view into the Promised Land, because he was not going to be allowed to enter the land due to his rebellion in the striking of the rock; rather than speaking to it, as GOD has said.

Since we looked at Balaam in yesterday’s study let’s finish up with Balaam today.

In chapter 25 we have the people of Israel sinning grievously against GOD.  They were joining themselves with the people of Moab.  Moab hated Israel and wanted them cursed well now they brought a curse upon them.

“And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.  And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.   And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.” 25:1-3

Where does Balaam fit into this picture?  We need to look ahead in the book of Numbers.

“Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.” 31:16

It has every appearance of telling us that Balaam saw he could not curse Israel, but he sees a weakness in them, and counsels Balak to send and invitation to, at least some of the people, to allow them into Israel’s camp.  Bringing their demon worship with them, they lead many into adulterous worship against the Creator of the universe.

We see also in chapter 31 and verse 8 that Balaam was slain by the sword.  He was a wicked prophet for hire.

The great thing about chapter 25 that we need to see is the zeal for GOD shown by Phineas (vv. 7-8).  Because of this sin 24,000 people died as a result of a plague.  Because of the zeal for GOD and His righteousness; the work of Phineas, the grandson of Aaron, the plague was stopped.  Far more people could have died were it not for Phineas.

In a time when there are businesses for the promotion of adultery, online  and otherwise, there needs to be many more with the zeal of Phineas; rushing in where angels fear to tread; not taking lives, but with the message of God’s Word, warning of the destruction that is coming into lives due to so much immoral behavior.

In this time as Christians we have a responsibility to share the love of Jesus Christ; yet loving enough to confront; especially any brethren who call themselves Christian who are dabbling in immoral behavior; participating in things that destroy families, marriages, and lives of children; and calling them to turn back to GOD.

Please read Numbers 25 – 27.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021611

Reading from Numbers 22-24.

The reading today deals with the prophetic work of one of the prophets of the Old Testament.  This is a prophet who was in the “ministry” for a profit.  He was in it to make all he could.

The Moabite people were fearful of this massive group of people who were traveling across their part of the wilderness.  The king of Moab, Balak, calls for Balaam the prophet of whom we speak.  The comment of Scripture says,

“And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel.” 22:3

Let’s first examine who the people called the Moabites are; just to keep it in mind.  Moab was one of the sons of Lot by the eldest daughter (Genesis 19:37).  So by this we can see a kinship between these two people – Moab and Israel.  Of course, many years have passed, more than four hundred at least.

Balak calls for the prophet Balaam, and seeks him so that he may curse Israel.  Israel is a nation blessed by GOD.  Called out of Egypt by GOD.  Led by GOD.  A questions should enter our minds upon reading this, “How can a prophet of GOD even consider taking Moab up on this thought.  They have promised him great reward.

The prophet is blind to the ways of God.  God tells Balaam, after he has already turned down Balak’s first request to come, and he sends a second group of messengers,

“And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, ‘If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.'” 22:20

Here is Balaam’s fault.  If you will note what God says; Balaam is to not go with the men unless they come to call him; yet Balaam arises and goes to them.  He is eager to go and curse Israel, yet says, “All that the LORD speaketh, that I must do.” 23:26.

In the process of all this we find that his eyes are not open as he says in 24:3, but that they are set on deception, and the receiving of blessing for himself and funds for his pocket.  His ride has more spiritual perception than Balaam does (22:22-35).

By the end of chapter 24 we see Balaam speaking prophetic words of blessing upon Israel.  Yet, be warned Balaam is still a prophet of the worst sort.  We are warned of his work and “ministry” in the New Testament:

“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.”  2 Peter 2:15-16″Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.”  Jude v. 11

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

Later on in the daily readings we will see that the prophet finally succeeded in gaining what he wanted, yet failed GOD and His people greatly.

Remember to read Numbers 22 – 24 for today’s reading.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Observations From Numbers – 021511

Today reading from Numbers 19 – 21.

There are several great points for us to consider from these three chapters.  The hearts of the surrounding people to Israel as they journey, and most of it due to fear and disrespect.  Moses told, by GOD, to speak to the rock, and then, he strikes it instead.  Finally the placement of the “serpent on a pole” for their healing from snake bite, because of their sinning in complaints.

We will take a moment and focus these observations on the Rock.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.’  And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as He commanded him.  And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?  And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.”  Numbers 20:7-11 (KJV)

In Exodus 17 we find the first time the people are thirsty in the wilderness and their experience with the rock.  In that chapter of the Exodus Moses is commanded to strike the rock, and Moses obeys; then, comes forth cool refreshing water for the multitude of people.

In this case above the people are complaining about not having water; and remember this is after seeing God provide water previous to this.  Verse four says, “Why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into the wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?”  My how short their memories are.  My, how short our memories are as well.  We can be surrounded by God’s grace, mercy, sustenance, and every need being met and still complain.

The apostle Paul tells us that this rock was following them in the wilderness…

“And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:4

“For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them…”  Can it be anymore clear than that?  Paul continues, “…that Rock was Christ”.  Who was with Israel in the wilderness?  Jesus the Christ of God.

It does not seem that we should even try and understand why Moses struck the rock; but we must remember the consequences of his disobedience.  Because he did this rebellious deed, now Moses will not enter the Promised Land.

It may have been anger that caused him to strike it.  He was disobedient.  It could have been he didn’t fully hear God’s statement.  He was disobedient.  It could have even been because he was “only human”.  He was disobedient.  Moses could not go into the Promised Land, and he did not.

That Rock was Christ.

Remember to read Numbers 19 – 21.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021411

Reading Numbers 16 – 18 for today.

As we begin the reading today we find in chapter sixteen three men of the Levites (v. 8), Korah, Dathan and Abiram, who bring an uprising against God.  They claim that it is against Moses and Aaron, but in the truth of it; it is against God and His leadership.  They have called on 250 princes of Israel to join them.

Moses’s first response was to fall on his face.  My first thought for this is that it is an act of petitioning God in humility for these men and their rebellion against Him.  My how people of God need to fall on their faces before Him.

There are many times those who are following a leader often think they can do a better job or service than is being given.  After all; who did Moses think he was assuming all of this authority for himself? They were questioning.  Are we not just as holy as Moses and Aaron?  They were in fact showing unholy characteristics.  They were not following God; but their own devices, and thinking.

God judges these men and those who followed them by opening the ground to “swallow” them up; and then, closing the ground up.  Now, many will say, “God had no cause for this judgment”.  He most certainly did.  The text does not say it, but it seems an almost certainty that Korah’s, Dathan’s and Abiram’s intent was to take over leadership and lead the Israelites back to Egypt.  They certainly didn’t have God’s plan in their hearts; or they would have not had a problem with the leadership of Moses; a wise and meek man (12:3)

Following the judgment upon this rabble of men and families, the congregation gathered against Moses and Aaron (v. 41), and then they witnessed and saw the glory of the LORD appear upon the tabernacle.

“And Moses said unto Aaron, ‘Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.’  And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.  And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.  Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.  And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.”  Numbers 16:46-50 (KJV)

They are in quite the rebellious mood.  It is not of God.  Because of their rebellion God says, “Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.” v. 45  And a plague begins upon the people, and before Moses and Aaron could act for the atonement of the people 14,700 people have died (v. 49).

One of the things about a good leader is that they love the people whom they lead.  Even when they mess up he still pleads for them.  Sacrifices for them. Will give his/her life for them.  This was Moses.  Sin was in the camp.  Atonement must be made to deliver the people from this plague of death.

The wrath of God is swift; and so too  is His grace.

How ought God’s people, Christians, of today respond to those whom God has placed in leadership?  We have a few Scriptural references:

“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”  Hebrews 13:7″Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”  Hebrews 13:17

And about leadership God says,

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.”  Acts 20:28

In all things follow the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Believe Him, obey Him, love Him with all your heart, mind and soul.

Remember to read Numbers 16 – 18.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers 021311

Reading today from Numbers chapters 13 – 15.

The observations today will focus on verses 35 – 39 of chapter 14.

“I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against Me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.’  And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.  But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still.  And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.”  Numbers 14:35-39 (KJV)

It does not immediately say it in this text or context, but the reason for the sending of the twelve “spies” into the land of Canaan was that the people wanted it.  You can read it in Deuteronomy chapter 1; particularly verses 19-33.  Some will look at this and say that contradicts the other statement by God in Numbers 13:1-2; however, what we have is a clearer understanding.  Interpreting the Bible is not simply the understanding of taking a single verse and coming up with a theology, or an understanding.  Scripture must be interpreted in light of other Scripture.

On to the verses above.  The people had refused to go into Canaan without first sending some “spies” into the land.  I can understand their apprehension and fear, but that doesn’t make it right.  They needed to simply believe God, and take Him at His Word.  When twelve men were chosen to go and scout out the land; to see its beauty, its bounty, and its enemies God was allowing them to do so; telling Moses to go ahead and send them.  They were about to find out that they still weren’t trusting the LORD.

