Israel’s Redemption

By the grace of Holy God…

“Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art My servant: I have formed thee; thou art My servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me.

I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.

Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel.

Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, ‘I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by Myself; that frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; that confirmeth the word of His servant, and performeth the counsel of His messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, ‘Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: that saith to the deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: that saith of Cyrus, ‘My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, ‘Thy foundation shall be laid.’ ” Isaiah 44:21-28 (KJB)

The Redemption of the nation Israel is solely a work of God’s mercy, grace and love through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A great day coming when the redeemed remnant of Israel shall look upon the One whom their forefathers crucified; and they shall call Him LORD (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:37; Revelation 1:7; Daniel 7:13).

They Would Not Quit

“Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.  But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, ‘Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.’  And when they heard, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.” Acts 5:17-21 (KJB)

Thinking of our Christian brothers and sisters in nations where the gospel of Jesus Christ is not received in a spirit of freedom.  I salute you, and thank you for not quitting.  I also ask you to pray for us here in the United States of America; for though we are free; having the freedom of speech, and freedom of religion there are many who are trying to push the gospel out of the public, and have the word of God stay behind closed doors of our churches.

In the text above we see those who hated Jesus Christ, and had a hand in His crucifixion and death now hating His disciples, locking them in prison, trying to silence the power of God in Jerusalem.

The angel of the Lord freed them without even opening the jail doors (verses 22-26).  The angel also sent them to the temple to teach, and they went and taught.  They would not quit.  They would not be silent.

Neither can the Christian of 2019 be silent of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  People are perishing.  There are people dying in their sins.  Christian of Africa continue to stand and preach the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Christian of India, continue to preach the gospel.  Christian of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey continue to preach the word of God.

Christian of the United States of America be faithful to preach the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

They Would Not Quit.  Neither should you or I.

Temple Thrown Down

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

From the past…

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

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

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

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

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

He Looked Around

“And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when He had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, He went out unto Bethany with the twelve.” Mark 11:11  (KJB)

This was during the week of His presentation, and the giving of His gift from God to Adam kind; the gift of His life.  His public presentation as King was received by many, as He came in on the donkey; with people singing and saying

“Hosanna: Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that comes in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” Mark 11:9-10

We are told in verse 11 that He came to Jerusalem, and entered the temple. He looked around.  Of these words John Gill wrote…

and when he had looked round about upon all things; that is, in the temple, as the Lord and proprietor of it; and made a thorough visitation of it, and search into it, and corrected what was amiss in it:” John Gill

Jesus is Lord and Proprietor of the temple.  Today the temple of the Lord is each individual who has been redeemed by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and secured by the resurrection of Christ from the grave (1 Corinthians 3:17; 6:19).

He is in you.  He is in me.  He is in us who confess Him as our Lord and Savior. He has every right and authority to look around in His temple.  He will lead us in the paths of righteousness as we yield to His word and Holy Spirit.

Believe Him

Access to Heaven Gained

“And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is, being interpreted, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, ‘Behold, he calleth Elias.’ And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink, saying, ‘Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.’ And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.”  Mark 15:33-39 (KJB)

For three hours Jesus experienced the darkest time of His life as a Man.  He spent it separated from His Father. Up to this point when He spoke to the Father He always called Him “Father”; in this prayer, an exact quotation from Psalm 22, Jesus calls Him “My God”, asking why He has been forsaken.

Jesus had become sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and had just been judged for the sins of the world.

When Jesus cried and gave up His spirit to the Father we are told that “…the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom”.  That tells us no man tore the veil which separated the Holy place in the temple from the Holy of Holies, the place where the ark of the covenant would be placed had it been present.  The tearing of the veil by God shows that through the death of Jesus all of Adam kind now has access to God and Heaven.

Access to God is only gained through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God the Son.

The Temple and the Light of that City

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; and had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: on the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Revelation 21:10-27 (KJV)

The description of the abiding place of the Bride. The place Jesus speaks of in John 14:1-3.

The description John gives is only as splendid and glorious as he could give in human terms. Whenever you try to communicate the holy to the unholy all you will do is come up far short of actuality. For instance, “the lake of fire” – the fire may indeed be a human description by symbol, however, the reality or the substance is greater than the symbol.

It is like a nuclear physicist who writes down all he knows and hands it to a kindergarten student. That student will have no idea of what he is looking at. God was showing John some wonderful things and inspired him to write the way he has so we could have a little understanding of the glory which awaits us.

In verse 10 the angel takes John, “In the Spirit”, to a mountain where he sees the holy Jerusalem descending “out of heaven from God”. Warren Wiersbe writes…

“The eternal city is not only the home of the bride; it is the bride! A city is not buildings; it is people” (from the BIBLE EXPOSITION COMMENTARY by Warren Wiersbe, Vol. 2, pg. 623).

The city is described as having foundations, walls, and gates.

FOUNDATIONS speak of permanence. The houses we build, though they do have foundations, are only temporary when marked by eternity. They are only the tents of “pilgrims and strangers” (Hebrews 11:8-10).

WALLS speak of protection. This wall of the city is eternal. Nothing wicked and vile can enter this city for the only entrance is by way of the blood of Jesus.

GATES speak of a way in – an entrance. God used Israel as an entrance for Christ to become flesh. Christ is the door through which man can come to God.

The bride of Christ would then seem to be made up of those of Israel who believe and the Church whom Jesus Christ “…hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us” (Eph. 3:14).

Each gate of the city is named for one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Each of the twelve foundations is named for one of the apostles.

In chapter 11 John is commanded to measure the temple (a symbolic gesture of ownership). Here, he witnesses as the angel measure the heavenly city. The dimensions of the city are staggering. FOURSQUARE means the city is equal on all sides. The shape could be either a cube or pyramid. The length, height, and breadth equal “twelve thousand furlongs” – a furlong is equal to 220 yards today – if we say a furlong is equal to 600 feet we would come up with a city fo 1,500 miles long, it would have a breadth of 1,500 miles and a height of 1,500 miles. To help us understand this – to place this city in perspective to the United States, it would cover over half of the contiguous states land mass. It is a large city, showing that God has provided plenty of room for all who will come to Him through His Son Jesus.

Now we come to the wall. It measured 144 cubits. If a cubit equals 18 inches, then the wall would be 72 yards high or 216 feet.

The construction of the city is astounding; walls of Jasper, streets of pure gold, foundations decorated with precious stones (Jasper, 2. sapphire, 3. Chalcedony, 4. emerald, 5. sardonyx, 6. sardius, 7. chrysolite, 8. Beryl, 9. topaz, 10. chrysoprasus, 11. jacinth, 12. amethyst). We can tell by this description that the bride of the Lamb is certainly arrayed in glory and beauty (Eph. 5:27a), the gates are twelve pearls, the street of pure gold. What a place to walk. The thing for which men crave most on earth will be under our feet in the new Jerusalem.

There is no temple (v. 22), “The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it”. Notice the plurality and the singularity of this verse concerning the temple, God, and the Lamb. We will forever be in Christ Jesus and He in us (John 17:21-22).

There is no need of the sun or the moon. Verse 23 does not say a sun or moon does not exist. It appears to be saying that the glory of God and of the Lamb is the light of the new Jerusalem – the holy city come out of heaven from God. The glory of God will be so bright that the sun and moon will fade into the background – similar to how the other stars are unseen during the daylight hours, due to the “glory” of the sun.

Then, “nations” are probably those who dwell on the “new earth”. These have access to the city, but evidently do not live there. These walk in the light of the glorious city. These may be those who chose to remain faithful to the Lamb of God during the thousand years of His reign and during the last attempt by Satan to lead them astray. The very fact of their faith is the glory they bring into the city each time.

They are free to come and go as they please – the gates are always opened.

Only those whose names “are written in the Lamb’s book of life” can enter there.

What construction! What beauty! What a Savior! The Temple of that City and the Light of that City is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb

Because GOD Has Judged

And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say,
Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because Thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments.  Revelation 16:1-7 (KJV)

One of the four Living ones of chapter four gives each angel a golden vial [bowl] according to the plague for which they are assigned.

In 5:8 is mentioned “golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints”. It would appear that there is no more prayer – “no man was able to enter the temple”. The time for prayer will cease, and the time of God’s vengeance against those who mocked His name, His law, His holiness and righteousness, and His people has come.

The vials are the last judgment before the appearance of Jesus in all His glory.

The voice from out of the temple must be that of God the Most High. The prayers of the saints from 5:8 are being carried out to the fullest. Do we pray for vengeance upon evil today? Should we? I believe that we do and should; of course, for the cause of God’s glory. We must remember evil even in our own lives. In the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13) is the phrase “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”; and that is what Jesus is speaking of. The fire of His Spirit falling on us burns away the dross and filth of evil. If you are “in Christ” ( a phrase used by the apostle Paul) you stand in the fire and come out purer and stronger before God.

Let us commit ourselves as followers/disciples of Jesus Christ to praying for God’s vengeance upon evil (starting with our own), and one day we will see it brought to pass. Let us pray also that friends, family, all our loved ones, and neighbors will be convicted of sin, and in that, lead them to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. Every time a soul is saved evil is judged.

It seems that where the seven seals, and seven trumpets speak of man’s choice to live without God, their sin brings judgment and finally in the bowl judgments God’s own hand is stretched out to judge.

  1. For God to pull away and let mankind have his way is a terrible judgment;
  2. Man’s selfishness, pride, lust, greed causes pollution, and environmental harm bringing their own judgment;
  3. Finally, when wicked men see God’s wrath and yet reject His mercy and grace, God steps in in full force to put an end to evil.

