Purity or Compromise? #2

Saturday, October 16, 2021

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8 KJV).

Will we be pure and thus purified? Or, will we compromise and thus be compromised?

In Genesis 11:1-9, the Gentiles gathered in pagan idol (Devil!) worship at the Tower of Babel, concluding 18 centuries of all nations having equal access to the one true God (unappreciated). With the LORD giving these nations over to the Satan worship they preferred (see Romans 1:17-32), He set apart one man from them and began a new nation (Genesis 12:1-3). This man was Abram—later changed to “Abraham” in chapter 17—and this nation was Israel.

Learn the condition of the Gentiles in this segment of human history (known as “time past” in Ephesians 2:11,12). “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 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” (Ephesians 4:17-19). God, having introduced the “but now” (Ephesians 2:13), expected these Gentiles who have come to Him through Paul’s Gentile ministry, to not repeat their old ways.

While the nations in “time past” were “suffered [allowed, permitted] to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16); conducting themselves among pagan idols in accordance with their darkened souls and dead spirits (Acts 17:24-31; Romans 1:21-26,28); God intended the nation Israel to be an “island of truth” in the midst of a “global sea of error.” The Jews had His wisdom, the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament (Deuteronomy 4:1-10; Psalm 147:18-20; Romans 3:1,2). Unlike the Gentiles or non-Jews living around them, the Israelites, as per today’s Scripture, were not to trust or rely on their sinful hearts for spiritual light, or their sinful understanding for spiritual truth. To do otherwise was “evil,” a compromise that would lead to them being compromised….

Seven Men Named Before Birth #5

Friday, August 6, 2021

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1 KJV).

Who are the seven noteworthy men in Scripture named before their births?

As we have seen now, in each of these situations, man’s sinful flesh is at work but God’s faithfulness overcomes it. Abraham (and especially) Sarah schemed to have a child their way (through Hagar) instead of God’s way (through Sarah). Then, Hagar was punished because of the ensuing domestic conflict; regardless, God blessed Abraham’s child through Hagar, Ishmael, for the LORD “heard” (took notice) of her dire predicament.

When joyous Abraham and skeptical Sarah finally did have a son, Isaac was appropriately named because of the “laughter.” The Abrahamic Covenant now had an heir. Although King David had illicit relations with Bathsheba, and that resulting child died, the LORD was faithful in giving them another son, Solomon, whose alternate name Jedidiah meant “beloved of JEHOVAH.” It was through this boy that God would achieve the Davidic Covenant: a son of David would reign over Israel forever. King Jeroboam of the Northern Kingdom was a pagan idolater; he caused the 10 northern tribes to stumble in heathenism. A son of David, King Josiah, destroyed Jeroboam’s religious system and instituted spirituality “founded of JEHOVAH.”

Though idolatrous Israel deserved her Babylonian Captivity, the LORD used Cyrus King of Persia to “possess the furnace” (overthrow Babylon), thereby freeing the Jews and letting them return to the Promised Land. Father God sent John the Baptist to announce the entrance of His Son: He had not forgotten His covenants with Israel, but would “favor” them according to His grace and fulfill those promises despite the nation’s rank unbelief. Finally, Jesus Christ Himself took upon human flesh, to shed His blood and become “JEHOVAH-Saviour”—first and foremost of Israel, but ultimately for the whole world!

One final note worthy of our consideration. Looking at the list another way, we can read the following message: “Being heard of God results in laughter, JEHOVAH has beloved and founded, the furnace/oppressor is possessed/conquered, for JEHOVAH is gracious and Saviour.” These are certainly descriptive of Jesus Christ’s ministry—what He will do especially for Israel.

Paul, the Viper, and the Barbarians #5

Thursday, July 22, 2021

And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm (Acts 28:3-5 KJV).

What is the Holy Spirit teaching through this bizarre passage?

The LORD God dealt with the world through Israel from Genesis chapter 12 (Abraham) into the early Acts period. Whether the 20 centuries prior to Christ’s earthly ministry, or Matthew through John, or the opening of Acts, Israel overwhelmingly refused to believe God’s words to her. Her people did not want to be His kingdom of priests in the Earth: they declined their privilege to go to the Gentiles. Eventually, they killed their King (Jesus Christ) and remained in unbelief into Acts. Having blasphemed (spoken) against God the Son in Matthew through John, they were forgiven; however, they were not forgiven when they blasphemed (spoke) against God the Holy Ghost in Acts chapters 1–7 (cf. Matthew 12:31,32). In Acts 7:55,56, as they are about to stone Stephen to death, he sees Christ standing—no longer sitting—at the Father’s right hand. Second Coming wrath, which should have occurred here (Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:34-36), was delayed!

