Refuge! #7

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares (Numbers 35:11 KJV).

Look closely! Could there be something prophetic here?

To spare Israel absolute annihilation, God graciously provided a loophole in the Mosaic Law. If one ignorantly killed another, the slayer could flee to a city of refuge and escape the avenging relative’s hand. The deceased person’s relative could not harm him in that special city.

Similarly, prophetically, the Antichrist is the avenger of blood, coming to punish national Israel for rejecting her Messiah (Jesus Christ) (Isaiah 10:5,6; John 5:43). Thankfully, individual Jews can flee to a (figurative) “city of refuge.” The Little Flock will survive God’s judgment: membership therein (via water baptism) is protection from “the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:1-12; 1 Peter 3:20,21).

Throughout early Acts, God the Holy Spirit constantly indicted Israel for killing her Messiah. They were worthy of His wrath! However, He downgraded the charge from murder to manslaughter. Israel was spiritually ignorant when she crucified Jesus, thus allowing her opportunity to flee to refuge—Israel’s believing remnant. In Acts chapters 2-5, Israel was offered a renewed opportunity of repentance.

“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 6:18-20). Believing Jews in Israel’s kingdom program have “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” Having trusted Jesus as Messiah, they will enter His earthly kingdom when He returns to redeem them nationally at His Second Coming (cf. Hebrews 12:25-29).

“And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God (Zechariah 13:9).

The Hottest Places in Eternity #11

Thursday, October 4, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

Lost individuals who received more Divine revelation will be held more accountable before Almighty God (cf. today’s Scripture): “Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

The LORD God gave His Word to Israel and her leaders (Deuteronomy 4:6-8; Psalm 147:19,20; Romans 3:1,2; Romans 9:4,5; et cetera). Gentiles (nations, non-Jews) were not given the Old Testament Bible. As concerning “time past” (or pre-Apostle Paul; cf. Ephesians 2:11-13), God will judge Israel more harshly than He will the Gentiles. Israel had greater spiritual light than the Gentiles, yet Israel lived just as wickedly (Romans 2:17-29)! Of all those in time past, unbelievers during Christ’s earthly ministry will face more serious condemnation than those who lived previously (cf. today’s Scripture).

Out of all the dispensations, frankly, our Dispensation of Grace will carry the worst eternal penalty. Lost people who have died during the last 2,000 years (and onward until the Rapture) have rejected God’s full revelation. They spurned a completed Bible, the most information the Creator ever revealed to mankind (Colossians 1:23-29; 2 Timothy 3:16,17)!!! If Jesus Christ declared His contemporaries would be more strictly judged than Sodom and Gomorrah because they had more spiritual light (Divine revelation) than Sodom and Gomorrah, how much more judgment for those lost today who have a completed Bible and ignored the LORD God’s counsel entirely? Horrors!!!

Friends, the message of God’s salvation available in the Lord Jesus Christ has circulated the globe now for 20 centuries. How kind He has been, how gracious, how longsuffering! With each passing day, unsaved mankind refuses His goodness. “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5). Indeed, the lost are rejecting the Gospel of Grace and “treasuring up wrath….”

God’s Offer to the Nations

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

“…[T]hat God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is God’s offer to all the nations of the world today.

September 11, 2001 was a day that changed our nation forever. It was the worst terrorist attack in our two-century national history. Afterward, many Americans began to talk about “God Bless America” and “God Save the United States.” These phrases are not as commonplace as they used to be.

In the 17 years that have passed since that awful day, it is a sad commentary that “God” is now the least of our nation’s concerns. With the redefining of marriage, controversial political arena, moral decay, skyrocketing national debt, and the uncertainty as to what constitutes a human life and what does not, obviously, the God of the Bible has been largely pushed out… until we need His help, and then we cry out to Him. Unless we need Him, we rather not think about anything He has to say.

While many argue that God is judging America today for its sins, the Bible does not support such an idea. Certainly, God dealt with Israel in that manner—“Do good and I will bless, but disobey and I will curse” (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28)—but we have no relation to that Old Covenant of Law.

For the last 20 centuries, God has offered His grace to all the world’s nations, to have a right standing before Him by trusting Jesus Christ. People still die and go to hell, but today’s Scripture says that God is not judging nations for their sins. Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, God offers reconciliation to sinners, whether here or around the world. However, that grace is exhaustible, and one day, it will be replaced with His wrath (Romans 2:1-16). Still, we believers are not appointed to God’s wrath; we are saved from all wrath through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

The only hope for America—yea, for any nation—is faith in Jesus Christ alone!

*You can also see our 2011 Bible study commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It can be watched here or read here.

To Esteem the Greater Words #4

Sunday, September 9, 2018

“Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12 KJV).

Friend, do you pay more attention to the words of men than the words of God?

While precious few—even Christians—know it, an invisible and spiritual battle is being waged. It involves the souls of all mankind!

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; ) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Satan’s policy of evil prevents man from understanding what God wants him to know. Competing information distracts from the truths of God’s Word rightly divided. If we Christians are not vigilant, Satan will deceive even us. Therefore, we must grow to maturity in sound Bible doctrine! That is our only hope in guarding ourselves.

Ephesians 4:13-16: “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

Job, in today’s Scripture, did not have a competed Bible like we do. Yet, what divine revelation he had was highly important to him. In fact, he preferred God’s Word to eating physical food….

To Esteem the Greater Words #3

Saturday, September 8, 2018

“Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12 KJV).

Friend, do you pay more attention to the words of men than the words of God?

Various and sundry ideas circulate around the world. When we remember that Satan is “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), it should not shock us that most of those ideas are lies (cf. John 8:44). Our challenge is to use the Holy Bible to guide us as we evaluate and separate fact from fiction. Therefore, it is a most serious matter when people start tampering with the Bible text. The King James Bible is God’s inspired, preserved Word for us English-speaking people. Never forget that!

Consequently, it should concern us when commentators remark, “This King James word is wrong, that verse does not belong, leave out this italicized word….” The authority is taken from the Bible and given to fallible men. Instead of Scripture correcting men, men arrogantly correct Scripture. Satan is relentless in attempting to substitute his words for God’s words. Using a corrupted Bible to gauge truth and error is wholly silly. A defective standard is most useless. If we are not willing to use a measuring stick with missing numbers and/or unequally-spaced lines, why be comfortable using a perverted Bible to judge doctrine? Ludicrous!

God gave us His inspired and preserved words to provide us with “renewed minds.” After supplying 11 chapters of basic Christian (grace) doctrine, the Holy Spirit opens Romans chapter 12: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” When we read the right Bible text (King James Bible in English), and we “study…rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), we will come to recognize the truth. Then, despite all the lies swirling around us, we can esteem the greater words….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Paul circumcise Timothy but not Titus?

God Spared Not

Monday, August 27, 2018

He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence (Psalm 78:50 KJV).

On five occasions in the Bible, “God spared not.” What can they tell us about Him?

Today’s Scripture is part of a colossal song that spans Israel’s history from the early patriarchs (especially Moses) up to King David’s reign. The verse sits among those that describe the 10 plagues or judgments God poured out on evil Egypt before the Red Sea experience (see verses 43-51). “They” of today’s Scripture are the heathen Egyptians: Israel’s God was not reluctant to use death to prove to them that He alone, not their lifeless idols, was Almighty God.

“For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee” (Romans 11:21). This chapter closes Romans’ three-chapter dispensational section. As God was not lenient in setting aside unbelieving national Israel for a time, the Gentile nations (unbelieving) had better not boast as if He will not remove them from access to Him and return Israel to her esteemed position.

“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Peter 2:4). God was not at all shy in punishing the angels that followed Satan in his rebellion against the Creator. The worst of these spiritual beings are imprisoned in Hell awaiting final judgment (1 Peter 3:19,20; Jude 6).

“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5). God was not averse to cleansing the sinful antediluvian (pre-Flood) world of Genesis chapters 4-6. In four instances, He was harsh in punishing sin; the other case involved Him readily paying for sin!

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). Father God could have withheld His Son from being offered on Calvary’s cruel altar (the cross), but He hesitated not. Christ Jesus’ soul would be made an offering for our sin (Isaiah 53:10)—and, praise God, He was “spared not!”

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….