Hearing is Not Enough #10

Saturday, January 14, 2023

“And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word” (Luke 10:39 KJV).

Is hearing the Word of God enough? (NO!)

As numerous people in history heard the Word of God but placed no faith in it, as myriads today hear the Holy Bible yet refuse to trust it, so many souls in the future will hear the Word of God and persist in unbelief.

Hebrews 3:15 speaks of the ages to come: “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” See Psalm 95:7,8: “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness.” Psalms recalls Israel’s unbelief during the 40-year wilderness wanderings under Moses. Hebrews looks to the future, when countless Jewish unbelievers support the Antichrist. Having heard substantial information about Jesus being Christ, but not trusting Him as personal Saviour, their callous or unfeeling heart thus inclines toward the Antichrist (thereby leading to their eternal doom)!

As much sound Bible doctrine as we have heard, we should not only have believed it in our head but, more importantly, trusted it in our heart. If we believe in our heart less than what we have learned, the Lord is never (!) to blame for any resultant confusion, heartache, misery, or apostasy.

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe [not simply ‘hear,’ but ‘believe!’](1 Thessalonians 2:13).

And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day(John 12:47,48).

God’s Battle #9

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

“And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15 KJV).

Indeed, “for the battle is not yours, but God’s!”

Remember, Zechariah 14:1-4 is Christ’s future return in power and great glory. Keep reading: “[12] And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. [13] And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. [14] And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.” (See Christ’s earthly kingdom founded in verse 9.)

Again, verses 13 and 14 remind us of the war of today’s Scripture. Whether history or prophecy, Israel’s enemies destroy each other, leaving their material riches behind for the Jewish people to enjoy (re-read 2 Chronicles 20:23,25). Furthermore, how interesting it is that the Gentile armies who sought to besiege Jerusalem during Jehoshaphat’s lifetime match those Gentile nations united with the Antichrist against Jerusalem and Israel in the ages to come. Compare Psalm 83:1-8 with 2 Chronicles 20:1,22,23—noting especially the Moabites and Ammonites.

In both past and future, Gentiles want the Promised Land that God gave Israel forever (see 2 Chronicles 20:7,10,11), and are determined to annihilate the Jewish people to achieve that end (Psalm 83:4,5). Read Psalm 83:9-18, believing Israel praying for Christ’s Second Coming to deliver them as He did with Deborah, Gideon, David, Jehoshaphat, and so on. The prosperity, fear, and peace of Jehoshaphat’s reign that followed the war of today’s Scripture (see verses 25-30) foreshadow Christ’s Millennial Kingdom (Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 9:10; Zechariah 14:11).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Psalm 110:1 #6

Saturday, June 25, 2022

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1 KJV).

How does today’s Scripture, this Psalm of David, explain the Bible timeline for us?

One key incident in the prophetic program concerns God the Father directing God the Son to sit at His right hand in Heaven. The Son would remain seated there until it was time for His enemies to be made His footstool. A “footstool,” as the name implies, is furniture on which someone’s feet rests. Therefore, to be made a “footstool” meant utterly defeated, the victor placing his foot on the loser’s neck. Such imagery is violent and indicative of war.

As we now know, Psalm 110:1 was partially fulfilled when the Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry ended and He returned to His Heavenly Father in Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and Acts 1:9-12. “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19). The next event on the prophetic calendar, according to today’s Scripture, was for Jesus Christ to rise from His seated position. Peter proclaimed that in Acts 2:34-36, and Stephen witnessed it unfolding in Acts 7:55,56. Yet, the Lord paused prophecy so it was not completely fulfilled. He initiated that drastic dispensational change with Saul of Tarsus.

Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee” (Numbers 10:35). Psalms repeats the vocative, Arise, O LORD” (Psalm 3:7; Psalm 7:6; Psalm 9:19; Psalm 10:12; Psalm 17:13; Psalm 44:23; Psalm 132:8); here is believing Israel in the ages to come, pleading for JEHOVAH God to return and save them from the Antichrist. Isaiah 2:19-21 depicts the LORD arising to “shake terribly the earth.” Also, Isaiah 3:13: “The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.” Finally, Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence [return, Second Coming!!!] of God” (Psalm 68:1,2).

Today, Christ is once again sitting… for now….

Superfluous #3

Saturday, June 11, 2022

“For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many” (2 Corinthians 9:1,2 KJV).

What does “superfluous” mean?

To prepare them for the Antichrist’s satanic religious-economic system (Revelation 13:15-18), Christ directed His disciples to relinquish and sell their material goods (Matthew 19:21-30; Mark 10:21-31; Luke 18:22-30). Guarding against Satan’s distractions, they were not to be attached to this world’s riches (Matthew 6:19-34; Luke 12:13-34). In Acts 2:44,45 and Acts 4:32-37, Israel’s believing remnant obeyed Christ: they literally sold their personal possessions and lived off a common fund.

