The Gospel Preached in the Midst of Religious Superstition

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed any thing, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’
Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by Man whom He hath ordained; He hath given assurance unto all, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.”  Acts 17:22-31  (KJB)

Boasting in the LORD

“I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:1-3 (KJB)

There is a whole lot of boasting going on.  I boast of one thing, and then another. So do you. I know of no one who has not made a boast of one thing or another.  Let me post a question;  Do you ever boast in the LORD?  Do you boast of His greatness, His power and authority?  Do you boast of His so great salvation?  Whoops!  That was three questions.

God is great to boast in.  Boast of a work He has accomplished in your life; and be sure to credit Him, not yourself.  When we boast in the LORD we take credit from our own achievements  and give them to the One to whom they belong.  That is where humility really begins.

The humble will always glorify the LORD with words and with a life that shows forth the power and glory of Jesus.

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.  Amen

It all begins in recognizing Jesus as your Lord and Savior; the Son of God and God the Son.

Rejoicing with Music

Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto Him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto Him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.” Psalm 33:1-3 (KJB)

Does music have any place in the house of God?  Does music have a place in the worship of the Most High and holy God in the Church?  I certainly believe it does.  They used music in the Old Testament in their worship, and when I say “Music” I am speaking of instruments; stringed instruments, horns, drums or cymbals.  I believe all of those are mentioned in the Psalms, and through out the Old Testament.

I know there are certain denominations that do not allow musical instruments into their places of worship.  That is okay if that is how they want to worship. I believe they are missing out on a tremendous blessing in their worship of God.

The Psalmist mentions the harp and Psaltery with ten strings. These could have been instruments David had made for the distinct purpose of singing songs unto God.

Now, let me be clear; I am not talking about just any kind of music playing; but music that calls your attention to God in worship, praise, and adoration to Him.  Let us also remember worship is not for us; you or me; it is to Him and for Him.

Singing words, the lyrics of a song are great, however, when an musical instrument or instruments are added to the worship it calls our attention to the Creator of all things.

There is nothing in the New Testament that does away with musical instruments, or forbids their use in our worship.  If Old Testament worship of God was good with these instruments why would the worship in the New Testament not be even better, considering it begins the days of grace.

Draw near to God through His Son Jesus.  Let the trumpets sound, the piano strings play, the guitar, mandolin, banjo, and the drums play out sounds of praise unto our Maker, our Creator.  He has redeemed us unto Himself – We are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). May the strings be strummed, the horns blow, and the drums rumble out praises to Him who reigns supreme.  His name is Jesus.

Worship: It’s Not For God, It’s For Us….SAY WHAT????

Truth in Palmyra

This is the very first post I ever published, other than the one where I first introduced the blog. Ah, memories. I am actually rerunning a lot of my older stuff. Many have not read much of it, I have been crazy busy with work and church/ministry stuff and am also getting all of my posts into Word so I have them always. Thanks for your patience and consideration. It’s a bit longish, Back then I thought the more words the merrier.
Crossing out Lies and writing Truth on a blackboard.

This is my first “official” blog post, and it’s about a topic/person I will probably write about often. It’s about my “favorite” pastor, Joel Osteen.

Mr. Osteen’s name will probably appear in this blog often since he often says things which make me want to say other things. Hardly a word comes from his mouth that doesn’t make me want to respond in some way. Having said that…

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Serve the LORD Only

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading today from 1 Samuel 5 – 7…

“And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, ‘If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve Him only: and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.’
Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.” 1 Samuel 7:3-4 (KJB)

When a people group or one person get away from God that group or person needs to return to the Lord.  The people of Israel had drifted away from God and worshiped false gods of the people of the land that they had won.

These were snares and thorns to their lives; from loving God the LORD, and being blessed by Him.  There is no mixing of…

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When It Comes

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:6-13 (KJV)

There could be as many as seven angels mentioned from verse six through verse twenty. There are certainly six. Why six? Remember six is the number of man. Angels throughout Scripture and time have been servants and messengers to man as well as his protectors. For example see Genesis 18 and 2 Kings 6:8-23. If verse thirteen’s “Voice” is from an angel that would be the seventh, however, we cannot reasonably conclude the “Voice” to be angelic, but rather, possibly, the voice of the Spirit of God.

God is merciful. This is His closing act of mercy, lest there be some who will hear. The “Everlasting Gospel” is: 1) Fear God; 2) Give glory to Him; 3) The hour of judgment is come; 4) Worship your Creator.

This isn’t really an opportunity for those of earth to repent as it is assurance to those of God that He will have His way.

Babylon is practically a synonym for wickedness and all sorts of evil. Babylon, in our text can refer to three or four different earth agencies: 1) An actual city; 2) Political power and intrigue; 3) Economic power and banking; and/or 4) Religious power – one world religion.

We know from the study of history that the actual city of Babylon has already fallen, although, there were reports when Saddam Hussein was ruling Iraq, that he was rebuilding it. The other three we can be seen though, and greatly increasing; in the economic system of this present world. The Babylon of mankind’s politics will crumble to nothingness, the economy of the world banking conglomerates will crash, and the world’s religion will only add fuel to Hell’s fires. Just as surely as John sees it proclaimed, everything that man builds to exalt himself over God will crumble. It is as good as done. It is written – So it shall be. “Forever, O LORD, Thy Word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).

This third angel spells out clearly the doom that the worshipers of the beast will face. Their doom is not of short duration. It is for ever and ever, everlasting.

The Bible mentions nothing of the soul’s annihilation, but it does of eternal souls. If the soul of man could be annihilated why does hell’s fires burn forever? Why doesn’t God put them out after the souls are all burned up?

We as Christians need to believe what God says in His Word about hell, just as surely as we believe about salvation and eternity in Heaven. Some say that in the Scriptures Jesus mentions hell more than He does Heaven. Hell is a place to miss, not to flee into. Every lost soul is living in condemnation on the road to hell, and some of them would repent and believe if only someone told them of Jesus.

When it comes right down to it, today, all those who reject Christ are worshipers of the beast. We can do nothing for those who reject Jesus, but we must tell them and let Jesus and the Holy Spirit do the saving.

The “Patience of the saints” is that they who trust Christ during this darkest hour will be delivered. Just as surely as the worshipers of the beast suffer forever and ever, they who “Follow the Lamb” (v. 4) shall enjoy eternal bliss. They are the ones who “Keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus”. The keeping of the commandments does not save, but they are saved to keep the commandments [to obey them] (Ephesians. 2:10).

Verse thirteen provides the second “Beatitude” of the Revelation. “Blessed” meaning happy. This encouraging word is to those who are in tribulation and their lives are in danger. To serve the Lord in the darkest hour of human history will cost the lives of many, but God would have us know that all they who go through the great tribulation, keeping the commandments by faith in Jesus, if they should “die in the Lord”, they are “Blessed”.
What benefits are there for them who “die in the Lord”?

  1. God’s promise of happiness;
  2. They rest from their trials and labor;
  3. Their works stand as a testimony of their faith.

These are true for all those who follow Jesus Christ in any day or age.  Trust Jesus today.

The Alternative of the Rapture

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Revelation 13:11-18 (KJV)

The first beast (v. 1) is said to come “out of the sea”, cast out from heaven (chapter 12), and from the mass of humanity. “Sand of the sea” is often a reference to a great mass of humanity. This second beast is come “out of the earth”. This seems to imply that this one is simply a man, not possessed by Satan; because two men could not be possessed by Satan himself at the same time. Satan is not omnipresent. The “horns like a lamb” show that he is a man of religion. He will be the leader of the world religion leading people in the worship of the first beast. This one is truly a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, for he speaks “as a dragon”.

He is given power as the first beast and deceives the people into worshiping the dragon. He deceives “with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9), with such intensity that, “if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24). We may even now be asking, “Why would God allow such things? The answer which is plausible is only to say, “To bring an end to sin”.

People always want to see the miraculous, but miracles, or at least what appears to be miracles, can only lead to deception, when not tested by faith in Jesus Christ and the Scriptures. The miracles of God point to Him. Some of what seems to be miracles today often point to something or someone other than God.

