The Awareness of a Temporary Earth

Thursday, April 22, 2021

“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).

Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #7

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21 KJV).

Exactly what is “spiritual cardiosclerosis?” How can we avoid this invisible, destructive malady?

Upon examining the contexts of the verses wherein spiritual cardiosclerosis appears, we conclude the affliction arises once the human soul (heart) refuses God’s words. Whether Pharaoh declining to let God’s people Israel go, or the Egyptians themselves refusing to release the Jews, or other unbelieving Gentiles in the Old Testament economy, or apostate Judaean King Zedekiah, or unbelieving Israelites wandering in the wilderness under Moses, or apostate religious Jews lacking compassion on a disabled man Jesus healed, or unbelieving disciples concerning Jesus feeding the multitudes, or callous people vehemently endeavoring to divorce, or national Israel blinded for not believing Christ during His earthly ministry, or unbelieving Apostles post-resurrection, or unbelievers in the Dispensation of Grace, or Jewish unbelievers during Daniel’s 70th Week, they all deliberately reject the Divine revelation given them. They are now insensitive (hardened) to the truth!

God’s Word tells us what to believe (doctrine), what we are doing wrong (reproof), and how we should think to do right (correction): “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). If we are unwilling to hear and trust its counsel, however, Proverbs 29:1 will be our lot: “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck [stubborn!], shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”

Ephesians 4:18,19 speaks of those “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” First Timothy 4:2 references those who “speak lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;….” We avoid spiritual cardiosclerosis by believing God’s words to us upon immediately hearing them. Let us pay special attention to Romans through Philemon, or face spiritual destruction!

Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #6

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21 KJV).

Exactly what is “spiritual cardiosclerosis?” How can we avoid this invisible, destructive malady?

Romans chapter 2 describes the religious soul, one too prideful to come to Christ by faith, in this the Dispensation of Grace: “[1] Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. [2] But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. [3] And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? [4] Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

“[5] But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; [6] Who will render to every man according to his deeds: [7] To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: [8] But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, [9] Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; [10] But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: [11] For there is no respect of persons with God.”

The Holy Bible’s final references to spiritual cardiosclerosis are in the Book of Hebrews—specifically chapter 3 (verses 8 and 15) and chapter 4 (verse 7). During Daniel’s 70th Week (future from us), Israelites are encouraged to believe God’s words to them, and not be spiritually hardened like their forefathers were in the wilderness under Moses (recall Psalm 95).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #5

Monday, April 19, 2021

“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21 KJV).

Exactly what is “spiritual cardiosclerosis?” How can we avoid this invisible, destructive malady?

Near the end of Christ’s earthly life and ministry, chapter 12 of John: “[37] But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: [38] That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? [39] Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, [40] He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. [41] These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.” Since Israel refused to believe on Jesus as Messiah (verses 37,38), God fixed it to so they were subsequently unable to believe (verses 39,40). Halfway through Christ’s ministry, He blinded them by employing parables (Matthew 13:10-17; Mark 4:10-13; Luke 8:9,10)!

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Mark chapter 16 reports the Apostles are now stricken with spiritual cardiosclerosis: “[9] Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. [10] And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. [11] And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. [12] After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. [13] And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. [14] Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.”

Now, we get to hardness of heart in our Dispensation of Grace….

Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #4

Sunday, April 18, 2021

“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21 KJV).

Exactly what is “spiritual cardiosclerosis?” How can we avoid this invisible, destructive malady?

During Christ’s earthly ministry, Israel’s religious leaders were stricken with spiritual cardiosclerosis: “And when he [Jesus] had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other” (Mark 3:5). Instead of believing on Jesus as Christ—who had demonstrated His Messiahship via innumerable healing miracles—they rejected Him in unbelief! Alas, even the disciples fell prey to that terrible affliction of spiritual cardiosclerosis.

“For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened (Mark 6:52). When Jesus walked out on the water of the Sea of Galilee to meet the disciples in their ship, they were amazed at His ability to calm the storm that had troubled them for so long! Having forgotten His miracle of feeding the 5,000 several hours prior, they still found it hard to accept His extraordinary power. After miraculously feeding the 4,000 later, Jesus warned His disciples about the “leaven” of false doctrine deceiving and contaminating Israel. Lacking spiritual eyes to see spiritual truth, they assumed He was speaking of literal leaven or physical bread. “And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?” (Mark 8:17).

The Lord Jesus even spoke of spiritual cardiosclerosis as causing divorce: “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts* suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8). “And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart* he wrote you this precept” (Mark 10:5). (*In the New Testament, this is the translation of the Greek “sklerokardia,” from which we derived our English equivalent.)

When Messiah arrived, Israel was hardhearted….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How can Luke 2:1 report ‘all the world’ was subject to Caesar Augustus?

Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #3

Saturday, April 17, 2021

“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21 KJV).

