Tue, Jun 30th - 8:10PM
Book of Isaiah Study
“Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:
That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:
Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:” (30:8-10)
The prophet must not only preach this, but he must write it (verse 8), write it in a table, to be hung up and exposed to public view; he must carefully note it, not in loose papers which might be lost or torn, but in a book, to be preserved for posterity, in perpetuam rei memoriam—for a standing testimony against this wicked generation; let it remain not only to the next succeeding ages, but for ever and ever, while the world stands; and so it shall, for the book of the scriptures no doubt, shall continue, and be read, to the end of time. Let it be written, to shame the men of the present age, who would not hear and heed it when it was spoken. Let it be written, that it may not be lost; their children may profit by it, though they will not.
People will be tempted to think He was too hard upon them, and over-severe, unless they know how very bad they were, how very provoking, and what fair means God tried with them before He brought it to this extremity. This was designed for admonition to those of the remotest place and age, even those upon whom the ends of the world have come, 1 Corinthians 10:11. It may be of use for God’s ministers not only to preach, but to write; for that which is written remains.
That this is a rebellious people, verse 9. The Jews were, as far as we know, the only professing people God had then in the world, and yet many of them were a rebellious people. They rebelled against their own convictions and covenants: "They are lying children, that will not stand to what they say, that promise fair, but perform nothing;’’ when he took them into covenant with Himself He said of them, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie (ch. 63:8), but they proved otherwise.
The charge drawn up against them is very high and the sentence passed upon them very dreadful. Two things they are charged with, and their doom is read for both, a fearful doom:— 1. They forbade the prophets to speak to them in God’s name, and to deal faithfully with them. Their sin is described, verses 10, 11. They set themselves so violently against the prophets to hinder them from preaching, or at least from dealing plainly with them in their preaching, did so banter them and browbeat them, that they did in effect say to the seers, See not. They had the light, but they loved darkness instead. It was their privilege that they had seers among them, but they did what they could to put out their eyes—that they had prophets among them, but they did what they could to stop their mouths; for they tormented them in their wicked ways, Revelation 11:10. Those that silence good ministers, and good preaching, are justly called, rebels against God. See what it was in the prophets’ preaching with which they found themselves aggrieved? The prophets told them of their faults, and warned them of their misery and danger by reason of sin, and they could not bear that. They must speak to them smooth things, must flatter them in their sins, and say that they did well, and there was no harm, no peril, in the course of life they lived in. Sound remotely familiar to you today? There are those people who do not wish to hear that they need to change, they wish to hear that what they are doing currently is good. The prophets stopped them in their sinful pursuits, and stood in their way like the angel in Balaam’s road, with the sword of God’s wrath drawn in their hand; so that they could not proceed without terror. And this they took as a great insult. When they went on boldly in the way of their hearts they said to the prophets, "Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the paths. What do you do in our way? Cannot you let us alone to do as we please?’’
Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.
Wherefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon:
Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking comes suddenly at an instant (30:11-13).
Those have reason to fear perishing in their sins that cannot bear to be frightened out of them. Now what is the doom passed upon them for this? Faithful ministers will not be driven from using such expressions as are proper to awaken sinners, though they be displeasing. We must tell men that God is the Holy One of Israel, and so they shall find Him, whether they will hear or whether they will not. What is the ground of the judgment? Because they despise this word ----whether, in general, every word that the prophets said to them, or this word in particular, which declares God to be the Holy One of Israel: they despise this, and will neither make it their fear, to stand in awe of it, nor make it their hope, to put any confidence in it; but, rather than they will be beholden to the Holy One of Israel, they will trust in oppression and perverseness, in the wealth they have got and the interest they have made by fraud and violence, or in the sinful methods they have taken for their own security, in contradiction to God and His will. "This iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall.” This confidence of yours will be like a house built upon the sand, which will fall in the storm and bury the builder in the ruins of it. Your contempt of that word of God which you might build upon will make every thing else you trust like a wall that bulges out, which, if any weight be laid upon it, comes down. The weight could be emotional stress, mental stress, financial stress, and not just physical stress. Your life has a built in defect, a “breach ready to fall.” Enough stress gets placed upon it and it will crash into pieces. People usually refer to this as “a house of cards.”
These verses point out to us today that when the Word of God is faithfully preached out of the pulpit many people will get up and leave, not wanting to hear the truth. They wish to have their ears tickled with sweet lies. It was true thousands of years ago, and it is still true today, beloved. Next time we shall peruse through verse 18, God willing. May Christ richly bless you this day.
Mon, Jun 29th - 12:59PM
Proofs of invisible spiritual change
"If you know that He is righteous, you know that every one that does righteousness is born of Him" (I John 2:29).
The book of I John gives us a treasure trove of proofs of the reality of the invisible spiritual change brought to pass through our new birth.
Here is the emphasis: proofs based upon personal experience and proofs based upon intellectual awareness. Here is the short list of proofs that we experience:
* Obedience to God's commandments (I John 2:2-5).
* Experience of God in our lives (I John 2:13-14).
* Obvious "antichrists" in the world (I John 2:18).
* Worldly ignorance of Christianity (I John 3:1).
* Sinners' ignorance of righteousness (I John 3:6).
* Our love for fellow Christians (I John 3:16-18).
* The indwelling Holy Spirit (I John 4:13).
* Our love for godly behavior (I John 5:2).
Here is the short list of proofs that we have intellectual confidence in:
* The Holy Spirit's anointing (I John 2:20).
* The holiness of Christ Jesus (I John 2:29).
* The Father's love for us (I John 3:1).
* Our eternal bodies to be like Christ (I John 3:2).
* Hating a brother is like murder (I John 3:15).
* Scripture's message of eternal life (I John 5:13).
* Assurance that we belong to God (I John 5:19).
* Assurance that Christ has come (I John 5:20).
These evidences are primarily for us, as believers: that is they are intended to assure our heart and mind of its security in Christ. John's list is not intended to be complete, not intended to exclude people, but only to focus our thoughts on the obvious. Each day as we count our many blessings, we need to remember these.
Sun, Jun 28th - 11:47AM
To Feed on Truth, or the Wind?
"Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and verily you shall be fed"(Psalm 37:3).
Even though there are many promises in God's Word to the effect that the Lord will provide material sustenance to those who are faithful to Him (Matthew 6:33), this specific verse obviously refers to an even more blessed promise. The word translated as "verily" can also be rendered as "truly", so that it becomes a matter of fact. The spiritual life of those who trust in Christ will be fed and sustainded by truth.
In contrast, the unbeliever feeds on that which is not true. The one who "has formed a god"(Isaiah 44:10) for himself will soon taste bitterness on his tongue. "He feeds on ashes: a deceived heart has turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?"(Isaiah 44:20). Those who trust in human deliverance will be like Israel depending upon Egypt and Assyria. "Ephraim feeds on wind, and follows after the east wind: he daily increases lies and desolation"(Hosea 12:1). The diet of false prophets is even more bitter. "Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I willfeed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall"(Jeremiah 23:15).
Wind and ashes, wormwood and gall; that is the spiritual food of those who reject the truth of the Word of God.
