The Bread-Picking Sinners #2

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

“Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no” (Exodus 16:4 KJV).

Once God delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage, the Jews began to complain that they lacked water and food. After God provided water, He then decided to “prove” (test) them again, to see if they will follow His instructions about collecting the manna (bread) that He will rain down (today’s Scripture). He commanded them not to gather more than “one omer” of manna per person or a non-sixth day, yet the Bible says that they gathered “some more, some less” (verse 17). While Israel disobeyed God’s simple instructions, He will test them again using the manna. Will they listen to God now?

Verse 19 explains, “And Moses said, Let no man leave of it [the manna] till the morning.” What do you suppose Israel did? Verse 20 tells us, “Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.” Now, the Jews were not only ignoring God’s instructions; they were also disregarding Moses’ orders… and the camp began to stink because of it. Just imagine the putrid smell of unbelief and sin that filled God’s nostrils!

Moses then told Israel, “Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none [no manna]” (verse 26). How did Israel respond? “And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none” (verse 27). How sad!

Verse 28 says, “And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye [Israel] to keep my commandments and my laws?” For the next forty years, Israel ate that manna (verse 35), constantly disobeying God throughout that period.

Although Israel failed God’s test again and again, God in His mercy and longsuffering tolerated those bread-picking sinners.

The Bread-Picking Sinners #1

Monday, January 30, 2012

“Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no” (Exodus 16:4 KJV).

Here, we find the nation Israel, just one month after her deliverance from Egypt (verse 1). For the past few weeks, the Jews have annoyed Moses by “murmuring” (complaining) that the LORD has not provided water for them to drink (Exodus 15:22-24). Despite their ungratefulness, God gives them potable water (verses 25,27), but when they bicker about lack of food, God then proceeds to “prove” (test) them again (Exodus 16:2,3). He wants to see if Israel will listen to Him regarding manna (bread) collection. Will they?

In today’s Scripture, God promises to feed Israel by raining down manna (bread) from heaven. He then gave Israel very clear instructions about gathering that manna. Firstly, per day, each man was to gather “one omer” of manna for each person in his tent (verse 16). Secondly, on the sixth day, they were to gather two omers per person (verse 5), for there would be no manna given on the seventh (Sabbath) day (verse 26).

What do you suppose Israel did with God’s simple instructions? Verse 17 explains: “And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.” Those sneaky rascals—some individuals were picking less than an omer of manna for each person, and some were picking more! Surprised? Do not be: these sons of Abraham were like us in that they were also sons of Adam. They were sinners.

God knew what they were doing, and He compensated. Miraculously, “And when they did mete [measure] it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating” (verse 18). Even though they did not listen to God, He still took from those who gathered too much, and gave to those who gathered too little.

Sadly, Israel had failed God’s test, for they were bread-picking sinners.

Holy, Holy, Holy!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

“And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3 KJV).

In the context of today’s Scripture, the prophet Isaiah receives a vision from the LORD. Isaiah saw and heard seraphim (angelic-like creatures) praising God, singing: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts.” Four beasts (seraphim?) are also singing to God in Revelation 4:8: “Holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” Why is “holy” thrice exclaimed to God on these two occasions?

One of the most difficult Bible doctrines to understand is the Trinity, that God exists in three coequal and coeternal Persons—Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit. Although we cannot fully comprehend this doctrine, we believe it because the Bible gives ample proof that God is three Persons (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 11:7,8; Psalm 2:3; Isaiah 9:6; John 10:29,30; Acts 5:3,4; Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 3:18; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:3,8; 1 Peter 1:11; 1 John 5:7; et al.). Today’s Scripture is one such example: one “holy” applies to each Person of the Godhead. But, how can God be thrice holy? Because He is three Persons, and each of the three Persons of the Godhead is holy!

The word “holy” simply means “set apart.” For example, Jesus Christ is “holy… separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26). In Psalm 22:3, the Messiah (Jesus Christ), from Calvary’s cross, says to God His Father: “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Finally, the Holy Ghost is “holy” (He is separate from all other spirits).

God the Father is holy, God the Son (Jesus Christ) is holy, and God the Holy Spirit is holy. They are unique when compared to creation: they were not created, they do not sin, and they exist independent of everything else. These three Persons of the Godhead live in harmony with each other in full fellowship with and love for one another. Amazingly, They want us to participate in that fellowship, and saints, through Christ’s finished crosswork, we will fellowship with all three for all eternity!

Final Flight

Saturday, January 28, 2012

“Go to now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:13,14 KJV).

