Vapour!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away (James 4:14 KJV).

A “vapour”—as in a mist or gas—may change into a solid or liquid. Likewise, our earthly life “vanisheth away!”

Dear friends, we never know when death will come, but we do need to prepare for it. It was never part of God’s original creation: the entrance of sin caused death. Adam’s rebellion originated the curse of sin, including death (see Genesis 3:1-24). Never blame God for what Adam did. Now, someone asks, “How can God punish us for something Adam did? Why do we have to suffer because of Adam?” This is best answered by seeing the other side of the issue.

God provided a way to escape the penalty of sin. In addition to physical death, there are also a spiritual death and the second death. Spiritual death is the soul’s separation from God during earthly living—this, however, can be rectified through faith in the Gospel. The second death is eternal (permanent) separation from God in the Lake of Fire. We sinners deserve this most horrible spiritual prison. However, God became a Man, Jesus Christ, who died for (to pay for) our sins. If we complain God punishes us because of Adam’s actions, then we might as well protest God justifying us because of Christ’s actions. See, it balances. Just as Adam is the federal head of sinners, so Jesus Christ is the federal head of saints. Romans 5:12-21 is interesting reading on the subject—the two federal heads, their activities, and their effects.

First Corinthians 15:3-4: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:….” Acts 16:30-31: “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How are the Beast and the False Prophet ‘cast alive’ into the Lake of Fire?

The Awareness of a Temporary Earth

 Sunday, April 22, 2018

“And, Thou, O Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Hebrews 1:10-12 KJV).

On this Earth Day, let us not confuse the creation with the Creator!

Today, people worldwide celebrate “environmental awareness.” According to the secular, naturalistic worldview, our planet and its sun could last many more billions of years. They claim that we have done so much damage to our planet—climate change, overpopulation, deforestation, pollution, et cetera—that we must change our attitude toward “mother earth” and change our lifestyles before we destroy her and civilization as we know it! You can sense the zeal in their message, can you not? While these people are sincere, they are wasting all of their time, energy, and resources on a temporary planet.

Let us be very clear that the Lord Jesus Christ placed man on the earth, especially the Garden of Eden, to “dress it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was to take care of the Earth: he was God’s representative, God’s king, who had a divine commission to rule this planet for God’s glory (Genesis 1:26-28).

It was not long, however, before Satan distracted mankind from understanding God’s purpose for him. Adam began to focus on himself: like Satan, he began to “worship and serve the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). Thus began man’s continual downward spiral into spiritual ignorance. He would continually worship himself, as we well know today.

Today’s Scripture reminds us that, because of sin, this creation will pass away. The Lord Jesus Christ, however, will live forever. Why worship that which is temporary? It makes no sense! The Lord Jesus Christ gave you life, not the pagan goddess “mother earth.” Environmental awareness? Indeed, be aware that our world is temporary, as God will one day create “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).

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….

Benoni and Benjamin #1

Sunday, April 15, 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!

Bible deriders never sincerely study what they speak evil of; they merely skim and gripe. Dodging the “trouble” of studying, they dismiss Scripture as “a random collection of Jewish campfire fantasies.” There is very little, if any, personal investigation underlying that claim. Rather, something silly was heard at a “Christian” church, something preposterous was read in a “Christian” book, and the skeptic thus embarks on his lifelong, pompous crusade, “Look here and look there, the Bible is riddled with superstition and mistakes everywhere!” (He has no idea that his controversy is not with Scripture, but rather with religionists who distort and complicate Scripture.)

The Bible is no ordinary Book. Friend, you approach it with an arrogant, faultfinding attitude, and you will never get one hint of truth out of it. It will tightly lock so you will not gain its insight. At that point, God will then let you use it (!) to prove whatever you want. You can therefore quote Scripture and mock, “Error, error, error!,” but you will look completely foolish. God already gave you over to error, and looking at the Bible thereafter, all you are capable of seeing is error. This is exactly where atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers have placed themselves. They did not want to know—so now they do not know! However, all hope is not lost. Friend, as long as you are living and breathing, and not in the Devil’s Hell where you belong, you can obtain forgiveness of sins through simple faith in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). You also still have opportunity to start understanding and enjoying the Bible.

Today’s Scripture, at first glance, seems like easy reading. Some woman died in childbirth after naming her boy, but her husband called their newborn by another name. Big deal! The critic passes over it as trivial, whereas the Bible student pauses and investigates. We are Bible students (yes?), so we now stop and study. There is something downright marvelous here, but ONLY (!) if we are willing to receive and believe it….

Bible Q&A #485: “Can you explain the ‘spot’ in Deuteronomy 32:5?

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! 🙂

The Price of Christ #1

Thursday, April 12, 2018

“And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver” (Matthew 26:15 KJV).

How much is Jesus Christ worth in the eyes of lost man?

Let us read today’s Scripture within its context: “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him” (Matthew 26:14-16).

“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me” (Matthew 27:3-10).

The 30 pieces of silver was enough to buy a field; it was an enormous sum of money. The King James Bible does not specify what types of coins the priests paid Judas, but the “30 pieces of silver” is estimated to be the equivalent of three or four months’ wages. According to the Mosaic Law, the price of a slave was “thirty shekels of silver” (Exodus 21:32). In the eyes of lost mankind, the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, was worth nothing more than a slave!