God’s Face Shining Upon Us #5

Thursday, September 10, 2020

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah (Psalm 67:1 KJV).

For the next several days, let us study Psalm 67 and see how it is but a small glimpse into the future.

The Mount of Transfiguration actually previews Christ’s Second Coming. Matthew records: “[16:27] For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. [28] Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. [17:1] And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, [2] And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” Did you see how Jesus’ “face” glowed? This foreshadows His glorious return, when He radiates before the nation Israel!

In Paul’s Gospel, we see the invisible Godhead manifested in the Person (“face”) of Jesus Christ. Second Corinthians chapter 4: “[3] But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: [4] In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. [5] For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. [6] For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. [7] But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

King David, representing Israel’s Little Flock expecting Christ’s return, prayed: “Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake” (Psalm 31:16). As the Levitical high priests blessed Israel—“The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee” (Numbers 6:25)—so the Lord Jesus Christ will do it prophetically! 🙂

God’s Face Shining Upon Us #4

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah (Psalm 67:1 KJV).

For the next several days, let us study Psalm 67 and see how it is but a small glimpse into the future.

Read from Psalm 80: “[1] Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. [2] Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. [3] Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. [4] O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?….”

“[7] Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. [8] Thou hast brought a vine [Israel!] out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. [9] Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land…. [14] Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; [15] And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. [16] It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance…. [18] So will not we go back from thee: quicken [resurrect!] us, and we will call upon thy name. [19] Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

The curses of the Law have come upon sinful Israel (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28). God has righteously judged her land with extreme hardship—political collapse, military defeat, Gentile oppression, illness, death, pestilence, drought and famine, and so on. The Prophet Daniel confesses his people’s sin, adding: “Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the LORD’S sake” (Daniel 9:17). Likewise, Israel’s believing remnant in Psalms acknowledges their nation’s sins, and asks for Christ’s Second Coming to set everything right again….

God’s Face Shining Upon Us #3

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah (Psalm 67:1 KJV).

For the next several days, let us study Psalm 67 and see how it is but a small glimpse into the future.

In the Tabernacle (Moses’ ministry onward), JEHOVAH God manifested His glory: “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34). When King Solomon constructed the Jerusalem Temple five centuries later, “…the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD” (1 Kings 8:11). By the time of the Prophet Ezekiel 300 years later, the Jews have sinned to such a degree that, “…the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims…. And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city” (Ezekiel 10:18; Ezekiel 11:23).

With Israel breaking the Old Covenant by engaging in heathen idolatry, God will continue to hide His face from them (Deuteronomy 31:14-21). Regarding the LORD’S presence leaving Israel six centuries before Christ, He declared: “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek [!] my [!] face [!]: in their affliction they will seek me early. [Israel’s believing remnant confesses….] Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight” (Hosea 5:15–6:2).

Now, carefully re-read Psalm 67 and Psalm 85. Israel’s believing remnant confesses their national sin of idolatry committed for thousands of years. Also, the Little Flock prays for the Lord Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. The face of God—hiding from Israel (He has left Jerusalem and returned to Heaven)—will at last be seen (cf. today’s Scripture). “And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him” (Isaiah 8:17)….

Israel Blinded Thrice! #3

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9,10 KJV).

Friend, did you know this passage is applicable to three particular times in Israel’s history?

The Holy Spirit was poured out on Israel’s believing remnant in Acts chapter 2, bearing witness of Christ’s resurrection by performing miracles through the Little Flock. Yet, national Israel remained in unbelief, persecuting the Apostles and Prophets—Peter, John, Stephen, et cetera. Christ raises up a new Apostle, Paul, to begin the Dispensation of Grace and the Church the Body of Christ. Israel continues opposing God’s work through the rest of Acts.

With Acts closing, Paul quotes today’s Scripture in chapter 28: “[25] And when they [the Jews] agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, [26] Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: [27] For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

Read Romans 11:6-10,25-27 (cf. Isaiah 29:10). God again removes whatever spiritual light Israel had and willfully refused. Israel’s blindness will not be lifted until God gives her a sign, another miraculous demonstration intended to teach doctrine. Following the blinding of Israel in our dispensation, God will send Israel a sign, Christ’s Second Coming, as in Matthew 24:30: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” At Christ’s return, as per Romans 11:25-27, Israel is nationally enlightened and converted, and enters the Millennium!