These vials [bowls] seem to coincide with the seven trumpet judgments. Remember the seventh trumpet brings in the seven vials of wrath. Where the seals and trumpets only seemed to touch a part of the earth – one fourth part in the opening of the “seals” (6:8), one third part in the “trumpets” (8:7-9) – these judgments seem to touch the whole earth and the heavens.

What the seven vials of judgment deal with and their correlation to the trumpets:

  1. 8:1-7 “The earth” 16:1-2;
  2. 8:8-9 “The sea” 16:3;
  3. 8:10-11 “The rivers” 16:4-7;
  4. 8:12-13 “The heavens” 16:8-9;
  5. 9:1-2 “Mankind – torment” 16:10-11;
  6. 9:13-21 “An army” 16:12-16;
  7. 11:15-19 “Angry nations” 16:17-21

These seem very similar, but the scope of their devastation is much different. The vial judgments are said to be “the last”.

With the vials:

  1. (V. 2) The objects of this wrath are clearly the ones who worshiped the beast;
  2. (V. 3) The whole sea turns to blood compared to only one third with the second trumpet (8:8-9);
  3. (VV. 4-7) Every stream and fountain of fresh water becomes “blood”; with the third trumpet one third of the waters became bitter (8:10-11)….

Verses 5-7 are a doxology of praise to God. It is a righteous and just thing to praise the Lord when He judges evil.  Let us also rejoice because one day all evil will be eternally dealt with.

Judgment is not a pleasant to talk about, however it would not be appropriate, neither would it be right to ignore these horrible events.  It would be improper for a doctor to find cancer in a patient and not inform the patient. God has made a way for humankind to miss judgment, and that is by way of believing and receiving the gift of eternal life purchased for you on Calvary’s cross – Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and on the third day he rose again.  He is alive forever more.

 

A Great and Marvelous Sign

“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest.
And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” Revelation 15:1-8 (KJV)

There is a phrase used several times throughout the Revelation which becomes quite obvious after a while. It is the phrase “Inhabitants of earth”. The fullness of God’s wrath is in view upon this group, therefore it is fitting for all who will call upon the Lord, to do so before that day comes, do so by trusting exclusively in the glorious Lord Jesus Christ, and His finished work on the cross, believing that He died, was buried, and rose again bodily from the grave, that He ascended unto the Father, and that He is coming again.

Since we have been in an interlude, the Scriptures have three different times which  take us to the brink of the destruction of wickedness in chapters 11, 14, and will again in 16 only to stop and fill in some details until chapter 19 where it happens.

John is shown seven angels, probably different from the others, “Having seven last plagues”. “Last plagues” seem to certainly indicate these events will precede the coming of Jesus in power and glory. In these plagues is the bringing to completion of God’s wrath upon wickedness on the earth.

These “That had gotten victory over the beast…” are probably those who refused the mark, and all the things of the beast, and died by his hand. They are alive.

The “Sea of glass mingled with fire” certainly implies a persecuted people by the trials and fires of the Great Tribulation. There is another “Sea of glass”, but without fire in 4:6.

These, like the 144,000, sing a song. This song is clearly called “the song of Moses”. I mentioned in the previous chapter the possibility that the 144,000 sing the song of Moses from Exodus 15. These in this chapter, most likely, would fit in singing the “Song of Moses from Deuteronomy 32. The 144,000 being delivered physically would fit Exodus 15, while these of our present chapter of Revelation, being delivered by death would be in accord with Deuteronomy 32 because it is a song of God’s vengeance on the wicked persecutors. The “Song of the Lamb” is a song of grace, apart from which no one can be saved. As the Lamb, it speaks of His blood sacrifice; “Without shedding of [His] blood is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22b).

The Lamb of God is worthy of our worship and one day every tribe, and tongue and nation will worship Him. All shall see that He is holy in His judgments, He is righteous in all His assessments. All the earth shall bow at His feet and call Him “Lord”.

I am going to let John Walvoord describe this scene…

“Another vision now introduced by John as a later development constitutes the immediate introduction of the judgments represented in the vials. Our attention is arrested by the phrase ‘I looked and, behold.” This expression always introduces something dramatically new. As John observes, the Holy of Holies in the heavenly Tabernacle is opened. The expression ‘the temple’ (Gr., naos) refers to the inner holy place of the Tabernacle, the design of which God gave to Israel during the wilderness wandering. The expression ‘the tabernacle of the testimony’ is a reference to the whole tentlike structure, a portion of which contained the Holy of Holies. It is described as ‘the tabernacle of the testimony’ because of the presence of the tables of stone containing the ten commandments which were placed in the ark of the testimony in the Holy of Holies (cf. Exodus 32:15; Acts 7:44) and is mentioned frequently in the Old Testament (Exodus 38:21; Num. 1:50, 53; 10:11; 17:7-8; 18:2).” From THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST pg. 229 (1966).

It seems quite obvious that this “Temple” is not the Church. It is actually the temple from which God gave the design to Moses for the tabernacle in the wilderness.

John describes these angels as coming out of the temple. It almost seems to be a quiet, hushed, reverent procession.

These angels are clothed in white. These are angels of God. The white represents the righteous character of Holy God, and the justness of His wrath which is about to proceed from the heavenly throne. The golden girdle speaks of justice and righteousness of His wrath. The truth is bound in this golden girdle.

Each of the seven angels holds in their hands one vial of judgment, which seems to be given to them after they proceed out of the temple. God in His holiness will be glorified.

There is never a wrong time to praise and worship the Lord and to thank Him for His mercy and grace.  Those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb always have a song in the heart. Fill your heart and life with Christ Jesus.  Receive His gift of grace paid on the cross for the redemption of the world.

Being Reminded of Purpose

“Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:3-6 (KJV)

The people had returned to Jerusalem from Babylon for the distinct purpose of rebuilding the temple (Ezra 1:1-5).  When we look into the prophecy of Haggai we read that they had become more concerned with building comfortable homes for themselves, more than the house of the LORD.

Now the prophet was not finding fault with them for building their homes, but they were neglecting the temple and its rebuilding.  That was the issue.  They were taking their goods and applying it to their own livelihood rather than to the work of the Lord.

In looking at this prophecy of Haggai there is a word for the people of God in 2017.  What may that be?  We have forgotten our purpose, our calling, and from whence we have been blessed.  I stand guilty.  We live in a nation that spends billions of dollars in the game of golf.  Many more millions are spent on movies; either attending their showing at the theater or buying them for home use.  Understand, I do not condemn these things, lest I condemn myself; but I must ask the question:  Where does God come into these actions?  How much do we give to Him for things that bring honor and glory to His name?

If we are spending more on our entertainment and pleasure and comfort than we return to the Lord, then we have forgotten our purpose.  I am speaking to those who call themselves “Christian”.  We are responsible to God for what we have left over after we give to Him; if we are returning anything to Him what He has blessed us with.

Let us consider our ways.  Let us be faithful with the blessings God has given us.  Give to your local place of worship, your Church, and watch what God can do.  Of course, the first thing you need to give is yourself to attending your local Church.  Be faithful, and remember your purpose is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

Preparing to Rebuild the Temple

These events take place following the 70 years which Jeremiah had prophesied (Jeremiah 25:11).  Ezra is God’s man for returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple which was razed by the Babylonians and carried many captives of the land away.  Ezra had been faithful to God and His word through all the time of his life in that culture.  Hear the word of the LORD concerning these things…

This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king. And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. Ezra 7:6-10 (KJV)

I want us to keep in mind that today the temple of our Lord is His people – those who have believed and received the grace of God through the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.  Sometimes even this temple needs a rebuilding.  We can let sin carry us away from God, His Spirit and His word; but He is never away from us.  If there is any rebuilding to do it starts with God doing the work in us, calling us to repentance, forsaking our sin, and coming back to what we believe in Christ.

Consider the following verses from Paul’s epistles…

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, to do it, and to teach it to others.  Let us as the temple of God be as committed, devoted and faithful to the LORD as was Ezra; and follow Jesus faithfully.

The Heavenly Vision

King Agrippa has come into Jerusalem, and now tells the apostle Paul that he may speak for himself.  What a wonderful opportunity to share with a king the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Acts 26:2-23 is Paul’s testimony of what had come into his life, and changed his direction; the cause for his being on trial in the city.

Let us focus on…

“…Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: that Christ should suffer, and that He should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26:19-23 (KJV)

In the verses just prior to these we find what happened on the “Road to Damascus” when he came face to face with God in the Person of the resurrected Jesus Christ, Son of God and God the Son.  This is the vision he speaks of in verse 19.

The apostle has not violated the Law of Moses, or the prophets.  He is in fact fulfilling them.  The One who is just, holy and righteous sent His Son to die for the sins of the world [Mankind], He was buried, and He bodily arose and came out alive; and He ever lives as our Advocate, and Redeemer.

Let us, with Paul, say, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision…”  That is it.  That is our life.  That is my vision.  I pray that it is yours as well.

Christmas Day Ninety and Six

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to live as though my whole body and being is the temple of the Lord; that He dwells in me; and that I am to keep it holy, for His honor, glory and power.

“Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.” Haggai 1:5-7 (KJV)

“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Day Three Hundred and Eight

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to have the boldness of Peter and John as they entered the Temple in Acts 3; and for my life to be lived that others will notice that I have been with Jesus.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.  And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”  Acts 4:13 (NKJV)

Becoming One Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.” Psalm 122:6-9 (KJV)

The word “Peace” is used three times in these four verses. Peace is a sought after thing for most people. The name “Jerusalem” means “city of peace”; and yet this city has been one of the most fought over places in all the centuries since the death of Christ.

