The Worship of the Calf #3

Thursday, September 30, 2021

And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 32:4 KJV).

Why is calf-worship so prevalent in Holy Scripture?

Thrice more God refers to Israel’s calf-worship at Mount Sinai. “Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations;…” (Nehemiah 9:18). They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image (Psalm 106:19). “To whom [God] our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands” (Acts 7:39-41). Nevertheless, 500 years after Moses, the Jews resumed their calf-worship.

Once King Solomon died, Israel was divided into two southern tribes (Judah) and 10 northern tribes (Israel). This weakening of Jewish political might was God’s judgment for Solomon’s repeated idolatry (1 Kings 11:1-43; cf. Leviticus 26:18-19). Judah remained loyal to David’s house through son Solomon and grandson Rehoboam, but Israel swore allegiance to Jeroboam the servant of Solomon. Jeroboam, fearing Israel would worship at the Jerusalem Temple according to God’s true religion revealed to Moses, instituted a counterfeit religion up north. What do you suppose was Jeroboam’s preferred idol?!?

“Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt…. And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made” (1 Kings 12:28,32).

Calf-worship continues in Israel….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘trow’ mean?

The Worship of the Calf #2

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 32:4 KJV).

Why is calf-worship so prevalent in Holy Scripture?

God directs Moses, on Mount Sinai, to return to the people below (verse 8): “They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” The chapter continues: “[19] And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. [20] And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it…. [24] [Aaron speaking to Moses] And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf…. [35] And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.”

When Moses asked Aaron for an explanation, Aaron confessed he had done nothing more than take their gold, throw it into the fire, and a calf-idol “just appeared” (verse 24)! Imagine such foolishness! Some 40 years later, dying Moses reminds the new generation of Israelites of this terrible sin: “And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the LORD your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the LORD had commanded you…. And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount” (Deuteronomy 9:16,21).

Was this a “one-time” transgression of Israel? No….

The Worship of the Calf #1

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 32:4 KJV).

Why is calf-worship so prevalent in Holy Scripture?

Once JEHOVAH God redeemed the nation Israel from Egypt, and Moses ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Law, the Jewish people were left in the care of Aaron, Moses’ brother. Today’s Scripture in context: “[1] And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. [2] And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. [3] And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. [4] And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”

As far as the Bible record is concerned, here is the first of several instances of calf-worship. The Jews had grown tired of waiting around for Moses to return with the words of the one true God, so they turned their attention to pagan deities or idols. In fact, Aaron, Israel’s second-in-command religious leader after Moses, was more than eager to pacify them! Using the gold they had acquired from the Egyptians (Exodus 12:35,36), Aaron made them a “golden calf,” and they declared, most ridiculously: “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” How stupid it was to think gods they fashioned had any power to deliver them from mighty Egypt….

Our latest Bible Q&As: “Can you explain prophetic ‘burdens?’” and “Did Jesus ride two animals on Palm Sunday?

The Secret Things #12

Monday, September 27, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

In the beginning, Father God intended to glorify His Son, Jesus Christ, in Heaven and Earth. From Adam onward, an earthly kingdom exemplified the Creator’s message to man (Matthew 25:34; Acts 3:19-21). In this prophetic program, once Adam sinned by following Satan (a spirit being who had already corrupted Heaven with sin), the LORD began forming a new people in the Earth to be His kingdom of priests. The nation Israel was born, eventually receiving God’s words through Moses (today’s Scripture). As more centuries transpired, however, it became clearer Israel would not receive their King or their kingdom. In unbelief, they crucified Him, the Lord Jesus Christ! Israel’s temporary spiritual fall before God concerning Messiah’s rejection was no secret (Luke 2:34).

Of course, the God of Scripture is omniscient: Satan would not outsmart Him at Calvary’s cross (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). In eternity past, the Godhead had already determined to use that blood shed on the cross to form a second group of believers. Here is the mystery program, information God never told anyone about until He revealed it to and through the Apostle Paul (Romans 16:25,26). What would happen to the world through national Israel’s temporary fall? To save Paul (Saul of Tarsus) and those Jewish and Gentile unbelievers like him, God revealed a new Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3,4): through Israel’s fall and Paul’s ministry and message (Romans 11:11-14), the Lord would make an heavenly kingdom of people: the Church the Body of Christ.

Now, with all prophetic truth revealed through the non-Pauline Scriptures, and the Pauline Scriptures unveiling “mystery” (previously hidden) truth, we know all God’s will (Ephesians 1:8-10). As Israel was without excuse concerning the “prophetic” things revealed to them through Moses (Dispensation of Law), so we are without excuse concerning the “secret” things revealed to us through Paul (Dispensation of Grace). We know what God is doing today (Romans through Philemon), and what He is not (the rest of Scripture). “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:38).

The Secret Things #11

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

Father God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit were not surprised when Israel murdered their Messiah-King by nailing Him to Calvary’s cross in unbelief. Jesus’ death was already known to the Godhead, planned since eternity past: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:22-24).

