Minimum Wage Hike? #7

Friday, August 9, 2019

“He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor” (Proverbs 14:31 KJV).

Is this a good verse to support minimum wage increases?

James 2:5 says: “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” Chapter 1, verse 1: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” These are Jews “poor of this world.” Why are they “poor?” Remember, they have followed the Lord’s commandment in Luke 12:33—“Sell that ye have, and give alms….” James is writing to these people, who (now in Acts) are financially struggling (cf. Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:32-37; Romans 15:26).

After our Dispensation of Grace, the Abrahamic Covenant applies as before. Those who bless Israel will be blessed of God; those who curse Israel will be cursed of God (Genesis 12:1-3). Matthew chapter 25: “[31] When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: [32] And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: [33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” When Jesus Christ returns at His Second Coming (yet future), we see here “the Judgment of the Nations.” He evaluates how Gentiles treated believing Israel.

Read carefully Matthew 25:31-46. Make special note that this is not to or about us the Church the Body of Christ. These Gentiles in Israel’s program are being rewarded or punished based on how they treated believing Jews. How did they bless Israel? They helped Israel financially. Jews believing in Jesus as Messiah were hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, and imprisoned. Unable to neither buy nor sell (Revelation 13:15-18), they had suffered terribly under the Antichrist (cf. today’s Scripture).

Psalm 10:17,18: “LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.” Here is the Antichrist’s destruction….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why do Amos 4:4 and Amos 5:5 give opposite commands?

Minimum Wage Hike? #6

Thursday, August 8, 2019

“He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor” (Proverbs 14:31 KJV).

Is this a good verse to support minimum wage increases?

During His earthly ministry, Christ uttered some controversial words: “If thou wilt be perfect [not sinless perfection but complete/mature], go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” (Matthew 19:21; cf. Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22). Were the Messianic saints to literally sell their physical possessions and give the money to the poor? Indeed, for they actually did that later in Acts 2:44,45 and Acts 4:32-37. (Read chapter 5 to see what happened to Ananias and Sapphira for disobeying the Lord!) Why did Christ instruct them thus?

In Revelation chapter 13, we read of the coming Antichrist, whose reign will involve major economic changes: “[16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” That Israel’s believing remnant avoid having to choose between following Antichrist or retaining their wealth, they were to give up those material goods before Antichrist’s appearance. The Jewish saints in early Acts acted in accordance with this reality.

With the Apostle Paul’s ministry and the Dispensation of Grace entering in mid-Acts, our mystery program interrupted—and is still delaying—the prophetic program. Since the Antichrist has yet to arrive, God’s earthly kingdom is still absent: that prosperous kingdom the poor Jewish saints would have enjoyed following Antichrist, never came in Acts. Hence, Paul speaks of “the poor saints which are at Jerusalem” (Romans 15:26). Their common fund has now depleted. They have become poor—not because of slothfulness, disability, or meager earnings—but because they followed God’s will. (According to Romans 15:25-27 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, Paul took up contributions from his Gentile converts to help them.)

The poor people suffering in Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Acts, typify (preview) the experience of Messianic Jews once our Dispensation of Grace closes….

No Way Out! #4

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

The disciples did not know how to react. They were simply unable to imagine one of their own would be Jesus’ traitor. “Who in the world can it be? How could this be so?” When the legalistic tenets of the denominationalists fooled the Galatian saints, the Apostle Paul was likewise at a loss for words. “How could you be so soon removed from grace? Brethren, what am I to do with you?” In both instances, perplexity or astonishment abounds. “Aporeo” appears two other times in the King James Greek New Testament. We will look at them to further amplify our understanding.

Acts chapter 25: “[19] But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. [20] And because I doubted [aporeo] of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.” Being a Roman, Judaean Governor Porcius Festus was unfamiliar with Jewish religion. Incompetent in judging these theological matters, he preferred not to get involved with the Jews accusing Paul concerning their “superstition.”

When recalling ministry challenges thus far, Paul confessed: “[8] We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed [aporeo], but not in despair; [9] Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; [10] Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). It was not always clear to Paul what route to take. However, dear friends, there is a play on words in verse 8: “we are perplexed [aporeo], but not in despair [exaporeo—an intensive form of “aporeo”].” Paraphrased, it is, “We may not have a way out, but we are not entirely without an exit.” Completely, utterly, absolutely clueless we are not!