David took Jebus from the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5), and called it Jerusalem. He later would bring the tabernacle, and the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. This city is called “the city of David” (2 Samuel 5:7). There are references to the “City of God” which could be references to this city as well (Psalms 46:4; 48:1; 87:3).

David longed for the peace of Jerusalem, even to the building of the temple, and making it a place for all people to come and worship the one God of all creation and all people; a place where they could come, worship and pray;

“And He taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves.” Mark 11:17

We all; those who love God, Israel, and Jerusalem must pray for the peace of Jerusalem. For when there is peace in Jerusalem there will be peace in the world. That will come only when the Prince of Peace returns to reign from His rightful throne in Jerusalem. His name is Jesus the Christ Son of the Living God

With the enemies of God, and of Israel crouching around the land today; Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Jesus  will be returning soon.

That the Earth May Know

That The Earth May Know…
1 Kings 8:1-61

“And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant. The LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers: let Him not leave us, nor forsake us: that He may incline our hearts unto Him, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and His statutes, and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that He maintain the cause of His servant, and the cause of His people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require: that all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes, and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:54-61 (KJV)

Prayer was given by Solomon in veres 15-53, a prayer of dedication for the Temple. The above verses are a blessing on the people, and what is required of them.

The ultimate responsibility of the people of God, Israel, is found in verse 6o “….That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” That is the desire of God through the cross of Jesus Christ and through those who are Christians; through the Church, the Body of Christ on earth.

The Christian’s life lived is to show forth to the world that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. We do that through the Spirit of Christ Jesus who is in us. Our lives are to be a continuing, growing testimony of the glory and power of God. Is it?

When the Church ceases to fear God; we cease to fear sin. When we have ceased to fear sin, then we have adopted the gods of the world around us, and there is no differentiation between the two. Then, the people of the earth have no motivation to fear God, or to know Him.

The Lovely Dwelling Place

“How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!” Psalm 84:1

A Psalm for the sons of Korah (See Numbers 16).

The word “Amiable” means lovely.  Tabernacles is the dwelling place of the LORD.  The wilderness tabernacle was moved from one place to another as the children of Israel travelled, until they reached the promised land, and then it was kept at a place called Shiloh (Joshua 18:1;  1 Samuel 1:3, 9, 24).

When Jesus Christ came into the world and gave Himself an offering for our sins; following His ascension into heaven He sent the Holy Spirit to be God within all who will trust and believe in Him (Romans 8:9).  Now we are told by the apostle Paul that we are the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19).

The tabernacles of the LORD are lovely; because they are the dwelling places of the LORD of hosts.  Are you one of His dwelling places?  Then, prove it.  Show Christ Jesus alive, and at work in you.

Jesus and the Sabbath Day

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

Words for Christian Living – Not Your Own

“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV)

Within the loving climate of the Corinthian Church there was sexual immorality.  Tolerance, love, and peace was the motive of their inaction toward this immorality.  While the name of Christ was blasphemed and the character of Christianity was mocked; the apostle Paul was calling for action.

Christian, our bodies do not belong to us.  We “Are bought with a price”; and that “price” was the precious blood of Jesus.  You and I are His.  Let us glorify God in our spirit and with our bodies.  We are God’s.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 3:4-5)

No Love Like God’s Love 3

“For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their King; and shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.” Hosea 3:4-5 (KJV)

The children of Israel are still in this stage of being without a king or a prince.  From the time of the return of the exiles from Babylon Israel ahs not been given to idolatry, they have not had a king or a prince; since the destruction of the temple (70 A.D.) their sacrifices have been abolished, and they have not had a Levite or a priest.

Hosea had placed Gomer in the disciplined lifestyle:

  1. Providing circumstances for her to respond to his love;
  2. “To convey through prophetic symbolism the deprivation into which God would bring Israel.”  From the STUDY BOOK.

This would make it possible for Israel to respond to God’s unconditional love.  While there is enjoyment in sin there is no opportunity of turning to God.

God would remove the false as well as the true.  “For many days” in verses three and four, imply a long period of time.  Probably as long as would be necessary to prepare them to return to God.

There is victory in God’s redemption.  Each of these first three chapters speak of Israel returning to God for full and completer redemption and forgiveness.  This is God’s purpose and plan for Israel and for His Church.

“Afterwards” – after the days of discipline.  After days, years, centuries, even millenniums “Israel shall return.”  There are not “Ifs” or “buts” about it.  They shall return.  They will “Seek the LORD their God”, and turn to “David their King” [fulfilled in Jesus Christ].  See Luke 1:32-33.

This prophecy has yet to take place.  It will in the Lord’s appointed time come to pass just as the prophecies forth tell.  When?  “In the last days.”

Jesus is the King of kings; rules over all the earth.  He is Lord of lords and has all things in His hands.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Through the Bible in a Year – 012713 Evening

The Kingdom Coming

Matthew 20 – 26

1.  The King’s Vineyard (20)

A.  The laborers (vv. 1-19)
B.  The Great ones (vv. 20-28)

2.  The King’s Presentation (21:1-10)

A.  Cleansing the temple (vv. 11-17)
B.  Authority (vv. 18-27)

3.  The Identity of the King (22:41-46)

4.  The Ruling of the King (23)

5.  The Kingdom Coming (24-25)

6.  The Price of the Kingdom (26)

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Unchanging GOD

Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.  But who may abide the day of His coming?  And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.  Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.  And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not Me, saith the LORD of hosts.  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”  Malachi 3:1-6 (KJV)

The very assurance that God never changes is assurance that He is trustworthy, and will accomplish all that He has said.

-T.A.

Judgment from the North

Judgment From The North

For the nation of Israel it seems that the North was the direction from which judgment would come. I think it interesting to note a Psalm that directs our attention to the North without naming the North. It is Psalm 75, and it says, “Do not lift up your horn on high; do not speak with a stiff neck.’ For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.” (vv.5-7). You notice the silence concerning North? Does Judgment come from the North? In the case of Israel and Judah it does.

Hear what the LORD spoke to Jeremiah:

“Then the LORD said to me: ‘Out of the north calamity shall break forth on all the inhabitants of the land. For behold, I am calling all the families of the kingdoms of the north,’ says the LORD; ‘They shall come and each one set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around, and against all the cities of Judah. I will utter My judgments against them concerning all their wickedness, because they have forsaken Me, burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.” Jeremiah 1:13-16

The judgment of which Jeremiah warned was coming on all the inhabitants of the land. It seems that the noble people, those of notable birth, or those who have great wealth sometimes think, “Oh, that won’t happen to us” or “We can become a part of the upper society people, and we can just fit in”, but the prophet’s message from the LORD is judgment on “all the inhabitants of the land”. Judgment is not a pleasant thing to talk about, but when the LORD calls you and gives you a message to proclaim, and tells you not to withhold a word, then you better obey.

Every preacher, and especially pastors would love to spend all their preaching, preaching of the goodness, love, grace, mercy of God. We would be thrilled just to always be preaching about the good we see in our fellow human beings, because there are good things done, there are good lives lived, and people saving physical lives; and encouraging others. The preacher, the pastor is not the man of God he should be, if he preaches not that we are sinners; condemned, dying and that our only hope of salvation is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. To preach the cross of Jesus you must tell why He died on the cross, that means talking about our darkness of sin. We must tell why the Father had to judge His own perfect, sinless Son, turn His back on Him; and why Jesus went through that horrible three hours of total darkness while He was stretched between heaven and hell. We must preach that God made Him to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

The judgment coming on Judah was coming from the north. It was in fact, coming from God. It was the plan of Jeremiah’s father, his family, and Jeremiah that he would be a priest in Jerusalem. That was a ministry that was much respected in Jeremiah’s day, and that of his family. Jeremiah even had plans of marriage, but that was not to come about. We will see that in a later word from God to the prophet. Prophets of God do not choose to be prophets; they are called by God to be prophets. That is the prophet Jeremiah. Prophets who call themselves serve themselves, lead others astray, and despise God’s prophets.

The judgment coming to Jerusalem was like all the kingdoms of the north were coming to set up quarters, homes, or shop right in the gates of the city. They would be encamping all around. The people of Judah would no longer be free. Not only is this against the city of Jerusalem but all the cities of Judah. This would include Bethlehem and Bethel.

The coming of these people of the kingdoms of the north was God’s utterance against their forsaking the LORD. There were those who were worshipping the LORD, but few and far between. Those who were worshipping were probably remaining silent. The priests who were praising God in their hearts and worshipping him, must have been silent concerning the condition of the hearts and lives of the people; thus were allowing them to continue to live in their sin and rebellion. Therefore, they were not the priests of God that they should have been. Take the offering the people bring no matter the true condition of their heart, or that they had been to the temple of Baal, and participated in those rituals. They will be okay as long as they are faithful to the temple of God. LIES, LIES, LIES. God is not glorified except with total devotion, commitment, and worship to Him and to Him alone.

Even though a man and/or woman may attend worship on Sunday morning, evening, Wednesday evening, and anytime the church house door is open, but they live for themselves the other days of the week, the rest of the time, and glorify not God with their life and living; they worship not, and love not the LORD with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. They have, in fact, forsaken the Lord, and “worship the works of their own hands”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 66 – Consider Your Ways

Do we really stop to consider the way we live our lives?  Are we a society that is consumed with doing our own thing; out for self fulfillment?  It seems that way at times.  Whether we like to admit it or not there is evil in the world.  The only thing is who determines what is evil?