Gregory Jarvis, a Hughes Aircraft specialist and engineer, was scheduled to fly the Space Shuttle Columbia on January 12, 1986. His task was to accompany a communications satellite into space and ensure its launch. However, before launch, a politician replaced him, and Jarvis was bumped down to the next space shuttle launch, Challenger’s January 22 launch. When Challenger finally took flight six days later—some 26 years ago today—it exploded over 18 miles above earth, killing all seven crewmembers, including Jarvis. What tragic irony!

Life is uncertain in almost every which way. Friendships and marriages come not with a lifelong guarantee. Accidents and sudden illnesses can render you immobile, temporarily, or for life. House fires can consume all that you own. Thus, 1 Timothy 6:17 reminds us not to “trust in uncertain riches.” What you have today may very well be gone tomorrow. This is particularly true of your earthly life (today’s Scripture)… and especially your soul!

Gregory Jarvis knew not the future. Mission 51L, the 25th space shuttle mission, was supposed to have been another successful mission. Unfortunately, it would be Challenger’s last mission, and Jarvis’ too. Consider the ill-fated February 1, 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, whose ninth anniversary we approach. Its seven-member crew had no idea they were taking their final flight either. Were any of these astronauts and payload specialists ready to meet their Maker? Most probably were not.

“…NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Not tomorrow—NOW—for tomorrow you have not been guaranteed. Why not trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone as your personal Saviour today? Why not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for your sins today? Then, when your final flight comes—especially if it comes tomorrow—you will be prepared.

The Crux of God’s Eternal Purpose

Friday, January 27, 2012

“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:20 KJV).

God the Father has one grand purpose for creation—to make His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the governments of heaven and earth (Ephesians 1:9,10). But, the Bible teaches that an angelic rebellion, led by Lucifer (Satan), sought to usurp Jesus Christ’s headship in heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-18). Once Satan enticed mankind to sin and cooperate with his policy of evil, that rebellion then infiltrated earth (Genesis 3:1-24).

Today, the governments that God created in heaven and earth are in rebellion. Satan has spoiled what was created “by” and “for” the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:16,17; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:3,4; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12). How will God reconcile unto Himself the governments of heaven and earth? How will Jesus Christ eternally subvert Satan’s strongholds in those two realms? Today’s Scripture provides the answer.

Using Christ’s shed blood, God is currently forming a heavenly people for His name, the Church the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:13; Colossians 1:14). In eternity future, He will use this entity—us!—to restore His authority in the heavens. At Christ’s Second Coming, God will restore His earthly people, the nation Israel, forgive them of their sins through Christ’s shed blood (Acts 3:18; Hebrews 9:11-15; 1 Peter 1:18,19), and use redeemed Israel to reclaim His authority in the earth.

Indeed, the very thing at which Satan thought he defeated God—Calvary’s cross—is that which God will use to permanently conquer Satan’s policy of evil. Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary is the crux of God’s plans for eternity future: everything that God will accomplish in the ages to come hinges on Jesus Christ’s shed blood. In order to destabilize Satan’s power in heaven and earth, God must deal first with the sin issue in both realms, and Christ’s blood does just that in both realms. Behold the wisdom of our God!

Oh, by the way, interestingly, crux is Latin for cross….

God’s Heavenly Kingdom (Finally) Established

Thursday, January 26, 2012

“And [God the Father] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Before Jesus Christ will return at His Second Coming to establish His earthly kingdom, He will found another kingdom—His heavenly kingdom!

Genesis 1:1 reads, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Colossians 1:16 continues: “For by him [Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, dominions, principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him.” God created heaven and earth, but He also made governments to manage those two realms for His glory. Unfortunately, Satan has caused “spiritual wickedness in high places [heaven]” (Ephesians 6:12) and he is “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4): the Bible documents God’s plan to restore the governments of heaven and earth unto Himself.

Before the seven-year Tribulation begins (and before Christ’s Second Coming to establish His earthly kingdom), the Lord Jesus will rapture us, the members of the Church that is His Body, from earth, secretly taking us to heaven. As the seven-year Tribulation is unfolding on earth, we will be in heaven, appearing before Jesus Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ to receive our orders for eternity.

At the midpoint of the future Tribulation (three-and-one-half years into it), the Bible explains: “There was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon [Satan]; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven” (Revelation 12:7,8). Why will that happen? At that point, God will have thrown Satan and his evil angels out of their place in heaven to install us there (note places in today’s Scripture)!

Once God has subdued the heavenly places using us, He will come to earth to end the seven-year Tribulation and establish His kingdom here on earth with Israel, thus defeating Satan in both realms!

God’s Earthly Kingdom (Finally) Established

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13,14 KJV).

