Better is Little with the Fear of the LORD

Friday, March 9, 2012

“Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith” (Proverbs 15:16 KJV).

God’s Word uses the expression “better is little” twice, and both instances are found in the book of Proverbs. One is today’s Scripture; the other is Proverbs 16:8: “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.” Today’s materialistic world recommends: “Get all that you can in this life because you only live once.” While this appeals to our sinful flesh, it does not agree with God’s Word.

Wealthy people could not be saved during Christ’s earthly ministry because they preferred their wealth/“mammon” (Matthew 6:24; Matthew 13:22; Matthew 19:16-24; Mark 10:17-25; Luke 16:13; Luke 18:18-25). Thus, Jesus warned Israel (Mark 10:24): “Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!” These Jews would have to endure the horrible seven-year Tribulation and they would lose their material possessions therein (cf. Matthew 6:24-34). Consequently, Jesus instructed His followers, “Sell that ye have, and give alms” (Luke 12:31-33; Luke 18:22). God would then deliver them from the Tribulation and usher them into their kingdom of prosperity and peace.

Our Apostle Paul writes to us in our dispensation: “And having food and raiment [clothing] let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows…. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; (1 Timothy 6:6-10,17).

Being rich is not a sin, but when gaining material wealth and possessions becomes your priority, that is sin. As a Christian, your priority should Jesus Christ (and His Word). “Better is little” with the fear of the LORD” (being a Christian) than owning “uncertain riches” without God.

The LORD is On My Side #1

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5,6 KJV).

Although today’s Scripture is God’s Word to the nation Israel, we appreciate this doctrine and take comfort in it as its writer urged Israel to do.

Our human bodies are limited and frail; Satan’s evil world system is mighty. For centuries wicked men have imprisoned and killed Christians! As one would squeeze fruit to produce juice, so the daily struggles of life in this evil world continually batter us Christians, seemingly squeezing us until our strength is diminished and we are vanquished.

While Satan’s evil world system prevails today, it will manifest itself more fully once our Dispensation of Grace closes. It will become increasingly difficult for the nation Israel to exist once we (the Church the Body of Christ) are raptured from this earth. This horrible period following the rapture, the seven-year Tribulation, is the context of today’s Scripture.

Especially during the latter half of the Tribulation, God’s people (Israel’s believing remnant) will endure great oppression. The antichrist will persecute Israel (Matthew 10:16-33; cf. Revelation 13:10-17), even killing the Jews who disobey him by following Jesus Christ (Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 13:4-15).

In that time, the worst period of human history, God will comfort His people, Israel, using today’s Scripture: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” This is actually quoting Deuteronomy 31:6-8, when Moses encouraged Israel not to fear her enemies as they prepared to enter Canaan under Joshua’s leadership (cf. Joshua 1:5). Psalm 118:6 is also quoted: The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”

Brethren, despite our persecution in this life, Israel’s faithful God is our faithful God and He will never leave us either (Romans 8:31-39)!

Who is This?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

“And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Matthew 21:10,11 KJV).

For several centuries, the Old Testament prophets wrote and spoke of Him. He would be Israel’s Saviour-King, and He would save the Gentiles too! This Man would set up His everlasting kingdom on earth. He would deliver Israel from her sins and enemies. He would be the Son of God, Messiah/Christ. And yet, pitifully, as Jerusalem sees Him coming, they inquire, “Who is this?” Oh, how sad!

In the context of today’s Scripture, we read of Christ’s so-called “triumphal entry” (actually, this was His meek and lowly coming, for His Second Coming, being far glorious, will be His triumphal entry). Here, Jesus is riding through Jerusalem on a colt the foal of an ass (verses 1-9). Zechariah 9:9, written 500 B.C., declared that Israel’s Messiah-King would do just that (cf. Isaiah 62:11). This event should have alerted every Jew, but, sadly, many refuse to see it.

However, there is a remnant of Jewish believers in Jerusalem who recognize this fulfilled prophecy. They shout Psalm 118:26, “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matthew 21:9). But, as for the remainder of Jerusalem, they are blinded by sin and unbelief, and ask, “Who is this?” (Today, unfortunately, many still ask the same question [Who is Jesus?], and for the same reason too [blinded by sin and unbelief]).

