Fear Not; For You Shall Not Be Ashamed…

“Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.  For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of Hosts His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called.” Isaiah 54:4-5 (KJB)

I love the “Fear not” of these verses, and all of Scripture.  This one seems to be extra powerful.  It is probably due to the prophecy before it of our Suffering Servant Savior prophecies in chapters 51-53. Their Messiah would come, suffer, and die even by their own religious establishments hands, yet He is “Smiten of God and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4).

Through the sacrifice; the suffering, the bleeding, the dying of Jesus Christ, all of sins debt was paid.

I leave you with more thoughts from F. B. Meyer…

“We have heard the exiles summoned to leave Babylon, and have beheld the Savior becoming the sin-bearer. Here our attention is recalled to the still desolate condition of Jerusalem. See Neh_1:3; Neh_2:3; Neh_2:13-17. Jehovah says, Sing, but Israel replies that she cannot sing so long as she lies desolate. In reply God declares His inalienable love: He is their husband still and has sworn that the waters of death and destruction shall never be able to separate them from Himself. The kindness of His mercy is everlasting, and His covenant of peace shall outlast the mountains and hills.

In the closing paragraph, Isa_54:11-17, we behold the chosen city emerging from her heap of ruins. Watched by the eye of the great Architect, wrought by unseen hands, tested by the line and plummet of righteousness, she arises to fulfill her mission to the world. To inspired hearts it seems as though her common stones are jewels. Her children are taught of the Lord. Every accusing voice is hushed. All weapons of destruction are impotent. The New Jerusalem seems to have come down from heaven.” THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY – F. B. Meyer “The Wondrous Love of God” on Isaiah 54:1-17

Egypt, Assyria, and Israel as One Nation

“In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of Hosts, which He shaketh over it.  And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of Hosts, which He hath determined against it.

In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of Hosts; one shall be called, ‘The city of destruction.’

In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD.  And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of Hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a Saviour, and a Great One, and He shall deliver them.  And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform.  And the LORD shall smite Egypt: He shall smite and heal, and they shall return to the LORD, and He shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.

In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.

In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land: whom the LORD of Hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance.’ ” Isaiah 19:16-25 (KJB)

The Glory of the Father and the Son

“I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” John 17:4-5  (KJB)

Glorify the Lord. Now that is a grand statement, and it is one that describes how our lives are to be. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” How can we who are born sinners, then, glorify the Lord? Of ourselves we cannot.

Now that is a bold statement coming from a man who some would say, and are saying that He is not deity. No mere man could make such a claim, but Jesus does in His prayer to the Father. How could He make such a claim were He not equal with the Father? He could not. It would be the height of pride and arrogance for anyone else to say such a thing. It would be next door to blasphemy.

To glorify the Lord would be to be obedient to Him in all things, and fulfill every thing that God has for you and me to do. There would be no disobedience. There would be no mistakes. There would be a life completely “Sold out” to doing the Father’s business. Jesus has lived a life of complete obedience to all the Father had for Him to do, and all the way to Calvary; the cross of sacrifice.

The desire of every Christian is to live for the glory of the Lord. The only way of doing that is to live the life of Christ in you, the hope of glory. We do that by realizing that it was by the sacrifice of the life of Jesus that God has reconciled us to Himself, and given us means to glorify Him in Jesus.

Notice the faith and confidence in Jesus’s praying. He is eternal with the Father. He possessed glory before the world, or the universe ever was. His glory is His greatness, His power, His strength, His song, His priority. His Father’s glory. Where I have fallen short; where you have fallen short of His glory; Jesus is the Father’s glory.

Jesus is praying for His own glory. It seems quite clear. This is His High Priest prayer, and He has come to accomplish His Father’s glory by the sacrifice of Himself for all the world. The task He came to do required that He lay His creation glory aside, take on the flesh of man, and die. How can God die? He cannot. Becoming flesh He could become sin, paying the price of sin, being put to death – the penalty for sin – and then rise again victoriously over death.

The glory is seen by His resurrection from the grave. The Father restores His glory in the resurrection, and He is alive for all the world to see. Did the Father answer His prayer; this prayer? Most assuredly He did; and is every day.

Jesus is alive and in His glory.

Hearing and Doing

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, ‘If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” John 8:31-32 (KJB)

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:47

Verses 31 and 32 were spoken to seems to have believed in Him, but they could not see themselves as being in bondage; even while they as a people were enslaved to the Roman empire.

The words of verse 47 seems to show that they were not hearing God’s word to the point that Jesus was teaching. To “Continue” in His word is to live, to abide in it; making it every bit a part of one’s life.  Many of these leaders of religion could quote the whole law, but did not rest in neither trust their God and only Savior.

They were in fact still bound by the law which condemns them, and shows them their is only one hope.  That hope is found by means of a single sacrifice for sin.

That single sacrifice for sin was given when Jesus went to the cross and died for the sins of the world.

Do you want to be free, truly free?  Then, the only way is through the death, burial, and resurrection of the God-Man Christ Jesus.  He forever lives.  This is God’s grace.  Grace is not free.  It was paid for with the life of God’s own Son.

Now, what are you going to do with that information?

Prepared for the Battle

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.
A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.
Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath. The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.  He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.
The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?
A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.
A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way. There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.
The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.  Proverbs 21:10-31 (KJB)

Prepared for the Battle – Proverbs 21:20-31

Verse 20 –  The treasure to be desired.  The oil in the dwelling of the wise.  Foolish spending.

Verse 21 –  Following righteousness and mercy.  The fruit of the find is righteousness and honor.

Verse 22 –  While the mighty may believe their wall is impregnable; the wise will scale the wall and defeat the city.  The confidence of the city is then cast down too.

Verse 23 –  More wisdom concerning the mouth and the tongue.  Keeping the mouth equals guarding what you say.  Those who will guard their mouth and tongue will have far less troubles and sorrows of soul.

Verse 24 –

“If you meet a proud and haughty man, just call him “Scoffer.” That’s his name! The name, of course, stands for what a person is. “For as his name is, so is he” (1 Sam. 25:25).”  From Believer’s Bible Commentary.

Verses 25-26 –  A difference in the slothful and the righteous.  The slothful desires big things, but refuses to labor; while the righteous labor in order that they might have to give to need.

Verse 27 –  Sacrifice of the wicked; the wicked mind.  Compare Cain’s sacrifice with Abel’s (Genesis 4:1-15); King Saul’s sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:10-15ff) with the heart of David (Psalm 51:1-19).

Verse 28 –

“The contrast of a false witness with one who hears indicates that a person who testifies falsely has chosen not to listen carefully to either the matter at hand or the requirements that a witness act justly. Both the person and the perjury of such a witness will ultimately perish, because it is the Lord who clearly sees and judges these things (vv. 2, 12) and causes the word of the faithful witness to endure (cf. 12:19; 19:5, 9).”  From the ESV Study Bible notes.

Verse 29 –

“A wicked man hardeneth his face,…. Against all corrections and reproofs of parents, masters, ministers, and others; he blushes not at sins committed, and is not ashamed of them, but glories in them: or, he “strengthens with his face” (l); he puts an impudent face upon his words, and confirms them by his impudence; if he tells the most notorious lies, and says things the most shameful and scandalous, his countenance does not alter, by which he would be thought to have spoken what is right and true;

but as for the upright, he directeth his way; or “his ways” (m); according to the various reading; the man that is upright in heart, and walks uprightly, he directs his way according to the word of God; and, if he does amiss, when sensible he is ashamed of it, and amends.”  John Gills Expostion of the Bible.

Verses 30-31 –  “And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant.”   (Jeremiah 51:29).  Note; “…for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed…”  No plan working against God will succeed.

