Prayer for Monday January 25, In the year of our Lord 2021

A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.”  Proverbs 25:26
“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.”  Luke 6:26

Father and Creator of heaven and earth, and all that is therein we ask for Your wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in Your word, will, and way You work in us, and in others. We desire to always walk with You and glorify Your name.

Forgive our weakness in standing before men of power and authority when we need to be bold in Your word, to speak all that You have spoken. May we never bow before evil and wicked men or women. Forgive us also when we have sought to be liked and approved by others before bringing honor to Your holy name; and have failed to lift up Jesus Christ.

We ask for boldness in Your word no matter before whom we may be standing, to speak it with Your power and authority. May we, like Paul the apostle, live with this in our heart, soul, and mind; “…To know nothing, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” and buried and raised to life forever. For life eternal is found only through faith in His finished work on the cross of Calvary. Amen.

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 090220

“Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.
He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me.”
  Luke 10:13-16  (KJB)

That They Might Accuse

“And as He said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge vehemently, and to provoke Him to speak of many things: laying wait for Him, and seeking to catch something out of His mouth, that they might accuse Him.” Luke 11:53-54 (KJB)

The things Jesus had said about the Sadducees, Pharisees, and the lawyers was what they needed to hear. Did they like it? Not hardly. They became angry, even bitter, and were seeking how they might trap Jesus in His words.

Jesus had denounced them with “woes”, and telling them of their judgment coming. They had opportunity to repent and to see who Jesus really was; but that would upset their way of rule, take power away from them over the people.

Political maneuvering, and posturing to get what they wanted.  It has been going on for centuries. It does not matter where or when. It goes on.  It was going on over the life of Jesus Christ; and these men, though they were not politicians, they had influence in the lives of political leaders.

They with an urgency urged Jesus, with vehement, hot, and flashy words trying to provoke words with which they could hang Him.

When we see this and we now know the outcome of it we know that all that happened was under the sovereign hand of the Almighty. What was about to happen within a short time was for the redemption of Adam’s race.

Jesus, the Son of God, became the Son of Man, that the sons of men, might become the sons of God. Jesus the God-Man; fully God, and fully man. God the Son. Jesus knew what He was doing. Every word He spoke; every word He speaks is true, righteous, and holy.

You can trust Him. You can put your life in His hands. Call on the name of Jesus “For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13). No politician can stop it. No political action, neither anything else can stop the power of the cross of Jesus Christ.

The Selfish Shepherd

“Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! The sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.” Zechariah 11:17 (KJB)

Some thoughts from John Wesley…

“The idol shepherd – To them that are but the images of shepherds. That leaveth – Casts off the care of the flock. The sword – Of the enemy, shall break his strength and be – fool his counsels. Dried up – They that have gifts which qualify them to do good, if they do it not, they will be taken away. They that should have been workmen, but were slothful, and would do nothing, will justly have their arm dried up. And they that should have been watchmen, but were drowsy, will justly have their eye blinded.”  JOHN WESLEY’S NOTES ON THE BIBLE for Zechariah 11:17

John Gills notes on Zechariah 11:17…

Woe to the idol shepherd,…. Or, “the shepherd of nothing” (w); that is, no true shepherd, that is good for nothing, for an idol is nothing in the world, 1Co_8:4 and who is an idol himself, sits in the temple of God, and is worshipped as if he was God. 2Th_2:4 and is an encourager and defender of idolatry:

that leaveth the flock; has no regard to its spiritual concerns; does not feed it, but fleece it, and leaves it to the cruelty and avarice of his creatures under him:

the sword shall be upon his arm; with which he should feed the flock:

and upon his right eye; with which he should watch over it:

his arm shall be clean dried up; his power shall be taken away from him; the antichristian states, which supported him, shall withdraw from him; the ten kings shall hate the whore, strip her naked, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire, Rev_17:16,

and his right eye shall be utterly darkened; not only given up to judicial blindness, which has been always his case; but his kingdom shall be full of darkness, Rev_16:10 his hidden things of darkness shall be exposed; all his crafty schemes will be confounded; and all his wit, cunning, and subtlety, will cease; and everything desirable to him will be taken away from him. His “arm” may denote his secular power, which shall be taken away from him: and his “right eye” his knowledge of the Scriptures, judgment in controversies, and infallibility pretended to by him, which wilt cease, even in the opinion of men. Ben Melech interprets it the eye of his heart or mind; and so Aben Ezra.”  JOHN GILL’S EXPOSITION OF THE BIBLE

What About the Place, the City, the Country Where I Live?

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

I have read this passage of Scripture, the words of Jesus here many times, and never has it caused me to ask the above question of today.  The work and presence of the Spirit of God has been at work in this land for centuries now.  Our country is not, neither has it ever been a land of perfection.  No man or woman is perfect.  We are all evil at heart.

We have witnessed the power of God in our Nation (United States of America), our States (my State of Missouri and the forty nine others), and in my home town of Jenkins.  I have seen the work of God in my own family and my life.  What about the place I live?

Will you ask that question with me?  Have you rejected power of God?  Have you rejected the work He has don in the place where you live?  There are places; cities and countries which will be and are condemned because they have rejected the work of Christ Jesus.

Let us not hear the “Woes” of Jesus upon our townships, towns, cities, States and countries.

May God forgive our sloth, slack, and attitudes of rejection of His power and works among us.

The Peril of the Unrepentant in the Face of Holy

“And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”  Revelation 9:13-21

The sixth trumpet sounds and John hears a voice from the “Golden Altar”. This altar is the same altar as in chapter 8:3-6. The horns of the altar are mentioned in the Old Testament. There are times when men fled to the altar and “Caught hold on the horns of the altar” (1 Kings 1:50-51; 2:28). It was a place for pleading. Evidently pleading for one’s life as other men sought them. From this place of former mercy proceeds a voice of woe. The second woe. The first has passed.

The voice heard tells the sixth angel to “Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates”. These four angels are not the same four of chapter 7:1. There is nothing said about the chapter 7 angels being bound.

Since these four are bound it would lead us to conclude that these are evil angels or otherwise known as demons (Jude 6).

Today there is demonic activity, but not as the like of which when God removes His restraints.

The release of the four evil angels comes at God’s appointed time. “Were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year” has nothing to do with duration, but with God’s timing. The dastardly work of the four is to kill one-third of all people on the earth. Remember, one-fourth part of mankind has already been killed at the opening of the fourth seal (6:7-8). This means more than one half of the world’s population will be killed by the time this “Woe” is carried out. The judgment of the flood will pale in the comparison of these judgments.

The released angels kill by means of a two hundred million man army. China boasts to have such an army, and it is to the East of Jerusalem and the Euphrates river.

This also could be another demonic attack upon mankind, but it could be this in the form of an actual army of men. And, of course, the way things are in the world today there are probably women in this army as well. It seems that the horses are the sources of destroying power, “Out of their mouths issued fire and smoke, and brimstone” (vv. 17b-18). This almost sounds like a nuclear war.
Where the demonic mass of verses 3-11 was only allowed to torment and not to kill this army, vast in number, is allowed to kill.

Have there ever been events such as these on the earth? We have never read of them in history. This is clearly prophetic and not historical.

There is further mention of the Euphrates in 16:12 in connection with the “Sixth vial of wrath”.

The move of this army could be a move during the middle of the tribulation when the “Peacemaker” breaks the treaty with Israel and then havoc rules.

Isn’t it amazing how people can continue in sin and rebellion against God when they can see His mighty and judging hand at work. Rather than turning to the true and living God during this time of His wrath upon wickedness they lift up their idols of stone, gold, silver, brass, and wood. They cry out to gods who are no gods, becoming like them (Psalm 115).

Morris Ashcraft in the Broadman Bible Commentary wrote, “One cannot overlook John’s conviction, though voiced as a lament, that idolatry has a hold on man so great that he will go on worshiping the works of his own hands even while the infinite power of the true God is displayed all about him” BROADMAN COMMENTARY vol. 12 pg. 297.

It is a sad day when men turn to things made of their own hands and imaginations rather than to the God who displayed His love and wrath on a cross of wood judging our sin on the account of His Son.

Every kind of evil is mentioned in these verses. John is lamenting. It is nothing but outright, willful rebellion against the God of Heaven. There is no reason for rejoicing here, other than the fact, that God will destroy and put away all sin. All of sin, darkness of evil, and evil will be brought to an end.  Amen.

The Faces No One Wants to See

And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter. Revelation 9:7-12 (KJV)

Now we are given a more complete description of these locusts creatures. A demon horde; the most vile and hideous of creatures; whose main purpose is to steal, kill, and to destroy all of humanity.

When this “Woe” takes place on the earth it may be possible that wicked men will not even see their tormentors.

John’s description of them is horrendous. Sometimes demons can manifest themselves as beautiful beings, but when we see them in the light of God’s Word and eternity they are the most hideous and deceitful of beings.

As also stated in verses 5 and 10 they are only given a period of five months in which to inflict their agony. There is no reason to try and make something more of the months than is indicated. It is probably a literal five-month period.

“Five months is the ordinary time in the year during which locusts commit their ravages” (HENRY ALFORD as copied from The Revelation of Jesus Christ by John Walvoord pg. 161).

These demon creatures have a king of sorts. This is probably the one to whom “Was given the key of the bottomless pit” or the other name is “Abyss”. A demon while speaking to Jesus mentioned this place (Luke 8:31).

The name of this king is given in Hebrew and Greek. “Abaddon” is the Hebrew, and “Apollyon” the Greek. Both names mean “Destroyer” and Satan is known as the destroyer. SEE John 10:10. So the one who was given the key to the pit and the king of the demon realm is probably one and the same, Satan, the Destroyer.

Verse 12 announces the end of the first woe. The enemy of all mankind is given a free hand with some limitations that clearly show us that the God of Heaven and all creation is in complete control. Remember “Woe” is great calamity, and what a calamity it will be when the demons of hell are unleashed on a God-hating people.

There are some people who have trouble believing a loving God could allow such to take place. It is because of His love, mixed with His holiness and righteousness that this does happen. In His love, He has chosen a people by His grace. In His holiness and righteousness, He judges the unrepentant to declare and manifest that there is a holy race of people. All those are redeemed through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ shed on the cross, for the atonement of man’s sins.

The Peril of Vain Preaching

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, ‘Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, ‘Hear ye the word of the LORD;  ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!  O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.  Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.  They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, ‘The LORD saith:’ and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.  Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, ‘The LORD saith it;’ albeit I have not spoken?  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD.  And Mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of My people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.'” Ezekiel 13:1-9 (KJV)

Vain preaching is attempting to preach anything except what God says; and claim the “Thus saith the LORD” authority.  God says, “Mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of My people…”  Woe to the preacher; of any  day; who does not preach the Word of God.

-T.A.

The Sweetness of His Word, and His Presence

And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; and He spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.  Moreover He said unto me, ‘Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.’  So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that roll.  And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee.’  Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.”  Ezekiel 2:9 – 3:3 (KJV)

How important is the Word of God?  For the Christian it is the very sustenance of life and faith.  For the world it is just as important as is the Creator.

-T.A.

Woe To Apostate Teachers, and Followers

“Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” Jude 11 (NKJV).

The apostate, heretics of which Jude has been warning us are going to be held to the ultimate judgment. “Woe” is the warning of such judgment being held for them. It is a sad thing for Christians of today, when they will more readily accept the teaching of the “Name it and claim it” bunch, than they will the plain and clear teaching of the Word of the Lord where the cross of Jesus Christ, His deity, His shedding of His own blood, His burial carrying our sins away, and the plain and clear teaching of His bodily resurrection fulfilling the Word which He spoke.

These apostates follow the way of Cain (the son of Adam and Eve who killed his brother Abel); in that they deny the power of the blood of the cross of Christ by their teaching that it is for material gain, applying their own works to the work of Christ. They follow the “error of Balaam” by seeking gain for themselves. Balaam was a false prophet who sought profit by the pretense serving God. He deemed that the Israelites were not worthy of God’s blessing and so cursed them by showing the enemy their weakness (Numbers 25:1-17; 31:16), bringing a plague into the camp, stayed only by the quick hand of Phineas, who was the grandson of Aaron. Balaam eventually was killed by the children before they entered the promised land. Then, there is Korah, the rebellious one who led Dathan and Abiram in a rebellious act against Moses. They spoke ill of Moses, thus were speaking against God. We put our lives on a very thin layer when we speak ill of our leaders, especially the spiritual leaders. Korah, Dathan and Abiram were swallowed up by the ground opening and taking them, and those who stood with them, alive into the belly of the earth. Read Numbers 16.

We are given ample warning in Scripture of following false teachers and leaders. The one’s who expose heresy are not the ones who are causing the problem. The problem lies in those who teach error, and seek to lead people astray. If you know God, and know His Word you know who the false teachers and their false teachings are. If you don’t know the God of the Bible nor His Word you will be deceived, and led astray becoming just like your leader. Finding your own way, always for gain and profit, and no true spiritual leader will ever be right, but you are.

Guard your spiritual life. Know the God of the Bible by turning to His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross that you might live. He was buried carrying your sins away, and He rose bodily from that grave, and He ever lives to make intercession for you. Read His Word – the Bible – learn Him, know Him, trust Him with all of your life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Cords Of Vanity

We have looked at two of the “Woes” which God pronounces against the house of Judah – the nation of Judah. When God pronounces woes it is because He is not pleased with them. Woe has been announced against them for “Joining house to house” at the expense of the poor and others who are less fortunate. He has announced woe against them for their licentious, ie., lewd parties, and their worship of demons.

We come to the third “Woe” which Isaiah the prophet names, and it is, “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope…” (5:18). It is as though they are taunting God. They are living vainly, emptily, and throwing their sins up before God, and daring Him to come. They are unbelieving that He sees their wickedness.

They do not believe that God will come and judge their evil, so they just go on living in rebellion. They would rather continue in sin, since they cannot see God working and moving in a way they would like. Pride in sin, rebellion against the Holy One of Israel. The rope they use to pull the cart will be used in their hanging.

You might hear them saying, “If He is going to come and judge us; let Him come; let Him come and do it quickly”. It is in mockery. There are those of the world who would say that today, and maybe some who profess to be God’s people, but the people of God cannot live in such mockery. God will come. God will avenge His holiness, righteousness, and justness.

How will He find you when He comes?

“Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope:  That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!” Isaiah 5:18-19 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Proud Man and His Woes

THE PROUD MAN AND HIS WOES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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