To the believer, however, the Word of God is as much a daily need for the soul as bread for the body. As Job said so long ago: "I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food"(Job 23:12). Moses testified as follows: "And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you did not know, neither did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by the very word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord"(Deuteronomy 8:3). Friends, we live by the very words that have already proceeded from out of the mouth of God. We are able to hold them in our two hands and read them to our profit. It is up to us to highly esteem them to be more valuable to us than physical food. The choice is ours: Esteem God's words or esteem the words of men? I do not ask anyone to highly esteem the words that I place upon this blog. No, I merely place a roadsign before you to point you in the direction that I feel within my heart that you ought to go in order to gain eternal life and peace.
Sat, Jun 27th - 7:35PM
Book of Isaiah Study
In this next chapter of Isaiah we find a prophecy dealing with largely a local situation. A larger prophecy of a future time does grow from out of it. The southern kingdom of Judah heard and heeded the prophet’s warning and did not join with Egypt in order to withstand the Assyrians. The northern kingdom of Israel did not listen to Isaiah’s warning from God and they went into captivity to serve the Assyrian king (II Kings 17:4).
Woe to the rebellious children, says the Lord, that take counsel, but not of Me; and that cover with a covering, but not of My spirit, that they may add sin to sin (30:1).
If you are still counting, this is the fourth woe to be mentioned. God has said in effect, “Don’t go to Egypt for any help, because it won’t be a good outcome for you. Their help is just like a mirage out upon the desert.” The message to us is this: “Do not go to others for help, come to Me and ask!”
That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at My mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.
For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes.
They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be an help nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach (30:2-5).
They would not consult God. They would do things of their own devising, and not advise with God, though they had a ready and certain way of doing it by Urim or prophets. Are we not the same way today, beloved? Do we not, in effect, put up a hand and tell God, “I’ve got this one, Lord!” How mistaken we are.
They could not confide in God. They did not think it enough to have God on their side, nor were they at all solicitous to make Him their friend, but they strengthened themselves in the strength of Pharaoh; they thought him a powerful ally, and doubted not but to be able to cope with the Assyrian while they had him for them. The shadow of Egypt (and it was but a shadow) was the covering in which they wrapped themselves. We do the same thing today, putting our faith and trust in things that are but temporary or that are inept at protecting us from attack. They were, in profession, God’s children; but, not trusting in Him, they were justly stigmatized as rebellious; for, if we distrust God’s providence, we do in effect withdraw ourselves from our allegiance.
These people of the northern kingdom sent their beasts of burden down into Egypt with valuables upon them to offer up to Pharaoh. They were going to great expense to secure an alliance to stop the Assyrians. However, they overlooked the fact that the Egyptians did not hold them in very high esteem. They looked down their noses at the Jews, they felt that they owned nothing of great value.
The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them (30:6).
In essence these people were throwing away their money. Rather than turn to God and enquire of Him what they should do to avoid captivity into Assyrian hands they attempt to buy protection. They ought to have fallen upon their knees in prayer before God and done what He asked of them. If they had done so, God would have protected them from any harm.
For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still (30:7).
And there we have it. What aid they do give will be done in vain. It would seem that they were more content to procrastinate. That is all for today, next up will be coverage of verses 8-12. Until then, may Christ bless you in all of your endeavors. May you remember to include Him in your daily plans.
Thu, Jun 25th - 8:30PM
Book of Isaiah Study
Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? (29:17)
Here we are looking into our future, just as these people were. Is Lebanon considered today to be remotely close to being a “fruitful field?” I haven’t read of any reports claiming it to be thus. So this is a future event, something still to come in history.
And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness (29:18).
They will hear the words of what book? I would hazard to guess that it is the Word of God. We are talking about spiritual deafness and blindness in people. “And in that day” reminds us again of the time period being spoken of, that of the end times. In that time the spiritually blind and deaf will no longer be that way. They will know God is the Creator and that Christ is His only begotten Son.
The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel (29:19).
One more word for verse 18; there is that old saying, “No one is as blind as those who will not see.” Today there is willful blindness, an absolute refusal to “see.” When Christ returns everyone will see. They might not accept Him as their Lord and Savior but they will see the truth. When Christ ushers in the millennial kingdom the poor and the meek shall be rejoicing.
For the terrible one is brought to naught, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:
That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproves in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of naught (29:20-21).
Here are the reasons given as to why the meek and the poor shall rejoice. There are those who actively attack the righteous, there are those who use words to scorn the righteous, and then there are those who passively stand by and do nothing to help the victims. They watch and do not want to get involved, thinking that they are okay. They are not okay for they have refused to help someone in need. They will be judged by God for these things. God will judge the terrible, scornful people as well as those who did not want to get involved to help those being attacked.
Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale.
But when he sees his children, the work of Mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify My name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.
They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine (29:22-24).
What will people do with the name of God in that day? They will make it holy; they are going to set it apart as something wonderful. God’s people today ought to be sanctifying the name of God. Here we can see that “in that day” those who have made mistakes in spiritual matters will gain understanding. Those who muttered quietly about biblical doctrines that they did not like will learn true doctrine. What a wonderful time that shall be! Yes, judgment will be brought to the entire earth, but people shall have their eyes opened to see the truth.
This completes chapter 29. Next time we meet, God willing, we shall delve into chapter 30 which relates God’s message to Judah to not ally itself with Egypt against the Assyrian army. Rather they should ally themselves with God. That is for next time. Until then, may Christ richly bless you in all of your endeavors.
Thu, Jun 25th - 1:37PM
Put on the whole armor of God
"Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand"(Ephesians 6:13).
In this age of ours, we find terrorism, drugs, sexual immorality, rampant crime, and worldwide unbelief. Surely we live in evil days and each Christian urgently needs "the whole armor of God" to stand against this tsunami that assaults us each and every day. This armor is clearly described for us here in Ephesians 6:14-18, but it seems that Satan's wiles have confused it in the minds of many Christian educators. In their minds today they believe that we ought to gird ourselves with open-ended searches for truth, wear a breastplate of value sensitivity, shod our feet with a gospel of academic tolerance; that we must take the shield of accreditation and legal protection, with the helmet of economic security and the sword of evolutionary thought, praying always to the Department of Education and our federal government. Such compromise contains no armor at all. We are left completely defenseless upon accepting these premises, left to fend on our own, under our own power.
How much better to be protected, supported, with revealed truth from God's Word! Truth founded on creation and biblical inerrancy, rather than upon mankind's ever -changing theories, produces stability, dependability, constancy, and faith. The true breastplate is righteousness, both imputed and practiced, and the true peace of God through Christ shods the feet of those who carry the gospel to those in need. The shield is faith, which must be exercised first of all in special creation (Hebrews 11:3). The helmet, protecting the mind, is the genuine hope of salvation (I Thessalonians 5:8). With no armor for the back, since the Christian is "to stand," not to retreat, the chief offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God which meets each particular need. Finally, insistent and persistant prayer is both an offensive and a defensive weapon. The "weapons of our warfare" are "mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds" (II Corinthians 10:4). And to preempt any misunderstandings of meaning here, I mean that we fight against spiritual darkness, spiritual wickedness, that is found in our world and in high places. Too many times unbelievers paint Christians as military soldiers that are actively killing people all over the world. They depict us as aggressive, abusive, people who desire nothing less than to hurt, abuse, and inflict pain upon those who do not believe as we do. They do not understand that Christ Jesus came to reclaim those stolen away by Satan. How can we love anyone if we cannot separate their actions from their person? Love the person, hate their sins. Do this and insistent prayer becomes a necessity. Compassion becomes a reality.