When these men came back from their expedition ten of them were very negative about what they saw with hearts of unbelief.  There only words were filled with “but” or as the KJV says “Nevertheless” (13:26-30).  They saw the land and its beauty and bounty, but they saw the people were large and powerful.

Joshua [Oshea] and Caleb saw the land and its beauty and determined that God had promised the land; so let’s go take it as God has said.  Evidently democracy won out, and God determined to make them wander in the wilderness for forty years.  It is often the case when men rebel against God, and try to rule, that God overrules.  The spies died on the spot due to their unbelief, except for Joshua and Caleb.

Something I thought of as I read this morning was that Joshua and Caleb were given an assurance they would enter the Promised Land.  They would not see death.  Who do you know that has a forty year guarantee of living?  Living to see the Promised Land kept them on the direction of seeing God’s plan carried out.

I know a people today who not only have a promise of life, but eternal life.  Jesus said,

“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”  John 11:25, 26

Let’s believe and follow the promises of God through His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins; was buried, carrying away the condemnation of sin; and rose bodily from the grave justifying us forever in the sight of God the Father.

Remember to read Numbers 13 – 15.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021211

Our daily reading is Numbers 10 – 12.

We will look today at Numbers 10:1-10; dealing with the silver trumpets.

Here Moses is leading, possibly 2 million people or more, through the wilderness.  Leading them to a “land of milk and honey”; a prosperous, bountiful land.  There would be total chaos without some form of getting the people to gather at the right place and time.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.  And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.  When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.  When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.  But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.  And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations.   And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God. ‘”  Numbers 10:1-10 (KJV)

Two million people would cover a lot of ground; especially with their tents/booths, possessions, the tabernacle and other things.  They were to camp in an orderly fashion as has been described in chapter two.  The tabernacle was to be in the midst of the camp.  A picture in itself of God/YHWH dwelling in the midst of His people – “God with us”  Immanuel.

Of verses 1 – 10 in our observations for today the ESV Study Bible notes say…

“Num. 10:1–10 The Silver Trumpets. How was Israel to move in step with the cloud of God’s presence? A large group of people needed to be marshaled, or else any movement was bound to be chaotic. So the primary purpose of the trumpets was to signal when the different tribes were to set out (see vv. 5–7). But they are also to be used to summon the congregation (v. 3) or the chiefs (v. 4). Their use in war and on the festival days is also prescribed (vv. 9–10). But blowing the trumpets was more than just a way of summoning the people to come to the tabernacle or to follow the cloud; it was a kind of prayer, a plea to God to remember his people and their needs, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God (v. 9; cf. v. 10). Two silver trumpets (v. 2), according to Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 3.291), were just over a foot in length and flared. They are pictured on Titus’s arch among the plunder he brought to Rome from Jerusalem. Two ways of blowing the trumpets are mentioned here: simply blowing (Num. 10:3–4, 7), and sounding an alarm (vv. 6–7). The difference is that blowing involves long notes, whereas sounding an alarm is done with staccato blasts. On the day of your gladness (v. 10) would include such occasions as festivals or victory celebrations after battle.”

We can see in the Scripture text that there are certain reasons for blowing the trumpets.  1) To call an assembly; 2) For the journeys, each tribe being called out by the sound of the trumpets in their order; 3) calling the princes of each tribe to meet; 4) For an alarm; 5) for when they offer their sacrifices and offerings; 6) For their solemn days; 7) For the beginning of each month; and 8 ) For a memorial unto the LORD.  He tells us, “I am the LORD your God”

There is a reference to these trumpets in the New Testament…

“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”  1 Corinthians 14:8

There are at least six other references to trumpet in the New Testament – Matthew 6:2; 24:31;  1 Corinthians 15:52;  Hebrews 12:19;  Revelation 1:10; 4:1 – for differing and similar occasions.

The silver trumpet was a reminder of the wondrous grace of the Living God and His promise of the Messiah who was to come and die for the sins of the world.  What better reasons are there for assembling, worshipping and being diligent in our battle for truth.

Remember to read Numbers 10 – 12

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 021111

Reading today from Numbers 7 – 9.

Will focus today on chapter 8:1-4 dealing with what is called the menorah; the light of the tabernacle.

It has been said that darkness is only the absence of light, and that cold is the absence of heat.  I can see that from a spiritual point of view; God’s point of view.  Especially for the human race.  We can be assured, however, that whether in darkness or cold God is present, and is speaking whether we hear or not.

The lamp or Menorah was the only source of light for the tabernacle.  It would have been the first thing to tend upon entering the actual “tent”, filling the bowls with olive oil for the burning for light.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.’  And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the LORD commanded Moses.  And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick.”  Numbers 8:1-4 (KJV)

This lampstand/menorah was positioned on the South side of the tabernacle, and the table of Shewbread was on the North side.  The menorah was to be positioned to focus the light on the bread of the table.  There were to be twelve loaves of bread on the table, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

As we can also see in these verses we are told once again that the candlestick is made of pure beaten gold.  It is made by taking a piece of gold and forming it with a hammer, I suppose, or some other like tool; to shape it into this beautiful object known as a menorah.  In its original form it had three lamps on one side, and three on the other side with one in the middle.  A total of seven lights burning.  Seven for complete light.  We might think that would not be much light.  Seven lamps burning in such a small room, however, would illuminate the room quite well.  Have you ever been in a cave, in total darkness, without your flashlight turned on or without any light burning?  It is so dark you literally cannot see your hand in front of your face.  One person lighting a single match can light up a room of a cavern.  Darkness is dispelled.  Darkness flees in the presence of a sign of light.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5).  He has also told those who follow Him,

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.   Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  Matthew 4:14-16

As I read the Scriptures it becomes even more clear, every time I read through the Bible, that the overwhelming evidence is that both Old and New Testaments point to Jesus Christ as the central character of Scripture.  Even the last book of the Bible tells us,

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  Revelation 19:10

He is the light of a dark heart.  He is the light of the world.  He is the light.  He is the light that shows men where to find bread; for He also said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35, 48).

Come out of the darkness of sin and death; into the light of Jesus Christ through His death, burial and resurrection.

Please read Numbers 7 – 9

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 021011

Reading today from Numbers 4 – 6.

My comments today will deal only with the following verses –

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: the LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.   And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.'” Numbers 6:22-27 (KJV)

We can see reading from Scripture that it is God’s desire to bless His people.  He desired to bless His people Israel and to give them peace.  The verses of blessing are familiar to both Jews and Christians, and are often spoken; probably not as often as they could or should be among some Christians.

This blessing was given to Moses to give unto Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel.  Moses followed the LORD’s command and delivered it just as God had said.  It follows the law given concerning the Nazarite vow for consecrating one’s self to the LORD.  There was blessing to one who consecrated himself to the LORD and would basically for a life time or for only a month follow the life of a priestly pattern.  We have this blessing given to show us that God wants to bless all His people who will obey His commandments through loving Him.

It is a wonderful thing when God’s face is toward us, looking upon us.  It is a dreadful thing when we think of His back being toward us.  In the Blessed Son we are assured that His face is toward us; and that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

We must remember that the greatest blessing is found only through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ Son of God.  In Him we have the “Peace of God that passes understanding”.  All these others are given for types, figures of the true.

Remember to read Numbes 4 – 6 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020911

Reading Numbers 1 – 3 today.

Today I want to consider verses 11 – 13 of chapter 3,

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be Mine;  because “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be Mine;  because all the firstborn are Mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto Me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: Mine shall they be: I am the LORD.'”  Numbers 3:11-13 (KJV)

In beginning the book of Numbers we find that it is named correctly for they are numbering or counting the people.  In particular they are counting the males of each of the twelve tribes from the age of twenty up.  The total number comes up to 603 thousand plus.  That is only males 20 years of age and above.  By looking at these numbers we get an idea of the multitude of people who were being led through the wilderness following their deliverance from Egypt.  If we were to just think of each male having a wife that would equal 1.2 million people.  If we add only one child, then, we are nearing 2 million people.  Moses and Aaron had a large task and work to do.

Now, let’s get to the above verses.

Back in Egypt on the day of deliverance the Passover had begun with the shedding of the blood of many lambs; their blood put on the door posts and lintels of each Jewish home as commanded by the LORD.  The Word of the LORD was that every firstborn in the land of Egypt would die.  Israel would not be untouched by this, unless, they obeyed God and applied the blood in God’s prescribed manner.  In doing so the firstborn of Israel were saved from this angel of death.

God redeemed the firstborn of Israel.  They are His.  In order not to take every firstborn for Himself; He took the Levites as the tribe which would serve Him as priests and servants to the people in the tabernacle.  This was an honor and a burden for the Levites.  They were consecrated to the LORD for the task.  They were assigned their duties in raising the tabernacle, and in taking it down; and transporting it when they moved by God’s leadership through the cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night.

