The Precious Blood of Christ #3

Monday, September 19, 2016

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18,19 KJV).

God the Father and God the Holy Ghost think the blood of Jesus Christ is “precious.” And you?

While God did not reveal the complete meaning of Jesus Christ’s death until the Apostle Paul, we can look back into some of the Bible’s most ancient portions and see God had the death of His Son in mind all along. For example, Acts 2:23 reminds us: “Him [Jesus Christ], being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Before there ever was a creation—one angel, one devil, one human, one star, one tree, or even one atom—the three Members of the triune Godhead conferred. God the Father had a most glorious plan, God the Son would lay down His life to make that plan possible, and God the Holy Spirit would execute all the details.

God arranged it so that, as soon as sin entered the world, He began to teach man that sin meant an innocent life had to be taken, and innocent blood would have to be shed. The precedent was Genesis 3:21 (Adam and Eve); it carried on to the shed blood offered by Abel (Genesis 4:4) and Noah (Genesis 8:20). When we come to Israel in Egyptian bondage, the blood of the innocent Passover lamb saves them from God’s righteous wrath against their idolatry (Exodus 12:3-14). God said Israel is to observe the annual Passover literally “for ever” (verse 14). Throughout the Book of Leviticus, we read about various animal sacrifices and the priests’ daily shedding of animals’ blood to make atonement for sins. Israel’s national forgiveness relied on the annual Day of Atonement, involving more animals’ blood (Leviticus chapter 16).

That intricate religious calendar was God’s way of reinforcing in Israel’s mind the plan He had from before the foundation of the world. The “precious blood of Christ” was going to be shed….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does, ‘All Israel shall be saved,’ mean?

Time Travel and the Mystery #3

Friday, November 14, 2014

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7,8 KJV).

Will it ever be possible to manipulate natural laws, to travel back in time and manipulate events, that things (hopefully) turn out differently? Let us consider today’s Scripture.

The Prophets Isaiah (14:12-15) and Ezekiel (28:11-19), when describing Israel’s future re-gathering and restoration into God’s earthly kingdom, recapitulate Satan’s policy of evil and its ultimate failure. Isaiah noted Lucifer had sought to “be like the most High, possessor of heaven and earth” (Isaiah 14:14; cf. Genesis 14:19,22).

When Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” Colossians 1:16 explains: “For by [the Lord Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” Heaven and Earth were designed with offices of government to run their operations to Jesus Christ’s glory. We see only Earth’s offices, but the same terminology is used for those in Heaven. Lucifer wanted to take over Heaven and Earth, have their governments glorify him and advance his will. God told Lucifer, “Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thy traffick;…” (Ezekiel 28:18). Satan recruited many angels to rebel in Heaven with him; hence, God cast him to Earth (Luke 10:18).

Satan then attacked and recruited to his side newly-formed Adam and Eve, God’s king and queen over Earth (Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 3:1-24). Having now captured offices in Heaven and Earth, Satan relentlessly disrupted God’s efforts to restore Earth to Himself. Satan used Cain to murder righteous Abel, evil spirits to bring about a Global Flood and the destruction of most of mankind, false prophets to misled God’s people Israel, having them finally kill Messiah Jesus. The Devil became so focused on Earth because God kept His plan for restoring Heaven, a secret. As today’s Scripture says, Satan eventually learned Messiah’s death was his deathblow instead….

Words for Weary and Wounded Warriors

Friday, October 3, 2014

“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (Luke 6:22,23).

Although spoken to Israel’s believing remnant, our Lord Jesus’ words still comfort us weary or wounded Christian ambassadors.

A little brother in Christ recently telephoned me (and we later continued our conversation face-to-face). He was despondent because of the disrespectful way lost people—and even professing Christians—treated him. I told him that I could identify with that “coldshouldering” and assured him that he must not let it bother him; God has made provisions for us in Christ to withstand all of the Adversary’s darts (and occasional cannonballs!) aimed at us. Denominational divisions run ever so deep between professing Christians. The greatest spiritual division of all is between children of Father God and children of the Devil. The Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh experienced it, and the early Christians knew it, too.

