My Father’s Business #18

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

Going all the way back to Abraham, God in His grace had offered to bless and make Israel His people in Earth. However, Israel rejected God’s grace and insisted on making herself God’s people. She preferred the Law, performing to get the blessing. Exodus chapter 19: “[5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” That expression “if…then” is serious, for Israel must perform absolutely perfectly in religion or she will never be God’s people. Here is the Old Covenant.

Jeremiah 31:32 says, “…the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:….” While Israel promised to obey God’s every command (“All that the LORD hath spoken we will do”—Exodus 19:8), she did not. Like Adam, Israel sinned! “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4).

Israel refused God’s purpose and plan for her, ultimately opposing Him when He sent His Son (Jesus Christ) to minister to them. Her people overwhelmingly had no interest in doing Jesus’ “Father’s business.” She did not want to glorify Him in the Earth, and did not desire to reach the idolatrous Gentiles with God’s Word. It was Israel who conspired with the Roman government to crucify her Messiah. Moving into the Acts period, unbelief and resistance remain among the majority of the Jews. Here, God, rather than pouring out wrath, inaugurates a plan that He has kept hidden in Himself. He begins to form a heavenly people, according to a heavenly purpose He devised long ago….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is that sinless perfection in Matthew 5:48?

My Father’s Business #17

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

The Bible’s introductory verse proclaims: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Creation is divided into two realms—Heaven and Earth. Accordingly, God’s work within creation can be viewed as occurring in Heaven or occurring on Earth. From verse 2 onward, the Scriptures focus on His purpose and plan for Earth. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Job, and so on, all understood their Heavenly “Father’s business” concerned Earth.

In Genesis 1:26-28, we see the first man, Adam, commissioned to fill up Earth for God’s glory. Adam, of course, sinned and handed Earth’s governments over to Satan (cf. Matthew 4:8-10). The LORD introduced the Great Flood, cleansing Earth and restarting the human race with Noah and his family (Genesis chapters 6–8). Instead of remaining spiritually pure, mankind followed Satan nationally: the nations engaged in pagan idolatry at the Tower of Babel (Genesis chapters 9–11). God thus gave the nations (Gentiles) over to Satan and began to form the nation Israel with Abraham. Israel, taking Adam’s place, became God’s earthly people.

Genesis chapter 12 opens: “[1] 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: [2] 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: [3] 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.” After forming the nation Israel, God would give Israel His words and they would take them to the Gentiles. Here is Israel’s—here is God’s—earthly kingdom.

Matthew 25:34 summarizes, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:….” Christ’s earthly kingdom would have been inaugurated back in Adam’s day, but Adam sinned. Unfortunately, Israel sinned as well, resulting in God’s change in program yet again….

Children of Light #5

Thursday, August 29, 2019

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them” (John 12:36 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of three instances of the expression “children of light” in the Bible. What is the significance of this title?

Most Jews rejected the Lord Jesus: they were uninterested in being “the children of light.” Since they refused to believe on Him, God intervened and made them unable to believe on Him. The light of Christ’s earthly ministry was gradually withdrawn, and Israel was plunged into greater spiritual darkness (see verses 37-41, what follows today’s Scripture). Just a few days later, they demanded He be crucified as a common criminal, and He died on Calvary’s cross (see Acts 3:13-18). He resurrected victoriously and ascended back to Heaven still spurned!

Leaving Christ’s earthly ministry and entering early Acts, God lifts the blindness from Israel. Christ commissions the 12 Apostles to preach and convert Israel to Him. Even during this renewed opportunity of repentance—God wanting them to change their mind concerning His Son, moving them from unbelief to faith—Israel persisted in doubt and disobedience. By Acts chapter 7, Israel falls before God, and He sets them aside (exactly how He treated the nations back at the Tower of Babel over 20 centuries earlier in Genesis chapter 11).

In chapter 9 of Acts, Christ reached down in grace and peace to save His chief enemy, Saul of Tarsus. Many years later, Saul recounts in chapter 26: “[16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

God will reach the whole (darkened) world—even fallen Israel—through a new Gospel message. He still purposes to create “children of light….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How is the Holy Spirit ‘the Comforter?’

Children of Light #4

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them” (John 12:36 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of three instances of the expression “children of light” in the Bible. What is the significance of this title?

Romans chapter 2 remarks: “[17] Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, [18] And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; [19] And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, [20] An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.” Israel had been given spiritual light in the form of God’s Word (chiefly, the Mosaic Law), but, like the nations earlier, they chose to walk in Satan’s darkness instead.

