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….

Glory Days #2

Thursday, March 11, 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!

When God placed man on the Earth, Adam was the first king. Adam and Eve should have reigned, reproducing and multiplying, with mankind glorifying its Creator God in the Earth: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26-28).

Adam sinned, failing to bring Earth under the control of the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. He relinquished his office to Satan, thus explaining the Devil’s boasting that the kingdoms of this world were his (Matthew 4:8,9; Luke 4:5-8). Yet, that is not the story’s end. From Genesis chapter 3 onward, the LORD God established a wise plan to defeat his chief Adversary: “And I will put enmity between thee [Satan] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (verse 15).

By the time of Acts chapter 3, Earth’s renewal is still at the forefront of God’s plans: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (verses 19-21). With Israel’s restoration comes Earth’s restoration….

Glory Days #1

Wednesday, March 10, 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!

Is it not depressing to see once magnificent structures now aging, fading, and crumbling? An impressive movie theater, formerly state-of-the-art, currently empty and dilapidated because internet streaming has brought about its closure? The extravagant mansion vacated long ago, vandals stealing its treasured furnishings and weeds choking its once well-manicured gardens, now in ruins? A booming city currently a ghost town because of a natural disaster, a new interstate isolating it from society, an economic downturn? What about the time when an athlete’s physical body was stronger, swifter, and comelier? No longer in their “glory days,” these are suffering the fate of decline. Creation has experienced a similar doom.

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31). Believe it or not, at one time, planet Earth was a “heavenly” place to live. All creation—the entire universe—was in pristine condition back then. Sickness, pain, suffering, and death were unknown. There was neither war nor fighting, selfishness nor greed, corruption nor deception. Sin was totally unfamiliar to that earthly realm and its first two inhabitants, our parents, Adam and Eve. The animal and plant kingdoms were at their zenith of beauty and order. In Genesis chapter 3, however, those glory days of Earth ended most tragically.

Man’s federal head, Adam, made the conscious choice of rebelling against his Creator. With that one defiant act, man brazenly announced in the spirit of Satan, “I will live for my glory, Creator God, not yours!” At that very moment, creation was ruined, and the curse of sin was established. The celestial body we call “Earth” today is but a collection of remnants of that perfect world found in the opening chapters of Genesis. Its grandeur and tranquility long gone, nevertheless we through the eyes of faith see the breathtaking view of its future restoration. What a sight it is….

Joy to the World! #3

Sunday, December 13, 2020

“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).

The third verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.”

God’s Word to Adam just after he sinned included the following pronouncement, “…[C]ursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee” (Genesis 3:17,18). This is part of the “bondage of corruption” of which Romans 8:21 speaks. Sin tainted creation. Thorns and thistles began to grow, making Adam’s labor in the field even more grueling. Paradise was indeed lost… but not forever!

When God created the heaven and the earth, He selected a special location on Earth as His home. Exodus 15:17,18 say: “Thou shalt bring them [Israel] in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established. The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.” Isaiah 40:22 says God “stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.” While Adam’s sinful actions delayed God’s earthly kingdom, God would take care of those mistakes and still accomplish His original intention.

Israel’s mistakes further delayed God’s earthly kingdom. However, God will restore Earth’s ecology to its original, pre-Fall (pre-sin) conditions. This is true especially of Zion, Jerusalem, which will be the global and universal capital city. There will be joy and gladness, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. All believers in heaven (Body of Christ) and earth (redeemed Israel) will join the angels in song. The curse has been lifted, and Jesus Christ has been exalted (Isaiah 11:1-9)!

The Holy Land

Thursday, September 3, 2020

“And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again” (Zechariah 2:12 KJV).

A common expression in Christian parlance, what exactly is “the Holy Land” anyway?

The phrase appears just once in the King James Bible. Nevertheless, the idea is not isolated to today’s Scripture. Dating back to ancient times, even pagan idolaters have understood the Middle East as special. Of course, before there was a Bible, early man had verbally passed down from generation to generation the news of the Garden of Eden being in modern Iraq (see Genesis 2:14, the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers).

Isaiah (chapter 40) speaks of the LORD as Creator: “[21] Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? [22] It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:….” God intended the universe to be His house!

Among the hundreds upon hundreds of billions of celestial bodies, God placed “the blue marble” (planet Earth). “For the LORD hath chosen Zion [Jerusalem]; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it” (Psalm 132:13,14). Of course, Adam and Eve sinned and never saw God’s earthly kingdom. Many centuries later, the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt: “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation” (Exodus 15:13). Verse 17: “Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established.” The words “sanctuary” (think “saint!”) and “holy” are synonymous, meaning “set apart for God’s purposes.” Alas, Israel also sinned, also never seeing that kingdom.

Yet, the Prophets foretell: “The LORD is there” (Ezekiel 48:35). Jesus is thus called, “Emmanuel, God with us” (Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14). Today’s Scripture is Israel and her (His) land finally restored at Christ’s Second Coming, His (her) Millennial Kingdom!

Sin Divides #12

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

The God of creation designed human life to function the same way life operates within the Godhead. As God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost (unselfishly) seek each other’s benefit and glory rather than their own, so creation was intended to reflect those relationships. Adam was created in God’s image and likeness to be the manifestation of Divine living. The Creator issued parameters—doctrine, or teaching to be believed and obeyed—within which Adam (mankind) was to conduct himself. Harmony existed between God and man, and man and woman, until that Divine revelation was ignored in the Garden of Eden. Sin entered by Adam’s unbelief and disobedience. The doctrine that unifies was intentionally forsaken. Accordingly, selfishness and disharmony permeate human civilization.

When we reflect upon all the world’s problems—and there are more than we can fathom—let us remember that it was sin that caused (and still causes) them. Think of those suffering tremendously with sickness and disease. Creation is cursed because of Adam. Consider the endless wars, crimes, divorces, poverty, ignorance, homelessness, and so on. These are the results of poor decisions. We are stuck in a perpetual cycle of operating outside of God’s will for human existence.

Try as hard as we might, we will not eliminate the selfishness (evil) that resides in every human heart. Legislations, incarcerations, hospitalizations, denominations, conversations, proclamations, denunciations, corporations, approbations, aspirations, ordinations, educations, sensations, and orations cannot eliminate sin. What we need is expiation (payment for sin). What we need is salvation (deliverance from sin). What we need is sanctification (set apart for God’s purposes). What we need is justification (righteousness of God).

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….