Joseph and Jesus #12

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report” (Genesis 37:2 KJV).

Let us search the Scriptures to see how Joseph is a type of the antitype Jesus….

We Berean Bible students have seen how Joseph and Jesus are alike in excess of 20 specific traits and circumstances. This is certainly not coincidental. To those who want to see, hear, and believe, it is as clear as can be. Joseph served as a template, foreshadow, preview, pattern, or outline: by nature, that is a type in the Bible. Centuries later, the antitype (Jesus Christ) shared those same qualities and underwent those very situations. By studying the one, we better appreciate the other, rejoicing how the LORD God was omniscient, knowing well in advance what would occur all along. Joseph’s whole life—even seemingly insignificant attributes and situations—prophesied what another beloved Son would be like and what He would experience.

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10,11). Like the other Old Testament prophets, Moses (who wrote about Joseph in Genesis) possessed limited knowledge. He had no idea the Holy Spirit was using him to present Messiah’s two comings with such vivid details—one arrival to suffer and die, and a return to conquer and reign. Stephen, speaking in Acts 7:9-16, had more light than Moses, for by that time the Lord Jesus Christ had already come once and the saints in early Acts were anticipating His reappearance. With a completed Bible canon, we have even greater insight than Moses and Stephen combined. May we be thankful!

Joseph is just one of several types of Jesus Christ: other examples include Joseph’s brother Benjamin, plus Adam, Abel, Noah, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samson, David, and Solomon. While beyond the scope of this study, they too are equally fascinating.

Hearing is Not Enough #10

Saturday, January 14, 2023

“And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word” (Luke 10:39 KJV).

Is hearing the Word of God enough? (NO!)

As numerous people in history heard the Word of God but placed no faith in it, as myriads today hear the Holy Bible yet refuse to trust it, so many souls in the future will hear the Word of God and persist in unbelief.

Hebrews 3:15 speaks of the ages to come: “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” See Psalm 95:7,8: “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness.” Psalms recalls Israel’s unbelief during the 40-year wilderness wanderings under Moses. Hebrews looks to the future, when countless Jewish unbelievers support the Antichrist. Having heard substantial information about Jesus being Christ, but not trusting Him as personal Saviour, their callous or unfeeling heart thus inclines toward the Antichrist (thereby leading to their eternal doom)!

As much sound Bible doctrine as we have heard, we should not only have believed it in our head but, more importantly, trusted it in our heart. If we believe in our heart less than what we have learned, the Lord is never (!) to blame for any resultant confusion, heartache, misery, or apostasy.

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe [not simply ‘hear,’ but ‘believe!’](1 Thessalonians 2:13).

And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 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(John 12:47,48).

Hearing is Not Enough #9

Friday, January 13, 2023

“And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word” (Luke 10:39 KJV).

Is hearing the Word of God enough?

By the time of Acts chapter 7, Israel’s one-year extension to repent and believe the Gospel of the Kingdom is nearly over (see Luke 13:6-9, noting “this year”  in verse 8 follows Christ’s “three years” of earthly ministry). Stephen recounts Israel’s long history of unbelief—climaxing in Jesus’ rejection and crucifixion. He winds down his sermon with the following: “[51] Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. [52] Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One [Christ Jesus]; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: [53] Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”

Israel’s unbelieving leadership responds: When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth” (verse 54). Rather than admitting their sin, they proceeded to physically assault Stephen, yet the worst is to come! “[55] But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, [56] And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. [57] Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, [58] And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. [59] And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. [60] And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Yes, they heard the Word of God, but they did not receive it in faith, so it cost God’s preacher Stephen his life.

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

That I Might Save Some of Them #2

Sunday, November 20, 2022

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:13,14 KJV).

The operative term here is “some!”

Indeed, the believer’s ministry usually appears to be a waste of time. For example, the Lord Jesus taught a transdispensational (across the dispensations) truth that there is always a believing remnant, never 100% of audiences trusting God’s words. “Enter ye in at the strait [narrow] gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13,14). There was just a believing remnant in Israel, a little flock” of saints (Luke 12:32), a small body of Jews who had recognized Jesus as their Messiah/Christ!

Actually, after three full years of the Lord’s earthly ministry, there were simply 120 believers in Jerusalem (Acts 1:15). Where were the several thousands He fed in Matthew 14:21 and Matthew 15:38? Apparently, they just wanted a free meal! “From that time many [not a few but many!] of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66). Joshua and Caleb, only two of 12 spies, believed God’s word as touching the Promised Land (Numbers 13:1-3,26-33; Numbers 14:6-10,30-39; Numbers 26:65; Numbers 32:9-13). Remember, Noah had seven converts after 120 years of preaching (1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5). Consider the 7,000 believers in the Israeli kingdom of millions who had not worshipped the idol Baal (1 Kings 19:18). Think of the 3,000 converts in Acts 2:41 and the 5,000 believers in Acts 4:4—but what are these in a nation of millions? See the sad realities of 2 Timothy 1:15, Isaiah 1:9, and Genesis 18:23-33 (cf. Genesis 19:24,25)!

Paul, in today’s Scripture, knew his Bible well. Therefore, he understood he would not win all or even most of his Jewish brethren to Christ. Only some of them” would believe, and he continued his ministry to reach whomever he could….

How to Have Faith

Friday, October 28, 2022

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 KJV).

Dear friend, do you suffer from a lack of faith? Today’s Scripture is the remedy!

Remarking on the dire spiritual conditions he observed 55 years ago, a preacher penned: “One reason so many church people have so little faith today is because they hear so little Gospel—and the average church member rarely—if ever—takes time to study the Bible. What church folk know about the Bible today is what they hear from the pulpit in Sunday services and at an occasional Wednesday night prayermeeting.” If that gloomy description was applicable five decades back, how much more at this present hour?

In the context of today’s Scripture (read the entire chapter), the Apostle Paul is commenting on how national Israel has remained in unbelief throughout the Acts period (he is likely writing during Acts chapter 20). Whether it was the Apostle Peter preaching during the opening chapters of Acts (prophecy), or the Apostle Paul during the latter chapters (mystery), most Jewish people were content with their works-religion. Paul’s argument in Romans chapter 10 is that they have had numerous opportunities to hear the Word of God, and yet remain in unbelief and adamantly refuse to trust the Lord Jesus Christ! They have heard the Word, but they have not believed what they have heard. In other words, they are without excuse.

Today’s people are usually not so fortunate. When they go to church, they hear the traditions of men (which will not lead to faith). They hear philosophy and vain deceit (which will not lead to faith). They hear the rudiments or basic principles of this world (which will not lead to faith). They hear non-rightly-divided Scripture (which will not lead to faith). Colossians 2:8 has been ignored, so they are not “[following] after Christ!” No wonder they are apostate (departed from the truth), disappointed, weak, confused, and spiritually ruined!

Beloved, unless we take the Holy Bible (King James in English!) in our own hands and read it rightly divided for ourselves (2 Timothy 2:15), and (above all) believe it in our heart, our spiritual understanding will be limited and we will be easily deceived (Ephesians 4:14). Here is how we have faith!

The Ravings of a Madman! #10

Sunday, October 16, 2022

“And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself” (Mark 3:20,21 KJV).

Who here is “beside himself?” Why has this designation been applied?

Saints, as we manage our lives and ministries, we must (!) remember our loyalty is solely to the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not follow preachers, denominations, or theological systems. We are not here to share “feel-good messages” so everyone will love and praise us. Our Lord Jesus conducted His life and earthly ministry to think like and serve Father God (John 8:28,29). He was not here to please people. Likewise, we are to be about Father God’s will, thinking like He does, walking by faith in His rightly divided Scriptures—regardless of what any fellow humans say or think about us. What is of ultimate importance is Heavenly Father’s assessment of us.

This is precisely how the Holy Spirit caused our Apostle Paul to view his life and ministry: “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God(1 Corinthians 4:3-5).

Let them belittle us: we need not their applause anyway. Let them abhor us: we need not their love anyway. Let them kill us: we need not their world anyway. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2). If we have the renewed mind, we are truly not the madmen! 🙂

The Ravings of a Madman! #9

Saturday, October 15, 2022

“And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself” (Mark 3:20,21 KJV).

Who here is “beside himself?” Why has this designation been applied?

Christendom’s prevailing spiritual insanity is the false notion that a system of rules and regulations will bring victorious Christian living. First Timothy chapter 1: “[5] Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: [6] From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; [7] Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm [encourage, support]. [8] But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; [9] Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, [10] For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; [11] According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

In their lunacy, legalists—“understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm” (verse 8)—force people under the law system when it cannot give anyone a right standing before God. It can only point people to Christ the Saviour (Galatians 3:24,25). When we place ourselves and others under a performance-based acceptance system (obey to receive a blessing, failure results in a curse), this is legalism, the law system being contrary to the grace system. Understanding the Scriptures “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15), we recognize we live in this “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:1). “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [God protest, may God never let that happen!]” (Romans 6:14,15).

To avoid spiritual craziness, we must not only be Scriptural but dispensational too….

The Ravings of a Madman! #8

Friday, October 14, 2022

“And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself” (Mark 3:20,21 KJV).

Who here is “beside himself?” Why has this designation been applied?

Porcius Festus (Roman Governor of Judaea) and King Herod Agrippa II heard the Apostle Paul’s testimony in Acts chapter 26. As Saul of Tarsus, some two decades prior, Paul had led Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ: “[9] I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. [10] Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. [11] And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad [insane, crazy, lunatic] against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.” Saul had oppressed Israel’s believing remnant in chapters 7–9. Like his unbelieving nation, he had no renewed mind—but that all changed in chapter 9 when he met and trusted the ascended Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour (Acts 26:12-23)!

While listening to Paul’s testimony, Festus responded like any lost or natural man: “And as he [Paul] thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself [crazy]; much learning doth make thee mad [lunatic] (Acts 26:24). Paul was certainly an educated man (see Acts 22:3), but the Holy Spirit was also speaking through him so as to convict Festus. Festus’ human intellect, fallen and insane, was unable to make sense of God’s wisdom: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned [judged, evaluated]” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Hence, non-Christians find it impossible to understand God’s words that we speak.

Yet, if we are not careful, even we Christians can actually rave like madmen, falling into the trap of true spiritual lunacy ourselves….

The Ravings of a Madman! #7

Thursday, October 13, 2022

“And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself” (Mark 3:20,21 KJV).

Who here is “beside himself?” Why has this designation been applied?

Although Christ healed all sorts of ailments and disabilities during His earthly ministry, one particular class of afflicted people He delivered was “those which were lunatick” (Matthew 4:24). In Matthew chapter 17, verse 15, there is a devil-possessed man who is also “lunatic;” Jesus healed him too (verses 14-21). While these are literal, historical cases, the mature Bible student will appreciate the striking symbolism.

As the Holy Spirit afforded him the ability to see into the future, Moses stated the following concerning his nation in the ages to come: “Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee” (Deuteronomy 32:18). Israel is not thinking like the LORD God designed her to think. She has been careless in remembering the Rock that gave birth to her coming out of Egypt. What has happened is she has pushed aside the Hebrew Scriptures entrusted to her (see Romans 3:1,2), and thought about anything and everything else—that is, all the beliefs and practices of the nations’ religions. Preoccupied with worthless information, she is now in Satan’s trap, and God’s purpose and plan for the earth cannot come to pass because His earthly people are willfully ignorant of His will for them and words to them. This continued for several centuries, all the way to Christ’s earthly ministry.

By curing those with mental illness, Christ in His earthly ministry was proving to Israel how He could heal her spiritual insanity. After all, He was preaching the very words that could educate them in Father God’s will. The miraculous demonstrations (miracles) they would see and hear would confirm whatever words or truths Father God wished to teach them. If they believed His message and esteemed His works, then they would no longer be ignorant of their Creator’s purpose and plan for them. Such spiritual insanity continues throughout the world today, including in Christendom….

The Ravings of a Madman! #6

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

“And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself” (Mark 3:20,21 KJV).

Who here is “beside himself?” Why has this designation been applied?

Read Luke 6:6-11 in your own Bible. When religious, but lost, Israel watched Christ heal a man’s right hand that was “withered” (deformed, dry, lacking bodily fluids, shrunken), they responded negatively because it was the Sabbath Day. The rabbis taught that medical aid was not to be rendered on the Sabbath unless for life-threatening conditions. In their confused minds, Jesus should have healed that crippled hand the day prior or day after. Verse 11: “And they were filled with madness [lunacy/craziness]; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.” Instead of connecting this Sabbath miracle with the Sabbath rest of God’s future earthly kingdom—thereby failing to appreciate this miracle that validated the Gospel of the Kingdom—they plan Christ’s murder (Matthew 12:14; Mark 3:6)!

As Jesus is nailed to Calvary’s cross after three years of earthly ministry, utterly rejected of His own people, He cries out in Luke 23:34: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Israel is spiritually insane, murdering their innocent Messiah because they think He is a criminal. The nation has been completely given over to the spiritual darkness they have preferred (see John 12:37-50). Peter the Apostle, preaching after Christ’s resurrection, says to his fellow Jewish people, “And now, brethren, I wot [understand] that through ignorance ye did it [refused and killed the Prince of life, verses 13-15], as did also your rulers” (Acts 3:17).

If a man is accused of being “beside himself,” the imagery conjured is that he is standing in one place but his mind is standing off to his side. He is isolated from his wits (mental faculties). Unbelieving Israel “diagnosed” Jesus as such in today’s Scripture (cf. John 10:20). Dismissing Him as “mentally ill” was the only way they could account for His extraordinary words and conduct. Actually, nothing was wrong with Him. They were lunatic, dead in their trespasses and sins, totally unable to welcome Almighty God’s wisdom and work….