Honey – Dealing with Kings, Neighbors, and Enemies

“If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.
The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.
It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.
As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.
It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Proverbs 25:21-28 (KJV)

Some notes and thoughts on Proverbs 25…

VERSES 1-7 – On verses two and three the MacArthur Study Bible notes,

“God…kings.The roles of God and the king are compared. God, whose knowledge is above all human knowledge (cf. Ps. 92:5; Eccl. 3:11; Is. 46:10; Acts 15:18; Heb. 4:13), and whose ways are unsearchable (cf. Job 5:9; Ps. 145:3; Is. 40:28), keeps things to Himself because He needs no counsel (see Rom. 11:34). On the contrary, kings should rightly seek to know what they must know in order to rule righteously.”

Looking at verses four and five we can conclude that kingdoms of men are established by God when wickedness is removed and righteousness is in place. There is silver present, but it must be refined by fire.

In verses six and seven we see that humility is an honorable trait even in places of authority.

VERSES 8-20 – Getting along with neighbors will be aided by not being hasty in judging them when they seem to be unwise, and in the end you are shamed by your own actions (vv. 8-10).
Using words wisely when dealing with our neighbors (vv. 11-12). Refreshing and encouraging words from a messenger (v. 13). Forbearance or patience is a necessity for good neighbors (vv. 14-15). Too much of a good and sweet thing will end in hatred of that very thing (vv. 16-17).

Being a good neighbor involves confidence in the right place and people, respecting truth and, others comfort, shelter, and nourishment (vv. 18-20).

VERSES 21-28 – We ought to treat our enemies as we would treat our neighbors. “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Rom 13:9; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8).
Those who have self control can be at peace with others, and lead others to peace. Without there will be broken and corrupt cities, churches, and leadership.

VERSES 16 and 27 – Honey is a natural sweetener. Too much of this sweetner will make one sick. Verse 16 prepares us for verse 17 where spending too much time a neighbor’s can be a thing that turns to hatred if not done in moderation.

A good example of staying too long at a neighbor’s home and hospitality is seen with Job’s friends (Job 2:11-13), and if they would have stayed silent by returnint to their homes, they would not have needed Job’s forgiveness; nor God’s (Job 42:7-10).

To search for one’s own glory is as bad as eating too much honey. It will make others sick, and possibly you sick as well.

A Vineyard of Red Wine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Stone Rolled Away – Mark 16:1-8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From John – 032611

We begin reading through the gospel of John in today’s reading.  Chapters 1 – 3.

John’s gospel is clearly showing forth the deity of Jesus Christ.  The Son of God comes in the flesh; in the likeness of sinful flesh, yet without sin.  It is clear from reading verses 1-5 of chapter one that the WORD is God, and God is the WORD.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”  John 1:1-5 (KJV)

To remind you of the four evangelists who were inspired by God to write this “God-breathed” Scripture, Matthew appears to write of the King and His kingdom; Mark writes of His service; Luke writes of Jesus as the Son of Man – His humanity; and John shows Him as Deity – even as being the Creator of all that is – “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.”

“As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.”  Ezekiel 1:10

and the apostle John writes in the Revelation of Jesus Christ…

“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.  And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”  Revelation 4:6-7

Of course you will notice that Ezekiel calls one animal an “Ox” while John refers to that animal as a “Calf”.  These are from the Bovine created animal. The picture is still clear.  Jesus came to serve us and to give His life a ransom for all who will believe in Him.  Notice too that John writes of the “Flying eagle”; certainly declaring the All Present, All Knowing, All Powerful, and never changing character of GOD.

John also declares to us…

“And the WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” 1:14

He is also declared by John the Baptist as being the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (1:29).

The only way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ, Son of the Living GOD.  John writes…

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” 3:36

That is the Observations from John for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 031911

The Observations today will be short but needful; maybe I should say, a needful reminder.

Prayer and communion with God is needful for today’s Christian.  Some may believe that prayer and communion with God is the same, but let me show you what I believe to be a difference.  I believe you can pray without communion with God; but maybe then, that would not be prayer.  However, I don’t believe you can have communion with God without prayer.  Communion is having an intimate relationship with the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a world of prayer going on that is not directed to the God who created all things; the Father of Jesus Christ; therefore are not in communion with God.

