Line of Hope #2

Friday, August 14, 2020

Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee (Joshua 2:18 KJV).

Behold, a line of hope!

While oft remembered as an “harlot” (Joshua 2:1; Joshua 6:17,25; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25), it seems that was Rahab’s former occupation. The language of Joshua indicates she was presently a textile worker—one who prepared cloth, linen, and other fiber-related materials. Joshua 2:6 shows she hid the Jewish scouts “with the stalks of flax [raw textile fiber], which she had laid in order upon the roof.” Verse 15 also: “Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.” Moreover, as we read in today’s Scripture, she let them down alongside Jericho’s city wall by a “line of scarlet thread.” “And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window” (verse 21).

Let us draw our attention to the “line of scarlet thread” itself. Of course, “scarlet” is a blood-red hue. The Hebrew word for “line” here is “tiqvah.” How interesting it is that this term is rendered “hope” some 23 times in the King James Old Testament, “expectation” seven times, and “the thing that I long for” once! For example, Psalm 62:5: “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation [tiqvah] is from him.” And, Psalm 71:5: “For thou art my hope [tiqvah], O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.”

Although Rahab, Joshua, and their contemporaries knew nothing of Calvary’s cross, it is certainly fascinating God in His Word attached “hope” to the hue of blood-red! Unaware of Christ’s blood, Rahab nevertheless revealed her faith using a scarlet thread dangling from her window. If we study our completed Bible from cover to cover, we notice Jesus Christ’s crosswork either implicitly or explicitly. Whether Isaac being offered on the altar, or the Passover lamb’s blood, or Rahab’s scarlet thread, there is a “line of hope” running through the Scripture!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Galatians 3:17?

Line of Hope #1

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee (Joshua 2:18 KJV).

Behold, a line of hope!

Having escaped Egyptian slavery 40 years earlier, Israel now prepares to enter the Promised Land. Moses has just expired. Joshua has succeeded him as Israel’s leader. The first city they must conquer is Jericho, on the Jordan River’s western bank. In chapter 2 of Joshua, the context of today’s Scripture, Joshua sends two spies to scout the land. Once they bring back word, Israel will move westward and attack! These two Jewish reconnoiters meet a citizen of Jericho—Rahab the harlot—who allows them to lodge at her house (verse 1). Upon Jericho’s king hearing of an infiltration, Rahab denies any association and hides the men on her roof (verses 2-7).

“[8] And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; [9] And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. [10] For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. [11] And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. [12] Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: [13] And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”

Rahab is one of the few non-Jews aware of the one true God….

World Lost! #10

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

For centuries, church members have constructed buildings, lit candles, walked aisles, distributed religious literature, donned choir robes, knocked on doors, held “revivals,” organized concerts, and raised money for “missions.” Our leaders have wasted decades and billions of dollars on seminary and Bible college, having learned nothing but man’s speculations and traditions. Spreading their error to the congregations, the Body of Christ—lacking God’s wisdom and power—is rendered impotent and unable to withstand the deceitful cultural revolution already begun.

The formalism was but a veneer. All its gold and silver cannot hide the spiritual poverty of the professing church. Neither can all the water in every baptistery fount wash away its hypocrisy. All the professions of “faith” cannot mask the unbelief that pervades it. Simply put, people have been “playing church”—and the “actors” have finally taken off their masks! In the Apostle Paul’s time, the challenge was preaching the newly-revealed Gospel of Grace so the nations would trust it and abandon their paganism. Now, having gone through 20 centuries of individuals rejecting that Good News, we are witnessing a reverse. Light refused becomes darkness. Today, the nations know the Gospel of Grace—and are returning to heathenism anyway!

Jesus Christ’s return will right everything wrong. Until then, we Christians need to believe and proclaim a clear Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), and then believe teach sound Bible doctrine (the Word of God rightly divided—especially Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon). Brethren, let us faithfully pass that to future generations, so we may say, “We are not responsible for the world lost!”

World Lost! #9

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

Regardless of the nation, a society bitterly opposed to Scripture is the result of people failing to appreciate and faithfully pass those truths to the next generation (today’s Scripture). What is done is permanent; the damage will not be reversed. As members of the Church the Body of Christ, our best course of action is three-fold.

Firstly, we must realize the basic problem. It is not negative thinking. Thus, inspirational and motivational messages will not solve the dilemma! It is not racism. Therefore, reparations and apologies will not improve the situation! It is not ignorance. So, education and degrees will not make the circumstances better! It is not poverty. Consequently, jobs and money will not improve the situation! Sin is the fundamental problem. Sin is the fundamental problem. Sin is the fundamental problem. Sin is the fundamental problem.

Secondly, we must recognize the solution. It is not raising our hands, dancing to “contemporary Christian music,” praying, eating Communion wafers and sipping Communion wine, joining local churches, getting water baptized, or forcing people to kneel and “feel really sorry.” The answer is “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Here is payment for sin in full. Here is life. The answer to sin is righteousness. The answer to death is Christ bringing life.

Finally, we must understand we absolutely will not prevent the house’s fall. However, being mindful of the first two points, we can slow down the collapse so more souls can escape the inevitable ruin….

World Lost! #8

Monday, August 10, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

The United States of America has long been considered a “Christian” nation. Down through the centuries, many other countries have been labeled “Bible-believing” as well. Actually, these nations have overwhelmingly had but a mere façade of righteousness—and that is why anti-Christian voices are rising up at an unprecedented rate.