One thing that stands out clearly in the above text is that God states, “The Levites shall be Mine”.  Of the firstborn the LORD says, “All the firstborn are Mine”.  As we read the Scriptures; especially the Old Testament; we will find and emphasis placed on the firstborn son.

Jesus Christ is not just the firstborn Son of God, but His only born Son.  It is through this only born Son that we have a High Priest, eternal in Heaven, seated at the Father’s right hand, interceding for His own.

“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”  Hebrews 8:1-2

Remember to read Numbers 1 – 3 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Daniel 1:17-21

…Giving What You Need For The Task

Daniel 1:17-21

Purpose –  To see and show that when God calls us to certain tasks; even as captives in a foreign land; He provides what we need for those tasks.

OUTLINE –

I.  GOD PROVIDED DANIEL, HANANIAH, MISHAEL, AND AZARIAH THE GIFTS THEY NEEDED FOR THE TASKS THEY HAD (v. 17).
II.  GOD PROVIDED THAT THE FOUR HEBREW BOYS FOUND FAVOR WITH THE KING (vv. 18-19).
III.  GOD EVEN PROVIDED THAT THE WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE HE GAVE TO THEM EXCEEDED THAT OF THE OTHERS (v. 20).
IV.  THE TIME OF DANIEL’S SERVICE WAS REWARDED BY ALLOWING HIM TO SEE ISRAELITES RETURNING TO THE PROMISED LAND (.v. 21).

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah had shown themselves faithful to the Lord’s commandments.  They had done so without causing too much of a rift within the court; and they had God’s approval and blessing.  When we honor God, by keeping His word, applying it to our lives on a daily basis, He will also honor us and bless us.  There is, however, no promise of that blessing being immediate; nor, should we be obedient, nor attempting to honor God because we know we will be blessed for it.
We honor and bless and obey the Lord and His Word because He is worthy; and we thank Him for the priviledge of such service.  By the blood of Jesus Christ we have the right to be called “The sons of God” (John 1:12).  It is still a service we thank Him for, because He gifts us for that purpose.

I.  AS GOD EQUIPPED THE FOUR HEBREW BOYS FOR THEIR TIME IN BABYLON; SO GOD HAS EQUIPPED THE CHURCH FOR THE DAYS IN WH ICH WE LIVE (v. 17).
The text we look at tells us that it was God who gave them “knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom:”, and we must acknowledge that it comes from no one else except the one who designed and continues to give good minds to those He will.  Even to the astonishment and dismay to the educational elite; God oft times speaks by confounding the “wise”

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”1 Corinthians 1:27 (KJV).

We learn from this that it is God who gave Daniel the power of understanding dreams and visions.  This by itself qualifies Daniel as a prophet of God.

“And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.”  Numbers 12:6 (KJV)

These things which Daniel and His friends learned were not from the Chaldean educational system, nor the education they received.  There were many things they learned which were in grave error; and they knew it to be error.  They learned about astrology, and how it worked; they did not practice it.  Astrology – interpreting the astrological charts, and the zodiac was very familiar to the Babylonian citizens.

The child of God today; the Christian of today needs to be grounded and stable in the riches of the Word of God.  I want to stress that before I say what I’m going to say with some reservation.  You and I need first and foremost to study, hear, practice, and heed the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the whole counsel of God’s Word.  When we are able, then, it would be beneficial in some ways to learn about the deceptions and lies that permeate society; not practicing them in any fashion or form, but learning of them, to know where some of these people are coming from, and to know how to rebuke and rebut them.  Some Christians of our day frown on the though of rebuke or rebutting some other belief system or religion; however, if we are to be salt, light, and an influence in society, then we must correct in love those we see in error with Scripture.

We have also been equipped for service to God in the day in which we live.  The apostle Paul writes,

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”  Ephesians 4:11-15 (KJV)

The above gifting is basically dealing with church leaders, however, every Christian is responsible to use the gift God has given you.  Paul has also written,

“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”  1 Corinthians 12:18 (KJV)

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”  James 1:17 (KJV)

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”  Romans 11:29 (KJV)

The gifts and calling of God are given to us for the benefit of the day in which you and I live.  We need to rejoice in the gifts of others without desiring their gift or gifts for ourselves.  Every Christian is gifted by God to do the work of ministry.

II.  IT IS GOD WHO BRINGS FAVOR BEFORE THE KINGS AND PRESIDENTS OF THE WORLD (vv. 18-19).
King Nebuchaddnezar was most likely educated in the ways of the “wise men” of Babylon, and could carry on quite a conversation with them, and all the ones who had been educated in the Babylonian institution of learning.  It was after the three years of training was over that the king had them all brought into him.  The king discovered four young men, possibly twenty years of age now; who “…among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah” (v.19).  These four were chosen to stand in the king’s presence.

Daniel and his friends had spent the past three years learning the ways of Babylon, and remained faithful to the LORD.  They were diligent in the task of living the life which God had given them; and they did it without complaint; and with praise. Even though they were in enemy territory God had given them peace without compromising their beliefs.  Solomon, the writer of Proverbs has written,

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”  Proverbs 16:7 (KJV)

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”  Proverbs 22:29 (KJV)

Looking at those two verses we can see that, first of all “Peace” is more than the absence of war.  Peace comes from God.  When we are at war with God we will most likely be at war with everyone.  Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were at peace with God, so God gave them peace with their enemies.  Secondly, they were diligent with God’s business, faithful in obedience to Him and they were the ones who found favor with the king Nebuchadnezzar.

It is said of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when He was around twelve years of age, that He was found in “…favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).  Who makes it possible for us to be found in favor with God or kings?  Only God can do that.  God exalts one and brings down another.  In doing so God accomplishes His will and maintains the order of the powers of man.

III.  THERE IS GREAT WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE FOR THOSE WHO WILL TRUST THE LORD IN ALL OF LIFE (v. 20).
There is much learning, knowledge and so called wisdom in our world.  Education is a good thing, when it is guided by a godly heart and life.  When “education” turns hearts away from God, and that is its sole purpose it is evil and and should be avoided at all cost.  Everyone has the right to learn what they want to learn; but they don’t have the right to force me to learn godless evolution, evil monetary practices, and/or evil practices of law.

One man of year gone by made the statement, and I pray I am getting this correctly, or close at least, “Education without justification and sanctification is an abomination”.  He meant by that word “justification” that all sin was paid for in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that all the righteousness of Christ Jesus was ours through Him.

The writer of  Proverbs speaks much of wisdom giving all of two chapters to wisdom, even personifying wisdom.  In chapter eight wisdom is personified, and we can see wisdom in our Lord in His teachings, in His living, in His dying, and in His resurrection.  The ninth chapter deals more with wisdom, and when you read this chapter you see the worth and value of wisdom, ie., godly wisdom versus worldly wisdom.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that these young men were smart, and wise in God.  They could carry on a conversation with the king about the things of  Babylon, and why, what and how he was the king of Babylon.  It is a sad thing, but there are many people who have no care what so ever about “wisdom”.  They speak without thought, act without thought; but merely to circumstances, and the behavior of others.

Who desires wisdom?  The wise.  How do we receive wisdom?

“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” Proverbs 9:9 (KJV)

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”  James 1:5 (KJV)

IV.  GOD IS FAITHFUL WHO HAS PROMISED; THERE IS REWARD FOR ALL WHO WILL BELIEVE AND RECEIVE (v. 21).
Though this verse is placed in the beginning of the book of Daniel doesn’t mean that this event tool place here.  We are being told that Daniel was blessed by God and prospered under several kings while a captive.  Daniel even lived to see his people returning to the Promised Land of Israel.  He may have had a part in speaking with Cyrus and his leadership in the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem under Ezra’s ministry and work.  We see clearly from Scripture that God is guiding the affairs of His people.

“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9 (KJV)

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah could not have planned such lives for themselves.  Neither can you or I.  We can scheme and plot and plan, and many a time those things just don’t work for us.  We must understand that GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU, and He gives us what we need to perform the tasks He has for us to do.

God will never fail to fulfill His plans.  He does have a plan for your life through His Son Jesus Christ.

APPLICATION –

i.  God has equipped us through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit to live for Him, and serve Him in the time which we live;
ii.  When you and I live for the Lord, faithfully serving, praising, thanking Him; then He will give us peace in our hearts, a pure conscience, and raise us in favor with the people of the world to accomplish His purposes;
iii.  Let us be wise to seek godly wisdom; and to seek it from God by asking Him for it, then, use it rightly for His glory;
iv.  You and I must trust the Lord to be faithful in CARING FOR YOU, and you what you need to do His will.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Becoming A Hero Of The Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Who We Are, and Our Blessings In Christ

Ephesians 1:1-5

Purpose of this study:

1. To discover the greatness of being in Christ;
2. To know the richness of His blessings;
3. To know and understand our purpose in Christ;
4. To better understand our calling.

