God’s Face Shining Upon Us #5

Thursday, September 10, 2020

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah (Psalm 67:1 KJV).

For the next several days, let us study Psalm 67 and see how it is but a small glimpse into the future.

The Mount of Transfiguration actually previews Christ’s Second Coming. Matthew records: “[16:27] For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. [28] Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. [17:1] And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, [2] And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” Did you see how Jesus’ “face” glowed? This foreshadows His glorious return, when He radiates before the nation Israel!

In Paul’s Gospel, we see the invisible Godhead manifested in the Person (“face”) of Jesus Christ. Second Corinthians chapter 4: “[3] But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: [4] In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. [5] For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. [6] For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. [7] But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

King David, representing Israel’s Little Flock expecting Christ’s return, prayed: “Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake” (Psalm 31:16). As the Levitical high priests blessed Israel—“The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee” (Numbers 6:25)—so the Lord Jesus Christ will do it prophetically! 🙂

God’s Face Shining Upon Us #4

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah (Psalm 67:1 KJV).

For the next several days, let us study Psalm 67 and see how it is but a small glimpse into the future.

Read from Psalm 80: “[1] Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. [2] Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. [3] Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. [4] O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?….”

“[7] Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. [8] Thou hast brought a vine [Israel!] out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. [9] Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land…. [14] Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; [15] And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. [16] It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance…. [18] So will not we go back from thee: quicken [resurrect!] us, and we will call upon thy name. [19] Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

The curses of the Law have come upon sinful Israel (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28). God has righteously judged her land with extreme hardship—political collapse, military defeat, Gentile oppression, illness, death, pestilence, drought and famine, and so on. The Prophet Daniel confesses his people’s sin, adding: “Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the LORD’S sake” (Daniel 9:17). Likewise, Israel’s believing remnant in Psalms acknowledges their nation’s sins, and asks for Christ’s Second Coming to set everything right again….

Israel Blinded Thrice! #3

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9,10 KJV).

Friend, did you know this passage is applicable to three particular times in Israel’s history?

The Holy Spirit was poured out on Israel’s believing remnant in Acts chapter 2, bearing witness of Christ’s resurrection by performing miracles through the Little Flock. Yet, national Israel remained in unbelief, persecuting the Apostles and Prophets—Peter, John, Stephen, et cetera. Christ raises up a new Apostle, Paul, to begin the Dispensation of Grace and the Church the Body of Christ. Israel continues opposing God’s work through the rest of Acts.

With Acts closing, Paul quotes today’s Scripture in chapter 28: “[25] And when they [the Jews] agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, [26] Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: [27] For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

Read Romans 11:6-10,25-27 (cf. Isaiah 29:10). God again removes whatever spiritual light Israel had and willfully refused. Israel’s blindness will not be lifted until God gives her a sign, another miraculous demonstration intended to teach doctrine. Following the blinding of Israel in our dispensation, God will send Israel a sign, Christ’s Second Coming, as in Matthew 24:30: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” At Christ’s return, as per Romans 11:25-27, Israel is nationally enlightened and converted, and enters the Millennium!

Israel Blinded Thrice! #2

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9,10 KJV).

Friend, did you know this passage is applicable to three particular times in Israel’s history?

The Lord Jesus Christ conducted His earthly ministry for three years in Israel. Yet, they overwhelmingly rejected Him as Messiah-King. Consequently, He began to gradually withdraw from public ministry, dealing with just believers. He quotes today’s Scripture twice—Matthew 13:14-16 and John 12:37-41. Read from John: “[37] But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: [38] That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? [39] Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, [40] He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

Again, God removes whatever spiritual light Israel had and willfully refused. She is blinded a second time (beginning with Jesus’ parables). That darkness will not be removed until God gives her a sign (another miraculous demonstration designed to teach doctrine). Following Israel’s blinding in Christ’s earthly ministry, God sends Israel the sign of Christ’s resurrection, as per Matthew 12:39,40: “[39] But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas [Jonah]: [40] For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

After Christ’s resurrection, the Holy Spirit preached to Israel through the 12 Apostles (see Acts chapters 2–7). Israel is enlightened, having another chance to believe! Alas, she persists in unbelief again, still refusing to trust the Gospel of the Kingdom. God blinds her a third and final time….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does Acts 7:6 have a mistake?

Israel Blinded Thrice! #1

Monday, August 17, 2020

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9,10 KJV).

Friend, did you know this passage is applicable to three particular times in Israel’s history?

The Prophet Isaiah’s ministry preceded the Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities. For approximately 750 years, the Jews have ignored the Law of Moses by worshipping and serving idols. God’s prophets (messengers) have been repeatedly ignored. Since Israel has habitually broken the covenant, there are repercussions—a series of five judgments or chastisements predicted in Leviticus chapter 26.

JEHOVAH God orders Isaiah to preach to his fellow Jews. Since they have overwhelmingly ignored God’s Word up to this point, Isaiah’s message will be one to condemn them, to remove whatever spiritual light they have been given but obstinately refused. There is now a spiritual blinding of Israel (today’s Scripture). That blindness will not be lifted until God gives Israel a sign, a miraculous demonstration intended to teach doctrine.

Following the blinding of Israel in Isaiah’s day, God sends the nation a sign: that sign is the virgin conception of Jesus Christ 700 years later. Turn to Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” If you read the context, King Ahaz of Judah is like most Jews—in rank unbelief (verses 10-14). Israel will be released from her blindness once the sign of Christ’s conception is evident.