“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:11-14). Israel stumbled at Calvary, but did not fall. She stumbled and fell in Acts chapter 7, and she diminished for the remainder of Acts. Paul’s ministry began in chapter 9, but Israel refused to believe his Gospel message too….

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #13

Thursday, January 21, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

Let us review what we have seen thus far. Pride transformed Lucifer into Satan, and sin divided the angelic host. While some angels remained loyal to God, Hell was prepared for the Devil and his angels. Adam and Eve sinned, destroying their relationship with God and each other. Sin divided them; their marriage irreversibly damaged. Cain and Abel, their first two sons, were split because of sin. Unbelieving Cain murdered righteous Abel, further breaking up the human home. Sinful man, under Satan’s control, corrupted the planet increasingly with violence and killing until the LORD finally judged Earth with the Great Flood. Even after the Flood, man was determined to do what he wanted to do in the Earth. The nations assembled around the devilish Tower of Babel, resulting in the languages and scattering of the Gentiles.

Abraham, instead of relying on God’s grace, worked in his flesh to produce a child. That was not God’s child for him. Ultimately, Abraham’s sin broke up his home between two wives and two sons. Centuries later, 10 out of Israel’s 12 spies overwhelmingly denied the LORD would give the Promised Land to the nation. For the next 40 years, that unbelieving generation of Jews died off in the wilderness wanderings. King Solomon became increasingly attached to pagan women—not only marrying them but also worshipping and serving their idols. Israel lost her political might. Finally, the nation was so apostate she ignored her Messiah (Jesus Christ) when He arrived, and then crucified Him in unbelief! She has now set herself up for the Antichrist, who will come and deceive her yet future. The great majority of her people will thus wind up in Hell and the Lake of Fire.

Sin divided angels, and it divided humans. It still disrupts creation’s relationship with its Creator. Wherever sin is found, wherever sin finds out the sinner, disaster is certain. Let us now focus on the current world situation, especially in the United States….

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #10

Monday, January 18, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

Exactly 12 spies—representing Israel’s 12 tribes—were sent to scout Canaan (Numbers 13:1-25). Centuries earlier, God had promised that land to their fathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons. However, since that original promise, Israel had been in Egyptian bondage. The LORD faithfully delivered her from Egypt, and now the Jews are headed into the Promised Land!

After 40 days, the spies returned to Moses and Israel: “[31] But the men that went up with him [Caleb] said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. [32] And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. [33] And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

Ten out of the 12 spies contradicted the LORD, claiming Israel could not defeat the Gentiles in Canaan. Therefore, the LORD spoke in chapter 14: “[33] And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. [34] After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. [35] I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.”

Israel’s sin found her out, and fractured her in twain….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the significance of Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt?

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #9

Sunday, January 17, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

In Genesis 12:1-3, the LORD God isolated one man, Abram, promising to make of him a great nation (Israel). After many years of growing old and still being childless, Abram wondered how a nation of people would descend from him. By the time of chapter 16, he has been waiting a decade for God to fulfill His promise (Abrahamic Covenant). He is still without a son! Thus, Sarai, Abram’s wife, suggests Abram take her slave girl, Hagar, and use her as a surrogate.

Notice: “[1] Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. [2] And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai…. [15] And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. [16] And Abram was fourscore and six [that is, 86] years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.”

Move to chapter 17. God informs Abram, now 99 years old: “[2] And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly… [19] And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” Several years later, in chapter 21, verses 9-21, a nasty conflict erupts between Ishmael and Isaac, further dividing their mothers Hagar and Sarah. It causes Abraham such pain. The work of his flesh (son Ishmael—Law) was not God’s promised son (Isaac—Grace). His family permanently splits, resulting in the endless Jewish–Muslim–Palestinian–Arab conflict with which we are all familiar even now. Abraham’s sin found him out and fractured his people in twain….

God’s Perfect Timing

Thursday, December 17, 2020

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5 KJV).

As today’s Scripture indicates, the birth of Jesus Christ was no accident—God planned its exact moment from eternity past.

