Put Away Your Sword

And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him,
“Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?”
In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes,
“Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take Me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on Me. But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”
Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. Matthew 26:51-56

When They All Ran

“And they laid their hands on Him, and took Him. And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. And Jesus answered and said unto them,
‘Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take Me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took Me not: but the Scriptures must be fulfilled.’
And they all forsook Him, and fled. And there followed Him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.”  Mark 14:46-52

Prayer for January 20, (In the year of our LORD) 2021

“There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.”  Proverbs 20:15
“And Jesus answering said unto them, ‘Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God?’ ”  Mark 12:24

Father all glorious, powerful and Almighty; all praise belongs to You. There is no God like You; because there is no God but You. All others are the makings of the minds of wicked men and women.

The Psalmist wrote, Lord, “It is time for You, LORD, to work: for they have made void Your law”. You have empowered Your people to stand upon Your word by faith and through the grace given to us through the death, burial and resurrection of Your Son Jesus. We ask, O LORD, that You burden our hearts for a renewing of Your Spirit within our hearts, souls, mind and strength that we might more fully live for You and glorify Your Most High and holy name.

Give us, O LORD, a new hunger for the reading, the study, application and knowledge of Your holy word, the Bible. How can we serve You or know You more fully without that hunger for Your word? There is no knowing You or knowledge of You without Your word. Forgive us, Lord, for our willful ignorance of You, Your way and Your will for our lives because of our lack of interest, and lack of faith in the words of the Bible.

Send upon us, O LORD, a new burden for the hopeless, the helpless, the lost, the perishing, the weak, and the innocent; and may we with a renewed spirit of fire and zeal seek to bring them to Jesus our Lord and Savior. Also, Lord, that we who know You would live by faith a faithful life that honors and glorifies You holy and glorious name. Amen.

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 091620

“…And when they found not His body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that He was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but Him they saw not. Then He said unto them,
‘O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?’
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself…”  Luke 24:23-27  (KJB)

Words Of Jesus; Son Of God, God The Son – 080120

“The same day came to Him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked Him, saying,
‘Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also.
Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? For they all had her.’
Jesus answered and said unto them,
‘Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.’
And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at His doctrine.”   Matthew 22:23-33

Fear of the LORD

It is evident as I look over the world, and look into each culture on the earth; and not that I have done a thorough examination of any or all; but just an short observation.  My observation leads me to reach the conclusion that we as a race of people; the human race; do not have a fear of GOD.

In every culture, and nation, we make god in our own image, and after our own likeness; thus we can approve of anything, and everything, that suits “Me”.

Many times this is true even in Christianity.  There are many professors who proclaim that “God is so good and loving.  He would not cast anyone into a fiery place called Hell”.  Or “God is so loving, accepting, and kind that he loves same sex couples. He does not expect them to change their minds or their lives”.  Guess what?  Doing that you deny the God of the Bible, the Scriptures, and you have made god in  your own image and likeness.

Hear the Proverbs of Solomon…

“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:26-27 (KJV)

We must understand that when we fear the LORD it is not that we go around trembling every time we mess up, or fear messing up (sinning).  To live in the “Fear of the LORD” is to live with confidence.  Confidence that when we do sin He is gracious, merciful and will forgive us.  When we live in the fear of God it is actually living in the love of God which is greater than all our sin.

John the apostle wrote in his first epistle,

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10

When we fear the LORD we also will be like a “fountain of life” (Proverbs 13:14; 14:27).  The Word of God is like a fountain of running, flowing, fresh, refreshing, cleansing water that flows giving eternal life to all who will freely drink it.  Jesus said…

“If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38

That is a flowing, cleansing, refreshing stream of water flowing from Christian lives that shows what it really means to walk in the love of God.

To walk in the fear of the LORD is to believe what He says, then make Him all of our life, and live as He has given us privilege to do so.  Because of the gift of Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection we now have the right to be called the sons and daughters of GOD (John 1:12); but you must believe and receive what He has said, and what He has done.

Christmas Day 9

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be more verbal of the work of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; His death on the cross, His burial, and resurrection; and His coming again;  I want to share the gospel with all who will hear, so that they might come to believe Him.

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (KJV)

Christmas Day Two Hundred Forty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

We in the U. S. of A. live in a once free nation; free from monarchy, free from tyranny, free to speak, free to believe the Scriptures, and to practice our faith; but since those freedoms and others are eroding I want our leaders, President, Vice President, the Senate, Congress; their spouses to know that they are not kings and queens; that they are not higher than the people; but that they are servants to the people – the legal citizens – of the United States of America, and no other nation or league of nations.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”  PREAMBLE OF THE United States of America

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance. The LORD looketh from heaven; He beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of His habitation He looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike; He considereth all their works. There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.” Psalm 33:12-16 (KJV)

Day Two Hundred Ninety and Seven

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my friends, family, neighbors all around the world to know that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave; that He is the Son of the Living God, and God the Living Son.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (NKJV)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1-5

“And the Word became 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.” John 1:14

Also see Colossians 1:16-19;  Isaiah 41:4; 44:6;  Revelation 1:17

Day 72 – The Son of Man and The Scriptures

In reading the gospels, especially Matthew, one cannot help but notice the importance the writers place on showing that the Scriptures are fulfilled.  One cannot help but notice, also how much Jesus Himself refers to the Scriptures, the prophets, and in Luke 24 Jesus even mentions the Psalms.  I am going to post a few of those verses concerning the Scriptures today, pray you will look them up and read the context of their writings.

