A Miracle of Astronomical Proportions

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon” (Joshua 10:12 KJV).

“For the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22a). Signs, miracles, and wonders are Israel’s national heritage. From their beginning (Abraham) until the early Acts period, Israel witnessed God’s miraculous demonstrations. In today’s Scripture, Israel literally saw “a miracle of astronomical proportions.”

When Israel under Joshua’s leadership came into the Promised Land, the Amorites (Gentiles) inhabited the area. In today’s Scripture, Joshua and Israel’s armies are engaged in warfare with the Amorites. Joshua, wanting to demonstrate God’s power to the Amorites, and to remind Israel of her God’s supremacy, commands the Sun and the Moon to stand still. What happens?

“And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel” (Joshua 10:13,14).

The scientific and even religious communities deny these verses. How could the Sun and Moon remain motionless, without altering the delicate balance of the solar system (and universe)? We cannot comprehend such a concept of stationary celestial bodies, but we confess, “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jeremiah 32:17).

If God could speak the heaven and the earth into existence, from nothing, and establish natural laws to govern their movements, He could certainly manipulate those laws to produce extraordinary events. Joshua 10:13,14 does not need scientific confirmation. By faith, we understand it happened just as Scripture declares. We rejoice in the power of the great God whom we serve!

The Glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ #5

Thursday, March 22, 2012

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:13,14 KJV).

God the Father’s original purpose for creating the heaven and the earth was to make His Son, Jesus Christ, the Head of their governments (Ephesians 1:9,10; Colossians 1:16-18). Both heaven and earth were to be filled with creatures that would bring Jesus Christ (the Creator) glory and honor. Unfortunately, sin interrupted that plan, and Jesus Christ has yet to become the rightful Ruler of the universe. In the ages to come, Jesus Christ will be glorified in both heaven and earth, and we will share that glory with Him!

We are born into this world useless to God. From birth, sin separates us from God. Thus, God used Paul’s Gospel—Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary—so we could “obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (today’s Scripture). Now that we have trusted in that Gospel, we have restored fellowship with God, and we can be useful to God. In the ages to come, God will utilize us, the Church the Body of Christ, in the heavenly places to reflect Jesus Christ’s glory (Ephesians 2:6,7; cf. Ephesians 1:18) just as God will use redeemed Israel to reflect Jesus Christ’s glory on earth (Isaiah 60:1-3). Also see Colossians 1:16-20.

When we receive our glorified bodies at the rapture, we will be “glorified together [with Christ]” to forever reign for Christ’s glory in the heavenly places (Romans 8:16-25). Those new (enhanced) bodies will be made specifically for operating in heaven for all eternity (2 Corinthians 5:1-5). Throughout the ages to come, creation will see us reflecting the holiness and righteousness we have in Christ now (2 Corinthians 5:21). They will worship and praise the God whose righteousness and holiness our new bodies will reflect—not our glory, but “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ!” What a glorious truth! 🙂

The Glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ #4

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:13,14 KJV).

Saints, today’s Scripture tells us that through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary—Paul’s Gospel of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4—we can now obtain “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In Christ, we have acquired the righteous status before God that Adam had prior to mankind’s fall into sin. God has redeemed our souls from sin and hell and He has given us a new identity in Christ. But, our vile physical bodies have not yet been redeemed from sin’s curse, so we cannot see the glory of that new identity. At the rapture, we will receive glorified physical bodies, and the glory we have in Christ will be manifested (Romans 8:18-25).

Our Lord Jesus Christ “dwells in the light which no man can approach unto” (1 Timothy 6:16). Christ is so holy that light emanates from His body (remember the Mount of Transfiguration?). When the ascended Lord Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus (the future Apostle Paul), Saul was blinded for three days because of “the glory of that light” (Acts 9:1-9; Acts 22:5-11; Acts 26:12,13). This is the glory of God that dwells in us; we just cannot see it right now.

Currently, we live in these limited physical bodies that cannot reflect the glory of Christ that we have inside (in the inner man). That will change at the rapture. “As we have borne the image of the earthy [these physical bodies linked to fallen Adam], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [the glorified bodies that will reflect Christ’s glory; Philippians 3:20,21]” (1 Corinthians 15:49ff.).

