Observations From Acts – 042711

There has not been much posted here on Acts, but I do want to end with one observation as we look at verses 22 – 24 of chapter 28;

“But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.  And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.  And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.”  Acts 27:22-24 (KJV)

Paul the apostle is in Rome about to be tried for the charges his own people have brought against him.  He has been charged with saying things against them, and supposedly against their God; in blasphemy.  Rather than speaking against their God he has spoken plainly, using the Old Testament scriptures they adhered to and proclaiming Jesus Christ their Messiah.

The word “sect” was used, most likely, as a derogatory term meaning that the teaching of Christianity was heretical and was worthy of judgment.  Paul took time with those who came to him expounding the Word of God, and preaching the kingdom of God, persuading some to believe and follow Jesus Christ.

We have the testimony here that “some believed”, and “some believed not” and that is pretty much how things are in our time; as every other time since Paul.

If you will believe the gospel of Jesus Christ then, you will have the assurance of eternity with Him.  If you reject Jesus and His gospel, then you will die and eternal death.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From John – 033011

Please remember that the gospel of John is pictured in Ezekiel 1 as the eagle in the face of the Living creature, and the flying eagle in the Revelation 4:7.  These show forth a symbolic picture of the deity of our Lord.  John’s writing of Jesus is clearly that Jesus as the Son of God is God.

In the thirteenth chapter of John’s gospel we have the event of the Lord’s Supper, and this is what I have observed;

“He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself.  After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.  Then cometh He to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto Him, ‘Lord, dost thou wash my feet?’  Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.’  Peter saith unto Him, ‘Thou shalt never wash my feet.’  Jesus answered him, ‘If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.’  Simon Peter saith unto Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.’  Jesus saith to him, ‘He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.'” John 13:4-10 (KJV)

There is much to see here, however there is one observation and truth I want you to see; and that is that God came down to heaven in the form of a man [Jesus Christ], and then stooped even further to wash His disciples feet.  To me that is a really big thing, and says a whole lot about us as the human race.

The beauty of it is in the Son stooping to serve, and wash the feet.

When was the last time I stooped to serve another in like fashion?  How about you?

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

What will ye then that I shall do unto Him…?

“And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate. 2 And Pilate asked Him, ‘Art thou the King of the Jews?’ And He answering said unto him, ‘Thou sayest it.’ 3 And the chief priests accused Him of many things: but He answered nothing. 4 And Pilate asked Him again, saying, ‘Answerest Thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against Thee.’ 5 But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled. 6 Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. 7 And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. 8 And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. 9 But Pilate answered them, saying, ‘Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?’ 10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered Him for envy. 11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. 12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, ‘What will ye then that I shall do unto Him whom ye call the King of the Jews?’ 13 And they cried out again, ‘Crucify Him.’ 14 Then Pilate said unto them, ‘Why, what evil hath He done?’ And they cried out the more exceedingly, ‘Crucify Him.’
15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged Him, to be crucified. 16 And the soldiers led Him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band.  17 And they clothed Him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about His head, 18 And began to salute Him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ 19 And they smote Him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon Him, and bowing their knees worshipped Him. 20 And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple from Him, and put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.”  Mark 15:1-20 (KJV)

Due to the  fact that Israel was not a free country, but was under Roman rule, they had lost their authority to put anyone to death.  Therefore, they must take Jesus to the Roman governor, who is Pilate.  The religious leaders had found Jesus guilty of blasphemy.  The charge was actually that He had said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it again”.

God is on trial before humanity, but who is really the condemned here?  Who are the guilty ones?  Why is an innocent, guiltless, sinless, spotless, and blemishless man being sentenced to death?  To answer those questions – The one’s who are pronouncing death to Jesus.  That answers the first two questions.  To answer the final one – Because only the death of an innocent, guiltless, sinless, spotless, and blemishless man can atone for sin before holy God, and Jesus fit the bill.  It was guilty, sinful, spotted, blemished mankind that condemned Him, but it was for those who condemned Him that He died for the real condemned.

Pilate knows Jesus to be innocent of the charge brought against Him, and that the charge has only been brought  due to “envy” (v. 10).  Due to the pressure from the people, though, Pilate offers a choice between a murderer [Barabbas], and Jesus.  Because of the conspiracy of the religious leaders the people and the priests choose Barabbas (v. 11).  When the people cried out for Barabbas Pilate asked, “What shall I do with Jesus, whom you call, ‘King of the Jews?”  Their answer to that was, “Crucify Him.”

What a horrible way for a man to die.  What an awfully horrible way for the God/Man to die who was not guilty of any sin or wrong doing.  Yet, it was determined in the foreknowledge of God, from the foundation of the world, that the Godly should die for the ungodly; the Righteous should die for the unrighteous; the Just should die for the unjust; that the Sinless should die for the sinful.  “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8).

“And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”  1 Peter 1:17-21

The hands of sinful men striking the sinless Son of God.  The thorns of a tree representing the wages of sin placed on Jesus’ head and mocking Him as king.  The words of men against the Living Word of God, condemning Him to die a cruel, cursing death.  It is a “Cursing death” because the Scriptures say, “(For he that is hanged is accursed of God;)” (Deut.21:23;  Gal. 3:13).

What will you do with Jesus?  Will you just account Him as a good man, a good teacher, a good example; or maybe a work of fiction?  Your indecision about Jesus has eternal consequences as well as the wrong decision.  No decision is your decision.  Choose Jesus as the God-Man who died for your sins, was buried carrying your sin away, and rose bodily from the grave and eternally lives.  Trust Him with your life, and you too can live with Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031611

Today’s Reading is from Mark 11 – 13.

The religious leaders of Jesus ‘s day were having trouble with the idea of Messiah being more than a man; however, Jesus asks them a question concerning a writing of David, a king of Israel whom they all respected, and admired.

“And Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, ‘How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?  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.’  David therefore himself calleth Him Lord; and whence is He then his son?’ And the common people heard Him gladly.”  Mark 12:35-37 (KJV)

In this statement which is quoted from Psalm 110:1 declares Messiah to be David’s Lord.  The scribes are correct in calling Christ or Messiah the “Son of David”; however, since David is calling Him “Lord” then there is a great confession from David that the Christ is also the Son of God, the God-Man.

The following is a quote from the MacArthur Study Bible on verse 37;

12:37 David himself calls Him ‘Lord.’ Jesus interpreted Ps. 110:1 for the Pharisees.  David would not have called one of his descendants “Lord.”  Thus the Messiah is more than the “Son of David”– He is also the “Son of God.”  Jesus was proclaiming the Messiah’s deity, and thus His own (cf. Rom. 1:3; 2 Tim. 2:8; Matt. 22:45).

and from the ESV Study Bible;

Mark 12:35–37 While in the temple, Jesus publicly raises a question that he has already discussed in private with his disciples: who is the Messiah of God—is he essentially the son of David or the Lord of David? Jesus’ point is not to deny that the Messiah is a descendant of David (e.g., Ps. 2:1–12; 89:1–52; Isa. 9:1–7; Jer. 23:5–6; Ezek. 34:23–24). The issue is that, in this passage (i.e., Ps. 110:1–5), there is no mention of the Messiah being the son of David; rather, the Messiah is here the “Lord of David” (see note on Matt. 22:41–46). Jesus affirms the divine inspiration of the Psalm through the Holy Spirit. The Lord (Hb. Yahweh) grants to David’s Lord (Hb. ’Adonay) an exclusive place of honor at his right hand and helps David’s Lord overcome his enemies. Jesus anticipates being exalted to the right hand of God, and thus he far transcends any expectation of a merely political, Davidic messiah.

When anyone argues against the deity of Jesus Christ they argue against the very word of God; Old and New Testaments.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 030911

Reading today from Matthew 17 – 19

Sometimes it is difficult deciding which of the verses Jesus spoke to write from.  I seek His direction, and it seems that it doesn’t matter; because it all from Him.

In chapter 18 Jesus says this about “…become as little children…” and that seems to confuse many.  Let’s take a look at that:

“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  18:3

Let’s think about little children.  They are cute, lovable, forgiving, and would start wars at the drop of a hat, if some other child takes their stuff.  Jesus certainly did not intend us to be immature in our lives.

Jesus was, of course, speaking of the little child’s heart that is loving, forgiving, trusting.  Trusting is the key here.  Especially when it comes to trusting Him.  For the most part small children are dependent.  They are dependent upon their parents for their food, shelter, clothing, health, and every other need or want that you can think of.  They are unable to go out and defend themselves against intruders, thieves, killers and muggers, in most cases.

As adult believers; followers of Jesus Christ we need to be dependent upon our Lord for our needs.  We also need to be trusting Him for everything from salvation to finances, shelter, healthcare.

Jesus goes on and says,

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”  18:6

Though Jesus is talking about those who would follow Him, trusting Him for and in all things; there is  a more than subtle word here to anyone who would abuse, misuse, mistreat, or harm a child in any way.  We hear in the news of people who abuse children, both sexual and beating, them till they die; and sometimes leaving them dead in their spirits.  Jesus says, “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and drowned in the depth of the sea”.

As adults we should have respect for our children.  They can be contrary at times; however, I have seen a few adults who are contrary, evil, mean, and just downright ugly in demeanor and character.  We all can be at times.  We are still to treat one another with respect; and the children too.  When I use the word “respect”  I mean by that that we treat them as being a special human being in God’s eyes; and should be in our own as well.  We are to disciple children, teaching them and leading them toward God and His righteousness.

Determine to follow Jesus; trusting solely in Him, being dependent upon Him and no other.  Trust Him when everything seems to be falling apart; when your health is failing; when the checkbook is depleted; when you’re unemployed; when the house is being foreclosed on; the bank is coming for your car; when the hospital bills are running out your ears.  You can trust and know that He loves and cares for you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 030211

If you are following my Bible Reading plan today’s reading is Deuteronomy 29 – 31.  I pray you are learning and growing in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord is giving Moses some final instructions before he dies.  Moses will not be allowed to cross into the Promised Land which He is giving to the people of Israel, due to his sin of striking the rock, rather than speaking to it (Numbers 20).

The verses I want us to observe from today are,

“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.  It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’  But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”  Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (KJV)

The LORD has just given them promise that He will make them plenteous in the works of their hands, the “fruit of their body”, and fruit of the land, if they shall hear and do and keep His commandments (30:9-10).  Then, the LORD proceeds to tell Moses that the command is not hidden, nor far away.

So many people want to blame God for sin in the world.  Sin is due to the transgression of the human heart against God.  We are all born with that transgression.  To those who want to argue against that think of this:  Do we need to teach children to lie if they are going to lie?  NO!  Every child will practice the deceit of lying without being taught to do so.  They will even steal to get what they want.  The reason for that is because there is evil in every human heart.  Children must be taught to be truthful and honest, and it does not happen easily.  There are many adults who must learn these truths.  There is only one child who ever lived who was truthful and honest, faithful and true until His death; and that was Jesus Christ; because He was the Son of God, had the heart and blood of God; and God cannot lie.

Since the word, the commandments, are not hidden, neither are they far away the children of Israel are without excuse concerning any disobedience.  They have heard God speak.  They have heard His commandments.  Yet, we will see as they enter into the Land of Promise they still struggled with obedience.

Christians struggle with obedience today, due to the sinful flesh.  We hear God’s Word, but do not obey.  We see God’s work in our own hearts and lives yet fail Him.  It is sad to say, however, those who profess to know Jesus Christ, and can disobey/sin against Him without regret or remorse and repentance have never experienced the saving faith possible only through the blood of Christ.

For the Christian we have the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit; living within us.  We are empowered to live the life of Christ within us (Read Romans 8:1-15).  He is our Comforter, Guide, Counselor, and Corrector and points us to our Lord and Savior.

James wrote,

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”  James 1:22-25

Let’s be sure to hear God’s Word, hide it in our hearts; that we might do it, and live a Biblical, Christian life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022311

Reading today from chapters 7 – 10 of Deuteronomy.

Why did the LORD choose Israel as a people?  Were they at all strong, numerous, or for what reason would He choose such a people?

Why  has He chosen me?  Is it because I am some wonderful personality, wonderful to look at, wise or obedient?  My answer to those questions are “none of those things”.  Why would the holy God of Heaven choose anyone of the human race? I think those are some wonderful questions, and they are invited by the Scriptures.

“The LORD did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the LORD loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.  Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack to him that hateth Him, He will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.”  Deuteronomy 7:7-11 (KJV)

These verses tell us that GOD did not set His love upon them because they were more numerous; because they were but few.  The answer He gives us through Moses and Deuteronomy is “…Because the LORD loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers…” meaning of course Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Doesn’t this beg another question?  How can a holy God love that which is unholy? and another, Just whom does God love?  We are told in the New Testament,

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

In my opinion John 3:16 answers those two very important questions.  God came down to man in the Person of His Son, lived without sin, and gave Himself as a sacrifice for our atonement.  “Our sin” atonement because we were sinful, worthy of death, unholy, unrighteous, unjust.  When Jesus came He became our sin, took the wrath of God for us on the cross of calvary, had the Father turn His back on Him, the darkest day in the life of our Savior.  It did not end there, however, Jesus carried our sins away in His burial, and rose bodily from the grave on the third day.  It doesn’t end there.  Jesus; when that sinner turns to Jesus as His Lord and Savior; gives to us His righteousness.  Now, isn’t that the greatest love you ever heard about?  YEAH!  It is.  You cannot deny it.  Or deny it all you will and it still doesn’t negate that truth.

There is a second reason we are told God chose Israel.  “Because He wold keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers…”  I will never cease to be amazed that our GOD is a covenant keeping GOD.  He is love.  He is trustworthy and faithful.  If God says it, you can be 100 percent sure that God will keep every word He has spoken.  When He has said, “I have called you, and redeemed you unto Myself” You can be assured you are His for all time and eternity.

Jesus said again,

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

You can be assured today that because God loved Israel, He still loves Israel, and He loves you too.  He loves us all so very much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world.  That includes me and you.  Call on the name of Jesus today and be saved.

Please read Deuteronomy 7 – 10 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021611

Reading from Numbers 22-24.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

My Observations 020911

Reading Numbers 1 – 3 today.

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

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

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

Now, let’s get to the above verses.

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

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

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

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

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

Remember to read Numbers 1 – 3 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020211

Today’s Bible Reading is for Leviticus 8 – 10

There are three things I want us to see in today’s reading.  The first two have to do with the fire of God found in verses 23 and 24 of chapter 9; at least the first three verses of chapter 10 and verses 16 – 20 of the same chapter.

The fire of God is very repetitious; and usually when God’s word repeats something it is due to the fact of God’s making a very clear statement.  It matters.  It matters very much.  Part of the reason that it matters is because of God’s holiness, power, and you could even add His awe-inspiring ways.  It is enough to strike fear into the heart of those who would follow Him, believing Him.

There are many today who are teaching that God does not desire us to fear Him; but I beg to differ with that.  We should shudder at the thought of offending the Creator GOD who has made all things and even sustains them by His own power (Colossians 1:17)

“And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.  And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.”  Leviticus 9:23-24 (KJV)

It is a fear and reverence which realizes a greater power and presence than one’s self.  It is a fear that causes one who is loved by Him and loves Him to seek to know Him better; and to get closer to Him.

The tabernacle is starting its operation with the  offering, the glory of the LORD appears to all the people.  Fire comes out from before the LORD and consumes the burnt offering and fat.  Where did the fire come from?  It came from God, the LORD.  The people who witnessed this marvelous event were awe-struck and fell on their faces.   Ever an act of humility, reverence, and worship.  They recognized the presence and power of God.

Many times when we see God move in a powerful way there are some so eager to see it again, that they will try and manipulate the act of God all over again.  This may be what happens with Nadab and Abihu in 10:1-2,

“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.  And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.”  Leviticus 10:1-2

“Strange fire” had been offered to the LORD by Aaron’s two sons.  What this entailed is not fully explained in the text.  There have been several suggestions:  1) is that they were intoxicated and that is why the warning of verse 9 is given concerning the drinking of wine; 2) that they may have made their own concoction for a fiery event of their own.

It really seems to me that the event of the last two verses of chapter 9 leading up to these verses in chapter 10 may suggest that they were so zealous and eager to see this miraculous event again that they violated God’s clear direction on entering the tabernacle and the offerings that God showed Himself strong for His righteousness.  This clearly made an impact on the people and Aaron.

From this we go to verses 16-20 where we find that God’s commandment concerning the “goat of the sin offering”:

“And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron which were left alive, saying, ‘Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD? Behold, the blood of it was not brought in within the holy place: ye should indeed have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded.’  And Aaron said unto Moses, Behold, this day have they offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD; and such things have befallen me: and if I had eaten the sin offering to day, should it have been accepted in the sight of the LORD?  And when Moses heard that, he was content.” Leviticus 10:16-20

It seems that Eleazar and Ithamar had not taken the meat of the sin offering  to eat it as God’s commandment had said.  They had broken the commandment to do so.  Moses was rightly angry with the sons.  Aaron has quickly stepped in behalf of his sons and spoke of the grief of the day.  Their may have been fear in Aaron’s and his son’s minds and heart for the events and what they had witnessed God doing as well as grief  over losing his two sons. When Moses heard Aaron’s grief he went no further with the issue, thus we see the mercy of God.

When fire comes out from God; it must come from God alone.   When we – God’s people – try and manipulate the power of God; or try and imitate the power of God strangely; ie., in our own flesh;  for our own benefit, or notoriety; then, why should we be shocked to see God claim it for Himself.  I believe it was Charles H. Spurgeon who said, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully”.

Someone has said, “When we fear God; we need fear nothing else.”  The right fear of God; not a fear that keeps us from God; but the fear that draws us to Him for salvation, solace, peace, and His glory will cause us to fear nothing the world can throw at us.

The fire of God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).

Join us in reading Leviticus 8 – 10

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 012611

Today’s Bible reading consists of Exodus 25 – 28…

Chapter 25 introduces us to the Divine design of the tabernacle in the wilderness by which God the LORD of hosts was to dwell among His people on their journeys through the wilderness to the promised land.  The first of the articles given is the “Ark of the covenant” made of wood, probably acacia wood and built into a box with God’s own dimensions and overlaid with pure gold.  The second piece is the “mercy seat” which is made of pure gold, no wood involved.

It is quite possible, since this is of heavenly design that we see the divinity and humanity of Christ in this design made of wood and gold.  The wood of course representing the human and gold the divine.

There is also given us the design of the “Table of shewbread” made of wood and gold in the dimensions given by God to Moses, and the “Candlestick” or “Menorah” as the Hebrews call it today.  All of these holy pieces were designed by holy God and were to be built just as God said.

Chapter 26 shows us the making of the inner part of the tabernacle “walls?” to be made of fine twined linen white, and using linen of blue, purple and scarlet thread woven in to make the special heavenly designs embroidered in to make it a beautiful sight to behold.

There is also the making of the veil which divided the “holy place and the most holy place”.  It was made of blue, purple and scarlet linen.  This is the veil which was divided in the temple in Jerusalem when Jesus Christ was crucified and died for the sins of the world; making a way for all who will believe to enter God’s own dwelling place.

Chapter 27 shows us the design of the altar of burnt offering.  To many this might seem a horrid place.  A place of great stench.  A bloody place.  And by our reckoning it was.  It tells us there must be; because God is holy, just and righteous; and we are unholy, unjust and unrighteous; there must of necessity be a way for us to have peace with God.  That is possible only through the shed blood of innocence.  The innocence of Jesus Christ is what we must see.

Chapter 28 we receive the design of the garments of the priests.  They were made of gold and blue, purple and scarlet linen.  There is much that could be written about the priestly garments, but I would need to do much more study on it.

One of the things that is great about being a Christian is that we have no need of the ark of the covenant, or any of the tabernacle to enter into the presence of God.  That is made possible through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Believe Him and live forever.

Today’s Bible reading is Exodus 25 – 28  read and enjoy.

-Tim A. Blankenship

As Good As Already There

Looking at the High Priestly prayer of our Lord and Savior once again we are reminded of the Son addressing His Father in our behalf.

“Father, I will  that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.”  John 17:24 (KJV).

Those whom the Father has given the Son are all who have come to faith in Jesus Christ through the work of the Spirit of God.  The requests of the Son, Jesus is first of all that we may be with Him where He is.  Jesus is in the presence of the Father.  He is in the will of the Father.  He is fulfilling the will and glory of the Father.  His final and eternal place is in glory, His glory, and with us with Him and in Him.

Peter, James, and John were three who had the privilege of seeing the glory of Jesus, even before He died on the cross and was raised to life again.  See Matthew 17.    This glory was what Jesus had with the Father even before the world was created.  He had the glory of the Father; as He claims; “Before the foundation of the world”.

That is the place He has prayed for those who believe Him; to be.  Are you as good as there; right now?  By faith in Jesus alone, you are.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Sanctify Them Through Thy Truth

Do you have a special place where you like to go just for the beauty and the quiet?  Most people do I believe.  I know that I have some.  There are times I go and take a walk beside the creek.  I enjoy it as it flows along, especially over the shallow and swifter parts, it makes a noise that only the Creator could use to still a troubled mind.  That is a special time.  A special place.  It is almost a sanctuary.  A protected place, set apart for only the ones who will appreciate it.
In Jesus’s prayer and as He prayed, He asked that His disciples be “sanctified”, ie., set apart, called out for special service, even protected for the glory of the Father.  Here is the verse for the study –

“Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.”  John 17:17 (KJV).

In the process of being made more like Jesus.  That is really what ’sanctification’ is all about.  It is also a protected place, a special place, and Jesus is asking the Father to see to it that we become like Him.  It is implied here that the way of our sanctification is through the Word which we have written to us in the Bible.  The Bible is God’s Word.  It is His truth.  We cannot be made more like Jesus except through the Word of truth.
It is a daily washing of the feet and hands as they have been in the world.  The picture is given in the Old Testament Tabernacle.  There was a large brass bowl with water in it, where the priests needed to stop upon entry of the Eastern Gate, and there wash their feet and hands, so they were sanctified upon entering the holy place.  Jesus’s prayer is that we might be clean, and be made more like Him.
To become more like Him we must stay in His Word daily, pray  in His  name, and be obedient to His will.
Be sanctified through the truth.  Jesus has prayed for it.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Not Of This World

I believe with all my heart that Jesus is still praying for His disciples – those who are following Him – today.  The Lord’s Prayer of John 17 is such a wonderful and powerful prayer.  It is an assuring prayer, and should be a motivator to inspire us as we pray.

Last time as we looked at verse 15 we saw that Jesus prayed that His followers not be taken out of this world, but that the Father “Keep them from the evil”.  Jesus intended His followers to be an example of godliness to the world, and we cannot do that if we become isolated and separated from everyone else.

The request we look at today is quite simple and somewhat of a statement completing the last request:

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  John 17:16 (KJV).

Jesus came into the world in the likeness of sinful men, but yet, without sin.  He came into the world as one of us, but not of the world.  He came from another place.  A place of glory and splendor.  He left all of that to come and redeem us unto Himself.  He is not of this world

In the Revelation of Jesus Christ there is a phrase which is used several times, …them that dwell upon the earth” (3:10; 6:10; 11:10; 13:8, 12, 14; 14:6;) and another similar to it, …the inhabiters of the earth” (8:13; 12:12).  These references are of course speaking of those who have no heart for God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Those who follow Him, Jesus says, ‘are not of the world’.  Not of this world we have been born again to walk in a new life, a changed life, no longer tied to the temporal things.  The heart of a believer is tied to the things of the glory of Jesus.  We are not of this world; we are still in this world, and for the purpose of showing forth the glory of Jesus our Lord and Savior.

-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

I Kept Them In Thy Name

This prayer of Jesus’s  is the most beautiful and majestic of Scriptures.  It must be because it is prayed by our Maker.

Jesus continues praying as though He has finished the task for which He came to do, and that was always to do the Father’s will, and all the way to the cross of His death.  He prays,

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name: those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” John 17:12 (KJV)

Jesus’s prayer is as though His work is finished; past tense.  “While I was with them”, and He has not gone to the cross yet.  He prays as though it was already done.  The gift of salvation, grace, mercy, is as good as finished, because He asked for it.  He has kept and will keep.

There is one exception.  One has been lost, and that is the “son of perdition” – the son of wickedness; the son of the devil.  And, this was so that Scripture might be fulfilled.

You and I can rest assured today that all Scripture either has been fulfilled, is being fulfilled, or will be fulfilled concerning you and me.  We need never fear that anything will ever take us out of the Father’s hands, when we are  in the way of the Lord Jesus Christ, ie., His death, burial and resurrection.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Ashamed To Ask A King

Wouldn’t it be great if every citizen of the United States of America was ashamed to ask our government anything, but for those things which, God requires of government?  It would indeed.  And the government would be in much better shape financially.

Our trust, as Christians, is in God; not government.  We cannot trust the gov to provide  our health care, nor any of our financial security.  These are areas we trust our Lord to provide by giving us strength for the day to do our jobs; creative minds to better ourselves; and a good motivation for helping our fellow man.

The answer for the problems of the USA is not more gov; but more of God and trusting Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

Nehemiah – the king’s cupbearer has written,

“Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.  For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.  So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.”  Ezra 8:21-23 (KJV)

When we boast of a great God, bigger than any Government, bigger than any king; then, we ought to be ashamed to call on any government aid to do the LORD’s will.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King and Offenses

We last saw Jesus speaking of receiving children, and whoever receives one of them in His name receives Him; but what about those who offend?

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”
Matthew 18:6-7 (KJV)

Jesus tells us that it would be better for that person to drown, than for that person to live.

This is a reference to those who would attack and abuse those who are the followers of Jesus Christ.  There is also much to be concerned with small children as well.

As Christians we should know that there are going to be those who wish us harm and who will seek to defraud us.  We can see it going on every day with special rights given to some groups, with unholy agendas.  This is expected, but certainly not our desire.  Jesus did say, “In the world you will have tribulation…” and I am fairly certain that included the offenses of the wicked.

Our response can be and should be to pray for those who offend us.  For their salvation, for God to intervene in a glorious way for His honor and glory.  And forgive them.

-Tim A. Blankenship