This first excerpt of Scripture is from the story of the rich man and Lazarus,

“Abraham saith unto him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’  And he said, ‘Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.’  And he said unto him, ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.'” Luke 16:29-31 (KJV)

The next quite obviously is of Jesus’s coming crucifixion,

“Then He took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished.  For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again.” Luke 18:31-33

The next excerpt is as Jesus appears to the two on the road to Emmaus and explains the Scripture to them;

“Then He said unto them, ‘O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?’  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.”  Luke 24:25-27

The final one in Luke is when Jesus has appeared to all the disciples together in one place, and it is here that He mentions the Psalms;

“And He said unto them, ‘These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me.  Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.  And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Luke 24:44-49

We need to ask ourselves, “Do I put enough relevance upon Scripture?”  After all the Scriptures are they which testify of Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Baptist Faith and Message – Scriptures

In this article I will write about the Scriptures, or otherwise know as the Bible, the Holy Bible.  The first statement made in this article is the first statement of Southern Baptist Statement of Faith called the “Baptist Faith and Message”.  It has Scripture references with it.

“I. The Scriptures

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.”

One of the references given is from 2 Timothy 3:15-17, and is probably the most known among Southern Baptists and probably all Baptists.

“… That from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV).

As Baptists we believe that the Scriptures are the Word of God.  If anyone only believes that the Bible only “contains the Word of God”, then they are not truly Baptists.

By the Word of God we can know God, His heart, His passion, and we can know that He loves the human race.  We also can know that Scriptures are profitable for doctrine, ie., teaching; for reproof, ie., the exposing of error and heresy; for correction – that is setting forth of discipline in the church; and for instruction in righteousness – showing the people the things which will be pleasing to God and will glorify Him.

A second portion of Scripture I want us to look at is 2 Peter 1:19-21:

“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for the prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”  2 Peter 1:10-21 (NKJV)

When we study the Word of God we can rest assured that there will be no portion of it to contradict, lead us astray, or bring shame to our lives, or rob the glory that belongs only to God.  Not one verse can stand on its own, nor can one man’s interpretation of any one verse stand alone.  The verses of Scripture  must be understood in the light of the whole.

When you trust God and His Word, you have nothing to fear.  If we fear God we need fear nothing else.

-T.A.

Originally posted at All Things Baptist (June ’07)

Observations From Matthew – 031211

Today’s Reading is from Matthew 26 – 28.

In looking at the life of Jesus Christ one cannot help but notice that the life of Jesus is completely submitted to the will of His Father.  He is about fulfilling God’s will for His life as a human being on earth.  Now, if we want a good example then, Jesus is the one to follow.  He is however, much more than an example to follow.  He is, in fact, the very only begotten Son of God (John 1:1-5, 14; 3:16).  Part of His submission to the Father as man is His heart and will to fulfill Scriptures and we see that in the following verses,

“Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took Him.  And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.  Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?  In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take Me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on Me.  But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.”  Matthew 26:50-56

In this short passage we see the statement twice, “But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled…?” and then, “But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled”, and all this was at the time of His betrayal and arrest.

Though the name of the sword wielder is not given, we know from the testimony of the apostle John (John 18:10-11) that it is Peter who was overly protective of His Lord.  If we think Peter only meant to cut off that man’s ear, we would be gravely mistaken.  Peter was not a highly trained soldier in handling a sword; but his intent was to divide that man’s head.

The intent and purpose of Jesus was to fulfill Scripture and glorify His Father.  In that act He would also make a way for those who will believe to have fellowship with God the Father.  By way of the cross Scripture, all of Scripture would be fulfilled, the sin debt would be paid, God would be honored, and glorified; and there is a way of salvation from the condemnation of sin.

The event of the above Scriptures follow a time of great trial in our Lord’s life.  It was a time of the “press”.  In a place where the olives were pressed for the oil, the very fragrance of Heaven was being pressed in doing the will of Heaven.  Jesus was about doing the will of God.  His mind, His heart, His soul, and His strength was going to see that all Scripture would be fulfilled.

In the press, by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, we can be about fulfilling the will and word of God in our lives.  Be strong in faith, believe God, trust every word He has said; that He will fulfill every word that, even now, has yet to be fulfilled.  Believe it will be; and live accordingly.  No matter what trial or tribulation may come; economic failure, employment fails, health fails, earthquake or flood, or fire.  God’s Word – all of Scripture will be fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 013011

Daily Reading is Exodus 38 – 40

The book of Exodus is about a journey of a people from bondage to seeing the glory of God.  “From Deliverance to Glory” is the journey of all who come to faith in the Messiah of Israel, Jesus Christ Son of the Living God.

In the 38th chapter we find things coming to a conclusion as far as the tabernacle’s construction and set up is concerned.  The first on the list is the “altar of burnt offering”.  The place for the shedding of blood.  “Without the shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22b)  All the blood of bulls, goats, rams and lambs was only a foreshadowing of the One who would come and die for the sins of the world.

The “laver” is a basin for water; it is made of brass; as is the “altar of burnt offering” a figure of judgment.  The laver is made from the “looking glasses” or we would call them mirrors of the “assembly”.  Polished brass was the only mirror these people had.  A mirror is a way of judging one’s own physical appearance and doing something about it.  In James 1:22-25 we read…

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

The laver was the place for the priests to cleanse their hands and feet for the ministry they performed daily.  As Christians we must stop daily at the word of God, to gaze intently into the mirror of God’s word to find the correction and instruction we need for the day; by which we may glorify our Lord.