The book of Ephesians was written by Paul the apostle while he was imprisoned in Rome.  Ephesians is known as one of the “prison epistles”, along with Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.

The city of Ephesus was the seat of “Diana” worship (Acts 19 note verse 28).  A goddess worshipped by a superstitious people and profited on by business men and silversmiths.  The preaching of the cross of Jesus Christ caused a great loss of income for these men and their businesses when some of the worshippers of Diana, turned from idolatry to the true God (Acts 19:23-41).  These men would have done almost anything to take away Paul’s and other Christian’s right or freedom to speak.

This church is the same church that would receive a letter from the Lord Jesus Christ a few years later.  It can be read in the Revelation of Jesus Christ chapter two, beginning with verse one.

At the time of Paul’s writing, approximately 55 A.D., the church of Ephesus is strong in faith and longing to grow in the Spirit of Christ.  In this letter Paul teaches them two main truths:  1) Who they are [their position] in Christ (chapters 1-3); and  2) How they are to live [their practice] (chapters 4-6).

Knowing who we are in Jesus is still important for Christians.  By knowing our position in Him we are strengthened in faith, and greatly encouraged to live for Him.

If we are to be the Christians God calls us to be we must be discovering the greatness and riches of being in Christ, our calling, the richness of His blessings, and the purpose of our calling.

The term “In Christ” or its equivalent is mentioned at least 34 times in the bood of Ephesians.  Fifteen of those being in the first chapter alone.  So we learn already that it is important for  us to recognize, to know who we are in Jesus Christ.

CALLED OUT AND FAITHFUL (vv. 1-2).  “Set apart”, “called out” and faithful.  Consecrated unto the Lord is the meaning of the word “Saint”.  The Christian has been called out of sin, set apart for the glory of God to be different from the world philosophies, and doctrines.

The Christian understands the problem of sin, and the human heart, as best as can be understood, and that is by the understanding which God gives by His Spirit, His word, and the life of Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:10-11 spells it out for us; “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God…”  We are called out of sin, unto faith in Jesus Christ; to live in the Spirit of Christ for the glory of the Father.

The “faithful” are the one’s who dedicated to the work and will of glorifying God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  We glorify Him with a life given to living holy, separated, lives of witness.  The words we speak, our work ethic, our family lives, our church service and our worship of God alone is a witness that other’s will see or won’t see.  Unwavering faith in God, and His Word, and holy desire for His will to be done is shown in faithfulness.  Faithful in belief.  Faithful in and to His Word.

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” John 14:21 (KJV)

THE RICHES OF HIS BLESSING (v. 3;  2:6).  These blessings are not in the material things of this world, although we are told that all things are under His feet.  The blessings of Christ are spiritual, however, they are not limited.  “Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…” Ephesians 1:3 (KJV).  I don’t know if we were meant to understand this whole all thing, but it sounds so full, awesome, and glorious.  Do we put enough emphasis on the spiritual things of Christ?  It doesn’t seem so in my life; and I really doubt it is in most Christian’s lives.

These spiritual blessings are in heavenly places; that is the place where Jesus is.  The blessings that Christian’s have in Christ Jesus cannot be attained through science, technology, knowledge, sorcery, witchcraft, incantations, rituals, liturgy, rites, religion, flagellation, wealth, or fame.  These blessings are all part of the grace given us who are in Christ Jesus through faith in Him by His death on the cross; His carrying our sins away; and the bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead.  These are blessings of His grace.

In these spiritual blessings there is cleansing from sin, condemnation and guilt.  There is the personal relationship with holy God reserved only for those who have no sin debt.  We also have the gift of eternal life with Jesus Christ and the Father; and in complete fellowship with Him.

OUR ELECTION AND OUR LIFESTYLE (v. 4).  If a king were to choose you as their son or daughter would you not find it a great privilege, and honor?  If the king were known as a wealthy, and good, and honorable man I think most of us would be honored by the prospect.  This is not likely to happen, of course, so don’t set your sites too high for this; except when you put your faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the King of kings.  He will rule with honor, power, and goodness; and He is wealthy.  He has chosen us in Himself.  We are getting into a topic of great controversy, and that is dealing with “Election” and “Predestination”.  There are some “scholars” and preachers/teachers who try to avoid these doctrines.   They are, however, in the Word of God, and need to be dealt with.  I am not sure that I can aid in this or not, but since they are here, I will say this.  When it comes to “Election” we have the clear teaching from the Word that those who are in Christ have been chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.  It is great to know that God chose me, and that He knew me long before I was ever conceived in the womb of my mother.  That is so of all who will come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Dealing with this “Election” of God let us look further into Scripture – “And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” Exodus 33:19 (KJV).  As our Creator, Savior, Redeemer, Advocate, Judge… He has every right to choose whomever He will, to call to Himself.  Someone may ask, “Doesn’t mankind have a ‘freewill’?”  To that I would readily agree.  The very fact that God placed the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” in the midst of the garden near the “Tree of Life” tells me that God gave them a choice, thus free will to choose to obey or disobey.  They chose the latter of the two, and sin, death, and misery came into the world.

So how do the teachings of Election, the Sovereignty of God, and man’s free will operate?  I don’t know that I have the answer to that, but these things I do know and believe; and that is that God says that He knew me before the foundation of the world and He chose me; He has enriched me with spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus, and that according to His will, the free will of men, and  His Sovereignty somehow work together to fulfill His will and glory.

The greatness of this “Election” is that God chose me before I ever did anything good or bad.  His choosing me was not based on any merit of my own, but solely on the grace of God alone.  Since He chose me before doing anything good or bad, that only means that there is nothing I could do to be plucked from my Father’s hands:

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” John 10:28-29 (KJV)

This does not give license to sin.  This does give us freedom from sin to live for Jesus Christ.  Before we came to faith in Jesus Christ we were bound by sin.  In Christ we are free to live for Him, and Him alone. This election is a calling to holiness (2:10;  John 15:16).

OUR PLACEMENT IN THE HEAVENLIES (v. 5).  By the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross we are born into relationship with the Father (John 3:3;  1 Peter 1:23).  By that blood we are legally sons/children, however, there is something else that happens to those who come to faith in Jesus Christ.  We are placed into the position with Christ as legal heirs of all that is His.  That is the “Adoption”.

That is the predetermined plan of God.  That is the “predestinated” will of God.  In John 1:12 we are told this – “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them tht believe on His name.”  Some new translations place children where the KJV uses sons, and that seems to me to be a tragedy, for we miss the greater meaning.  With Christ as our Lord and Savior we are given the same rights as the Elder Son, who is Jesus.  In the Old Testament economy the elder son received a majority of the father’s estate, and was given the responsibility of caring for the parents when they became unable to care for themselves.

Now consider this; since we are born into the family shouldn’t we just receive a minority of the inheritance?  Jesus has paid the price of our sin, making it possible for us to be in God’s family in the first place; He is the One who deserves it all.  By grace He places us with Him as joint heirs (Romans 8:17) with Him.

There is an example of this given in the Law of Moses concerning inheritance, and the daughters of a man who had no sons, and would be left out of the inheritance except for the grace given.  Zelophehad (Numbers 27:1-7) had five daughters, and he would be left out of inheriting any of the promised land, leaving nothing for any sons who might come along later.  Thus, in a since, they are placed in the position of an elder son, inheriting the land that would have been their father’s.

There is such a wealth at the hands and feet of every believer in Jesus Christ.  It is a wealth that is not of this world, however it is accessible in this world; and through it and by it we can live in victory.  The enemy has been defeated.  Let us rejoice.

We are “Predestinated” to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, and that is to live in glory.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29 (KJV)

We have yet to “tap into” the wonderful resources that are ours in Christ Jesus.  If we were the people of God in Christ that He has called us to be, walking in the Spirit, walking in the power of His word, there is no attack of the enemy which could stop us, and no human force could stand in our way; and He would be seen and glorified in many hearts and lives.  What God calls “Complete” is complete.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Discipleship – The Pursuit Of Godliness

Hebrews 12:14-17

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”  Hebrews 12:14-17 (KJV)

OUTLINE –
I.  A PURSUIT OF PEACE AND HOLINESS (v. 14).
II.  TAKING OVERSIGHT OVER ONE’S LIFE IN MATTERS OF GRACE (v15).
III.  BE AWARE – BE WARNED OF THE “ROOT OF BITTERNESS” WHICH IS PUFFED UP TROUBLING YOU (v. 15). Deut. 29:18
IV.  THE EXAMPLE OF ESAU/EDOM DESIRING GOD’S BLESSING WITHOUT GOD (v. 16).
V.  THE TRAGEDY OF BLESSING WITHOUT GOD (v. 17).