Israel Blinded Thrice! #2

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9,10 KJV).

Friend, did you know this passage is applicable to three particular times in Israel’s history?

The Lord Jesus Christ conducted His earthly ministry for three years in Israel. Yet, they overwhelmingly rejected Him as Messiah-King. Consequently, He began to gradually withdraw from public ministry, dealing with just believers. He quotes today’s Scripture twice—Matthew 13:14-16 and John 12:37-41. Read from John: “[37] But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: [38] That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? [39] Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, [40] He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

Again, God removes whatever spiritual light Israel had and willfully refused. She is blinded a second time (beginning with Jesus’ parables). That darkness will not be removed until God gives her a sign (another miraculous demonstration designed to teach doctrine). Following Israel’s blinding in Christ’s earthly ministry, God sends Israel the sign of Christ’s resurrection, as per Matthew 12:39,40: “[39] But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas [Jonah]: [40] For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

After Christ’s resurrection, the Holy Spirit preached to Israel through the 12 Apostles (see Acts chapters 2–7). Israel is enlightened, having another chance to believe! Alas, she persists in unbelief again, still refusing to trust the Gospel of the Kingdom. God blinds her a third and final time….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does Acts 7:6 have a mistake?

Israel Blinded Thrice! #1

Monday, August 17, 2020

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9,10 KJV).

Friend, did you know this passage is applicable to three particular times in Israel’s history?

The Prophet Isaiah’s ministry preceded the Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities. For approximately 750 years, the Jews have ignored the Law of Moses by worshipping and serving idols. God’s prophets (messengers) have been repeatedly ignored. Since Israel has habitually broken the covenant, there are repercussions—a series of five judgments or chastisements predicted in Leviticus chapter 26.

JEHOVAH God orders Isaiah to preach to his fellow Jews. Since they have overwhelmingly ignored God’s Word up to this point, Isaiah’s message will be one to condemn them, to remove whatever spiritual light they have been given but obstinately refused. There is now a spiritual blinding of Israel (today’s Scripture). That blindness will not be lifted until God gives Israel a sign, a miraculous demonstration intended to teach doctrine.

Following the blinding of Israel in Isaiah’s day, God sends the nation a sign: that sign is the virgin conception of Jesus Christ 700 years later. Turn to Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” If you read the context, King Ahaz of Judah is like most Jews—in rank unbelief (verses 10-14). Israel will be released from her blindness once the sign of Christ’s conception is evident.

Israel was given the chance to believe God’s Word during Christ’s First Coming, His birth and earthly ministry (Matthew 1:18-25). However, in response to the spiritual light of Christ’s arrival (Matthew 4:12-17), Israel chose to remain in unbelief. While there was a believing remnant, as always, Israel nationally rejects the LORD Jesus. They refused to believe the Gospel of the Kingdom—that Jesus is Christ/Messiah/King. As with Isaiah, God responded by blinding them. Then, He gave them another sign so the blindness could be lifted and they could believe….

arC Ministries Is 13!

Friday, July 31, 2020

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20 KJV).

To our Lord Jesus Christ’s glory, arC Ministries celebrates its 13th anniversary today!!!

Thirteen years ago, as a 19-year-old college student, I endeavored to use Facebook to create a Bible study group for teens and college students. Thus, “ambassadors for the risen Christ ministries” was born. As I grew more in God’s Word rightly divided, I grew increasingly aware of the need for additional ministry projects. The more I had been learning drove me to share those precious truths with others. That eventually led me to look for supplementary avenues of ministry.

During these past 13 years, God’s grace has enabled us to continue the original group on Facebook. In addition, we have branched out quite a bit in other areas. This devotionals blog has been operating for over nine years now. For the last eight years, we have focused on developing and drafting a grace study Bible (now in its ninth year). Other ministry projects include a 22-week newspaper ministry column (this devotionals blog’s predecessor), a YouTube channel with home Bible study videos, a Twitter feed, a full-length Bible studies blog, a college campus ministry, a nursing-home ministry, and our Bible-question-and-answer blog. Four years ago, we launched our new main ministry website and now have a line of printed Bible study booklets available for sale there. Early last year, we recorded and distributed our Old Testament Survey video series. A year ago, we launched our New Testament Survey video series (which will last a few years). We hear from people all over the world!