In our look at people we often see people joining in to help others.  There have been many storms, tornadoes, tsunamis, as well as fires and earthquakes; and multitudes of neighbors come and help one another recover.  That is a good thing.  Right?  I certainly see it as good.  Yet there is something wrong.

The something wrong is how people react toward God and His Word.

My reading today was from Zephaniah 1 through Zechariah 9.  There is a two chapter prophet within this reading by the name of Haggai where I got the title for this post.  Four times Haggai uses the word “Consider”.  Twice is to the returned people from Babylon to “Consider your ways”, and that is in the first chapter.

Though the words are not used in Zephaniah or Zechariah the cry is still with both of these prophets as well.

Zephaniah sees there is a departure from the LORD and calls for the people to return or suffer judgment.  The prophecy takes place during the reign of Josiah, king of Judah; and Josiah was one who did right in the eyes of the LORD.  Yet, even taking away the idols themselves does not remove the idol from the heart.  They were still practicing the evil of their hearts.

“I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD.  I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD.   ‘I will also stretch out Mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; and them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham; and them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for Him.”  Zephaniah 1:2-6 (KJV)

The LORD defines “evil” much different than man does.  Evil in God’s view is when His people turn from Him to serve and trust other things, such as gold, silver, friends, family; comfort and pleasure.  Evil is also when the unbelieving refuse to believe in Him.  The LORD desires those who are His to seek Him, to inquire of Him.

The prophet Haggai writes during the time of the return of Israel to the land of Promise, and they need to rebuild the temple, but they are neglecting doing so.  They have their own houses built, but neglect the temple.  Meaning, that they are neglecting the worship of the Most High GOD.  Hear the word of the LORD through Haggai,

“Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,  ‘Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?  Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; ‘Consider your ways.  Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:3-6

The implication and clear message is that they are lacking due to their neglect of worshipping the LORD.  That was their reason for being returned to Jerusalem; that is to rebuild the temple; yet they were neglecting the very One who was fulfilling His Word to them and for them.  Notice the following word from the LORD;

“And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.” Haggai 2:7

Even before the temple is completed God gives the people promise and hope for days to come.  The “desire of nations” is the Messiah of Israel.  He is the Savior of the world.  The seed of David.  The Prince of peace.  Wonderful Counselor.  Mighty God.   Everlasting Father.  He is the Son of God.  His name is Jesus.  He is the desire of nations.

Zechariah speaks of this One as well;

“And speak unto him, saying, ‘Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, ‘Behold the Man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the LORD: even He shall build the temple of the LORD; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”  Zechariah 6:12-13 (KJV)

So, you may think that you are a “righteous person”, but by God’s standard you nor myself measure up.  We fall short.  There is only one hope to be rid of the evil in our hearts and lives.  That is by believing and receiving the gift God gives in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.  That gift is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins.  He was buried, and He rose again bodily from the grave.  He cares for you.  God cares enough to give the very best.  Consider your ways.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 60 – Knowing the LORD God

Reading the prophecy of Ezekiel can lead a person to only one good conclusion, and that is that GOD wants people to know Him.  Some of the reading sounds harsh, deadly, and judgmental; however we are speaking of our Creator; and who are we to question how He works.  Can the clay say to the potter, “You don’t know what you are doing”.  Not at all.  The God of creation has one thing in mind, and that is the glory of His name; and He will accomplish what He has started to do – that the people of the earth know Him.

My reading this morning was Ezekiel 24 – 37.  I have mentioned it in passing, but today I will spend some time with the phrase, “…Know that I am the LORD”.  In looking at this phrase and its use in Ezekiel we find it at least 24 times in today’s reading.  I will only give you a few of those references.

First in today’s reading I read these words being spoken to Israel of Ezekiel’s service,

“Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 24:24 (KJV)

Ezekiel’s wife had died.  He was not to weep or mourn publicly because of her death.  By this Ezekiel was a sign for Israel and their captivity; no time for grief and mourning over the dead.  The second time in my reading this morning is in verse 27,

“In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.” 24:27

Previously, Ezekiel had been unable to speak, but now the LORD was going to open his mouth, and he would speak, and by this the people would know that Jehovah/YHWH is the LORD.  Remember the LORD is proper and just, Righteous, and holy and can do how He pleases to bring people to the one conclusion the human race needs to know; and that is that He is the LORD.

“And I will execute judgments upon Moab; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”  25:11

The LORD of hosts speaks these words through Ezekiel and to other people; not just to Israel.  He desires the nations to know Him.  He desires Moab to know that He is the LORD.  One day at the final day of judgment the world will know that He is the LORD.  That however does not mean, that all will be with Him in His glory.

To the land of Tyre [Tyrus] God says,

“And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.  It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a spoil to the nations.  And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”  26:4-6

Many an arrogant nation have exalted themselves over what GOD had for them.  Many of these nations will be removed from the earth, their lands left desolate; and never restored.  It is to the king of Tyrus that we find him to be filled with the evil of Satan himself (28:12-15).

The Nile River is a very important river in Egypt.  However the nation’s leader had exalted himself to the point of being Egypt’s god, claiming to have made the river himself and it being his river.  To this arrogance the Lord says, through the prophet,

“And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it.”  29:9

God is especially grieved when His people; the one’s He has chosen to be His light, and the glory of His name; when we turn our backs on Him to other gods [idols made by the minds and hands of men in their own images].  This was the guilt of Judah and Israel. God says to Israel again,

“For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through.   Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.”  33:28-29

God will not leave His people without judgment.  In fact He will judge His people first and foremost.  The arrogance of Israel was so bad, so gross they had been secure in the temple, also made by the hands of men; in thinking and saying, “God will never destroy this nation, or this temple.  It is the Temple of  the LORD”.  They found out differently.  God is more involved and careful that we might know Him, than He is in our security, survival or success.

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.  As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD.”  36:37-38

God will not leave His people without hope.  In their captivity He continually reminds them of their return to the land.  It will of course be after the land has been restored its sabbaths lost by the years of neglect of sabbaths by her  people.  A final promise I want to leave with you is that,

“And David My servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them.  And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and My servant David shall be their prince for ever.”  37:24-25

“David My servant” is none other than the King of kings, born in Bethlehem, died on a cross in Jerusalem, buried, and bodily raised from the dead; justifying all who will believe in Him.  The world will know that Jesus Chirst is LORD.  Bow now; or bow later.  It is your choice.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 58 – A Different View

From a different setting of things two people can see the same thing or event in a slightly different way.  That is the way of the gospels of the New Testament.  It is also the way of the prophets we will look at today.  Jeremiah and Ezekiel were men in two different locations.  They are contemporary with the other.  One, however, Jeremiah is in Judah or Jerusalem preaching and calling the people to repentance; while Ezekiel in in Babylon as a captive of Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom; along with king Jehoichin.

Jeremiah’s message in Lamentations seems to have taken place after the city of Jerusalem is defeated, the walls broken down, the temple destroyed, and the precious articles for temple worship taken away.  We can see Jeremiah’s being known as “the weeping prophet” as we read the laments that are written there.  Ezekiel speaks to the people as God gives him visions, and acts for illustration.  Ezekiel’s message would be mostly to the people who are captive in Babylon, or the written message to be taken back to those still in Jerusalem.

My reading, if you have not figured it out by now, was Lamentations 1 – 5 and Ezekiel 1 – 9.  These prophets being contemporary with the other are coming from different perspectives, yet pretty much with the same message.  Jeremiah wrote his prophecy trying to save as many lives in Judah as possible, calling people to turn from their idolatrous worship, by turning back to the LORD of hosts.  Ezekiel sees the need for the people of Israel/Judah to realize that the LORD is the LORD.

Jeremiah was allowed to stay behind with a remnant of people, and the laments are written as he sees the city broken down, destroyed and forsaken;

“How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!  She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.  Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits.   The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness.  Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the LORD hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy.  And from the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed: her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, and they are gone without strength before the pursuer.  Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths.   Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward.   Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembereth not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself.  The adversary hath spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things: for she hath seen that the heathen entered into her sanctuary, whom thou didst command that they should not enter into thy congregation.   All her people sigh, they seek bread; they have given their pleasant things for meat to relieve the soul: see, O LORD, and consider; for I am become vile.”  Lamentations 1:1-11 (KJV)

The prophets heart is grieved because of the cities destruction, but he knows it is due to her transgressions.  She has sinned against the LORD, been given many opportunities to repent and change, yet has continued in debaucherous rebellion against the loving, merciful LORD of hosts.

The prophet Ezekiel is taken by the hand of the LORD, in a vision to Jerusalem, and sees the wickedness going on there in the face of judgment,

“And He put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.”  Ezekiel 8:3 (KJV)

By way of a vision the LORD took Ezekiel back to Jerusalem and showed him the evil that was taking place at that time in their previous “glorious city”.  The “Ancients of the house of Israel were saying, “The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.”

We do see in these to priests and prophets that there perspective is different, their views are different, but  the message of God is still the same.  The people of the land have forsaken the LORD.  There is a need for cleansing, healing and renewing.

A different view?  One was viewing from Jerusalem [Jeremiah].  The other was viewing from Babylon [Ezekiel].