Meanwhile, back to the topic of prayer.  Jesus prayed.  He spent nights in prayer,

“And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” Luke 6:12 (KJV)

Jesus had just healed a man whose hand was withered, and on the sabbath day.  There were scribes and Pharisees who were angry, even mad (v. 11), because of this “heinous” act of healing.  In the days following Jesus went to pray.  That doesn’t mean that He never prayed before this, but that He went away for a time to pray.

I want to confess to you that I do not pray as oft, in this way, that I should.  My praying is mostly when I am listening to God speak as I read His Word, and as I go about through each day.  There are times we need to spend great amounts of time in prayer with God.

Just as Jesus went to a mountain to pray.  To a specific place – a mountain – so too do you and I need to have a time and place to pray unto God who created all things.  I want to be specific about that.  God, YHWH [YaHWeH], or Jehovah is the God of creation, of heaven, of Jesus Christ.  He has a Son, and His name is Jesus.  Praying to anyone else is fruitless speaking to oneself.

Spend time with GOD in prayer.  With our world seeing the chaos, catastrophic events, mass death and destruction happening we need to pray as we have never prayed before.  We need to pray that many of the people who are survivors of these cataclysmic events will trust in the LORD with all their hearts, believe in Jesus Christ and receive eternal life in Him.  We need to pray for encouragement of those who are aiding these people; and the searchers who are looking for those still trapped beneath all the rubble.  Than cannot be an easy, or non troubling task.  Most of all we need to pray for the coming of Christ to put an end to the reign of Satan on earth.

Join me in prayer.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Day of the LORD is at Hand

The title comes from Isaiah 13:6.  Yes, I am doing some catch up work here.  On Sunday nights at Carr Lane Baptist I have been preaching through the Prophecy of Isaiah, however, I have not been prone to publish on the blog until now.  I pray you will be able to follow along and get them in order if you need to do so.

Chapter 13 begins a series of messages from the prophet to foreign nations  who have not heard the LORD God; and mistreated the people of God known as Israel or Judah, and continues through chapter 23.  From Babylon to Tyre, and includes God’s anger toward His people as well in chapter 22.

Chapter 13 and 14 deals with Babylon, which at this point in history was not considered a world power, yet it would become so, in about a hundred years.  How did Isaiah know this?  By the Word and wisdom of the LORD of hosts.

Babylon would be a proud and arrogant people; worshipping their own deities which were in signs in the stars, the stars, and idols made of human hands.

In many ways Babylon represents the world and its arrogance against God and His people.  The world, its inhabitants, its governments often have no friendly hand toward God’s people; be they Christian or Hebrew.  We see this quite often in many foreign lands today where Christians are persecuted for their faith.  Where we are not free to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and many brothers and sisters die for their faith.

We see it often in history concerning the Hebrew people.  One instance of great persecution against the Hebrew people is in the death camps of Hitler.  The numbers of murdered Hebrews during that time of holocaust in Germany.  It was a growing problem throughout the history of man.  No one of the surrounding nations wanted the Jewish people around.  They worshipped the one true God, and He is the only way to paradise or heaven.

“Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.”  Isaiah 13:6 (KJV)

The warning is to Babylon and their destruction should they fail to heed God’s warning.

If you will notice the very things which they admire and worship are taken from them.  “The stars of heaven and the constellations will not give their light…” (v. 10), the sun darkened.  Now I don’t know how this was done; and it is most likely a prophetic word which has yet to take place and the prophecy is basically to the world itself for turning their back on the message of God, His Word and His servants and His people.  With the same judgment they have wreaked out so shall they receive like judgment.  Remember even Jesus said, “Judge not, that  you be not judged”  (Matthew 7:1) and God will carry out His judgment to the fullest extent, and will let sin run its course (SEE verses 15-16).  Babylon will fall by the power of the Medes (Daniel 5:30-31).

The kingdom of Babylon as it was known in that day has fallen, just as God has said.  It was a glorious nation of wealth, gold, jewels, many riches.  It was full of pride.  God says, “…Her days shall not be prolonged” (v. 22).

The days of pride and arrogance of the world will come to an end.  God’s glory will be seen by all, rejoiced in by all who love Him, His Word and His people. His kingdom will be prolonged for all eternity.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 030511

Reading today from Matthew 5 – 7.