“HOLINESS TO THE LORD” was to be engraved into a plate of pure gold and placed on the turban the priests (Aaron and his sons).  We find throughout all of Scriptures that God is holy.  The garments of the priests declared the Holiness of the Lord.  Here we have the priests declaring HOLINESS TO THE LORD.  Our lives are to declare it.

In chapter 40 the tabernacle is set with all furniture, articles, garments, stones and jewels, just as the LORD has commanded Moses.  Moses has received these instructions form the Designer of the heavenlies (Hebrews 8:4-5).

The book of Exodus ends with the people of Israel in bondage; they are freed by the LORD Himself; they are a sanctified people given instructions on the journey and directions how to live and how to worship.  Thus we could sum the book of Exodus with four short words; FROM DELIVERANCE TO GLORY

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.  For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”  Exodus 40:34-38 (KJV)

Keep on following the Scriptures.  Read Exodus 38- 40

-Tim A. Blankenship

The LORD Knows…

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Psalm 1:1 (KJV).

This Psalm is one of my favorites.  It is one that lingers in my memory.  I do not know that I set out to purposely memorize it, but it is there.  The collection of the Psalms are words of encouragement, hope, and you see the hearts of the writers of the Psalms.

David is known to be the human author of most of these writings of Biblical poetry, but it is  also known that some of them were written by Moses, Asaph, and maybe another one or two.  We do know and believe that these are words which are inspired by God Himself.  They would not be present in the Canon of Scripture if they were not.

This first verse of the Psalms begins with a “Blessed” or “Happy”.  This would be the individual who is fulfilled.  This individual does not seek ungodly counsel from others, nor do they go to the ungodly seeking godly counsel.

This individual does not have dealings with the rebellious and wicked; taking a bold stand against immorality.  The places where the “Blessed” individual stands is upon the Word of God, in places that lift up the Lord.  The place of the “Blessed” individual’s seating is where God is seated.

The ’scornful’ are those who make a mockery of God, and scoff at all who profess Him and godliness.  An individual usually sits, comfortably where they live.  The “Blessed” individual lives in the presence of the LORD God.

Everyone “Delights” in something.  There is something that you can hardly do without, maybe a new car, new house, new suit of clothes, more money,  more of anything, that you perceive as good.  We can get our hearts set on something, and that becomes our “Delight”.

Gulom of the Lord of the Rings story had his “Delight” on the Ring of power.  J.R. R. Tolkein wrote the story, and it shows an analogy of the power of sin in our lives.  Gulom had been a normal hobbit until the Ring was found and he murdered his friend, took the Ring, and became a creeping, rock crawling, pale, almost sickening being.  The picture is surely that sin will destroy you.  To Gulom, the Ring was his “Precious”.  That was his delight.

In Psalm 1:2 the Psalmist writes, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.”  We  have been told in verse one what this individual does not do; now we see what this godly individual does.

She/he holds no “Delight” in the wickedness of the world or its things.  The heart has been reborn.  The more the “Delight” is in the “law of the LORD” the less these things of the world become anything of importance.  The law of the LORD is something the man and woman of God delights in.  They meditate on it day and night.

To wake up thinking Scripturally.  To go to bed at night thinking Biblically.  What a wonderful “Delight” it is.  The Word of God is more precious than anything this world has to give.  DELIGHT IN THE LAW OF THE LORD.  Within its pages you find life and eternal life.  It will take you to the person of Jesus.  Sin will hold no power on you.

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”  Psalm 1:3 (KJV).

Have you ever noticed trees by streams of water during a drought?  Trees on the hillside away from the streams often begin to look a little dry, and sometimes leaves begin to fade, but the trees by the streams never fade in the heat of drought.  The Psalmist paints us a lovely picture of the follower of Christ Jesus who stays in, abides in, continues in the Word of God.  He/She “delights in the law of the LORD”, and when troubles come they just keep on ticking.

The fruit will keep on coming despite droughts, despite hardships, and even despite the storms, though the storms may cause severe damage.  The one who keeps themselves in the Word, the law, the way of the LORD will also prosper in all they do.  Do remember that prosperity is not always in things, but peace, comfort, encouragement, love, wisdom, grace, mercy, etc..

Just as the tree planted by the rivers of water is always at the mercy of the stream which flows by so too is the follower at the mercy of the One whose Word we read, hear and practice.  We/You are always in His hands.

There is such evil in our world at times.  Murders happen each and every day and even in each hour of the day.  Some of which we never hear about.  There are many crimes done to other human beings, of whom all are made in the image and likeness of God, and by God Himself.  He alone gives life, and He alone can justly take a life.

“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”  Psalm 1:4 (KJV).

We have seen the blessedness of the one who walks with God, and that she/he delights in the law [Word] of the LORD meditating in it day and night; and that this individual is like a tree planted by the rivers of water.  Now that is quite refreshing to a child of God; to know that whatsoever they do shall prosper.

There is a somewhat sad statement, yet, a statement that should encourage us as well.  The encouraging thing about verse four is that God will judge wickedness, and will not let it go unpunished.  The sad thing is that there are those who are “Ungodly”.

The “Ungodly” are those who will set out to oppose all that is godly, righteous, just, and of God.  Whether we want to admit this or not they do exist.  A few years ago we  heard of a group who on a website asks for those who will commit the “Unpardonable sin” to sin against the Spirit of God and forever condemn their soul.  The ungodly are those who just completely reject the love, grace, mercy, and cross of Jesus Christ.

These are as the waste of the wheat as it is thrashed.  When the winds of life and God’s judgment comes are driven away.  May God save those who will hear Him, and believe.

In the first Psalm we see the blessedness of the one who is right with God.  They do not seek ungodly counsel, nor do they participate in sinful endeavors, nor try to rule with the scornful or as the scornful.  The “Blessed” are those whose “…delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night”.  Those who do this are strong, supplied, and sufficient for all things.

“Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” Psalm 1:5 (KJV).

The ungodly and the sinner are the same.  They are not right with God.  Their delight is to do the things that gratify their emotions, thinking, lust, greed, and power.  These are ones who will not hardly hesitate to use a friend, sometimes even a family member or spouse, or co-worker to gain what they desire; what they delight in.  They certainly have no desire for God.  God would be an interruption in their life.

The path of the ungodly and the sinner is that they will not be able to stand before God in the judgment with their good deeds.  They will be judged according to their works (Revelation 20:11-14;  v. 12), and will not be able to give any reason for their unbelieving hearts.  There will be no room for the ungodly and the sinner “…in the congregation of the righteous”.

Who are the righteous?  All those who have come to God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, and received the righteousness of Christ and have been raised together with Him, for all eternity.

Sin definitely has a hold on the human race.  Why many do not want to see it is beyond reason.  One Monday morning at Virginia Tech, in April 2007, we saw the results of sin, and there is only one answer for sin.  The life of a perfect sacrifice.  And we are not it.

“For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish”  Psalm 1:6 (KJV).

Cho Sueng-Hui a student with a visa from South Korea went into a dorm and killed two fellow students.  He, then proceeded to Norris Hall where students and teachers were gathered for classes, and shot and killed thirty more, and then, turned the gun on himself.  This man does not need my condemnation, nor anyone else.  He is condemned far greater than anything you or I could.  He is forever in the absence of God’s presence.

Those who have become so encumbered by sin that they follow its call will do almost anything.  Let no one say, “I could not/would not ever do what that man did”.  You just might.  As long as you turn a deaf ear to the Lord; your heart will grow hard, heavy, and madness of evil can easily set in.  You could find yourself doing all kinds of evil, that you never dreamed possible.  You say you don’t believe in evil.  Do not be deceived.  You saw it take place on Monday morning April 16, 2007, and every morning before and since that dreadful day.  Evil is more powerful than you or I can deal with alone.  The end of evil is destruction.

The LORD knows ‘the way of the righteous’;  He should because He directs the way of the righteous.  The LORD does not direct the righteous to kill, maim or destroy.  He directs the righteous to live godly, holy, and sanctified lives for His glory, and calls us to call others unto Him.  The way of the righteous is also the way of peace, mercy, justice, love, joy, gentleness, patience, self control.  They show forth those things which have been called the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Taught By God

“It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall be taught of God’.  Every man therefore that hath heard, and learned of the Father, cometh unto Me.”  Jesus  (John 6:45 KJV).

The prophets to whom Jesus was referring and the address of the words written in the prophets are Isaiah 54:13; Jeremiah 31:34; and Micah 4:2.  Maybe some who read this think, “My goodness is Jesus all he has to write about?”  He is the very reason for my being.  The very reason for my existence, and for yours as well.  He is worthy of so much more than what I can write or say.

You read in Genesis, and you will see Jesus when God has given you Light to see Him.  In Exodus Jesus is there as the lamb’s blood is put on the door posts and the lintel.  He is the Passover Lamb.  As the children of Israel journey through the wilderness,  Jesus is the Healing of the waters at Marah.  He is the Rock that followed them through the desert.  All of Scriptures testify of Jesus.

Do I ever get tired of speaking or writing about my Jesus?  Never.  I cannot do it enough.  The Revelator [John] wrote in the Spirit of the Lord, “…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”  Revelation 19:10 (KJV).  Jesus told those who hated Him; speaking of the Scriptures, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.”  Jesus (John 5:39 KJV).  To know God one must be Taught By God.

If you want peace, hope, encouragement in this life, and eternal life; then, give yourself completely to Jesus.  He gave His for you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Precious Word Of God

The Word of God is precious and dear to every  Christian’s heart.  When Paul the apostle was telling people of Jesus Christ all the Scriptures he had was the Old Testament.  That is the Word of God he used in his preaching Jesus.

In Acts 28:23 we find these words, “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening”.  Why is it that there are many preachers and even Christian groups who completely avoid the Old Testament when in the New Testament we have evidence that those words was the only Word of God available to the apostles?

When you see them as messages concerning Jesus they become precious and give better understanding to the New Testament.  Get into all of God’s Word.  The Old and New Testaments is all God has given us today.  Even Jesus, after He arose from death, mentions the law and the prophets.  Check out Luke 24.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Battle For Jerusalem

Jerusalem the “city of David”.  So called by the Old Testament Scriptures; and given to the nation of Israel.  In Jerusalem is a mount on which at the present time stands a mosque of Islam.  It is on a sight which is respected by two groups of people.

It is respected by the Jews because of it being the place of Solomon’s Temple which he built by request of his father David.  It was a glorious temple of beauty, sacred devotion to Jehovah [YHWH], and great design.  It is respected by Islam because that is the place where Al Aqsa Mosque is presently standing.

There is still a battle raging over this special site in Biblical history.  Scripture promises that the temple will be rebuilt.  What this means for the mosque is up for discussion, and could mean one of several things; which I will not get into here.

