The Jews’ Feasts #4

Saturday, July 20, 2019

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1 KJV).

Thrice, and only in John’s Gospel Record, we read a unique expression. What is it, and why is it significant?

Man always spoils the works of the LORD God, such as distorting His Word, the Holy Bible: “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God…” (2 Corinthians 2:17). “And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God” (Jeremiah 23:36).

Apostate Israel ruined God’s Jerusalem Temple with their flagrant dishonesty: “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written [Isaiah 56:7], My [that is, God’s] house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:12,13). God’s house received a new name, for Christ later denounced Jerusalem (23:38), “Behold, your (!) house is left unto you desolate!” The God of the Bible wanted nothing further to do with the Temple; He was no longer inhabiting it. “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple” (24:1). He gave them over to their false religion!

Why have people selected their particular local church? To hear sound Bible doctrine there? Probably not. (Just ask them if you doubt it.) A friend of mine likes to say, “They want food, fun, and fellowship!” (I like to add a fourth reason—foolishness!) Organized religion and denominations have replaced God’s work with their own. It is not the Holy Spirit working in them because they believe His words to them (for they are ignorant of His principles of grace). Rather, they are striving to duplicate Christ’s life by using man’s fallible interpretations. Furthermore, they want material food, not the bread from heaven. They crave amusement, not truth. They seek to be friends with the world, not friends of God. They have childish wishes, not mature desires. It is Christendom, not Christianity….

The Jews’ Feasts #3

Friday, July 18, 2019

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1 KJV).

Thrice, and only in John’s Gospel Record, we read a unique expression. What is it, and why is it significant?

Judaism as it existed in Jesus’ day was certainly not the unadulterated Word of God given at Mount Sinai. During the 15 centuries since Moses, the rabbinical scholars had corrupted it. Ironically, what God had given to Israel to indicate her sin problem was now the very system she was using to advertise her “righteousness!”

Take, for example, Matthew chapter 9: “[10] And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. [11] And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? [12] But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. [13] But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Did you notice how the Pharisees considered others to be “sinners?” These religious leaders themselves were—they assumed—to be without sin! Such Old Testament “scholars” so totally void of Scriptural understanding! What had they been reading? They had the Hebrew Bible (our Genesis through Malachi) but they had read it through the lens of religious tradition. Hence, they could not see what they should have seen. Yea, they did not want to see what they should have seen.

Read this sardonic rebuke the Lord Jesus had for Israel’s religious leaders in Matthew 23:23: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” They focused on dividing the tiny herbs and spices into tenths—their tithes as instructed by Moses!—but they ignored the more important principles of the Law. Judgment, mercy, and faith (!) were absent from these religionists’ hearts and lives. Indeed, it was no longer God’s religion….

Bible Q&A #630: “What does the Bible say about lunar exploration and settlement?

The Jews’ Feasts #2

Thursday, July 18, 2019

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1 KJV).

Thrice, and only in John’s Gospel Record, we read a unique expression. What is it, and why is it significant?

Friend, you have doubtless seen religious busyness. People are quite active in attending church services, participating in water baptisms, partaking of communion, walking aisles, knocking on doors and “proselytizing,” shaking preachers’ hands, listening to and uttering confessions, reciting prayers, reading denominational literature, singing and dancing, clapping and raising their hands, giving large donations to this group and that group, and so on. It all appears so decent and spiritual. Surely, God is pleased, right? Well, not exactly. How much of all that is done with an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to them? Frankly, very, very, very little!

Romans 14:23 concludes with, “for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” This concept is wise Christian advice regardless of the issue. What would God want us to do here or there, in this situation or that? The verse answers it. If we cannot point to a clear verse from the rightly divided Bible, and say on the basis of that verse that we are a taking certain course of action, it is best to reconsider our options. Faith is simply believing God’s Word to you. If that is the definition of “faith”—and it is—then there is actually almost no faith among most so-called “Christians.”

No matter the denomination, the average church member depends too heavily on clergy. It is far easier to let others think for us, and most convenient to say, “Let the preacher study the Bible. He can tell me what it says and what I am supposed to believe.” Hence, doctrinal confusion and Bible illiteracy are so pervasive within Christendom. The preacher is only interested in telling us what the denomination says, what the denomination says the Bible says, and not what the Bible really says. (Many have learned this “the hard way,” shocked to finally realize their denominational leaders withheld a great deal of Bible truth from them!!)

What is passed off as “Christianity” today is often anything but. Likewise, the religion in Israel during Christ’s day was not pure Judaism….

Days of Usefulness #5

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;… (Ecclesiastes 12:1 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

Current average global human lifespan is between 70 and 80 years (women being the elder). Seventy years translate to 25,550 days or 613,200 hours; eighty years are 29,200 days or 700,800 hours. Here is the maximum amount of time most people have to serve the Lord on Earth. Unfortunately, much—usually all—of that is squandered. Decades spent seeking knowledge in philosophy, but the Bible is ignored. Lavish parties, exotic vacations, and pricey entertainment bought, and no lasting peace. Several marriages later, but they still look for happiness.

No, dear friends, we cannot revisit the past, we cannot undo mistakes, and we cannot reverse aging. We know it as well as Solomon. Yet, we have more Divine revelation than Israel’s wisest—and most foolish—king. If we have trusted Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins, then we are forgiven of all our sins: “God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32), “having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:13).