In previous verses of Hebrews 12 we are told not “to despise the chastening of the Lord”.  The chastening of the Lord could be called His discipline, correction, or discipling.  After reading something I believe was Charles H. Spurgeon saying, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully”, that has been in my mind from the day I read it.  I believe it to be a true saying.  Though you will not find those words spoken or written that way in Scripture; it does seem that the principle of that is spoken of in the verses we look at today, and those few preceding them.

A brother in Christ has called it “God’s Discipleship” when he is making us holy, and pursuing peace.  One great achievment or failure to succeed in the Christian life would be to fail at sin.  Now, wouldn’t that be a great achievement as a child of God?

People are pursuing all sorts of things.  Success in employment, success on the job, a bank account with money left over after the bills are paid, health, personal recognition, popularity, prestige, power… you get the idea.  Godliness is not so much sought after, even by those who profess to be Christians.

A PURSUIT OF PEACE AND HOLINESS (v. 14).  Peace is a topic of much talk, and use of many words; however it doesn’t seem real close in the realm of the political world, and at times the religious world.  One thing I think I know and that is those who know the Prince of peace – Jesus Christ are at peace with God, and one another.  It is the “peace that passes all understanding” which “Keeps our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 KJV).

“G1515
εἰρήνη
eirēnē
i-rah’-nay
Probably from a primary verb εἴρω eirō (to join); peace (literally or figuratively); by implication prosperity: – one, peace, quietness, rest, + set     at one again.” From e-Sword Strongs

Being at peace with God, “at one” with God, “walking with God”, in agreement with Him (Amos 3:3) is the greatest and best thing that has ever happened to mankind.  Anyone who has not made peace with God will not be at peace with anyone else.  That tells us much about ourselves. Doesn’t it?  “Turning the other cheek” can only come from an individual at peace with God.  Loving the unlovable comes from a heart at peace with Jehovah.  Those who are truly merciful, and have obtained mercy have the peace of God.

It is because one has been “Justified by faith” that one can “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).  This peace will also lead us into holiness; and the penman of the Hebrews Letter tells us “without which no one shall see the Lord”.  The word “Holy” is given this meaning in Strongs

“G38
ἁγιασμός
hagiasmos
hag-ee-as-mos’
From G37; properly purification, that is, (the state) purity; concretely (by Hebraism) a purifier: – holiness, sanctification.”
From e-Sword Strongs

Peace and holiness are God’s to give.  They come from the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ; paying the price for our sins Himself, taking their guilt, condemnation, and power away; rising to life victorious over them, declaring Himself to be whom He said He was and is; the Great I am.

TAKING OVERSIGHT OVER ONE’S LIFE IN MATTERS OF GRACE (v. 15). We are living in a day very much in need of personal oversight.  Many not wanting to take personal responsibility for their actions, behavior, words, or otherwise.  Those who are Christian need very much to be leaders in this matter.  Taking the oversight in matters of grace.  Lest we be the cause, or a catalyst of others falling.

The duty of the Christian; leader, teacher, person in the pew; is to be on watch, guarding one’s own heart and life, and the lives of others.  Part of “shepherding” is to keep the younger from straying, and going over the edge endangering their lives and/or the lives of others.

If we see any of the brethren straying we can, should, and will guide them back to the straight and narrow path that is the right one.  The path is not without effort, nor pain, but it is a path with destination and that destination is into the presence of God for all eternity.

“G1983
ἐπισκοπέω
episkopeō
ep-ee-skop-eh’-o
From G1909 and G4648; to oversee; by implication to beware: – look diligently, take the oversight.”  e-Sword

BE AWARE – BE WARNED OF THE “ROOT OF BITTERNESS” WHICH IS PUFFED UP TROUBLING YOU (v. 15).  Moses wrote by the Spirit of God on this same matter when he penned, “Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood…”  Deuteronomy 29:18 (KJV)

I grew up around trees.  We have had trees all around us.  Oak trees (of various kinds), cedar trees, maple trees, apple trees, peach trees, Walnut trees, Hickory trees, Ash and elm trees, and if I could name them all I probably would.  The thing I want to illustrate here is the root system.  In many cases these trees have more of what cannot be seen under the ground, supporting through the feeding, providing foundation, and strength against strong winds; than that which can be seen above ground.  What the writer of Hebrews and Moses of Deuteronomy is warning about is that which cannot be seen if in bitterness is very destructive.

This “root of bitterness” is a poison which can suddenly come to the surface and ruin you.  If the root of a tree gets something poisonous it will kill the tree.  This bitterness, this bane can lead to all kinds of immorality and evil in one’s life.  Evidently that is what the writer is saying concerning Esau.

“All it takes for a grudge to grow is for the one who is holding it to keep nursing it.”  I am not sure that this is a correct quotation, or who said it, but it is still the truth.  Bitterness is the root of evil, and for evil grudges to grow they must be nursed.  Feeding, coddling, cherishing those bitter feelings.  Saying things like, “I can never forgive that person”.  Anyone who has ever said that was mistaken, and/or have never been forgiven.

This “bitter root” nursed, and cherished by its holder will one day have this poisonous root spring, explode onto the scene, and it will not be a pleasant scene for the holder of that grude.  As long as that grudge is nursed, cherished, coddled like one’s baby there will be no relief from guilt, sin, shame, or anger, and destruction.

THE EXAMPLE OF ESAU/EDOM DESIRING GOD’S BLESSING WITHOUT GOD (v. 16).  Esau, the first born son of Isaac was a man with a bitter root, and he never let it die.  It was passed on to his children (Genesis 36:8, 19).  How do we know this?  Because of Edom.  Edom  hated the children of Israel (Numbers 20:17-21).  Where did this innate bitterness, anger, envy, and hatred come from?  There is one conclusion to that; and that is from their father; Esau.

Esau had not only given up his birthright for a “bowl of beans”, but he had evidently been a very immoral rascal.  Giving himself to various immoral activities with the women of foreign tribes whom his people had been forbidden to have relations with.  John Gill wrote this concerning Esau,

“Heb 12:16 – Lest there be any fornicator or profane person,…. The first of these is guilty of a sin against the second table of the law, as well as against his own body; and which is opposed to the holiness the apostle had before exhorted to; such who are guilty of it, are not to be continued in the communion of the church; and it is a sin, which, lived in not repented of, excludes from the kingdom of heaven: the latter is one who is a transgressor of the first table of the law; who is an idolater, a swearer, a despiser of public worship and ordinances, and who behaves irreverently in divine service, and mocks at the future state, as Esau; to whom both these characters seem to belong: and this agrees with what the Jews say concerning him: they have a tradition (w), that he committed five transgressions on the day he came out of the field weary.

“He committed idolatry: he shed innocent blood; and lay with a virgin betrothed; and denied the life of the world to come (or a future state); and despised his birthright.”

It is elsewhere (x) a little differently expressed.

“Esau, the wicked, committed five transgressions on that day: he lay with a virgin betrothed; and killed a person; and denied the resurrection of the dead; and denied the root, or foundation, (i.e. that there is a God,) and despised his birthright; and besides, he desired his father’s death, and sought to slay his brother.”

It is common for them to say of him, that he was an ungodly man; and particularly, that he was a murderer, a robber, ונואף, “and an adulterer” ”
The (w) being (“Targum Jon. ben Uzziel in Gen. xxv. 29.”), and the (x) being (Shemot Rabba, sect. I. fol. 89. 3. T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 16. 2.). From e-Sword Commentary by John Gill.

THE TRAGEDY OF BLESSING WITHOUT GOD (v. 17).  Esau lived on in immoral conduct.  He had sought forgiveness from his father Isaac for his selling of the birthright, and with tears, but to no avail (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).  His “repentance” was not a real repentance which would get forgiveness, but only sorry he got caught with his “hands in the cookie jar, and still wanted the cookie”.  He wanted the blessing of God without wanting God.  That is typical of many who profess Jesus as Savior today and probably in any era of time since the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  As long as things go well; as long as the blessings pour in; as long as there is good health; as long as there is wealth at their disposal; and no sorrow, then all is well with the “faith”.

Because of the sin of Edom, Edom has no place in the future (Ezekiel 32:29;  Joel 3:19).  That is not the desire of God’s heart to have His children pass along the envy, hatred, bitterness, and anger to our children and/or to the rest of the world that is already perishing.

SUMMARY –

i.  The pursuit of peace and holiness is the pursuit of all Christians, and one obtained only through faith in Christ the Lord.

ii.  Those in pursuit of peace and holiness will take oversight of their behavior, words, actions; and feed themselves daily in the word of God, prayer, and holy life pursuits.

iii.  The ones in pursuit of peace and godliness will be aware of the root of bitterness, guard against bitterness, and its poisonous, disastrous, death which it brings with it where ever it springs up.

iv.  Peace and holiness leads to peace and life; and makes for peace with all people (Proverbs 16:17).

-Tim A. Blankenship

This is the my study notes for the message for Sunday morning September 13, 2009

A Bite And A Look

“And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived”  Numbers 21:9  (KJV).