We can be a fickle people; those of us called human being.  When asked about God and the Bible or especially being Christian some have responded with “Well I observe the Ten Commandments” or “I try to live by the Sermon on the Mount”.  I haven’t done it yet, but I would venture to guess, that those who say they live by the Ten Commandments do go to tell you how many commandments there are; and more seriously could not tell you what they are.  Those who say the other, “I try to live by the Sermon on the Mount” are only kidding themselves.  It is a noble endeavor to be sure, but the requirements of the Sermon spoken by Jesus are more difficult than the Ten Commandments.

Hear what our Lord says,

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:17-20 (KJV)

There are many who believe and think that when Jesus came he did away with the law.  What did Jesus say above?  “I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”

Let’s look at this idea of keeping/obeying the Sermon in comparison with the law.  First of all the Ten Commandments only deal with the outer experiences of life; for example, the seventh commandment says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14) yet Jesus says in verses 27 and 28 of Matthew 5 that to look at a woman to lust after her is adultery.  Let’s look at another; the sixth commandment states, “Thou shalt not kill”  (Exodus 20:13).  Look at Matthew 5:22,

“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” v. 22

So, if you can live by the Sermon then you are doing quite well with yourself.  If you think you are you are only lying to yourself, and deceived of the devil.

Jesus did not do away with the law, He lived it, He fulfilled it by complete and faithful obedience to God the Father.

In our opening verses above Jesus says, “…Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  That would mean complete faithfulness to God and His commandments.  That would mean complete faithfulness to keeping the sermon on the mount.  Can I do that?  Can you do that?  The answer for us both is, NO!  We are condemned and dying unless we come to God by Someone else’s righteousness.

That righteousness that is given to us by God is from Jesus Christ.  When He died on the cross He gave those who believe Him His own righteousness, and took our own unrighteousness upon Himself.  The law and the prophets are fulfilled in Christ Jesus.  He lives in those who are His, enabling and empowering His own to live lives that honor and glorify GOD; when we trust Him by faith alone.

Matthew 5 – 7 for today’s reading.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022611

Reading today from Deuteronomy 17 – 19.

People of our world today are searching for answers.  They want answers concerning their future.  Who will be my spouse?  How will this investment I am about to make turn out?  Will it make me wealthy, or will it leave  me in bankruptcy?  We all have this inkling to know what tomorrow holds.  Some turn to horoscopes, also known as astrology, reading of signs, and forms of witchcraft and sorcery.

God forbids His people to have part in these things.  The LORD even tells us that He is driving out the Canaanites because of this very thing.  Their abominations/evil practices.

Yet, there are professing Christians who dabble in these “dark arts”.  They say things like, “What does it hurt?” or “I just do it for fun” or “It doesn’t affect my fellowship with God or other Christians”.  In this study today we will make some observations which will show  us that even the early church shows us that these were evil things, and are not for the dabbling of those who love Jesus Christ.  Today we look at…

“When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.  There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.  For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.  Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.  For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.”  Deuteronomy 18:9-14 (KJV)

There are nine practices which are named in the above text.  The first of which is the offering of one’s child in the fire.  The Canaanite worship had involved the worship of  at least three deities which were Baal, Moloch, and Ashtoroth.  I am not going to get into their worship practices because they are vile, immoral and not worthy of any recognition.  All we need to see is that first one listed involved the offering of children to the fires, and this was to Moloch.  It is amazing how we can make laws or gods convenient for out beliefs.  I heard it said, “Man makes god after his own image”; and there is a small element of truth to that.

Those who worship false deities have made these gods to suit their own hearts.  They fashion the gods to find their pleasure, comfort, and convenience.  Isn’t it amazing that in the Canaanite forms of worship they had a god like Baal who offered them all the sexual immorality in worshipping this deity and that of Ashtoreth; and children were born as a result of all this immoral conduct; then, they didn’t want the children and offered them to Moloch.  How convenient.

The GOD of heaven; who created all things created mankind in His own image.  That image has fallen into sin and no longer glorifies Him.  He called out the people we know as Jews or Hebrews, and through them has sent a Savior into this world as an offering for our sins.