In the context of today’s Scripture, God is causing the prophet Daniel to have several visions, especially regarding the end times. What Daniel sees here is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, when Christ will finally establish the earthly kingdom that He had planned back in Genesis chapters 1 and 2… some 6,000 years before. Daniel sees:

  • “the Son of man”—Jesus Christ, is escorted in heaven by…
  • “the clouds of heaven”—angels, and they bring Him before…
  • “the Ancient of days”—God the Father, who gives Christ…
  • “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him—Psalms 2:6-8 reads: “Yet have I set my kingdom upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth.” Moreover….
  • “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed—Hebrews 1:8 says: “But unto the Son he [God the Father] saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” “JESUS… shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:31-33).

“And the LORD shall be king over all the earth…” (Zechariah 14:9a).

God Which Worketh in Me Mightily

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13 KJV).

Today, there is great discussion in Christendom about “Holy Ghost power.” Religion’s “Holy Ghost power” is simply a flesh-appealing duplication of Israel’s time-past program—Acts chapter 2—a program that God is not operating today. We cannot force God to do something He is not doing today. It behooves us to study God’s Word so we can learn what He is doing today and then, by faith, follow that.

If we have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, the Holy Ghost has permanently indwelt us (Romans 8:9,11; 1 Corinthians 3:16,17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 2 Timothy 1:14). While we Christians are never in danger of losing the indwelling Holy Spirit, we can prevent Him from working and accomplishing His will in and through us. Paul wrote, “Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). To “quench” the Holy Spirit means to hinder Him from working within us. We can choose to let God the Holy Spirit use His Word to transform us, or we can decide to do what we want to do (Romans 8:1).

The Bible says: “…the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). As you study the King James Bible rightly divided, God the Holy Ghost will take His Word and transform you from the inside out for His glory. If we let the Holy Spirit work in us, He will produce “the fruit of the Spirit” in our lives: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22,23).

Paul wrote, “whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:29). God’s “good pleasure” is that He wants to transform our daily behavior, so that it better reflects our “new creature” status in His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 4:20-24).

Saints and brethren, will you by faith let God transform you using His Word, thereby allowing Him to work mightily in you, as the Apostle Paul did? I hope you will.

No Difference in Christ Jesus

Monday, January 23, 2012

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Galatians 6:15 KJV).

In time past, God dealt with mankind on the basis of circumcision (Jew) and uncircumcision (Gentile). God dealt almost exclusively with Israel whereas the Gentiles were “without Christ” and “without God” (Ephesians 2:11,12). Today, in our Dispensation of Grace, this is not true.

Ephesians 2:13-18 continues: But now in Christ Jesus ye [Gentiles] who sometimes were far off are made nigh [to God] by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain [two] one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off [Gentiles], and to them that were nigh [Jews]. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

“Both” in the above passage refers to Jews and Gentiles. In the Dispensation of Grace, God has placed believing Jews and Gentiles into one body, the “one new man,” the “new creature” of today’s Scripture—the Church the Body of Christ. This body of believers is separate from the nation Israel. In the Body of Christ, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28; cf. Colossians 3:11).

Today, in our Dispensation of Grace, a Christian Jew is not more blessed than a Christian Gentile: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth [benefiteth] any thing, nor uncircumcision…” (Galatians 5:6; today’s Scripture). Technically, there are no Jews today. Romans 11:11,12 explains that Israel has temporarily lost her once-privileged position (today, God considers Jews Gentiles).

Unlike time past, in our dispensation, salvation in Christ Jesus is being freely offered to both Jew and Gentile: both can approach God through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork.

Preach the Gospel of the Grace of God!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14 KJV).

Saints, God has entrusted us with the greatest message of all time, “the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24), so that we can preach the greatest Person of all time, Jesus Christ. “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord…” (2 Corinthians 4:5a). As today’s Scripture indicates, if the lost world is to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, they need us to first preach this wonderful message to them!

According to James 2:17-26, God had always demanded faith and works for salvation (Abraham was the one exception; Romans 4:1-5). But, when we come to Paul’s ministry in Scripture, God declares that Sabbath day keeping, water baptism, physical circumcision, tithing, and animal sacrifices are no longer required for salvation.

Today, in the Dispensation of Grace, God is not operating Israel’s works-religion. The good news of God’s grace is that we can be saved solely by God’s grace without us doing anything but trusting in Christ alone! “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). Until Paul, God had never revealed a message like our Gospel of Grace: the Gospel of the Grace of God declares what God did for you because you are unable to do anything for God. We can be saved without works today!

The Gospel of Grace is 1 Corinthians 15:3,4: …how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood to pay for your sins, He was buried to put away your sins, and He was raised again for your justification (Romans 4:25). Place your faith in Christ  alone, and He will save you forever. Then, preach the Gospel of Grace for others to hear!