Christ conducted His earthly ministry to recover them from that darkness. Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, spoke of Israel’s coming Messiah: “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78,79). Once Israel would, by faith, participate in God’s “light” program, He would shine in and through them and reach the pagan Gentiles worldwide.

Christ spoke to this end in Matthew chapter 5: “[14] Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid…. [16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Yet, they declined. They preferred to be like the unenlightened Gentiles….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain, ‘They be blind leaders of the blind?’

Hot Air—And Cold!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits (Ecclesiastes 1:6 KJV).

Behold, a most curious verse in a most interesting place!

Scoffers and skeptics portray the Bible writers as primitive, bumbling ignoramuses. They were not as “sophisticated” as we, “knowledgeable” as we, “enlightened” as we. Whereas they were so “superstitious,” here we are so “scientific.” The fact is, not only do we have an inflated view of ourselves, we hold a naïve view of them.

Earth’s atmosphere circulates in a highly complicated manner. We can think of it as a series of conveyor belts stretching from pole to pole, with “cells” or “belts” swirling up and down (vertically), and north and south (horizontally). Air parcels or air masses, depending on their temperature, will rise (warm) or fall (cool). This movement—greatly influenced by the Sun, Earth’s rotation, and vast ocean basins—drives our winds and the other weather phenomena we experience (as in fronts and storms).

Interestingly, today’s Scripture, written by King Solomon some 3,000 years ago, depicts wind movement just as we understand it according to modern science. The Bible is not a science textbook, but when it speaks of science, it speaks most accurately. Notice the word “circuits.” This is the idea of circles, or loops, or (if you prefer) a series of conveyor belts passing over rollers. The wind “returns” as it cycles around—down, south, up, north; or up, north, down, south. Most aptly, they are termed “wind belts.” Depending on the latitude, north or south of the Equator, wind travels along Earth’s surface in large sweeping motions.

Attempting to grasp the complexities of our natural world is quite exhausting. Our brains are fairly limited, yet our Creator has endowed us with some ability to analyze and understand His handywork. We, being so further removed from creation than the Bible writers, are actually less enlightened. Moreover, despite our technological advances, we (like them) still struggle with the basic challenges of this fallen world. We have yet to eliminate rampant crime, ceaseless war, rank cruelty, extreme poverty, absolute starvation, and so on. The human race, as a whole, has drifted further and further from the LORD God… just like the wind!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Saul of Tarsus not refuse his water baptism by Ananias?

Satisfied in Superstition #6

Thursday, August 23, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

God intended the Abrahamic Covenant to bless all nations (Gentiles) through Israel (Genesis 12:1-3). However, Israel disallowed God’s Word, thus declining to be His messengers to Gentiles. Jesus Christ saved and directly commissioned Paul to preach to all in Satan’s lie program (unsaved Jews and unsaved Gentiles—Hell-bound idolaters!).

Paul and Barnabas preached in Acts chapter 14: “[15] Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities [idols] unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: [16] Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.” Escape Satan’s darkness by trusting Christ!

Also, Paul announced: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (verses 29,30—the context of today’s Scripture). Think properly! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and forsake this pagan nonsense! “Turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Sadly, many “intellectual” Athenians were satisfied in their superstitious silliness (Acts 17:32).

Yet, Paul had converts from heathenism: “And you hath he [Father God] quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1,2).

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What if I was never thanked?

Satisfied in Superstition #5

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

Romans chapter 1 describes the nations (Gentiles) whom the God of the Bible renounced at the Tower of Babel. They refused to think about Him and His Word so He gave them up and over to their desired empty, worthless, satanic views. However, this is also true concerning individuals. People convince themselves not to think properly about the Creator God and spiritual matters. They willfully (key word!) reject the information He has freely offered them.

God caused Israel to fall nationally in early Acts when she ignored the Holy Spirit’s testimony of Jesus Christ. With their deliberate stoning of His prophet Stephen in chapter 7, He set them aside (albeit temporarily). They thereafter became like all the Gentiles—enjoying Satan’s lie program, his dark and evil world system (2 Corinthians 4:4). God could have righteously destroyed them all in wrath, but instead He poured out grace and mercy in chapter 9 to Saul of Tarsus (the leader of Israel’s rebellion against God). “Even so have these [Israel] also now not believed, that through your [Gentiles’/nations’] mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:31,32).

Saul of Tarsus became the Apostle Paul. The crucified, buried, risen, and ascended Lord Jesus Christ told him on the day of his salvation unto eternal life: “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:17,18). The Lord removed Saul from spiritual darkness, Satan’s “power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13) so he could preach to others how they too could be delivered through Christ Jesus. Paul did that in today’s Scripture….