The Believer’s Bible Commentary summarizes verses 30 and 31 this way:

“Verse 30: Nothing avails against God.
Verse 31: Nothing avails without God.”

No one is prepared for a victorious battle whose heart, mind, weapons, and armor are against the LORD.

What Gift?

Just some thoughts from these sermon notes:

What Gift?

Matthew 5:21-26

OLD LAW – Concerning murder; meaning Pre-meditated having to do with planning before hand with malice and forethought.

ANGER – Leading to hatred. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”1 John 3:14-15 (KJV).

GIFT – A gift is above the requirements of the law;

– A gift is given, usually in sacrifice;

– When giving God a “Gift”, and realizing your offense/debt to another: leave the gift at the altar, then go and pay the debt.

TERMS/AGREEMENT – Do it with haste;

– First with God;

– Second, with brethren, and with your fellow man when possible;

– Only when in right fellowship with God can there be right fellowship with brethren;

– It is also possible, that if we be out of fellowship with brethren, we are out with God too.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Steward of God’s Stuff

The Stewardship Of Worship

Malachi 1:1-14

PURPOSE – Learning to avoid boredom in the worship of our Lord.

Some time back a “Baptist” paper ran an article asking the question of boring churches. Something along the line of, “Are your church services boring?” If we look at the condition of the people of God – called Israel – at the time of Malachi we can find conditions of their heart which we can learn, that we do not want, nor need in our hearts or churches.

INTRODUCTORY OUTLINE –

I. GOD CHOSE JACOB, RATHER THAN ESAU, TO BE IN THE LINEAGE OF JESUS CHRIST (vv. 1-5).

They Had Questioned God’s Love.

II. THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE CHOSEN AND CALLED UPON TO GIVE GOD THE BEST IN OFFERING AND SACRIFICE (vv. 6-11).

They Had Questioned God’s Character and Word.

III. DISRESPECT, BOREDOM, CONTEMPT IS NOT BECOMING FOR THE CHILD OF GOD (vv. 12-14).

They Had Questioned The Value of Worship.

I. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE; THAT YOU WERE CHOSEN BY GOD (vv. 1-4).

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9.

A. There are many who are troubled by this phrase, “I loved Jacob and hated Esau”.

1. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” Luke 14:26.
2. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Romans 9:13-16.

B. We should not be so amazed that He ‘hated’ Esau, but that He loved Jacob.

1. Jacob was chosen by God and Esau rejected before either one was born; “And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” Gen. 25:21-23.

“ And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)   It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Rom. 9:10-13.
2. This in itself is a picture of grace – God’s unmerited favor.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit…” Titus 3:5ff.

II. SINCE WE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY HIM AND PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GIVE ANYTHING, EXCEPT THE BEST (vv. 6-11).

A. If we are to avoid boredom in worship then we must give Him our full attention in our worship – personal and corporate.
B. If God is our Father we ought to honor Him as Father.

1. If Jesus is our Master we are His servant.
2. You fear and obey your father, and master, or you are disciplined. “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” Heb. 12:7-8.

C. When we cease to give our best, that is when we begin losing the fire [excitement, enthusiasm] of worship for God.

1. Worship begins to be ‘Contemptible’ to us.

a. It starts becoming something of lesser importance – other things become more important.

2. We begin looking for places to place blame for ‘Dull and boring’ worship services.
3. We attend ‘Worship services’ more out of habit or duty, rather than desire and love for Jesus.
4. If the spiritual leader(s) shows contempt toward these things; it will trickle down into the congregation.

a. These were calling the ‘Table of the Lord contemptible’ – basically referring to the total ministry.
b. These were also offering blemished, unholy offerings compromising the Word of God.
c. The spiritual leaders are to commit sound teachings to ‘Faithful men’ – that includes right worship.

“ And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2.

D. God will not, does not accept half-hearted worship (v. 10); “Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.”
E. God’s name will one day be great among the nations of the world.

III. BOREDOM IS THE POISON OF THE CHRISTIAN SOUL (vv. 12-14a).

A. To overcome ‘Boredom’ in your worship you must come giving yourself first of all.

1. If you come to worship corporately with brothers and sisters in Christ and offer nothing, then you will be bored and receive nothing.
2. No one ought to ever come to worship without giving, and expecting God’s presence, power and glory.
3. When you see the cross of Jesus, His death, burial, and resurrection you can give yourself and all you possess.

B. One of the biggest parts of worshipping our Lord is loving the Lord Jesus.

1. When you love Him nothing you commit to Him will be a waste of time nor will it be boring.
2. There is nothing more exciting than serving and worshipping our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

C. Overcoming boredom will come when we treat the Name of God and His Word with great awe and respect.

IV. REMEMBERING THE GREATNESS OF OUR GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD WILL KEEP US FROM BOREDOM (v. 14b).

A. We will learn to show the utmost awe and respect for God and His Word by daily hearing it and applying it, by the power of the Spirit of God to our lives.
B. By God, His Word, and His creation we are constantly reminded of His greatness.
C. By calling on His name daily for fellowship, and directions for the day we can avoid becoming stale and bored.
D. If you experience boredom; get into God’s Word, get involved in someone else’s life for their good; develop an active sense of mission.
E. Be sure Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior.

SUMMARY –

I. REMEMBER YOU WERE CHOSEN BY GOD.
II. ALWAYS GIVE GOD THE VERY BEST OF YOU.
III. AVOID BOREDOM BY CARING, AND BEING INVOLVED IN GOD’S WORK – OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES FOR THEIR GOOD.
IV. REMEMBER THE GREATNESS OF GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD.
V. IF YOU HAVE BACKSLIDEN; COME BACK TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU LEFT GOD: IF LOST – BE SAVED TODAY.

THE CURE FOR BOREDOM: 1.) Know the Lord Jesus Christ; 2) Study His Word and pray; 3) Have an active sense of mission; 4) Read regularly from Christian materials that are in keeping with Scripture, and glorifies Jesus, and builds your faith; 5) Be a part of other’s lives.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Living Sacrifice

The Committed Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1-2

In chapters 1-3 Paul writes his opening greeting, and from the greeting to verse 20 of chapter three he writes of the sinfulness of mankind, and our condemnation. From chapter 3 and verse 21 to chapter 8 verse 39 he has written of the righteousness of God, and that there is justification for all who will come through faith in Jesus Christ. In chapters 9 – 11 we have Paul’s theology and eschatology on the Nation of Israel, and their place in “God’s Plan of Salvation”. In the remainder of the book of Romans we will be looking at the practicality of the theology which Paul has written.

It would seem to me that Paul; using the background of the previous three chapters; is reminding us to be unlike Israel. Those chapters have an inherent warning of turning away from the Lord. It too, does have promise for the Nation of Israel, that God has not forsaken them. The warning and the promise should be especially meaningful to Christians.

There are a few words and phrases in these two verses that will be necessary for clearer understanding of what Paul is teaching us.

1.  “Beseech” – is a word which is from the same word family where the word “Comforter” is taken for the Holy Spirit = “Paraklete” “parakaleō par-ak-al-eh’-o From G3844 and G2564; to call near, that is, invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation): – beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), intreat, pray.” See John 14:26. Paul strongly urges the believer.

2.  “Mercies of God” – We receive mercy from God every day. It is not something we often thank Him for. These mercies include His love, and all that Paul has reminded us of through chapter eleven, than again here. “His mercy is everlasting”; “His mercy endureth forever”.

3.  “Present your bodies a living sacrifice” – There are some who believe and teach that God is only interested in our soul or spirit. That is not true, however. Here we see Paul strongly urging the believer to “come along side” with God’s mercies, and give our “bodies” as “Living sacrifices”. Giving the body as a living sacrifice means sacrificing the fleshly appetites which would take us away from holiness, and away from being “holy and acceptable unto God”. The body, after all will be redeemed from the grave, a brand new body. This present body must be presented fully unto God, that He might do a work in us for cleansing, purging, and making it holy unto Him.

4.  “Reasonable service” – The MacArthur Study Bible note on this verse, “reasonable service. ‘Reasonable’ is from the Gr. For ‘logic.’ In light of all the spiritual riches believers enjoy solely as the fruit of God’s mercies (Rom. 11:33,36), it logically follows that they owe God their highest form of service. Understood here is the idea of priestly, spiritual service, which was such an integral part of OT worship.” p.1716. The LORD God, our Lord and Savior deserves the highest form of worship and service.

5.  “Be not conformed to this world” – Conforming is taking on an identity that is not the genuine reflection of the heart or the inner being. A sheep putting on a wolf’s clothing [skins] in order to dwell among the wolves for example. Why do we have Christians who may have the greatest motives wanting to put on the array of the harlot, the gambler, the drunk? It is not the array of God. The prince and princess should dress and act accordingly, so as not to bring shame to the King.

6.  “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” – a metamorphosis refers to an outward change that has transpired which is a result of the inward change. It represents a change for the whole person. Not just for a short period of time, but day by day, and for every moment of each day. This kind of “transformation occurs only by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the life of the believer, and the power of the Word of God working in our lives. The renewed mind is saturated with the Word of God. “Order my steps in Thy Word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV). “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word” (Psalm 119:9 KJV).

7.  “That you may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God” – Basically the only way to be good, acceptable and in the perfect will of God is by being the living sacrifice to God that Paul has admonished us to be. The individual who does not know God’s will for their life is in disobedience in their life.

The practical message here is that our bodies are to be presented as living sacrifices. Yielded to the Lord for His service, His will and His glory. We are strongly urged to do so, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God. It is proved by living such lives before the eyes of a watching world whom we do not think is watching.

-Tim A. Blankenship

I Do Not Like the Old Testament…

I Do Not Like the Old Testament, Especially Leviticus

(Reading Exodus 38 – Leviticus 18) Exodus 39:30-32; 40:34-38; Leviticus 13:1-3

I just recently realized that I do not like Leviticus. It is painful to read. It is hard to understand. It is judgmental about human life and living. It condemns me.

Even if I do not like Leviticus there are some things I can learn from it. Then I need to apply that to my life.

1. We are continually reminded that God is Holy, and that He is the LORD.
2. We are reminded again and again that we are unholy and unclean.
3. We are reminded again and again that there must be a sacrifice, or there is no approaching God.
4. We are reminded that that the most basic sacrifice is the blood of a Lamb.

I wrote this in 2013 while I was studying Leviticus.

So that you may know; I do love the whole of the word of God from Genesis – Revelation, and that has been given me as God’s gift of grace.

Prayers of the Saints Heard by the Great High Priest

“And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 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. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. 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. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”  Revelation 8:1-6 (KJV)

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 (Numbers 10:1-8); 2) For announcing war (Numbers 10:9); and 3) For announcing special times (Numbers 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 are 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.

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.  Since the Lamb is Christ Jesus and the One who opens the seals, I will believe this is just a completely different 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 Leviticus 6:12-13, and it was lit by God Leviticus 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 the 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 about how the seven angels “Prepared themselves”. It could be a simple thing as raising the trumpets.

Let us as the saints of God raise our hearts and voices in prayer to God.  The time which we live is urgent.  Let us begin by repentance, seeking forgiveness of sin, and seeking revival of the Church.  The world is in grave need.  Let us be the Church; the Body of Christ. The Great High Priest who forgives our sin; also judges sin.

Jesus Through the Bible – The Scapegoat

Scapegoat “A person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.” From Dictionary.com We hear the word “Scapegoat” many times. Someone was a scapegoat for an evil political action that was done, or something of that order. Someone was a scapegoat for a bad business decision, etc.

There is, however, a certain “Scapegoat” mentioned in Scripture. This scapegoat gives us a picture of Jesus Christ; at least a picture of His work on the cross, and His burial. In Leviticus we read…

And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.” Leviticus 16:7-10

The first goat was to be a sin offering which would bear the sins of the sins of Aaron and his house (Leviticus 16:6), and they were to “cast lots” to determine which goat was to be the sin offering, and which was to be the scapegoat. I want us to deal with the scapegoat, though we must understand they are both necessary for this part of redemption. We do not often picture a goat as having redeeming qualities; but let us see the goat as representing the sin which our Saviour bore on the cross.

The sin offering died, thus through Christ sin was put to death (Also read Romans 6:1-16), it has no more power over those who are the redeemed. Sin also lays on us death, sin, guilt, condemnation, and O, such sorrows. The scapegoat was taken alive into the wilderness to never be seen again.

When the child of God has laid on her or him these condemnations; then we must remember that all our sins were laid on Him who died, was buried; and in His burial He carried all our sin, death, shame, guilt and condemnation away, and He arose bodily alive, victorious over all of death’s vices.

Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, God incarnate became on the cross the very thing which He and His Father hated: Sin (2 Corinthians 5:21); was judged by the Father; the Father resurrected Him, and by His resurrection we are raised with Him. Cleansed, forgiven, and in fellowship with God for now and all eternity.

Contrast of the Righteous and the Wicked

There are many gifts given that are given in sacrifice.  Some even given so hopefully to appease a wrathful god who holds a scale in his hands weighing our good and our evil deeds.  No one can judge another heart in the matter.  But the Almighty God knows.

In a couple of verses we look at today we see what God thinks of sacrifices given by the “Wicked”; and the prayers of the “Upright” or the “Righteous”.

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is His delight.” Proverbs 15:8
“The LORD is far from the wicked: but He heareth the prayer of the righteous.” Proverbs 15:29 (KJV)

It is good to be reminded of king Saul’s sacrifice (1 Samuel 15), and Samuel’s words to Saul concerning sacrifice,

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:22-23

Wickedness is the act of hostility toward God, His Word, His messengers, and His works.  Who are the wicked?  Those who practice such things.  For those who are the wicked; God does not honor, remember or bless your “sacrifice”.  It is an abomination to Him; and will be counted against you unless you believe Him.

Proverbs 15:29 tells us that “The LORD is far from the wicked”.  He is far from them as far as their wickedness is concerned.  The place where they lie at night He is there; but they are far from Him.

In both of the verses of Proverbs is mentioned “Prayer”.  The prayer of the upright; and the prayer of the righteous.  The righteous are those who have heard the Word of God, believed it, received it, and are born into the kingdom of heaven because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“The prayer of the upright is His delight”.  The “Upright” are the righteous, and God is delighted– favors, finds pleasure, good will, and acceptance in their prayers. For those who are born again in Christ Jesus it is wonderful to know that He hears our prayers…

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

O turn away from your wicked hostility toward God, His Word, His people, His messengers, and His works.  Call on the name of the Lord.

Jesus in Genesis (5)

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

We are going to look at a picture of Jesus in Genesis 22 in this study. It is surely one of the clearest pictures of Jesus, the crucifixion, and resurrection that you will ever find in all of the Old Testament.

First of all I want you to put from your mind the old Sunday School picture of Isaac being a small child as he and his father, Abraham went on this journey of sacrifice. It is highly, more probable, that he is a man in his thirties. I will explain that a little later. Now, how do we see the Lord Jesus in the text of Genesis 22.

The command from God to Abraham is,

“Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering up one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (v.2).

God the Father offered up His only Son for the sacrifice for sin upon the cross of Calvary. Which is said to be the very place where Abraham came to offer Isaac. It was a planned place, “which I will tell thee of”. Abraham rose without question, “early in the morning” maybe to avoid the questions of Sarah, but he went in faith. If you will notice how many times it is stated rather emphatically that it was a “certain place” (vv. 2,3,4,&9).