Israel was given the chance to believe God’s Word during Christ’s First Coming, His birth and earthly ministry (Matthew 1:18-25). However, in response to the spiritual light of Christ’s arrival (Matthew 4:12-17), Israel chose to remain in unbelief. While there was a believing remnant, as always, Israel nationally rejects the LORD Jesus. They refused to believe the Gospel of the Kingdom—that Jesus is Christ/Messiah/King. As with Isaiah, God responded by blinding them. Then, He gave them another sign so the blindness could be lifted and they could believe….

arC Ministries Is 13!

Friday, July 31, 2020

“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 13th anniversary today!!!

Thirteen 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 13 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 nine years now. For the last eight years, we have focused on developing and drafting a grace study Bible (now in its ninth 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. Four years ago, we launched our new main ministry website and now have a line of printed Bible study booklets available for sale there. Early last year, we recorded and distributed our Old Testament Survey video series. A year ago, 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 14! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who were ‘the sons of the prophets?’

Shoeless Moses #8

Saturday, June 20, 2020

“And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God” (Exodus 3:4-6 KJV).

Why did the LORD God order Moses to remove his shoes, and why was Moses “afraid to look upon God?”

Once he met the LORD in the burning bush, Moses—although corrected—reluctantly confronts Pharaoh. After intentionally delaying even more to judge sinful Egypt, God finally frees Israel with a mighty hand. For the final 40 years of his life, Moses leads Israel from Egypt to the eastern edge of the Promised Land. (The trip that would have lasted a few weeks was greatly lengthened after Israel’s unfaithfulness and subsequent wilderness wanderings!) Upon Moses’ decease, Joshua becomes Israel’s new leader and brings them westward across the Jordan River. Through a series of victorious wars, God enables them to conquer Palestine’s Gentile inhabitants.

Almost three decades later, aged and dying Joshua counsels Israel in Joshua chapter 23: “[4] Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward. [5] And the LORD your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised unto you. [6] Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;….” Alas, Israel forsook the LORD once she settled Canaan—worshipping and serving idols, and ultimately being scattered around the world!

Where Moses failed, God was faithful; where Israel was unreliable, God will be reliable. She will return to the land of her fathers in due time!

Shoeless Moses #7

Friday, June 19, 2020

“And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God” (Exodus 3:4-6 KJV).

Why did the LORD God order Moses to remove his shoes, and why was Moses “afraid to look upon God?”

Moses had forgotten the LORD’S words to Father Abraham centuries before Israel’s Egyptian bondage: “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again [the Promised Land!]: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:13-16).

Now, God’s message to Abraham in chapter 17: “[6] And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. [7] And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. [8] And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

Moses was in unbelief when he left Israel in Egypt. God had not forsaken them as assumed. Despite their temporary captivity, the Abrahamic Covenant was permanent. As per God’s faithfulness, they would return to the land in which Abraham sojourned. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did synagogues originate?

All Joy and Peace in Believing

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:13 KJV).

With coronavirus restrictions gradually being relaxed around the world, society has begun to transition back to “normal.” It remains to be seen, however, exactly how this new world will be different from the old world of just a few months ago. Regardless, in Christ, we can be “filled… with all joy and peace in believing, that [we] may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Some individuals cannot fathom how 2020 could get any worse—and we are not yet halfway through the year! Hundreds of thousands of people have died. Schedules have been severely disrupted or even abolished. Fortunes have been greatly reduced or completely lost. Businesses have closed—some permanently. Loneliness, depression, and other mental stresses have set in due to prolonged confinement and isolation. Face masks, gloves, and “social distancing” are still seen in various and sundry places.

During these last few months, the people of the world have had opportunity to contemplate eternity like never before. Better understanding their own mortality, and how this physical world can change in a moment’s notice, they have become more receptive to spiritual truth. Having additional free time, they have certainly read the Bible more. A portion of them undoubtedly got saved by trusting Jesus Christ alone as sufficient payment for their sins.

While we will not see a global revival until the Lord Jesus returns at His Second Coming, we do expect to see more people around the world continue to come to Him by faith and join the Church the Body of Christ. More and more will realize that if all they are living for is the “here and now,” they will surely be disturbed, disappointed, and hopeless. However, if they are conducting themselves with spiritual eyes, and appreciating and trusting the Word of God rightly divided, the Holy Spirit will cause them to have joy, peace, and hope (today’s Scripture). As verse 4 says, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

Careful—But Not Careful! #15

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Even as Christians, we are never, ever guaranteed a life without pain, suffering, hardship, sickness, grief, or loss. Still, that does not mean God does not love us or care about us. We look to Calvary’s cross—not our circumstances—to see God’s love for us. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

No matter our surroundings—good or bad—Father God has fully equipped us with His grace to handle everything. Second Corinthians chapter 12: “[9] And he [the Lord Jesus] said unto me [Paul], My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Philippians chapter 4 again: “[11] Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. [12] I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Contentment is not automatic but rather something “learned.” Sound Bible doctrine must be continuously absorbed. It also takes a long time to sort through the deception, misinformation, and confusion that often distract us from God’s Word rightly divided. The more difficult the situation, the harder it is to correct the distortion associated with it. Remember, we must be prepared for Satan’s attacks. That evil work is subtle, but with Romans through Philemon, we have “the mind of Christ” and can thus overcome the Adversary (1 Corinthians 2:16)! 🙂

-FINIS-