The MacArthur Study Bible notes for these verses tells us,

18:9-12 the abominations of those nations. Moses gave a strict injunction not to copy, imitate, or do what the polytheistic Canaanites did.  Nine detestable practices of the Canaanites were delineated in vv. 10, 11, namely: 1) sacrificing children in the fire; 2) witchcraft, seeking to determine the will of the gods by examining and interpreting omens; 3) soothsaying, attempting to control the future through power given by evil spirits; 4) interpreting omens, telling the future based on signs; 5) sorcery, inducing magical effects by drugs or some other sort of potion; 6) conjuring spells binding other people by magical muttering; 7) being a medium, one who supposedly communicates with the dead, but actually communicates with demons; 8 ) being a spiritist, one who has an intimate acquaintance with the demonic, spiritual world; and 9) calling up the dead, investigating and seeking information from the dead.  These evil practices were the reason the Lord was going to drive the Canaanites out of the land.”

From page 276 NKJV edition.

Christians, listen to the Lord here.  It was forbidden by God for the Israelites to take part in this evil.  It was at least part of the reason God drove the Canaanites from the land, and gave it to Israel.  If Israel participated in the evil they then would be chastised, sent into captivity, and suffer much until they returned to the Lord.

There is a portion of Scripture in the book of Acts which tells us what some new believers in Christ did with books concerning sorcery and such;

“And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.  And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.  Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.  So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”  Acts 19:17-20

I am not advocating the burning of books.  I am, however, asking Christians to forsake these dark arts; and trust only in the LORD.  He alone knows our tomorrow.  It does make a difference what you believe.  Your beliefs will have a part affecting your morality and life.  I am advocating for a fire of passion for our Christ, our Lord and Savior.  One of the verse of Deuteronomy says, “Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God”.  Jesus even said,

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  Matthew 5:48

The only way of “perfection” with God is through the cross of Jesus Christ.  He is perfect and by His death, burial and resurrection we are made perfect before the LORD God.  Obedience is not optional.

Please read Deuteronomy 17 – 19

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers 021911

Reading today from Numbers chapters 31 – 33.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember to read Numbers 31 – 33 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021211

Our daily reading is Numbers 10 – 12.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember to read Numbers 10 – 12

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020511

Reading Leviticus 17-20 today.

There have been many who have wondered why God would give the land of Canaan to the people of Israel.  The first promise of this comes through to Abram [Abraham], then it is promised to Isaac, and Jacob [Israel].  We are told, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to Him for righteousness”  (Romans 4:3;  Genesis 15:6).  We see much from the reading of Leviticus.  God requires a holy people.  A people set apart, sanctified, different, trusting the LORD.

Chapters 17 – 20 deal with holiness, and gives explanation of why God gives these ordinances for Israel to believe and obey.

“Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: and the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.  Ye shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) that the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.  For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.  Therefore shall ye keep Mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.”  Leviticus 18:24-30 (KJV)

The land we know as Israel is referred to by God Himself as a “Land of milk and honey” meaning that it is a prosperous, beautiful land.  The land needs water; and it is dependent upon rain.  The LORD even tells us at one point at least that that is where they should be dependent upon the LORD.

The laws/commandments given in these chapters deal with sexual immorality with family, neighbor’s spouses, same sex, and animals.  In reading the above verses, as well as 20:22-24 leads me to conclude that these were the sins of the people of Canaan.  God calls them abominations.  The laws also deal with sorcery, astrology (using the zodiac or stars to predict one’s future), speaking with the dead [necromancy].   My convictions tell me that if God called these abominations in the days of Canaan and Israel’s wandering in the wilderness; He still calls them abominations.

“It is just an Old Testament single passage that is no longer relevant to today or Christianity” is one phrase I have heard concerning passages such as these.  What should the Christian response be to these laws of holiness.  The Christian response should be one of godliness, holiness.  The Christian response should be of loving God which is obeying God from the heart and with one’s life.  The question the Christian will ask is not “How close can I get to sin and still be alright with God?”, but is a statement “I must stay as far away from sin as I can, lest I offend God, and sin against Him”.

Some might say, “Well why didn’t God just drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, and the others when Abraham was in the land?”  Not only was God preparing a people; His people; for the land, but He was giving the people of the land ample time to repent.  To Abraham God spoke of a coming day when Israel would be in the land, but it would be after they had served a nation for 430 years (Genesis 15:13-16).  For 430 years God was giving mercy to the people of Canaan, the Amorites; they refused repentance and only grew more and more evil.