After Abraham had gathered all the necessary items, his son, a couple of servants, the wood, and the fire they journeyed for three days (v. 4) and “saw the place afar off.” In the heart and mind of Abraham, Isaac had been three days dead. He had been committed to obey God believing according to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews that God was able to raise Isaac from death (Hebrews 11:17-19). From this point on Abraham and Isaac proceed up to the mountain top alone. What is about to transpire can only happen between the father and the son. What happened on Calvary between the Father and Son was such a transaction that no one will ever be able to describe. Three hours of darkness. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us about the event.SEE Matthew 27:45-46; Mark15:33-34; and Luke 23:44-45.

If you will, now, notice the wood that Abraham, “…laid it upon Isaac his son…” Notice also who took “the fire” and “a knife”. By whose hand was this judgment to fall? The father. See Isaiah 53:4-5ff.

Now, back to something I mentioned earlier. Isaac would have been a grown man, not a child as is often pictured in many Sunday School quarterlies. He could have been 37 years of age. I base that on Sarah’s age at the time of her death (Genesis 23:1) 127, and age of Isaac at the time of his marriage to Rebekkah – 40 (Genesis 25:20; also see 24:67). The reason I mention this is because as a grown man he would have been able to overthrow his father, and not be the sacrifice, but Isaac went as a willing participant in the offering. He was submissive to his father’s will. 1) He took the wood (v. 6); 2) He walked up the hill carrying the wood (v.9); 3) He allowed his hands and feet to be bound (v. 9). Does that sound familiar?

Isaac’s typology of Christ ends here at the altar. He was an unworthy sacrifice for sin. Isaac himself needed a substitute, and that would be the ram. At the point where the “angel of the LORD” stops the hand of Abraham from slaying Isaac, in the heart and mind of Abraham Isaac is alive again. He has been resurrected and lives. Three days dead, now living. On the way, alone with his father, Isaac had asked, “…Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”, and Abraham responded, “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering… (vv. 7-8). God has provided HIMSELF as a sacrifice for sin in the person of His own only Son.

I do not think it to be an accident that it says, “…and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns…” In Scripture horns represent power and authority. The ram was held by his own power. Christ “…Stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem…” (Luke 9:51).

May they who have a heart for seeing Jesus see Him clearly here. If you cannot see Him here you will miss Him elsewhere.

The Righteous Cannot be Saved

Many religions place importance on doing something to gain God’s favor. Let me at the beginning just say; there is nothing you or I can do to gain God’s favor. There is no sacrifice, there is no sacrament, there is no good deed to your neighbor or the world which will gain you or me eternal life and/or the favor of Holy God.

This very mentality is what Jesus is addressing in the following verses:

“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew 9:10-13 (KJV)

When Jesus was ministering to the publicans (tax collectors) and sinners the religious leaders began questioning Jesus’s purpose, power, and ministry. “What kind of man would sit with tax collectors and sinners?” they were asking themselves, and the disciples.

There is only one sacrifice which God the Father accepts; and that is the sacrifice, the death of His only begotten Son. Still the religious; the self-righteous try to gain the favor; the grace; of God through sacrifice and sacrament.

God shows grace and mercy to the sinner who will come to Him through the cross of His Son Jesus with a repentant heart. Through the act of repentance on the part of the sinner, trusting Christ Jesus, God clothes the sinner in the righteousness of God the Son.

You may be a righteous person today. You cannot be saved. Until you see yourself as the sinner your really are you will remain lost, condemned, dying, guilty, and spiritually dead.

Come to the Father through the cross of Jesus. Sinner hear Him and be saved. He came to save the sinner.

My Foot, My Mouth, and My Sacrifice

“Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 (KJV)

Our feet are the means of our transportation. With them we walk about our homes. We walk to our automobiles. Some people who live near their place of employment walk to work, and we need feet to do such a thing, and such things. It is a good thing to have feet.

However, we must watch where we place them in order to walk safely, soundly, and securely. The thing is true in God things as well. As a matter of fact; for the Christian everything we do ought to be done with the thought of “Will this glorify the Lord?” and if it does not; it is not worth doing. Watch your feet when you go to the house of God. Be careful where you step, so that you do not harm your testimony; and so that you do not profane the name of our God.

Saul, the first king of Israel did not keep his foot. He boasted of his faith when he offered a sacrifice in disobedience to Samuel (1 Samuel 15 note verse 22). Sacrifice without obedience is blasphemy, and is sin. God has no pleasure in those who do all the right things for the wrong reasons.

The mouth is a thing often affected by the way the feet move, and where they go. To go to the house of God we should be silent when we are being taught, except in participating in discussion of the lesson, and on track.

God is not well pleased by sacrifices done in the wrong motive, nor words spoken that are contrary to one’s life (Isaiah 1:10-15). Any words we speak in the place of worship should be toward God; admiring, adoring, and worshipping Him. Otherwise they should be few.

As a Christian we need to realize that our bodies are the temple of the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); therefore we are to walk with Him wherever we go; whatever we do; to glorify Him; and

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

We all need the fellowship of others; to encourage others in the faith; and for ourselves to hear from others and be encouraged, and strengthened in the faith.

Demons of Worship

“They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: but were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.” Psalm 106:34-38 (KJV)

Some human intellect of years ago made the statement: “Man creates god in his own image.” Basically turning the Biblical teaching of “God created man in His image”. That human intellect may have upset some Christian folks, but think about that for a moment.

Is it not possible that men and women do create god in their own image? Some believe in a god who is all loving, but there is no wrath about him/her; he/she hates nothing, but loves everything, and everybody. Then there are some people who believe god believes everything they believe, and they base their belief system around that. There are some who may believe that god is a god of pleasure; and he/she is all about them being happy and fulfilled; and they have the right to go about achieving their pleasure any way they choose.

Congratulations! If you fit into any one of those molds you have made a god in your own image. Oh, there could be many more; as many more as there are people on the earth.

The Ten Commandments and the Bible tells us of only one God, His name is YaHWeH [Jehovah], and He has a Son whose name is Jesus. To worship any other is to worship idols.

The children of Israel were to purge the Promised Land of all the heathen nations, and their gods, lest they fall into the worship practices of those people, and worship demons in the process. Even the apostle Paul recognizes this in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 10:20-21).

The Psalms later points out to us that people become like what we worship (115:4-8; 135:15-18). For instance in this Psalm even it is said,

“They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image. Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.” (Psalm 106:19-20)

You can go on believing in false gods if you choose and you will become like what you worship. You can also choose to believe the God of the Bible. He made you in His image and likeness, and He desires to make you like Himself. He is holy, righteous, and undefiled. We become like Him through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

You can continue worshipping demons, or you can worship the One who created all things.

The Worship of Demons

“And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz. For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem. And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.” 2 Chronicles 28:22-25 (KJV)

Ahaz was an evil king of Judah. He was in distress, and against the only, and Holy God of Judah and Israel; and the world for that matter. He had sacrificed his sons to fire according to the ways of those who had been driven out of Canaan (28:3). He had no heart for the LORD.

You may wonder why this is titled “Worshipping Demons”. It is because of what he apostle Paul says,

“What say I then? That the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” 1 Corinthians 10:19-22

The worship of any “god” other than Jehovah through His Son Jesus Christ, and His atoning blood is demon worship.

If that offends you, then repent of your sins and turn to the One who died for your sins, was buried and rose again, and He will forgive your sins and give you eternal life in the presence of holy GOD.