Of course, our dispensation introduced in Acts chapter 9 postponed the prophetic program, so the Antichrist is still future and their common fund went bankrupt. In Acts 11:27-30, a “dearth” or famine struck Judaea (the neighborhood of Jerusalem), further compounding the Little Flock’s dire financial straits: “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul [another name for the Apostle Paul].” Hence, in some of Paul’s “Acts” epistles, we read such verses as the following.

“But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things” (Romans 15:25-27). “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality [kind donations] unto Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1-3).

Here is “the ministering to the saints” of today’s Scripture….

Labour for the More Important Meat #4

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:26,27 KJV).

Where is our interest—in “the meat which perisheth” or in “that meat which endureth unto everlasting life?”

Our five senses allow us to experience the natural world in which we live, so we are frequently pressured to pay attention only to what we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Nevertheless, through the eyes of faith, we appreciate the fact that this world is passing away—a fleeting arrangement of time and space.

The Apostle John advised Israel’s Little Flock undergoing the difficulties due to the Antichrist’s brutal regime and satanic religion: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).

In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, the Apostle Paul recommended: “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Relentlessly hanging on to the material world and its pleasures is to ignore their short-lived status (see today’s Scripture). Far better it is to seek to obtain spiritual truth, that which will span the endless ages of eternity future….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #10

Saturday, March 12, 2022

“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

Dear friends, the evil world system of which King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was a part some six centuries before Christ, is the evil world system present with us at this very moment, and is the same evil world system from which the Antichrist will arise when the prophetic program resumes. As Israel’s believing remnant in history chose to separate from it—at whatever cost—so Israel’s believing remnant in the future will decide to keep away from it—at whatever cost. With them before us and after us, we are in the middle on the Bible timeline.

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul exhorts us to also isolate ourselves from false religion: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

Of course, if we must face capital punishment for the LORD’S sake as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did long ago, so be it! “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

The Burning Fiery Furnace #9

Friday, March 11, 2022

“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

We recall chapter 32 of Exodus, when Israel had music as they sang and danced naked around a golden calf idol: “[18] And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. [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.”

How significant it is that, 900 years later, musical instruments greatly contributed to another “moving” religious service out in a broad plain of Babylon (today’s Scripture). Those hypnotic melodies, those songs, stirred the hearers to become so enthralled they just spontaneously fell down to the ground before a blasphemous heathen statue: “Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up” (verse 7). This event, from 26 centuries ago, looks to the future.

In the ages to come, with respect to Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar’s city!), certain doom is announced: “And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee…” (Revelation 18:22). Musical instruments will literally play an integral part in the Antichrist’s religious system—until the Lord returns to silence them once and for all as He brings His believing remnant through the fire alive.

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #8

Thursday, March 10, 2022

“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

Paralleling the experience of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego with Nebuchadnezzar; Israel’s believing remnant suffers under the Antichrist’s regime. They must patiently await the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue them from certain death: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:6-9).

Chapter 4, verses 12-16: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

Now, we summarize this devotionals arc….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #7

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

When enumerating the many members of the Bible’s great “hall of faith” in chapter 11 of his Book, the writer of Hebrews makes a quick, passing mention of “[those saints] Who through faith… Quenched the violence of fire” (verses 33,34). Of course, these believers would be none other than Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, survivors of Nebuchadnezzar’s burning fiery furnace.

The King of Babylon himself comments on the matter in Daniel chapter 3: “[28] Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. [29] Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. [30] Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.”

Hebrews points to the time when the Antichrist—also connected to Babylon (see Revelation 14:8; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 17:5; Revelation 18:2,10,21)—constructs an “image” or idol for the world to worship (just like Nebuchadnezzar). His religious leader, the False Prophet, facilitates the heathenism: “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast [Antichrist], that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed (Revelation 13:15). Here is Israel’s believing remnant of the future, targeted for their faith as their brethren in time past….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #6

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

Never should we view Old Testament passages as merely “inspiring tales” to be shared with kids to entertain them during Sunday School. Neither should we consider them figurative stories that were placed into the Bible canon simply to “take up space.” Each and every verse of God’s Word is important—even if we are too simple-minded or willfully ignorant to appreciate it. The mature Bible student, someone familiar with other passages because of personal Bible study, is able to make connections, establish parallels, forming an enormous cross-reference system.

The immature Bible reader, upon encountering a strange or difficult verse, simply throws up hands in the air and exclaims, “I do not understand!” He or she slams the Bible closed. Well, frankly, that person was not interested in learning the truth anyway. They will never grow in their understanding because they have made no effort. God designed His Word without lazy people in mind. Unless we are willing to “work” (study) to extract the profit God placed therein, we will never have a prayer in all the world of ever understanding anything in Scripture: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

As advanced Bible students, using the Holy Spirit’s power, we recall similar verses we read elsewhere, thereby utilizing today’s Scripture to help us see into the future. For example, let me give you a reference—Revelation chapter 13. Now, read it in your own time, and, if you are truly seeking enlightenment, you will see the relationship of Daniel chapter 3 to “the ages to come.” There is a type and there is an antitype, a preview and the full demonstration….