That They All May Be One! #4

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Under King David, the nation Israel reached her peak spiritually, socially, politically, militarily, and economically. Once his son Solomon ascended to the throne, Israel continued to enjoy what David began decades prior. However, many years into his administration, Solomon began romantic relationships with 1,000 (!) pagan, idolatrous women: “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father” (1 Kings 11:4). It is an understatement to say Solomon’s idolatry here was utterly disastrous for Israel!

“[11] Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. [12] Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. [13] Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.”

In the Mosaic Law many centuries previous, if Israel disobeyed the LORD, He had promised to weaken—yea, destroy—their political power. “And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power…” (Leviticus 26:18,19). Read 1 Kings 11:26-43. Once Solomon died, Israel was divided into a Northern Kingdom (Israel—10 tribes) and a Southern Kingdom (Judah—two tribes). Roughly 900 years later, Christ begins His earthly ministry, seeking to reunite Israel and Judah as in the days of His father David….

Bible Q&A #820: “Why does the LORD make a covenant with animals?

That They All May Be One! #3

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Finish reading the rest of the true Lord’s Prayer, today’s Scripture included: “[19] And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. [20] Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; [21] That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. [22] And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: [23] I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

“[24] Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. [25] O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. [26] And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

This prayer, found only in John’s Gospel Record, affords us a glimpse into the heart and mind of the Lord Jesus Christ as He prepares to lay down His life on Calvary. He is concerned about the welfare of Israel’s Little Flock—the Jewish believing remnant, especially the 12 Apostles leading it—once He departs this world and returns to His Heavenly Father. Having established this background of John chapter 17, we can define the unity amongst believers in Christ….

That They All May Be One! #2

Friday, March 19, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Keep reading Christ’s prayer: “[7] Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. [8] For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. [9] I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. [10] And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. [11] And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

“[12] While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. [13] And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. [14] I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [15] I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. [16] They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. [18] As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”

The Lord is praying for His 12 Apostles—excluding Judas Iscariot (verse 12). He desires they preach His words to others as He has preached to them….

That They All May Be One! #1

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Just prior to His arrest and death, Christ Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father. Read the opening of John chapter 17: “[1] These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: [2] As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. [3] And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. [4] I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. [5] And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. [6] I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.” (Now, re-read today’s Scripture.)

For many centuries, opposing “Christian” denominations and sects have fought bitterly. During the last several decades, however, the Ecumenical Movement has gained momentum and become increasingly popular. Its proponents urge us: “We all need to get along with each other. Jesus prayed in John chapter 17 for His followers to set aside their differences and unify as one people! Doctrine will always divide us, but we can find harmony around Jesus the Person. The Lord desires all church members everywhere to discard doctrine and just gather around His love. No matter our religious affiliation, we need to come together as one Body of Christ!”

Is today’s Scripture proof we need to “break down denominational barriers by setting aside doctrine?” Let us study to see if that is actually the intent of this, the true Lord’s Prayer….

Orange, You Protestant (?)

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:3-5 KJV).

Well, today is Saint Patrick’s Day. People of Irish descent celebrate their culture by hosting parades, parties, dances, and the like (resembling raucous Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday!). Green articles, especially clothing and decorations, are prominent. Should we as Bible-believing Christians wear green on this day, March 17?

While I am partly Irish through my mother (and possibly my father), I am predominantly French by blood. I have never actually celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day as an Irishman though. Many years back, I “wore green” as an ignorant Protestant. Then, I did research!

Who is the “Patrick” of Saint Patrick’s Day? One or two figures in church history are known by this name (one man may have been a fictional character). What we can say is that a Protestant missionary named Patrick conducted a ministry in Ireland back in the A.D. 400s. He converted many Irish people from paganism to Bible-believing Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church, claiming that Patrick was not Protestant, seems to have fabricated a “Patrick” to become one of its many “patron saints.”

Where does green come into the picture? Why is it a popular color today? Ireland’s flag, from left to right, consists of three vertical stripes—green, white, and orange. Very few understand that tripartite arrangement. Green represents Ireland’s Roman Catholic history whereas orange signifies its Protestant history. Situated in the middle is the color white, symbolizing the longing for peace and harmony between these two groups that have warred for centuries there.