Right and Wrong

“In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel began Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah to reign. Sixteen years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned two and fifty years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jecholiah of Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done; save that the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burnt incense still on the high places.” 2 Kings 15:1-4 (KJV)
Of Menahem king of Israel “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” 2 Kings 15:24

In reading the history of the kings of Judah and Israel you will notice phrases “…he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD…” or “…he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD…”

In our day it seems the terms “Right” and “Evil” need to be defined. Right is what GOD says is right. Evil is what GOD says is evil. Right is good. Evil is bad, or wrong. If anyone stands against what God, the LORD says is right you stand against God and right. There is no redefining it. It is absolute. As God never changes; neither does His Word.

Just for note and study Azariah is also known as Uzziah. Uzziah was not perfect for he tried to usurp the office of the priests, and that is why verse 5 tells us that he had leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:16-21). His son Jotham aided him in the rule of Judah.

Stand on the side of God and His Word. You will be noted for doing what is right in the sight of the LORD. That does only come through the One who was right in all that He did, as He was obedient to the Father even unto death; even the death of the cross. His name is Jesus. Believe Him. Place your whole life, heart and being in His hands.

Holy God; Unholy Me

“And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will. On the same day it shall be eaten up; ye shall leave none of it until the morrow: I am the LORD. Therefore shall ye keep My commandments, and do them: I am the LORD. Neither shall ye profane My holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you, that brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 22:29-33 (KJV)

At least four times in the above verses above it is written, “I am the LORD”.  Do you have a problem with God being “the LORD”?

One of the things that stands out to me as I read Leviticus is that since God is holy He demands holiness from His people.  Holiness is nothing less than perfection.  Well!  I do not meet God’s requirements.  I do not know anyone who does.  That leaves me in terribly bad shape with God.  That is probably not good English, but I am not perfect there either.

I was born into this world in a condemned, unholy state with God.  When I look at His law, His Word I am condemned by it, and find myself totally separated from holy God.  By these laws I see what God commands, and I realize my need.  My need is God.  On my own I cannot have Him.  I also find that He loves me.  Why else would He give these laws?  Most of all why would He, with all these sacrifices, show us that there is a way to Himself, except that He loves us?

All of these sacrifices of lambs, bulls, goats, etc. are pictures, shadows, types of the anti-type who is Christ Jesus.  I no longer am condemned by the law, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, but through the death of Christ, and His bodily resurrection, I have access into the very throne room of holy God.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Now if I were to tell you that I do not know Him; if I were to live my life as if I did not know Him, then I would profane His name.

The following are the written words of Matthew Henry on the above verses,

That the flesh of their thank-offerings should be eaten on the same day that they were sacrificed, Lev_22:29, Lev_22:30. This is a repetition of what we had before, Lev_7:15; Lev_19:6, Lev_19:7. The chapter concludes with such a general charge as we have often met with, to keep God’s commandments, and not to profane his holy name, Lev_22:31, Lev_22:32. Those that profess God’s name, if they do not make conscience of keeping his commandments, do but profane his name. The general reasons are added: God’s authority over them – I am the Lord; his interest in them – I am your God; the title he had to them by redemption – “I brought you out of the land of Egypt, on purpose that I might be your God;” the designs of his grace concerning them – I am the Lord that hallow you; and the resolutions of his justice, if he had not honour from them, to get himself honour upon them – I will be hallowed among the children of Israel. God will be a loser in his glory by no man at last; but sooner or later will recover his right, either in the repentance of sinners or in their ruin.

from Matthew Henry Commentary

Without Jesus Christ you are a condemned, dying soul, headed for an eternity of torment and away from God.  Is that really what you desire?

The Incense of Prayer

“LORD, I cry unto Thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto Thee. Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141:1-2 (KJV)

Within the tabernacle in the wilderness, and the temple of Solomon just outside the veil of the temple which separated the table of shewbread, the menorah, from the ark of the covenant there also stood the altar of incense; made of gold.  It offers us a picture of prayer and approaching the GOD of glory, coming into His presence.

I will let Matthew Henry comment on these verses today, and pray they are a blessing to you.

David loved prayer, and he begs of God that his prayers might be heard and answered, Psa_141:1, Psa_141:2. David cried unto God. His crying denotes fervency in prayer; he prayed as one in earnest. His crying to God denotes faith and fixedness in prayer. And what did he desire as the success of his prayer? 1. That God would take cognizance of it: “Give ear to my voice; let me have a gracious audience.” Those that cry in prayer may hope to be heard in prayer, not for their loudness, but their liveliness. 2. That he would visit him upon it: Make haste unto me. Those that know how to value God’s gracious presence will be importunate for it and humbly impatient of delays. He that believes does not make haste, but he that prays may be earnest with God to make haste. 3. That he would be well pleased with him in it, well pleased with his praying and the lifting up of his hands in prayer, which denotes both the elevation and enlargement of his desire and the out-goings of his hope and expectation, the lifting up of the hand signifying the lifting up of the heart, and being used instead of lifting up the sacrifices which were heaved and waved before the Lord. Prayer is a spiritual sacrifice; it is the offering up of the soul, and its best affections, to God. Now he prays that this may be set forth and directed before God as the incense which was daily burnt upon the golden altar, and as the evening sacrifice, which he mentions rather than the morning sacrifice, perhaps because this was an evening prayer, or with an eye to Christ, who, in the evening of the world and in the evening of the day, was to offer up himself a sacrifice of atonement, and establish the spiritual sacrifices of acknowledgement, having abolished all the carnal ordinances of the law. Those that pray in faith may expect it will please God better than an ox or bullock. David was now banished from God’s court, and could not attend the sacrifice and incense, and therefore begs that his prayer might be instead of them. Note, Prayer is of a sweet-smelling savour to God, as incense, which yet has no savour without fire; nor has prayer without the fire of holy love and fervour.

from Matthew Henry Commentary e-Sword edition

Now the veil has been taken away by the cross, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  You have access to the very throne of God through Christ Jesus.  Our prayers are still as sweet incense unto the Father in heaven (Revelation 8:4).

The Faith of Sacrifice

The Faith of Sacrifice

Genesis 22:1-19

1. The Person of the Sacrifice and the Sacrificial Offering (vv. 1-2).

2. The Place of the Sacrifice (vv. 3-4).

3. The Pertinence of the Sacrifice (vv. 5-8).
This was a journey only the father and son could do together.
This was a journey only God the Father, and Jesus God the Son could do together.

4. The Power of Sin and the Necessary Sacrifice (vv. 9-14).

5. The Promise of the Sacrifice (vv. 15-19).

Preached in the Evening Worship @ Shiloah Baptist Church July 20, 2014

Jesus Through the Bible – Isaac’s Third Day

Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.”  Genesis 22:4

Abraham, the father, had been directed by God to sacrifice his only son.  Father and son were going to a certain place, to carry out the command of the Most High God.  Remember Abraham had been promised that through “Isaac his seed would be called”, and that God would make of him a great nation.

Remember now the third day following the sacrifice of God’s only Son Jesus, if you will; now consider this.  When Abraham and Isaac went on together; in the mind of Abraham Isaac was already sacrificed, that is what he was doing, where he was going.  On this third day Isaac was delivered by a ram caught by his horns in the bush; now consider this Isaac’s resurrection .

Jesus and the Father were at the cross, the sacrifice for our sins.  What Jesus did He did alone for you and me.  He bled, He died, He was buried, and three days later He came out of that grave bodily; and He forever lives.

Believe Him and be saved.

Jesus and the Sabbath Day

“Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?  Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?  But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.  But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.  For the Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath day.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 12:1-8)

Jesus, The Good Shepherd

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father.” ~Jesus (John 10:7-18)

Henry Martyn (1781-1812)

The following article is borrowed from Kairos Journal.  I found it quite interesting and informing.  I pray the readers here will as well.

“Alone against Islam”: Henry Martyn (1781-1812)

The debate inside the tent soon matched the soaring temperatures outside as the solitary, sickly Christian rebuffed the arguments of his Muslim opponents. Henry Martyn (1781-1812) had reached Tabriz in May 1812 hoping to present a copy of his Persian translation of the New Testament to the Shah, the nation’s ruler, for his commendation. But before that could happen, the Shah’s vizier (1) ordered him to dispute with the mullahs. After an hour or two the vizier finally intervened with an ultimatum. “You had better say ‘God is God, and Muhammad is the prophet of God.’” No-one moved. All eyes focused on Martyn. Later he recalled, “I said, ‘God is God,’ but instead of adding ‘Muhammad is the prophet of God,’ I said, ‘and Jesus is the Son of God.’” The mullahs rose in disgust and the vizier refused his visitor’s request. (2)

Fifteen years earlier, few could have imagined such a scene. In October 1797, Martyn entered Cambridge University to read mathematics and five years later became a fellow in classics. As a brilliant scholar and linguistic genius, an academic career beckoned, yet Martyn turned his back on it. Charles Simeon (3) asked him to serve as his curate in 1803, and under his influence the young man set his heart on serving Christ overseas.

Leaving behind the woman he loved, Martyn arrived in India in April 1806 as a chaplain of the East India Company, responsible for the souls of the locally stationed British soldiers. But his heart burned for the indigenous Muslim and Hindu populations, and before long he was preaching to them despite heat, opposition, and ill-health. Putting his linguistic skills to use, he started the simultaneous translation projects of the New Testament into Persian, Arabic, and Urdu and completed the Urdu edition in February 1809.

His desire to revise the Persian and complete his Arabic New Testament led Martyn to leave India and enter the formidable domain of Islamic Persia in May 1811. Setting out for Shiraz, a prominent center of Shia Muslim scholarship and poetry, he traveled with a wet towel around his face and neck because of the fierce heat. Once installed in his new home, Martyn worked with a local, Mirza Seid Ali, on the Persian translation, and in less than nine months he completed the New Testament and a version of the Psalms in an accurate and readable vernacular. “No year of my life was ever spent more usefully,” he wrote. (4)

Yet Martyn’s time in Shiraz was far from tranquil. As the only Christian in a Muslim city, he was an easy target for abuse, and the governor had to intervene to stop the constant stoning of his house. He defended the gospel in lengthy discussions with the mullahs and wrote a reply to a defense of Islam published by the leading mullah, Mirza Ibrahim. Always willing to engage the Sufis, his conversations invariably reached an impasse over the deity of Christ. Before he left Shiraz to see the Shah in May 1812, only one man had turned to Christ. Yet the fruit of Martyn’s life appeared after his untimely death that October. His Persian edition reached people in 1846, being used until 1910, and his work still shapes the current edition.

Reflecting on his life, Martyn commented, “Even if I never should see a native converted, God may design, by my patience and continuance in the work, to encourage future missionaries.” (5) Today, Persia (modern day Iran) is still held in the vice of radical Islam, pouring forth a message of threat and triumphalism backed up with arms and money. As political and military solutions are considered to contain its influence, Henry Martyn’s sacrificial example shows the only sure way to challenge Islam. May God be pleased to send many more like him to confront the nations with Christ’s truth.

Footnotes:
1     A high official in certain Muslim countries and caliphates, especially a minister of state.
2     Richard T. France, “Henry Martyn,” in Five Pioneer Missionaries, ed. S. M. Houghton (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), 291.
3     Vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge, England.
4     Ibid., 285.
5     Ibid., 263.

Through the Bible in a Year – 022413

THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR

Things That Really Count
Numbers 11 – 30

In our world today everything is digital. What does that mean. Some how the “experts”, at least those in the know about such things have figured out how we can have cell phones digitally; with their towers digitally; televisions are digital now; the computers are digital.

A “digit” is defined in the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICITONARY as “any of the figures 1 to 9 inclusive and usually the symbol 0.”

Some how the numbers 1 and 0 are the link to it all. When you have the right equipment you can place those numbers in “cyber space”, pull them out with a CD player, DVD player, or HDTV picture, and you have music, movies in your home and over the air, sattelite TV.

We look in the Bible and we see Digital is nothing new with God. Numbers or Digits do count with God.

1. The People Count;

2. The Sacrifices Count;

3. Disobedience Counts toward Judgment (Chapters 11-16);

  • We see complaining of hunger in the numbers (11);
  • We see unbelief in the numbers (12-14);
  • We see envy of leadership (16);

4. There is a Prophet who Counted for Profit (23-25);

5. The Rock in the Wilderness Counts (20:7-11; Exodus 17:6; 1 Corinthians 10:4);

6. The Inheritance Counts for All (26-30; Romans 8:16-17).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Through the Bible in a Year – 021013

THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR

I Do Not Like the Old Testament, Especially Leviticus

(Reading Exodus 38 – Leviticus 18) Exodus 39:30-32; 40:34-38; Leviticus 13:1-3
I just recently realized that I do not like Leviticus. It is painful to read. It is hard to understand. It is judgmental about human life and living. It condemns me.
Even if I do not like Leviticus there are some things I can learn from it. Then I need to apply that to my life.

1. We are continually reminded that God is Holy, and that He is the LORD.
2. We are reminded again and again that we are unholy and unclean.
3. We are reminded again and again that there must be a sacrifice, or there is no approaching God.
4. We are reminded that that the most basic sacrifice is the blood of a Lamb.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 4:11-19)

God’s Controversy With His People 3

This will be the final study for chapter 4.

“Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.
My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.”  Hosea 4:11-12 (KJV)

The Amplified Bible says of verse eleven, “Harlotry and wine and new wine take away the heart and the mind and the spiritual understanding.”  The Living Bible paraphrases, “Wine, women and song have robbed My people of her brains.”

Does anything ever really change?  It does not seem so.  The problem of Israel is a problem within the United States of America today.  Alcohol and the use of alcohol; maybe I should say abuse of alcohol; drug consumption.  The over active, perverse and uncontrolled sex drives of humanity; along with the abuse of alcohol and other drugs robbing the mind of control, influencing the decision making process, having people doing things they would not normally do.  With a clear mind – clear of drugs at least – one can be expected to make rational decisions.  Under the influence of beverage alcohol no one wants to take responsibility; and no one wants to point out the blame, or take blame for their actions.

This is how verse twelve reads in The Living Bible,  “For they are asking a piece of wood to tell them what to do.  ‘Divine Truth’ comes to them through tea leaves!  Longing after idols has made them foolish.  For they have played the harlot, serving other gods, deserting Me.”

Instead of taking their heart ache to God they seek a bottle.  Instead of a lasting, fulfilling, and meaningful relationship through marriage (One man, one woman), God’s way they follow their own lust, and go to destruction.  It is not only destruction of the person, it destroys the family, the State, the Nation and the World.

“They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.  I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.” Hosea 4:13-14

Men need to learn that their wives and children soon follow their example.  In this way wives and daughters of Israel became polluted.  The fathers had not taken their God-given leadership roles in leading their families to righteousness; instead they led them to perversion, and their immorality would be their judgment.

“Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, ‘The LORD liveth.’  For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.  Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.  Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, ‘Give ye.’  The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.” Hosea 4:15-19

“Listen up Judah.”  Hosea probably sees some of the Judeans in the crowd at the gates, and warns them of the plight of Israel.  For clarity “Ephraim” is another name for the Northern kingdom of Israel.

Bethel is now called “Bethaven”.  The place had gone from “The house of God”,  to the decadence of “The house of deception”.  Gilgal and Bethaven were places of calf worship.  To go to these places of idolatry, and declare, “The LORD liveth” was an evil act of hypocrisy, and was despised by God.