After the rapture, we will have bodies that will be just as radiant as Jesus’ body on the Mount of Transfiguration. Then, we will be glorified together with Christ (Romans 8:16,17). Glorious truth!

The Glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ #3

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:13,14 KJV).

In the beginning Adam and Eve were physically naked, but they were not ashamed (Genesis 2:25). Why? They had perfect fellowship with God, for God had made man “in his own image” (Genesis 1:27). Mankind reflected God’s glory, God’s holiness: man, like God, was sinless. Adam and Eve needed no clothes, for the light of God’s righteousness emanated from their bodies: God’s holiness was their covering. However, once Adam sinned, they “knew that they were naked” (Genesis 3:7). They quickly sewed (itchy!) fig leaf aprons for clothes! They no longer bore God’s image; sin caused them to lose that glorious light covering them.

During His earthly ministry, our Lord Jesus took the Apostles Peter, James, and John to a high mountain. Instantly, the Lord Jesus’ body shone brightly. “[H]is face did shine as the sun, and his raiment [clothing] was white as the light” (Matthew 17:2). His clothes were “exceeding white as snow [bleached white!]” (Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29). This is the famous “Mount of Transfiguration” account. Usually, Jesus’ physical body looked normal; but here, the glorious light (holiness) in which He dwelt in glory was briefly manifested for these three apostles. This was the light that once covered Adam and Eve before they sinned!

Look at those who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Physically, they look like everyone else. The light of the righteousness of God that Christians have inside (in the soul) is not visible today; just like Jesus Christ looked normal physically (the difference was spiritual!!). At the rapture, our resurrected (glorified) physical bodies will display the glory that now resides in us Christians. Our new bodies will shine brilliantly, reflecting the inward glory (of our Lord Jesus Christ) that we have right now (today’s Scripture). Glorious truth!

Stand in Awe of the LORD

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

“Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him” (Psalm 33:8 KJV).

Who stands in awe of God today? Very few. For the past 2,000 years, our world has grown very comfortable in its sins. After all, in this the Dispensation of Grace, God is not imputing the world’s trespasses unto it (2 Corinthians 5:19). God’s attitude toward the whole world today, saved and lost, is “grace and peace” (the expression with which Paul began every epistle). Alas, rather than gratefully accepting God’s grace, man has taken advantage of God’s grace.

Ecclesiastes 8:11 explains man’s overall attitude toward God in the Dispensation of Grace: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Today, scoffers mock God and blaspheme His name, with no immediate judgment. They ridicule His Word and persecute His saints. Operating under the false impression they have gotten away with it, they sin even more.

Look at how harshly God dealt with rebellious people in time past (Noah’s contemporaries, Sodom and Gomorrah, et cetera). Today, God does not pour out His wrath and judgment. The day is coming however, when God’s wrath will be executed. Our world is headed for the Tribulation, “the day of the vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61:2; cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:4-10).

We who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we have submitted to God’s authority. We saints humbly stand in awe of God, our Creator, our Saviour, and our Head, awed by His grace, love, and mercy. We respect His power and authority. But, most of the world, lost and headed for hell, hates God.

Nevertheless, the day is speedily approaching when, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10,11). In that day, ALL will be forced to kneel in awe of the LORD!

The LORD is Exalted Far Above All gods #2

Saturday, January 7, 2012

“For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods” (Psalm 97:9 KJV).

The LORD is “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy” (Isaiah 57:15). “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable… The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalm 145:3,8,9).

Our finite human minds struggle to grasp Someone as magnificent and exalted as JEHOVAH our Creator because He differs from what we judge as “normal.” JEHOVAH is transcendent, existing independently of everything. He is everlasting, having neither beginning nor end. The LORD is sinless and holy. We never see Him physically or hear Him audibly. He exists outside of our universe.

