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?

Excruciating Thursday

Thursday, March 29, 2018

[Reader discretion advised: Christ’s sufferings are graphically described below.]

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9 KJV).

His three years of earthly ministry have expired, but His greatest work is yet to come!

During the all-night interrogation in the “kangaroo court,” His sentence is passed—execution by crucifixion. They have scourged, beaten, and punched Him. Covered in their spit, they laugh at Him, and strike His head with a rod to force on the crown of thorns. His back shredded, His skull possibly fractured, His beard ripped off. His massive blood loss weakens Him further. Having been stripped of His clothing, He struggles to carry His heavy cross to Mount Calvary: Simon must carry His cross for Him. The crowds watch Him, laughing and jeering. His little flock looks on in total shock.

They lay Him on the wooden cross, yanking His limbs to nail them in place. His bones unbroken, but exposed, and His limbs dislocated. They pierce His hands and feet with long spikes, severing the median nerve in the hands, causing permanent hand paralysis. They raise up that cross, and He hangs, slowly suffocating due to His own weight. Every breath becomes increasingly difficult, His lungs fill with fluid, His heart becomes progressively strained. Eventually, He cannot breathe, and thus dies.

Now imagine His spiritual suffering. Three hours into His crucifixion, His heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost have abandoned Him. For the first time ever, He is totally alone. Physical and spiritual darkness now cover the earth. The weight of all the world’s sin and sins of all time crushes His soul. God’s undiluted wrath falls upon Him, as it does on those suffering in hellfire. He cries out in agony. Hanging on that cruel cross, with His spiritual eyes, He observes Satan himself and all his evil creatures snickering and cheering. He looks out to see His disciples staring at His helpless disfigured body. Oh, if only they knew how His physical and spiritual bodies were being tormented, utterly tortured beyond imagination!

After six hours of excruciating pain, He finally lets Himself die….

Please check out our archived Bible Q&A: “Was Jesus Christ really crucified on Friday?

The “Triumphal” Entry

Sunday, March 25, 2018

“All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass” (Matthew 21:4,5 KJV).

Do you ever wonder why Jesus Christ rode on a donkey the Sunday before His crucifixion?

In today’s Scripture (cf. Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19), Jesus’s crucifixion on Calvary’s cross is just five days away. Leaving Bethany, He travels to Jerusalem (a mile to the northwest). Israel’s believing remnant in Jerusalem is excited to hear that Messiah is returning to “the city of the great King” (Psalm 48:2; Matthew 5:35); in anticipation, the great multitude throws their garments and palm branches on the ground. As Jesus enters the city, they cry out, “Hosanna [“O save!”]: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9,10; Luke 19:38; John 12:13; cf. Psalm 118:26).

While often called the “Triumphal Entry,” there really was no victory being celebrated in today’s Scripture—the victory was to come later! What we need to realize is that Jesus Christ was humble (“meek”) here: as a King riding on a donkey into Israel’s capital city, He demonstrated He desired peace with Israel (a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9). He had not come to destroy her, though He would have been just in doing so; He had come to save her from her sins, her enemies, and her satanic bondage (Matthew 1:21; Mark 2:17; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 1:68-75; Luke 9:55,56; Luke 19:9,10; Acts 3:24-26; et cetera).

Just a few days later, Jesus Christ appeared weak and defeated. He never fought back as the Roman soldiers mercilessly abused Him; He allowed Himself to be crucified on Calvary. It was His meek and lowly coming; now was not the time to pour out His wrath. He resurrected and ascended into heaven as a royal exile. Revelation 19:11 says Jesus Christ will return to Jerusalem on a white horse, a sign of war and wrath (Zechariah 14:1-4)—that will be His true triumphal entry, for He will conquer Satan’s world system forever!

Successful!

Friday, March 23, 2018

“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

Without further delay, saints, let us realize how to be successful!

Today’s Scripture is some of the Apostle Paul’s final words to young Timothy. The Roman government is preparing to execute the imprisoned, aged Apostle for preaching an “illegal religion.” After 35 years of glorious grace ministry, Paul is finally going Home—to the third heaven!!!

Notice a portion of the Holy Ghost’s concluding words to us the Church the Body of Christ. In all the “ups and downs” of life and ministry, we are to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Remember, when all else fails you, in the end, God’s grace will remain to sustain you. Paul is moving on to “be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). As his mentor passes off the scene, it is vital that Timothy never forgets that grace will abide. No matter how rough it gets down here, because of everything that Father God can do for us through Christ’s finished crosswork, we can endure it. Never should Timothy (or we) overlook that.

