Confession Confusion #6

Saturday, June 26, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

By the time of John the Baptist’s ministry and Christ’s earthly ministry, national Israel is still apostate (refusing God’s Word) but a believing remnant (the Little Flock) is confessing their sins and their forefathers’ sins. Recall Matthew 3:6 and Mark 1:5. Ever since Moses 16 centuries prior, Israel has failed to “do” “all that the LORD hath spoken” (Exodus 19:1-8). The Jews have been habitually idolatrous, violating their agreement with JEHOVAH God at Sinai. Experiencing the fifth course of judgment or chastisement (Leviticus 26:40-46), they must confess their sins so as to be delivered into God’s earthly kingdom and enjoy the Abrahamic Covenant! Yet, as previously noted, religious Israelites refuse to learn the lesson of the Law of Moses (see their sin problem). Regarding all other Jews “sinners,” they believe they have no sins to confess and thus refuse John’s water baptism (Matthew 3:7-9; Luke 3:7,8; Luke 7:29,30; cf. Matthew 9:10-13; Mark 2:15-17; Luke 5:29-32).

Today’s Scripture addresses these Jews who suppose themselves to be sinless, “good enough” in their works-religion: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:7-10). First John 1:9 is written to unbelievers in Israel! Now, look at 1 John 2:12: “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.” Here is Israel’s believing remnant, the Little Flock.

Having now established the context of 1 John 1:9, let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Confession Confusion #5

Friday, June 25, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

Obeying Leviticus 26:40-42, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah all confessed sins in light of the Babylonian Captivity. “And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O LORD, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;…. And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;…” (Daniel 9:4,20).

“O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this…. Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore…. Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange [pagan/heathen/idolatrous] wives” (Ezra 9:15; 10:1,11).

“Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned (Nehemiah 1:6). “And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God” (Nehemiah 9:2,3).

Hence, John the Baptist’s converts were also confessing their sins….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘surfeiting?’

Confession Confusion #4

Thursday, June 24, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

Continue reading Leviticus chapter 26, the fifth course of chastisement commencing: “[27] And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; [28] Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. [29] And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. [30] And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. [31] And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. [32] And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. [33] And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.”

When Israel finds herself under Gentile dominion and dispersed throughout foreign lands (Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities circa 700/600 B.C.), God tells her how to be restored to Him: “[40] If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; [41] And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: [42] Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.”

Confession of sins is Israel’s admission of guilt of breaking the Old Covenant, worshipping and serving idols. Once she humbles herself and acknowledges her sin problem (learning the lesson of the Law of Moses), then God by His grace delivers her into the New Covenant….

The 12 Princes of Israel

Sunday, June 13, 2021

These are those that were numbered, which Moses and Aaron numbered, and the princes of Israel, being twelve men: each one was for the house of his fathers” (Numbers 1:44 KJV).

Behold, the Old Testament basis for the 12 Apostles!

Today’s Scripture is the first of several references in the Book of Numbers to “the 12 princes of Israel.” Here are others. “This was the dedication of the altar, in the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: twelve chargers of silver, twelve silver bowls, twelve spoons of gold:…” (7:84). “Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: write thou every man’s name upon his rod…. And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers’ houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods” (17:2,6).

Since Israel’s 12 tribes lost their political might during the Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities, the LORD promised in Isaiah chapter 1: “[26] And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. [27] Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.” At Christ’s return, He will reinstate Israel’s 12 princes.

Hence, the Lord Jesus told His 12 Apostles in Matthew chapter 19: “[27] Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? [28] And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.He repeated in Luke 22:28-30: “[28] Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. [29] And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; [30] That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Was Jesus the ‘young man’ in Mark 16:5?

Lessons from the Ark of the Covenant #7

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

“…[T]he ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;” (Hebrews 9:4 KJV).

What can we learn from the Ark of the Covenant?

About 500 years after Moses, the Jerusalem Temple replaced the Tabernacle. Second Chronicles chapter 5: “[6] Also king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel that were assembled unto him before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen, which could not be told nor numbered for multitude. [7] And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims: [8] For the cherubims spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above. [9] And they drew out the staves of the ark, that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen without. And there it is unto this day. [10] There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.

What happened to the golden pot of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded? Scripture is silent. Regardless, by Solomon’s time, only the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments remained. When the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem and destroyed its Temple 380 years later, the Ark of the Covenant was not among the treasures pillaged. It disappeared, but that does not matter. God Himself will institute a new covenant, replacing that old religious system, erasing Israel’s sins through Calvary, and dwelling with them forever in the Person of Jesus Christ (Millennial Kingdom onward).

“And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more” (Jeremiah 3:16). Israel has finally learned the lessons from the Ark of the Covenant! (Have we?)

That They All May Be One! #5

Monday, March 22, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

All 12 tribes were safe and secure under King David. After idolatrous King Solomon’s death, however, the 10 northern tribes branched off to form the Kingdom of Israel, and the two southern tribes became the Kingdom of Judah. While Judah remained loyal to the Davidic dynasty for the next 350 years, Israel had a succession of various dynasties ruling it. Ultimately, the Assyrians overthrew Israel circa 722 B.C., and the Babylonians conquered David’s family in 586 B.C. with the fall of Jerusalem. No son of David has ever reigned in Israel since.

In Luke chapter 1, the Angel Gabriel informed Mary the virgin she was to be the mother of the Saviour: “[31] And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: [33] And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” This points back to God’s promise made to David 10 centuries prior (cf. 2 Samuel 7:12-17; Isaiah 9:6,7). The house of Jacob is still broken, politically devastated, but with the Messiah comes unity for the Jewish people.