Before dying, Jesus reminded His disciples, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). Later, the Apostle John amplified those words by recounting the story of Cain killing his righteous brother Abel, concluding with, “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you” (1 John 3:13). The Apostle Peter wrote to his Jewish readers who abandoned their lost lifestyles, “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:4). Beloved, people hated Jesus Christ living in His flesh; they equally hate Him living in us!

While quality Christian friends are very rare, hold them close once you find those few. We do pray for those who persecute us, that they step out spiritual darkness and into the light of God’s grace to us in Christ; still, we will not let their shunning of us, bother us! 🙂

Cain Came and Brought Shame #10

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD” (Genesis 4:1 KJV).

Can you identify the very significant phrase our King James Bible contains in today’s Scripture, and why it was said?

The Bible student understands what began in the book of Genesis is brought to its ultimate fulfillment in the book of the Revelation. God’s purpose and plan for creation initiated (and delayed) in Genesis is thus brought to fruition in the Revelation; Satan’s evil world system that began in Genesis is destroyed in the Revelation.

One of the primary ways that God will comfort believing Israel during those most difficult years—the horrors of the seven-year Tribulation—is to teach them using types, previews of their situation, found in the Holy Bible’s historical narratives. All of the Old Testament Scriptures about enduring hardship (especially the Psalms) will be critical to believing Israel’s spiritual edification as Satan tries their faith.

Israel will particularly benefit from the Bible’s accounts of how their ancestors were delivered from Pharaoh (a type of Antichrist), how David was delivered from Saul (a type of Antichrist), how Daniel’s three friends were delivered from Nebuchadnezzar (a type of Antichrist), how Daniel endured the lions’ den (a type of the Tribulation), how Job survived his awful ordeals (a type of the Tribulation), and so on. JEHOVAH was faithful to all of these saints, and He will be faithful to Israel’s believing remnant now facing the Antichrist’s wrath.

Regarding the story of Cain and Abel, Israel will learn how Abel gave his life for the very God they will now be serving to the Antichrist’s hatred. They need not be discouraged; they need not marvel that the world hates them (1 John 3:11-13). Even if they lose their lives (and many Messianic Jews will perish; Matthew 10:39; Revelation 20:4), Abel’s testimony still affirms that God is faithful (Hebrews 11:4). After all, Jesus Christ will return to defeat Satan, the Antichrist, and all of Earth’s wicked, and believing Israel will be resurrected bodily, to enter God’s earthly kingdom (Revelation 19:11–20:6).

Cain brought shame, but the real Messiah, Jesus, what joy and hope He will bring! 🙂

Cain Came and Brought Shame #9

Monday, June 30, 2014

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD” (Genesis 4:1 KJV).

Can you identify the very significant phrase our King James Bible contains in today’s Scripture, and why it was said?

Daniel 9:26,27 says, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease….”

Firstly, the Holy Ghost moved the Prophet, 600 years in advance, to predict Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. Secondly, Daniel foretold that “the prince,” someone after Messiah (a false Messiah), would arise and make a covenant with “many” (chiefly Israel, but probably with her Middle-East enemies also). The Apostle John indicates that this “one-week” covenant, or peace treaty, is actually a week of years (that is, seven years; see Revelation 11:3 and Revelation 12:6, which divide the seven years into two 1260-day periods).

There has not been a Jewish Temple operating in Jerusalem since A.D. 70 (when the Romans destroyed it), so the Antichrist will rebuild it and resume the sacrifices as commanded in the Old Testament (which sacrifices God forbade after Jesus Christ’s once-for-allsacrifice of Himself; Hebrews 10:1-31). Israel’s believing remnant will recognize the Antichrist’s religion as satanic, but the rest of Israel will be duped, captivated by its “godly appearance,” thinking they are serving JEHOVAH (after all, the Antichrist will be quoting Moses’ books as proof of his religion’s “godliness!”).