We as Christians must remember who our adversary really is. It is not our parents, our siblings, our teachers, our bosses, nor is it anyone else. Satan is, and always has been, our Enemy. He is always out there roaming around looking for ways to snare us, trip us up, and cause us to give in to temptation. He tries to put stumbling blocks in front of us that will cause us to become frustrated and consequently to cause us to speak harshly to each other. We must learn to recognize these pitfalls, or else we are condemned to a lifetime of repetition and a failed Christian life. Beloved, study these verses and some 18 verses about Satan or the devil to be found in the New Testament. Do a word search on your PC bible software for "the devil." Why did Christ come? What was Christ doing throughout His time here on earth? What will Christ ultimately do to Satan? Study this out and you will come to the same conclusion that I have come to. Grace and peace be yours today.
Tue, Jun 23rd - 1:07PM
Christ Has Chosen Us
"According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love" (Ephesians 1:4).
Even though we can't really "understand" how God could choose us (same Greek word as "elected") before the creation of the world, we can rejoice in the fact and praise Him for "His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (II Timothy 1:9). We may not fully understand God's purpose for choosing us over any other person, but we can rejoice in the fact. The testimony of the preceding verse in Ephesians is that we have received "all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ," all "according to the good pleasure of His will" in verse 5. In verse 7 "according to the riches of His grace" , and "according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself" in verse 9. Get the idea here? God chose us before He made anything. He chose us to be holy and without blame before Him. Why? According to His purposes, His good pleasure, His richness of grace. God has given us all spiritual blessings in Christ, our Lord and Savior. Notice it does not put qualifiers upon any of this.
It is clear from this passage that God's choice of us was not simply a matter of His foreseeing our choice of Him, but was a choice solely be His own will and grace. John 15:16 : "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit..." Yet this does not lessen our responsibility to trust in Christ and to believe "the gospel of your salvation" (Epnesians 15:16), even though in our limited minds we cannot understand how to correlate these two concepts. Both are true, both are taught in His Word, and both are for rejoicing because they reflect both His love and His omnipotence.
God told Jeremiah: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn you" (Jeremiah 31:3). Before this world of ours ever began, God knew each of us and loved us, and prepared to die to save us from our sins, and then to draw us to Himself. Such wonderful knowledge! We can only thank and praise Christ, and then seek earnestly to live fully for Him, all of the days remaining to us upon this small planet.
Mon, Jun 22nd - 8:53PM
Book of Isaiah Study
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men (29:13).
If we had lived in Isaiah’s day we would be scratching our heads wondering what in the world he is talking about here. All of the people went to the temple. It was crowded, sacrifices were being offered all of the time. There was a place for the men, a court for the women, and a court for the Gentiles. So why did God find fault with them? They were all coming to the temple, but they went through all of the ritual with their mouths. It did not mean anything to them. They had no heart belief in what they were saying. They did not accept the Word of God. This is why He judged them, and it is the reason why He will judge us today. Do we go to church services to worship Christ, or is it to impress someone? Do we go to praise Him for saving us from our sins, or is it to do what is expected of you? The curse of our world today is religion, not faith. God wants us to jettison our religion and enter into a personal relationship with Christ. Christianity is not a religion, it is all about a relationship with Christ Jesus. We all must be quite careful when we listen to leaders amongst our church congregations. Are they preaching Christ, or are they preaching something that they have concocted up?
Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid (29:14).
It is a spiritual judgment with which God threatens to punish them for their spiritual wickedness (verse 14): I will proceed to do a marvelous work. They did one strange thing; they removed all sincerity from their hearts. Now God will go on and do another; He will remove all sagacity from their heads. The wisdom of their wise men shall perish. They played the hypocrite, and thought to put a cheat upon God, and now they are left to themselves to play the fool, and not only to put a cheat upon themselves, but to be easily cheated by all about them. Those that make religion no more than a pretence, to serve a turn, are out in their politics; and it is just with God to deprive those of their understanding who give up their uprightness. This was fulfilled in the wretched infatuation which the Jewish nation were manifestly under, after they had rejected the gospel of Christ; they removed their hearts far from God, and therefore God justly removed wisdom far from them, and hid from their eyes the things that belonged even to their temporal peace. This is a marvelous work; it is surprising, it is astonishing, that wise men should of a sudden lose their wisdom and be given up to strong delusions. Judgments on the mind, though least taken notice of, are to be most wondered at.
Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who sees us? And who knows us? (29:15)
God indicates how dire it will be to those who attempt to hide their decision making from God. These people think that they are quite adept at craftily hiding themselves from anyone seeing what they do. This chapter speaks to two woes because 1) the people act as if God does not see or know, and 2) they act as if they are getting away with it.
Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?(29:16)
The absurdity of their politics is demonstrated in verse 16: "Surely your turning of things upside down” thus, your various projects, turning your affairs this and that way to make them shape as you would have them—or rather your inverting the order of things, and thinking to make God’s providence give attendance to your projects, and that God must know no more than you think fit, which is perfectly turning things upside down and beginning at the wrong end— “shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay“. God will turn and manage you, and all your plans, with as much ease and as absolute a power as the potter forms and fashions his clay. See how God despises, and therefore what little reason we have to dread, those contrivances of men that are carried on without God, particularly those against him. Those that think to hide their plans from God do in effect deny Him to be their Creator. It is as if the work should say of him that made it, "He made me not; I made myself.’’ If God made us, He certainly knows us as the Psalmist shows, (Psalm 139:1, 13-16); so that those who say that He does not see them might as well say that He did not make them. Much of the wickedness of the wicked arises from this, they forget that God formed them, Deuteronomy 32:18. Or it comes to the same thing, they deny Him to be a wise Creator: The thing framed saith of him that framed it, He had no understanding; for if He had understanding to make us so curiously, especially to make us intelligent beings and to put understanding into the inward part (Job 38:36), no doubt He has understanding to know us and all we say and do.
Are we to be so arrogant then, to think because we now have science
that we are no longer under the authority of God? That what we now know of our world makes us greater than God? Can we create a world equal to this one? Can we even create another human being, with a soul, from out of nothing? Can we create air masses and jet streams? And yet, we criticize God’s decisions, we criticize His judgments. We might just as well expect a clay jar to criticize its maker.
Next time we shall continue our study in chapter 29. God willing we will meet here again. I pray that God strengthens your faith this day. I pray that Christ whispers to you in your dreams tonight, that He tells you how much He loves you. I pray that He tells you how precious you are in His sight.
Sun, Jun 21st - 6:03PM
Book of Isaiah Study
You shall be visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.
And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision.
It shall even be as when a hungry man dreams, and, behold, he eats; but he awakes, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreams, and, behold, he drinks; but he awakes, and behold, he is faint, and his soul has appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion (29:6-8).
These verses speak of the time when Israel will be surrounded by armies seeking to destroy her. It is the end times (oh, I guess that might make me a domestic terrorist according to the Dept. of Homeland Security!) and we are informed here that just as when we dream of eating and drinking our fill in a dream at night and wake up still hungry and thirsty so it will be with those massive armies that try to destroy Jerusalem. The intent of those armies will be just like one of our dreams. It will not become reality. God will defend His people. The unbelievers are dreaming when they think they will be able to utterly destroy Jerusalem and Israel.