Some in Jesus’s day asked Him for a sign, and He told them no sign would be given, except the sign of the prophet of Jonah (Matthew 12:39-41), and they did not get it. The Word of God is sufficient enough for those who believe God. The sign of the prophet Jonah, was he came alive out of the belly of the fish, and Jesus was raised alive out of the belly of the earth. The resurrected Jesus is all the proof God needs to generate faith in His children (Romans 1:3-4).

Verse 14 says that every one should make an “Image to the beast” (probably similar to the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s of Daniel 3; of course, maybe a lot smaller). It almost sounds as though every home would have an image of the beast. It would only be speculation, but this could be some electronic device to keep track of his followers. It wold be a way of determining those who worshiped the image and put to death those who did not give him laud. Of course those who are God’s would not have the image in the first place.

These worshipers of the beast are identified by a mark, another counterfeit of God’s work. Here Satan, the dragon, counterfeits the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God seals those who are God’s to the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). The mark “in the right hand, or in their foreheads” would seal these people to eternal destruction. The Church today needs to hear this message and take the gospel of Jesus Christ out to the perishing, because what awaits the lost is doom. These with the “Mark of the beast” would be able to buy, sell, and trade. They would be able to obtain the things of earth, but be kept from the eternal blessings of God. “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

The number of man is six (6). It falls short of God’s perfection, “short of the glory of God”.

When man tries to obtain the glory that belongs solely to the Lord he will always come up short. So will the devil.

No one knows what this number means. There are numerical equations which figure into names. For example each Hebrew letter is also a Hebrew number. Since I do not know these things I can only share what I have read and studied. There has been a whole lot of numerical accusation and fraud, and I will not indulge in the hysterics, neither do I want to lead into conspiracies or suppositions.

As discerning Christians we can see an antichrist spirit; but let us be certain, first, that we have the Spirit of God concerning the matter. One thing we can be sure of, is that, the attempt by Satan through man will come up short. Sin will be eternally put away and Jesus Christ will reign as King of kings, and Lord of lords. Satan’s final attempt and fall is certain because of who Jesus is.

If you are outside the righteous/holy character of God, then you need to know Jesus Christ the Son of God who is God the Son who died on the cross for our sins, so that, we might have fellowship eternally with Him.  Trust the God/Man who died for you

Worthy to Take the Book

And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever.”  Revelation 5:8-14 (KJV)

The Lamb is worthy of worship. Who does God say is to be worshipped? Only Himself. If God is allowing Jesus, the Lamb, to receive worship, what declaration does that make? Worshipping Him, you are worshipping the God of creation.

In Heaven God is collecting the prayers of the saints. They are collected as the odors of incense. They are a sweet smelling fragrance to Him. Our prayers are pleasing to our Father in Heaven, and He is pleased to hear and also answer them as it pleases and glorifies Him.

He is worshipped for four reasons (I got these reasons from Warren Wiersbe’s BE COMMENTARY, and the five hymns to be sung in our worship also).

1. Because of who He is – the crucified and resurrected One;
2. Because of where He is – in the midst of all creation (represented in the four living ones), and in the midst of God’s people (the elders);
3. Because of what He does – He opened the book no one else could open. He made it possible for singing:
a. The worship hymn – “Thou art worthy”;
b. The Gospel song – “Thou wast slain”;
c. The Missionary song – “Out of every kindred…and nation”;
d. The Devotional hymn – “A kingdom of priests”;
e. The Prophetic song – “We shall reign on the earth”.

It would be great if the music directors of our churches would all begin to follow this pattern for our worship of the Lord. My plan would be to open the worship service with THE WORSHIP HYMN. Something like Holy, Holy, Holy, or How Great Thou Art. The GOSPEL SONG could be something like, At Calvary, or The Old Rugged Cross. There are many to choose from. The MISSIONARY SONG could be used as the worship in tithes and offerings, using songs like Rescue the Perishing, or Set My Soul Afire. Good DEVOTIONAL HYMNs could be, Sweet Hour of Prayer, or When We Walk With The Lord. There are some good PROPHETIC SONGs which could be used such as, Face To Face With Christ My Savior, or There’s A Land That Is Fairer Than Day.

In verse eleven we find a numberless multitude of angels. “Ten thousand times ten thousand” equals 100 million, but then “Thousands of thousands” mean millions more. They probably reach into the billions plus. Notice, their praise was to the Savior “The Lamb that was slain”, not to a baby in a manger, not to a healer, not even to a King, but to a “Violently slain Lamb”. This resurrected Lamb is worthy to receive full honors from the Father and all His creation. Notice, “The Lamb that was slain” is past tense and assures us that He was dead but is alive. He is risen. He is risen indeed.

We come now to the fourth reason the Lamb is worthy of worship (See notes of verses eight through ten).

4. Because of what He has. He did not receive these things from people of earth. “Blessings, honor, glory, and power”, He receives them after He completes the task He came to do. I do not know about all who are reading this, but I do know that so many times worship services in our churches seem monotonous, mundane, sometimes even dreaded, and dead. It seems that the reason for that may just be the attitude of the worshiper’s heart. Our worship is about Jesus. If we will keep our focus on the crucified, and risen Lamb of God true worship will be the experience of every worshipper. Give Him “Blessing, honor, glory, and power”.

The same things are given to the Lamb and the Father. They are actually given to the Lamb by the Father. The ability to ascribe worth to the Lamb by the creation and God’s people are given by the Father.

We can say A-MEN in our worship – SO BE IT. In these songs of praise, we can come to a conclusion of how our worship on earth is done. Let’s worship Him. He is Jesus the Christ, Son of God, God the Son, and He is Worthy to take the Book.

The One on the Throne

In this chapter (Revelation 4:11) we see the One who died for us is also our Creator and worthy of worship. He has opened the door of Heaven for man to worship him, as does the rest of creation, in that it is obedient to its Creator’s design, and we will always be in His presence.

“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” Revelation 4:1 (KJV).

After receiving the letters to the seven churches John sees a door “Opened in heaven”. If you will remember, the open door was set before the Philadelphia church. The church which had kept His word and had not denied His name.

The Laodicean church had closed their door and locked Jesus out.

The voice John hears sounded as a trumpet. It was a voice that called for attention. It was a voice he recognized. it was the voice of the Savior. This voice called, “Come up hither and I will show thee things which must be hereafter.”

In chapter one verse nineteen Jesus gave John the outline of the Revelation. Chapter one is the “Things which thou hast seen” [PAST]; chapters two through three, “The things which are” [PRESENT]; and chapters four through 22:5, “The things which shall be hereafter” [FUTURE]. Keep in mind, that the Church is not mentioned again until chapter nineteen.

John being caught up in the Spirit (v. 2) is shown what is to come. Everything from this point on is future. It seems that John’s being called to “Come up hither” is to show him the events following the Church age.

“And immediately I was in the Spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.”  Revelation 4:2 (KJV).

TAKE NOTE OF WHO IS ON THE THRONE. The throne is symbolic of sovereignty, authority, and power. All through the Revelation “Throne” is mentioned forty-six times making it a key word. This is to assure us that although a period of terrible tribulation is coming upon the earth, to let Satan kill, maim and destroy, He (God) is still in control, and will continue to maintain control.

John was amazed to find himself before the very throne of God. That is the place where all God’s children will one day find themselves. The ungodly, evil will also find themselves before His throne of judgment and will be cast into a lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

“And He that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.” Revelation 4:3 (KJV).

We can begin to have an understanding of the Revelation if we keep in mind the rest of Scripture – the Old Testament in particular. This book is penned down by a Jew and the symbolism used is Hebrew in nature. The words of John Walvoord…

“Significantly, the jasper and the sardine stone are the first and last of these twelve stones (cf. Exodus 28:17-21). The jasper represented Reuben, the first of the tribes, since Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob. The sardine stone represented Benjamin, the youngest of the twelve sons of Jacob. In other words the two stones represented the first and the last and therefore may be regarded as including all the other stones in between, that is, the whole of the covenanted people.’