Brethren, as long as we stick close to the words of God’s Word rightly divided, we will always have a way out concerning life’s dilemmas and difficulties. We are not without hope, not without guidance, and not without peace! 🙂

No Way Out! #3

Monday, July 29, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

As the disciples in the Upper Room were “at a loss” regarding whom among them was Jesus’ traitor, so the Apostle Paul did not know which way to turn mentally concerning the Galatians. Read from his epistle to them, chapter 4:

“[15] Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. [16] Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? [17] They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. [18] But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. [19] My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, [20] I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you [“aporeo”—same as “doubting” in today’s Scripture]. [21] Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?”

Prior to writing the Galatians, Paul had visited these pagan idolaters and preached the Gospel of Grace to them. From him, they heard about the one true God and His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork—He had died for their sins, been buried, and been raised again (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). They came to faith in Christ alone as sufficient payment for their sins. How joyful they were to no longer be slaves to works-religion, sin, and Satan!

Alas, after Paul departed from their midst in order to visit and evangelize other pagans, false teachers slipped in and conquered the Galatians with works-religion. These legalists emphasized Law and thereby excluded Grace. Understandably, Paul was amazed, confessing to the Galatians, “I stand in doubt of you.” It is not that he doubted their salvation. Rather, he could not wrap his mind around the fact that they had been led astray so quickly and so easily (cf. Galatians 1:6-10). Yea, he too had “no way out….”

No Way Out! #2

Sunday, July 28, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

Friends, some news in life is unbelievable. Denial is one way we try to cope with such upsetting information. We really cannot imagine a certain loved one has died. Is it really true that that Christian brother has now embraced as true the very doctrinal error he once vehemently opposed? Has a trusted friend actually turned against us? Such is the “mental trap” in which the disciples now find themselves. Who here could possibly ever be the traitor of Christ? Not only was that backstabber among those least expected, he was the least suspected of even them!

Few realize that Judas Iscariot was the most trusted Apostle. After all, he was the treasurer, the man who held the Apostles’ moneybag. “For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor” (John 13:29). “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein(John 12:6). Ironically, the most trusted was the least honest.

In the context of today’s Scripture, the Lord said, “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me” (John 13:18). That Old Testament verse is Psalm 41:9: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” Judas Iscariot was Jesus’ most intimate friend, his familiar friend” (like a family member).

Even after Jesus used the dipped sop (bit of food) to identify the traitor, the Apostles were in such shock they simply could not bring themselves to see Judas Iscariot for what he was. “How could he of all people be the one?” To better grasp what is going on, lest we have “no way out,” let us see how this Greek word (“aporeo”) and concept appear elsewhere in Scripture….

No Way Out! #1

Saturday, July 27, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

We will read today’s Scripture in context: “[21] When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. [22] Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.” The Greek word for “doubting” here is “aporeo,” from a word meaning, “to depart;” the Greek prefix “a–” negates the idea of the root. Literally, it translates to, “no way out.”

Jesus has uttered some difficult words. He Himself is bothered. The disciples’ minds are wandering as they glance at one another. Who in the world among them could possibly want to stab Him in the back? After all, they have become good friends—like family members—over the last three years. They have traveled together, eaten together, and rested together. In a million years, they never expected a traitor was in their midst. Who is it?! Who is it?!

“[23] Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples [John?], whom Jesus loved. [24] Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. [25] He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? [26] Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. [27] And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. [28] Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. [29] For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. [30] He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.”

Even now, after Jesus has revealed more information, the disciples do not grasp what is going on concerning Judas Iscariot….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who or what is ‘the desire of all nations?’

Art Thou He That Should Come? #4

Thursday, July 25, 2019

“Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2,3 KJV).

How can John the Baptist question if Jesus really is Christ/Messiah?

Father God had sent John the Baptist to announce the arrival of His Son, Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:1-8; Matthew 3:1-17; Isaiah 40:3). Yet, John, just a man, did not have unlimited insight concerning God’s Son. John had not been given Divine revelation as to the timing of the events of Christ’s life. It was not that John had grown apostate; he just did not understand that Christ’s healing miracles would continue beyond his imprisonment and execution. John had no idea that we would be here right now—20 centuries later—still waiting for God’s enemies to be judged and Earth’s governments to be cleansed of wicked rulers.

Jesus’ answer to John was, “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended [skandalidzo] in me” (Matthew 11:6; Luke 7:23). In other words, “John, happy is the man who will not find scandal or an occasion of stumbling in Me. You have no need to be embarrassed that you endorsed Me. I am who you announced Me to be. Do not lose faith.” Christ had not come to judge sin—as in, overthrow evil kings—at His First Coming. No, He had come to die for sin.

“[52] And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. [53] And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. [54] And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? [55] But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. [56] For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village” (Luke chapter 9).

“He that should come” will return at His Second Coming, to finish fulfilling the rest of the Messianic prophecies.