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?

God’s Perfect Timing

Thursday, December 17, 2020

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5 KJV).

As today’s Scripture indicates, the birth of Jesus Christ was no accident—God planned its exact moment from eternity past.

When God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, He purposed that man would “subdue [control] it,” to “have dominion” over it and everything on it (Genesis 1:28). Nevertheless, Adam sinned by joining Satan in his rebellion against God. Because of sin, man was now unable to accomplish on earth what God originally created him to do. God left the human race a promise, however, that there would come a Man, who would do what Adam failed to do. Instead of cooperating with God’s adversary like Adam had, this “seed of the woman” would “bruise [Satan’s] head” (Genesis 3:15).

Traveling up through the Scriptures, we see how God lays the groundwork for that seedline. In Genesis 12:1-3, or 2,000 years after Adam’s sin, we read God’s covenant with Abraham, that through Abraham a nation, Israel, will be born, and salvation and blessing will flow to the Gentiles through Israel. The seed of the woman becomes the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16).

In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and 1,000 years after Abraham, we read of God’s covenant with King David, that “his seed” will inherit his throne and reign forever. The seed of the woman and of Abraham becomes the seed of David.

About 1,000 years after David, Matthew 1:1 speaks of Christ’s birth, and declares, “…Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This is exactly what God had promised for thousands of years!

Jesus Christ’s birth was not some haphazard event of nature. God the Father had preplanned the exact moment of the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Over a period of some 4,000 years, the three members of the Godhead worked to bring about the birth of man’s Redeemer, a plan they had even before man was created! Amazing!

Joy to the World! #2

Saturday, December 12, 2020

“Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity” (Psalm 98:5-9 KJV).

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

“Joy to the earth! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.”

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world, and death by sin (Romans 5:12), plunging creation into suffering. What God had intended to last forever was now languishing away and dying off! “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit…” (Romans 8:22,23).

We humans, pinnacles of God’s creatures, are so ungrateful to our Creator. Even in such a fallen state, our universe is amazingly complex and it is a miracle it even functions at all with its abounding impediments! Rather than praising our Creator for giving us life, we complain about our “problems” and then write books, display billboards, and give lectures about His “non-existence.” We mock His name, laugh at His Bible, stick out our tongues at Him, and wag our fingers in His face. Newsflash—God will not tolerate that forever!

In His own time, Almighty God will make all things right. That means getting rid of that which (and who) is wrong/evil. As 1 Timothy 6:14,15 say: “…the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;” No matter what mankind does—cooperate with Him by faith, or protest by throwing a tantrum in unbelief—God has already determined what He is going to do. Jesus Christ, whether people like it or not, will be King over all creation!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘For such an high priest became us?’

An Anchor of the Soul #10

Thursday, October 22, 2020

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:17-20 KJV).

What can we say about this “anchor of the soul?”

“Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me…. They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word…. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word…. Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope…. I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word (Psalm 119:49,50,74,81,114,116,147).

“I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope…. Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption” (Psalm 130:5,7). “Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever” (Psalm 131:3). “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:…” (Psalm 146:5).

As our Apostle Paul wrote, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope…. 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 15:4,13). Indeed, no matter the dispensation, the “anchor of the soul” is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word revealed for that particular time! 🙂

An Anchor of the Soul #9

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:17-20 KJV).

What can we say about this “anchor of the soul?”

Satan’s evil world system will reach its pinnacle when the Antichrist rises to power. This cold-blooded politician will slaughter the Jewish followers of Jesus Christ. Such genocide will make it appear hopeless. How will Israel endure to become God’s kingdom of priests in the Earth? They are to prepare for that devastation, spiritually fortified by trusting in the certain (firm, stable, unfaltering, unwavering, constant) words of Almighty God to them. The Book of 1 Peter is designed to edify these circumcision believers during their terrible sufferings of Daniel’s 70th Week. It is a treatise of hope: they will survive until Christ’s return.

Chapter 1 reads: “[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [4] To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, [5] Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [6] Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: [7] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:… [13] Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;….”

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Bible Q&A #775: “What does ‘bruit’ mean?

An Anchor of the Soul #8

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:17-20 KJV).

What can we say about this “anchor of the soul?”

These “two immutable things”—God said it and then swore it—are those which cannot change. Being final, irreversible, and permanent, they make a firm foundation on which faith can rest. Israel’s believing remnant has “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before [them].” Like their father Abraham, they anticipate God’s coming earthly kingdom. Hebrews chapter 11: “[8] By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. [9] By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: [10] For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

No matter what happens, God’s counsel or plan for the nation Israel is unalterable. It is impossible for Him to lie. If He promised Abraham He would make a mighty nation using his bloodline, He will do it! If He promised Abraham He would bless all the world through that nation, He will do it! With the arrival of the Antichrist, though, it will look hopeless. It will seem like this bloodthirsty monster will make a full end of the Jews, like Israel will be entirely annihilated, never becoming God’s people in the Earth. Yet, there is abundant hope, and Israel finds that hope in Jesus, their great High Priest, who will not fail in bringing them into the very presence of Almighty God at His Second Coming….

An Anchor of the Soul #7

Monday, October 19, 2020

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:17-20 KJV).

What can we say about this “anchor of the soul?”

Just as the winds of false doctrine blow to push us off course in this our mystery program (the Dispensation of Grace), so Satan tries to shift the souls of the Jewish people in the prophetic program. If necessary, review Ephesians 4:14-16. After our dispensation closes, the Devil will adjust his evil world system so that it results in the advent of the Antichrist, the counterfeit Messiah, to distract Israel from God’s plan for her.

“And [the False Prophet, Antichrist’s religious leader] deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast [Antichrist]; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live” (Revelation 13:14). “And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived(Revelation 18:23). “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20).

Concerning today’s Scripture, believing Israel is walking by faith in God’s words to her (namely, the Book of Hebrews). Having been spiritually founded and grounded, she is not deceived….

An Anchor of the Soul #6

Sunday, October 18, 2020

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:17-20 KJV).

What can we say about this “anchor of the soul?”

Bear in mind 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.”

This was fulfilled in the short-term with Isaac’s birth (cf. Genesis 17:19 and Genesis 21:12, for instance). In the long-term, however, it refers to Jesus: “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” (Galatians 3:16). Yet, Israel being a blessing to the world is still future. They have not yet risen to kingdom glory in order to convert the Gentiles (cf. Isaiah 60:1-3; Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 8:20-23).

When the writer of Hebrews alludes to Abraham in the context of today’s Scripture, he is reminding his Jewish audience they are the heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant. At Christ’s Second Coming, Israel’s believing remnant will finally become God’s kingdom of priests. Until then, though, the Jews must endure Daniel’s 70th Week, and not let the Antichrist deceive them. The winds of false doctrine are blowing strongly, and Satan is attempting to distract them with error, so their souls must be anchored in sound Bible doctrine….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did God really demand Ezekiel eat excrement?