‘Furthermore, the names Reuben and Benjamin have significance. The word ‘Reuben’ means ‘behold a son.’ The word Benjamin means ‘son of my right hand.’ In both cases these terms seem to have a double meaning: first, the fact that though Christ is the representative of Israel, He is also the Son of God. Like Reuben, Christ is the first begotten son. Second, like Benjamin, Christ is also the ‘son of my right hand’ in relation to God the Father. The person whom John sees on the throne looking like a jasper and sardine stone is, therefore God in relation to the nation of Israel.” From THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST pp. 104 & 105.

This must have been one of the most brilliant and colorful experiences John ever had. He saw a rainbow. This rainbow was complete, in that it was a complete circle “around the throne”. Its color was like an emerald. A very colorful place around the throne of God.

“And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”  Revelation 4:4 (KJV).

These “Twenty four seats” and the “Elders” who sat upon the seats seem to represent the redeemed of the Lord. It would not be Israel since they have not yet come as the nation to Christ, but the Church. Notice how they are clothed….

White represents righteousness and holiness. Some have supposed these twenty-four to be angelic beings. However, there is no mention in Scripture of angels receiving rewards [crowns] or a group of angels “clothed in white raiment”. The “Crowns of gold” seem to be the crowns of reward, mentioned in Scripture for believers. The Crown of Life (James 1:12); the Incorruptible Crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-27); the Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20); the Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:50-8); and the Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:2-4).

It seems, then, that these “Elders” would represent the redeemed from the time before the cross and resurrection to the time of the closing of the Church age. The Church age ending with the rapture of the saints.

“And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”  Revelation 4:5 (KJV).

As a reminder to mankind God gives us ample proof that He is a loving, yet wrathful God, judging sin, and those who reject Him. For those of you who think that God is only love, does not judge, or find fault, you will probably make your own interpretation and deny all this truth given us in God’s Word. “For our God is a consuming fire,” wrote the writer of Hebrews in chapter twelve verse twenty-nine. He also wrote, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

The “lightnings”, “thunderings” and “voices” are warnings of wrath. A reminder that sin will be forever judged. Whether we like to admit it or not, our worship of God involves our confession, repentance of sin. There is no worshiping Him unless we repent.

Once again the fullness of the Spirit of God is revealed. It is by the power of God’s Holy Spirit that sin is revealed and we are led to repentance, and into the rightful worship of God. He is the Light that exposes sin and evil and reveals the way to God.

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

Keep in mind the place, “Before the throne”, in God’s presence.

In these verses we have further evidence of the “Jewishness” of this Revelation. “A sea of glass” takes us back to the Old Testament. The Old Testament tabernacle and temple were designed in Heaven. “Sea of glass” is a reference to the “Bronze laver” (Exodus 35:16; 38:8; 40:7) of the wilderness tabernacle and the Jerusalem temple. The bronze laver was made from the “Looking glasses” of the women of Israel (Exodus 38:8). These looking glasses were of polished brass to make them reflect images similar to a mirror. It would not have been as clear as the mirrors we know now.

John’s focus is more upon the “Beasts”, possibly better understood as “Living ones”. Who are these “Living ones”? They are, possibly, angelic beings. They are representative of the attributes of God, in general. Let me quote John F. Walvoord,

“The fact that the creatures are full of eyes is taken as significant of the omniscience and omnipresence of God who sees all and knows all.’
‘In a similar way the four beasts as respectively a lion, a calf, a man, and an eagle are considered different aspects of divine majesty. All of these are supreme in their respective categories. The lion is the king of beasts and represents majesty and omnipotence. The calf or ox, representing the most important of domestic animals, signifies patience and continuous labor. man is the greatest of all God’s creatures, especially in intelligence and rational power; whereas the eagle is greatest among birds and is symbolic of sovereignty and supremacy” THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST pp. 109 & 110.

Ezekiel, the Old Testament prophet had a similar vision. You can read that in Ezekiel 1:4-10.

“And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,”  Revelation 4:8-9 (KJV).

These “Living ones” are worshiping and announcing the holiness of God, and declaring His omnipresence in time.

A similar announcement of God’s holiness is declared by the seraphim in Isaiah 6:1-3. They [Seraphim] are also identified as having six wings, representing humility, service, and mission.

These proclaim to God the glory and honor He so richly deserves. The One “Who lives for ever and ever.” When we worship God we are to do so in holiness, with humility, service, and mission; knowing and showing that the God of all creation is worthy of all worship and praise.

“The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”  Revelation 4:10-11 (KJV).

Further evidence that the “Twenty four elders” are the redeemed, is that they “Cast their crowns before the throne” and worship.

These recognize the work of salvation God has done and give the crowns to the One who is truly deserving. These “Elders” represent priesthood.

“There were twenty four courses of priests in the Old Testament (1 Chronicles 24:3-5, 18; also see Luke 1:5-9). God’s people are ‘Kings and priests’ (Revelation 1:6).” From BIBLE EXPOSITION Commentary pg. 582 by Warren Wiersbe.

If we will keep in mind that this book is Hebrew in its symbolism and trust the Holy Spirit we will not be led astray. Remember the time following the Church age is called, “…The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7).

The Holy One of Israel is worthy to receive all that He is worth. Too many times we people get the idea that this world and all that is in it is just about us. It is not. It is about God. All glory, honor, and power belong to the One who made all that is. We were made for His pleasure, His purpose, His desire, and He can do with us as He pleases. He is completely just and righteous, and we can trust Him to do what is good and right. We are to be worshiping THE ONE ON THE THRONE.

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.

Open the Book

In order to know the words, the acts, and purpose of a book one must open that book.  It does not matter if the book is historical, study, a novel of fiction, historical fiction, etc., educational that book must be opened.  Even an e-book must be opened to know its contents.

The Bible, the word of God, is no different in that way.  A lot of Christians say they believe the Bible, yet they rarely if ever open it.  In their homes it is a decoration on a bookshelf or on a table, but is never picked up and opened, except maybe on Sunday as the pastor opens it to read, and they might follow along.  How can a Christian grow without opening Scripture?  Growth would be a non-event in such case.

Hear from the book of Nehemiah…

“And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: and Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”  Nehemiah 8:5-6 (KJV)

This event for Nehemiah took place following the return of God’s people; after seventy years, from Babylonian captivity, and the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall.  The people’s only access to Scripture was through the scrolls, and usually read by the priests and prophets of their day.  That is no excuse today.  Not too many people have or can legitimately say, “I do not have a Bible, neither do I have access to one.”  There are millions of copies of God’s word throughout the world.  Most people; if they want a copy they can get one.

At any rate look at what happened when Nehemiah opened the book.  Out of respect for the Word, the people stood up. It does not say they were asked to do so.  It does not say that anyone motioned for them to do so.  It simply says, “…All the people stood up”.  Then we are told they heard Nehemiah bless the LORD, and they answered “Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands, bowing their heads, and worshiping with their faces to the ground”.

O for the respect, reverence for the word of God from God’s people today.

I have attended many worship services where the preacher asked people to stand in reverence to the word of God.  Nothing wrong in that.  I do believe, however, if we the people had a real reverence for the word of God, when anyone in a meeting opens the word of God in our midst we ought to stand without a prompter.  The prompter should be the opening of the Book.

Most of all: be sure you open, read, and study the Book for yourself.  And notice how through the Spirit of God He will read you too.

To Whom Will You Bow???

“Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.” Daniel 3:1-7 (KJV)

THE IMAGE WAS A CONCOCTION OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S OWN IMAGINATION – WHICH HE MOST LIKELY CONTRIVED FROM HIS DREAM OF CHAPTER TWO (Read verses 1-12).

When I see things like this my first thought is of Psalms 2 where it is said…

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Psalm 2:1-3 (KJV).

Nebuchadnezzar has had this dream which Daniel gave him the interpretation as well as telling him what the dream is in the first place. Now he comes to the place of pride and arrogance and seeks to call all worship to himself, as the “head of gold”. He desires his kingdom to continue despite God’s clear prophetic message.

