Whom God Helps #7

Sunday, August 28, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

Ezekiel’s vision of the Valley of the Dry Bones is interpreted in chapter 37: “[11] Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. [12] Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. [13] And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, [14] And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.”

Although Israel was scattered worldwide via invading Gentile armies centuries before Christ, God will reverse the curse and re-gather them into the Promised Land at Christ’s return (see Matthew 24:30,31). This national resurrection, deliverance from functional death, fills Israel with the Holy Spirit and makes her God’s earthly people!

Ezekiel chapter 37 resumes: “[21] And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: [22] And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. [23] Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

We now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Whom God Helps #6

Saturday, August 27, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

In chapter 37, the Prophet Ezekiel, conducting his ministry during the Babylonian Captivity, receives a vision concerning Israel’s restoration and return to the Promised Land: “[1] The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, [2] And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. [3] And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.

“[4] Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. [5] Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: [6] And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

“[7] So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. [8] And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. [9] Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. [10] So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”

Now, let us see the explanation of the vision….

Whom God Helps #5

Friday, August 26, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

When Israel agreed to enter a covenant relationship with JEHOVAH God at Mount Sinai, the following was spoken in Exodus chapter 19: “[5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. [7] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”

Since Israel preferred that works-religion (perform to get the blessing, sin to receive the curse), that is exactly what the LORD gave them. Ignoring God’s grace (what He had already done for them to make them His people), they assumed they could and would make themselves His people. However, as the centuries passed, the Jewish people corrupted the Promised Land with their idols, so the final punishment was instated as per Leviticus 26:32,33: “And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. 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.” Failing to obey the Law of Moses, they were now cursed. God deported them from the land via invading Gentile armies (especially Assyrian and Babylonian). The Fifth Course (Phase, Stage) of Chastisement began.

Therefore, in Acts 2:5-11, we read of Jews visiting Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, these foreigners having come “out of every nation under heaven.” In today’s Scripture, Christ’s earthly ministry, that global scattering of Israel has yet to be reversed. The nation must be revived and returned to live in the Promised Land, just (!) as (!) Lazarus (!) himself (!)….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain ‘durst?’

The Burning Fiery Furnace #10

Saturday, March 12, 2022

“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

Dear friends, the evil world system of which King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was a part some six centuries before Christ, is the evil world system present with us at this very moment, and is the same evil world system from which the Antichrist will arise when the prophetic program resumes. As Israel’s believing remnant in history chose to separate from it—at whatever cost—so Israel’s believing remnant in the future will decide to keep away from it—at whatever cost. With them before us and after us, we are in the middle on the Bible timeline.

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul exhorts us to also isolate ourselves from false religion: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

Of course, if we must face capital punishment for the LORD’S sake as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did long ago, so be it! “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

The Burning Fiery Furnace #9

Friday, March 11, 2022

“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

We recall chapter 32 of Exodus, when Israel had music as they sang and danced naked around a golden calf idol: “[18] And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. [19] And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.”

How significant it is that, 900 years later, musical instruments greatly contributed to another “moving” religious service out in a broad plain of Babylon (today’s Scripture). Those hypnotic melodies, those songs, stirred the hearers to become so enthralled they just spontaneously fell down to the ground before a blasphemous heathen statue: “Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up” (verse 7). This event, from 26 centuries ago, looks to the future.

In the ages to come, with respect to Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar’s city!), certain doom is announced: “And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee…” (Revelation 18:22). Musical instruments will literally play an integral part in the Antichrist’s religious system—until the Lord returns to silence them once and for all as He brings His believing remnant through the fire alive.

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #8

Thursday, March 10, 2022

“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

Paralleling the experience of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego with Nebuchadnezzar; Israel’s believing remnant suffers under the Antichrist’s regime. They must patiently await the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue them from certain death: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:6-9).

Chapter 4, verses 12-16: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

Now, we summarize this devotionals arc….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #7

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

When enumerating the many members of the Bible’s great “hall of faith” in chapter 11 of his Book, the writer of Hebrews makes a quick, passing mention of “[those saints] Who through faith… Quenched the violence of fire” (verses 33,34). Of course, these believers would be none other than Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, survivors of Nebuchadnezzar’s burning fiery furnace.

The King of Babylon himself comments on the matter in Daniel chapter 3: “[28] Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. [29] Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. [30] Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.”

Hebrews points to the time when the Antichrist—also connected to Babylon (see Revelation 14:8; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 17:5; Revelation 18:2,10,21)—constructs an “image” or idol for the world to worship (just like Nebuchadnezzar). His religious leader, the False Prophet, facilitates the heathenism: “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast [Antichrist], that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed (Revelation 13:15). Here is Israel’s believing remnant of the future, targeted for their faith as their brethren in time past….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #6

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

Never should we view Old Testament passages as merely “inspiring tales” to be shared with kids to entertain them during Sunday School. Neither should we consider them figurative stories that were placed into the Bible canon simply to “take up space.” Each and every verse of God’s Word is important—even if we are too simple-minded or willfully ignorant to appreciate it. The mature Bible student, someone familiar with other passages because of personal Bible study, is able to make connections, establish parallels, forming an enormous cross-reference system.

The immature Bible reader, upon encountering a strange or difficult verse, simply throws up hands in the air and exclaims, “I do not understand!” He or she slams the Bible closed. Well, frankly, that person was not interested in learning the truth anyway. They will never grow in their understanding because they have made no effort. God designed His Word without lazy people in mind. Unless we are willing to “work” (study) to extract the profit God placed therein, we will never have a prayer in all the world of ever understanding anything in Scripture: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

As advanced Bible students, using the Holy Spirit’s power, we recall similar verses we read elsewhere, thereby utilizing today’s Scripture to help us see into the future. For example, let me give you a reference—Revelation chapter 13. Now, read it in your own time, and, if you are truly seeking enlightenment, you will see the relationship of Daniel chapter 3 to “the ages to come.” There is a type and there is an antitype, a preview and the full demonstration….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #5

Monday, March 7, 2022

“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

Having decided to follow the LORD, Israel’s believing remnant undergoes a terrible fate: “[23] And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. [24] Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. [25] He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Never has Nebuchadnezzar beheld such a sight! Not only are the three men free from their bonds—walking around unharmed in the flames—there is a fourth man! This is none other but “the Son of God,” the Lord Jesus Christ, in a pre-incarnate appearance.

“[26] Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. [27] And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.” Furthermore, as these three saints exit the fire alive, there is no scent of fire emanating from them, their clothes are intact, and not even a strand of their hair is burned! The LORD Himself has personally intervened….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #4

Sunday, March 6, 2022

“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in an unenviable position. Either they could abandon the LORD God and worship Nebuchadnezzar’s idol, or they could disobey the king’s commandment and be thrown alive into a burning fiery furnace. It was quite an easy choice for them, for they bore in mind the timeless adage, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). We read their response again: “[16] Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. [17] If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. [18] But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Notice, they were so firm in their convictions they would never worship pagan gods—even if their God failed to rescue them from that awful death penalty!

Nebuchadnezzar, extremely upset, has the furnace’s temperature increased seven times hotter than usual (verse 19). Finally, true to his word, he proceeds to execute these saints! “[21] Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. [22] Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. [23] And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.”

Let us now see the LORD work….