This final siege of Jerusalem will be the worst of all history, just read Zechariah 14. God shall intervene and deliver His people from extermination. The enemies of God shall try to usher in their own global kingdom but God will be the one who builds His kingdom and establishes it Himself and not through our actions. Get that? Christ establishes His kingdom on earth, not us. Christ told us that this was how it would happen, when He returns the second time (second Advent).
Stay yourselves, and wonder; you cry out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.
For the Lord has poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers has He covered (29:9-10).
I believe that I have mentioned before that Isaiah is the prophet of the commonplace, that what he has written fits into our present day culture. Did God actually put them to sleep? How did He do it? We do know that God kept giving light to Israel; they kept rejecting it. They refused to accept the truth that He gave them. They could not see it, which revealed that they were spiritually blind. That is how God puts people “to sleep” and reveals that they are blind. Even some of the prophets and the princes did not anticipate this deliverance from God. They were as blinded to the future deliverance as the enemies of God. God says that they were as men who were drunk from liquor. How about today? Can you think of anyone in the Christian community who is “blind” to the deliverance offered by Christ Jesus? Anyone who is “blind” to the power that is offered to each of us upon salvation? Are there people that you know of who do not teach Christ, but put forth doctrines based upon the ever-changing thoughts of men? Is salvation of Christ, or is it Him plus something else? Or, could it even be something like what President Obama spoke of in Cairo, Egypt not too long ago, a faith in men? His speech pointed out that he believes, and trusts, in people. This is nothing but human secularism. This is dangerous ground to stand upon for it opens the door to trusting what others think before trusting in what God thinks. Enough of that, for now.
And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray you: and he says, I cannot; for it is sealed:
And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray you: and he says, I am not learned (29:11-12).
Here is depicted the current state of affairs in their day, and in ours today. Those who are educated enough realize that true understanding of the words in the Bible are sealed up to them for it is stated as such. Those who feel that they do not have enough education say that they cannot understand the Bible because of that shortcoming. Back then it was true that parts of the Bible were closed to men understanding them per God’s ultimate purpose. Today we have reached a point in history where most of the prophecy is now open for us to understand. Some parts remain closed off until the End Times are very close to happening, but the vast majority of scripture is available to be properly understood by each of us.
People still feel that prophecy is too obscure to be understood and to be useful in everyday living. If it is sealed up then we can know absolutely nothing about it. There are many preachers today who hold this very attitude: “The books of Revelation and Daniel are sealed books, you know. Nobody can understand them.” And then they refuse to preach them to anyone. What about those people who say that they are too busy to stop and study the Word of God? Are they falling under the title of “I am not learned?” Are they being obedient to the commandments of Christ? You see, there are all kinds of excuses offered by Christians, and non-Christians, for their own ignorance of the Scriptures. I exhort everyone who reads this post, “Do not believe them! God’s Word is very understandable, especially after you accept the fact that Christ Jesus came and reconciled Himself with us by dying upon that cross on Calvary as a substitute for us. He paid the debt created by our sins, He paid it willingly out of love for us. Now the scriptures can be opened up for us, we have access to His Holy Spirit to come and be our teacher of all truth.
An example of this: the story of Samson and Delilah. He is a terror to the Philistines through his acts of bravery as a Judge of Israel. He makes the mistake of falling in love with Delilah, a Philistine. She embarks upon a campaign of words to wear the man down in order to learn the secret of his great strength. He resists for a time, then gives in and tells her. She relays the information to her family members and they come during the night and shave off his hair. They bind him, poke out his eyes, and force him to grind grain in a gristmill for all of them. Nice story, what is the moral? Don’t trust women? Don’t tell anyone your secrets? Don’t trust members of your enemy? Don’t hang out with the enemy? Don’t marry into a family of your enemy? Some of these supposed morals are false. The first two are such. Those afterwards are true, some more so than others. What is the ending of this sad story? Samson slowly begins growing his hair back while he labors at grinding grain for the Philistines. Eventually they hold a huge conference and someone desires to have Samson before them so that they can gloat over their former nemesis. He is brought before them, led by a boy, and placed between two pillars. Samson has secretly regained his God-given strength and pushes these two pillars outward, bringing down the entire temple around him. He killed everyone there, including Delilah I would imagine. It says that in his death he killed more than during his entire lifetime. If you read about Samson you discover that he killed an awful lot of Philistines. In this last act of his, he killed more Philistines than in all of his previous days. So what is the real story here? Sweet justice for Samson, repaying them for plucking out his eyes? Or is this a story showing us an eternal truth? Samson had been graced by God to have superhuman strength as long as he did not cut his hair. God could have given him the strength without the hair but wished obedience from the man first. This was a covenant. All is well until Samson disobeys God and lusts after a woman of the people that God does not want him to associate with due to their beliefs concerning Him. Making matters worse, he sleeps with the woman on a regular basis thinking that nothing is wrong. He also has begun to forget all of the things that God has taught him. He forgets how he got his great strength to begin with. He forgets why God gave it to him. He gives away his secret. He pays a dear price for his faithlessness to God: loss of vision. He can no longer see anything. He is consigned to do physical labor, not knowing whether it is day or night. Moral of this story? Do not associate intimately with lost people. Do not unequally yoke yourself with a lost person. Do not ever forget what God has given to you. If you give it away then you shall become “blind” and be unable to see clearly. What we sow so shall we ultimately reap. In Samson’s case harvest time required his death also. God required his death in order to atone for what Samson had failed to live out. We must not foolishly live out our lives, beloved. We will end up losing our vision of what God wants us to do with our lives. We must always remember what God has done for us, how we have gotten back our strength through Christ Jesus. Once we have become blinded spiritually God’s price may be very severe for getting it back. It may not require our lives but it may require the loss of something very dear to us.
The word revelation is from the Greek word apocalypses, which means “unveiled.” God took the seal from the Book of Revelation so that it can be understood. The very beginning of the book tells the reader that all who do read this book will be blessed, and any who hear the reading of it will also be blessed. Does that sound to you like something that is closed up, unable to be used? It is the last book of the Bible, it requires some knowledge of the books that precede it in order to properly understand what it says.
Lots of people still say Revelation is a closed book. God will judge anyone for that kind of thinking because when He gives us light and we will not open our eyes, we become blind to the light. In Revelation 22:10 it says: “And he said unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.” It is not a sealed book, my friends. God has opened it up for all of us so that we may understand. We simply need the guidance of the Holy Spirit and that is only available after we accept Christ Jesus into our hearts.
That is all for today, beloved. Next time we will begin with a verse that condemns lots of so-called Christians today. With their mouth they praise God but with their day-to-day living they do not. God willing, we will meet here again to study His Word. I pray for all fathers everywhere that this might be a grand Father’s Day for them. May Christ abundantly bless you and your family this day!
Fri, Jun 19th - 1:49PM
To have the mind of Christ
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5).
Although we are told that salvation is a free gift, it is not cheap, since it required God Himself to become man and submit to an agonizing death on the cross. This was the mind of Christ!