Recently, however, the Moslem Mufti, Sheik Sabri told thousands of moslem children that the temple of the Jews would never be rebuilt. You may read more of this story here at Prophecy Today. What exactly does that say concerning the Scriptures, God’s Word.  Islam claims to have such high regard for the Bible, yet we see time and again their disdain and disrespect for the promises of God to the Hebrew people concerning their land, and the temple.

The City of Jerusalem is still the “City of David” as the Scriptures proclaim (called “city of David” at least 43 times from 2 Samuel 5:7 – Nehemiah 12:37).  It sounds to me as though it is the “City of David”, and not the city of Mohammed.

It was king David’s desire to build a temple to Jehovah, and GOD would not permit him to do so, but passed that honor on to Solomon; because of the “blood on David’s hands”.

It is possible that the temple will be not only rebuilt, but there will be another temple built in that one’s place when Jesus returns.  See 2 Thessalonians 2:4;  Ezekiel 40-42.

For someone to give a message that God is not going to fulfill His Word is to doubt God and His promises.  To doubt God and His promises is to wage war against the Most High, and declare Him a liar.  Yet the Word of God is true, “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).  The Mosque may crumble and fall, and never be rebuilt; however, the temple will be on the Temple Mount once again.  And it could be very soon.  God will fulfill every word of Scripture.

Come Lord Jesus.  Come soon.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Returning Remnant

The prophet has given a very solemn, and somewhat discouraging words.  The ministry of the prophet of God is to speak the truth of God’s Word, no matter to whom they are speaking.

When one is called by God to proclaim the Word of God it is to God, and to God alone that we are held accountable.  Isaiah knew this and he never withheld a word.  He warned the laid back, at ease people of Zion that, though they had it made at that present time there was judgment coming from Assyria, the Chaldeans, the Babylonians; that they would be taken into captivity, and then he also let them know that God would lead some – a remnant – back to their blessed land.

This prophecy is given at least 100 years before it would take place.  Isaiah would not live to see it happen.  We know from the records of Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Daniel that it did come to pass just as Isaiah had said.

As we journey through the Scriptures reading, meditating upon them, learning, we find that there are many times God is not pleased with Israel.  They are divided into a Northern kingdom called Israel, Ephraim; and into a Southern kingdom called Judah, and this was an act of chastisement from God for their departure from the way of David, and overtaxing of the people.  They were often afflicted by surrounding enemies, because they turned their back on God.  Of all the kings named in the Northern kingdom there is not one of whom it is said, that he “did right in the eyes of the LORD”.

When God’s people turn their backs on God, His Word, His prophets and begin to hate and kill His prophets, and despise the way of God, then God will send judgment to chastise His people.  With Israel (both Northern and Southern kingdoms) they would go into captivity, and Jeremiah the prophet says it would be for a period of seventy years (Jeremiah 25:11, 12; 29:10).  After that seventy years are accomplished God would allow a “Remnant” to return to the land.

There are many who have given up on the nation of Israel today.  Some say, “God is through with Israel as a nation”.  One national ruler says, “We will destroy Israel”.  At this time this man’s “kingdom” is in jeopardy due to charges of an unfair election process.  The kingdoms of men fall.  None of these things said by such rulers are so, nor will they come to pass.  God has not given up on Israel.  He still has a remnant who will one day call on the name of the One whom “they have pierced”, and call Him Lord, and the kingdom of David will be forever established with Jesus Christ as King.

Where the nation has trusted many times upon their captors, their “protectors” – such as those who are siding with Israel today; though their protection is like whitewash – they [Israel] will come to a place their hope and stay [trust] will be upon the LORD alone.  Israel’s only protection is the LORD.  Your protection;  also mine is the LORD of hosts.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.” Isaiah 10:20-23 (KJV)

Paul the apostle writes of the promises and hope of Israel in Romans 9-11, and there he tells us, “All Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26).  Let us all pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), remembering that the only true and lasting peace will come when the Prince of Peace comes and sits on His throne in Jerusalem, and His name is Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Noah The Farmer; The Vineyard and the Wine

Noah The Farmer; The Vineyard, and His Wine

Anyone who would approach the study of beverage alcohol from a Biblical perspective, and would say that alcoholic beverage is not even referred to would be naive at the least and deceptive at the most. I am not going to approach it from either perspective. There is alcoholic wine in the Bible, and it was abused by godly people. Was it ever used properly? That may be an answer we will get to sometime later in these studies, conclusions, or essays.

The title suggest something to us of Noah. Noah of the ark, who built the ark designed by God. Noah; who found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Noah; who “walked with God”. Noah; who was used by God to save humankind from destruction.

In this post and future ones I make it no secret, my agenda is to try and persuade Christians against the use of beverage alcohol. This first post gives us a Bible example of the folly of drinking alcohol.

Hear the example of Noah from God’s Word:

“And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent.” Genesis 9:20 (NKJV).

Let me say here that there is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with grapes and grape juice. Vineyards produce grapes, and with some effort from men, they will produce grape juice; and then, with some aging the juice will ferment and become alcoholic naturally with its sugars.

Drunkenness is clearly rebuked, and condemned by Scripture. Noah sinned by his drunkenness. Did he know that this fruit of the vine had become alcoholic, and lead to becoming drunk? Quite possibly. We learn from Noah, that even the best of juices need to be drank in moderation. Even water should be drank in moderation. The reason I bring that up is; just a several months ago, in 2007, a woman in the State of California, entered a contest seeing who could drink the most water the quickest, she won, and she died. The autopsy said she died of “Water intoxication”. Even with this though there was no harm that came to others.

In Noah’s case harm did come to others. He brought shame on His family. He brought a curse upon his grandson, and his heirs. Noah brought shame to himself.

“And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.” Genesis 9:21-23 (NKJV).

Surely you can see by Noah’s drunkenness, that if you never take up the habit of drinking the wine [any beverage alcohol] you will never get drunk. You will not bring this embarrassment into your family. You will not get in a car and harm other people on the highways, and roads of our land. You will not bring shame to your name, at least in this fashion.

There are many physicians which tell us that there are medicinal qualities in wine, and more in certain kinds of wine. One of my own doctors, after he had told me that my good cholesterol number was too low, and I asked him how to improve it told me, “Drinking a little wine would be one place to start”. For me that was completely out of the picture. I have heard the studies, which have told us that the pure fruit of the vine is just as good for those benefits, and I enjoy my daily glass of red grape juice. Grapejuice does have all the medicinal qualities that wine does. There is scientific evidence which proves it. And the juice does it without alcohol. There are no health qualities in beverage alcohol. That is no excuse for drinking, and taking the chance of getting drunk. The only medicinal use I could think of for alcohol is for cuts and bruises, and maybe for dulling of the senses when a minor surgery or something would be done without any other anesthetic available.

Look what happened to Noah; sure he had every right to enjoy the fruits of his labor. He evidently had purposely made the wine; then he proceeded to drink the wine and very much over did himself, and became drunkened by the alcohol, then he did something he would not in his normal state of mind done. He uncovered himself openly in his tent. The thing about the drinking of anything alcoholic is that you never know how much it will take to cause you to lose your moral decision making process. How can a Christian in a society which is driven by alcohol stand in their church, or any Christian setting and argue and defend the drinking of beverage alcohol? I say “society which is driven by alcohol” because when a news channel for two years in a row on “Derby Day” gives a recipe on the making of a “mint Julip” or something like that – which is a purly strong alcoholic drink – and they live as though it is just a dream drinking the beverages; it is surely a society driven by alcohol. Many of the commercials on television and in Newspapers, and magazines are from the alcohol industry.

Noah did not have the pressure of society to cause him to drink to drunkenness; and preachers today scream legalism when other preachers, teachers or myself tell us it is a matter of calling to righteous and holy living and protecting the name of Christ. The more the preachers speak of silence from the Scriptures concerning beverage alcohol, the more the numbers of alcoholics and drunks will increase. Whether we want to accept it or not, our silence is our approval. Your people, old and the young especially, are waiting to hear from you. Give them the facts, give them the pictures, give them the warnings from God’s Word, and trust God to work. If you are God’s man in the pulpit you have that responsibility. If you don’t you may start finding your people’s moral compasses failing; or even your own.

I pray this will make you think before you drink. You may not be able to think afterwards.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Greater King

A Greater King

“The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” Matthew 12:42 (KJV).

We have already gave mention to this verse in the commentary on the preceding verses. It is the third mention of a “greater than”. Jesus is the One who is greater than the temple (v. 6) = the greatest Priest. He is the One who is greater than Jonah (v. 41) = the greatest Prophet. Now we see that He is the One who is greater than Solomon.

What is the significance of Solomon? He was the third king of the nation of Israel. He was the wisest man who ever lived other than the One of whom we speak in this study. He was the wealthiest of all the kings of Israel, and was a king of peace. Under Solomon’s reign was Israel’s greatest days. There was peace all around. When Jesus reigns from His throne in Jerusalem He will then be, and already is, the wisest of all men. His kingdom will be wealthier than it has ever been, He is already the wealthiest of all kings. It will be Israel’s greatest days. There will be peace in every nation. He is in fact the King of kings.

The Queen of Sheba had heard many things concerning Solomon, was on her own search for wisdom so went to Solomon to find out for herself. Here is what the Word of God tells us; “The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, so she came to test Solomon with difficult questions at Jerusalem with a very large retinue, with camels bearing spices, gold in abundance, and precious stones. She came to Solomon and spoke with him about everything that was on her mind. So Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too difficult for Solomon to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba observed Solomon’s wisdom, the palace he had built, the food at his table, his servants’ residence, his attendants’ service and their attire, his cupbearers and their attire, and the burnt offerings he offered at the Lord’s temple, it took her breath away. She said to the king, ‘The report I heard in my own country about your words and about your wisdom is true. But I didn’t believe their reports until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, I was not even told half of your great wisdom! You far exceed the report I heard. How happy are your men. How happy are these servants of yours, who always stand in your presence hearing your wisdom. May the Lord your God be praised! He delighted in you and put you on his throne as king for the Lord your God. Because Your God loved Israel enough to establish them forever, He has set you over them as king to carry out justice and righteousness.’ Then she gave the king four and a half tons of gold, a great quantity of spices, and precious stones. There never were such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. In addition, Hiram’s servants and Solomon’s servants who brought gold from Ophir also brought algum wood and precious stones. The king made the algum wood into walkways for the Lord’s temple and for the king’s palace and into harps and lyres for the singers. Never before had anything like them been seen in the land of Judah. King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba her every desire, whatever she asked—far more than she had brought the king. Then she, along with her servants, returned to her own country.” 2 Chronicles 9:1-12 (HCSB) This is the testimony of one who witnessed the greatness and wisdom of Solomon. There are millions more who have experienced and will experience the greatness and wisdom of Jesus Christ.