It continues today. Michael Drosnin author of THE BIBLE CODE says the prophecies of the Bible are warnings not predictions (see THE BIBLE CODE pg. 137).

“The Bible code is more than a warning. It may be the information we need to prevent the predicted disaster” (Ibid, pg. 149). “The message of the Bible code is that we can save ourselves.” (Ibid pg. 150).

Understand Michael Drosnin is not a follower of Jesus Christ, nor does he believe in the verbal inspiration of Scripture. This could have just been the thinking of the king of Babylon. “It is just a warning, I can change my own fate”. What God says will come to pass. Not one word will return to Him void. Hear what God says…

“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD. Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 12:21-28 (KJV).

God’s Word prevails over the wisdom of men. It does not matter their stature or power.

Nebuchadnezzar was impressed by the God of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; but he was not yet a believer.

It would certainly be no surprise to learn that the image the king made was after his own likeness. If man makes an image of worship it is most often like himself, or a image of a lesser being.

There is another image mentioned in Bible prophecy, which, if people of that time do not worship, they too will be threatened with death; (Read Revelation 13:14-18).

 Pride is a destructive thing. It will lead to the downfall of any man or woman, boy or girl. Especially the pride which exalts itself over God and His Word. That is exactly what king Nebuchadnezzar was doing. He still had a great love for himself, thus, a hatred for the God of the Hebrews, and who was His Sovereign as well.

Pride caused the fall of the devil – See Isaiah 14:12-23. Also see Ezekiel 28:1-19.

Pride causes Nebuchadnezzar’s fall.

Pride causes the fall of Antiochus Epiphanes who first desecrated the Jewish temple.

Pride will cause the last world Gentile ruler’s fall as well.

GOD’S WORD FOR US, “BEWARE THE PRIDE OF YOUR HEART”.

Everyone was summoned to worship this image – but it is quite clear that all did not. There were three who stood firm in their faith, even in the face of death

 Look at the dimensions of this monstrous image:

  • Sixty cubits high = approximately 90 feet;

  • Six cubits wide = approximately 9 feet;

  • Six is the number of man; seven is the number of completeness; thus, man always comes up short (Rev. 13:18)

When I study this chapter of Daniel, the question comes to my mind, “Where was Daniel?” at this time. We know where Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were. They were about to face the heat of fiery trial. It was time they had to stand alone, ie, without Daniel. However, they were not without God – YHWH.

No matter what kings or despots concoct against God and/or His people God still reigns in the hearts and minds of all men, even the kings. Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the King of all kings and Lord of lords.  Bow before Him now.  You will later, but then too late. No threat, but the promise of everlasting hope; or warning of everlasting destruction.

Christmas Day 2016

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want every Christian to remember this is another Lord’s Day, not unlike any other; it is only as special as we ourselves make it; if we honor, praise and glorify our Lord Jesus Christ only today we do nothing more than slap His face, and stomp His shed blood in the ground, and make it of no affect in our lives or the lives of others;  Remember Christians that He came as a Baby in a manger, in order to die for our sins, and He desires your love, worship and praise 365 – 366 days every year.

I want you to have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS, but it will only be so if you love Him and live for Him everyday of the year.

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Galations 4:4-5 (KJV)

Christmas Day 8

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want all to realize that even though your Church may not be having worship services today due to ice and snow the Lord is still on the throne, worthy of worship; so we must worship Him on this Lord’s Day as well as the other days we live.

God bless you all, and have a great Lord’s Day.

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man, that You are mindful of him; and the son of man, that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passes through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:3-9 (KJV)

Christmas Day Forty Three

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want for this Lord’s Day to be a day the people appear in their Sunday morning Bible Studies, Worship and evening Worship to only sing, pray, praise, preach and glorify Jesus Christ; to be prepared for the week ahead, to be the witnesses of Christ, filled with His Spirit, walking with Him; so that others might desire to know Him.

“For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 2:5-6 (KJV)

Christmas Day Sixty Four

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want the Lord Jesus to be honored, revered, worshiped, praised and glorified in my life, in my home, and in my Church today, and everyday; and in the lives  of every Christian in the world.

“Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.” Colossians 4:15 (KJV)

Christmas Day Seventy and Eight

Blessed Lord’s Day.

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want my heart, soul, mind and body to be prepared to enter the presence of God with the Church in  worshiping our Lord God, and Savior Jesus Christ; and I want the Church to have their like being joining with me in worshiping Him.

He is coming again.  Are you prepared to meet God?

“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:37-39 (KJV)

Christmas Day One Hundred Six

What do I want for Christmas today?

It is the Lord’s Day once again, so I want to go to worship our God and Savior Jesus Christ with brothers and sisters in Christ, and glorify His name together, then go into the community, and the world, equipped, and ready to live in a way that shows Him to the world; and do that seven days a week.

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day Two Hundred and One

Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to worship the Lord my God, know Him, and love Him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength; that I will serve Him faithfully; that the word of God be my source of fuel/food each day, all day; to stand against the enemy of God and His Word.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Christmas – Day 281

What do I want for Christmas?

On this Palm Sunday, remembering the last days in the life of our Savior before His death on the cross, burial, and bodily resurrection; I want to grow more in love with my Lord and Savior, and to appreciate everyday as a day He has given me to celebrate Him.

And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the Mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto Me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set Him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when He was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” Matthew 21:1-11 (KJV)

Day Two Hundred Ninety and Five

What do I want for Christmas?

On this LORD’S Day I want the peace of God to reign in the hearts of God’s children around the world as we go to our respective churches, and worship the Lord together in Spirit and in Truth.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2 (NKJV)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”” John 4:23-24

The Children’s Crumbs Under the Table

There is a need for genuine faith. The faith that trust the Lord, and no one, or nothing else. The faith that a Christian has is not based on assumptions, or myth, but substance and evidence provided us by God Himself (Hebrews 11:1).

The verses we look at today tell us of a Gentile woman who trusted the Lord Jesus, for just the crumbs from the table:

“And from thence He arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but He could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of Him, and came and fell at His feet: the woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought Him that He would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto Him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.” Mark 7:24-30 (KJV)

There are some who think as they read the above verses that Jesus was being cruel. It certainly would not be politically correct in the U. S. of A. today. It is not cruelty; but a test to show that she truly has faith in Him, His word, and His mission.

First of all Jesus had came to the people, the nation of Israel. He in fact was Jewish Himself; was one of them. He was come to redeem the house of Israel. Did she know and understand that? Evidently so.

She was willing to believe the Lord, His word and work, and to receive only the “Crumbs” from the children’s table. You will notice that He spoke words of healing to her. The demon departed from her daughter, and there was a Gentile woman redeemed by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Believe Him. Trust Him; and His Word today.

The Danger of Preaching the Truth

“Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die.” Jeremiah 26:8 (KJV)

Jeremiah was not the only prophet of Judah or Jerusalem. There were others. There were others who were preaching the truth, just not as recognized as Jeremiah. There were also those who were popular with the people and the evil priests who were forsaking God, His word and the temple; but were ignorant of their peril.

These priests and people believed the temple was secure in God, that it would never be destroyed, and that Jerusalem would never fall. They believed that they could live any way they wanted to; going after the gods of the surrounding nations, with pagan temples, temple prostitution, and worship that caused the people to stray from God.

The prophet Jeremiah gave them the word of God, and did not hold back one word (26:2). He did it knowing it would not be popular. He preached because God called him to preach, not because momma called him. He preached because it was a fire in his heart, and he could not keep it back. He preached because he first of all loved God and His Word; secondly because he loved his people, and wanted them to be right with God; and he loved his country, and wanted the country to be delivered from its evil ways.

When a preacher preaches the word of God he will not always be popular. He will not always fill churches, or temples. He will most likely; especially when sin is running rampant around the world will be called a “Nut case”, laughed at, mocked, and even have his life threatened. Like Jeremiah, though, he will be faithful to the LORD and His Word.

Preacher, if God called you; and not your momma; not your career; but God called you, then you have one obligation, and that is to proclaim the Word of God; even if it hurts. Part of that obligation is to live that same word you preach. It can be hazardous. But you do it because of God, and His Son Jesus Christ.