What we can say as Bible believers is that we should not be aligning with or supporting Roman Catholicism within Ireland (or anywhere else for that matter). Protestantism is the Bible-believing position to take. Wearing green on Saint Patrick’s Day is to advertise Bible ignorance—you exhibit yourself as a Roman Catholic or an uninformed Protestant. Instead, wear orange, and use that as an opportunity to educate and give inquirers the Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

You may read our archived study: “Should Christians celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?

Glory Days #7

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[1] Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. [2] Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. [3] For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. [4] Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.”

Here is Israel’s future restoration, Earth’s forthcoming renewal. Souls and bodies will be healed, and the natural world refurbished. Read also chapter 36 of Ezekiel, noting especially these verses: “[28] And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. [29] I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. [30] And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen…. [34] And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. [35] And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. [36] Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Will the Antichrist be a homosexual?

Glory Days #6

Monday, March 15, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Genesis chapter 2 relates how the Garden of Eden was a beautiful place: “[5] And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. [6] But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. [7] And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

“[8] And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. [9] And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. [10] And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads…. [16] And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

As we know, however, Adam disobeyed the LORD by eating the forbidden fruit. Thus, the whole planet—including the Middle East, and especially Iraq between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (the site of the Garden of Eden; Genesis 2:10-14)—is cursed with extreme climatic fluctuations and life-threatening weather. Natural landscapes are not as hospitable as they were before man’s Fall into sin. The abundant thornless, thistle-free vegetation of Eden is long gone (Genesis 3:17-19), but today’s Scripture promises it will reappear when Christ does….

Glory Days #5

Sunday, March 14, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Today’s Scripture awaits the day when the LORD consoles Zion (Jerusalem). Not only has she suffered the terrible effects of the curse established in Genesis chapter 3, God has judged her for her people’s idolatry. Gentiles have entered her land, ravaging it with war and destruction. Her people have been taken away captive for their transgressions, their disobedience to the Old Covenant (Mosaic Law) punished. Read Leviticus 26:27-46.

“And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the LORD, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more: And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword” (Amos 7:8,9; Israel’s Assyrian Captivity). “In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished” (Ezekiel 6:6; Judah’s Babylonian Captivity a century later).

However, there is the hope of Israel’s restoration at Christ’s Second Coming: “Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Isaiah 52:9,10). “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:12).

Earth’s former glory days—the Garden of Eden—will return. When the Lord comes back, the planet will revert to pre-Fall conditions….

Glory Days #4

Saturday, March 13, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Chapter 35 of Isaiah, describing Israel’s Messiah arriving: “[1] The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. [2] It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. [3] Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. [4] Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

“[5] Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. [6] Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. [7] And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. [8] And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. [9] No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: [10] And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

Verses 5 and 6 correspond to Jesus’ healing miracles during His earthly ministry (cf. Matthew 11:2-6). Isaiah also foresees His Second Coming in wrath and glory, judgment and reign. Christ’s return brings major spiritual and geographical changes….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What was wrong with Moses’ speech?

Glory Days #3

Friday, March 12, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Since Adam surrendered his God-given authority in the Earth to Satan, God initiated a plan to make a new earthly people. It would no longer be merely Adam’s descendants, but Abraham’s descendants. The nation Israel began with the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1-3: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Chapter 3 of Galatians summarizes: “[16] Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. [17] And this I say, that the [Abrahamic] covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. [18] For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. [19] Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”

Fleeing Egypt centuries after Abraham, Israel failed to learn she would glorify her Creator in Earth only by letting His grace accomplish the promises. Instead, like Adam and Abraham, she preferred a law-based (religious, performance) system (Exodus chapter 19). Disobeying that Old Covenant (Law) given her through Moses, she was ultimately cursed of God. While Israel is ruined in today’s Scripture, the LORD will graciously restore Israel to Himself, Israel thereby glorifying her Creator in Earth….