They loved their shame rather than the glory of God.  Their glory is God.  They refuse the way of God, thus, they incur the wrath of God upon themselves.

Paul the apostle writes to Timothy; a young pastor, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  Let those today who claim “I am a disciple of Christ” or “I am a Christian” depart from this iniquitous society.  How can we do that?  By not participating in the wicked, mind killing, mind stealing acts of the world and society.

If you have been in this way of life there is hope for all who will trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross – His death, His burial and His resurrection.  He has promised also to come again.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Through the Bible in a Year – 020313

THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR

The Destination to Worship of GOD

Exodus 19 – 37  focus 19:1-9;  37:25-29

1.  God’s Direction and Man’s Good Intentions (19:1-9)
A.  God commands obedience in worship.
B.  Man intends worship, and fails at obedience.

2.  God Provides the Law and Commandments; Man is Religious (chapter 20:1-21)

3.  God Provides for Worship Through Sacrifice and the Tabernacle in the Wilderness (chapters 24-31)

4.  God is Gracious Through the Disobedience of His People (chapter32)

5.  God renews His Promises, and Gives Plans for the Building of the Altar of Prayer (chapter 37).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Through the Bible in a Year 011313

Mysterious Faith

Genesis 14 – 32

1.  Mystery of the Priest of the Most High God (14:17-24);

2.  God’s Promises fulfilled (15 – 21);
15:6;  16:15-16;  17:19;  18:16-33;  19:15-16;  20:1-2;  21:1-3, 12;

3.  Faith, Sacrifice, and a Bride (22 – 24);
22:1-6, 12-18;  23:1-2;  24:1-6, 34-36, 64-67;

4.  Faith, Lying, Deception, Scheming, Deceiving and Back to Faith (25 – 29);
25:5, 19-28;  26:25;  27:33-35;  28:10-15;  29:21-25;

5.  Rachel’s, Leah’s and Jacob’s Struggles; and Their Faith (30 – 32);
30:1-2, 22-24;  31:9;  32:1-2, 24-30

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 35 – Job Rebuked by GOD

I would probably call it “sarcasm”.  The voice of the LORD answers Job, “Out of the whirlwind”; and asks Job a lot of questions which seem to have a lot of sarcasm in them.  “Sarcasm” is defined in the Mirriam/Webster Dictionary as “1 a cutting, contemptuous remark: 2 Ironical criticism or reproach”.  The latter one being the better understanding of God’s rebuke of Job.

My reading today was from Job 38 – Psalms 9.  We will comment on Job alone.

Chapter 37 ended all the comments by the friends of Job.  Job’s comments have ended as well.  God has been silent up until chapter 38, then He speaks with sarcastic rebuke.  I say it is sarcasm because of the way God questions Job.  For instance,

“Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” 38:2

The LORD is clearly speaking to Job.  It is not even clear if his friends; Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are still around; or their friend Elihu.  Another question God asks Job,

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding.” v. 4

Of course God knows the answers to these questions and Job’s final response is found,

“Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,  ‘Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.’  Then Job answered the LORD, and said,  ‘Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.  Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.”  Job 40:1-5 (KJV)

Job had spent hours defending himself before his friends; what he would do if he were given a chance to stand before the LORD, and argue his case with Him.  Now God is speaking to him, and he clamps his hand over his mouth to silence himself.  There are many questions we all have stated that we would like to ask the LORD when we see Him face to face.  My thought on that is; especially after looking at Job’s response; is that ours will be very similar.  Just His sight and His presence will answer it all for us.

There have been, and some just recently; tornadoes and storms which have wreaked out devastation throughout the U. S. of A.  Lives have been lost.  One whole family of five lost their lives in one city.  Questions abound.  One of which in these cases is, “Where was God when all these tragedies took place?” or “Why doesn’t God put an end to all this chaos, even of evil?”  If you will notice; From where did God speak to Job? “Out of the whirlwind”.  At least twice this is said in 38:1 and 40:6.

Where was God in all these tragedies?  He speaks from out of them.  We need to listen.  Why doesn’t God put an end to all this chaos and evil?  I used to ask that question a lot, then one day in a still small voice I heard the Lord say in my heart, “If I ridded the world of evil, I would rid the world of you.”  I have not asked the question since, except of course to tell about it.  I thank Him for His wonderful grace.  His grace and mercy has allowed that more have not died, than could have.

God reminds Job of two creatures He has made.  The “behemoth”, and the “leviathan”.  Now some interpreters interpret these creatures as being a hippopotamus and a crocodile.  The description it gives is too immense to be either.  There are some scholars who put the book of Job as written earlier than the books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy).  There are some; of whom I am one; who believe these creatures are of the time of, what we call, the dinosaurs.  The behemoth could be that one large one with the long neck reaching to the tops of trees, with the large tail dragging on the ground some of the time.  The other sounds like some sort of creature which breaths fire.  These are both extinct now, as far as we know.

Some of you may laugh, but God’s word is true.  And, if God gives us evidence that men were on earth with the dinosaurs, then we better take heed to it.

In the end Job is back, right with God and with his friends.  His friends are told by God to take a sacrifice for themselves, Job would pray for them, and God would forgive them too.  We are also told that God gave Job twice what he had before.  He even had seven more sons and three more daughters.

A point is made in verse 15 of chapter 42,

“And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.”

Even Job was able to see the plan of God to make all one in Christ Jesus,

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  Galations 3:28-29 (KJV)

Job was soundly rebuked by God, and shown the ridiculousness of his questions and charges.  Trust God, believe Him.  He sees a larger picture than you or I do.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Scarlet Thread – Fire

There are many times in Scripture where God answers by fire from above.  Today we look at one of those in the book of Leviticus:

“And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.”  Leviticus 9:24

What does the fire have to do with the scarlet thread of redemption which flows throughout all of Scripture?  It has much to do with it; but I will probably not begin to touch the surface of its true power, and instruction.

Most likely the first time it was seen, though not mentioned directly, is in the sacrifice offered by Abel in Genesis 4:4 and God had respect unto Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s.  The LORD probably answered by fire to show His approval of the offering.

In our text for today God is showing His approval on the leadership of Moses and Aaron in their worship and upon the worship in holiness.  The fire shows us the holiness of God and His acceptance of holiness when He sees it.  We cannot manufacture the fire of God; His acceptance.  There is much in worship today that is manufactured; put on and forward as worship which is more a show, entertainment, than worship; and with that I am sure the LORD is not well pleased.

The sons of Aaron; Nadab and Abihu; found out that “strange fire” was not accepted by GOD.  They died as a result of their own attempt at fire.  The fire, excitement of the flesh which we manufacture is not holiness, but unholiness before the Almighty, and Holy One.

We must always keep in mind that holiness is from God.  We cannot manufacture it.  It is revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ.  He is holy.  We see in the Revelation a revealing of the Son as He is now;

“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.  His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire;  and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters.”  Revelation 1:12-15

Notice particularly “…His eyes were as a flame of fire; His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace…”  He could be called the living fire of God.  Those who may be reluctant to accept this image of Christ will be reluctant to receive His as Lord and Savior of their lives as well.  For the apostle Paul writes,

“For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031311

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

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

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

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

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

Look with me at the beginning of the gospel;

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

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

My Observations 020611

Reading Leviticus 21 -23 today.

In the 23rd chapter of Leviticus we read about the seven feasts of Israel.   There have been some more feasts added to Hebrew living up through today; one of which is the “Feasts of Lights” also known as Hanukkah, and this one seems to be a feast which was celebrated in the time of Jesus Himself.

Let me correct myself on something I stated in a previous post.  I wrote that I believed the day of atonement was the final feast of the Jewish year.  In that I was wrong.  In this list that is given the “Feast of Tabernacles or booths” is the final one.