Our name says it all: we serve the risen Lord Jesus Christ, not some “dead Jew” and not ourselves. The original motto of our ministry was, “To equip ambassadors, and to encourage others to become ambassadors.” Our primary goal is to teach Christians, and our secondary goal is to evangelize the lost world. Thirteen years later, we still endeavor to uphold God’s Word (King James Bible) rightly divided, whether it be in edifying the Christian brethren or preaching the clear Gospel of the Grace of God to this lost and dying world. For those of you who have been with us from day 1, thank you for your prayer and encouragement. We pray for you upon every remembrance! There is still plenty more for the Lord Jesus Christ to do in and through us, so let us give Him all the praise and glory as we enter Year 14! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who were ‘the sons of the prophets?’

Who Will Go? #7

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

Second Timothy chapter 2: “[20] But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. [21] If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. [22] Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. [23] But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. [24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

A servant is just a nobody—no one special. Yet, if the Lord Jesus Christ is involved, nothing becomes something: His vessels are filled with His mighty power! In this world growing wilder and darker daily, we should have a clear Gospel message to share with lost souls: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). This is how they escape Satan’s policy of evil! We should also have a well-defined Bible study system for those interested in understanding and enjoying the Scriptures: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). This too frees souls from spiritual darkness.

Conducting our ministries, we recruit others to God’s family… who, in turn, go out to convert others. As pertaining to the Dispensation of the Grace of God, the Lord is interested in sending out preachers and teachers. In unison, all members of the Church the Body of Christ should cry out, “Here are we!” 🙂

A Naughty Tongue! #8

Thursday, July 16, 2020

“A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue” (Proverbs 17:4 KJV).

In today’s world of widespread social media, “wicked doer,” “false lips,” “liar,” and “naughty tongue” are all appropriate nouns!

As people who live in this Age of Grace, and members of the Church the Body of Christ, we should exercise great caution as to how we use our tongues. Many are still utilizing their speaking organs to communicate lies of all kinds in all circles, so we should be careful not to fall for this false teaching or repeat it. Otherwise, we will be yet another extension of Satan’s policy of evil—his lie program being perpetuated further!

“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits [enticing voices], and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;…” (1 Timothy 4:1,2). “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair [beautiful, embellished] speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17,18).

The Apostle Paul himself, being led by the Holy Spirit, did not employ man’s wisdom or clever philosophical gimmicks to convert people to Christ. Read 1 Corinthians chapter 2: “[1] And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God…. [4] And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:….” In chapter 4, verse 19, there were Christians in Corinth using their tongues to express their pride in being “independent believers,” enjoying a life of sin and freedom from all apostolic influence or guidance: “But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.” Our tongues should rather convey God’s grace….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What are ‘the secret chambers’ of Matthew 24:26?

A Naughty Tongue! #7

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

“A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue” (Proverbs 17:4 KJV).

In today’s world of widespread social media, “wicked doer,” “false lips,” “liar,” and “naughty tongue” are all appropriate nouns!

Moving into “the ages to come” (Ephesians 2:7) Bible Books, Hebrews through Revelation, we see Israel’s prophetic program accomplished. Whatever evil work Satan began in the Earth with Adam and man’s Fall 6,000 years ago, he continues that labor until Jesus Christ returns to destroy the lie program and establish a new world system, one of truth and righteousness.

Re-read James 3:1-8. The peak of Satan’s lie program is man repeating the falsehoods his evil world system originates. Just as God communicates His truth, so Satan counterfeits it with erroneous information. When God’s messengers speak, the Devil commissions his preachers to contradict and discredit. Once the Antichrist arrives, man’s “naughty tongue” will literally be “singing his praises.” Jewish believers in Jesus Christ will be disparaged, wrongly accused of teaching error because the Antichrist will be seen as the true Messiah. Here are the “wise,” “righteous,” and “good” of Proverbs. Additionally, the Antichrist’s followers will be believing and spreading his deceit. These are the “fools,” “sinners,” and “wicked” of Proverbs.

Now, read some of James’ parallels. “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing [criticism] for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew [avoid] evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it” (1 Peter 3:9-11). “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;…. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error” (2 Peter 2:12,18). “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage” (Jude 16).

Even as members of the Body of Christ, we should guard our tongues….