A Prayer According to God’s Will

Friday, May 4, 2018

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (1 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

Yesterday was the United States’ National Day of Prayer. Today, we pray you pray according to the Lord Jesus Christ’s will for today!

Religious people—the general public, clergy, and government officials—recently assembled nationwide, like they do every year, and prayed for spiritual and moral revival of the “Christian” (?) United States of America. We commend their noble efforts, but God’s Word says there will be no godly revival of any of the world’s Gentile nations until Jesus Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 59:20–60:3; Zechariah 8:20-23; Revelation 11:15; et cetera).

The LORD’s words to King Solomon are often quoted on this day: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Friends, this is certainly God’s Word, but has nothing to do with Gentiles in the United States in the Dispensation of Grace. This verse has a context often overlooked—the nation Israel under the Mosaic Law, praying in relation to God’s Temple in Jerusalem (verses 15,16). Actually, that Temple was destroyed over 19 centuries ago! Unlike Israel, the United States was never a divinely-founded nation. The American people as a whole are not God’s people like Israel was.

Rather than praying 2 Chronicles 7:14, remember today’s Scripture (God’s Word to us Gentiles). The verse following today’s Scripture says, “[God] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Pray for those in authority, that they would trust Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour, and then grow in His Word to them so they can make wise decisions on behalf of the people they govern.

Benjamin Sustains in Famine

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

“And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God: If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so” (Genesis 42:18-20 KJV).

Can we find a New Testament parallel to this account?

A severe famine has struck the land of Canaan (see Genesis 41:53–42:20). In desperation, Jacob sends 10 of his sons to buy food in Egypt (the River Nile was a near constant water source here). When they arrive, a man in Egypt (Joseph—their estranged brother in disguise) decides to test them. They are to return to Canaan and retrieve their other brother, young Benjamin, if they are to be fed with Egypt’s grain. Without Benjamin, Israel will physically starve! Ultimately, they eat because of Benjamin (Genesis 43:15-17).

Israel’s spiritual fall—a spiritual famine—occurred in Acts chapter 7 with the stoning of Stephen. Paul the Apostle is converted and commissioned in chapter 9, with his ministry gradually strengthening. From chapter 15 onward, the 12 Apostles have a restricted ministry. According to Galatians chapter 2, they give all the “heathen” over to Paul’s jurisdiction. The “heathen” here would be all unsaved—both Gentiles and Jews (all without Jesus Christ). Paul is to preach his Gospel of Grace to convert them into the Body of Christ, and save them from spiritual damnation.

Once God had temporarily set aside national Israel, and her 12 Apostles released themselves from their obligation of going to her any further with the Gospel of the Kingdom, Paul began evangelizing those unsaved Jews. Israel’s only hope now is in Paul’s Gospel—his grace ministry and message. How does this relate to today’s Scripture? Well, Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1; Philippians 3:5). From mid-Acts onward, Israel is getting spiritual bread, the Word of God, from Benjamin. Since her program was paused, momentarily suspended, her only hope at spiritual sustenance and life was in the message of a man from the tribe of Benjamin! Fascinating!

Benoni and Benjamin #7

Saturday, April 21, 2018

And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin (Genesis 35:18 KJV).

Dear friend, look and see—herein lies prophecy!

At the close of Peter’s life and ministry, the Holy Spirit wrote in 2 Peter chapter 3: “[9] The Lord is not slack concerning his promise [of Christ’s Second Coming], as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance…. [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.”

Romans chapters 9-11 and 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 are the Apostle Paul’s divine explanations why the Second Coming and Millennium (“Benjamin”) have not yet followed Christ’s earthly ministry (“Benoni”). Of course, as Peter himself knew, some were failing to rightly divide the word of truth. So thoroughly confused in Scripture, they had created unspeakable spiritual destruction in themselves and their foolish audiences! (Sound familiar?)