Something we need to understand in getting started is that Saturday was the Sabbath in any week; however, there were special sabbaths they were to remember, and these fell sometimes in the middle of a week.  These sabbaths were to be treated just as the Saturday (seventh day) Sabbath.  I mention this because there are a few sabbaths mentioned in chapter 23.

The first is the Passover which was to celebrated on the fourteenth day of the first month – Abib or Nisan (Exodus 12:2; 13:4;  Deuteronomy16:1).  This, of course, was in remembrance of God’s deliverance from Egypt by the blood of the lamb which was slain for every household and the blood placed on the door posts and lintels of every home.  This was the redemption for all the first born who was under the blood.  This blood is a type, a shadow, or a picture of the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Then in verse six on the fifteenth day was the feast of unleavened bread.  This bread was made in haste and with great expectation of deliverance.  With no yeast it was not necessary for it to rise, to puff up, but was immediately ready following the baking of it to leave.  Yeast represents haughtiness, pride, or even the arrogance of believing one has plenty of time.  When God delivers; it is on His time, not of our own making.  The great picture for us to see is the life of Christ without sin or spot or blemish.

The next feast is the “Firstfruits”.  This was in celebration of the harvest.  It speaks of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus three days following His death

“Pentecost” was to come on the fiftieth day following the sabbath of firstfruits.  We know from the New Testament that on this day the Holy Spirit came upon the followers of Christ who were fearful, waiting in the upper room as the Lord had given them commandment (Acts 2).  This was the day the Holy Spirit came upon those believers and filled them with the Spirit of Jesus Christ.  They had no more fear of what they had previously experienced.  They had the power of God within them.  They were ready to worship, preach, and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ; no matter what would happen to their physical lives.  They loved Jesus as they never had before; with their lives.

The next feast was that of the Trumpets.  This took place on the first day of the seventh month.  The trumpets were often used to gather the people together; and this feast speaks of a great day coming when the Lord Jesus will call “all Israel” unto Himself (Romans 11:26).

The day of  atonement is the day of the offering of the “scapegoat” written about in chapter 16.  There is much more to it than the goats; one was to die, and the other was to live and be let go in the wilderness.  It is a glorious picture, shadow of the substitutionary death of Christ Jesus.  He took our place for sin on the cross; becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) and making us “Just as just as He is just” [speaking of our justification through Christ Jesus].

The final feast mentioned in this chapter is the “Feast of Tabernacles”; it is also called “Feast of Booths”; it was called the “feast of ingathering (Exodus 23:16.  As the children of Israel wandered through the wilderness they would build “booths” and such to be protected from the heat or any cold they might experience at night.  This feast was a reminder of the wanderings; to be done for seven days.  The first day was one of these sabbath days, and the eighth day the one following the feasts was to be a sabbath day; no work was to be done.  This day foreshadows the day when there will be rest and reunion with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Be ready for that Great Reunion day when all who love our Lord will be with Him forever and forever.  “Whosoever will call on the name of the Lord shall be saved”  (Romans 10:13).

Read Leviticus 21 – 23

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

My Observations 020111

Reading today from Leviticus 4 – 7.

In the reading for today we read about the “sin offering” and its laws; personal sins; trespass offerings; and laws of holiness.

There is within the commandment concerning the fire on the altar, that it is to be ever burning.  It is to never go out.  This is the place of the burnt offering.  Every offering was offered here and was to be completely burned to ash.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it.  And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.  And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place. And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings.  The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.'”  Leviticus 6:8-13 (KJV)

This brazen altar is to have special care taken with it.  It is the place where the blood of the sacrifice is shed.  The blood is poured out here as an offering to God for sin, trespass, peace.  We must keep in mind as we read the Old Testament that all these are shadows of what was to come.  These are only earthly pictures of the heavenly person who was to come and die; shedding His own blood for our sins, trespasses and to give us peace.

The fire ever burning shows the way God is always waiting for the sinner to come to Him for forgiveness and cleansing.  He has planned for all the years of earth; at least sin the fall of Adam and Eve; to redeem all who will come to Him believing through His Son Jesus.

In the first epistle [letter] of the apostle John we read,

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9 (KJV)

The sin was placed figuratively on the sacrifice; by the laying of the hands of the priests on the head of the animal; then the animal was slain, its blood shed, then, burned on the altar.  This showed that the sin was forgiven, and there was cleansing and forgiveness from God.  This, of course, looking forward to the cross of Jesus.

God’s consuming fire is still burning.  His grace is still large and is much larger than our sin.  His mercy is everlasting.

Remember to read Leviticus 4 – 7

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 013111

The reading today is Leviticus 1 – 3

When one reads the Scriptures we are not long in realizing that there is much shedding of blood.  This book even tells us that “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (17:11); and most of us know that without blood coursing through our veins we would not live in this world.  Most of the animal kingdom, if not all the animal kingdom; is dependent upon the blood flowing through their veins for life.

These three chapters all deal with sacrifices.  Offerings made by the people to the LORD.

In verses 1-3 of chapter one the LORD has called Moses and spoke to him from the tabernacle which has just been built and put in place.  This is one of the most amazing points of Scripture – that holy God would speak to unholy men.  It is God the LORD who has always initiated this by calling us unto Himself.  It is also the case with Mose.  The LORD is still calling men and women; boys and girls to Himself.  If only we will have the ears to hear His Word, and follow His leading.

In chapter one verses 3-17 we have mention of the offering for the “burnt sacrifice” or “burnt offering”.  It is a blood offering.  Its entrails are to be cleaned with water, and be burned on the altar; totally consuming it in the flames.  An offering burned in the fire. “A sweet aroma to the LORD” (v. 9, 13, 17).  This could be an offering of bullocks, sheep or goats, or turtle doves or pigeons.  It was dependent upon what each man had to offer.  This was an offering of consecration and dedication to the LORD.

In chapter 2 verses 1-16 we have mention of the “grain offering” or “meal offering”.  It too is an offering burned in the fire.   This offering was an offering of thanksgiving

Chapter three begins with the “peace offering”, a blood sacrifice.  This offering deals with having peace with God.  No one can have peace with God without the shedding of blood.  Paul the apostle writes to the Romans,

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Romans 5:1)

This peace comes through the shed blood of Jesus Christ of whom each Old Testament blood sacrifice was a shadow, or type; foreshadowing the death of the Messiah for the sins of Israel and the world.

The Bible tells us that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  We need a Savior and that Savior is none other than Jesus Christ Son of the Living God.  The LORD of all.

Remember to read Leviticus 1 – 3

-Tim A. Blankenship

…A Good Work On Me…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

His Glory… Before the World Was

Today we will look solely at the glory of Jesus.  It is His glory for which we live and move and have our being.

“And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine Own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was”  John 17:5 (KJV).

Notice the faith and confidence in Jesus’s praying.  He is eternal with the Father.  He possessed glory before the world, or the universe ever was.  His glory is His greatness, His power, His strength, His song, His priority. His Father’s glory.  Where I have fallen short; where you have fallen short of His glory; Jesus is the Father’s glory.

Jesus is praying for His own glory.  It seems quite clear.  This is His High Priest prayer, and He has come to accomplish His Father’s glory by the sacrifice of Himself for all the world.  The task He came to do required that He lay His creation glory aside, take on the flesh of man, and die.  How can God die?  He cannot.  Becoming flesh He could become sin, paying the price of sin, being put to death – the penalty for sin – and then rise again victoriously over death.

The glory is seen by His resurrection from the grave.  The Father restores His glory in the resurrection, and He is alive for all the world to see.  Did the Father answer His prayer; this prayer?  Most assuredly He did

Jesus is alive and in His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship