Refuge! #3

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares (Numbers 35:11 KJV).

Look closely! Could there be something prophetic here?

The LORD God commanded Joshua, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses: That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood” (Joshua 20:2,3). If someone in time past killed another accidentally—namely, without premeditation—that manslayer could seek safety in one of the “cities of refuge” (today’s Scripture). These six cities were strategically placed throughout the land of Israel: they were easily accessible, especially since the paths to them were cleared and maintained. Such facts will prove highly important to our discussion later (your patience is greatly appreciated).

Once again, remember the difference between “manslaughter” and “murder.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines “manslaughter” as “the crime of killing a human being without malice aforethought, or in circumstances not amounting to murder.” In stark contrast, “murder” is “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.”

When Messiah Jesus visited Israel during His three-year earthly ministry, He was overwhelmingly mocked, rejected, and finally crucified. It was downright murder, an intentional killing, for they had already repeatedly schemed to take His life (Matthew 12:14; Matthew 26:3-5,14-16; Mark 11:18; Luke 22:2; John 7:1; John 8:59; John 10:31; John 11:51-54; et cetera). They would not have Him reign over them, they would not admit their sin problem, and they would not relinquish their vain religious system. Christ’s crucifixion was no accident, but a carefully orchestrated event resulting from Israel’s religious leaders conspiring with the Roman government (Psalm 2:1-3; Acts 4:25-28).

Therefore, we are startled to read Luke 23:34. As Christ hangs on Calvary’s cross, greatly suffering and slowly dying, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” In an unfathomable act of compassion toward Israel, the Lord Jesus utters something astonishing. He wants His Heavenly Father to consider this—not murder!—but manslaughter, a killing done in ignorance….

The Hottest Places in Eternity #8

Monday, October 1, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

The second factor in determining the intensity of eternal judgment a lost soul will experience is how influential that individual was on the world stage. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation (Matthew 23:14). “My brethren, be not many masters [teachers], knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation (James 3:1). Religious leaders will be more accountable to God than the congregations they managed.

While religious figures will be most harshly judged out of all leaders, do not suppose that kings and queens, presidents, prime ministers, judges, schoolteachers and professors, media executives, and authors and book publishers, will get off scot-free. These unsaved souls actively and willfully advocated elements of Satan’s evil world system: their programming, legislation, curricula, literature, and policies disseminated and perpetuated his lie program. The Lord Jesus Christ will take all of this into account as each damned soul stands before His throne of judgment.

Of particular note concerning harsh eternal judgment are popes, mega-church preachers, seminary faculty, corrupt Bible editors and translators, and founders of world religions and cults. Doubtless here are Israel’s religious leaders and Rome’s politicians directly involved in Christ’s crucifixion. Judas Iscariot, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet—Satan’s most useful human tools—are punished most severely.

We tremble to consider it, friends, but we must expressly warn. Unsaved husbands and fathers, those whom God commanded to guide women and children in His truth (Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians 6:4), will meet a particularly dreadful fate. For thousands of years, they utterly failed as spiritual leaders. They—more than any other class—contributed to the world’s problems by not training the younger generations. Consequently, those newer generations wreaked worse havoc. Again, to the degree they misled the masses, so is the severity of their everlasting penalty established….

The Hottest Places in Eternity #7

Sunday, September 30, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

The Great White Throne Judgment will be more bearable for the evil citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah than for the audience of Christ’s earthly ministry. More divine revelation was given to the latter, and yet the latter behaved far worse than the former!! This applies across the Bible timeline, even to our present-day. We have a completed Bible, all 66 Books, and yet human society is more anti-God and anti-Scripture than ever. Can you hear God’s rebuke? “Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for those in prior dispensations in the day of judgment, than for you living in the Dispensation of Grace!!”

Christ Jesus warned in John 12:48: “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” Every Bible ignored, every Gospel tract rejected, and every missionary rebuffed, will surely be mentioned in the Day of Judgment. These opportunities were intentionally missed. What a frightful prospect! God’s Word to any one group will condemn them to eternal judgment if not believed. The more divine revelation given, the harder the unbelieving heart grows. Two classic cases are Pharaoh with the 10 plagues (Exodus chapters 7–12) and Israel in the wilderness wanderings (Hebrews 3:7-19).

At the Great White Throne Judgment, the books opened are the Bible and the record of the deeds of the lost: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:12). Jesus Christ will take applicable Bible verses, and indict each and every unsaved soul on the basis of that spiritual light rejected….

Bible Q&A #540: “Does the Bible support British Israelism?

The Hottest Places in Eternity #6

Saturday, September 29, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

The Lord Jesus uttered harsh words in Matthew chapter 11: “[21] Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. [22] But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. [23] And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. [22] But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. [24] But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.”

Matthew 10:15: “Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city [where Christ’s Apostles preached].” Christ said in Luke chapter 10: “[12] But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. [13] Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. [14] But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. [15] And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. [16] He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.”

Yea, to whom much is given, much will be required….

The Hottest Places in Eternity #5

Friday, September 28, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

Dear friends, no one “accidentally” goes to Hell. Only after a long (!) process of deliberately rejecting divine revelation—creation, conscience, and Bible—does a soul wake up in hellfire. The living, loving God of creation issued every possible warning… all was refused. His justice must enforce His righteousness. Sin will be punished in full!

From the time He created and placed man on Earth, the God of the Bible has constantly extended a message for man’s faith and obedience. While the written Bible was not always available, there was God’s spoken Word, which leaves “pre-Bible man” also without excuse. Sodom and Gomorrah, since they are so early on the Bible timeline, had very limited revelation from God (no Bible, but God’s spoken Word nonetheless).

The destruction of wicked Sodom and Gomorrah is one of the most striking events of divine judgment in the Old Testament. Genesis 19:24,25: “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.” The Bible refers to this outstanding incident numerous times (cf. today’s Scripture, Deuteronomy 29:23, Isaiah 1:9, Amos 4:11, Zephaniah 2:9, Luke 17:29, 2 Peter 2:6, et cetera).

Jude 7 remarks, “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” God utilized fire and brimstone (sulfur) to destroy these two sinful cities. Yet, there is far worse eternal judgment. Notice today’s Scripture, a record of Christ’s earthly ministry. Jesus Christ sent out His 12 Apostles to preach in His name. Whoever would reject these men will have a harsher experience before Him than Sodom and Gomorrah will have….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “When did Paul know about Israel’s fall?

To Esteem the Greater Words #5

Monday, September 10, 2018

“Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12 KJV).

Friend, do you pay more attention to the words of men than the words of God?

Moved by the Holy Ghost, King David remarked in Psalm 19: “[7] The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. [8] The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. [9] The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. [10] More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”

How many in this materialistic, greedy world can say with David that they desire God’s words more than gold, even much fine gold?! Who claims those Divine words are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb?! How many in our deceived, gluttonous society agree with Job that they esteem God’s inspired words more than their necessary food?!

Such a Man is quoted in Isaiah 50:4,5: “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.” Here is the Lord Jesus Christ speaking of God the Father, 700 years before the former’s earthly ministry (check verse 6). Christ treasured every word that His Heavenly Father spoke to Him, so much so that He obeyed it without fail. Satan’s evil world system would not—and did not—distract Him from what information carried eternal value.

Brethren, may we be especially careful to listen to and believe Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, God’s Word to us today. “But [Jesus Christ] answered and said [to Satan], It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Most importantly, may we remember those words! 🙂

Spurning God Thrice

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

“But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people” (Romans 10:21 KJV).

The God of the Bible is a Trinity—three separate and distinct Persons all equally God. Behold, this was highly advantageous to the nation Israel!

THE FATHER REJECTED. John 1:6 says, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Mark 1:3). Father God sent John the Baptist to be the forerunner of His Son. He announced Messiah’s arrival to Israel, yet Israel permitted King Herod to behead John. Nevertheless, God extended mercy to evil Israel. Judgment did not fall.

THE SON REBUFFED. Jesus said in Matthew 12:32: “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him:….” “Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified” (Matthew 27:22,23). On Calvary’s cross, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). At His Son’s request, Father God was merciful to wicked Israel. Judgment did not fall.

THE SPIRIT REJECTED. Matthew 12:31,32: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men…. whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” With the Holy Spirit coming in Acts chapter 2, Israel was given one final year of mercy. Israel must repent and trust Jesus Christ, for He is returning in wrath to punish their unbelief. Through the 12 Apostles, God the Holy Spirit pled with Israel until chapter 7. Stephen, full of the Holy Ghost, preached before Israel’s leadership. They stoned him! As Jesus said, this would not be forgiven (cf. Hebrews 6:4-6).

Strangely, judgment did not fall, even here. God changed dispensations, delaying that wrath to fall beyond our day! That individual Jews and Gentiles be saved from Divine judgment, He began Paul’s ministry, the Dispensation of Grace!