Joy to the World! #3

Thursday, December 13, 2018

“For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

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

“No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.”

God’s Word to Adam just after he sinned included the following pronouncement, “…[C]ursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee” (Genesis 3:17,18). This is part of the “bondage of corruption” of which Romans 8:21 speaks. Sin tainted creation. Thorns and thistles began to grow, making Adam’s labor in the field even more grueling. Paradise was indeed lost… but not forever!

When God created the heaven and the earth, He selected a special location on Earth as His home. Exodus 15:17,18 say: “Thou shalt bring them [Israel] in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established. The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.” Isaiah 40:22 says God “stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.” While Adam’s sinful actions delayed God’s earthly kingdom, God would take care of those mistakes and still accomplish His original intention.

Israel’s mistakes further delayed God’s earthly kingdom. However, God will restore Earth’s ecology to its original, pre-Fall (pre-sin) conditions. This is true especially of Zion, Jerusalem, which will be the global and universal capital city. There will be joy and gladness, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. All believers in heaven (Body of Christ) and earth (redeemed Israel) will join the angels in song. The curse has been lifted, and Jesus Christ has been exalted (Isaiah 11:1-9)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How would God have us view veterans?

Joy to the World! #2

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

“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!

Distracted Eutychus Dies! #2

Saturday, November 3, 2018

And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead (Acts 20:9 KJV).

What can the context of today’s Scripture teach us about the Dispensation of Grace?

“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight” (verse 7). Paul is preaching, not only in Troas in the A.D. first century, but worldwide today and beyond—the entire Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:1,2). Today’s Scripture says he is “long preaching.” The Dispensation of Grace has operated for nearly 2,000 years now: Almighty God has been “longsuffering,” extending grace and peace to this lost, dying, and Christ-rejecting world (1 Timothy 1:15,16; 2 Peter 3:9,15,16). Paul is “ready to depart on the morrow.” At any moment, his preaching will cease. His grace message, his mystery ministry, and our dispensation will thus conclude with the Church the Body of Christ being raptured into Heaven.

“And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together” (verse 8). Christians have assembled to listen, hear, and see God’s grace exhibited. The “many lights in the upper chamber” signify abundant spiritual illumination brought by God’s Word—particularly, Pauline doctrine. Psalm 119: “[105] Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path…. [130] The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” Ephesians chapter 1: “[17] That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,….” When the Lord Jesus Christ is preached “according to the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25,26), spiritual ignorance and darkness are dispelled.

Alas, tragedy mars the cheerful Bible conference. Joy flees as sleeping Eutychus plummets to the ground and perishes….

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….”

Growing in Grace #7

Friday, August 17, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” Peter thus bids farewell to the Circumcision Saints, supplying them with the information needed to avoid the “error of the wicked.” These various doctrinal and practical sins—false teaching, confusion, doubt, non-dispensational Bible study, and so on—are to be replaced with an updated view of God’s program for man.

Israel’s Little Flock is to grow in the doctrines of grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ as revealed to the Apostle Paul. They must appreciate why their earthly kingdom has been momentarily suspended (but certainly not abolished!!). Despite ignorant mockers’ accusations, God’s promise to send His Son again stands firm. He has not forgotten about Israel; He has merely postponed her program to operate our mystery program. Rather than pouring out wrath, He is offering mercy to the whole world—Jews and Gentiles alike (Romans 11:25-32)!

Dear brethren, if God wanted the Circumcision Saints long ago and yet future to be “established in the present truth” (1:12), how much more does He desire it for us? After all, “the present truth” is that we (the Church the Body of Christ) and the mystery program have currently/presently interrupted and delayed Israel’s prophetic program. We are the reason why the Antichrist has not yet been revealed. The Dispensation of Grace, the Body of Christ, prevents the prophetic program from operating (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-14).

At the Rapture, our gathering together unto Christ in Heaven, our dispensation will close, causing the prophetic program to recommence. The Antichrist will rise, reign for seven years, and ultimately be destroyed by Jesus Christ at His Second Coming. Here, unbelievers are judged, including the scoffers who assumed that fiery wrath was fiction! Finally, Israel becomes God’s kingdom of priests, redeemed and ready to enter the Millennium. May we “grow in grace” too! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we call a minister ‘reverend?’

Growing in Grace #6

Thursday, August 16, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

Today’s Scripture is the very last verse God the Holy Spirit penned through the Apostle Peter. Indeed, it is the conclusion of Peter’s farewell epistle. The Spirit of God moved Israel’s chief Apostle to leave the Circumcision Saints (believing Israel, the Little Flock) with the mind-boggling thought of “grace.” This was not ordinary grace, but rather God’s grace manifested in a very special way. That unique exhibition of grace was committed to “our beloved brother Paul” (verses 15,16). Before passing off the scene and being with his Saviour and Lord, Peter reminds Israel’s believing remnant to remember the drastic dispensational changes that occurred with the Apostle Paul’s salvation and ministry.

As we can see so clearly in Pauline doctrine (namely, Romans chapters 9-11 and 2 Thessalonians chapter 2), prophecy has not (God forbid!!!) been fabricated or canceled but merely delayed. The God of the Bible has temporarily departed from the prophetic timeline, that He may form the Church the Body of Christ of all Jews and Gentiles who will simply come to Him by faith alone in His Son’s finished crosswork alone. God’s earthly kingdom—Christ’s Second Coming in wrath, power, and great glory—is indeed literal and physical, only postponed. As Paul’s own testimony shows, those worthy of God’s judgment can be spared it (1 Timothy 1:15,16)!!!!

When Peter wrote, prophecy had been delayed for approximately 40 years. He had no idea, and neither did Paul, that we would be here 2,000 years later with the Dispensation of Grace still operating and prophecy yet on hold. Friend, do you see why Bible preservation is necessary? Once our dispensation terminates at the Rapture—our gathering together unto Christ—Israel’s prophetic calendar will resume where God paused it. Believing Israel will read today’s Scripture, just as they did when our dispensation first started long ago. They will have an answer to all the scoffers of their own day. We can appreciate God’s wisdom in having Peter write those last verses, his finishing chapter!

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Growing in Grace #5

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (verse 9). What is this “longsuffering?” Who are these “all” whom God wants to come to repentance? Keep reading!

“[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” God’s “longsuffering” concerning the repentance of “all” is the Apostle Paul’s ministry. (Titus 2:11: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men….” First Timothy 2:6-7: “[Christ Jesus] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, … a teacher of the Gentiles….”)

First Timothy chapter 1: “[15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” Saul of Tarsus being converted in Acts chapter 9 was the “pattern” of God’s longsuffering in this the Dispensation of Grace!!

Father God placed all unbelieving Jews (including Saul) on the spiritual level of the Gentiles, thus affording them all equal access to Calvary’s cross. Paul’s Gospel—Jesus Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—explains the delay of prophetic wrath. Father God wants to give all Jews and all Gentiles opportunity to escape the wrath to come!

Israel’s Little Flock is expected to grow in this knowledge….