To Look Beyond the Makeup #13

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Prior to our Dispensation of Grace, Satan’s evil world system contaminated ancient Israel with pagan idolatry (especially through King Ahab and Queen Jezebel). After our Dispensation, this will be repeated via “King” Antichrist and “Queen” Whore of Babylon. Remember, once Satan learns something works to his advantage, he will use it repeatedly. For thousands of years now, false religion has deceived mankind. If it was beneficial to the Devil’s plan then, and it will be helpful to him later, then he is indeed (!) operating it right now… and practically no one detects it!

Scripture explains how the harlot seduces a young man “void of understanding” (Proverbs 7:7). He is among the “simple [uneducated, unskilled] ones.” Carefully read the whole chapter. Exercising great subtilty, she lures him with the promise of physical delight (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-3). Naïve and uninformed, he absolutely cannot resist. He merrily jumps in bed with her… and then she kills him! That man represents unsuspecting Israel—or even gullible “Christians” today—falling for Satan’s lie program of evil religion. The LORD God gave them His Word, but they ignore that Divine wisdom. Focusing on mere outward appearance (a “painted” face), they lack any sense to realize they have joined themselves to a “woman of the street!”

Finally, consider “eye-opening” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: “[13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” False religion is attractive yet sneaky, Satan’s precise method in Genesis 3:1-6. It shoves aside God’s grace, and stresses our (self-) “righteousness.” With our eyes on the creature, they are off the Creator (Romans 1:25). Ignoring God’s Grace Message through the Apostle Paul, the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon, we have failed to look beyond the makeup… yea… fakeup!

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!

Seducers—Deceivers—Howlers!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:12,13 KJV).

Beware the seducers, beware the deceivers, beware the howlers!

Paul has already written Timothy concerning “seducers.” Turn to chapter 4 of 1 Timothy: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” To “seduce” means “use a form of delight to lure or draw someone away from the path of righteousness.” These “seducing spirits” are the voices of preachers teaching “doctrines of devils.” Not all doctrine is created equal! False doctrine causes people to turn away from good doctrine.

Ponder today’s Scripture. In contrast to those who will live godly in Christ Jesus suffering persecution, “evil men and seducers” become increasingly wicked. What is the outcome? “Deceiving, and being deceived.” It does not say “being deceived, and deceiving.” No, the order is: (1) deceive others and then, (2) they themselves are deceived. Indeed, they were originally deceived. However, now they are misleading others—and they themselves are becoming further entrenched in their error. Having repeated those lies long enough, they have no real sense of what the truth even is anymore.

The Greek word for “seducer” in today’s Scripture is “goes” (sounds like /go ayze/). It is related to the term meaning, “to wail.” Secular Greek writers used it to refer to enchanters, deceivers, or imposters. In fact, the word was applied to wizards who would howl incantations or spells! Similarly, when Almighty God hears false doctrine—His non-rightly divided Word—it is just as offensive to Him as a spell being cast. False teachers are “charming” the gullible masses… and the “magical effect” sweeps the crowds away into error. Beware, friend! Stick to the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, and you will not be seduced!

Who Will Go? #6

Monday, July 27, 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!

The evil world system, having mercilessly beaten them down, has caused so many precious Christians to become diverted and discouraged through the centuries. How they need to renew their mind and stop sitting around idly! As a famous evangelist wrote in his Bible by today’s Scripture: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do!

Whenever Almighty God commissions anyone in any age of any age, He never fails to provide them with exactly what they need to accomplish His work. Never has He told them and never will He tell them, “I want you to go do this, and that, and this, and that. Oh, and, good (!) luck (!) figuring (!) out (!) your (!) way (!) and (!) finding (!) the (!) necessary (!) equipment (!) to (!) use (!) therein!” No, if ever there is a “crippled” saint, a soul confused in life and ministry, it is not God’s fault. Instead of appreciating what Father God has already given them in Christ, they endeavor in a struggle with their flesh and that of others. Exerting great effort, they still make no progress.

In this the Dispensation of the Grace of God, the Holy Spirit has given us a completed Bible—the mystery program fully revealed (Paul’s ministry) and the prophetic program fully revealed (the rest of Scripture). If we do not know God’s will, it is our own fault. The only way we know His will is if we know His Word, so if we do not know His Word, it is because we have not read His Word. We have paid attention to church tradition, speculations, and assumptions—and our ignorance could not be more pronounced. He has told us to “go” in ministry, and by our faith in His grace, we go in ministry….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What distance is ‘a stone’s cast?’

Who Will Go? #5

Sunday, July 26, 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!

As members of the Church the Body of Christ, our grace commission is 2 Corinthians chapter 5: “[14] For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: [15] And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. [16] Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

“[17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [18] And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] 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. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

We are “ambassadors for Christ” (verse 20)—in Greek, “presbeuomen,” messengers or missionaries. Here on Earth, we are “outposts of the third heaven” (as a Christian brother once put it so eloquently), representing Jesus Christ in this foreign land. Scripture says we have been given “the ministry of reconciliation” (verse 19). Through Christ’s finished crosswork, Father God has made it possible for all nations to come to Him by faith. The Apostle Paul was entrusted with that message, and we are too. We have all been called to the ministry—whether or not we are pastors or teachers. The Holy Spirit will use any and every believer to share the Word of His Grace with this lost and dying world. Let us respond like Isaiah….