Let’s not be so quick to judge God’s holiness, righteousness, and Justice; by asking, “If God is so good why does He not judge and remove evil?”  I no longer ask that question because I have come to realize, that if God were to remove evil, then He would need to rid the world of me.  God is merciful.  He has shown us His mercy and grace through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ His holy Son.

Please read Leviticus 17 – 20.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 012911

Today’s Bible Reading is for Exodus 35 – 37.  I pray that you are being blessed in your reading of Scripture.

In today’s reading you will read much concerning the calling, giving, preparations and getting reading to build the tabernacle in the wilderness.  The tabernacle was God’s way of demonstrating His presence among the tribes people of Israel as they journeyed through the wilderness for those; what ended up being many years.

The people gave very generously to the cause of the tabernacle.  There is hardly any way to put a dollar value on the tabernacle, except to say it was more precious than any artifact we could find today.  You might say it was priceless above anything else that is called priceless.

The offerings that were given were gold, silver, brass, special skins of goats, fine linen, acacia wood.  In chapter 36 we are told that the people gave over and above all that was needed and then asked to stop giving:

“…And they spake unto Moses, saying, ‘The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make.’  And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, ‘Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.’ So the people were restrained from bringing.  For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.”  Exodus 36:5-7 (KJV)

The one of the best things to observe in this reading today is that the givers were willing hearted.  They desired to give; and give they did; until they were asked to stop giving.

No one is asked to give without a willing heart.  God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).

No one is building a tabernacle today, but when you attend your local church tomorrow be sure you give generously in support of your church, its ministry and missions.

God loves you and is with you in the person of His Son Jesus Christ who loved you so much He gave us the willing hearted gift of His own life on the cross, was buried and rose again.  He eternally lives making intercession for us who have called on His name.

Now read Exodus 35 – 37.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Will the USA Depart from Support of Israel?

It is not surprising to know that there are those of spiritually feeble mind who would have the United States withdraw from strategic support of the nation of Israel.   “It’s not satisfying to the rest of the world” some of these say.  Let us never forget what God has said, “I will bless those who bless you, and will curse him who curses you; in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed”  Genesis 12:3; and that promise has never been revoked

The following link is an article from the World Tribune.  Would it be the right thing for the USA to pull support away from Israel?  I think not.  Not unless we want to be cursed by the Creator of all the universe.

Let’s continue praying for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).

-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

Keep Your Eyes Open – Watch

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

KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN – WATCH

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

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

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

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

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

Christian; Keep Your Eyes Open – Watch.

-Tim A. Blankenship

…I Have Known Thee…

We have been on a journey through the Priestly prayer of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in John seventeen.  To me it has been a pleasant journey, an encouraging journey, and refreshing one, knowing, and being reminded of the wonderful love, mercy and grace of our God.  I pray you have found it the same or even better.

With this posting we will conclude with the final two verses of chapter seventeen.  Jesus again addresses the Father by name, only as “Righteous Father”, and to that we must say “Amen”.  God our Father truly is righteous.

“O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me.  And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou has loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”  John 17:25-26 (KJV).

There are too many people in this world who hate God, do not know Him, nor do they want to know Him.  There are many of them who want to worship their own god, in their way, but refuse to reconcile the fact that the true God has only one way of knowing Him.  That one way is by way of the cross of Jesus.

The only way the disciples for whom Jesus is praying knows the Father; is because they know the Son.  That is the way to know God through His Son Jesus Christ.  Jesus has revealed the Father God to us, and has given us His name.  It is not Allah, Buddha,  or Moon. It is Jehovah/YHWH, manifested through the Son Jesus Christ.

The love the Father has for the Son is in us who know the Son.  The reason for that is that the Son has prayed for us, and has received what He has requested.  Let us love as Jesus loves.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Do Not Fear; Be Watchful

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

DO NOT FEAR; BE WATCHFUL.

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Is Jesus Praying For You?

It is one of the greatest things for a follower, a believer of Jesus Christ to know.  To know that He has prayed for us, and knowing who He is means that His prayers are answered.

“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine.  And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are mine; and I am glorified in them” John 17:9-10 (KJV).