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2

Demons of Worship

“They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: but were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.” Psalm 106:34-38 (KJV)

Some human intellect of years ago made the statement: “Man creates god in his own image.” Basically turning the Biblical teaching of “God created man in His image”. That human intellect may have upset some Christian folks, but think about that for a moment.

Is it not possible that men and women do create god in their own image? Some believe in a god who is all loving, but there is no wrath about him/her; he/she hates nothing, but loves everything, and everybody. Then there are some people who believe god believes everything they believe, and they base their belief system around that. There are some who may believe that god is a god of pleasure; and he/she is all about them being happy and fulfilled; and they have the right to go about achieving their pleasure any way they choose.

Congratulations! If you fit into any one of those molds you have made a god in your own image. Oh, there could be many more; as many more as there are people on the earth.

The Ten Commandments and the Bible tells us of only one God, His name is YaHWeH [Jehovah], and He has a Son whose name is Jesus. To worship any other is to worship idols.

The children of Israel were to purge the Promised Land of all the heathen nations, and their gods, lest they fall into the worship practices of those people, and worship demons in the process. Even the apostle Paul recognizes this in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 10:20-21).

The Psalms later points out to us that people become like what we worship (115:4-8; 135:15-18). For instance in this Psalm even it is said,

“They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image. Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.” (Psalm 106:19-20)

You can go on believing in false gods if you choose and you will become like what you worship. You can also choose to believe the God of the Bible. He made you in His image and likeness, and He desires to make you like Himself. He is holy, righteous, and undefiled. We become like Him through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

You can continue worshipping demons, or you can worship the One who created all things.

Praising and Honoring God With Music

“And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest. And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then they waited on their office according to their order.” 1 Chronicles 6:31-32 (KJV)

These verses begin a chronicled list of Levites whom David placed as the authority over the singing in the “Tabernacle of the congregation” after it was brought to Jerusalem thus the phrase “after that the ark had rest”. You find that genealogy from verses 33-48.

I believe the LORD likes us to sing unto Him in worship. I also believe He is glorified with instruments of music, as they are played unto Him. He is glorified when we are enjoying Him. John Piper has written, “God is most glorified in us; when we are most satisfied in Him” and music is one way that is expressed when it honors His name, His holiness, and His righteousness.

I sometimes laugh as I drive in a city once in a while, and occasionally I will see folks in their cars tapping the steering wheel, or moving to the rhythm of a song they are listening; maybe even singing along. I laugh, because I find myself doing that, just about every time I have the car radio on, and listening to a good uplifting God honoring song.

Sing a song today, and honor God in your music.

Wondrous Act of the LORD

“So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the Angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the Angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. But the Angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that He was an Angel of the LORD. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, He would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would He have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.” Judges 13:19-23 (KJV)

Manoah had been prepared to offer a sacrifice unto a mere human messenger; but in verses 15-16 the LORD corrects Manoah, and directs him to offer the sacrifice unto Jehovah. When he does the offering is accepted.

This is a Theophany, a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ appearing as the Angel of the LORD.

This appearance is to tell Manoah and his wife of the coming conception and birth of their son Samson. He was to be dedicated to the LORD; refraining from the fruit of the vine, wines, and from any unclean foods, and his hair was to grow long. Samson was to be a Nazarite under a vow to the LORD.

Up to this point of their encounter with the Angel of the LORD they had only viewed him as a “Man of God”, when they offered to make an offering the Angel of the LORD says to them, “You must offer it to the LORD” (13:16). Where we are told in these verses that the “Angel of the LORD did wondrously” it would seem that that would mean He received the offering; approving it by fire. Then ascending up in the flame Himself. Thus Manoah’s and his wife’s falling on their faces to the ground in an act of worship

Manoah fears death after the LORD’S acceptance of their offering; yet his wife assures him that should not be the case. Manoah’s fear shows that he saw this Angel of the LORD as an appearance of God.

The Lord has appeared to mankind in the person of His Son Jesus to die for our sins, be buried, and rise bodily from the grave; putting away our sins for all eternity. Truly the LORD has done Wondrously.

The Man…

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a Man over against him with His sword drawn in His hand: and Joshua went unto Him, and said unto Him, Art Thou for us, or for our adversaries? And He said, Nay; but as Captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto Him, What saith my Lord unto His servant? And the Captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15 (KJV)

Joshua had just led the children of Israel across the Jordan River on dry ground. The River had been stopped upstream by the Almighty hand and power of God. The conquest of the Promised Land was about to begin.

I am almost positive Joshua may have had some thoughts of his own inadequacies for the journey that lay ahead.

Note though who appears to him. A Man; but not just any man; dressed in military armor, and carrying a sword, drawn and in His hand. The drawn sword means that He was ready to fight and defend the people of God.

This Man can be none other than a Christophany – a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. Notice how Joshua fell with his face to the earth, and worshipped. The Man allows it, receives it; and if it would have just been an angel he would have corrected the error.

Paul the apostle recognized a Man in heaven. In 1 Timothy 2:5,

“For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”

O what an assurance of victory this would have been to Joshua. What an assurance the Christian can have knowing that we are victors through our Lord Jesus Christ; and that there is nothing this world and its evil can throw at us, that we cannot overcome through Him.

Fire From God

“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 9:24 (KJV)

In the worship of God fire is an important element. It must, however, be the LORD’S fire, not our own. That is clearly seen in the first three verses of Leviticus 10 when the sons of Aaron; Nadab and Abihu bring “Strange fire” before the LORD.

With the fire of God sin is dealt with, God is worshipped, and He is glorified. With “Strange fire” the flesh is magnified, and God is seen as a man of entertainment to make us feel good. May we worship Him with the fire of GOD into His presence. We must remember worshipping God is about Him; not about me, not about us; but about holy GOD.

I Was Glad…

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” Psalm 122:1 (KJV)

To the Israelite the house of God was the Tabernacle in the wilderness during their journey to the Promised Land after deliverance out of Egypt;  it was Shiloh up intil David was king; and after David became king the ark of the covenant was moved to Jerusalem, so that was the house of God.

The “House of God” is the place where God dwells.  In all of God’s Word the plan of God is that He dwell in the hearts of His people.  That was impossible with a holy God.  Yet, God Himself made it possible.  When Jesus Christ walked on earth He was and is the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).  He was without sin in the midst of the sinful, the vile, the corrupt; He remained incorruptible.

Because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ when we trust in Him He comes to live within us in the person of the Holy Spirit.  Those who know Jesus, and are known of Him have only to go to His Word, and hear the Holy Spirit within themselves to worship God.

The follower of Christ still desires to go and meet in places of worship with God’s people.  We call those places “Houses of worship”, even “House of God”; and that is not wrong.  Rest assured that where ever you are as a believer; a follower of Jesus Christ He is there with you.

Like the Psalmist says, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.”  Let us always be glad to go into the place of worship.  Like the writer of Hebrews has said,

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

If you missed joining with brothers and sisters in Christ yesterday, or have for several weeks; be sure you commit yourself to renewing that bond next Sunday.

Joyful Noise

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.” Psalm 100:1 (KJV)

It is a proper and powerful thing if all the earth, the lands of the earth were to make a joyful noise unto the LORD.  He is worthy of it.

Shout unto the world, unto all creation that He is the Lord.  Make a joyful noise on the instruments of strings, on the horns and the trumpets.

True worship is directed toward Jehovah [YHWH] and to no other.  The way to Jehovah is only through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.  In Him you truly worship that wonderful name.

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.”

