Seven Men Named Before Birth #5

Friday, August 6, 2021

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1 KJV).

Who are the seven noteworthy men in Scripture named before their births?

As we have seen now, in each of these situations, man’s sinful flesh is at work but God’s faithfulness overcomes it. Abraham (and especially) Sarah schemed to have a child their way (through Hagar) instead of God’s way (through Sarah). Then, Hagar was punished because of the ensuing domestic conflict; regardless, God blessed Abraham’s child through Hagar, Ishmael, for the LORD “heard” (took notice) of her dire predicament.

When joyous Abraham and skeptical Sarah finally did have a son, Isaac was appropriately named because of the “laughter.” The Abrahamic Covenant now had an heir. Although King David had illicit relations with Bathsheba, and that resulting child died, the LORD was faithful in giving them another son, Solomon, whose alternate name Jedidiah meant “beloved of JEHOVAH.” It was through this boy that God would achieve the Davidic Covenant: a son of David would reign over Israel forever. King Jeroboam of the Northern Kingdom was a pagan idolater; he caused the 10 northern tribes to stumble in heathenism. A son of David, King Josiah, destroyed Jeroboam’s religious system and instituted spirituality “founded of JEHOVAH.”

Though idolatrous Israel deserved her Babylonian Captivity, the LORD used Cyrus King of Persia to “possess the furnace” (overthrow Babylon), thereby freeing the Jews and letting them return to the Promised Land. Father God sent John the Baptist to announce the entrance of His Son: He had not forgotten His covenants with Israel, but would “favor” them according to His grace and fulfill those promises despite the nation’s rank unbelief. Finally, Jesus Christ Himself took upon human flesh, to shed His blood and become “JEHOVAH-Saviour”—first and foremost of Israel, but ultimately for the whole world!

One final note worthy of our consideration. Looking at the list another way, we can read the following message: “Being heard of God results in laughter, JEHOVAH has beloved and founded, the furnace/oppressor is possessed/conquered, for JEHOVAH is gracious and Saviour.” These are certainly descriptive of Jesus Christ’s ministry—what He will do especially for Israel.

Seven Men Named Before Birth #4

Thursday, August 5, 2021

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1 KJV).

Who are the seven noteworthy men in Scripture named before their births?

After Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, the LORD addressed Satan the serpent: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). One day, a Man would be born to completely destroy Satan’s work in creation, a Man who would reverse the ruin and take care of the sin Adam invited into the world. It would take 4,000 long years to establish His bloodline—but He would come!

Throughout the numerous centuries of the Old Testament Scriptures, Israel’s Prophets foretold of that coming Messiah/Christ, that “Anointed One,” who would fulfill all the LORD’S promises to her: “Therefore the LORD himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Remember, however, sinful Israel—like the nations or Gentiles around her—began to increasingly oppose the Creator’s will. Thus began the 400 years of God’s silence. With John the Baptist’s ministry, God again speaks to stubborn Israel: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness,…” (Mark 1:1-4).

Some 700 years following Isaiah’s prophecy, the angel told Joseph concerning his wife Mary: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS [“JEHOVAH-Saviour”]: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:21-23). God Himself was made flesh, able to shed His blood for man’s sins.

Now, we summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Seven Men Named Before Birth #3

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1 KJV).

Who are the seven noteworthy men in Scripture named before their births?

As per the fifth course of chastisement in the Law of Moses, the idolatrous nation Israel was removed from the Land of Canaan via Gentile deportations and captivities (Leviticus 26:27-46). In the case of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, Babylon was its home for 70 years, circa 606–536 B.C. (Jeremiah 25:11,12; Jeremiah 29:10,11;  2 Chronicles 36:20,21). However, before Babylon thrice invaded and ultimately conquered Jerusalem, God promised a deliverer who would defeat/possess Babylon and grant the Israelites permission to return to the Promised Land and rebuild Jerusalem and its Temple.

