The Living God #4

Friday, March 4, 2016

For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? (Deuteronomy 5:26 KJV).

Exactly why is the God of the Bible called “the living God?”

The fifth and sixth occurrences of the term “the living God” are 2 Kings chapter 19, verses 4 and 16. About 710 B.C., Assyrian King Sennacherib attempts to invade and destroy Judah and Jerusalem. Judaean King Hezekiah, seeking the LORD’S counsel, sends men to speak with the Prophet Isaiah.

These men tell Isaiah in verse 4: “It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left.” And, Hezekiah prays in verse 16: “LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.” This is similar to when young David, anticipating military victory, spoke of “the living God” on Israel’s side (1 Samuel 17:26,36).

When the Psalmist saw God as his Deliverer, he wrote Psalm 42:2: “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” This closely resembles Psalm 84:2: “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”

Isaiah, commenting on the events of 2 Kings, used the term twice more. Isaiah 37:4: “It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left.” Verse 17: “Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God.”

The Bible’s definition of “the living God” is becoming more pronounced.

What the Bible Writers Knew

Friday, September 4, 2015

“Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD” (Isaiah 30:8,9 KJV).

Did the Bible writers know that their writings were divinely-inspired and perpetual? Yes!

A superficially clever—but actually ridiculous—defense used to try to deny the Bible’s constant authority, is to claim that none of the Bible writers knew we would read (or intended us to read) their books thousands of years later. (Oddly, the same people who use that argument still quote “2,000-plus-year-old” verses to support their denominational biases and they also cite the many-centuries-old writings of the “church fathers” who “also” did not intend for us to use their works centuries later!)

The Lord Jesus in His earthly ministry never said, “Hey, men of Israel, Moses never expected you to read his writings these 15 centuries later! They were only applicable back then so you can just throw away that old Torah!” (Imagine such rubbish anyway!)

Stop and think about today’s Scripture. The LORD is telling Isaiah to write down some words that will last forever and ever. In fact, we are reading those very words right now… some 2,700 years later! Isaiah knew exactly how long his divinely-inspired book would last because God Himself told him. People would read it for a literal eternity. In fact, we have 66 books of the eternal Bible today… amazingly, the same number of chapters in Isaiah’s eternal book!

David wrote, “The spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2). Paul recognized he wrote “the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). And we know the word of the Lord lasts forever, Isaiah 40:6-8 says (cf. 1 Peter 1:23-25). As Isaiah realized, “And in that day [the Millennial Kingdom beyond our present-day] shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness” (29:18). 🙂

Jesus and Dispensationalism

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

“…And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears (Luke 4:17-21 KJV).

What can the Lord Jesus in His earthly ministry teach us about dispensational Bible study?

For His first recorded sermon, Jesus visited his hometown (Nazareth) synagogue on the Sabbath and read from the great Isaiah scroll, chapter 61: “[1] The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; [2] To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; [3] To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”

The Berean Bible student will note today’s Scripture lacks Isaiah’s complete prophecy. Jesus said only part of these Scriptures was “fulfilled in [their] ears.” He read about His ministry of preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and His healing miracles, but He intentionally skipped the prophecies about “vengeance” (Tribulation and wrath at His Second Coming) and “comfort” (Millennial Kingdom). Why? It was not time to fulfill them! His audience stared at Him, recognizing that He had abruptly stopped reading. They wondered, for He alone foreknew the dispensational nature of Isaiah 61:1-3! 🙂

Isaiah and Dispensationalism

Sunday, July 26, 2015

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion…” (Isaiah 61:1-3 KJV).

What can the Prophet Isaiah teach us about dispensational Bible study?

A half-dozen Old Testament passages combine Jesus Christ’s two comings: these prophets saw one coming. In hindsight, however, we see two prophesied comings. Why were two comings not originally apparent? (There were two secret comings hidden between!)

Today’s Scripture describes Messiah coming twice: first, He came to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, but He will return to establish the Kingdom of the Gospel of the Kingdom. These two comings are according to prophecy, “that which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). The Old Testament prophets did not know that there would be two additional comings of Jesus Christ to divide the two prophesied comings—one coming to start our Dispensation of Grace (save Saul of Tarsus and start the Body of Christ) and one to end it (save the Body of Christ from enduring the seven-year Tribulation). These are the two comings according to mystery, that “which was kept secret since the world began” but was manifested through Paul’s epistles (Romans 16:25,26).

Today’s Scripture (cf. Luke 4:16-21) predicts Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry (First Coming). Then, it discusses His earthly kingdom (Second Coming). Notice how Jesus handled that passage—He knew the wrath and kingdom would be delayed, so He did not read them in the synagogue. Isaiah, however, knew nothing of our Dispensation of Grace and the Body of Christ. The mystery was “hid in God” (Ephesians 3:9) and completely hidden from Israel’s prophets. God kept a secret from Satan—He would use Calvary’s crosswork to form the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). The Dispensation of Grace (and its two comings) was also withheld from the Old Testament prophets, including Isaiah. Wow!

Leave Me Alone, I Am Comfortable!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

“Who hath believed our report?” (Isaiah 53:1a KJV).

No one wants to listen to you share the Bible? Now you know how Isaiah felt!

Browsing recently in a store’s “Christian” book section, I began a casual conversation with an elderly lady also looking. She claimed to have trusted Christ and I rejoiced. Then, we started talking about Bible versions and dispensational Bible study. I cautioned her how we should be so vigilant in this day of “itching ears.” She listened with interest, until… she began asking me about various popular modern-day Bible teachers and preachers (whose books stood on shelves before us). Once I gave her my assessment of those people’s theologies, she became increasingly resistant. She finally told me she was “not interested” in listening anymore. How dare I expose error and false teachers! She was so loyal to them and refused to hear anything contradictory. I wrapped up our conversation and she hurried off!

In Jeremiah’s day, we read the LORD’S words: “[30] A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; [31] The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (5:30,31). Paul told the Corinthians who enjoyed their false teachers: “For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise” (2 Corinthians 11:19). And then that great prediction of apostasy in the Body of Christ: “[3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3,4).

Few Jews listened to the Prophet Isaiah’s preaching (today’s Scripture). Paul quoted Isaiah in Romans 10:16 to refer to his own unbelieving rebellious audience. We could quote it to apply to our ministries today. Many prefer to hear the lies of religion, and we give them their wish—they want it so and so we leave them be. Saints, be not discouraged. Some still want to hear the message of God’s grace, and His Word rightly divided. Let us continue for their sakes! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did the 12 preach the Gospel of the Kingdom after Christ ascended?