Wisdom and understanding for ruling the people was what Solomon petitioned the Lord for in his prayer, and because to this the Lord granted to Him not only the greatest wisdom and understanding, but also power and wealth. There are many scholars and others who seem to think that the queen of Sheba and Solomon had sexual relations. There is really no evidence of such from Scripture, or that she took YaHWeH as her personal God. She only recognized God as the national God of Israel (1 Kings 10:1-10)

The scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus is addressing certainly have none of Solomon’s wisdom and understanding. It is almost certain that had the Lord Jesus been appearing before Solomon he would have known who stood there in his presence. Though the queen of Sheba may not have truly believed in God, her belief was that Solomon’s God had given him great wisdom and riches, and by what she had seen and witnessed stands as a judgment against the generation which condemned and rejected and continues to reject Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ the greatest Priest; the greatest Prophet; and the greatest King. He is the fulfillment of all Scripture – Prophet, Priest, and King.

God had used Solomon to get the attention of a foreign queen and she saw the greatness of God. The generation to whom Jesus spoke had One greater than Solomon, and they were rejecting Him. In our generation of 2008 Jesus Christ still lives, His message of grace through faith is still proclaimed; and there are those on the foolish side who desire to change it; keep out the cross, to never discuss the sinfulness of mankind; but instead make claims of the greatness of mankind, and our achievements, our technology, our wisdom. The people of Nineveh to who Noah preached, and the queen of Sheba still speak against the wisdom of this age, and declare to us Jesus Christ is Lord. Hear Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

One Greater Than the Sabbath

Greater Than the Sabbath

“At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, 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.” Matthew 12:1-8 (KJV).

It seems that there are several times in the gospels where Jesus is doing something on the Sabbath day. In doing so He gains the attention of the religious leaders, where He evidently doesn’t in His teaching and preaching, or in the miracles that he does. These religious leaders believe in the Sabbath day celebrations, and worship. It is odd, but it was for their violations of the Sabbaths that Israel went into Babylonian captivity. At least that was one partial reason. They were in Babyonian captivity one year for each Sabbath which had been violated. This includes the sabbaths of the land, jubilees, and other (Read Leviticus 26). There is much said about Israel profaning the holy things in Ezekiel 20 – 23. One of those holy things is the Sabbaths of the LORD. When the LORD is speaking to them, warning them of the the dangers of disobedience He told them, “I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scater you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.” Leviticus 26:32-34 (KJV). This warning was carried out according to Jeremiah the prophet, “…To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil three score and ten years.” 2 Chronicles 36:21.

It could be because of the past that these Jewish leaders had taken such a strong stance on the sabbath. Not a good excuse or reason. It is nothing short of blindness. They are really not so concerned with the keeping of the sabbath day or special sabbaths as they are their power and authority. They were more concerned with popularity, than truth. The reason I make that judgment is because Jesus Himself told them they were blind, and in the above passage they seem to be unfamiliar with the Scriptures they are so fond of. They had the written truth, were familiar with the truth, but when the Truth was standing before them, they knew Him not.

“For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” How can religious leaders be telling the Creator that it is unlawful to walk through a field on the sabbath day, “harvesting and eating” grain? It is a very foolish effort on their part. Being the Creator He is greater than the sabbath day. He is the greatest rest. When we know Him we rest from our foolish attempts at righteousness, and rest in His righteousness alone.

Jesus is accused of profaning the sabbath and it happened many times. He dealt with His accusers justly, and with righteous judgment, and for the good of the people. The accusations of profaning the sabbath day was more rejection; and had no merit. The “righteous-guilty” are really the one’s who are first to condemn those who are really most righteous. Despite overwhelming evidence these self-righteous men continue to be bound by the one Jesus called their father.

Many of the people who came to Jesus, the multitudes who were fed of the five thousand and the four thousand, would later turn from Him. Many seek to follow wonders and signs, then, reject the Lord. To ask the Lord for signs in order to believe is not faith.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Indifference Toward the King

Indifference Toward the King

“Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.” Matthew 11:20-24 (KJV)

It has been said, “God owes everyone a chance to repent and be saved”, or “God will eventually give everyone a chance to hear the gospel and be saved”. Not according to what I read in Scriptures. He does not owe anyone an iota of grace or mercy. He owes us nothing. To say it one more time in another way, God is indebted to no one. Period.

In His mercy He has given natural revelation of Himself. The creation declares the glory of God, and every one is held accountable for what they do with what they have been given.

In these verses we see indifference toward the King who has given life. Jesus had done wondrous works in these cities – Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, and they rejected Him. There was indeed a contrast of Light. How much light did Tyre and Sidon have? As far as we know they were given little, if any light or revelation of God, except creation itself. They were destroyed. Sodom was a city which had the capacity for light through Lot. Lot seems to have gotten too involved in the “culture”. There is plenty of evidence that Lot had become so much like the pluralistic paganism around him he was seen as a man with no convictions toward God, righteousness, or holiness. Lot’s light was a weak light. These cities would have repented; according to Jesus; if they would have received light. In this we can see that God is not obligated to reveal Himself to anyone. Also, that judgment is imminent for all, even if they have received no other light.

Jesus may have ministered in the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida after He had sent out the twelve, and He ministered alone (v. 1). Keep in mind that the works Jesus did are a testimony of who He is,

“If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” John 10:37-38 (KJV)

“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” John 14:10-11 (KJV)

Indifference to Jesus, rejecting Jesus; especially after seeing His mighty deeds, and especially His death and resurrection will be judgment in the eternal judgment of God. The judgment will be in accordance to the light which has shined. The judgment which will be harshest will be upon those who have heard the message of Jesus and continued to ignore it, refuse it, or just remain indifferent to it. The cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida had the very Light walking in their midst, and Capernaum housed the Light, and yet, they were indifferent. It seems by Jesus’s teaching here there will be degrees of torment in the place of eternal judgment.

Since Tyre, Sidon, Chorazin, Sodom, Bethsaida, and Capernaum is mentioned in this text let’s look at the leaven of their existence. The evil of Tyre and Sidon was that it was one of the vilest in pagan religious practice, their licentious behavior, and Baal worship. The pagan worship involved sexually explicit dances, and ritual lude behaviors. We are well acquainted with Sodom’s behavior (Genesis 18:16-21; Ezekiel 16:48-50). The very name “Sodom” has been used to describe deviant behavior of the day – “Sodomy”. The city was so perverse in their behavior that when struck with blindness they persisted in doing evil (Genesis 19:4-11). The city was destroyed from off the face of the earth. Chorazin’s, Bethsaida’s and Capernaum’s evil? Jesus walked in their midst, did many “mighty works” and they did nothing. The mighty works of chapters eight and nine were done in Capernaum. The greatest evil of all is having the Light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and rejecting it, not walking in it. The evils of lewd behavior can be repented of, and turned from, but there is no repentance of continual rejection, indifference to Jesus Christ.

The hottest spot in Hell is reserved for the one who remains in rejection and indifference to Jesus; having had the greatest amount of light. You may believe, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, if you believe in something”, or “That is okay for you, but it’s not for me”, or “Jesus may have been a good man, but He can’t help me”. Indifference, indifference, indifference. Your punishment on the day of judgment will be according to opportunity. The judgment will still be Hell.

Why live in indifference and rejection? The way of salvation is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection. There is a judgment day coming.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Proud Man and His Woes

THE PROUD MAN AND HIS WOES

“Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:  Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay!  Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties unto them?  Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee; because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein” Habakkuk 2:5-8

The prophet has questioned God about how He could see Israel in sin and do nothing about it. God gave Habakkuk the answer, that He was going to judge Israel, and it was going to be with the ruthless, sinful Babylonian kingdom. This part shows that he is a very concerned prophet when it comes to the holiness, purity, and integrity of Mighty God.

This is shown in his plea to the Lord, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity…” (1:13) God is professed by the prophet to be from “Everlasting”, and “Mine Holy One” – as a question.

The Holy One of Israel then shows Habakkuk what is going to happen with Babylon after they have used and abused Israel.

Nothing that goes on in the world is apart from God’s knowledge of it. It is all a part of His plan. Nothing surprises Him. He is God.

In verse 5 we find that the proud man of the kingdom of Babylon is puffed up with the pride the prophet has referenced. The desires of a proud man are not usually of the righteous nature, but are pretty selfish, and for personal gain alone.

The proud man seems to be greatly influenced by wine. I guess you could say the wine gives him the arrogance to let it be known what his genuine purpose is. He is greedy for more. In this case greedy for more land, gold, goods, and souls of men. He takes that which is not intended to be his. At the blazoned display of his arrogance he takes nations captive.

Yet, it seems a certainty that they, the nations, will taunt him, ridicule and scorn him.

This proud man has five “Woes” pronounced against him. The first says, “Woe to him who increases what is not his — how long?” It becomes clear to us that these “Woes” are against Babylon, but is there anything we can learn from them? I believe so.  I will deal with the “Woes” more thoroughly in later studies on the five woes pronounced against Babylon by the prophet Habakkuk

It is also clear in looking at the first chapter that Babylon was an unrighteous nation which God was going to use to discipline the nation of Judah. In their being used by God to judge the nation, then, God would also see that the Babylonian people were also punished. There is no nation that can escape the judgment of God; especially those who unjustly put their hands on God’s people.

This “Woe” expresses coming judgment upon Babylon because of their increasing in goods which were not theirs for the express purpose of making themselves wealthy. It is actually a charge of extortion. The MacArthur Study Bible states, “…Plundering nations under threat of great bodily harm for the purpose of making themselves rich. As a result they were to become plunder for those nations who remained.” pg.1320.

Look at how this first Woe culminates into judgment upon Babylon. First of all, the ones from whom taxes were extorted will come against them. Does Babylon actually think that these people will not come to realize [awaken], and Babylon will become their booty?

The warning to Babylon is from God Himself. The people they have plundered will plunder them. There will be justice and judgment.

One of the things in the study of Scriptures is learning how to apply what you have studied to fit with your life. There is much to learn from this one “Woe”. Woe, is a warning or pronouncement of judgment. There can be an element of understanding why one would take the goods of a defeated enemy and increase their goods, but that was not to be the case with Babylon, nor is it to be with the Christian.

This first ‘Woe’ implies greed. The Christian is not to live in greed. Of course, we have the Ten Commandments, and the last one is, “Thou shalt not covet…” and it includes things as well as people. Covetousness is greed; the desire for more; it is in fact idolatry (Col. 3:5), and that made clear by writings of the New Testament. This kind of gain is usually at the expense of another party, and probably by some who cannot afford to lose it.

Be content with such things as you have. Then, you will be blessed.