“That saith of Cyrus [“possess the furnace,” King of Persia], He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;…” (Isaiah 44:28–45:1). Some 150 years after Isaiah, Cyrus—also called “Darius the Median”—fulfilled this prophecy concerning him (cf. Daniel 5:30,31; Daniel 9:1,2; 2 Chronicles 36:22,23; Ezra 1:1-3).

During the ministries of the Old Testament prophets, Israel repeatedly disregarded God’s messengers and remained in unbelief. Thus, the LORD warned He would eventually stop sending preachers to Israel (Amos 8:11-14). With Malachi’s ministry concluding, the Hebrew Bible was closed circa 400 B.C. No Scriptures were written either. (This is how we know the Apocryphal books are forgeries!) Finally, after four centuries of silence, God spoke to Israel again through John the Baptist’s ministry: “But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John [the Baptist, “favored of JEHOVAH”] (Luke 1:13). Even after all this time, God in His grace still favors ungrateful Israel, and will still fulfill the covenants He promised them!

Now, the last man on our list, the greatest Man, the God-Man….

arC Ministries Is 14!

Saturday, July 31, 2021

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20 KJV).

To our Lord Jesus Christ’s glory, arC Ministries celebrates its 14th anniversary today!!!

Fourteen years ago, as a 19-year-old college student, I endeavored to use Facebook to create a Bible study group for teens and college students. Thus, “ambassadors for the risen Christ ministries” was born. As I grew more in God’s Word rightly divided, I grew increasingly aware of the need for additional ministry projects. The more I had been learning drove me to share those precious truths with others. That eventually led me to look for supplementary avenues of ministry.

During these past 14 years, God’s grace has enabled us to continue the original group on Facebook. In addition, we have branched out quite a bit in other areas. This devotionals blog has been operating for over 10 years now. For the last nine years, we have focused on developing and drafting a grace study Bible (now in its tenth year). Other ministry projects include a 22-week newspaper ministry column (this devotionals blog’s predecessor), a YouTube channel with home Bible study videos, a Twitter feed, a full-length Bible studies blog, a college campus ministry, a nursing-home ministry, and our Bible-question-and-answer blog. Five years ago, we launched our new main ministry website and now have a line of printed Bible study booklets available for sale there. Two years ago, we recorded and distributed our Old Testament Survey video series. Later that year, we launched our New Testament Survey video series (which will last a few years). We hear from people all over the world!

Our name says it all: we serve the risen Lord Jesus Christ, not some “dead Jew” and not ourselves. The original motto of our ministry was, “To equip ambassadors, and to encourage others to become ambassadors.” Our primary goal is to teach Christians, and our secondary goal is to evangelize the lost world. Thirteen years later, we still endeavor to uphold God’s Word (King James Bible) rightly divided, whether it be in edifying the Christian brethren or preaching the clear Gospel of the Grace of God to this lost and dying world. For those of you who have been with us from day 1, thank you for your prayer and encouragement. We pray for you upon every remembrance! There is still plenty more for the Lord Jesus Christ to do in and through us, so let us give Him all the praise and glory as we enter Year 15! 🙂

Bible Q&As #864 and #865: “Should ministers study Scripture to prepare for teaching?” and “Does ‘touch not mine anointed’ forbid us from correcting erring church leaders?

The Great Eagle #5

Friday, July 30, 2021

“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14 KJV).

Who or what is this “great eagle?”

As Israel’s believing remnant endures awful persecution under the Antichrist, she also rejoices like tormented yet believing King David of old. History repeats itself indeed! “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about” (Psalm 17:8,9). “How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings (Psalm 36:7). “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast” (Psalm 57:1). “Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice (Psalm 63:7). Once more, the LORD Himself is the great eagle of Holy Writ—whether in time past or the ages to come.

Alas, courtesy of carnal, greedy, non-dispensational prophecy preachers and teachers forever peddling their ostentatious, nonsensical books and distributing their “tabloid” radio and television programs; the general Christian public is so unbelievably and woefully ignorant of eschatological events. (I experienced it all too often in my own life for over a decade.) Moreover, Christendom has utterly failed to appreciate the fact the Bible is totally silent regarding the United States of America in prophecy. The mishandling of today’s Scripture is one prime example. Beware!

Will America be present when the Antichrist arises? That we do not know, and we dare not conjecture. Perhaps this superpower the world has known for centuries as “the United States” will cease to exist by the time the prophetic timeline resumes. Whatever the case, prophecy involves the Middle East, not North America! Although Scripture has been repeatedly sacrificed on the altar of idle speculation and vain sensationalism, we durst not impose Western thoughts onto Divine oracles.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How was Tarsus ‘no mean city?’

The Great Eagle #4

Thursday, July 29, 2021

“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14 KJV).

Who or what is this “great eagle?”

The eagle is noteworthy in Scripture because it is swift or powerful when attacking its prey (Deuteronomy 28:49; 2 Samuel 1:23; Job 9:26; Jeremiah 4:13; Lamentations 4:19; Habakkuk 1:8). Also, it flies overhead and lives in the heavens or air/atmosphere (Job 39:27; Proverbs 23:5; Proverbs 30:19; Jeremiah 49:16; Obadiah 4). These are actually quite illustrious of the LORD God’s behavior, are they not?

Consequently, regarding His mighty power in delivering Israel from Egypt, and His supremacy in rescuing Israel in today’s Scripture, we read in Isaiah chapter 40: “[28] Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. [29] He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. [30] Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: [31] But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

As touching the Bible’s symbol for God, it is the eagle—majestic, heavenly, formidable. The four “cherubim” (spirit creatures) surrounding His throne have four faces: a lion’s face, an ox’s/calf’s face, a man’s face, and an eagle’s face (Ezekiel 1:10; Ezekiel 10:14; Revelation 4:7). These four images correspond to the Four Gospel Records, four different perspectives or portrayals of the Lord Jesus Christ: Matthew (lion, King), Mark (ox/calf, Servant), Luke (man, Man), and John (eagle, God). Incidentally, it was the Apostle John who also wrote today’s Scripture. As the Antichrist threatens believing Israel in Jerusalem and Judaea (cf. Matthew 24:15-21; Mark 13:14-19; Luke 21:20-28), God Himself—the “great eagle”—rescues them and hides them out in the wilderness until Christ returns. Satan and the Antichrist cannot harm them (Revelation 12:15-17).

We summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “‘Believe’ and ‘faith’—same or different?” and “Why did Rachel want Leah’s mandrakes?

The Great Eagle #3

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14 KJV).

Who or what is this “great eagle?”

If curious about the meaning of the eagle in today’s Scripture, we simply look up the word “eagle” in a Bible concordance and see related verses. These passages will then shed light on the verse about which we have a question. Remember, the Bible features its own built-in dictionary: we let it interpret itself. Obviously, though, it requires effort to find and read cross-referenced verses. However, the common church member is accustomed to being shallow in the Scriptures; therefore, Bible study is frequently dismissed as “boring,” and is thus rare. Yet, study and subsequent meditation is the only way to grow spiritually. Still, we are usually tempted to let someone else (preacher, priest, teacher, professor, church father, et cetera) study and think for us. Until we break ourselves of that bad habit, false teachers will continue to master us and we will remain in darkness and childishness.

The first “eagle” appears in a King James Bible in Exodus chapter 19, the LORD addressing Moses as touching Israel’s rescue from Pharaoh’s (Satan’s) bondage: “And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself” (verses 3,4). Four decades later, just before he dies physically, Moses reminds Israel of that marvelous escape: “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him [Israel], and there was no strange god with him” (Deuteronomy 32:11,12). Notice the striking parallels to today’s Scripture. Were American troops present to deliver Israel from Egypt? No! That was over 3,000 years before the United States existed!

Let us continue searching the Scriptures and forming our chain of “eagle” Bible cross-references….

Impetuous Peter! #6

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid (Mark 9:5,6 KJV).

When in doubt, close your mouth!

In Matthew 18:15-20, the Lord taught members of the Little Flock (Israel’s believing remnant) how to handle their offending each other. Peter is thus prompted to inquire in verse 21: “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” The Jewish rabbis of the day, appealing to Amos chapters 1 and 2, taught an erring brother was to be forgiven a maximum of three times. Hence, Peter assumed he was quite generous by suggesting seven—that is, doubling the rabbinical tradition and then adding one. Was this sensible of him? No, it was his fifth thoughtless utterance!

Christ’s response is verse 22: “Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” The Lord chose “seventy times seven”—that is, 490 (and not, as modern English versions say, “seventy-seven”)—He was underscoring a famed Old Testament passage. Read Daniel 9:24-27. Here, we look at verse 24 only: Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”

God has reserved a period of 490 years—70 “weeks” (70 groups of “seven years”)—to cleanse Israel’s people of their sin problem. That time spans Nehemiah chapter 2 (circa 445 B.C.) to Christ’s Second Coming (Millennial Kingdom), excluding our Dispensation of Grace. Jesus’ reply to Peter was, “Until seventy times seven.” In light of Daniel, we can paraphrase Him: “Peter, you should forgive your Jewish neighbor to the extent I forgive your Jewish nation.” Remember, the schedule of Daniel 9:24 was operating when Jesus spoke those words to Peter! Peter should have remembered the prophetic timeline governing the Lord’s dealings with His people….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is there an historical mistake in Luke 2:1-2?

Something in Which to Glory!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

“As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:12-14 KJV).

In what shall we glory? About what shall we boast? In what shall we find value?

Religion produces people who enjoy bragging all about their “dedication to God.” “Look what I did—the ceremonies in which I have participated, the many prayers I faithfully recited daily, how much I put in the collection plate, see how many pleasures I gave up to please God! Come, see how much I love Him!” Dear friends, the Apostle Paul found great value in something—but that something was not what he did. All that human flesh can accomplish pales in comparison to the work in today’s Scripture.

As Lent begins, the time when religionists temporarily (a mere 40 days) relinquish some pleasant food or activity, let us remember that our performance is often non-performance. Once we place ourselves on that treadmill of “do, do, do,” we are guaranteed to fail at some point. Human flesh is simply too weak to maintain 100 percent—that is sin! Even concerning one rule, we cannot keep it perfectly. We mess up eventually.

If ever we believe that our puny works are worth bragging about, let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul in today’s Scripture. While some boast in their religiosity (in the passage, the Judaizers applauding their rite of physical circumcision), and such denominationalists today urge us to obey their church’s instructions so they too may boast in our ability, let us eschew such foolishness. Being imperfect, all their works do not measure up to Christ’s finished crosswork. At Calvary, we find the only sacrifice that will ever please the God of the Bible. If we must boast, let us brag that He did what we could never, ever do!

See our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians observe Lent?

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #10

Monday, January 18, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

Exactly 12 spies—representing Israel’s 12 tribes—were sent to scout Canaan (Numbers 13:1-25). Centuries earlier, God had promised that land to their fathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons. However, since that original promise, Israel had been in Egyptian bondage. The LORD faithfully delivered her from Egypt, and now the Jews are headed into the Promised Land!

After 40 days, the spies returned to Moses and Israel: “[31] But the men that went up with him [Caleb] said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. [32] And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. [33] And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

Ten out of the 12 spies contradicted the LORD, claiming Israel could not defeat the Gentiles in Canaan. Therefore, the LORD spoke in chapter 14: “[33] And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. [34] After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. [35] I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.”

Israel’s sin found her out, and fractured her in twain….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the significance of Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt?