The Ark of the Covenant

Monday, October 15, 2018

Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant (Hebrews 9:4 KJV).

Why did the Ark of the Covenant (box, casket) contain these items?

  1. Golden pot of manna — Israel, just out of Egyptian bondage, complains that they have nothing to eat in the wilderness. Whining that the LORD God has delivered them just to starve them to death, they desire to return to Egypt! In His providence, God rains down bread from Heaven. He commands that a sample of this manna be stored in the Ark as a memorial (Exodus 16:1-36, particularly verses 32-34).
  2. Aaron’s rod that budded — A certain segment of Jews rebel against Moses and Aaron, God’s leaders of Israel (Numbers 16:1-50). So as to prove Aaron is His high priest, God assigns an almond rod to each tribe. Levi’s rod bearing Aaron’s name (Aaron is of the tribe of Levi) blossoms and bears almonds, signifying that Aaron is the genuine priest (Numbers 17:1-13, especially verses 10-11).
  3. Two tables of stone — These are God’s codified 10 Commandments, the result of Israel wanting works-religion, a performance-based acceptance system, instead of remaining with grace (God’s gifts to them simply offered out of His benevolence). Such cold, dead, rocky slates are the heart of the Old Covenant, whose demanding laws expose Israel’s sin problem (Deuteronomy 10:1-5, particularly verse 5).

Friend, did you notice the recurring idea? Are all mementos of specific times in Israel’s history when she rebelled (sinned) against JEHOVAH God. They were kept in the Ark, whose lid was the Mercy Seat. Above it was the Shekinah glory, God’s presence, between the cherubim (Exodus 25:10-22). On the Mercy Seat—on the annual Day of Atonement—Israel’s high priest sprinkled the bullock’s blood (Leviticus 16:2,14).

What was literally between God’s presence and Israel’s sin (the broken commandments, her never-ending rebellion) was shed blood. They could not see it, but, looking back, we can. Shed blood—namely, Christ’s (future) finished crosswork on Calvary—was keeping a holy, offended God from consuming sinful Israel all those 1,500 years (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:14,15)!!

Refuge! #4

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares (Numbers 35:11 KJV).

Look closely! Could there be something prophetic here?

Many are astonished to learn that God did not set the nation Israel aside at Calvary’s cross. Although she deliberately executed His beloved Son, He extended to Israel a renewed opportunity of repentance in early Acts. He poured out His Holy Spirit on her believing remnant (Acts chapter 2). Those believers preached to unsaved Israel to repent and be water baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (verse 38). Divine wrath had not yet been poured out.

The Holy Spirit declares through the Apostle Peter in Acts chapter 3: “[12] …Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this [lame] man to walk? [13] The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. [14] But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; [15] And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. [17] And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. [18] But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”

Verse 17 is highly notable. Indeed, Father God has honored His Son’s request in Luke 23:34. He has demoted the indictment of Israel from murder to manslaughter. They were spiritually ignorant, blinded; hence, they put Him to death. Premeditated killing (murder), according to the Mosaic Law, is punishable by death. Israel deserves death (destruction)! Thankfully, though, God took advantage of a loophole in the Law!! As a “manslayer unaware,” Israel may flee to “the cities of the refuge.” To where should she run? She must abscond by faith to the Little Flock, for the avenger of blood is impending….

The Hottest Places in Eternity #9

Tuesday, October 2, 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!

If God caused a war, and the “watchman” (guardian) alerted the city that he saw danger approaching, those not taking heed would be responsible for their own fate (Ezekiel 33:1-5).

The LORD God continues in verses 6-9: “But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou [Ezekiel], O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”

In Acts 20:26-27, Paul, God’s spokesman for the Dispensation of Grace, announced he was “pure from the blood of all men.” As a watchman, he had preached the Word of God’s Grace to lost and saved alike in Ephesus. The warning had been sent to the unsaved—Jesus Christ’s shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection as the sufficient payment for their sins. If they died in unbelief and went to Hell, it was their fault. The admonition had been issued to the Christians—God’s Grace, not Law, was the operating principle for victorious Christian living. If their spiritual lives were wrecked, they would be responsible. Paul, however, was guiltless!

Similarly, in eternal judgment, God holds unsaved leaders liable for not warning their people about Satan’s lie program….

God’s Offer to the Nations

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

“…[T]hat God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is God’s offer to all the nations of the world today.

September 11, 2001 was a day that changed our nation forever. It was the worst terrorist attack in our two-century national history. Afterward, many Americans began to talk about “God Bless America” and “God Save the United States.” These phrases are not as commonplace as they used to be.

In the 17 years that have passed since that awful day, it is a sad commentary that “God” is now the least of our nation’s concerns. With the redefining of marriage, controversial political arena, moral decay, skyrocketing national debt, and the uncertainty as to what constitutes a human life and what does not, obviously, the God of the Bible has been largely pushed out… until we need His help, and then we cry out to Him. Unless we need Him, we rather not think about anything He has to say.

While many argue that God is judging America today for its sins, the Bible does not support such an idea. Certainly, God dealt with Israel in that manner—“Do good and I will bless, but disobey and I will curse” (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28)—but we have no relation to that Old Covenant of Law.

For the last 20 centuries, God has offered His grace to all the world’s nations, to have a right standing before Him by trusting Jesus Christ. People still die and go to hell, but today’s Scripture says that God is not judging nations for their sins. Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, God offers reconciliation to sinners, whether here or around the world. However, that grace is exhaustible, and one day, it will be replaced with His wrath (Romans 2:1-16). Still, we believers are not appointed to God’s wrath; we are saved from all wrath through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

The only hope for America—yea, for any nation—is faith in Jesus Christ alone!

*You can also see our 2011 Bible study commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It can be watched here or read here.

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….

Growing in Grace #2

Sunday, August 12, 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?”

Titus 2:11-13 says, “[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;….” God’s grace was never a secret (cf. Genesis 6:8), but it was not a dispensation until the Apostle Paul’s salvation. “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).

Paul said in Acts 20:24, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Beginning with Paul’s salvation and ministry, God began to manifest His grace (favor toward undeserving man) in a very special manner. Grace once limited to the nation Israel (Matthew 20:28) had now been extended to “all men” (Titus 2:11 above).

First Timothy chapter 2: “[3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” Be careful to notice verse 7! Paul was the first to proclaim that Christ Jesus gave His life “a ransom for all.

We will now look at today’s Scripture in context to see what the Holy Spirit says through the Apostle Peter….