God’s Word says that most Jews did not recognize Jesus as Messiah-King (John 1:11): instead, they demanded His crucifixion (John 19:14,15). They were so blinded by sin, yet they refused to understand anyway (Luke 23:34; Acts 3:13-18).

Nevertheless, when Jesus Christ’s exile period terminates, He will return to earth. The believing remnant of Israel of the Tribulation period will see Him coming in great power and glory. They will see His pierced hands and feet, and finally recognize Him and embrace Him as Messiah-King (Zechariah 12:10).

In that day, no longer will Israel ask, “Who is this?”

Whom Doth Thou Really Follow? #3

Sunday, January 15, 2012

“Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is” (John 9:28,29 KJV).

In the context of today’s Scripture, Jesus heals a blind man. After he appears before the unbelieving Pharisees, they summon his parents to confirm his former blindness (verses 18-21). His parents fear being cast out of the synagogue, so they avoid admitting Jesus Christ healed him (verses 21-23). Contrariwise, their son boldly holds to God’s truth, refusing Israel’s vain religion. Thus, the Pharisees “reviled [insulted] him” (today’s Scripture). How we Pauline dispensationalists face the same persecution today!

Most Jews—especially Israel’s religious leaders—refused to trust in Jesus as their Messiah. Any Jew who embraced Jesus as Messiah was alienated by his friends and family, for the Jews who followed Jesus Christ went counter to Israel’s apostate religious system. The parents of the man in today’s Scripture feared losing their popularity, so they did not confess Christ. Eventually, the Pharisees cast out the man for following Jesus (verse 34).

Similarly, if you have trusted exclusively in Christ Jesus, and you are not relying on your good works for salvation, you are going contrary to the prevalent works-religion system of our day. The lost world avoids you because you are God’s child. Moreover, if you study and believe the King James Bible “rightly divided,” as 2 Timothy 2:15 teaches, you become even less popular. The denominationalists and religionists do not want you either!

We follow our Apostle Paul as he follows Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Since most of Christendom abhors dispensational Bible study, they keep their distance from us. The denominationalists and religionists treat us the same way the wicked Pharisees treated the Jewish believers—criticize and ostracize! Like the Pharisees, they reject sound Bible doctrine and keep their tradition. Moreover, the non-religious lost world rejects us too, for we trust in Jesus Christ while they trust in their worthless idols.

Let us continue following Paul as he follows Christ, even as they criticize and ostracize! 🙂

The Little Flock #4

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 KJV).

When Jesus Christ came to the nation Israel, He came to fulfill hundreds of Old Testament prophetic statements. He was the Messiah-King of whom God’s holy prophets had spoken for centuries. Israel’s long-prophesied kingdom was finally going to be established!

But, most Jews rejected Jesus as King-Messiah (John 1:11), eventually demanding the Romans crucify Him. In John 19:15 they cried, “We have no king but Caesar!” The few Jews who trusted in Jesus as their Messiah received John the Baptist’s water baptism (Matthew 3:1-6; Mark 1:1-5). They became Israel’s believing remnant (this was “the church” that followed the twelve apostles’ doctrine in early Acts [2:41-47]; cf. John 21:15-17).

John also warned that Jews who refused his message and water baptism would be “baptized with fire” (Matthew 3:7-12; Luke 3:7-9, 16-17). We know this as the period of God’s wrath, the seven-year Tribulation. The twelve apostles in Acts chapters 1-8 were unsuccessful in converting every Jew (a prerequisite for the kingdom). Now, God was about to pour out His wrath on rebellious Israel. But, God temporarily paused Israel’s prophetic program, and postponed that wrath and earthly kingdom.

Today, we live the Dispensation of Grace, separate from Israel’s kingdom program. But, when our dispensation ends (at the rapture), God will return to Israel and begin the seven-year Tribulation. God will continue the “little flock” by saving one-third of Israel, bringing them through that wrath (Zechariah 13:8,9; Matthew 24:15-21; Revelation 13:6,14-17). But, unbelieving Jews, as John predicted, will burn up in God’s wrath (cf. Matthew 24:36-44).

