Leave Me Alone, I Am Comfortable!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

“Who hath believed our report?” (Isaiah 53:1a KJV).

No one wants to listen to you share the Bible? Now you know how Isaiah felt!

Browsing recently in a store’s “Christian” book section, I began a casual conversation with an elderly lady also looking. She claimed to have trusted Christ and I rejoiced. Then, we started talking about Bible versions and dispensational Bible study. I cautioned her how we should be so vigilant in this day of “itching ears.” She listened with interest, until… she began asking me about various popular modern-day Bible teachers and preachers (whose books stood on shelves before us). Once I gave her my assessment of those people’s theologies, she became increasingly resistant. She finally told me she was “not interested” in listening anymore. How dare I expose error and false teachers! She was so loyal to them and refused to hear anything contradictory. I wrapped up our conversation and she hurried off!

In Jeremiah’s day, we read the LORD’S words: “[30] A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; [31] The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (5:30,31). Paul told the Corinthians who enjoyed their false teachers: “For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise” (2 Corinthians 11:19). And then that great prediction of apostasy in the Body of Christ: “[3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3,4).

Few Jews listened to the Prophet Isaiah’s preaching (today’s Scripture). Paul quoted Isaiah in Romans 10:16 to refer to his own unbelieving rebellious audience. We could quote it to apply to our ministries today. Many prefer to hear the lies of religion, and we give them their wish—they want it so and so we leave them be. Saints, be not discouraged. Some still want to hear the message of God’s grace, and His Word rightly divided. Let us continue for their sakes! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did the 12 preach the Gospel of the Kingdom after Christ ascended?

The Common Prison and The Extraordinary Message

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

“Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison” (Acts 5:17,18 KJV).

Oh, man’s shameful treatment of God’s faithful apostles!

For several months now, Peter and the 11 other apostles of Israel have been preaching to their Jewish brethren, pleading with them to trust Jesus as their Messiah, that they not be consumed in His wrath when He returns. The Holy Spirit has been working mightily in and through these 12 men: they have performed various healing miracles, confirming the kingdom message that they are preaching (Mark 16:17-20; Hebrews 2:3-5; et al.).

Israel’s religious leaders know the apostles’ activities threaten their organization. In the chapter previous to today’s Scripture, Israel’s religious leaders “commanded [the apostles] not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (verse 18). Peter wisely answered, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (verses 19,20). The apostles were further threatened but not imprisoned.

Today’s Scripture is some time later, after many other healing miracles occurred, after many other sermons about Jesus Christ have been preached. Israel’s religious leaders arrest the apostles and throw them into prison. Not the prison for political or elite wrongdoers, but the common prison.” The apostles are thrown into a dangerous environment. The worst criminals—the murderers, rapists, et cetera—are in the “common prison” with them! God certainly had His eyes on these dear Israeli apostles. In fact, they miraculously survived that “common prison” until the angel of the Lord came by night to release them (verse 19)!

Israel’s apostles went on from the common prison to preach again to the common people. Praise God that they were not bitter or slack. Despite their persecution, they preached their hearts out. Nothing could keep them from talking about the Messiahship of Jesus. They eventually gave up their lives for Him! Beloved, surely, in light of what these men faced for Jesus Christ, we can endure name-calling and ostracism! 🙂

When the LORD Turns Israel’s Captivity #12

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

“That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee” (Deuteronomy 30:3 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, Moses prophesies Israel’s glorious future restoration!

The Mosaic Law declared that if Israel broke God’s laws, He would punish her with five accumulative and successive courses of judgment. That last round of chastisement was banishment from the Promised Land. Because of her national sins, Israel became increasingly open to Satan’s influence. Contractual agreement forced God to curse His beloved people!

As the Gentile armies led the Jews away captive, Israel mourned. They died in those foreign lands. As long as Israel was scattered globally, she could not be in the land that God had promised her. Furthermore, she could not accomplish His will in His land. That will all change when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back and establishes His earthly kingdom. Israel will rejoice with the establishment of the New Covenant!

The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 126:1-6: “[1] When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. [2] Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. [3] The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. [4] Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south. [5] They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. [6] He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

As Romans chapter 11 makes so plain, God still has a plan and purpose for Israel. In due time, He will fulfill it. For now, however, He is operating our mystery program. He will take care of Israel and her enemies in due course. For now, however, He is graciously offering salvation from sins, to all who simply believe on His Son.

“Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad (Psalm 53:6). 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What part of us is justified at salvation?

When the LORD Turns Israel’s Captivity #11

Monday, April 27, 2015

“That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee” (Deuteronomy 30:3 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, Moses prophesies Israel’s glorious future restoration!