The curse of the Old Covenant brought division, yet the blessing of the New Covenant brings harmony: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake [disobeyed], although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:….” (Jeremiah 31:31,32). JEHOVAH God will reunify all 12 tribes under David’s dynasty….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we have a ministry to people who abuse us?

Glory Days #5

Sunday, March 14, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Today’s Scripture awaits the day when the LORD consoles Zion (Jerusalem). Not only has she suffered the terrible effects of the curse established in Genesis chapter 3, God has judged her for her people’s idolatry. Gentiles have entered her land, ravaging it with war and destruction. Her people have been taken away captive for their transgressions, their disobedience to the Old Covenant (Mosaic Law) punished. Read Leviticus 26:27-46.

“And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the LORD, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more: And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword” (Amos 7:8,9; Israel’s Assyrian Captivity). “In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished” (Ezekiel 6:6; Judah’s Babylonian Captivity a century later).

However, there is the hope of Israel’s restoration at Christ’s Second Coming: “Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Isaiah 52:9,10). “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:12).

Earth’s former glory days—the Garden of Eden—will return. When the Lord comes back, the planet will revert to pre-Fall conditions….

The Handwriting on the Wall #12

Monday, October 12, 2020

In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote (Daniel 5:5 KJV).

What great Bible truths can we learn from Daniel chapter 5?

People often inadvertently quote Scripture when they say, “the handwriting on the wall.” The English phrase refers to a bad omen, an indication that something terrible will happen. Indeed, just as the fifth chapter of Daniel shows, JEHOVAH God was offended when King Belshazzar used His holy vessels for a pagan, drunken orgy! Having been God’s instrument in judging sinful and idolatrous Judah, now Babylon’s fate was sealed… and God certified that doom with a cryptic inscription. As someone once aptly stated, “Daniel chapter 5 is a picture of the world’s last Saturday night!” (The heathen party literally died thereafter.) Eventually, sin will have its payday: God is not mocked. That is the first chief fact to grasp from this passage.

Belshazzar sought illumination and peace in religion and education, but these spiritualists and intellectuals could not help him see or comprehend God’s Word. The LORD’S prophet, Daniel, had to intercede. Religious scholarship and secular education are no (!) substitutes for God the Holy Spirit. Hence, so many “good, knowledgeable men” are of no (!) use understanding and interpreting the Holy Bible. If they lack the indwelling Holy Spirit, they are not qualified to be Bible teachers and expositors. It is that simple. They would be far better saying nothing! Here is the second major fact we can ascertain from these verses.

Before we close, let us consider a third and final point. Looking into the future, we see old Babylon’s fall in Daniel chapter 5 anticipates the day when new Babylon under the Antichrist falls (Revelation chapters 17–18; Jeremiah chapters 50–51). Historical Babylon being overthrown previews its permanent destruction at Christ’s Second Coming. The Lord Jesus will allow Israel to return to the Promised Land, just as Cyrus King of Persia (conqueror of ancient Babylon) commissioned their regathering in the land of Canaan five centuries before Christ’s earthly ministry. As the handwriting on the wall demonstrates, Babylon still awaits a more terrible fate!

The Handwriting on the Wall #11

Sunday, October 11, 2020

In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote (Daniel 5:5 KJV).

What great Bible truths can we learn from Daniel chapter 5?

Quite rarely is it ever understood that the Holy Spirit’s ministry is underscored throughout this chapter. For example, the “fingers of a man’s hand” refers to the Holy Spirit, who is called “the finger of God.” “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you” (Matthew 12:28). “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you” (Luke 11:20). The emphasis is on the power of God (Exodus 8:19) and the inspiration of God (Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 9:10; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16).

Interestingly, today’s Scripture provides the layout of the room as the LORD God wrote His words on the palace wall of Babylon. This too reflects the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Daniel’s description affirms a wall made of “plaister” (lime, chalk) is opposite a “candlestick” (lampstand, chandelier). God the Holy Spirit chooses to write His communication on the wall. The writing itself symbolizes the Holy Bible—Divine revelation given directly to King Belshazzar.

Recall the candlestick situated opposite the wall bearing God’s Word. This is reminiscent of the design of the Tabernacle: the lampstand (the light of the Holy Spirit) was on the side opposite the table of shewbread (shewbread representing God’s Word—Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4). “And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway” (Exodus 25:30). “And thou shalt set the table without the vail, and the candlestick over against [opposite] the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side” (Exodus 26:35).

It takes the Prophet Daniel’s ministry to interpret God’s words to Belshazzar because the Holy Spirit is in Daniel. Daniel is made “third ruler in the kingdom” (Daniel 5:7,16,29)—not only because Belshazzar is co-reigning with his father Nobannaid, but also because the Holy Spirit is the third Member of the Godhead. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

The Handwriting on the Wall #10

Saturday, October 10, 2020

In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote (Daniel 5:5 KJV).

What great Bible truths can we learn from Daniel chapter 5?

Chapter 5 of Daniel closes, “And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old” (verse 31). Chapter 6, verse 28, adds: “So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” Here is Cyrus King of Persia, which chapter 9 of Daniel mentions by yet another name: “[1] In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; [2] In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” With Media-Persia conquering Babylon, the 70 years of Judah’s Babylonian captivity are over. The Prophet Daniel witnessed all seven decades firsthand—from the first invasion of Jerusalem to the fall of Babylon.

The Jews’ return from Babylon to the land of Israel is recorded in 2 Chronicles 36:22,23: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up” (cf. Ezra 1:1,2).

With the historical context better understood, we can go back to Daniel chapter 5 and fill in more details as touching the nature of the handwriting on the wall itself….