Someone whose thoughts astronomically surpass our mental capabilities, whose ways (manners, behavior) are far grander and more complex than our simple activities (Isaiah 55:8,9). A Being who could devise a magnificent plan that would extend into the eons of eternity future, who could speak forth quadrillions of bodies into existence and then arrange them to form intricate systems (Hebrews 11:3), and finally set them into motion for His glory to accomplish that plan (Psalm 19:1)! How can He relate to us scrawny mortals?

Amazingly, JEHOVAH left that glory behind to become one of us! He “humbled Himself” and became “a Man of no reputation” (Philippians 2:5-11). Why? To die and shed His innocent blood for us to receive forgiveness of our sins. Wow… no idol ever did that!

Among the world’s gods, JEHOVAH alone can save you because JEHOVAH alone died to save you! Will you trust in the shed blood and resurrection of JEHOVAH (Jesus Christ), thereby receiving eternal salvation? Please do.

“Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne… confounded be all they that serve graven images [manmade idols], that boast themselves of idols: worship him [JEHOVAH Jesus Christ], all ye gods” (Psalm 97:2,6). Hallelujah! Praise the LORD indeed—He will always be exalted far above all gods!

The LORD is Exalted Far Above All gods #1

Friday, January 6, 2012

“For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods” (Psalm 97:9 KJV).

Saints, we serve the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God of heaven and earth. Today’s Scripture declares the praises of JEHOVAH [“the LORD”], the one true God. The world’s idols—wealth, drugs, sex, statues, paintings, and wafer-gods—do not compare!

During her centuries of Egyptian bondage, Israel was surrounded by the worship of 2,000 pagan gods and goddesses. Consequently, Jews forgot JEHOVAH, the God of their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But, JEHOVAH proved His superiority over those pagan deities by destroying Egypt with plagues of creatures like lice, frogs, and flies—the very things Egyptians worshipped (Exodus chapters 7-11)! Pagan gods Baal (1 Kings 18:21-40) and Dagon (1 Samuel 5:1-9) were no match for JEHOVAH either.

In 1 Corinthians 8:4, the Apostle Paul discussed eating foods offered to idols: “…We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.” Pagan idols are dead and worthless—“nothing.” Thus, they cannot harm Christians or food. Paul told the pagan Ephesians, worshippers of the goddess Diana, “they be no gods, which are made with hands” (Acts 19:26).

Psalm 115:4-8 explains: “Their [the heathens’/Gentiles’] idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: they have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat” (cf. Deuteronomy 4:28; Psalm 135:15-18; Isaiah 37:19; Isaiah 44:9,10; Jeremiah 10:5). Pagan gods can do nothing for you because they can do nothing at all.

“For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens” (Psalm 96:4,5). Who is the LORD/JEHOVAH, the God exalted far above all gods? “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him [Jesus Christ], and given him a name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).

Two Trees With Two Different Roots

Friday, December 16, 2011

“For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not” (Jeremiah 10:3,4 KJV).

Currently, Christmas trees decked with “silver and gold” tinsel and ornaments are commonplace. Interestingly, today’s Scripture describes such an object… a Gentile idol.

The prophet Jeremiah declared (circa 600 B.C.): “Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them” (verses 1,2). Jeremiah then proceeds to tell Israel of the heathen’s ways (today’s Scripture). The heathens (Gentiles) chop down trees, set them elsewhere, and fashion idols by decking them with “silver and gold.” (This is why some Christians prefer not to display a Christmas tree in their homes.)

Jeremiah continues (verses 5-7): “They [the pagan idols] are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good. Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.”

Pagan Gentiles bowed and prayed to these wooden, worthless, mindless idols which did nothing for them… except distract them from worshipping the only true God. Sadly, Israel was just as guilty of this pagan worship, having “idols under every green tree (Deuteronomy 12:1-4; 1 Kings 14:22,23; 2 Kings 17:7-23; et al.).

Like the pagan idols of old, the Christmas tree keeps people preoccupied with the wrong tree! The Christmas tree decorated with hanging ornaments and tinsel is nothing compared to Calvary’s tree decorated with the hanging body of Jesus Christ. Rather than silver and gold, it was decked with crimson red, the precious blood of God’s Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Unlike the Christmas tree, Calvary’s tree has no pagan roots.