In closing, perhaps you are saying, “How wonderful and insightful this was, Brother Shawn!” (I agree.) “I wish more people would see it!” (Indeed.) “So, why do they not see it? Has God not revealed it to them?” Friend, they can read as well as we, can they not? It is a heart problem—sin. The flesh, the natural man, sees this all as foolishness. It is easier to mock instead of study. When we look beyond Christendom’s superficial teachings, and refuse to be the lazy church members who do not (nor care to) understand the Bible, we actually have something fascinating to see in, and say about, it. Rather than wasting time with church tradition, superstition, and philosophy, we spend our time wisely by reading and studying (!!) Scripture.

Yea, we find amazing treasures in God’s Word when we look with the eyes of faith! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Hebrews 13:3 a reference to the Body of Christ?

Benoni and Benjamin #6

Friday, April 20, 2018

And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin (Genesis 35:18 KJV).

Dear friend, look and see—herein lies prophecy!

When the Apostle Peter maintained Israel’s ancient (and puzzled!) prophets foresaw “the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10,11), he referred to the prophecies of a suffering Messiah (Psalm 22:1-21; Psalm 35:1-28; Psalm 69:1-36; Isaiah 53:3-12; et al.) and a reigning Messiah (Psalm 2:4-9; Psalm 22:22-31; Psalm 45:6,7; Isaiah 9:6,7; Isaiah 11:1-16; Jeremiah 23:5-8; et al.). Like Peter, only after the first set of fulfilled prophecies do we understand it all.

The one mountain the prophets observed ahead turned out to be two mountains aligned. Once Peter and his contemporaries stood on the first peak, though, they recognized a separate and distinct peak still future. They had just experienced Messiah’s First Coming (“the sufferings of Christ”)—His rejection, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to Heaven as a royal exile to sit at His Father’s right hand (Psalm 110:1; Acts 1:9-11; Acts 2:32-36). Now, in early Acts (Peter’s ministry), Messiah’s Second Coming is in view. The 12 Apostles, yea all the Little Flock, preach in early Acts, pleading with national Israel to repent of refusing Jesus and prepare for His return by trusting Him. Otherwise, these unbelievers will be consumed in His wrath when He returns to establish that earthly kingdom (“the glory that should follow”)!

As Israel was rapidly approaching that second mountain, something totally unexpected transpired. It was discovered that, while God had been revealing the prophetic program piecemeal, He had kept the mystery program totally secret. In addition to the prophets not understanding the details of one Messiah coming twice, they were completely unaware that a 2,000-year gap separated those comings. Here is the revelation Jesus Christ gave directly to the Apostle Paul. Then, in Acts chapter 15 (Galatians chapter 2), Paul taught Israel’s spiritual leaders about the extensive “mystery” valley below that no one had seen at all. Between the two “prophetic” mountain peaks was a major delay in Messiah’s Second Coming (Kingdom).

Rather than destroy all of Christ-rejecting mankind, Father God inserted between “Benoni” and “Benjamin” a parenthetical period of grace….

Setting Dates of Disappointment

Saturday, April 14, 2018

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 KJV).

Did you notice the precise date the Holy Spirit provided here? (Neither did I!)

Bible prophecy, already rather difficult, becomes insufferable if not approached dispensationally. Wherever dispensational Bible study is absent; deception, confusion, and disappointment are present. Failing to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) is a total disregard of how God designed His Word. Expect nothing but trouble!

Concerning Israel’s program, Scripture issues exact numbers of years, months, and/or days when God will act regarding the Jews (for instance, see Genesis 15:13-16; Daniel 9:24-27; Luke 13:7,8; Revelation 11:2,3,11; Revelation 12:6,14; Revelation 13:5; Revelation 20:2-7). However, in our mystery program, God gives no dates whatsoever: the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, are utterly “calendar-less.” Consequently, we do not know the length of the Dispensation of Grace, when this Age of Grace will close.

Therefore, whenever sensationalist “date-setters” tell us, “The Rapture is coming on—” or “The Second Coming will occur at—;” they want nothing more than attention to sell their book or DVD and start a cult. Regardless of their purpose, Satan’s policy of evil has tricked them. Until our program terminates, whatever prophetic dates Scripture does provide have no meaning. People persistently attempt to limit our dispensation’s duration by using values from Israel’s prophetic calendar. Despite their best efforts, it will never work. Frustration, unbelief, and mockery are certain!

In today’s Scripture, we see the Rapture, our gathering unto Christ to meet Him in the air (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:1). If the date were so important, why did the Holy Spirit never reveal it to Paul in today’s Scripture or anywhere else? Should we thus be setting dates? No! Saints, our Lord Jesus Christ could come at any moment. Let us live like He may come today; let us plan like He is not coming for another 10 years! 🙂

To Know Your Christian Life

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid (Romans 6:14,15 KJV).

Friend, have you ever wondered how to know your Christian life?

Long ago, a ministry coworker trusted Christ. Weeks later, his mentor inquired, “Do you find it hard to live the Christian life?” My friend said yes. The wise man replied, “No, it is impossible.” As my friend grew disheartened, the man clarified, “You cannot live the Christian life. Only Jesus Christ can live His life!

Religionists have taught us to make ourselves holy so God will accept us. Water baptisms, commandments, penance, vows of poverty, prayers, confessions, and tithes are allegedly “stepping stones” to gaining God’s fellowship. “Faith without works is dead,” they always like to remind us (James chapter 2—Israel’s verses!). They erroneously believe that successful Christian living means our works (cf. today’s Scripture). We live in the Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:2); therefore, we are under grace not law! Still, that does not mean that God does not care how we live.

Titus chapter 2: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Here is grace living. God gave you in Christ forgiveness of all your sins forever. What will you do? Keep asking for daily forgiveness—or just enjoy what He already gave you? He redeemed you; Christ’s blood paid to release you from sin’s slave market. What will you do? Ignore it and keep sinning? It is Christ’s life in and through you, not you living for Him (Philippians 1:21). Most believers have no understanding of grace doctrine; consequently, they are confused, burdened, and frustrated. When you simply rest in God’s provisions in Christ, though, what liberty, understanding, and joy. Christian living depends on God’s works! 🙂

For more information about Christian living, you may see: https://forwhatsaiththescriptures.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/lords-will-for-christians/.

NOTE: Having expanded upon the “Original 7 studies” for the fifth time, our fifth foundation (studies #2501-#2507) is now installed. Onward we press in maturity… and to #3000! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why ‘unclean until the even?’

How to Know Your Apostle Paul

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Friend, have you ever wondered how to know your Apostle Paul?

Initially boasting, “I do not follow ‘some man,’ I go by what ‘Jesus’ says;” professing Christians subsequently assemble at their denominations where manmade traditions masquerade as pure Bible. There, they have been trained to snatch “charming verses” out of context. Since each Bible dispensation differs, and religionists “pick and choose” verses from multiple dispensations, countless combinations and divergent denominations result. Some follow Moses, but most stress Christ’s earthly ministry and the (transitional) Acts period. Yea, denominations arise when Bible readers fail to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). They do not understand which dispensation applies to them—namely, God’s spokesman to them.

The Book of Acts records God’s dealings with man in “time past” giving way to the “but now” (Ephesians 2:11-13). With Saul of Tarsus’ conversion and commission in Acts chapter 9, God temporarily suspended His dealings with the nation Israel and began forming the Church the Body of Christ with any believers (Jew or Gentile) in Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary.

Christ Jesus told Saul/Paul (Acts chapter 26): “[16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send [apostello—cf. today’s Scripture] thee, [18] 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.”

Therefore, we read: “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:…” (Ephesians 3:1,2). Since the ascended Lord Jesus Christ sent Paul to us, we find God’s instructions for us today in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. Avoid the abounding confusion; take heed to Christ’s heavenly ministry!

For more information about Paul’s apostolic authority, you may see: https://ambassadorsfortherisenchristministries.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/pauls-apostolic-authority-verses/.