Halfway into those seven years, the Antichrist will force all sacrifices to cease (Daniel 9:27, quoted above). As Paul wrote, he will then sit in the Temple, “shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4). The Antichrist will demand worship (Revelation 13:1-18), and just as Abel refused to convert to Cain’s “sacrificial system,” so believing Jews will decline to partake of Antichrist’s wickedness. Hence, we read about the saints “beheaded for the witness of Jesus” (Revelation 20:4; cf. Revelation 6:9-11).

While we have merely scratched the surface, let us summarize this devotionals arc….

Cain Came and Brought Shame #8

Sunday, June 29, 2014

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD” (Genesis 4:1 KJV).

Can you identify the very significant phrase our King James Bible contains in today’s Scripture, and why it was said?

With our completed Bible in hand, we can look back and see what damage Cain inflicted—especially the long-term effects. His wickedness not only caused the murder of God’s first prophet (Luke 11:50,51), but it began a way/method to approach God on the basis of our will and our preferences. Even today, the same works-religion system afflicts and deceives the (Jesus-rejecting) world.

Describing unbelieving Jews living during the seven-year Tribulation, the time period after our Dispensation of Grace, Jude wrote: “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core [Korah]” (verse 11). Although beyond the scope of our current discussion, suffice it to say that Jude selected three specific Old Testament accounts of rebellions against the God of the Bible. The Holy Spirit led Jude to mention Cain first. Again, instead of being God’s Messiah/Christ (as Eve assumed; today’s Scripture), Cain was the person who began a “way” (system, manner) of attempting to approach the God of creation on the basis of our will, trying to reach Him how we choose rather than how He instructed.

Cain was certainly not the Messiah. Actually, he paved the way for the Antichrist, the counterfeit Messiah, and his satanic religious system (which would arise at least 6,000 years later)! Cain is a picture of the Antichrist and his followers; Abel is a type of believing Israel, God’s remnant of believers whom the unbelievers persecute. The Prophet Daniel described how the Antichrist will “destroy the mighty and holy people… and by peace shall destroy many” (8:24,25) and “speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High” (7:25). In the spirit/attitude of Cain, the Antichrist will speak against the God of the Bible and execute God’s people….

Cain Came and Brought Shame #7

Saturday, June 28, 2014

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD” (Genesis 4:1 KJV).

Can you identify the very significant phrase our King James Bible contains in today’s Scripture, and why it was said?

Jesus Christ forewarned Israel’s religious leaders: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (John 5:43). Christ was referring to the climax of Satan’s policy of evil, when “the man of sin, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) would arise in the world’s governmental structure. National Israel refused Jesus as their King; hence, God would give them what they wanted (Satan’s error, spiritual ignorance). Instead, Israel would receive an “antichrist,” a counterfeit Messiah, someone who would fool them into believing he was their true Redeemer.

Intriguingly, this significantly parallels the passages of Cain’s birth and his murder of Abel. Adam and Eve had high hopes for Cain, going so far as to name him in reference to the Redeemer (Genesis 3:15 cf. today’s Scripture). However, they thought little of Abel, who would actually become God’s prophet and believer (God’s spokesman; Luke 11:50,51)—the name “Abel” means “vanity, emptiness.” In a tragic reversal, Cain turned out to be a mere professing believer; he disappointed his parents by killing righteous Abel (God’s child)!

Similarly, Israel saw no value in the true Messiah, Jesus, but she will have such high hopes for the Antichrist, for he will promise Israel peace and deliverance (and like Cain, the Antichrist will be manifested to be a disappointment). As Cain founded a civilization built on false religion (Genesis 4:15-17), so the Antichrist will (Revelation 13:1-18). Like Cain, the Antichrist will initially fool mankind, and introduce his own religious system, “the way of Cain” (Jude 11). As there was a “mark” associated with Cain (Genesis 4:15), so a “mark” will be associated with the antichrist’s religion (Revelation 13:16,17). Like Cain murdering Abel for following the Lord, the antichrist and his followers will kill believing Israel, those who trust Jesus Christ and reject that false religious system….