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?

Death! #5

Friday, May 15, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

Genesis 35:18 says physical death occurs when the soul separates from, or exits, the body of flesh and blood. What becomes of the physical body? Exactly what Genesis says, the rest of the Scripture repeats so eloquently.

“They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust(Job 17:16). “His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust (Job 20:11). “All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust(Job 34:15). “Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust (Psalm 104:29). “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again(Ecclesiastes 3:20). “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Scripture also speaks of physical death more bluntly, as in Job 21:26: “They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.” Of course, these “worms” are maggots, indicative of the decaying or rotting process. Job 24:19,20: “Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned. The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree.” Yet, we bring to mind that classic Bible passage of hope: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27).

Due to sin, physical death is a part of life. Nonetheless, the saint is aware of another reality—bodily resurrection….

Death! #4

Thursday, May 14, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

Only after an arduous lifetime of backbreaking work does man’s soul finally separate from his physical body. He would “return unto the ground.” The LORD God added, for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” While the Book of Genesis is frequently dismissed as figurative or allegorical myth, we cannot help but see this as literal history. Are we not physically placed into actual ground at our burial? Why, yes. There is no other way to look at Genesis: it says what it means and it means what it says.

Draw your attention to the wording: “for out of it [the ground] wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” We compare this to Genesis 2:7, Adam’s creation: “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.” Job 4:19 speaks of man, “How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?” And, Job 10:9 is directed to God, “Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?” “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust (Psalm 103:14). 

Adam’s physical body was indeed literally derived from the ground or dirt. The name “Adam” is from the Hebrew word meaning “red, ruddy.” God used preexisting material—a reddish clay, evidently—to shape the first human body. This is not at all far-fetched. An interesting scientific fact is presented here—and, again, we have no other option but to take Genesis literally. Elements found within Earth’s crust are also necessary for life, and they actually form the human body: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, and so on. Once the human body dies, its component elements return to the soil as well….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How shall Elijah ‘restore all things?’

The More Powerful Words #5

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6 KJV).

Sinful man needs to learn the lesson of today’s Scripture!

Friends, as advanced as we are, no matter what we endeavor to do, we must use parts of God’s creation. How far-fetched is the belief that we are self-existent! Whether the geological materials we extract from Earth to manufacture our tools and machines, or the biological tissues we excise from other humans in order to preserve life, or the oxygen molecules we breathe and the water molecules we drink so we can perform simple daily tasks, we must utilize what really belongs to the Creator God. We are bound to His universe, and He has granted us temporary usage of it. Had He not been a God of grace, so longsuffering and tolerant of our nonsense, He would have surely and literally wiped us all from existence by now!

Someone once wisely observed, “We think we are so smart just because we can explain a few processes in the natural world.” Again, the Scriptures are true when they remarked, “knowledge puffeth up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). Let us be honest, friends. While we know more than our ancestors did, we still know far less than the Lord does. In our own puny heads, we strut and prance, “Look what I know! How knowledgeable am I!” We flee to the “refuge” of science, where boasters gleefully exclaim, “We have no need for ‘god’ now! We can explain the universe without appealing to religions, myths, and deities!”

Considering the heights of the heavens and the depths of the oceans, where scientists and their instruments have yet to travel, we can rest assured that “science” is—like us with our tiny brains that interpret its evidence—fallible and limited. There is much more to learn from God’s creation, so we dare not inflate like balloons.

Now, here are some more powerful words. If we could invent those natural laws instead of merely explain them, if we could create from nothing a universe of matter that those laws govern, then we would really have something worth bragging about! Alas, we are not the mighty Creator… we are but lowly creatures….

Our latest Bible Q&A: Why did God let James die but deliver Peter?

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?

Of God’s Own, We Give

Monday, October 23, 2017

Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee” (1 Chronicles 29:13,14 KJV).

What can King David teach us here?

In chapter 28, dying David assembled all the rulers of Israel for to deliver a speech; among them is Solomon his son and successor (verse 9). David purposed to build the LORD God a temple, but He forbad him because he was a “man of war” (verse 3). God has determined that Solomon will build the Temple, so David encourages Solomon and gives him the pattern God revealed to him (verses 5-13). Moreover, David has stockpiled building materials—the very best (verses 14-21)!

Chapter 29 is a continuation of David’s charges to Solomon. David has prepared silver, gold, brass, iron, wood, onyx stones, precious stones, and marble stones in abundance (verses 1-5). Moreover, “the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy” (verse 9).

Beginning in verse 10 and on into verse 19 (including today’s Scripture), David offers a humble prayer. Have they really done anything special for God in giving these supplies? No. As the Creator, He spoke those natural resources into existence… they were already His anyway! Yea, when He gave Israel victory over their enemies, the Jews gained such spoils/riches. Verse 16 says: “O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.”

Today, how sad it is that sin causes many professing “Christians” to not give so much as one penny to the Lord’s work and ministry! This should not be, friends. If the Jews of old “with perfect heart… offered willingly”—with such joy—how much more we should gladly give today! “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Singing and Shouting

Sunday, November 13, 2016

“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7 KJV).

Friend, have you ever heard such wonderful music or singing that you thought it was the most beautiful in the whole world? You were so emotionally moved that it was exhilarating beyond description, right? Perhaps you rated it as the greatest in the history of music. In light of today’s Scripture, you must reconsider!

Today’s Scripture is part of the opening of the final section of the Book of Job. Satan has wrought such heartache and havoc in Job’s life, but God is about to deliver him. God must first teach Job a lesson, however. Job has rattled on and on for many chapters, and now it is time for him to hush so the LORD can talk some sense into him. God begins by reminding Job of the Creation Week. Job was not present to see it, but God tells him all about it.

If we re-read today’s Scripture, we see a contractor laying out materials from foundation to completion. Measurements are taken, underpinnings are laid, the main structure is built, and the finishing touch is added. The Lord Jesus Christ purposefully created the heaven and the earth in a very organized manner, neither accidentally nor sloppily. Today’s Scripture says that, throughout this time, the angels watched their Creator at work. When it became increasingly apparent to them what He was erecting, these creatures responded by singing together and shouting for joy! We are left to wonder just how awesome that sounded. Lucifer, God’s chief song-leader and music director, had not yet fallen and become Satan. Recall, Lucifer’s body has built-in musical instruments (Ezekiel 28:13).

Whatever vocal and musical capacities these millions upon millions of angels fulfilled during and after the Creation Week, we can be sure they would put the world’s most beautiful singers and songs to shame! One day, when we get to heaven, brethren, we can join in with them! 🙂