Religious leaders have forced people to walk aisles, make professions, attend church services, get water baptized, become members of local assemblies, recite “sinner’s prayers,” listen to “feel-good” messages, and so on. There was no clear Gospel of Grace and, thus, no life in Christ. Now, there is such backlash concerning “religion.” People—having grown up with such “hypocrisy,” “half-heartedness,” and “shallowness”—are hellbent on destroying anything even partly resembling morality and order.

Indeed, for centuries, we have faithfully founded denominations, local churches, organizations, and ministries. Like ancient Israel, we have been busy in religion. Yet, all it was… was the energy of the flesh. Sound Bible doctrine was not our priority. Where there is no sound Bible doctrine, there is no Holy Spirit working, and, thus, neither light nor life. Instead of seeking Bible truth, we have pursued religious experiences, and emphasized rites, rituals, and ceremonies. Now that it is too late, we recognize just how far we have “slipped” over the years. The house, almost fully submerged, nearly an entire insect nest itself, can no longer be painted over! We have let the damage become too extensive. The structure is not yet fallen, but it is irreversibly decomposing! Can we do anything as Christians? Let us see….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘subvert’ mean?

World Lost! #7

Sunday, August 9, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

The fig tree of Matthew chapter 21 symbolizes Israel’s religion. Displaying attractive leaves, it had a pleasant appearance—and seemed to be alive. However, upon closer inspection, the observer would peel back the leaves and realize it had no fruit. It was a worthless tree with false advertisement!

In connection to the barren fig tree, we find the Lord Jesus lamenting in chapter 23: “[37] O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! [38] Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” This “house” is the Jerusalem Temple—and God has vacated it because they do not want Him! Yet, it is a gorgeous structure, decorated with enormous limestone blocks and golden plates. See Luke 21:5,6: “And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Also worthless, it would be demolished!

The culmination of Israel’s apostasy was when she demanded her Messiah’s crucifixion just a few days after He cursed the fig tree. With Jesus hanging on Calvary’s cross, Israel could no longer hide her unbelief. She was spiritually and nationally dead. Even now, we can no longer suppress the anti-God and anti-Bible attitude pervading our society today….

World Lost! #6

Saturday, August 8, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

The Holy Spirit afforded Moses the ability to look at the nation Israel millennia into the future: “Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee” (Deuteronomy 32:18). Circa 750 years before Christ, halfway between Moses and Calvary, we observe the Jews’ divided kingdom—Israel up north, Judah down south. “For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof” (Hosea 8:14).

Israel’s land abounded with temples, places of worship. She appeared religious. Yet, the fact of the matter was they had taken their eyes off the LORD God. Outwardly, she looked alive. Internally and spiritually, however, she had already perished. As for Judah, that kingdom relied on military might instead of the LORD—seemingly strong, it was really weak.

Fast-forward to Christ’s earthly ministry, Matthew chapter 21: “[18] Now in the morning as he [Jesus] returned into the city [Jerusalem], he hungered. [19] And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. [20] And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!” Again, “religious” Israel was promising on the outside, but barren on the inside….

World Lost! #5

Thursday, August 6, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

In 2 Kings chapter 2, we read of a strange event that occurred circa 900 B.C. The Prophet Elijah has just gone up into Heaven, and the Prophet Elisha is now functioning as his successor. Notice: “[23] And he [Elisha] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. [24] And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. [25] And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.”

Regarding the bears consuming these youth, see Moses’ warning concerning the third course of chastisement (Leviticus 26:21,22). The “little children”—not necessarily toddlers or preschoolers—could have been as old as teenagers. Whatever their age, they unashamedly ridiculed God’s spokesman. Such an attitude was learned at home, where Jewish parents failed to obey Moses’ instructions in today’s Scripture. Those mothers and fathers taught their children to have, not faith in the LORD, but patent unbelief! By the time of the murders of John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and Stephen many centuries later, the nation Israel had already long forgotten the covenant they made with JEHOVAH God at Mount Sinai….

Note: In order to bring a special study tomorrow, we will temporarily break away from this devotionals arc….

World Lost! #4

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

Upon first glance, we marvel at Stephen’s graphic death in Acts chapter 7. His Jewish nation picked up rocks and murdered him in cold blood! However, the experienced Bible student expected this. Draw your attention to the verses that immediately preceded his demise: “[51] Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. [52] Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: [53] Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”

Firstly, Israel had just demanded Jesus Christ’s death by crucifixion a year prior (verse 52). Secondly, they had previously permitted King Herod Antipas to execute Christ’s forerunner, John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12). Therefore, Stephen’s homicide was absolutely predictable. Re-read Acts 7:51,52. Stephen indicts his Jewish nation for repeating the sins of their patriarchs. “As your fathers did, so do ye.” “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?” “…[A]nd they have slain them [the prophets]….” In other words, prior to those three deaths (John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, Stephen), the nation Israel had an anti-God attitude throughout the Old Testament. The Jews mercilessly mistreated or killed every preacher the LORD God sent to them—and, as Stephen said, “like fathers, like sons.” Despite her beautiful religious outward appearance, Israel could not hide her internal sickness of sin….

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World Lost! #3

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

The Prophet Stephen, led by the Holy Spirit, spoke in Acts chapter 7: “[51] Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. [52] Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: [53] Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.” How will Israel respond?

“[54] When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. [55] But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, [56] And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. [57] Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, [58] And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. [59] And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. [60] And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep [died physically!].”

This is the result of nations who reject the one true God….