Although our salvation is not conditioned on any righteous acts of our own devising, the standard by which we must measure our lives is nothing less than the perfect life of Jesus Christ. In the first place, our words and deeds are to be compared to His: "For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you shuld follow His steps(I Peter 1:15)." Not just that, but our standard of holiness is to be His life of holiness. "But as He which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation (I Peter 1:15)."
If we truly follow His steps, they may well lead us to suffering and persecution, but "he that says he abides in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked (I John 2:6)." This involves a willingness to be "crucified with Christ" as spoken of in Galatians 2:20. Our Christian life is to characterized by unselfish love, but that love is nothing less than the love of Christ Himself. Willing to suffer for others, even unto death. John 13:34 gives us another commandment given to us as believers: love each other as Christ loves each of us.
To do all of these things requires that we think as He thought, that the very attitude of our soul be like His. One the one hand, we do have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16), but on the other, we still come far short. May Christ help us to cast down "imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God," and bring "into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:5).
Beloved, I pray that we all are able to see that we must work out our salvation with trembling for this is not an easy task placed before us by our Lord. To have the mind of Christ.
Thu, Jun 18th - 8:11PM
Book of Isaiah Study
We begin studying chapter 29 of Isaiah with the knowledge that we are viewing these events in duel ways. There is both an immediate historical impact and a far distant historical impact to most of the prophecy that we find in these chapters. This chapter will be no different.
Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! Add you year to year; let them kill sacrifices (29:1).
It is necessary here to establish the fact that Jerusalem is the city designated under the title of Ariel. This word means “lion like.” The word is found in II Samuel 23:20 which says, And Benaniah the son of Jehoida, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lion - like men of Moab…” A “lion like” man is an Ariel man. The word also carries the meaning of “the lion of God.” In Ezekiel 43:16 the same word is translated “altar” and, under certain circumstances, could mean “the altar of God.” Both designations are a fitting title for the city of Jerusalem. It is further identified as the city where David lived. The lion is the insignia of that family. Jesus Christ is called the “…Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5). Additionally Jerusalem was the place where the Temple of God was, and the altar, of course, was there.
This prophecy began to be fulfilled in Isaiah’s time and it has continued down through the ages to today.
Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto Me as Ariel.
And I will camp against you round about, and will lay siege against you with a mount, and I will raise forts against you.
And you shall be brought down, and shall speak out of the ground, and your speech shall be low out of the dust, and your voice shall be, as of one that has a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and your speech shall whisper out of the dust.
Moreover the multitude of your strangers shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones shall be as chaff that passes away: yes, it shall be at an instant suddenly (29:2-5).
Before Nebuchadnezzar came and destroyed the city this prophecy was given by God. It marked the beginning of the time of the Gentiles as mentioned in Luke 21:24. The time of the Gentiles has not yet been fulfilled, it is still on-going.
Jerusalem today is much higher up than the original city was. It has been destroyed so many times, the debris leveled off, and then rebuilt that it is many feet higher now than during Christ’s time. God speaks of bringing peoples to besiege the city of David, of ongoing siege. It is the same rule that He employs with us as individuals today. If we refuse to repent and turn back to walking in His ways then He will build up “forts” and raise a ‘mount” all around us to bring resistance into our lives. He will initiate a campaign to change out minds. Of course, it remains for us to recognize what is actually happening to us, and respond appropriately.
That is all for today, beloved. Next time we are to find verses that talk of the final siege of Jerusalem, that final battle at the end of this age. Until then, may Christ richly bless each of you, and your families.
Wed, Jun 17th - 6:44PM
Book of Isaiah Study
For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it (28:20).
Oh, that does not sound very comforting, does it? Have you ever visited with friends and stayed overnight, only to discover that the bed is too short? And the blanket and sheet are too short, leaving your feet exposed? It is an uncomfortable feeling all night long. You do not get a solid night’s sleep in for you are continually trying to alter your position in bed to get comfortable. God is telling these people that that is how their nightly sleep is going to be. They will have restless nights, every night. It was to be part of His judgment upon them.
For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.
Now therefore do not be mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth (28:21-22).
When God comes to contend with these scorners, first, He will do His work, and bring to pass His act, He will work for His own honor and glory, according to His own purpose; the work shall appear to all that see it to be the work of God as the righteous Judge of the earth. Secondly, He will do it now against His people, as formerly He did it against their enemies, by which His justice will appear to be impartial; He will now rise up against Jerusalem as, in David’s time, against the Philistines in Mount Perazim (2 Samuel 5:20), and as, in Joshua’s time, against the Canaanites in the valley of Gibeon.
If those that profess themselves members of God’s church by their pride and scornfulness make themselves like Philistines and Canaanites, they must expect to be dealt with in the same fashion. Thirdly, this will be His strange work, His strange act, His foreign deed. It is work that God is backward to: He rather delights in showing mercy, and does not afflict willingly. It is work that He is not used to as to His own people; He protects and favors them. It is a strange work indeed if He turn to be their enemy and fight against them, ch. 63:10. It is a work that all the neighbors will stand amazed at (Deuteronomy 29:24), and therefore the ruins of Jerusalem are said to be an astonishment, Jeremiah 25:18. Lastly, we have the use and application of all this (v. 22): "Therefore be you not mockers; dare not to ridicule either the reproofs of God’s word or the approaches of His judgments.’’ Mocking the messengers of the Lord was Jerusalem’s measure-filling sin. The consideration of the judgments of God that are coming upon hypocritical professors of Christian faith should effectually silence mockers, and make them serious: "Be you not mockers, lest your bands be made strong, both the bands by which you are bound under the dominion of sin’’ (for there is little hope of the conversion of mockers) "and the bands by which you are bound over to the judgments of God.’’ God has bands of justice strong enough to hold those that break all the bonds of His law asunder and cast away all His cord from them. Let not these mockers make light of divine threatenings, for the prophet (who is one of those with whom the secret of the Lord is) assures them that the Lord God of hosts has, in His hearing, determined a consumption upon the whole earth; and can they think to escape? or shall their unbelief invalidate the threatening? We today must always keep these thoughts in mind for we easily slip into “sloppy thinking” and forget that God is in control of everything. God has appointed the time for everything to happen, there are no “accidents.” Every person ever born was intended to be born exactly that way by God for His reasons and purposes. Abortion is nothing less than a direct assault against God’s sovereignty over life. God decrees a new life to come into existence and man decides that this particular life is to be aborted. Man thinks that he has gained a victory over God! He is vain, and deluded in his thinking. That aborted life has simply gained heaven, and the abortionist has gained more “bands” that shall deposit him in the lake of fire at the end of this current age.
Give you ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech.
Does the plowman plow all day to sow? does he open and break the clods of his ground?
When he has made plain the face thereof, does he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rye in their place (28:23-25)?
This parable, which (like many of our Savior’s parables) is borrowed from the husbandman’s calling, is introduced with a solemn preface demanding attention, He that has ears to hear, let him hear, hear and understand. The parable here is plain enough, that the husbandman applies himself to the business of his calling with a great deal of pains and prudence, and, as his judgment directs him, observes a method and order in his work. In his plowing and sowing: Does the plowman plough all day to sow? Yes, he does, and he plows in hope and sows in hope, 1 Corinthians 9:10. Does he open and break the clods? Yes, he does, that the land may be fit to receive the seed. And when he has thus made plain the face thereof does he not sow his seed, seed suitable to the soil? For the husbandman knows what grain is fit for clayey ground and what for sandy ground, and, accordingly, he sows each in its place— wheat in the principal place (so the margin reads it), for it is the principal grain, and was a staple commodity of Canaan (Ezekiel 27:17), and barley in the appointed place. The wisdom and goodness of the God of nature are to be observed in this, that, to oblige His creatures with a grateful variety of productions, He has suited to them a variety of earths.
Can you see, beloved, the spiritual application here? Our hearts and souls are the “soil” which God the plowman must turn over and break up the clods in it. Only in this fashion can the Word of God germinate and take root in our hearts. God desires good, fruitful harvests to be the result of what is in our hearts. This is also why Christ warned everyone that what a man sows so shall he reap one day. If we go about our lives sowing seeds of wickedness, violence, abuse, deceitfulness, spilling innocent blood, then so shall it be done to us. Perhaps even more so. This parable is very similar to one given by Christ, the one about the wheat and the tares.
For his God does instruct him to discretion, and does teach him.
For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.
Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.
This also comes forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working (28:26-29).
A farmer must be careful how he harvests soft grains. Each type of grain must be handled differently.
Isaiah is saying that this is how God judges. Judgment is spoken of as the “harvest.” Individuals or nations determine the actual character of the judgment which is to befall them. So, if I am hard and resist God, I am a hard grain. I am a hard “nut” to crack, and the judgment is going to be severe for me. Mark these words, God will thresh you; and if you are a hardened sinner, the judgment will be severe and painful. You may very well lose all that you love and value in your life.
In Matthew 13 Christ speaks of the time of harvest. He describes how He shall send out His angels to remove all those who offend, all who do iniquity. Iniquity means a wicked thing or act. What a tremendous truth! I think that it is such a huge concept that many people refuse to seriously consider it happening one day. God will remove all that offends Him. This topic does not send warm fuzzy feelings coursing thoughout our hearts and souls but it is one that is ever so true. We must all realize that we decide our own judgment. If we listen to God then He will put us over where the wheat is to be, and we will be spared the severity of His coming judgment.
That completes chapter 28 and brings us to the next. Here we shall be confronted with prophecies about Jerusalem and must decide how to consider them. That is for next time. God willing we shall meet again, here, and open up the Word of God. May Christ abundantly bless you with health, family, and occupation.
Fri, Jun 12th - 9:09PM
Book of Isaiah Study
Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding places (28:17)
Judgment will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet.
The punishing of the church’s enemies, against whom He will proceed in strict justice, according to the threatenings of the law. He will give them their deserts, and bring upon them the judgments they have challenged, but in wisdom too, and by an exact rule, that the tares may not be plucked up with the wheat. And when God comes thus to execute judgment these scornful men will be made ashamed of the vain hopes with which they had deceived themselves. They designed to make lies their refuge; but it will indeed prove a refuge of lies, which the hail shall sweep away, that tempest of hail spoken of in verse 2. Those that make lies their refuge build upon the sand, and the building will fall when the storm comes, and bury the builder in the ruins of it. Those that make any thing their hiding place but Christ shall find that the waters will overflow it, as every shelter but the ark was over-topped and overthrown by the waters of the deluge. Such is the hope of the hypocrite; this will come of all his confidences.This denotes the building up of His church; having laid the foundation He will raise the structure, as builders do, by line and plummet, Zechariah 4:10. The church, being grounded on Christ, shall be formed and reformed by the scripture, the standing rule of judgment and righteousness. Judgment shall return unto righteousness, Psalm 94:15. And thus God will transform people as they join the church and become its structure.
And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it (28:18).
They fancied that when the overflowing scourge should pass through the land it should not come near them; but the prophet tells them that then, when others were falling by the common calamity, they should not only share in it, but should be trodden down by it. They boasted of a covenant with death, and an agreement with the grave; but it shall be disannulled, as made without His consent that has the keys and sovereign command of hell and death. Those do but delude themselves that think by any wiles to evade the judgments of God.
From the time that it goes forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report (28:19).
They are further told that it shall begin with them; they shall be so far from escaping it that they shall be the first that shall fall by it. That it shall pursue them closely: Morning by morning shall it pass over; as duly as the day returns you shall hear of some desolation or other made by it; for divine justice will follow its blow; you shall never be safe nor easy by day nor by night; there shall be a pestilence walking in darkness and a destruction wasting at noonday. This would seemingly refer to that judgment mentioned in Revelation that stalks the land in search of its prey both day and night. Hearing of its coming will not alleviate any of the fear and anxiety.
That is all for tonight, my friends. Next we shall look at the final verses of this chapter and consider the final judgment of God upon His people. God willing we shall meet here again. May Christ richly bless you and your family.
Tue, Jun 9th - 9:28PM
Book of Isaiah Study
My apologies to all: I ought not to have tried to post this as a thunderstorm approached my area! Editing has been done to straighten it all up.
To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith you may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, you scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
Because you have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste (28:12-16).
God, by His prophets, said to them, "This way that we are directing you to, and directing you in, is the rest, the only rest, wherewith you may cause the weary to rest; and this will be the refreshing of your own souls, and will bring rest to your country from the wars and other troubles with which it has been long harassed.” God by His word calls us to nothing but what is really for our advantage; for the service of God is the only true rest for those that are weary of the service of sin and there is no refreshing but under the easy yoke of the Lord Jesus.What little effect all this had upon the people. They were as unapt to learn as young children newly weaned from the milk, and it was as impossible to fasten any thing upon them. As children, they have need of milk, and cannot bear strong meat, Hebrews 5:12. They would not hear (v. 12), no, not that which would be rest and refreshing to them. They had no mind to hear it. The word of God commanded their serious attention, but could not gain it; they were where it was preached, but they turned a deaf ear to it, or as it came in at one ear it went out at the other.
It was unto them precept upon precept, and line upon line (v. 13); they went on in a road of external performances; they kept up the old custom of attending to the prophet’s preaching and it was continually sounding in their ears, but that was all; it made no impression upon them; they had the letter of the precept, but no experience of the power and spirit of it; it was continually beating upon them, but it beat nothing into them. The word of the Lord was unto them Tsau latsau, kau lakau; in the original it is in rhyme; they made a song of the prophet’s words, and sang it when they were merry over their wine. David was the song of the drunkards. It is great impiety, and a high affront to God, thus to make a joke of sacred things, to speak of that vainly which should make us serious.
Those that will not understand what is plain and level to their capacity, but despise it as mean and trifling, are justly amused with that which is above them. Those that will not hear the comfortable voice of God’s word shall be made to hear the dreadful voice of his rod. God changed His voice, tried first one way and then another; the apostle quotes it as a favor (1 Co. 14:21), applying it to the gift of tongues, and complaining that yet for all this they would not hear.