Go to the One and Only

“Unto Thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul.” Psalm 25:1

The Psalmist knew to whom he would go in prayer.  He knew the LORD would accept only his whole being.  Lifted hands, and adoring hearts are great in worship, but only if you are giving the soul of your being in that worship as well.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, of this verse, wrote in THE TREASURY OF DAVID,

“Unto thee, O Lord.” – See how the holy soul flies to its God like a dove to its cote. When the storm-winds are out, the Lord’s vessels put about and make for their well-remembered harbour of refuge. What a mercy that the Lord will condescend to hear our cries in time of trouble, although we may have almost forgotten him in our hours of fancied prosperity. “Unto thee, O Jehovah, do I lift up my soul.” It is but mockery to uplift the hands and the eyes unless we also bring our souls into our devotions. True prayer may be described as the soul rising from earth to have fellowship with heaven; it is taking a journey upon Jacob’s ladder, leaving our cares and fears at the foot, and meeting with a covenant God at the top. Very often the soul cannot rise, she has lost her wings, and is heavy and earth-bound; more like a burrowing mole than a soaring eagle. At such dull seasons we must not give over prayer, but must, by God’s assistance, exert all our power to lift up our hearts. Let faith be the lever and grace be the arm, and the dead lump will yet be stirred. But what a lift it has sometimes proved! With all our tugging and straining we have been utterly defeated, until the heavenly loadstone of our Saviour’s love has displayed its omnipotent attractions, and then our hearts have gone up to our Beloved like mounting flames of fire.

From e-Sword edition

Come to the LORD.  He has made the way, and that way is the way of the cross of Jesus Christ.  There and there alone can you worship the One and only GOD.

Do Not Be Found Out

Has anyone ever stopped to think about the foolishness of idolatry. That is the desire for things, the greed for wealth, the lust for power, and/or the opposite sex; and in some cases of this day the perversion of the same sex. That is, afterall, what idolatry is all about.

We live in an era not dissimilar from Jeremiah’s. The people were living in basic comfort, secure in their wealth, and easy lives. Though, ours is plagued somewhat with fear of terrorism we still go about doing whatever we please; paying the exhorbitant prices for gasoline, and everything going up due to that; yet we purchase, or at least those who can do. Power for more of the things desired.

Hear the word of the LORD through the prophet Jeremiah:

“As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets, saying to a stock, ‘Thou art my father;’ and to a stone, ‘Thou hast brought me forth:’ for they have turned their back unto Me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise, and save us.’ But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? Let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.”  Jeremiah 2:26-28 (KJV)

It seems quite clear that the people of Judah have been caught in the practice of idolatry, worshipping other gods, which are not gods at all, but more burdens for the people to carry. Have you ever noticed the junk that we in our society build up and keep in closets, garages, security vaults, magazine racks, and how valuless they really are?

In the prophet Jeremiah’s day they were here being accused of having wood idols, and giving it praise for being their father. Also of telling one made of stone that was their mother. In the worship of other gods, they turned their back on God, denying Him as their birthparent as a nation. By turning their back and not their faces we find a great hypocrisy.

The hypocrisy is that while everything is going good, life is easy and comfortable, they really have no care to remember God, His holy days, nor His Law or His Word. However, when they start hearing about an enemy, or having some other troubles they begin to cry out to the true God for help. God, the LORD, says to that, “Let them arise, If they can save you in the time of your trouble;” It is like He is saying to them you have plenty of gods you love and adore more than Me, “Let them help you”. The prophet continues by saying, “For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah.” You would think that the more gods the better. Right? Wrong.

The one true God is sufficient to meet our every need. In fact there is no other god but the LORD God. The one who loves us enough to send His Son to die in our place.

We continue now to the next two verses:

“Wherefore will ye plead with Me? Ye all have transgressed against Me, saith the LORD. In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.”  Jeremiah 2:29-30 (KJV)

At times when people face catastrophe they tend to recognize that God does exist. When things ease off, and start getting back to normal it is back to the worship of things,getting those desires met, achieving those personal goals at the cost of life, limb, or friendships, or spouses and family. When this happens, some of it is genuine, and some is not. The one’s who are genuine will continue being faithful when the things start being good again. They will hear the voice of the LORD and will obey Him. They do not turn away.

These are the ones whom the LORD will bless. These are the ones whom the LORD has genuinely saved.

These “two faced” people are about as dependable as a flat tire, and no rim with it. The correction of the LORD does no good, accomplishes nothing, and they hate the prophets who tell them the truth for the saving of their souls.

Do not turn your back on God. Do not be a two faced individual who worships God on Sunday, then, through the rest of the week no one will ever know any difference from watching your life, hearing your dirty words, and dirty jokes.  Turn your face toward Jesus Christ, and you will be made just before holy GOD.  When you have given your life to the LORD through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ your life changes, for His glory and your good. You will love the Law, the History of His people, the Wisdom of the sages, and the prophets; both the Major and Minor prophets. You will love God’s Word.  You will desire to please the LORD.  It is not a burden but a pleasure to love the LORD, His Word and the life He gives us.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Is God Missing In Your Life?

The Word of the LORD is important to the prophet of God. Without the Word he has no message. No message of any importance anyway. The most important message the people need is that of what God says.

It is sad when we hear news reports of missing people. Here, of late, we have heard especially of young women, wives, and mothers missing. Some of them end up being found dead. No one enjoys hearing of a missing individual, but how would we feel if God were missing? Would we even notice?

For the second time in the second chapter of Jeremiah we have a “Thus says the LORD…” (vv. 2, 5). Jeremiah realized that since God had called him to be a prophet, and not just a prophet of men, but a prophet to proclaim only the Word of the LORD, with promise of protection, keeping, and power in the words He would proclaim (1:17-19).

In verses two and three God reminds them of their early faith, and holiness. Now the prophet addresses, at God’s direction, their forsaking God. They had gotten to a state of comfort, which led to a lethargic, complacent mindset, and then, completely turned their backs on God.

Hear the Word of the LORD:

“Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel.” Jeremiah 2:4 (KJV).

There seems to be a message of warning in this phrase alone. The name “Jacob” was a name of self-dependence; of one’s using their own methods to accomplish their own ends. Jacob had trusted the LORD God, and God changed his name to Israel. “Jacob” actually meaning ‘Heel catcher’ because he had a handhold on Esau’s foot when they were born. “Israel” meaning ‘Prince of God’, or ‘He struggles with God’. (NOTE: You can find this history in Genesis 32:22-32). So in addressing them as “House of Jacob” could it be that the LORD, through the prophet, is reminding them from whence they came; that they have forgotten their faith?

 “Thus saith the LORD, ‘What iniquity have your fathers found in Me, that they are gone far from Me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? Neither said they, ‘Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?  And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled My land, and made Mine heritage an abomination. The priests said not, ‘Where is the LORD? And they that handle the law knew Me not: the pastors also transgressed against Me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.'”  Jeremiah 2:4-8 (KJV)

Easy living, comfort, the fatness of the land, or a good economy, are some of the things that lure people away from faith, and trust in the LORD God. It can happen so easily. For a Christian today it starts by neglecting your daily quiet time with the Lord. It continues as you neglect your prayer life. The next thing you know you missed a Sunday morning worship gathering due to being up too late Saturday night – you were out with friends, went to a movie, or just did not take an initiative to be in bed to get to church as usual. It really does not take much effort for a child of God to get away from godly practice.

The worship of Baal can be as simple as seeing other things as more important than that personal quiet time with God. Be careful. Be careful to maintain that quiet time, that special time you have with the Lord Jesus each and every morning. In this quiet time you receive strength, and encouragement for the day. You may not think so at the time, but that strength will be there as you need it.

When we start neglecting that personal time with God, the next thing to go will be our worship of God, and fellowship with other believers. The house you live in, the boat, and going to the lake for water skiing or fishing begins taking the place of God, fellowship with Him and your brothers and sisters in Christ. When this happens; you have become a modern day Idol worshiper. Just a thought – is an idle worshiper and Idol worshiper? My answer to that is YES!!!

The prophet Jeremiah reminds the recipients of this message of the work the LORD has done for the Nation (vv. 6-7). God had indeed brought them out of Egypt, through the wilderness, where no one lived. Though it is not mentioned, per se’, He also provided them with water from the Rock. He is our Water in a dry and thirsty land where no water is (Psalm 63:1).

Twice it is mentioned in this text; the question, “Where is the LORD?” First it was the “fathers” (v. 6), then it is the priests (v. 7). They were not even missing the presence of the LORD. Why would you ask, if you do not even notice that God is missing from your “worship”.  The LORD has come and dwelt among His people.  He went to the cross and died for our sins in the Person of His Son Jesus the Christ.  He was buried carrying all our sin, our guilt, our shame, our condemnation away; then He arose bodily from the grave, and is now seated at the Father’s right hand always interceding for all who will come to Him.