We are saved forever, justified eternally, bound for Heaven, but we will not be spared the earthly consequences of sins. Saints, never do we as members of the Body of Christ have to worry about going to Hell, the eternal penalty for sin. Yet, reckless earthly living will indeed pay off in this life: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7,8). It is important to learn this fact now, especially as young people, before we age and find ourselves forced to deal with the outcomes of horrible decisions.

Dear readers, grow familiar with Romans through Philemon, the principles of grace, as soon as possible in life. Apply them to life by faith as much as possible. Reach as many young people with those truths as you can. You therefore maximize your days of usefulness… and their days of usefulness, too!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did Eli honor his sons more than he honor God?

Days of Usefulness #4

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;… (Ecclesiastes 12:1 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

In one succinct rephrasing, aged Solomon thus recommends: “Before you waste your life like I did, let me tell you something important. While you are still young—before you grow old like I am now—do not forget your Creator. Before you engage in those ‘evil days,’ that prolonged period of ungodliness, I know firsthand it just simply is not worth it. It will be fun and thrilling, but it will also be transitory. At death, the appealing façade crumbles, and Satan’s evil world system is realized to be perpetually displeasing. There is nothing of eternal worth; it all amounts to zero.” Let us bring it up to our modern world.

How tragic it is to find an unsaved person, having lived for self for many decades, now old and debilitated. Drug and alcohol abuse have irreversibly damaged their bodies. Their energy is drained. Vision diminished, hearing nearly gone, crippled and bedridden, they finally trust Christ as their personal Saviour. Having a burning desire to serve the Lord, the physical strength just is not there as it was when they were serving sin. They find themselves quoting Solomon in today’s Scripture, repeating to defiant youth what they too learned “the hard way.” It is comparable to the phrase, “Yes, Mom and Dad knew better. They are gone, I am old, and now the younger generation ignores me as I disregarded my elders.”

Romans 1:25 is the core of Satan’s policy of evil: “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Here are Lucifer before he became Satan, Adam when he led man’s fall into sin, the nations at the Tower of Babel, Solomon in his final decades, the Antichrist, the unsaved billions today, and most Christians today (sadly). They live for self—the creature—at the expense of the Creator. Jesus Christ the Lord—the Creator—is snubbed. The days of evil present, the days of usefulness wasted….

Days of Usefulness #3

Monday, July 8, 2019

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;… (Ecclesiastes 12:1 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

Long ago, he was a wise, young king (1 Kings chapter 3). However, he was not immune from sin. Making literally hundreds of terrible choices, Solomon fully aligned himself with Satan’s lie program—false religion (chapter 11). Now, in his final days, the Holy Spirit moves him to write Ecclesiastes. A parent desperately tries to reason with a rebellious child: “I have been there, I have done that, take my advice. Please do not do what I did!” Solomon warns those who are living for self (sIn!). These instructions carry significant weight in the prophetic program. Israel should resist the seduction of Antichrist and his “natural-man philosophy.” That evil world system exists now, tempting us to engage in ungodliness too.

Ecclesiastes documents man’s futile attempts to conduct his earthly life without following the Creator God. While this is atheism, agnosticism, and skepticism, it is also works-religion. As long as it is not God’s Word rightly divided, it is Satan’s lie program. With Antichrist, it will be pagan idolatry—not the absence of God but the replacement of God (Daniel 11:36-39; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12). Antichrist and his followers will be their own rulers, doing their pleasure while appearing religious. In the end, it will be dying Solomon—sorely disappointed because, after all those years of work, nothing of eternal value was produced!

Departing Solomon confessed (my paraphrase), “I learned philosophy but did not find meaning. I amassed great material wealth but did not find happiness. I toiled acquiring entertainment and other pleasures but found no lasting peace. I found religion but no hope.” See Ecclesiastes 12:8 (the context of today’s Scripture): “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.” “Worthlessness! Emptiness! I lived apart from the Creator God’s guidance for years. Here, this earthly sojourn is over. Now, I lose everything I have gained in this natural world. All my selfish efforts have profited me nothing. My physical body is falling apart, and I wasted so much precious time. Alas, I cannot return to my youth and redo life….”

Days of Usefulness #2

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;… (Ecclesiastes 12:1 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

The title “Ecclesiastes” is the Latin form of the Greek word for “preacher.” It is King Solomon gathering an audience to teach them what he has learned about earthly living. He is elderly, near the close of his sojourn on Earth, his royal administration winding down. Employing a sequence of interesting euphemisms, the Holy Spirit describes the human physical body undergoing the aging process. The key is verse 7, the spirit leaving the body: the culmination of aging is physical death itself.

“[2] While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain [youth turning to senior citizen]: [3] In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble [tremors], and the strong men shall bow themselves [stooping], and the grinders cease because they are few [tooth loss], and those that look out of the windows be darkened [vision loss], [4] And the doors shall be shut in the streets [lips close], when the sound of the grinding is low [hearing loss], and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird [sleeplessness], and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low [no longer enjoying former pleasures];….

“[5] Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high [fear of falling], and fears shall be in the way [worrisome], and the almond tree shall flourish [graying hair], and the grasshopper shall be a burden [easily irritated], and desire shall fail [sex drive wanes]: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets [funeral approaching]: [6] Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern [various organs and body-parts unusable]. [7] Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” There, the wages of sin take their toll on flesh and blood. Earthly living ceases….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should the lack of worldwide revival in our dispensation discourage us from witnessing?