God addressed Himself to the scornful men who ruled in Jerusalem, who were the magistrates of the city, verse 14. It is bad with a people when their thrones of judgment become the seats of the scornful, when rulers are scorners; but that the rulers of Jerusalem should be men of such a character, that they should make light of God’s judgments and scorn to take notice of the tokens of his displeasure, is very sad. This sad situation exists in America today, scorners sitting in the seats of judgment. These scornful men lull themselves asleep in carnal security, and even challenge God Almighty to do His worst (verse 15)You have said, We have made a covenant with death and the grave They thought themselves as sure of their lives, even when the most destroying judgments were abroad, as if they had made a bargain with death, not to come till they sent for him or not to take them away by any violence, but by old age. If we be at peace with God, and have made a covenant with Him, we have in effect made a covenant with death that it shall come in the fittest time, that whenever it comes, it shall be no terror to us, nor do us any real damage; death is ours if we be Christ’s (1 Corinthianss 3:22, 23): but to think of making death our friend, or being in league with it, while by sin we are making God our enemy and are at war with Him, is the greatest absurdity that can be. .It is the greatest folly imaginable for impenitent sinners to think that either in this world or the other they shall fare better than their neighbors. But what is the basis of their confidence? Why, truly, We have made lies our refuge. And as it was centuries ago, so it still remains true to this very day. People create lies as their ultimate refuges from reality.
There are many Christians today who are in the condition of learning a little then falling back a little. It is not that they are weaker than anybody else; it is simply that they do not spend enough time in the Word of God. We all must spend more time studying God’s Word and building upon the foundation laid by Christ.
In verse 16 God lays down the answer to the falsehood in the lives of people and deception that is abroad across the face of this planet. It is a foundation; it is a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation. One who believes in it doesn’t need to be in a hurry. He/she can rest in Him. In I Peter 2: 6-8 it speaks of Him: “Wherefore also it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” Peter made it extremely clear that this stone is Christ. If I accept Christ then I shall not be confused, confounded. I shall begin to finally see clearly, I shall see the world for what it truly is. To those who scorn the Bible Christ is a stone of stumbling, or of offense. They become “offended” at even the tiniest mention of Christ. It is almost impossible to carry on coherent conversations with people of this sort for they are continually “offended” by anything you say once they find out you believe in Christ, and that you have accepted Him as your Lord. That is what Christ said would happen once we state our faith in Him. Which simply proves more scripture as being accurate and true.
That is all for today, beloved. Next we shall cover verses 17-22 and find out what God intends for this covenant that mankind has made with death. God willing, we shall all meet here again. Until then, may God’s Word be a lamp unto your feet and light unto your path. May God order your steps, making your way straight and narrow.
Mon, Jun 8th - 10:01PM
Book of Isaiah Study
For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.
Whom shall He teach knowledge? and whom shall He make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people (28:8-11).
All tables are full of vomit. See what a repugnant thing the sin of drunkenness is, what an affront it is to human society; it is rude and ill-mannered enough to sicken the beholders, for the tables where they eat their meat are filthily stained with the marks of this sin, which the sinners declare as Sodom. Their tables are full of vomit, so that the victor, instead of being proud of his crown, ought rather to be ashamed of it. It bodes ill to any people when so stupid a sin as drunkenness has become national. Here in verse nine God speaks of the wretched stupidity of this people, that they were unteachable and made no improvement of the means of grace which they possessed; they still continued as they were, their mistakes not rectified, their hearts not renewed, nor their lives reformed.
What it was that their prophets and ministers designed and aimed at was to teach them knowledge, the knowledge of God and his will, and to make them understand doctrine, verse 9. This is God’s way of dealing with men, to enlighten men’s minds first with the knowledge of His truth, and thus to gain their affections, and bring their wills into a compliance with His laws; thus He enters in by the door, whereas the thief and the robber climb up another way. Among the Jews it was common for mothers to nurse their children till they were three years old, and almost ready to go to school. And it is good to begin early with children, to teach them, as they are capable, the good knowledge of the Lord, and to instruct them even when they are but newly weaned from the milk. The prophets taught them as children are taught.
Christ cannot teach us anything as long as we stubbornly remain children, requiring breast milk. God’s Word requires us to want to chew on real meat, to feed upon solid food that requires digestion in order to comprehend truth. We cannot learn and understand spiritual matters except by learning one precept at a time and applying each to the next. It is akin to erecting a house. First a foundation, then a floor, then walls, ceiling joists, rafters, and then a roof. Landscaping comes last, making the house look like it fits into the surroundings. Lots of people want to jump right to the landscaping in spiritual matters and end up getting lost, discouraged, or disappointed. We cannot study about angels until we understand that there is another realm that exists all around us every day. We cannot study Satan until we have studied angels since he started out as a covering angel at the throne of God. We cannot properly understand the Tabernacle of the Wilderness until we accept Christ as our Savior and understand His willingness to bridge the distance between us and Himself due to the sin issue. We cannot properly study love until we understand the nature and character of God.
Beloved, we cannot study the doctrines of God by an unorganized method. We must study God’s Word in an organized manner, and build upon the foundation stone of Christ. Once we accept Christ as real, as authentic, and allow Him to come into our heart then we can begin to understand His Word properly for His Holy Spirit becomes our teacher.
That is all for today, my friends. Next time, God willing, we shall look at verses 12-16 which will expose how most people live their lives spiritually, and what God’s solution to this problem was. Until then, may Christ come into your heart today and lift your fears, anxiety, and worry from off of your burdened shoulders. May He show you the path to obtaining rest.
Mon, Jun 8th - 1:30PM
Constructing on a sure foundation
"Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins..."(Romans 3:24-25)
Let's look at what is also written in I Peter 1:3-4: "According to His abundant mercy God has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you."
In Scripture a "hope" is so much more than a wish. It is absolute certainty, for it is based upon absolute facts of the past. The Christian's hope is based upon the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary and His resurrection from the dead. Those of us who are born again are "kept by the power of God"(verse 5). In this way our inheritance is reserved for us in heaven. Our justification comes from Christ's grace, not from any of our own works. Redemption is in none other than Christ. Jehovah established Jesus to be an atoning sacrifice, that which would regain the favor of God the Father. Propitiation is a long word meaning to appease, or reconcile. Christ shedding His precious blood for us accomplished this reconciliation, but only if we, as individuals, accept His sacrifice in our place. We must understand why we should have been the ones to pay with our very lives. Then we come to understand the magnitude of what God did for us on that cross.
The first verse of that old hymn "The Solid Rock" speaks of this hope and the foundation upon which it must be built:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
We do not base our hope on "works of righteousness which we have done, but...His mercy...regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit"(Titus 3:5). We do not trust in riches, land, possessions, or status. We trust in the Living God. Because of our sin, we have the sentence of death within ourselves which forces us to not trust in ourselves, but to trust instead in God who raises the dead to newness of life.
Our confidence, our hope is only well-founded when we completely lean on Christ, for we are all sinners but now we become washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Be sure to build upon this foundation, and none other. Christ is our corner stone, not our stumbling block.
Thu, Jun 4th - 8:25PM
Book of Isaiah Study
This chapter begins a new section identified by six judgments. Several chapters will cover these, and we will see both local and future prophecies.
Chapter 28 combines both the near and far views, past and future events, local and immediate, general and far distant. We get to see that which has been fulfilled and that which is yet to be fulfilled.
Woe to the crown of pride, in the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! (28:1)
The northern kingdom of Israel is here referred to as Ephraim. These are the ten northern tribes, also called Samaria. The picture is both literal and spiritual. As far as spiritual understanding was concerned, they were sensory impaired. To be spiritually drunk is to be filled with pride. This verse speaks of the fact that the northern kingdom might have appeared very fine but internally it was fading, it was falling apart. This is happening to America today, on the outside it might look great but within itself there is rot which is eating it from the inside out.
Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand (28:2)
Here mention is being made to Gentiles who were to come and tear the people away from their Land. This is not referring directly to Christ even though He is a mighty and strong one. The Assyrians are the most likely candidate here. They were to come and invade and destroy the northern kingdom.
The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet (28:3)
Do you agree with God here? Those who hoist up the crown of pride and place it upon their brow shall be trodden down by God. Isaiah writes about the future of the prideful here. A high level of civilization had been created in the northern kingdom with its creature comforts and outward beauty expressed in homes, gardens, streets, and trees. Doesn’t it always seem that God allows the wicked and the rich the best places to live in? It could be poetic justice. That is their reward, there will be no heaven for them upon death. The hill of Samaria is one of the most beautiful spots on the entire planet. Here is where Ahab and Jezebel lived in their palace. From this spot one can see the Mediterranean Sea, the Jordan valley, Mount Hermon, and the walls of Jerusalem. Prime real estate that.
That verse dealt with the near future in prophecy. Now we see Isaiah writing about the more distant future.
And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looks upon it sees, while it is yet in his hand he eats it up.
In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of His people (28:4-5),
“In that day” means the Day of the Lord during the Great Tribulation. We see reference to the Millennial kingdom of Christ. At that time Christ shall reside in Jerusalem and rule the entire earth. All shall obey Him and give worship to Him. Ephraim through its pride wasted away its glorious beauty, consumed all that it saw. God will draw a remnant of believers to Himself who will serve Him faithfully in Jerusalem. Christ will be a crown of glory to those who believe in Him as their Savior. He shall be a diadem of beauty.
And for a spirit of judgment to him that sits in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.
But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment (28:6-7).
In the business world, when a person begins to drink and indulge in sin they lose their sharpness in business. It is factual. God is making this same observation regarding the northern kingdom, “they err in vision.” I feel that this is still true today in our modern world. As enlightened as we might think we are, when we violate this rule of business we end up losing our sharpness of vision, our clarity of thought, and end up making errors that are very costly.
This passage applies today to any church denomination. Priests, pastors, elders, deacons, etc., who overindulge in strong drink will make mistakes in judgment, both spiritually and business wise.
That is all for today, my friends. God willing, we shall continue this study. Until then, may Christ bestow manifold blessings upon you and your family.
Tue, Jun 2nd - 7:42PM
Book of Isaiah Study
Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof.
When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore He that made them will not have mercy on them, and He that formed them will show them no favor (27:10-11).
Jerusalem may escape ruin, but the same cannot be said of all of the rest of her fair cities. Many cities shall face utter ruin due to the simple fact that they have rejected the Light, they have rejected Jesus Christ. The plain truth is spoken in verse 11 in that in each case they are people without any understanding of the real truth, of actual reality. Since it is God who has made each and every one of us, it is He that will have no mercy nor favor upon those who choose to reject His Son, Jesus Christ.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and you shall be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem (27:12-13).
Once more we find that enigmatic phrase, “in that day.” Verse 12 speaks of the children of Israel being gathered one by one from all over. This could be meaning that both the physical descendants of Israel and the spiritual descendants of Israel shall be gathered at this time. What we can definitely discern here is that Israelis shall be restored to the Promised Land. The only question is when. If we believe the Word of God, what do we do with these two verses? Spiritualize them? How could we since they talk of literal places? We must believe this is something that shall happen, in the future.
It must be future tense here for “the great trumpet” has not been blown. No one has heard this trumpet yet. So this is an event that is yet to come. Friends, when God moves the Jews into the Land, God will move them. This is applicable both to the preaching of the gospel, by which sinners are gathered in to the grace of God, such as were outcasts and ready to perish (those that were afar off are made nigh; the gospel proclaims the acceptable year of the Lord), and also to the archangel’s trumpet at the last day, by which saints shall be gathered to the glory of God, that lay as outcasts in their graves. For what end shall they be gathered together?: To worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem. When the captives rallied again, and returned to their own land, the chief thing they had their eye upon, and the first thing they applied themselves to, was the worship of God. The holy temple was in ruins, but they had the holy mount, the place of the altar,Gen. 13:4. Liberty to worship God is the most valuable and desirable liberty; and, after restraints and dispersions, a free access to his house should be more welcome to us than a free access to our own houses. Those that are gathered by the sounding of the gospel trumpet are brought in to worship God and added to the church; and the great trumpet of all will gather the saints together, to serve God day and night in his temple.
That completes chapter 27. It was a chapter showing us glimpses of what is to come “in that day.” But now we turn our eyes to chapter 28 whose theme is that of fulfilled prophecy in the past. These are things that were prophesied locally and then came to pass.
That is what we shall begin to study next time, God willing. Until then, consider why you might feel that some sections of the Bible cannot be considered as real. This is an area that needs to be “nailed down” in our minds. We need to know why the entire Bible is infallible, why we can trust it more than what we see with our eyes. And that is the “rub” here, isn’t it? The fact is, we must trust God’s Word more than what we feel or what we hear, or what we see each day. Our five senses are fully capable of misleading us, and they often do. Christ warns us that Satan will deceive us into thinking that he is an angel of light, if we trust what we see rather than what we know.
May Christ richly bless all of you, my brothers and sisters in Christ!
Mon, Jun 1st - 3:18PM
Contending for the Faith?
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3).
Jude addressed a problem that existed in his day, and it still exists in our day. It is very real among Christians today. We all know that it is easier and more comfortable just to teach and preach about the blessings of our common salvation than it is to contend for the faith. But which is more "needful?" Contending for the faith is the more needful thing in our lives. Jude used this word to express to us the importance that was placed upon him, from the Holy Spirit, which was to the point of being distressful to him. Likewise, his exhortation to us to "earnestly contend" does not mean for us to be argumentative, but rather, to agonize with intense determination. It means that we must be focused in upon this issue. Defending and contending for the faith is serious, urgent business.
What we are to defend is "the faith;" the whole body of Christian truth, wherever it is under attack. It is especially important to contend for the doctrine of creation, which is the foundation of all others, and which is the one doctrine perpetually under the most persistent attack by our Adversary.
That faith was long ago, "once delivered" to the saints of God. It feels to us like these words have been "delivered once for all for safekeeping." The Lord has entrusted us with His Word, completed and inscripted, and we must keep it, uncorrupted and intact, for each and every generation until He returns, preaching and teaching all of it to every person, to the greatest extent we possibly can.
Finally, we should note that the safeguarding of the faith was not given over to scholars, theologians, priests, bishops, elders, and pontifs. It was given into the hands of the "saints." Each and every Christian believer is commanded to "earnestly contend" for the faith. In America these days it is becoming questionable as to how much longer believers may be allowed to freely do this. The decisions being made within Homeland Security, if allowed to stand, shall infringe upon freedom of speech if you are a Christian, if you are against abortion, or against the policies of the current administration regarding immigration. You could become classed as being a domestic terrorist if you believe in End Time prophecy, or are Pro Life. Calls are being made for the head of Homeland Security to be fired. Time will tell what President Obama's true intentions are in this realm. Contend for the faith...
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