There!!! Jesus said it; “I pray for them”, and He was more than sincere, that was His heart.  There are those who would and will say, “Well!  He is only praying for His disciples”.  Yes!  Aren’t you His disciple?  I am.  He prayed for me.  He prayed for you, because you and I were in His thoughts when He spoke this prayer to the Father.

He was  not praying for the “World”.  He was praying for all those whom the Father had given Him.  Jesus had said, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him…” (John 6:44a).  In this way the Father has given the early disciples; for whom Jesus was praying; and us, the later ones as well.  It is a wonderful heritage which we have in prayer.  To know and believe that we were given to Jesus by the Father; that Jesus has prayed for us, and still continues to intercede for us; is a wonderful, peace giving, Spirit powerful, and awesome privilege.  It is also more than privilege; it is a “Right” given to us by Jesus, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power [the Right] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” John 1:12.

Because of Jesus, His praying for us, and His atoning work on the cross we glorify Him.  That is what He prayed for and that is what He receives.

Be thankful today for this wonderful blessing.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Ignorance Of Scripture

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

IGNORANCE OF SCRIPTURE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Ten – Seventeen through Thirty One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Marriage Of Isaac

It is seen in the study of Genesis that Isaac is the promised son of Abraham and Sarah,  according to the Word of God.  In this study I want us to see the picture of the Christ and His Church which is found in Genesis chapter 24.

I did a short study on this in 2006, and posted it here on Fire and Hammer.  I will repost it here.

We must remember the apostle Paul’s words when he wrote, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Romans 9:7) quoting Genesis 21:12.  We are not wrong in seeing an allegory of the Church in Rebekkah, nor of seeing Isaac as a picture of  Jesus Christ.

“1And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: 3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: 4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. 5 And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? 6 And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. 7 The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. 8 And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again. 9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter.” Genesis 24:1-9 (KJV).

I will not post all 67 verses, but I will put the verse numbers for your reference to check out.

There is a wedding which is going to be celebrated, in what I believe to be the not too distant future. Here in the Old Testament book of Genesis is a picture of the bringing together of the bride and the Bridegroom.

Jesus promised that after His ascension into Heaven He would send a Comforter. This comforter would guide into all truth. He would draw people to Jesus Christ.

In our text we have an unnamed servant of Abraham who is sent to find a bride for his son. It is amazing how the Holy Spirit inspired the writings of Scripture in the way He has here showing forth the glory of God, and His work bringing the lost to Jesus.

The servant went to the assigned place to seek a bride for Isaac. Rebekah was that chosen bride. This bride 1). “Believed a man she had never met before, 2). was asked to go to a land from which she was never to return, 3). was asked to marry a man whom she as yet had never seen.” M. R. DeHaan. The journey was about 600 miles on the back of a camel.

When the servant chose Rebekah it was then, a decision for her to make. The decision was one that could not wait (vv. 55-58). So Rebekah chose to go on a journey over hard country – a barren, dry and dangerous country.

When Rebekah saw Isaac for the first time he was coming from Lahairoi, which means, “The well of a Living One”. This is the first appearance of Isaac since the altar of Mount Moriah. Jesus will one day appear to take His bride who has been chosen by the Holy Spirit.

Let’s look at four of the characters in this text, and we will try and focus the picture on the One who is True.

First of all, look at the father. He loved Isaac and wanted a bride for him. He believed that God was faithful and would keep His promise and provide the bride. The bride could not be an outsider. The Father getting a bride for His Son, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day”. John 6:44 (KJV).

The next character we see in the text is the servant. He is a model servant. He does not go unsent (vv. 2-9), he goes where he is sent (vv. 4-10), he does nothing else, is prayerful and thankful (vv. 12-14, 26-27), he is wise to win (vv.17, 21), he speaks not of himself, but of his master’s riches, and Isaac’s heirship (vv. 34-36; Acts 1:8), he presents the true issue, and requires a clear decision (v. 49).

The work of the Spirit of God is the True: the antitype. “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” John 15:26 (KJV). “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” John 16:13-14 (KJV).