Exactly what is “spiritual cardiosclerosis?” How can we avoid this invisible, destructive malady?

Despite having God’s revelation, Israel herself became spiritually hardened once she exited Egypt. As touching her wilderness wanderings, Psalm 95: “[1] O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. [2] Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. [3] For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. [4] In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. [5] The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. [6] O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

“[7] For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, [8] Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: [9] When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. [10] Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: [11] Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.”

Centuries later, when the Philistines stole the Ark of the Covenant from the Jews, the LORD God judged the Philistines most harshly: “Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?” (1 Samuel 6:6). Hundreds of years after this, King Zedekiah of Judah also fell prey to spiritual cardiosclerosis: “And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel (2 Chronicles 36:13).

We now get to Christ’s earthly ministry….

Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #2

Friday, April 16, 2021

“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21 KJV).

Exactly what is “spiritual cardiosclerosis?” How can we avoid this invisible, destructive malady?

Keep reading about Pharaoh, King of Egypt: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:…” (Exodus 10:1). “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go” (verse 20). “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go” (verse 27).

“And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land” (Exodus 11:10). “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so” (Exodus 14:4). “And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand” (verse 8). Again, the Egyptians themselves suffered spiritual cardiosclerosis: “And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen” (verse 17 ).

Other Gentiles in the Old Testament experienced a similar fate: “But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day” (Deuteronomy 2:30). “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses” (Joshua 11:20).

Unfortunately, now Israel will undergo spiritual cardiosclerosis….

Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #1

Thursday, April 15, 2021

“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21 KJV).

Exactly what is “spiritual cardiosclerosis?” How can we avoid this invisible, destructive malady?

In medical science, “cardiosclerosis” is characterized by the rapid increase of scar tissue in the myocardium (heart’s muscle tissue). The death of myocardial fibers causes the heart to become physically hard. However, the Bible refers some 40 times to a far more devastating affliction. Today’s Scripture is its first appearance; nearly half of those verses apply to Pharaoh of Egypt, oppressor of Israel.

“And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 7:3). “And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go” (verses 13,14). “And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said” (verse 22). “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said” (Exodus 8:15). “Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said” (verse 19). “And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go” (verse 32).

“And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go” (Exodus 9:7). “And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses” (verse 12). “And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses” (verses 34,35).

Pharaoh will suffer even more spiritual cardiosclerosis….

The Withered Right Hand #5

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered (Luke 6:6 KJV).

What can this account of the withered right hand teach us?

Israel’s Sabbath-Day observance was to remind them of the Creation Week, their role in God’s purpose and plan for creation (recall Exodus 20:8-11). They were God’s earthly people, and obligated to keep the Law of Moses, of which the Sabbath was the sign. By deliberately performing a miracle on Saturday, Jesus was pointing to His Millennial Reign, what the Sabbath previewed (cf. Hebrews 4:1-10). Israel would be restored to service! Every week, the Jews were to meditate on God’s Word, the Hebrew Bible, and be mindful of the LORD’S will for them. Alas, they became too preoccupied with their religious works. They were therefore unable to appreciate Christ healing the withered right hand on the Sabbath!

“And looking round about upon them all, he [Christ] said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And they were filled with madness [insanity!]; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus (Luke 6:10,11). “Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him (Matthew 12:13,14). “And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him (Mark 3:5,6).

Here is the callousness or mercilessness of people obsessed with religion; they rejoice not in God’s deliverance of suffering sinners. After seeing Christ heal the man, they are outraged He has broken their religious rule, and thus begin plotting Jesus’ execution! Saints, may we not be foolish as they were. Let us have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to believe the value of the withered right hand made whole! 🙂

The Withered Right Hand #4

Monday, April 12, 2021

And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered (Luke 6:6 KJV).

What can this account of the withered right hand teach us?

Today’s Scripture (cf. Matthew 12:10; Mark 3:2) says it was the Saturday Sabbath. JEHOVAH God had given Israel the Fourth Commandment through Moses, chapter 20 of Exodus: “[8] Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. [9] Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: [10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: [11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

Through the centuries after Moses, Israel began to move away from the written Law of Moses and emphasize the so-called “oral” Law of Moses. In fact, rather than worshipping the LORD on the Sabbath, the Jews were worshipping the Sabbath itself. According to rabbinical tradition, unless concerning a life-threatening situation, medical aid was not to be rendered on the Sabbath. Therefore, when a man with a withered right hand appeared in a synagogue (Jewish place of worship), the local religious leaders saw this as a perfect opportunity to set a trap for Jesus!

“And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him [Christ], saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him” (Matthew 12:10). “And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him” (Mark 3:2). Today’s Scripture in context again: “[6] And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. [7] And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.”

Blinded by their vain religious tradition, apostate Israel refused to see the significance of the withered right hand healed….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘flood’ of Joshua chapter 24?