Furthermore, Paul instructs Timothy, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” God taught us through Paul so we can teach the same to others. The key word here is same:” we do not change the message, do not compromise the doctrine, and do not water down Pauline truth!! Timothy should never forget this either—especially since mass apostasy (many Christians abandoning truth to embrace error) surrounds him.

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” In light of what was just stated, we are to “endure hardness” (“suffer trouble,” 2 Timothy 2:9; “endure afflictions,” 2 Timothy 4:5). Saints, an intense spiritual battle is being waged. We have a vicious Adversary (Satan) to face. Nevertheless, we are “good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” We will win only because of God’s grace! 🙂

Sleeping!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be awake and alert.

The Corinthians were immature saints. While God’s spiritual (adult) sons, they thought and behaved like small children. First Corinthians is such a lengthy Book because it is the Holy Spirit meticulously correcting the multitude of problems in that local assembly. Today’s Scripture is one summarization of their dilemma: corrupt religious leaders have deceived them, and their Christian life is no longer functioning properly.

Before any mature saints swell up with pride and say, “I would never be like the Corinthians!,” they should consider Ephesians chapter 5: “[14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;….” Although more matured in the doctrine than the Corinthians, the Christians at Ephesus nevertheless also caved in to the pressures of Satan’s evil world system. Gripped by ignorance and silliness, they too were spiritually sleeping, unaware of their surroundings.

The Lord Jesus warned Israel’s Little Flock of their testimony being hindered as well. Matthew chapter 5: “[14] Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. [15] Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. [16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Commercialism (materialism) and slothfulness (laziness) threatened the ministry of these Jewish kingdom saints.

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light(Ephesians 5:14). “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130).

Silenced!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; (2 Timothy 1:7,8 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to preach sound Bible doctrine.

Brethren, Satan has a two-fold strategy for hindering God’s will. In “phase 1,” he attacks the message. Remember, his first words in Scripture are in Genesis 3:1: Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Satan’s chief goal is to question (challenge) God’s Word, thus removing it as the authority. After repeatedly distorting the Bible, he outright denied it in verse 4. Satan effectually enticed Adam and Eve to corrupt, and thereby abandon, sound Bible doctrine.

If the saint maintains and defends sound Bible doctrine, not relinquishing it, then Satan begins “phase 2.” Satan’s objective here is to attack the messenger, to somehow silence him—through intimidation, hardship, embarrassment, discouragement, and so on. This is where we find Timothy in today’s Scripture. In 1 Timothy, he had dealt with false teaching in Ephesus. He has remained faithful to the grace message, having not compromised with the legalists. Satan has failed to get Timothy to pervert grace.

Now, in 2 Timothy (today’s Scripture), Timothy’s face is damp with “tears” (verse 4). He is crying, emotionally exhausted, overwhelmed by opposition and distress in the ministry. As Paul writes, pervasive doctrinal error exists now: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (verse 15). Most Christians have now abandoned Paul’s doctrine, preferring legalism and other heresies. Dejected Timothy has surrendered, having ceased (!) preaching Pauline doctrine (verse 6).

Paul, imprisoned far away in Rome for preaching God’s grace through Christ, is moved by the Holy Spirit to encourage Timothy to not be ashamed (today’s Scripture). “Timothy, remember who you are and where you came from. God’s power will get you through your situations. Share in those afflictions that accompany the Gospel! No matter what happens, boldly preach!” (Brethren, may we do likewise.)

Solace!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to enjoy the solace of the God of all comfort.

Today’s Scripture is the Apostle Paul at the lowest point in his whole ministry. Keep reading: “[8] For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: [9] But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: [10] Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” Did you sense Paul’s great depression in verse 8?

When the Apostle refers to his “trouble… in Asia,” that would have been something that occurred in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). On its western shore sat the city of Ephesus. Here, in Acts chapter 19, Paul had preached Jesus Christ and founded the church at Ephesus. You would do well to read the chapter sometime. Paul’s preaching the truth caused a revival in that spiritually dead, pagan city. With the idol-makers losing customers, they lashed out and caused a riot. Paul could have lost his life! Thankfully, God supported him physically (but most importantly, spiritually).

Saint, when you get “pressed out of measure” in ministry, “above strength, insomuch that [you] despair even of life,” you just keep on going! After all, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” If the saints of old found solace in the God of all comfort, then we will too!

Our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?