The third character is the chosen bride herself. She welcomed a stranger, whom she had never seen. This servant came to the well, seeking God’s direction, and Rebekah came and fulfilled the needs of this servants prayer (vv. 18-20, 24, 25). She accepted the servants invitation (vv. 55-58). The invitation was that she return to Canaan to be the wife of Isaac and receive the blessings of what he would inherit. Rebekah and the servant must have spoken much on the journey to meet the Bridegroom. She learned more about Isaac (v. 65) and more as she saw him and was getting nearer to him. She went over hard country in the care of the servant. This “Hard country” is the hardships, trials, and tribulations of living and growing in the Christian life. M. R. DeHaan said, “Rebekah was asked to believe a man she had never met before, to go to a land from which she was never to return, and to marry a man whom she as yet had never seen.”

The final character, but certainly not the least of the four is the son, in particular; his wedding. Weddings are most always a joyous event. It was for Isaac, and it was for Rebekah. When Rebekah came riding up on the camel with the servant she leaped off the camel. It does not say what she did when she leaped off the camel, but I just suppose that she ran to meet him, and their hearts became as one. In leaping off the camel Rebekah had left the last of her worldly possessions behind. Her journey is complete.

When Jesus and His Bride are joined together at last, they will never part, because it will be for all eternity.

The invitation is still extended. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17 (KJV).

If we have “Eyes to see, and ears to hear” we can see quite clearly the picture the Master has painted for us. We can see Jesus’ death in Isaac at the altar, we see His resurrection and ascension in that Isaac came from the “Well of the Living One”. We can see the work of the Holy Spirit in Abraham’s servant as he sought a bride for Isaac.

God is so good He paints us such beautiful pictures to show us how He is working throughout all of time to draw us to Himself. The Antitype is even more beautiful.

“1And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:5-10 (KJV).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The following is a link to more of Jesus In Genesis.

Daniel 1:1-7

I realize I have done a previous study on the prophet Daniel.  However, the following are study notes for a new series of sermons I am preaching at Carr Lane Baptist Church beginning January 03, 2010.  I will include hear a link to my previous study and to only the points on our church site.

GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU

“Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

A STUDY IN DANIEL

Purpose – To unveil and see the sovereign hand of God at work in the history of the nations of mankind, of men, and to know and trust God to be sovereign in directing our individual lives.

When Your World Crumbles Around You

Daniel 1:1-7

Purpose – To know and trust God to care for us even when nations, our own, and others are falling; God will take care of us, and meet our needs.

OUTLINE –
I.  THE FALL OF A NATION (v. 1).
II.  THE CAPTIVITY OF A KING, AND KINGDOM’S RELIGION (v. 2).
III.  THE CAPTORS ATTEMPT TO MOLD AND CONTROL MINDS (vv. 3-5).
IV.  THE SOVEREIGN HAND OF GOD IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS (vv. 6-7).

Isaiah the prophet had prophesied over one hundred years before of the impending doom coming on the nation of Israel.  They had grown rich, soft, comfortable, complacent, and apathetic.  “No harm will come to us.” they would say, “After all we are God’s nation, God’s people.  We have the temple of God”; and oh so foolish in their hearts turning from God.

There is security with the LORD so long as the LORD is honored, revered, trusted and obeyed by His people.  When God’s people forsake Him, He does not forsake His people, however, He will discipline, correct, and rebuke them to get them back under His care.

I.  PEOPLE FALL AWAY FROM GOD (v.1)
Jehoiakim king of Judah was the son of Josiah, who was the son of Amon, the son of Manasseh (2 Kings 21:18-26).  Johoiakim was born Eliakim, but the king of Egypt changed his name to Jehoiakim and appointed him king of Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:34).  This falling of the kingdom had begun a few years earlier when the prophet Isaiah was warning of the hard heartedness, and their straying from God.

The reason for the captivity that we are reading about in this text is because of the people’s forsaking God, His Word and His commandments (Ezekiel 20:13, 16; 23:38).

When God had spoken throught he prophet Jeremiah to call the people to go out to Nebuchadnezzar and surrender that was their last opportunity to remain in their land (Jeremiah 27:1-11).