Who Will Go? #4

Saturday, July 25, 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!

Saul of Tarsus, now the Apostle Paul, recounts his salvation and subsequent call to the ministry in Acts chapter 26 (historically, it happened in chapter 9, many years earlier): “[14] And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

“[15] And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. [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 thee [apostello], [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.

“[19] Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: [20] But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” Paul’s own words concerning his Divine commission were identical to Isaiah’s reply: “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” After opposing Jesus Christ for decades as a lost man, Paul finally trusted Him as his personal Saviour and then went by faith to conduct His grace ministry for over 30 years. He thusly penned: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:13).

Having regarded at Paul’s commission, let us look at our (related) grace commission….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “At what age did Jesus Christ die?

A Lost Generation! #9

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 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 (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

Concerning the nation Israel after Jesus Christ finished His earthly ministry and His 12 Apostles undertook their ministry under the power of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter chapter 2: “[9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” No longer was Israel “lost!”

As touching formerly pagan Gentiles, now members of the Church the Body of Christ, the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 2: “[1] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. [4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; ) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” No longer were these Gentiles “lost!”

Provided each “lost” generation of every moment in human history believes God’s Word to and about it, it can be a found generation. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

A Lost Generation! #8

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 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 (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

As Jesus Christ conducted His earthly ministry, He remarked, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). He commissioned His 12 Apostles: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:5-7). The nation Israel was “lost,” removed from the path JEHOVAH God had for her. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Christ proceeded to bring Israel back to Him by preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. He was her long-promised Messiah/Christ-King-Saviour-Redeemer. Individual Jews were to “repent,” change their mind about their idolatry, and trust Him as the Son of God and heir to David’s throne. He performed miraculous demonstrations to validate His Gospel message: “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35).

Likewise, when the Apostle Paul began his ministry in Acts chapter 9, the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Jesus Christ commissioned him: “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 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” (Acts 26:17,18). It is through Paul’s ministry and message that we Gentiles can be saved….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does God suffer from Alzheimer’s disease?

Far Better

Friday, May 29, 2020

“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:20-24 KJV).

To “be with Christ” is “far better!”

As believers in Jesus Christ, we cannot help but remember saints we have known here on Earth who have since graduated to Heaven. Various dear friends come to my mind. How we look forward to the day when we see them again—without the effects of aging, disability, and petty denominationalism to disrupt and terminate our fellowship!

In 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, the Apostle Paul speaks of a man who experienced physical death and temporarily visited “paradise” or “the third heaven.” While never actually identifying the individual, there is strong evidence it was Paul himself. After all, he was seemingly put to death by stoning in Lystra (Acts 14:19). God miraculously restored him to life to continue his apostolic ministry for another 20 years!

Therefore, when Paul, in today’s Scripture, spoke of life on Earth and life in Heaven, he knew both firsthand. To live here or die here, he would glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. Being a vessel of His grace while on Earth, or dying as a martyr and leaving Earth, Paul had his eyes firmly fixed on the goal. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Yet, he had a ministry to conduct on Earth—and, for now, he was in prison in Rome, writing to the Philippians (1:7,13,14,16). “But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.” Still, Paul wanted to return to Heaven—and to be with one Person in particular. “To be with Christ; which is far better.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is ‘room’ a King James Bible mistake in Matthew 23:6?

Without Honour #10

Friday, March 27, 2020

But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house (Mark 6:4 KJV).

What valuable lesson can we learn from Nazareth—a moral the Nazarenes deliberately failed to learn?

Firstly, it is infinitesimally important that we positively respond to the Scriptures rightly divided as soon as possible. If we do not immediately react in faith, it becomes less and less likely that we will ever believe it. The Nazarenes were exposed to God’s Son, Jesus Christ, for almost three decades. He grew up among them, so they knew Him better than any other group in Israel or the world. Unfortunately, the Nazarenes started off with ungratefulness. As the years passed, they grew increasingly opposed to Him. Their animosity toward Him became so great they finally attempted to throw Him headfirst off a hillside. If only they had believed on Him the very moment He arrived in their town. Alas, they did not! If only they had believed their own Hebrew Bible as soon as they read it. Alas, they did not!

Secondly, it is unfathomably critical that we believe the Bible in the heart. This is more than knowing, reading, or hearing Scripture—the Nazarenes did that for centuries, and still wound up in unbelief. It is more than a mental assent or agreement—the Nazarenes did that for centuries too, and were still unbelieving. This is more than “playing church,” attending services out of “obligation” or “duty”—the Nazarenes did that for centuries as well, and still wound up in unbelief. Having the Bible is not enough—the Nazarenes did that for centuries as well, and were still unbelieving.

Dear readers, as soon as we learn the Gospel of Grace—“Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—we need to exercise heart faith in it. Immediately after we discover the Apostle Paul is God’s spokesman to us—“the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13)—we should exercise heart faith in it. If there is any delay, and anything other than heart faith, we will treat Jesus Christ and His Word with more dishonour than Nazareth did long ago!