Many people do not realize the dangers of complaining.  Anyone who has ever read this chapter in Numbers realizes that God does not delight in complaints from His people.  He despises complaining, or murmuring.  In chapter eleven and verse four of Numbers there is the mention of “a mixed multitude”, and these were probably a source of the complaints, though God’s people often need no help in complaining.

The result of their complaining was that “fiery serpents” came into the camp and bit people and they began dying from the poisonous bites.  Do we realize just how poisonous or deadly complaining really is?  I don’t think so.  The individual who complains is spreading a deadly toxin throughout their body.  It may take many years for it to show up, but can lead to death earlier.  It is probably toxic to the people who hang around the complainer as well.  If we are not careful about hanging around complainers we will find ourselves complaining.  This is a complaint that robs us of faith, and puts more trust in self, or selfish desire than in God.  Complaining may come because of fear.

The people, or our text, grew quite fearful, and came to Moses for help, even confessing “We have sinned” (v. 7).  Moses prayed for the people and God gave Moses answer.  The answer was to build the brazen serpent on the pole.

The promise is, “Any man [anyone], when they beheld the serpent of brass, she/he lived”.  This serpent on the pole is a picture of a New Testament truth, with a present reality to the text.  There was deliverance that day for all who believed and looked.

Today, our hope is in Jesus Christ.  Sin was placed on Christ as he hung on the cross, becoming our sin, receiving God’s judgment [brass], and when we realize our sin and its death, we can look to Him and live.  “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life”  John 3:14-15 (KJV).  Look to Jesus and live.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Hand Stretched Out Still

God has spoken of grace and mercy to His people, and they have refused it.  The prophet ever faithful to proclaim the  truth of God’s Word to those people must surely grow frustrated.  The prophet has told them of a light that is coming (9:2), he has told them of a Child that will be born, and His name will be called Immanuel (7:14), and yet there is no repentance; no returning to God

God is preparing to send judgment upon the nation of Judah and Israel; it seems in small doses at first, then what ever is needed.  There are some who have a problem with the thought of “God pursuing His people”, but it seems to me that that is exactly what He does.

God is angry with sin.  He hates sin. Not only does sin distract from the glory of God, but it also breaks fellowship between God and His people.  Those who think that God does not judge sin does not know the God of the Bible.  He will accomplish His purposes and fulfill His glory.

In chapter nine of Isaiah the following words are written three times, and one time in chapter ten:

“For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.” Isaiah 9:12,17, 21 and 10:4 (NKJV).

The LORD will perform His Word.  There will be nothing left undone which God has spoken.  His anger will not be turned away until the people of God find their rest, peace, hope, and faith in Him (See chapter 12 of Isaiah).

God is never glorified by the sin of His people, but He will be glorified as He exposes it, judges it, and purges it from the lives of His people.  The people of God should never reach a state of mind, or heart where they think they have gotten away with sin.  The man Moses, inspired by God’s Spirit wrote, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

We are told in the Psalms, “God is angry with the wicked everyday” (Psalm 7:11).  The wicked would be those who hear the Word of God spoken by the prophets, and the written word, refuse to hear it, refuse to obey, and refuse to follow the way of God.  Does God get angry with His people?  He gets angry with our sin, and He judges it.

“…But His hand is stretched out still” is a part of the verse that is somewhat mysterious.  Jabez prayed, “…That Thine hand might be with me…” (1 Chronicles 4:10).  The hand of God can be good or it can be bad.  I would prefer His hand be good toward me.  That hand of God can be used for gentle nudgings in the right direction, steering away from a wrong direction.  That hand can be for a comforting, encouraging touch.  The prophet mentions later in his writing “…I the shadow of His hand hath He hid me…” (49:2).  That is a great place to be.  That hand could be used for a good whipping for discipline, chastisement, and/or punishment.

I see in the statement, “God’s anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still”, that God will continue to be angry with their sin, and He will continue to judge it; His hand is stretched out in judgment even as Isaiah speaks and writes, even as I write today; and His hand is stretched out with an open palm, as an invitation to return to Him.

Why do God’s people continue in sin when they know God’s hand is judging, yet He has an open palm to take you back into His fellowship; and He will love you and nourish you and give you strength.

As long as you have breath to breathe, God’s hand is stretched out to you.  To those who have never received God’s grace through His Son Jesus Christ that invitation is to believe in Him who died, was buried and rose again for your justification.  Justification simply means that through the sacrifice of Jesus you are declared Just by God Himself.

Will you continue in your sin, or will you believe, repent, and be saved?  God has given you the choice to make.  Choose Jesus.  The hand stretched out.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Error Of Balaam

Numbers 31:16

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

That tends to be the problem with Balaam.

The Bible says;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some signs of the blindness of Balaam:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus said;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Woe To Apostate Teachers, and Followers

“Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” Jude 11 (NKJV).

The apostate, heretics of which Jude has been warning us are going to be held to the ultimate judgment. “Woe” is the warning of such judgment being held for them. It is a sad thing for Christians of today, when they will more readily accept the teaching of the “Name it and claim it” bunch, than they will the plain and clear teaching of the Word of the Lord where the cross of Jesus Christ, His deity, His shedding of His own blood, His burial carrying our sins away, and the plain and clear teaching of His bodily resurrection fulfilling the Word which He spoke.

These apostates follow the way of Cain (the son of Adam and Eve who killed his brother Abel); in that they deny the power of the blood of the cross of Christ by their teaching that it is for material gain, applying their own works to the work of Christ. They follow the “error of Balaam” by seeking gain for themselves. Balaam was a false prophet who sought profit by the pretense serving God. He deemed that the Israelites were not worthy of God’s blessing and so cursed them by showing the enemy their weakness (Numbers 25:1-17; 31:16), bringing a plague into the camp, stayed only by the quick hand of Phineas, who was the grandson of Aaron. Balaam eventually was killed by the children before they entered the promised land. Then, there is Korah, the rebellious one who led Dathan and Abiram in a rebellious act against Moses. They spoke ill of Moses, thus were speaking against God. We put our lives on a very thin layer when we speak ill of our leaders, especially the spiritual leaders. Korah, Dathan and Abiram were swallowed up by the ground opening and taking them, and those who stood with them, alive into the belly of the earth. Read Numbers 16.

We are given ample warning in Scripture of following false teachers and leaders. The one’s who expose heresy are not the ones who are causing the problem. The problem lies in those who teach error, and seek to lead people astray. If you know God, and know His Word you know who the false teachers and their false teachings are. If you don’t know the God of the Bible nor His Word you will be deceived, and led astray becoming just like your leader. Finding your own way, always for gain and profit, and no true spiritual leader will ever be right, but you are.

Guard your spiritual life. Know the God of the Bible by turning to His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross that you might live. He was buried carrying your sins away, and He rose bodily from that grave, and He ever lives to make intercession for you. Read His Word – the Bible – learn Him, know Him, trust Him with all of your life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Peril Of Unbelief

“But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.” Jude 5 (NKJV).

There is not much said, either in written form, or speech from the pulpits of our churches (those who still have pulpits), anything concerning apostates or apostasy. It is almost like they do not exist. It seems to have been the thinking in Jude’s day as well, because they need to be reminded of those who never made it to the Promised Land following their deliverance from Egypt.

There were many who murmured and complained all along the journey. They would murmur about having no water, they would complain about having nothing to eat. They mumbled and groaned about the leadership of Moses. God dealt with each of these situations in His power and glory. In one instance, the one which kept them in the wilderness for 38 extra years, they came to a place called Kadesh Barnea, twelve surveyors (spies) were sent into Canaan to search the land, its people, and any problems they might encounter (Numbers 13). When the men returned ten of them said, “The land is just as was spoken, but there are giants in the land, and in their eyes we are as grasshoppers.” Isn’t it amazing what that little three letter word can do to faith, ie., “but”. There were two men who said, “God has given us the land, Let us go up at once, and possess it…” (Numbers 13:30). The people rebelled, said no, and because of their unbelief they did not enter. No one over the age of twenty at this rebellion, except for Joshua and Caleb, would enter the Promised Land. “They entered not in because of unbelief”. Read Hebrews chapters three and four.

How could we describe or define “Unbelief”? The unbelief spoken of concerning apostates, and apostasy is just an out and out denial, refusing to believe what God has said. Refusing to act on the promises of God, and not trusting in Him alone. What has been seen previously in Jude – the turning of the grace of God into lewdness [lasciviousness], denying the cross and work of Jesus – turning the things of God into reasons for pleasure, and unruliness. God is not pleased with the lewd behavior, and those who practice such are living in unbelief, and have no part with God. The Peril of Unbelief is destruction, and eternal damnation.

Beware of those who can teach and lead you away from the God of mercy, grace, love, and holiness, righteousness, and justice.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Beginning of Sorrows

In looking at the Olivet Discourse we see that the disciples are still without understanding concerning the death, burial and resurrection; and they are still looking for Him to set up an earthly kingdom at that present time. The thought of the temple being destroyed was beyond their thinking and curious minds. The temple; to the people of Israel represented a security, and the presence of God.

As I study this portion of Scripture a question comes to my mind. What of the ark of the covenant? Historians have told us that the ark of the covenant was hidden by Jeremiah in Egypt, or other such stories. In Jerusalem, in the time of Jesus, however, there is a temple, and there is a Holy of Holies within the temple. There is a “veil” which was torn during the crucifixion of Jesus (27:51). The ark of the covenant always represented the presence, power and glory of God. During the time of Jesus was the ark of the covenant behind the veil that was torn from the top to the bottom? Does it matter?

For the temple to be destroyed would be catastrophic for the Jewish people. In the hearts of most of the leaders of Israel, the presence, power, and glory of God seemed to be of little significance; after all, they had their temple, their sacrifices, feast days, Sabbaths, and special days.

“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:1-8 (KJV)

In verse one as we saw in the last study/message Jesus departs from the temple. Again, this is Matthew’s last mention of Jesus in the temple, and now he has Him departing from it. Even if the ark of the covenant is present behind the veil, the real glory of God has left. The ark of the covenant was only a shadow of the Lord Christ. Made of wood, representing man. Covered in gold representing the purity and deity of God; and within was the law of God – the Ten Commandments – given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai, Aaron’s rod that blossomed (Numbers 17:10), and a sample of the manna (Exodus 16:33). Many probably do not, nor will they want to see it; but this event of Jesus departing the temple is a very sad event; but one which speaks loudly of a coming judgment upon those who rejected Him.

Without God in the temple it was being left desolate (23:28), just as Jesus had said. Being left desolate the temple, then, would become subject to defilement, desecration, and destruction. Always evidence of God’s displeasure and departure.

In A.D. 70 the destruction of the temple was fulfilled. There was not one stone left upon another. These gleaming white marble stones were cut with precision, where each one fit perfectly as the building was being erected. The largest stone which was cut out measured 40 feet in length, by 12 feet wide, by 12 feet high, and weighed up to 100 tons. The East side of the temple was plated with gold, and as the morning sun rose it could be seen from many miles away. The temple had been forty years in the building and it was not completed at the time it was destroyed.

To see these massive stones, and hear the words of Jesus, it would be hard to imagine that that temple could be destroyed, and not one stone be left upon another. However when the temple fell, almost forty years later, it was just as Jesus said. Not one stone was left upon another.

A Study Bible note says,

24:2. not one stone shall be left here. These words were literally fulfilled in A.D. 70. Titus, the Roman general, built lare wooden scaffords around the walls of the temple buildings, piled them high with wood and other flammable items, and set them ablaze. The heat from the fires was so intense that the stones crumbled. The rubble was then sifted to retrieve the melted gold, and the remaining ruins were ‘thrown down’ into the Kidron Valley. See notes on 22:7; Luke 19:43.” THE MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE, NKJV, p. 1438.

It goes to show, when God says something is going to happen; it will happen; and just as He has said.

We are all somewhat curious about the future. We have that curiosity and the only way we know the future, or at least a part of it is by God’s revelation. The disciples were curious, and so asked Jesus, “When will these things be?”, and this was after they were the one’s showing Jesus the temple (v. 2); probably because they were in awe of its beauty and size. I am somewhat amazed by the architecture of the old European variety. There is an old church building in France which was started in its construction in 1100 A.D., and was completed around 1500. It is a massive piece of art, and craftsmanship. It still stands today, but for how much longer only God really knows. It is much greater to be in awe of the One who has shaped and formed and built all things from nothing.

The disciples asked Jesus three questions. Question 1: “When shall these things be?”; Question 2: “What shall be the sign of thy coming?”; and Question 3: “…of the end of the world?” When the disciples, awed by the glory of the building, saw that Jesus was not; they asked Him, “When shall these things be?” With psychics giving people false hope for the future just to gain a few dollars, people still reading their horoscopes, and some flocking to seminars where they can learn how to build their own future by building on themselves; we need a clear word from God on the matter of what the future holds. As has been said, “I don’t know what the future holds; but I know who holds the future.” We can trust and know; when we know Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior; that anything that is in our future is in the hands of the Almighty God, our Creator.

The only reason people go to psychics, palm readers, fortune tellers, necromancers (People who claim to communicate with the dead), and witches is to keep control of their lives themselves. I am forever grateful that the power of the control of my future is not in my hands, but the hands of my heavenly Father. Now, don’t misunderstand me. That does not mean that I can sit down and do nothing. As a responsible man, and Christian man; I still must be vigilant to tend to my regular business affairs, spiritual life, and see that my family grows in the Lord as well. I must be a responsible steward of all that God has blessed me with, and God help me, and forgive me where I haven’t been. God will reveal as much of the future that I need to know, as He wants me to know. He most likely will not tell me when I will die; when my wife, or my children will die; or the death of anyone else for that matter. He can, and He has before with others, but there is nothing that tells us He must do so.

The disciples equate the destruction of the temple with the end of the world [age]. A question we might ask is “Why would God destroy the Temple?” It was the center of worship for the Jews. To the Jew, it was the place where God dwelt. The place where they could meet God, and for some they thought to contain Him only in the temple for themselves, leaving them free to live as they pleased.

Why would God destroy the temple? To save Israel. God will destroy buildings, houses, lands, livestock, even lives to save a soul. Jesus did not tell His disciples when the temple would be destroyed. The destruction spoken of here would take place some years in the near future; it was; and there will be another one built, sometime yet in our future. Instead of telling the disciples “When” these things would come to pass, Jesus mentioned to them some signs of things which would happen before the return of the Lord.

Then in verse four Jesus begins answering the questions when He says, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” With the world experiencing the many forms of catastrophe which we all have seen it is no wonder there are those proposing things which are really “Get rich quick” schemes and scams. Even worse though are the spiritual charlatans who propose the many ways to God; than any way is good as long as you believe. Some give you a promise: “When you send in your offerings to me, then, God will multiply for you, your offering a hundred fold”. None of these false prophets warn of sin, death, and judgment; and certainly none of them call for repentance, and faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. There are many in the world out to deceive and to get what they want from anyone who will follow them.

Jesus’s words are, “Take heed that no man deceive you”. In this world there is only one hope and His name is Jesus Christ Son of the Living God; who died on the cross for the sins of the world, was buried carrying our sins away, and rose again as evidence that He is the God incarnate who created all that there is.

There are even some of them who say they are christs, and there are some who will tell you they have the christ spirit or something like that, but what they teach and say is contrary to the true Christ – there is only one – and His name is Jesus, Son of the Living God. The teaching of these male and female charismatic speakers are indeed fascinating, even captivating, but lies meant to lead you away from the truth. Even Oprah has her own gospel now, and it may include Jesus but not the Bible Jesus who died, was buried, and rose again. For if she really believed in Him she would not be promoting other ways to God. The kind of message she and others are proclaiming are leading many souls away from the truth of Jesus Christ right into the arms of Lucifer. Jesus said, “Take heed that no man deceive you.”

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:” Matthew 24:6-7 (KJV)

If we take a look around the world of 2008 we find wars going on in many nations. Oun own nation the USA is at war with two nations – Iraq and Afghanistan – and working toward another with Iran, due to Iran’s arrogance, and their hatred for Israel and the United States, and their threat that nuclear power would bring to the world. The president of Iran has vowed to destroy Israel. We need not fear that happening; it won’t; because God has promised otherwise, and we have seen His Almighty hand of deliverance before.

Jesus tells us in the verse above, “See that ye be not troubled…”. There is a war going on in our own nation. It is not a war with guns, bullets, and bombs; but a war of thoughts and ideas; a war of right versus wrong – what is right and what is wrong – even getting where wrong is considered right, and right is considered as wrong. Let me give you a for instance; in the minds of some citizens of the USA same sex marriage is a good thing for those who want to practice that perversion of a sexual relationship, and if you are silent and will support it by your silence saying on occasion, “I see nothing wrong with it”, then you are good. On the other hand if you oppose this perversion of a sexual relationship, and warn people that it is against the norm, or against God and right, then you are bad. According to a number of these same sex marriage advocates to be against their marriage or union and speak against it is “Hate speech”. That is only one instance of wrong being right, and right being wrong. There are others. You could call it a “Culture war”, but I think it better called a “Spiritual war”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

PROMISES AND PROPHECIES 4

PROPHECIES CONCERNING CONFLICT BETWEEN JEWS AND ARABS.

A. Genesis 27 – “And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob. And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.”

B. Ezekiel 35:1 – “Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it, 3 And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate. 4 I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD. 5 Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end: 6 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee. 7 Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth. 8 And I will fill his mountains with his slain men: in thy hills, and in thy valleys, and in all thy rivers, shall they fall that are slain with the sword. 9 I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 10 Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there: 11 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I have judged thee. 12 And thou shalt know that I am the LORD, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume.” <

C. Exodus 15:1 – “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’ God, and I will exalt him. 3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. 4 Pharaoh’ chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 7 And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. 8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. 10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. 11 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? 12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. 13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. 14 The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. 15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. 16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.”

D. Numbers 20:14 – “And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom, Thus saith thy brother Israel, Thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us: 15 How our fathers went down into Egypt, and we have dwelt in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians vexed us, and our fathers: 16 And when we cried unto the LORD, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and hath brought us forth out of Egypt: and, behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the uttermost of thy border: 17 Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country: we will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the wells: we will go by the king’ high way, we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy borders. 18 And Edom said unto him, Thou shalt not pass by me, lest I come out against thee with the sword. 19 And the children of Israel said unto him, We will go by the high way: and if I and my cattle drink of thy water, then I will pay for it: I will only, without doing any thing else, go through on my feet. 20 And he said, Thou shalt not go through. And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand. 21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.”

E. Psalms 83:1 – “Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. 2 For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. 3 They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. 4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. 5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: 6 The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; 7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; 8 Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah. 9Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison: 10 Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth. 11 Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna: 12 Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. 13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. 14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; 15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. 16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD. 17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: 18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.” NOTE VERSE 4.

F. Read Obadiah.

Edited for tags and categories only by t.a. 03/12/10

THE PRIESTLY JUDGE

THE PRIESTLY JUDGE
Revelation 8:1-13
The One who created all things, also still holds these things in His hand, to show forth wrath upon the “Inhabiters of the earth”; and the Priest who judges sin.
In the national life of Israel trumpets played an important role, and had three important uses: 1) For calling the people together (NUM. 10:1-8); 2) For announcing war (NUM. 10:9); and 3) For announcing special times (NUM. 10:10).

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. Revelation 8:1 (KJV).
The final seal is opened. Notice the response of Heaven. Silence. This could be caused by awe, because now the book is opened and the glories and power of God is revealed. All that was concealed is now revealed to all of Heaven for the first time.
Not a whisper, nary a sigh, but only silence. Sometimes the greatest reverence is given God by our silence. The Psalmist even wrote, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a).
It is not told us why there is silence for one half hour, but it does have to do with the seventh seal and the book [scroll]. There could be more than one reason, but I do believe the above reason is a biblical one. Other than that we just do not know.

2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. 5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. 6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 8:2-6 (KJV).
It seems that the seven seals and the seven trumpets are interrelated. The seventh seal introduces the seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet introduces the seven vials of wrath. These cannot be separated, then, because they all fit together. Each series of judgments seem to lead to a more severe wrath.
The seven angels are not named and it is not necessary to do so. They are given one trumpet each.
There is “another angel”, an eighth mentioned who seems to be a priestly angel. Some have equated this angel to being like the appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ – referred to in the Old Testament as the “Angel of the LORD”. It is not clear who this angel is. Jesus is the High Priest who atoned for our sin, and He is the One who will judge the world. Whoever he is he is fulfilling the work and ministry of a priest – unlike the work of any angel.
He stands at the brazen altar of judgment and sacrifice, with a golden censer [cup or bowl] for the incense which was given him. The incense is offered with the prayers of the saints [your prayers and mine, as well as the saints of the tribulation]. The incense is a symbol of prayer and worship.
In the Old Testament the high priest would kill the sacrifice at the brazen altar, collect the blood, and God received the offering by fire. The priest would take the golden bowl and take fire from the altar [which was never to go out LEV. 6:12-13, and it was lit by God LEV. 9:23-24], and enter the holy place with the blood, and with the fire, take the incense from the golden altar which was located outside the Holy of Holies [the presence of God], and he would enter the presence of God veiled in the smoke of the incense, pouring out the blood of the sacrifice at the throne of God – the presence of God. This made atonement for the people’s sins for one year.
Notice after the prayers and incense is offered to God the eighth angel takes fire in the golden censer, from the brazen altar of judgment, and casts it upon the earth.
Our prayers for deliverance; the prayers of the tribulation saints for deliverance and retribution, and for the glory of God to come will be done in God’s time. The “Imprecatory Psalms” (Psalms 7; 26; 35; 52; 55; and 58 are examples); these are not cries from selfish people, but cries for God to vindicate them according to His Word and grace.
It is amazing that God seems to store our prayers as a sweet fragrance to Him and will carry out their request in His time and according to His divine will. Have you grown weary and tired of prayer? Keep praying from a yielded and repentant, and broken heart. He hears you.
After fire is taken from the altar and cast to the earth it causes great upheaval. Voices, thunderings, lightnings and an earthquake. It seems clear that the censer used for offering up worship and prayer is now used to hurl judgment and vengeance upon the earth.
Nothing is said of how the seven angels “Prepared themselves”. It could be a simple thing as raising the trumpets.

The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up 8:7 (KJV).
The first four trumpets and their judgments are released in chapter eight. There are two more in chapter nine and the last one is in chapter eleven, beginning at verse fifteen.
If you will notice the seals were opened in the same way of separateness. The four horsemen are separate from the final three, and the seventh follows a short interlude. The same is true of the trumpets and the vials.
“All three of these series of sevens…are framed exactly alike. They are divided into four and three. Then the last three which are always separated and apart from the first four and divided are divided into two and one. Between the two and one (between the sixth and seventh), there is always an interlude. Between the sixth and seventh seals, the seventh chapter …. is an interlude. In the turmpets series chapters 10 – 11:14 form the interlude. Between the sixth and seventh bowls Revelation 16:13-16, is the interlude. The briefest interlude is between the sixth and seventh bowls of the wrath of God. The longest interlude by far is the one between the sixth and seventh trumpet.” BILL DUDLEY Notes page 31.
There is no reason for us to try and see these judgments in any other way than their literal sense. To look at them in another sense other than the literal sense makes nonsense.
The first trumpet could be parallel with Exodus 9:18-26. Each trumpet judgment seems to have some parallel with the Egyptian Exodus, and the plagues. If we are to take the plagues of Egypt literally, then we must take this hail, fire and blood literal as well.
One third part of the trees. According to some “trees” refers to fruit trees. This being the case “One third” of the fruit trees being destroyed would wreak havoc on the world, but it does not stop there. All green grass is burnt up, as well. This may include grain crops and this would drastically hurt meat and milk production causing further economic harm. The economy, of course, would be the least of their worries.

And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. 8:8-9 (KJV).
The second trumpet sounds and what appears as a “great mountain burning…” is “cast into the sea”.
A great large object falling from the heavens falls into the oceans turning one third of the seas into blood, killing one third of ocean life and destroying one third of all ships on the ocean waters. Again this is to be taken literally. If God was able to send plagues upon Egypt, and He was, He is able also to send these judgments upon a Christ-hating world.

And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. 8:10-11 (KJV).
The third trumpet seems to bring about the poisoning of the fresh waters of earth. It would seem that this “star” breaks in pieces upon entering the earth’s atmosphere and the pieces fall into individual sources of fresh water poisoning one third of the streams.
This “star” is directed by the hands of God to judge evil. It seems many will get thirsty and drink these waters and die.

And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. 13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound! 8:12-13 (KJV).
The fourth angel sounds the trumpet and the sun and moon is smitten, and also the stars. One third of the sun, the moon and stars are darkened. How this is done we are not told, only that it is done. Since evil men love darkness and not light they should enjoy this time.
These first four trumpets destroy much of what men often takes for granite in creation. We often do not think to be thankful for the trees, the grass, the oceans, streams of water, and the celestial creation. Many just think it will always be there. It does not matter how we live; grass and water will always be. While some may think the problem is ecological it is not. The real problem is a spiritual one. When wicked men of earth refuse God’s ways the ecology of earth suffers. God will even strike the stars and satellites of the heavens to show evil men that it is He who controls the universe.
The word “angel” in verse 13 is said to actually be “Eagle”. If that be so it could refer back to one of the four “Living beings” of chapter four. Verse seven of that chapter mentions the “fourth beast was like a flying eagle”. This “Eagle” is crying out , “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabiters of earth”. The three “woes” correspond with the following three trumpets.
The word “Inhabiters” is dealing with the lovers of this world, solely those who are of the earth. Those who are believers [followers of Christ] during this time; their habitation is in Heaven.
The woes seem to indicate that the judgments following will be far worse than anyone has ever seen, or has ever been through.
Be sure you know Jesus, NOW! Let us also be thankful for the fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and milk God has blessed us with so abundantly. For the water we drink, and for the heavenly creation praise the name of our Lord and Creator. Jesus is THE PRIESTLY JUDGE who will put an end to sin and make all things right in His sight.

Edited for tags, and some spelling corrections by t.a. 03/25/10