II.  A KING IS TAKEN AND A KINGDOM’S RELIGION IS CAPTURED (v. 2).
This was the first invasion by Nebuchadnezzar.  He took the king from his throne, and to Babylon.  He also took some of the “articles of the house of God”.  It seems to have been a way to imply that the power of the gods of a nation are determined by the conquering nations taking these articles with them, and housing them with their religious articles.  This is seen earlier in the nation of Israel’s history when the Philistines took the Ark of the Covenant and put it in the house of Dagon (1 Samuel 4:11; 5:1-9)

One thing we as Christians must know and keep in mind; just because our place of worship may be destroyed, in shambles, and the place of the “Lord’s Supper” be stolen does not mean that God is destroyed or stolen.  He is larger than our pieces of religion which are used to remember Him.  When the world may take the sign of the cross and abuse it, misuse it, and/or mock it that does not deminish the power of the cross of Jesus Christ.  Several years ago a man, believing he was designing some sort of artistic piece placed a designer cross in a jar of urine, and photographed it.  That did not affect the power of the cross of Jesus one iota.  It was saccreligious.  It caused an outrage among many, and it seemed with some that it was almost the end of the cross of Christ.  Not so however.  The power of the cross of Christ Jesus cannot be captured, destroyed, or diminished.

Religions of men can be captured, destroyed, diminished, and cast out; but the cross of Christ will continue in its power to save and change lives until Jesus Christ returns.

III.  THE WORLD ATTEMPTS TO MOLD AND CONTROL MINDS (vv.3-5).
In the day of Babylon’s captivity of the Jews and others they would take the captives and change their names, and give them a new diet.  For the Jewish people it would mean eating swine, and other unclean foods for them.  In the eyes of many of the world this rich food would be a “blessing” over what they had been eating.
Ashpenaz, a eunuch for the king, was to pick out choice youth from the kingdoms, including Israel, and give them a new diet, and teach them new things.  Fill their heads with new thoughts, divert them from what they had been taught, and gain their loyalty.

Even in a free country such as the USA our public schools, many colleges, and universities, endeavor to redirect minds from the basics of what they have been taught by their parents, churches, and private schooling; directing them to more liberal thought and leadership styles.  They do these things by calling basic life truths, Bible truths, and moral truths into question, and ridiculing any and all who will stand on those basics.

This thought is seen in the science of the thought of “Global warming”.  When some scientist began questioning the authenticity of the theory and its truth these men and women were called all sorts of insulting names; “Unlearned, ignorant, fools” and not even given a chance to prove their points.  The world is attempting, even now, to control the minds, and beliefs of the people.

IV.  THE SOVEREIGN HAND OF GOD IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS (vv. 6-7).
A changing of the names of these Jewish youth.  We are told of only four.  Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; probably because they were four who stood for what they had been taught, never followed the path of evil in Babylon, and stood their ground.  We do not hear them called by these names until a later chapter.  They are called by their Hebrew names at least 5 times from chapter one through chapter two, and yet most people only know them by their Babylonian names?   God wants us to know them by their names Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.  Daniel is referred to as Daniel most of the way through the book; why do we not continue to know Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah by their true names?

Daniel means “God is my judge” … Belteshazzar means “the keeper of the treasure of Baal”;  Hananiah means “Jehovah is gracious”  …Shadrach means “command of the moon god”; Mishael means “Who is like Jehovah” … Meshech means “the goddess Shach”;  Azariah means “Jehovah is my helper” … Abednego means “the fire god”.

Part of the reason and answer to the question above is that we too have been conditioned by what we have been taught.  Let’s begin retraining our thinking to direct ourselves to the thoughts of godly thinking, and living; and trusting that kings and kingdoms are ordained by God; they rise and fall by His decree; and that no king, kingdom, man or woman can stand without the hand of God ordaining it. “The king’s heart is in thehand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will” Proverbs 21:1

APPLICATION-
i.  Let’s stand upon the Word of God; reading, studying, hearing, and applying it to every area of our lives (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Timothy 4:2).
ii.  Putting our faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross, and guarding our hearts and minds from religion of men (Psalm 118:8).
iii.  Filling our minds with the things of God, holiness, righteousness, God’s glory, justice, peace, His love, mercy, goodness, bearing the fruits of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:16;  Ephesians 5:18; Galations 5:22-23).
iv.  Always keeping in mind the power of the sovereign hand of God over the affairs of men and nations will help us realize everyday, that, God is directing the events and circumstances of  our lives; that, He does not have a plan A and a plan B (Daniel 29, 37, 47).

-Tim A. Blankenshi

You may find my previous study posted on Fire and Hammer and the article on Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah and the other Daniel: The Educating Of The Youth.