Centuries beforehand, the Old Testament prophets glimpsed Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection in types and shadows (Genesis chapter 22; Psalm 16; Psalm 22; Psalm 69; Isaiah chapter 53; et cetera; cf. Hebrews chapter 9)—although God intentionally withheld all details until later (see 1 Peter 1:9-11). By Satan and his angels participating in Jesus’ death, they assumed the prophetic program was forever destroyed—the King’s very people had rejected and executed Him! Yet, in God’s wisdom, after Calvary transpired, He revealed to the Apostle Paul the “mystery” or secret things, the full scope of Jesus’ finished crosswork.

Had Satan been omniscient (all-knowing), he would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)! Not only would that blood shed on Calvary pay for Israel’s sins via the New Covenant, that shed blood would become the basis for another entity—the Church the Body of Christ. Both the nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ would thereby become God’s people in Earth and Heaven (respectively), thus glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ in both realms—just as Father God had wisely purposed all along (Colossians 1:14-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; Ephesians 3:1-11).

We now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

The Secret Things #10

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

As there was a secret coming of Jesus Christ to save and commission the Apostle Paul, thus commencing the mystery program and starting the Church the Body of Christ, so another secret coming of Christ (the Rapture) will close the mystery program and finish the Body of Christ. If we are ignorant of the first secret coming, then we will be of the second secret coming—and most church members are aware of neither!

In Acts chapter 9, the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saul of Tarsus to justify him unto eternal life and reveal his apostolic commission: “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles(2 Timothy 1:10,11). Again, this un-prophesied appearance of Christ anticipates His “Rapture” appearance for us yet future. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 6:14).

First Corinthians chapter 15: “[50] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. [51] Behold, I shew you a mystery [secret, un-prophesied truth]; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” This resurrection of saints, not that of Revelation 20:1-6, is the bodily resurrection of the Body of Christ (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), our corporation translation into the heavenly places so the mystery program can stop and the prophetic program can resume….

Bible Q&A #880: “Did Moses write about his own death?

The Secret Things #9

Friday, September 24, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

First Timothy chapter 1, Paul’s own testimony: “[12] And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; [13] Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. [14] And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

According to the prophetic program, there was no justification of Saul of Tarsus. Nothing in prophecy delivered anyone from blaspheming the Holy Ghost: what could not be forgiven was speaking against the third Member of the Godhead working through Israel’s Little Flock during the early Acts period: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:31,32).

Yet, Saul of Tarsus opposed the Holy Spirit working in and through Stephen and other Little Flock believers (Acts 7:51-60; Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-22; Acts 26:9-11). The dispensational change is striking! Jesus Christ’s next scheduled appearance on Earth was to pour out wrath and wage war. Yet, in Acts chapter 9, the Lord returned in grace, mercy, and peace to save Saul of Tarsus unto eternal life and commission him as the Apostle Paul, having thus begun the mystery (un-prophesied) program and the mystery (secret) Church the Body of Christ….

The Secret Things #8

Thursday, September 23, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

Colossians chapter 1: “[23]… I Paul am made a minister; [24] Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: [25] Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; [26] Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery [secret] among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:….”

The companion passage to Ephesians chapter 3 (re-read verses 1-11), it reminds us God gave a special “dispensation” to the Apostle Paul. As defined in Scripture, a “dispensation” is a body of truth God issues to mankind for a specific time (an age) for man’s faith and obedience. In Paul’s case, it is “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2): there is Divine revelation given to “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13) so he could then deposit it with us… Gentiles! Christ’s words to us are Paul’s 13 epistles, Romans through Philemon. Of course, denominationally-minded souls rebel against this, for their entire theological systems are built on the assumption Matthew through John and early Acts are applicable to us. (They are wrong; God is right.)

With the prophetic program being one portion of the Bible (non-Pauline Books), and the mystery program the other part (Pauline Books), the Word of God is thus “fulfilled” or brought to completion (Colossians 1:25).“Wherein he [God] hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:…” (Ephesians 1:8,9). Now, we know all the wisdom of God—even the hidden wisdom….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain, ‘Standing against the blood of thy neighbour?’”

The Secret Things #7

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

Whereas God in “time past” differentiated between Jew and Gentile, today is an entirely different set of circumstances. Ephesians chapter 2 continues: “[13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. [18] For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

The mystery committed to Paul’s trust is the “but now,” God’s current dealings with man. With the temporary suspension of distinguishing between Jew and Gentile, national Israel is fallen and momentarily blinded: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them…. [25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:11-14,25).

Prophetic wrath is delayed, for God is forming a “mystery” body, the Church the Body of Christ….

The Secret Things #6

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

In the prophetic program, God was forming Israel through whom He would then save and bless the Gentiles: “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” (Genesis 12:1-3).

God distinguishing between Jew and non-Jew is “time past:” “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:…” (Ephesians 2:11,12). Contrast this with Israel’s condition: “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 9:4,5).

Since Israel overwhelmingly refused to trust Jesus Christ (Matthew to early Acts), God temporarily set the nation aside and now sees no difference between Jew and Gentile. Here is the mystery (secret) program, the Body of Christ, made of believing Jews and Gentiles. Ephesians 3:3-5 again: “How that by revelation he [Jesus Christ] made known unto me [Paul] the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed [through Paul’s ministry] unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;….”