After Christ’s Second Coming to conclude the seven years, the “little flock” of the Tribulation will join the resurrected members of the “little flock” of Christ’s earthly ministry and early Acts, and the resurrected Old Testament believers. This entire group will inherit that earthly kingdom (today’s Scripture; Matthew 25:34).

The “little flock” should not be confused with us, the Church the Body of Christ. We believers in this dispensation will inherit God’s kingdom in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:6,7; 2 Timothy 4:18).

The Little Flock #3

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 KJV).

According to the Abrahamic Covenant, God’s purpose in forming the nation Israel was to make her a kingdom of priests through which He would send salvation and blessings to the world (Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5,6; et al.). Sadly, during the 2,000-year period between Abraham and Christ, sinful Israel drifted from JEHOVAH. Furthermore, Satan kept Israel from becoming what God wanted her to be. The devil sent false prophets to deceive and encourage Israel to embrace pagan idol worship (Deuteronomy 13:1-18; Jeremiah 6:13; 2 Peter 1:21–2:3; et al.).

Just before her Messiah-King Jesus comes, the Jews are “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 9:36; Matthew 10:6; Matthew 15:24). So, God sends John the Baptist to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). John preaches, “Repent ye, the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).

The Jews who believe and obey John’s message of “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” form the “little flock,” the believing remnant in Israel (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24). Contrariwise, the remaining Jews refuse John’s baptism and message, and thus willingly continue in apostasy and spiritual blindness (Luke 7:29,30).

When Jesus’ ministry begins, shortly after John began his ministry, He preaches to Israel the message John proclaimed: “the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15; cf. Matthew 4:17). John’s converts now begin to follow Jesus (their Messiah); this includes the twelve apostles (John 1:40ff).

Jesus then sends the twelve apostles to convert the rest of Israel and continue forming the “little flock” (Matthew 10:5-7). Once Jesus dies, is buried, is raised again, and is ascended, He again sends the twelve apostles to convert the remaining Jews (the first eight chapters of Acts).

Unfortunately, most of Israel remained in unbelief, so God temporarily paused their program and opened our dispensation. But, Israel’s program will resume one day. Then, as today’s Scripture says, God will give the “little flock” their earthly kingdom!

The Little Flock #2

Monday, December 5, 2011

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 KJV).

When God promised the Abrahamic Covenant, He intended to form a nation (Israel) in the earth through Abraham’s son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob (Genesis 12:2). Then, God would establish His earthly kingdom, and through the Jews, God would send salvation and blessings to the Gentiles (Genesis 12:3; Genesis 22:18; Exodus 19:5,6; Isaiah 60:1-3; Zechariah 8:20-23; et al.). Throughout the Old Testament, God continued to form His nation Israel.

However, some 2,000 years after Abraham, during Christ’s earthly ministry, Israel is “the lost sheep” (Matthew 9:36; Matthew 10:6; Matthew 15:24; et al.). Satan has so confused sinful Israel that she has strayed from the commandments and doctrines JEHOVAH gave her through Moses. Israel, as a whole, is in unbelief. As long as Israel is lost (unsaved), she cannot be God’s vessel to bring salvation to the Gentiles.

So, God sends John the Baptist to warn Israel that her kingdom is near and to declare Jesus as her Messiah-King (Matthew 3:2; John 1:6,7; John 1:29-34; Acts 13:23,24; cf. Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1). The few Jews who listen to John the Baptist’s preaching receive his water baptism and become “a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:13-17; cf. Mark 1:1-9; et al.): they form Israel’s believing remnant.

Now, God will not give that earthly kingdom to just any Jew—only Jews who are members of the “little flock” (see today’s Scripture). Matthew 21:43 says God will only give that earthly kingdom to Jews who “bring forth the fruits thereof [the kingdom of God]”—the Jews of faith!

Thus, when the Bible says, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel” (Romans 9:6), it means that not every descendant of Jacob (a biological Jew) is God’s Jew (a born-again, saved Jew; see Romans 2:28,29). Not every descendant of Jacob (Isaac’s son) is saved. Only saved Jews (the believing remnant in Israel, the “little flock”) can inherit that earthly kingdom (cf. John 3:3,5).

One day, as today’s Scripture indicates, the “little flock” will receive their earthly kingdom!