When God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, He purposed that man would “subdue [control] it,” to “have dominion” over it and everything on it (Genesis 1:28). Nevertheless, Adam sinned by joining Satan in his rebellion against God. Because of sin, man was now unable to accomplish on earth what God originally created him to do. God left the human race a promise, however, that there would come a Man, who would do what Adam failed to do. Instead of cooperating with God’s adversary like Adam had, this “seed of the woman” would “bruise [Satan’s] head” (Genesis 3:15).

Traveling up through the Scriptures, we see how God lays the groundwork for that seedline. In Genesis 12:1-3, or 2,000 years after Adam’s sin, we read God’s covenant with Abraham, that through Abraham a nation, Israel, will be born, and salvation and blessing will flow to the Gentiles through Israel. The seed of the woman becomes the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16).

In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and 1,000 years after Abraham, we read of God’s covenant with King David, that “his seed” will inherit his throne and reign forever. The seed of the woman and of Abraham becomes the seed of David.

About 1,000 years after David, Matthew 1:1 speaks of Christ’s birth, and declares, “…Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This is exactly what God had promised for thousands of years!

Jesus Christ’s birth was not some haphazard event of nature. God the Father had preplanned the exact moment of the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Over a period of some 4,000 years, the three members of the Godhead worked to bring about the birth of man’s Redeemer, a plan they had even before man was created! Amazing!

An Anchor of the Soul #8

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:17-20 KJV).

What can we say about this “anchor of the soul?”

These “two immutable things”—God said it and then swore it—are those which cannot change. Being final, irreversible, and permanent, they make a firm foundation on which faith can rest. Israel’s believing remnant has “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before [them].” Like their father Abraham, they anticipate God’s coming earthly kingdom. Hebrews chapter 11: “[8] By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. [9] By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: [10] For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

No matter what happens, God’s counsel or plan for the nation Israel is unalterable. It is impossible for Him to lie. If He promised Abraham He would make a mighty nation using his bloodline, He will do it! If He promised Abraham He would bless all the world through that nation, He will do it! With the arrival of the Antichrist, though, it will look hopeless. It will seem like this bloodthirsty monster will make a full end of the Jews, like Israel will be entirely annihilated, never becoming God’s people in the Earth. Yet, there is abundant hope, and Israel finds that hope in Jesus, their great High Priest, who will not fail in bringing them into the very presence of Almighty God at His Second Coming….

An Anchor of the Soul #6

Sunday, October 18, 2020

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:17-20 KJV).

What can we say about this “anchor of the soul?”

Bear in mind the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1-3: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

This was fulfilled in the short-term with Isaac’s birth (cf. Genesis 17:19 and Genesis 21:12, for instance). In the long-term, however, it refers to Jesus: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16). Yet, Israel being a blessing to the world is still future. They have not yet risen to kingdom glory in order to convert the Gentiles (cf. Isaiah 60:1-3; Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 8:20-23).

When the writer of Hebrews alludes to Abraham in the context of today’s Scripture, he is reminding his Jewish audience they are the heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant. At Christ’s Second Coming, Israel’s believing remnant will finally become God’s kingdom of priests. Until then, though, the Jews must endure Daniel’s 70th Week, and not let the Antichrist deceive them. The winds of false doctrine are blowing strongly, and Satan is attempting to distract them with error, so their souls must be anchored in sound Bible doctrine….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did God really demand Ezekiel eat excrement?

An Anchor of the Soul #5

Saturday, October 17, 2020

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:17-20 KJV).

What can we say about this “anchor of the soul?”

Read all of chapter 6 of Hebrews. Notice today’s Scripture is the closing section. After exhorting the Jews to advance in spiritual maturity (verses 1-3), the writer describes the unbelievers who have rejected the Holy Spirit in the early Acts period (verses 4-8). Then, he switches back to spiritual maturity among Israel’s believing remnant.

“[9] But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. [10] For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. [11] And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: [12] That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

To prove his point, the writer of Hebrews subsequently alludes to the promise the LORD made to their father Abraham: “[13] For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, [14] Saying [Genesis 22:17], Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. [15] And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. [16] For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.” As Abraham through faith and patience inherited God’s promise to him, so his descendants (the audience of Hebrews) should trust God and patiently wait for Him to finish fulfilling His pledge to Israel….