The one’s who saw to the keeping of the scrolls of the law were doing it, and not even knowing the Person of the Law. The Living Word of God appeared to these in His day, they saw His works, they heard His teachings and testimony, and they still rejected Him. They did not know what they had been copying. It was just a job, a task to perform and keep them busy. Something upon which to boasts.

The rulers turned their back on the LORD. They had grown to despise the true prophets of God and chosen the false prophets of men, ie., Baal. That way they heard only what they wanted to hear. There is no profit in the false words of the profit [prophet] makers.

Is God missing in your worship, or have you even noticed?  He is as close as His name.  Jesus.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of God – Hosea 9:1 – 10:15

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Hosea 9:1 – 10:15

Herschel Ford has told a story of a man who committed suicide.  He was rising higher and higher in a hot-air balloon.  He took a knife and began to cut the three ropes holding the gondola to the fabric of the air-ship.  A crowd below was watching.  They shouted warning after warning. “Don’t cut it”, until he came to the third, and still they were shouting, “Don’t cut it”.  He did not listen, and fell to his death.

When people persist in cutting off the strands that keep them in the way of God we commit spiritual suicide.  Cutting the cords of God’s love ends in destruction.  God continues to warn His people, giving us ample opportunity to turn from our sin and walk in His paths.  This period of grace does not last forever.  He does and will cut it off, and bring evil to an end.

“Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor.  The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her. They shall not dwell in the LORD’S land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria. They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD, neither shall they be pleasing unto Him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the LORD. What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the LORD? For, lo, they are gone because of destruction: Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them: the pleasant places for their silver, nettles shall possess them: thorns shall be in their tabernacles.
The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred. The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God. They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore He will remember their iniquity, He will visit their sins.”  Hosea 9:1-9 (KJV)

How blind the children of the LORD tend to be when the LORD’S judgment and justice has come upon us.  When the Bible speaks of judgment it often puts it in the present tense – as being here.  Now!

There was no reason for joy in Israel due to the fact they had left God to walk in the harlotries of other nations.  The “other people” were rejoicing in their idol worship – the licentious sexual behavior of Ashtoreth.  God’s people were never called on to worship anything but God.  To do so was “Whoredom” and wickedness in God’s sight.

The very idea of them actually worshipping Baal was proof of their unfaithfulness to God.

There are seven features of God’s judgment upon Israel listed in verses two through six:

  1. God would attack the heart of fertility worship by taking away the bountiful harvest (v. 2);
  2. He would remove them from His land (v. 3);
  3. He would place them in Assyria in Egyptian-like captivity (v. 3);
  4. God would bring an end to their wicked worship (v. 4);
  5. God would cut them off from their appointed feast days (vv. 5-6a);
  6. They would die in captivity (v. 6);
  7. God would desolate Israel’s fertility idols and shrines (v. 6).

In verse six “Memphis” is a place in Egypt where the dead are buried.  They would die.

“What will ye do?” Hosea asked.  How one responds to God’s warning determines one’s eternal destiny.

There is a story told of two brothers who lived in a sheep herding area of Europe.  These two brothers were caught stealing sheep. The sentence the community gave them in judgment was that they be branded on their foreheads with the letters S T and understood to mean “Sheep Thieves”.  These young men in later years met Jesus as their Saviour and their lives were radically changed.  They became a credit to their community; giving help to people in need; aiding struggling city coffers when they possibly could.  All the time bearing the marks on their foreheads “ST”.  As the years went by one day a young boy with his mother saw these two godly men with “ST”  branded on their foreheads; “What does that “ST” mean?”  The mother answered her son and said, “I don’t know; but I suppose it means Saint.”  There is hope and change for all who will believe God, trust His Saviour and His Word.

The people of Israel were guilty of rejecting God’s prophet, and accepting the foolish jibberish of the paid off cult and court prophets.  Calling God’s man a fool.  Hosea remained faithful to God, because he was certain of God’s calling and confident of God’s message.  The sin and iniquity of the people  causes  them to hate the message of God and His messenger.

“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.
As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception. Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there shall not be a man left: yea, woe also to them when I depart from them! Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer. Give them, O LORD: what wilt Thou give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of Mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters. Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb. My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto Him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.” Hosea 9:10-17

From the preceding verses we find Israel in persistent rebellion, and judgment will sweep them away.

In verse 10 Israel is likened to a fruitful vine found in the wilderness- and what a magnificent find that would be to a weary and thirsty traveler.  They are also likened to a first ripened fig – the best.  Made this way by God in His bountiful grace they have chosen to leave this condition in God to serve idols, and destroy their land, their homes, their kingdom, and their relationship with God,  who placed them in His glorious position.

They bring shame and their glory flies away as a bird.  Their children shall die.  The wombs of the women will be fruitless, those who do conceive will never hold a live child in their arms (v. 14).  The greatest tragedy of sin is found in verse 12 “…Woe also to them when I depart from them!”  For God to depart, to hold back His mercy and grace is catastrophic to His people.  They get what they deserve.  The blessings they had before was God’s mercy on display.

Verse 15 makes a bold statement of God’s hatred for sin and evil.  Israel had given themselves to evil, were bound to evil, and could not get free.  The “Wickedness of Gilgal” is a reference to Saul’s rebellion in 1 Samuel 13.  King Saul determined to not wait for Samuel, and to offer sacrifice himself.  In this he showed much pride, impatience, and rebellion toward the laws of God.  He also tried to sacrifice to justify his disobedience (1 Samuel 15), which is also seen of Israel in Hosea’s day.

God would cast them out to be strangers and foreigners in other countries.  God loves His people so much He will not allow us to live in unrepented sin.

“Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: He shall break down their altars, He shall spoil their images. For now they shall say, ‘We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us?’ They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it. It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel. As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water. The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, ‘Cover us;’ and to the hills, ‘Fall on us.’
O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood: the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them. It is in My desire that I should chastise them; and the people shall be gathered against them, when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows. And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods.”  Hosea 10:1-11

Now, God says, that, they are an “Empty vine”.  This is a drastic contrast to what we found in verse 10 of chapter 9.

Israel had a heart condition.  No electrocardiogram would be able to detect the problem.  Nevertheless, they had a bad heart.  Their heart was divided.  God cannot use divided hearts.  This compares with the “Double-minded man” of James 1:8 – unstable and unfit for service to God.

The people of Israel had two institutions which were highly esteemed by them; their kings (politics, military, and  democracy for us), and their religion.  Their kings were unjust and greedy, and their religion was empty and separated them from God, because they were more concerned with ritual sacrifice and offerings rather than a personal relationship with God.

Kings make promises, but do not fulfill them (v. 4).  The graven images which they have worshipped will lose  their glory – no one will be able to protect them.  Who needs a god that needs protection anyway?  God is having their idols carried away shows the futility of trusting in them (Isaiah 46:1-5).

“Aven”, mentioned in 10:8 means deception.  It has been a place of deception because the people were deceived by their own desires and they strayed from God’s paths.  God says, that, He will destroy their sin.  The power of sin has been ultimately destroyed by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross, and overcoming sins power by His resurrection from the dead.  All who refuse God’s way suffers eternal judgment.

Instead of crying out to God for mercy they cry out for the rocks and mountains, “Fall on us” (v. 8; Revelation 6:16).

Because of their stubborn and rebellious hearts they would be as a heifer yoked to hard labor whereas, before their labor had been light and blessed.

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till He come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Betharbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children. So shall Bethel do unto you because of your great wickedness: in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off.”  Hosea 10:12-15 (KJV)

The “Fallow ground” of verse twelve is land that had previously been plowed, but now left unused.  God’s Word and His Spirit is the plow that is needed to break up the soil of a hard heart (See Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23).  Hard hearts cannot yield crops of righteousness and mercy.