Earlier in these studies, we looked at Exodus 19:5,6, God’s Word to Israel just out of Egyptian bondage. We will look at these verses once more: “[5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”

Israel failed to be God’s people. They had religion, but not righteousness. Israel had just escaped Egyptian slavery, and now they set themselves up for more captivity. By agreeing to do everything the LORD commanded them, and entering into the Covenant of Law, they ended up breaking that covenant and not becoming His people! Like all us sinners, they failed miserably. They never came close to God’s righteousness (Romans 2:17–3:20).

We read of Israel’s sin dilemma in Isaiah chapter 49: “[24] Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? [25] But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. [26] And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.”

Israel, even to this day, is not only scattered amongst the Gentiles, but she is also in Satan’s captivity. The Messiah is coming to not only redeem Israel from the nations, but from the very depths of sin and hell (Romans 11:26-29)!

We can now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why does the Bible say Jesus was hanged on a ‘tree?’

When the LORD Turns Israel’s Captivity #10

Sunday, April 26, 2015

“That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee” (Deuteronomy 30:3 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, Moses prophesies Israel’s glorious future restoration!

Yes, God was quite angry at Israel for her many centuries of spiritual adultery, her serving and worshipping silly idols. It was righteous indignation, and He was fair in carrying out Israel’s deportation. But, He promised Israel that He would not utterly destroy her that she pass off the scene forever. He would punish her (as per the Law Covenant that she agreed to!), but He, in His grace and mercy, would also forgive, cleanse, and restore her.

We read such a marvelous promise God made to Israel in Jeremiah 30:3,10,11: “[3] For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. [10] Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. [11] For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.”

As the Prophet Jeremiah pointed out above, God will also judge the Gentile nations He used to punish Israel (since those nations treated Israel excessively harsh… and they still mistreat the Jews today). He will utterly consume all the Gentiles nations who have united against Israel, He will greatly punish Israel (Daniel’s future 70th week), but He will not leave Israel completely hopeless. He is coming back for her, to turn back her captivity….

When the LORD Turns Israel’s Captivity #9

Saturday, April 25, 2015

“That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee” (Deuteronomy 30:3 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, Moses prophesies Israel’s glorious future restoration!

Jeremiah 32:37-44 is one greatest summaries of the reversal of Israel’s captivity: “[37] Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: [38] And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: [39] And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: [40] And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. [41] Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. [42] For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. [44]… for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD.” A thrilling passage!

Not only will God bring Israel (that is, believing Israel) back into their land to dwell forever and ever with Him (Jesus Christ Himself dwelling with them in that literal kingdom), He will give each Jew a new heart, that they may serve Him forever in that kingdom. He will permanently cut them off from Adam, and give them a new nature in Christ (their physical circumcision was to represent this righteousness; Romans 2:28,29; Romans 4:11). This return to the Promised Land will be possible through the New Covenant, which cancels the sin debt Israel accumulated under the Old Covenant (Ezekiel 36:16-38; Ezekiel 37:15-28; Romans 11:26-29; Hebrews 8:8-13; Hebrews 10:15-17). Israel has a most marvelous future….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is ‘Jerusalem’ my hometown?

When the LORD Turns Israel’s Captivity #8

Friday, April 24, 2015

“That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee” (Deuteronomy 30:3 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, Moses prophesies Israel’s glorious future restoration!

The Lord Jesus Christ summarized Israel’s glorious re-gathering and restoration in Mark 13:26,27: “[26] And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. [27] And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven” (cf. Matthew 24:30,31).

At His Second Coming, the Lord Jesus will send His angels to gather Israel’s believing remnant scattered around the world. They have physically survived the horrors of the seven-year Tribulation. While they have endured the Antichrist’s tyrannical reign, he has killed many believing Jews (Revelation 7:9; Revelation 20:4). As Revelation 19:11–20:7 teaches, Jesus Christ slays the Antichrist, whisks his soul off to the Lake of Fire, and slaughters the anti-Israeli troops poised throughout the Middle East. Satan is bound in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years. Israel’s believing remnant will be physically brought to the Promised Land; the Jewish saints of old, and those the Antichrist executed, will be bodily resurrected, entering that 1000-Year Reign of Christ.

As God sees it, there is no Israel today; Israel is fallen (Romans chapter 11). The “Israel” today is not the Israel of God. Men created it. Israel is in unbelief today. God is not forming Israel today; God is making the Church the Body of Christ. When we see the disarray and conflict in the Middle East today, we know that God is not involved there. If He were, there would not be a single enemy of Israel in the Middle East! There would be no such war, no such hostility against Israel. In His own time, God will move in, and take care of the Middle East, but not until He has finished our dispensation!

After God chastens Israel for breaking His Covenant of Law, He will bring them back into His land, forgiven, redeemed, and permanently….

*By the way, if you are interested, Grace School of the Bible will be hosting a three-day grace Bible conference this weekend in Chicago. It will be streamed live online, beginning tonight (7PM Central U.S. time) and ending Sunday evening. You can find more info at http://understandgrace.com/conference/gsb-soldiers-training-for-service/.