The LORD of hosts, who holds the world, the universe in His hands will not tolerate evil in His people.  He will not allow His children to live successfully in sin.  He will judge our sin.  It has already been judged in His Son Jesus Christ.  However, when a Christian sins willfully, there remains no more sacrifice for sin.  As it is written, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 56 – Diminish Not a Word

The prophecy of Jeremiah the prophet to Judah and Israel was a hard word to preach.  It was especially so for a man who loved his people, and his nation; however, it was the word of the LORD, and Jeremiah was going to proclaim it, and it would be better for the people to have listened.  It is still so in the 21st century among God’s people; good to listen to the Word of the LORD.

Just as the LORD told Jeremiah,

“Thus saith the LORD; ‘Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: if so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.”  Jeremiah 26:2-3 (KJV)

He was also to never cut short or lessen the words of promise given by the LORD.  This prophecy is full of promises from God as well as warnings.  There are so many who lessen the promises of God to Israel.  Make them only good for them as long as the nation believes like they think they ought to believe; lives as they think they ought to live.

Let us look at some of those promises.  My reading this morning took me from chapter 25 – 38.

The nation had forsaken the LORD and His Word refusing to hear the words of the prophets, including the warnings of Jeremiah; and they would suffer for it by going into Babylonian captivity, Jerusalem being burned to the ground, the temple being destroyed, and defiled.  It happened just as Jeremiah, by the Word of the LORD, said it would.

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, ‘that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.  And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.'” 31:27-28

Despite the fact that God was going to judge them, He wanted to assure them, that just as surely as He was going to tear down, He would also bring them back,and build them up again.  He goes on and says in verse 34, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Just how good, how strong, how enduring is the covenant of God with Israel/Judah?

“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: if those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the LORD, ‘then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever.’  Thus saith the LORD; ‘If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done,’ saith the LORD.” 31:35-37

And the prophet by the Word of the LORD says again,

“And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,  ‘Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break My covenant of the day, and My covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, My ministers.  As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David My servant, and the Levites that minister unto Me.” 33:19-22

Just as the Word of the LORD for punishment, chastisement cannot be diminished so too is it true of His promises.  Hear again,

“Thus saith the LORD; ‘If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.'” 33:25-26

The Word of the LORD is sure, it is true, it is eternal; and not one word shall be diminished.  The LORD will accomplish every word of it.  He will be glorified, and all the world shall know that He is GOD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 30 – Inspirational and Encourageing

Today marks the thirtieth day for the journey through the Bible in ninety days.  I have been thoroughly blessed, inspired, and encouraged.  I have also learned things I did not know, helping me to realize even more that “The more I know; the more I realize I do not know.”  I am now one third of the way through this journey and looking forward to the next 6o days.

I was greatly inspired and encouraged by reading through Ezra and the first four chapters of Nehemiah this morning; thus, the title for today’s post.

In yesterday’s reading, finishing 2 Chronicles we were left with Judah going into Babylonian captivity, Jerusalem being destroyed, the walls broken down, the temple destroyed, and all the vessels, gold, silver, bronze, taken to the storehouses of Babylon; just as the prophet Jeremiah warned and foretold.  The prophet Isaiah had warned of this destruction, and captivity at least one hundred years before it happened.

Some may ask, “Why do you put so much stock in the Bible?”  and my answer to that is, “Because, when God speaks, it comes to pass; just like He says it.”  There is not one word God speaks that has been diminished, is being diminished, or will be diminished.  That is why I was so inspired and encouraged by Ezra and the first four chapters of Nehemiah.

Someone has said, and I believe it was written by Charles H. Spurgeon; “God will not allow His children to sin successfully.”  Reading the Bible sure helps us see that.  God pulls no punches.  We can see clearly that God deals with sin.  We see also that He is gracious, and slow to anger and wrath.  He is also merciful in not giving us what we truly deserve.

According to Jeremiah’s prophecy the nation of Israel would be in Babylonian captivity for seventy years.  At the time of Ezra that seventy years has been fulfilled, and we read –

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, ‘Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (He is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.  And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place helpa him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”  Ezra 1:1-4 (KJV)

Now here is a catcher for you.  The prophet Isaiah names the king that will do this probably 150 years or more before Cyrus is born.  How can this be?  The prophet, being inspired by God; God who knows all things; who knows the past, present and the future, and knows your name; and knew you before you were born; told the prophet what was going to happen, and to write it down.  Isaiah did –

“That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.’ Isaiah 44:28

‘Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: and I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.  For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel Mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me.”  Isaiah 45:1-4 (KJV)

In Ezra God has  put it in the heart of Cyrus, king of Persia to fulfill His word of promise to Israel/Judah and have the temple in Jerusalem rebuilt, even to providing the precious metals and all necessary costs at Persia’s expense.

God’s purpose in the captivity was to drive Israel from her sins, and to give rest to the land for the sabbath years the people had avoided to observe (2 Chronicles 36:21), and to restore their faith in Him.  In reading Ezra we read of much opposition from people of the area, even putting the work of the temple to a standstill until the king finds that it had been ordered by Cyrus years before, then the work is continued with the approval of Persia.  Haggai, and Zechariah were two prophets  who prophesied during this time, and encouraged the people to continue building without the approval of the king of Persia, until they did receive it (chapters 5 – 6).

Ezra went to encourage and lead in the temple’s rebuilding and to teach the word and law of the LORD –

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”  Ezra 7:10

There are some things I read in Ezra about their divorcing the foreign wives and sending them away that poses some problems. However, the problem was their sins and disobedience to the word of God, not God’s causing.  How seriously should God’s people take the matter  of holiness?  Very seriously.

Nehemiah had a burden for the building of the walls of Jerusalem.  He is sent by the king to go and rebuild the city.  He surveys the city walls, the city (chapter 2:12-20), then he challenges the people and they comply joyously with his requests.  Now see what God has wrought in the Old Testament with Judah.

Now, think of what God can do with you if you would surrender yourself to the way of Salvation which is found only through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, His burial where all our sin, guilt and condemnation was carried away as far as East is from West, and then He arose bodily from the grave; and is today seated by the Father’s right hand as our Great High Priest.  There is no one but Him who can deliver you from your sin.

Inspirational and Encourageing?  To me it definitely is.

– Tim A. Blankenship

A Nail in His Holy Place

A Nail in His Holy Place

Ezra 9:5-15 (v. 8 )

1.  Verses 5-15 is a prayer of Ezra for the people who have been in captivity, having disobeyed God in the matter of holiness, and sanctity (9:1-2).
2.  Ezra was grieved by the disobedience of Israel, and even at this time in Jerusalem there were things which needed to be corrected (v. 3).
3.  Those who were trembling because of the disobedience joined Ezra in the mourning, and prayer to GOD of Israel (v. 4).
4.  It was at the time of the evening sacrifice, and Ezra fell on his knees, and spread out his hands to GOD (v. 5).

I.  THERE IS SHAME FOR THE BEHAVIOR, AND DISOBEDIENCE OF GOD’S PEOPLE (vv. 6-7; 2 Cor. 6:17-18).

II.  GRACE AND SECURITY ARE GIVEN TO THE REMNANT OF GOD’S PEOPLE – THE NAIL [PEG[ IN HIS HOLY PLACE (v. 8).

III.  GOD’S PEOPLE GRIEVE OVER FORSAKING THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD (vv. 9-14).

IV.  BECAUSE OF SIN NO ONE CAN STAND BEFORE THE RIGHTEOUS GOD (v. 15)

Summary –

i.  Christians of our day need to be ashamed of our own sin;
ii.  We rest assured in the security of the Nail of Jesus Christ who holds us in His hand from which no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand;
iii.  The reason for the lack of holiness, sanctification in the church is not related to the sins of a lost world;
iv.  It is related, and the sole responsibility of the Christian who refuses to grieve over their own sin.
v.  Remember it is the Nail of His holy place which keeps us in grace – and the Nail has a name; His name is JESUS (Isaiah 22:21-25)

-T.A.

This message was preached at Carr Lane Baptist Church Sunday July 17, 2011 – Morning sermon.

Jesus Helped; Scripture Fulfilled

“And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.
22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. 23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. 24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. 25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. 26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. 29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.”  Mark 15:21-36 (KJV)

After Jesus had been beaten with the “Cat o nine tails”, and stricken by the hands of His mockers and accusers Jesus would have been very weak physically.  As they took Jesus on “The way of suffering” called “Via Delorosa” He may have stumbled from the weakness and they compelled one Simon from Cyrene to carry the cross, or help Him carry it.  This wooden cross would have been heavy to bear even for a man who had not lost much blood, as Jesus had.  This Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.  This Rufus is probably the Rufus mentioned in the book of Romans, “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

(Rom 16:13)”.  It is quite possible that because of this experience the man Simon and his two sons, Alexander and Rufus, became followers of Jesus.  Simon was a help to Jesus and Jesus was certainly a help to Simon and his family.

They offered Jesus a “Wine mixed with myrrh to drink”, but He refused it.  It was a drink that would have dulled His senses, and numbed His pain.  Jesus’ choice of love was to endure the pain with all His senses about Him, and to suffer the full pain and retribution of sin, as His Father judged the sin of the world.  Refusing the drink, He would still be able to communicate with His Father, and not sin.

The third “Help” does not seem much like help for Jesus.  They actually were helping themselves to the garments which Jesus wore.  It would take an awfully cold, calloused heart to set at the foot of a cross and gamble for the garments of a condemned man, be he innocent or guilty.  Here these men were playing a game at the feet of an innocent, sinless, guiltless man, and seemingly with no remorse, or shame.  My, how there is varied instance of people’s responses to the death of Jesus.  Some are cold and callous, some are weeping, some are running away, some are just political, and some bow and call Him, Lord.

The time would have been 9 a.m. when the crucifixion took place.  Pilate had a placcard written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, “The King of the Jews”.  John writes, “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews” (John 19:19).
According to John’s Gospel the “chief priests of the Jews” did not like the words, they believed it should say, that He said, “I am king of the Jews”.  Pilate stood his ground and said, “What I have written I have written.”
One of the things Jesus was sure of, and committed to was the “Fulfillment of Scripture”.  Here we have another fulfillment of the Scriptures. “He was numbered with the transgressors” –

“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.   Isaiah 53:12 (KJV)”.

There were three men hung on the tree that day- two thieves and the One who gives life to all who trust in Him.  There is a song with the chorus that says, “The one on the left, he was a sinner, the one on the right was too, but the man in the middle He was the Savior, and He died just to save me and you.”  We know from Scripture that one of these theives put his trust in Jesus (Luke 23:39-43).

The people who passed by the cross where Jesus was spoke in blasphemous, defaming, reviling words.  They mocked His precious words in which He spoke of rising from the dead – “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it once again”.  They commented about “Save Thyself and come down from the cross…”  How could Jesus pay the sin debt of the world if He came down from the cross.   On the cross, Jesus was doing the greatest work He came to do.  He came to minister and give His life a ransom for many (10:45).   His greatest work was to glorify the Father, and He did that by completing the task which was given Him.  To die on the cross was the glory of the heavenly Father, and made it possible that wicked, sinful, blemished, spotted man might be reconciled to Him.  If they had known what they were asking they would not have asked.  Knowing what I know of this today, my question would be, “How could You do that for me?”

Likewise the “chief priests” were demanding that if He was indeed the Son of God, “Save yourself” and “…that we may see and believe”.  They had seen the mighty works which He had done.  They still would not believe, and because of that, and because they would not believe their scriptures, they would not believe though He arose from the dead.

There was a period of darkness over the land.  My personal belief is that this darkness was more than just a local phenomonen.  It was worldwide.  The main and maybe only reason I believe that is, that, the reason Jesus died was for the sins of the world, thus the whole world would, most likely, have gone into this great darkness.  It was a spiritual darkness unlike anything the world had ever seen.  It was a total darkness.  It lasted for three hours while Jesus suffered the wrath and judgment of the Father for sin – our sin.  It was the darkest and most dreaded day of Jesus’ life.  “My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me” was His cry after the judgment had been made.  The Father had turned His back on His Son, because He had been made sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).

Some who were standing there thought Jesus was calling for Elijah to come and rescue Him from the cross.  One ran to get a sponge full of vinegar which Jesus now receives (John 19:30).  His work was finished.  There was no more for Him to do for the atonement of sin.  I am so thankful that He was not calling for Elijah to come and remove Him from the cross, though I know He would have used other means.  He could have called thousands of angels to come to His aid.  He could have spoken a word, and it would have all been over.  He could have called to the Father, “I cannot bear it”, but He bore it for you and for me.  If He had not bourne it for us we would be forever doomed to eternal torment.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Temporary Temple

Temporary Temple

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

David’s Christ

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Eleven – Twenty Seven through Thirty three

“And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, 28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things? 29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me. 31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? 32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed. 33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.”  Mark 11:27-33 (KJV)

WHERE DOES JESUS GET THE AUTHORITY TO DO SUCH THINGS AS PURIFY THE TEMPLE?

If you are anything like me you are thinking to yourself that these religious leaders must be “fuming mad” at Jesus.  Here for the second time in three years He has come into the Temple compound, and tossed tables, money, caused animals to scatter, and “offended” many of the people and upset the business of the Temple people.  The thing we must realize is that God was offended by their “Business” in His house.  They were more concerned with the pocketbook than with the hearts of the people.  They were more upset over the money than they were with the shattered lives of the people around them.

Who gave Jesus the authority to do what He did?  Who did He think He was anyway?  We know the answer to that question – He was/is the Son of God, in the flesh.  He is the Creator of the world.  His authority came from Heaven.  His authority came from His position as Creator, Son, Savior, Messiah, Lord, Redeemer, Master, Healer, Sustainer, the Almighty, and many other titles and names that is given Him.  Now, where does the authority come from?  Who gave Him this power?  Did He need to ask  permission?  NO!  It is all His.

These leaders would not answer Jesus’ question concerning John the Baptist.  They knew what He would say if they would acknowledge John as a prophet of God.  They were also afraid to answer he was just from men lest they received ridicule and rejection from the people.  They would not stand on anything, so they would fall for a lie instead.  They would have suffered rejection from the people because they saw John the Baptist as a prophet of God.  How foolish, and how weak.  It only proves they wanted only popular approval.

Why did Jesus not answer their question?  If they were rejecting John’s message, they would not believe Jesus’ message of Himself.  Why waste the time and effort to bother with an answer.  There are times when an answer is not warranted or deserving of those who ask it.  This was one of those cases.
Jesus was always willing to answer honest questions.  He answered  many of them.  This was not an honest question.  It is like you or me proving our identity, and then, having someone ask us, “Are you sure you are who you say you are?”  Only with Jesus it is much more severe.

Jesus is the Son of God, became flesh, who died for our sins, carried our sins away at His burial, and after three days He rose from the dead for our justification, and He is one day soon returning for those who are His in the rapture of the Church, and then returning to earth to rule and reign for a thousand years and then for all eternity.  Do you know the God/man Jesus?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Amending Our Ways

We hear about amending constitutions, bylaws, house bills, senate bills, and so forth; however we hear very little about “Amending Our Ways”.

The MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY defines “Amend” as, “To change for the better: Improve”, and that is usually the idea in amending house bills and senate bills.  In politics today it seems like more of a political thing for one opponent to get his way over the other.

“Amending Our Ways” according to Scripture though should be to improve ourselves for the glory of God; and that is the idea of what Jeremiah the prophet has written hundreds of years ago.

“For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;  If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:  Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.”  Jeremiah 7:5-7 (KJV)

The prophet had just warned them to not trust in lying words, nor believe that their hope was in the temple; but instead his idea was to trust the LORD.  He is calling for the people beginning with their leaders spiritual and political to get back to God, His Word – the Law and the Prophets; repent and conduct themselves as the people of God should.

This is a warning and a promise to the nation of Judah/Israel.  The only way is God’s way.

We in the USA and all parts of the world who are Christian need to amend our ways by being just and right in our dealings with others [our neighbors], to treat our strangers with kindness, and the orphan and widows with love concern and caring; stop shedding innocent blood by our dreadful tongues or a gun, or by law.  We need to also always be faithful to our God and no other.  Let’s stop giving allegiance to allah, mohammed, buddha, chrisna, or any other supposed deity which lifts its name above the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

How do Christians give allegiance to those supposed deities mentioned by telling others “As long as you believe something and are sincere, then you are okay with god”.  That is what will sincerely send multitudes to a burning, fiery hell.

If we want to continue dwelling in our land that God has given us then, we better “Amend Our Ways” and turn completely to the LORD our God, through His Son Jesus, and His death, burial and resurrection.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Trust Not In Lying Words…

In an economy which has lost many people millions of dollars for people involved in Wall Street, the stock market, investing, and housing you would think people would learn where to place their trust, but not yet; I guess. Trusting politicians; whether they be President, Congressman or woman, Senator, or dog catcher we need to constantly keep in mind that all things on this earth, of this earth are temporal or temporary; and do not endure forever.

The people of the prophet’s day were believing that the temple of Jerusalem would endure forever. Had they forgotten that it was made of earthly materials just as their own homes were made or were they vainly trusting the promises of God (Understand I mean their trust is vain; not that God’s promises are vain). In the prophet’s day the people would vainly worship God on the Sabbath day; then forget Him the other six days of the week.

The people of Judah would live for themselves. They would do their business and take advantage of the poor, the widows and orphans; and anyone else there was to take advantage of. During times of tragedy the merchants would increase prices on needed goods; and think they were doing God a service. They cheated people with weights and measures, and chalked it up to and would say, “It’s just business”. Their hearts were far away from God, godliness, and thinking Biblically. They thought rather of “business”, and making more and more.

The prophet Jeremiah tells us:

“Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.” Jeremiah 7:4 (KJV)

The prophet called by God, the door of the Temple, proclaimed to the people to “Amend your ways…” because they were going about their personal and business affairs as though they could get by with their evil deeds because God had promised that their kingdom, and the temple would be forever. Afterall they were the recipients of the word of God, the law of God, the ordinances of God; they need not worry about devotion to God or anything like that.

Lies, lies, and more lies is what the “gainsayers” were saying. “Gainsayers” could be those who are all for profit at the expense of godliness, Biblical living, and righteousness. They are out to make a profit at the expense of the public they supposedly serve. These false prophets are in the business for a profit, and to make as much profit as they possibly can, and to take advantage during times of trouble.

The prophet is calling for Judah to repent of neglecting godliness, repent of their listening to the lying words of the prophets for profit who would tell the people something like, “O, the temple will stand forever. Don’t worry about godliness, righteousness. We are sure and secure in the temple.” Lies, lies and more lies, and the people were perishing, headed for a captivity that would last for 70 years, and destroy the city of Jerusalem, and the temple.

Professing Christians, and deceived-sidetracked Christians of 2009, especially here in the USA can be found trusting in what we call capitalism. Capitalism is about profit; and the businesses of our country are in business to make a profit. There is nothing wrong with making profit; except when it begins to hurt others. When a profit making business does not pass its profits to its employees through bonuses, raises in wages, etc; or when they begin to raise their prices to make it hard or impossible for the poor, widow, orphan or lower wage earner to have a needed product they have become ungodly, and even greedy. Greed is not good. It may be American, but I personally want no part of greed.

Greed is officially taking trust away from God, His Word, and His ordinances, and putting trust in the power [seeming power] of wealth. Just as the people of Jeremiah’s day were trusting in the temple, because of the promise of God, they had made His promises vain by neglecting the right and godly things; trusting in the lies of the lying prophets. They did not amend their ways and ended up in captivity.

If the USA, and especially Christians, fail to amend her ways we too shall fall. We have received warning. We have fallen in status of world leadership to a small extent; but that will become greater. We are in captivity of sorts. Many are in captivity to debt.

The proper place to put our trust is in the Lord our God, the one who died for our sins on the cross of calvary, was buried, and rose again from the grave. He is coming again. Put your trust in Him. “Whosoever will call on the name of the Lord shall be saved”. He is your RIGHTFUL TRUST.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Divine Architect

Ephesians 2:18-22

The chapter begins by the apostles reminder that we were “dead in trespasses and sins”, and gives us good reason for believing it so.  Even more does he remind us that we have been “quickened” or “made alive”, and delivered from the old course we were once walking.

We are also told of God’s rich, marvelous, wonderful and glorious grace and mercy due to His great love for us.  That we have been raised up with Christ to sit with Him in “heavenly places” (v. 6).  Then in verses 8-10 the good and  faithful words, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV).  It does not seem right, nor Biblical, nor even teaching if we do not include verse 10 in there with verses 8 and 9.

The Gentiles of Ephesus, and you and I who are not Jewish, are reminded that we were not or are not of the “common wealth of Israel”; we did not receive the oracles, the Word of God, nor have we ever had the presence of God previous to the birth of the Church.  We were once strangers, separated from any hope, but God sent His Son.  It was like a wall of separation, that now, “through the blood of Christ” are made near, and brought into the Family of God.

THE WALL IS TORN DOWN BY THE DEATH OF JESUS ON THE CROSS (vv. 18-19).  God raised up a nation of people who would follow Him, and be a light to other nations ( ).  The nation of Israel has not been faithful to the LORD’s calling, and were not an obedient people.  However, the LORD still used them to give us His Word; both the written oracles, and the Living Oracle [Jesus Christ].

It was and is the  will of God to bring together in the one body of Christ people from all nations, races, cultures.  With the people of Israel, through the call of Abraham from Ur, to go to a land he knew not of, with Sarah his wife, and to a land yet inhabited, but promised to his people in a future day; God promised to make of him a blessed nation.  God promised to him, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3); and we have with the oracles [Scriptures] which have been written for us. The Law, History, Poetry [Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and Lamentations], and the Prophets (Major and Minor).

Where all seemed to be specifically for the Jew; now through the cross of Jesus Christ, there is access for all.  When Jesus died on the cross, the veil which separated the holy place in the Temple from the most Holy place was torn from top to bottom; signifying to us that the way was made by God Himself, into the very presence of the throne of God.

Those who come to God through Jesus (which is the exclusive way) become the “…Household of God”.  No longer strangers, no longer aliens, but brothers and sisters, with one Father.

THE DIVINE ARCHITECT’S FOUNDATION AND CORNERSTONE (v. 20).  Before there is a building there must of necessity be a foundation and a cornerstone.  Jesus Christ is that cornerstone.  It is the cornerstone which determines the size, the shape of buildings made of stone.

Hear what God says of this cornerstone:

“The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” (Psalm 118:22)

“Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation…” (Isaiah 28:16)

“For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11)

Actually before there was the “foundation of the apostles and prophets”, there was the cornerstone which is the beginning of the foundation.  The “Apostles and prophets” have spoken, and written the words of God for us to hear and read, applying them to life and heart that we through the power of the Holy Spirit, believing would be living stones, added to the “building” of this “household of God”.  Since the “Apostles and prophets” are the foundation, and this is dealing with Scriptures, then, there can be no more apostles and prophets.  They have already spoken and written what God has given us.  Let’s be more diligent by His Spirit to obey what we have received; instead of searching for something new which will most likely be deceptive, and seek to lead astray.

Hear what the apostle Peter has written:

“To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” 1 Peter 2:4-8 (KJV)

According to Peter’s inspired words we are, through faith in Jesus Christ, “living [lively] stones, are built up a spiritual house”.  That house is the “household of God”.  It can be called the “Family of God”.

THE DIVINE ARCHITECT FITS ALL WHO BELIEVE INTO THE “BUILDING” AS HE SEES FIT (v. 21).  It is only the Divine Architect who can “organize compactly” all those who are called to fit in just right for His glory.  A stone building designed correctly will have each stone in its proper place, fitting every niche, so that it will sit well with the one below it, beside it and over it.

Think of it this way.  Each part of this “household of God” is placed into this household in its proper time, proper place, and proper service.  It is Jesus Christ who determines this.  It is He who shapes and molds us for that fit that He needs, at that time He places us into His household.

WE HAVE BEEN DESIGNED TO BE THE PLACE OF GOD’S DWELLING ON EARTH (v. 22).  Everyone who is born again is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  Together all born again believers are the Temple of God, giving Him even greater glory.

It is a sin against Him when we refuse to join together.  It shames His glory when we have the opportunity of gathering with brothers and sisters, and refuse to because of some carnal mindset, such as hurt feelings, something is not quite the way you like, envy,  jealousy, etc..  What shame.  Glorify God in your body and your bodily presence with the other saints in Christ gathered together for His glory.

Together we are strengthened.  Together we are encouraged.  Together we are empowered to resist sinful desire and temptation.  Together we can assault the gates of hell.  Together we can pray with authority and power.  Together we are the Body of Christ.

You are the place of God’s dwelling.  Let others rejoice with you by joining with other dwellings of God, becoming one with Him.  God does not have any “Only child”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Holy Seed

The prophet Isaiah is in the Temple in the presence of the LORD of all creation. Humbled, bowing in His presence, and God calls Isaiah to go to a people who are stiffnecked, hardhearted, obstinate, and unworthy of the grace of the One who made us all. But, then, doesn’t that sound familiar. Does that not fit for all people, of all times, in all countries and cultures?

What would you do with such a call? A great and humbling call from the YHWH.

“Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,  And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.  But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” Isaiah 6:11-13 (KJV)

It almost seems crude to my mind to think that God would command a prophet like Isaiah to preach, and tell him, “But no one is going to listen. Their hearts will grow hard”. Yet there are times, and I think it is most of the time I fully understand. We human beings can reach points in our lives where we want our way, and it must be when we want it, and how we want it. It does not matter if God fits in the equation or not.

The prophet’s heart must be broken. To think that he is going to preach his heart out, but there will be no converts, there will be no repentance on the part of the masses of people. Instead God is promising to remove his people from their land, the cities lying in waste – destroyed, and they will be carried away captive. They are given the opportunity of repentance, reject it and we know from the history of Judah; they went into the Babylonian captivity approximately 150 years later. How could Isaiah preach that? Was he a doomsday prophet? Not in the least.

Isaiah was a man of God, proclaiming the truth of God, to the people of God. They rejected the message, refused repentance, and a return to God. The last verse of chapter six is a verse which has much hope and promise for God’s people. “Like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is the stump.” v. 13 (ESV). Cut a tree down, leave the stump, and it won’t be long and saplings will begin to grow from that stump. Often, it is not just one sapling, but several. To say God is finished with this Nation is to say God is finished with the fulfilling of His Word, and I am not yet in Heaven with Him, so that leaves that out.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Scripture, Jesus, And The Christian

Purpose:  As Jesus came to do the Father’s will, fulfilling Scriptures, so too are those who follow Him fulfilling Scripures.

OUTLINE of Luke 4:14-21

I.  JESUS RETURNS TO GALILEE IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT  AND TEACHES (v. 14-15).

II.  JESUS IS FAITHFUL TO ATTEND THE PLACE OF WORSHIP (v. 16).

III.  JESUS PARTICIPATED IN KEEPING THE SCRIPTURES AS CENTRAL TO WORSHIP (v. 17).

IV.  JESUS READ THE SCRIPTURES AND APPLIED THEM TO HIMSELF (vv. 18-19).

V.  JESUS THE FULFILLMENT OF SCRIPTURE (vv. 20-21;  Revelation 19:10).

THE CHRISTIAN’S TIME OF TESTING EQUIPS US TO WALK IN THE SPIRIT OF JESUS (vv. 14-15).  Following the baptism of Jesus by John, Jesus was led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness for testing.  Testing is not just to show us, what we have, but to strengthen us for the journey ahead.

The testing which Jesus endured, survived, and defeated the temptations of the enemy were needed by Him, to strengthen Him for the journey which lay ahead; all the way to the cross.  Let’s remember that Luke’s gospel is written concerning the “God-Man” Jesus Christ.  Luke shows the humanity of Jesus more than the other gospel writers.  As Luke emphasizes His humanity he does not degrade, lessen, or violate the Deity of Christ (as written by John); the Royalty of Christ (as written by Matthew), nor the Servanthood of Christ (as written of by Mark).   The four gospels nowhere, and at no place ever contradict one another; they rather complement one another; giving us the fuller story of Jesus Christ.

Jesus stood up in the synagogue to read the portion of Isaiah.  It is noted in Nehemiah that when  the Scriptures were read, “…All the people stood up” (Nehemiah 8:5).  This was done in reverence to God’s Word.  Jesus, and it may be that all who would read Scripture in the synagogue or Temple were to stand.

With the test Jesus passed He was strengthened to face the temptations of the people.  Some wanted Him to be their king, and even came at least once to force Him to be their king (John 6:15).  Surely, this was a temptation for Him; however He would not take a shortcut, nor detour around the destination that was to the cross.

The Christian’s walk in the Spirit of Christ is not one filled with popularity, nor easy shortcuts which can often turn out to be sad mistakes, and even sin.  Christians walking in the Spirit follow the path of the cross.  “Take up the cross and follow Me…” (Mark 8:34, 10:21;  Matthew 16:24;  Luke 9:23; 14:27) Jesus said, and is still calling those who follow Him to die to self, and the world.  There is no walking in the Spirit of Jesus without the cross of the follower.

THE CHRISTIAN’S WALK IN THE SPIRIT OF JESUS WILL BE FAITHFUL TO SUPPORT THE WORSHIP OF THEIR LOCAL CHURCH (v. 16)  “I am part of the invisible church.”  Have you ever heard such a comment or something similar, and usually added to it is this comment; “I am not a part of any church, I attend all churches, as God leads”.  What they mean is that they are “Church hoppers”.  These types of people go from church to church, and more times than not are a source of contempt, and discontent, first in themselves and then to others.

We see Jesus attending synagogue when He was not in Jerusalem to attend the Temple meetings.  He attended the synagogue of His home town of Nazareth.

Becoming a member of a local church; and this is coming from a Baptist point of view, and I believe a Scriptural one; requires first of all that you be born again, having called on the name of Jesus Christ for salvation, and having been baptized by the Spirit into Christ.  Secondly, that you confess your faith to a local church, requesting water baptism showing the baptism of the Spirit which you have already received – baptism being by immersion (that is putting under the water)- testifying of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Scripture knows nothing of an “Invisible church”.  The letters which the apostle Paul wrote were written to local congregations.  For example, Romans was written to the Christians at Rome.  The Corinthian letters were written to Christians in Corinth.  The Thessalonian letters were written to the Christians in Thessalonica.  The Letters to the Seven Churches which were given by Jesus were to local churches.

Why does the Spirit filled Christian need to be in a local congregation.  First of all because Jesus is.  Secondly, for their spiritual well being; encouragement, solidarity, strength, faithfulness, systematic learning, worship, fellowship, ministry, discipleship, and reaching the lost to bring them in.  Third, a local congregation of God’s people bonding together in Christ can more affectively reach the community in which that local church meats.  I am sure there are more.

THE CHRISTIAN’S WALK IN THE SPIRIT OF JESUS WILL INCLUDE DEDICATION TO THE PROMINENCE OF THE WORD OF GOD (v. 17).  In recent years it seems that the priority or prominence within the church has become gaining attendance, rather than placing priority, prominence, and authority to the Word of God.  The Christian who is walking in the Spirit of Jesus Christ wants, desires, for the Word of God to grow in prominence within their hearts and lives.

Where should the Bible/Scripture fit into the local church?  Where should it fit into any church which professes to be Christian?  The Word of God should always be front and center.  By front and center I mean that the Word of God is of the utmost priority and prominence, because it is Scripture which lifts up and glorifies Jesus and the Father.  It is Scripture which works by the Spirit to make alive those who are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).  It is Scripture by which a “…young man cleanse[s] his way…” (Psalm 119:9), by which all can cleanse their way.  The Scriptures, quickened by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, is “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path”  (Psalm 119:105).  In Baptist and some prostestant churches there is some symbolism seen in the way the worship area is designed.  When you enter the “sanctuary” you see the pulpit (as the place where the Word of God is proclaimed) up front, and in the center of the stage or platform, with the organ and piano to the right and left.  Many times the pews or chairs are angled toward the pulpit giving note to the priority of preaching the Scriptures.

Jesus stood showing priority, prominence and respect for reading the Word of God.

Prominence of Scripture must be done more than in a local congregation.  It must be lived out in the hearts and lives of Christians who worship in the local church.  The priority of Scripture must be seen in your life by your devotion to the reading, meditating upon what you have read, hearing what you have read – hearing God in what you have read, then taking it and applying it to your life, giving full priority and prominence to it within your life.

THE CHRISTIAN’S WALK IN THE SPIRIT OF JESUS WILL SHOW FORTH JESUS AND BE A PART IN THE FULFILLING OF SCRIPTURE (vv. 18-21).  As Jesus read the prophecy of Isaiah, He knew this spoke of Himself, and called on those who could hear Him to receive it, and believe it.   Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 61:1-2a, cutting it off before, “And the day of  vengeance of our God…”.

Jesus came to these of whom He gives notice.  To preach good tidings to the poor; the heal the broken hearted;  to proclaim liberty to the captives; opening the prison to those who are bound.  Jesus came the first time to save us, to give us hope; and to assure us that there is a day coming when all evil will be dealt an eternal blow, which was initially dealt with on the cross a few years later.

Jesus’s presence with them in the synagogue, at Nazareth was not by accident, but was a clear declaration that Jesus is the God-Man who would do all these things.  With the commission given us by Jesus we are gifted to go and be a light, the salt, and the living word among those who have not heard.

In our obedience to Jesus Christ we fulfill the Scriptures in our own hearts and in the lives of others.  It would be more correct to say that God fulfills Scripture in our obedience to Jesus and His Word.

As Jesus stood to fulfill the reading of the Scriptures, He then sat down, as though to say, “It will be and is as good as done”.  That day all the answers to mankinds ills had made His appearance.  He still calls for people to follow Him.  The Scriptures tell us that Jesus is setting down at the Father’s right hand (Hebrews 1:3, 13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2;  1 Peter 3:22).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The LORD is In His Temple

The Fifth Promise

“But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20

We have looked at the previous four promises from chapter 1:3; 2:3, 4, 14, and the final one now in 2:20. These are wonderful promises. It is especially wonderful that the final promise is one which gives us assurance that the LORD is in His temple. There is assurance in that, because, that tells us that He is still in control.

From the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE we read, “2:20 holy temple. A reference to heaven, from where the Lord rules (Ps. 11:4) and answers the prayers of those who seek Him (1 Kings 8:28-30: Ps. 73:17).” p. 1321.

It seems that there is something here very personal for the follower of Christ as well. Since the Father who is in His holy temple sent His Son, and His Son died on the cross for our sins, and He rose again; He then sent His Spirit to dwell within all those who are His. “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” Romans 8:9a (NKJV). Jesus Christ is in you who know Him and are known by Him. The LORD will not leave His temple.

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV).

When all the earth comes to realize that God is the Supreme Ruler all will be silent before Him. The Psalmist wrote, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10. In the New Testament we read, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those on earth, and of those under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11 (NKJV).

The worship of idols always requires much noise, adulation, because they have nothing to offer. Thus much false fire. The God who made the heavens, the earth and all things in it and on it cries for our silence. Let Him be glorified by His own glory. On Habakkuk 2:20 the CRISWELL STUDY BIBLE states: “2:20 “But” signifies a striking contrast with the nothingness of idols. Jehovah the invisible God is occupying His holy temple, ready to intervene omnipotently for the deliverance and protection of His people and the destruction of their enemies. He inspires solemn adoration and profound silence (cf. Ps.68:5; Zeph. 1:7; Zech. 2:13)” p. 1047 KJV.

Only false gods [idols] require much hoopla, and noise. Our God, Father of Jesus is the light of His own glory. Rest in Him who is in His temple.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

PROMISES AND PROPHECIES 5 & 6

V. PROPHECIES CONCERNING REBUILDING THE TABERNACLE.

A. Amos 9:11 – “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: 12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this. 13 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.”

B. Acts 15:13 – “And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”

VI. PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE BEAUTY AND WEALTH OF THE LAND.

A. Land will blossom as a rose. Isaiah 35:1 – “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.”

B. As the Garden of Eden. Ezekiel 36:34 – “And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. 35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.”

C. Fruit. READ Isaiah 27 —– NOTE $80,000,000 exported in oranges alone in 1970. Israel returns to the Lord.

1. Ezekiel 36:8 – “But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. 9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: 10 And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: 11 And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 12 Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men.”

D. Wealth of the Dead Sea. Isaiah 60:5 – “Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.”

1. NOTE: The estimated wealth of the Dead Sea at the time of writing (estimated time was in early 1980’s) was $1,270,000,000,000 in chemicals only. Possesses four times the entire wealth of the United States.

E. Forestry: Isaiah 41:19 – “I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: 20 That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.”

1. Ezekiel 36:8 – “But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. 9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: 10 And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: 11 And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.”

2. There are now over 150,000 acres of natural forests, plus shrines such as the forests of 6,000,000 trees for the Jews killed by Hitler.

F. Haifa Harbor: The finest port of the East Mediterranean. Deuteronomy 33:19 – “They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.”

1. “Such abundance of the seas…” NOTE: a desalinization plant at Eilat daily supplies 220,000 gallons of water at a cost of less than a dollar per 1000 gallons. This is the “Abundance of the sea…” as surely as the wealth of imports at Haifa Harbor. NOTE the latter part of Deut. 33:19, “Treasures hidden in the sand”. This could refer to oil. Approximately 40 wells were producing at the end of 1967; supplying about 200,000 tons per year, and being piped to the Aebulon city of Haifa.

G. Fresh Water. Isaiah 41:18 – “I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”

H. Richness of Land – NOTE: “Sweet grapes for juice.” Amos 9:13 – “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.”

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