It is a prominent theme in Hosea that the children of Israel will reap exactly what they have sown.  It is a law of God’s created order to reap what we have sown – and that, no matter the timeline, culture or society which we may live.

Hosea gives us three steps to heal the land:

  1. Break up your fallow ground (v. 12);
  2. Put God’s Word in your heart – “sow with a view of righteousness” (NAS v. 12);
  3. “Reap in accordance with kindness (NAS) referring to the breaking of their hard hearts through repentance and sowing the seed of God’s Word in their lives.

God gives Israel every opportunity to repent.  It is God’s desire then to cleanse them, and make them a vessel of His grace.  Judgment would come.

“Hosea 9 – 10 reinforces the basic lesson that persistent sin eventually leads to destruction.”  Traylor.  This is also true for people of the 21st century as well.  God’s people (Christians) need to open their eyes and know that the Lord, though He has provided a way into His presence, still calls for His people to repent.

We need to keep this thought in mind; “God loves us the way we are; but He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.”  He will do whatever it takes to make us holy.

There is only hope for all through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross of calvary – the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; Son of the Living God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Day of the LORD is at Hand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022511

Reading from Deuteronomy 14 – 16.

We will focus on chapter 16 and verses 18-22.

Fair judgment seems to be quite fickle among the courts of human governments.  Even in the USA, it seems sometimes that the ones who have the money for a good lawyer can get off from even serious crimes, while those who don’t have the time or money to pay a good attorney can be found guilty, even of a crime they did not commit.  That is not how God desires His people to conduct themselves.

“Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.  Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.  That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.   Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.  Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth.”  Deuteronomy 16:18-22 (KJV)

I will never cease to be amazed at the number of Christians, even preachers who spend time preaching, who labor to make the Word of God relevant and/or applicable to the times we live in.  The more we labor at it the less relevant and applicable it may become.  It is already relevant and applicable.

In lands/countries where they have dictators ruling masses of people; it is most often unjustly.  We have heard the horror stories of Hitler, and more recently Saddam Hussein of Iraq.  Even more recently the now “former” President of Egypt Mubarrak, evidently took billions of dollars that were meant for the aid of the Egyptian people; and has even been allowed to leave the country with it.  The people are probably more happy to have him gone than they are concerned about the billions.

Every Christian should be concerned about just judges in judgment.  Murderers go free because they have powerful, high price attorneys who know how to manipulate courts, judges, juries and they whole legal system of the USA.

The text above tells us the cities of the Promised Land are to have judges at the city gates [“Gates” implies one’s with authority in a city].  These judges were to make just rulings.  They were not to determine a case by the money or material offering one might give or offer the judge, but by the evidence in the case; and each case on its own merit.  They were not to pervert judgment.

There is much perverted judgment today.  In some cases men and women are tried because of accusations by children that they were molested by this adult; when in fact they were not; but this adult, which is their mother or father merely disciplined them; taking the keys of the child’s car, preventing them from going out; or of some nature as that.  “If you will only plead guilty they are told, then, you will get a lighter sentence.”  they are told.  Some actually follow through with the “lighter sentence”, and it ruins their lives.  Perverted justice.  For sure.  It is especially perverted when a judge receives a payment from a former spouse or lawyer to bring a certain verdict.

A perverted system that allows drunk drivers to walk free after killing innocent individuals is going to come under the judgment of holy God.  It happens more times than you or I would like to think.  You can probably think of other injustices that happen in our USA.

The second  part of our text has to do with “trees” near the altar of God.  God was cutting off the practice of worshipping of idols near the place where He is worshipped.  The LORD hates the worship of idols; which is the worship of demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-21).  Therefore the follower of Jesus Christ is not to worship anything except the LORD God of hosts.

Remember to read Deuteronomy 14 – 16 today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021211

Our daily reading is Numbers 10 – 12.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember to read Numbers 10 – 12

-Tim A. Blankenship

Peace In the Kingdom of Christ On Earth

People of earth long for peace.  Even those who are fighting in wars have a longing for peace, yet peace seems so far away.

Many people wonder if peace is possible, and also wonder about animals and the future of the earth.  The nations of the world are trying to bring peace to the Middle East, and fail; particularly with peace concerning Jerusalem.  The nations want things their way; not God’s way; and until the Prince of peace is come there will not be peace on earth; except as we find peace in our own hearts and lives through the cross of Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection.

What will peace look like when Jesus comes to earth again?  We must realize that when He comes again there will first be a reckoning with all that is evil.  It will be put away.  The poor will be judged with righteousness the wicked bankers, financiers, CEO’s of big corporations  who have labored to fill their pockets, and rob their employees will destroyed.

What about the animal kingdom?  We can see the results of the “fall of mankind” by watching the animal kingdom, and that of the kingdom of men.  With animals we have meat eating beast, flying, and non-flying; and they feed themselves on the lesser sized animals.  In most situations that I have witnessed a cat and dog cannot dwell together side by side without the dog growling, or attacking the cat; there are a few exceptions, but rare.  My brother used to have a dog that would allow an old yellow cat to lay on his back while he was resting.  Rare indeed.  In Isaiah 11 we find these verses concerning our Lord’s coming reign on earth and animals…

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.   And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.   And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.   They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”  Isaiah 11:6-9 (KJV)

If you will notice these animals listed are from the gentle, meek type to the ferocious, meat eater and poisonous kind.  The wolf, the lamb, the leopard, the baby goat, the calf, the lion cub, the fatling; and not to leave man out; a little child “leading them”.  The child leading them would probably mean that it would not be uncommon in that day to see a spontaneous parade of these animals together with a child in the lead.  “Fiction” you may think or say.  Not if God says it.  Nor do I believe it to be allegorical of a general peace on earth.  To make this allegorical you would need to make the rest of prophecy, even that of the first coming of Messiah, as allegory; and that just would be a lie, and deception.

The wolf and the lamb dwelling together!  Is this really possible?  It happened one other time following the “fall of man”.  At the flood [believing what God says in His Word] God brought two of every kind of land animal to the ark; two wolves, two sheep, two leopards, two goats, two bovine, and two lions and two bears; and there was peace while they were coming to the ark, getting on the ark, on the ark, and getting off the ark.  When they disembarked from the ark the sin nature of humanity affected them once more.

The millennial kingdom or our Lord fascinates and excites me.  I long for that day when I will look into the eyes of my Master, then fall at His feet, and worship my Lord and Savior.  Then will spend the Millennium with Him, serving those who populate the earth and worshipping Him for all eternity.

If you want to be assured you will be there too check this out.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Power Of The Ten Commandments

“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:   And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.   And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:   And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.”  Mark 12:28-34 (KJV)

THE POWER OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Jesus is asked by a scribe, “Which is the greatest commandment?” Jesus’ answer is one which shortens the whole of the Ten Commandments into two short commands. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…”. I have done a study of the Ten Commandments and find some very amazing thoughts of the first four commandments God gave us. The first four Commandments have to do with mankind’s relationship with God. In the first Commandment the “Heart” can have no other gods – there can be only one. In the second, the “Soul” of man cannot unite with other god’s by building an image – we are made in God’s image, not He in ours – thus the soul must be knit only to God. The third, the “Mind” of man must not think thoughts that make the mouth say vain things of God, or curse His name. In the fourth, we need “Strength” so God commanded a day of rest and so that we could devote one whole day for worshipping Him and renewing our physical and spiritual “Strength”. Just as a means of summing up these matters, we must come to the conclusion that there is no place in man’s heart and life for any other god, but the God who created all things, seen and unseen.

On the matter of the second commandment which Jesus gave, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…” we see that the final six of the Ten Commandments have to do with mankind’s relationship to his/her fellowman. From one’s mother and father, marital faithfulness, preciousness of life, sacred ownership, speaking of others, and the possessions and being of your neighbor.

The scribe acknowledges that there is no greater law than these; to love God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength is better than “whole burnt offerings and sacrifices”. This man was a wise man, and even Jesus tells him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God”. Not by keeping commandments is one saved, but in knowing and loving God, and only God can give that to us.

For a list of other studies on the Ten Commandments you may follow this list.

-Tim A. Blankenship