Refuge! #6

Saturday, October 13, 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?

The LORD God was very careful to make sure that His land—the Holy Land—was not defiled with the shedding of innocent blood. Therefore, He set up the cities of refuge. If someone killed another accidentally, the slayer could flee to a city of refuge. Once a court of law determined it to be manslaughter, the slayer would be returned to that city of refuge. If he left that city before the high priest died, the deceased person’s family could kill the slayer. (Consult Numbers 35:9-32 if necessary.)

Pay close attention to verses 33,34: “So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.” Jesus Christ was “the innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4). Since Israel rejected and killed her Messiah, God will send an avenger of blood to cleanse His land of the evildoers.

Hence, the Apostle Peter preached to unbelieving Israel in Acts 3:22,23: “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people” (cf. Deuteronomy 18:15,18,19). The “prophet” is Jesus Christ; unbelievers “destroyed” refers to the seven-year Tribulation (the reign of Antichrist—the avenger of blood!). Such Divine wrath carries all the way to Christ’s Second Coming.

The Little Flock preaches to unsaved Jews throughout early Acts. They must repent (recognize Jesus as Messiah) and be water baptized, to join Israel’s believing remnant. Those in the Little Flock will survive God’s wrath that is coming to rectify the shedding of Christ’s innocent blood….

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “Who are the ‘saints’ in 1 Thessalonians 3:13?and How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?

Refuge! #5

Friday, October 12, 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?

Scripture often likens God unto a refuge, a place of safety and shelter where His people can go during vexing times. “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them” (Deuteronomy 33:27). “The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence” (2 Samuel 22:3).

“The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9). “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). “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). “But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble” (Psalm 59:16). “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust” (Psalm 91:2). “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge (Proverbs 14:26).

“For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall” (Isaiah 25:4). Jeremiah 16:19: “O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction….” (See also Psalms 14:6, 46:7, 46:11, 48:3, 59:16, 62:7-8, 71:7, 91:9, 94:22, 142:5).

Finally, Hebrews 6:18: “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:…..” Israel can find refuge in Christ….

Refuge! #4

Thursday, October 11, 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?

Many are astonished to learn that God did not set the nation Israel aside at Calvary’s cross. Although she deliberately executed His beloved Son, He extended to Israel a renewed opportunity of repentance in early Acts. He poured out His Holy Spirit on her believing remnant (Acts chapter 2). Those believers preached to unsaved Israel to repent and be water baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (verse 38). Divine wrath had not yet been poured out.

The Holy Spirit declares through the Apostle Peter in Acts chapter 3: “[12] …Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this [lame] man to walk? [13] The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. [14] But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; [15] And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. [17] And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. [18] But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”

Verse 17 is highly notable. Indeed, Father God has honored His Son’s request in Luke 23:34. He has demoted the indictment of Israel from murder to manslaughter. They were spiritually ignorant, blinded; hence, they put Him to death. Premeditated killing (murder), according to the Mosaic Law, is punishable by death. Israel deserves death (destruction)! Thankfully, though, God took advantage of a loophole in the Law!! As a “manslayer unaware,” Israel may flee to “the cities of the refuge.” To where should she run? She must abscond by faith to the Little Flock, for the avenger of blood is impending….

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….”

A Small Moment Versus Everlasting #2

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

“For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:7,8 KJV).

The nation Israel is in terrible straits, but she also has a spectacular future!

While the fifth course of judgment is dreadful, it (looking into the future) is winding down. Jesus Christ returns to Earth to conclude its final seven years. Israel will be permanently restored to JEHOVAH God: He will marry her again, and marry her to her land again. He has not left her under His wrath indefinitely, oppressed of the Gentiles forever. It is “for a small moment” He has forsaken her, hidden His face from her. “In a little wrath” that is “for a moment,” He has punished her for her sins.

Now, with Christ’s Second Coming drawing closer, God will soon show Himself to Israel for the first time in millennia. He is approaching to “gather” her “with great mercies.” Wrath is passing; light is dawning. His face literally shines as He enters Earth’s atmosphere! They see Him! His people mourn that their ancestors crucified Him all those centuries ago! His enemies wail in fear—He is not happy! As He literally and physically stands in Israel’s land for the first time in 20 centuries, He shows her “everlasting kindness” and “mercy.” He is her “Redeemer,” having rescued her from sin, death, Hell, and Satan. Now, she will enjoy God’s goodness forever in His earthly kingdom, never again to be judged.

Isaiah chapter 49: “[24] Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? [25] But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. [26] And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.”

Nothing But the Blood #2

Monday, May 7, 2018

“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy” (Micah 7:18 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the second verse of Robert Lowry’s 1876 hymn, “Nothing But the Blood.”

“For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

The God of Israel “pardoneth iniquity.” Why? He “passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage.” Why? He “retaineth not his anger for ever.” Why? How can He do these things? “He delighteth in mercy.” The God of the Bible is compassionate. Furthermore, He actually takes pleasure in holding back what we sinners deserve! How will He accomplish this? The Prophet Micah does not have the complete picture. All he can say is that wicked Israel, facing divine judgment (the fifth course of chastisement—the Babylonian captivity), will be forgiven one day. The LORD God will not be eternally angry at Israel!

In his Book, Micah also speaks of the (yet future) Tribulation period and violent, wrathful Second Coming of Christ. Despite that destruction, the Holy Spirit allows Micah to see Israel’s ultimate pardon. While there will be fury, there will also be mercy. God will hold back what sinful Israel deserves. How can He be fair, and yet not punish them to the extent that they deserve? With the revelation of the mystery, the Pauline revelation, now we see. It is on the basis of Christ’s shed blood!

Returning to Romans chapter 3, part of God’s Word to Paul: “[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;….” The “remission [forgiveness] of sins that are past” (cf. Hebrews 9:22b)—the cleansing of Israel’s sins—is found in the cross of Christ.

Nothing but the blood indeed….

Solace!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to enjoy the solace of the God of all comfort.

Today’s Scripture is the Apostle Paul at the lowest point in his whole ministry. Keep reading: “[8] For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: [9] But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: [10] Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” Did you sense Paul’s great depression in verse 8?

When the Apostle refers to his “trouble… in Asia,” that would have been something that occurred in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). On its western shore sat the city of Ephesus. Here, in Acts chapter 19, Paul had preached Jesus Christ and founded the church at Ephesus. You would do well to read the chapter sometime. Paul’s preaching the truth caused a revival in that spiritually dead, pagan city. With the idol-makers losing customers, they lashed out and caused a riot. Paul could have lost his life! Thankfully, God supported him physically (but most importantly, spiritually).

Saint, when you get “pressed out of measure” in ministry, “above strength, insomuch that [you] despair even of life,” you just keep on going! After all, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” If the saints of old found solace in the God of all comfort, then we will too!

Our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?