Thrilling Bible Study!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16 KJV).

Can you agree with the Prophet Jeremiah?

Too many people who read the Bible are unwilling to let it speak for itself. They always try to force into it their own preconceived denominational ideas. In doing so, they make it a mess and destroy the clarity. It becomes such a burden that they almost wish they never picked up a Bible at all. May they learn this lesson from Jeremiah!

In today’s Scripture, Jeremiah was one of the few people living in his day who was so willing to receive the Word of God. God’s Word became the joy (noun) and the rejoicing (verb) of his heart. He was a servant of God so it only stood to reason that he would submit himself to JEHOVAH God’s instructions. Since Jeremiah knew God’s will for his life, he conducted a successful ministry for 40 years. We have come so much further than Jeremiah concerning God’s purpose and plan for creation, but we should be just as willing to receive God’s revelation post-Jeremiah as Jeremiah was receptive to having God’s Word in his own day.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). When you take God’s Word, study it rightly divided, and take your stand by faith in it, you are going to have the thrill of your life! The “Old Book” will literally become a “New Book.” You need not struggle any longer trying to sort through “contradictory” verses. Rather, you need to rejoice in God’s Word to you—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—and study all 66 books of the Bible in light of the Pauline revelation. Break free from the chains of Satanic confusion and get on with working with God to accomplish His will: “God, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Let me assure you—you will never regret it! 🙂

Our latest (companion) Bible Q&As: “Can you explain Genesis 6:1-4?” and “Can you explain 1 Peter 3:18-21?

Lamentations and Adulations #2

Saturday, February 27, 2016

“But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us” (Lamentations 5:22 KJV).

What a befitting end to the book of Lamentations!

Lamentations is actually the Holy Spirit through Jeremiah expressing His grief concerning the destruction His people brought upon themselves. But, it is also Jeremiah the Prophet voicing his praise of JEHOVAH God. The God of Israel is a good God, most forgiving and most gracious (Lamentations 3:22-25).

As He told Moses many centuries before Jeremiah, Exodus 34:5-7: “[5] And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. [6] And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, [7] Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”

No matter what horrible situation Israel placed herself into, there was (and always would be) assurance that JEHOVAH God would never give up on her. He would never leave her completely. Israel, as all of sinful mankind, turned out to be such a rotten nation. God had every right to utterly reject them and be very wroth with them. They had turned Jerusalem, the city where He desired to live with them, into a pagan shrine where they had literally set up idols to worship and serve! My, how He judged Jerusalem—yea, all of Israel. But, He will never break His Word to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

As Paul the Apostle commented, although Israel is set aside today in our Dispensation of Grace: “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:28,29). God will make Israel His kingdom of priests in His own time. “Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:21—the verse before today’s Scripture). Israel’s best years are still future—due to God’s faithfulness, not hers! 🙂

Lamentations and Adulations #1

Friday, February 26, 2016

“But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us” (Lamentations 5:22 KJV).

What a befitting end to the book of Lamentations!

Lamentations was written by Jeremiah the Prophet to mourn (“lament”) the city of Jerusalem that now lay in ruins. Once a magnificent city, now a shame. Jerusalem, once world-renown for its military conquests and splendorous Temple, now un-walled and defenseless. Heathen neighbors laughed. Her inhabitants dragged off to Babylon—only a few poor people remain. Her kings slaughtered or imprisoned—the Davidic monarchy destroyed. Solomon’s magnificent Temple—now charred wood and scattered stones. JEHOVAH’S presence—long departed from Jerusalem. No economy, no Jewish government, almost no population, no religious system, no walls or military, no more Promised Land. All gone. Taken away. Indeed, Jeremiah aptly summarized it: “But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us!”

How God’s wrath fell upon His beloved city! We cannot imagine the violent fury that obliterated Jerusalem during Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s third invasion! (If God did that to His own nation, what is He going to all the Gentile nations one day?!) He was so very angry, so enraged, that He “utterly rejected” Israel! Once He came, there was nothing left! For five long chapters, Jeremiah poured out his heart, literally weeping throughout Lamentations. JEHOVAH God was just. Jerusalem, warned for centuries, completely refused to listen to prophets JEHOVAH had sent to warn her. Having reached the point of “no-return,” no repentance or conversion, judgment came! Jeremiah looked at Jerusalem in ruins, and he closed Lamentations with a very heavy heart: “But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us!”

A very depressing predicament—such extensive destruction makes Jerusalem appear perpetually ruined. But, small rays of hope appear in Lamentations 3:22-25: “[22] It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. [23] They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. [24] The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. [25] The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” Jerusalem was destroyed, but not 100 percent annihilated. Her people were unfaithful to Him by worshipping and serving idols, but He would be faithful anyway!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who was Melchizedek?

“Hate Speech” #7

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt” (Jeremiah 38:4 KJV).

Who is “this man?” And, what words is he speaking to make him worthy of being “put to death?”

About 600 years after the Prophet Jeremiah preached to Israel, the Apostle Paul preached to heathen. Note chapter 17 of Acts, when Paul and his ministry companions preached Jesus Christ: “[6] And when they [the unbelieving Jews] found them [Paul and Silas] not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; [7] Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.”

At this point, Paul has been preaching for over 20 years. The Jesus Christ who he had been proclaiming had angered many people all over the Roman Empire. Apostate Jews had heard of this renegade Pharisaical scholar preaching about an imposter he himself had once rejected and hated. Observe how those lost Jews accused Paul, Silas, and their ministry coworkers of “turn[ing] the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). As someone once commented, “Oh no, Jesus Christ through Paul was turning the world right-side up!” Indeed, lost man and God never see eye-to-eye. This world that God had originally created “good” is now evil. Mankind is evil, so he sees nothing wrong with the world; man views any improvement of it as bad. God, holy and just, recognizes the world as corrupt, and He will fully reclaim it from Satan one day!

Brethren, we know there is an everlasting devil’s hell waiting for all who die without Jesus Christ. May we, in love, reach them quickly with the message of Christ crucified for their sins, His burial, and His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Let them falsely accuse us. One way or another, in heaven or in hell, they will realize just how important that message is! 🙂

“Hate Speech” #6

Monday, February 22, 2016

“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt” (Jeremiah 38:4 KJV).

Who is “this man?” And, what words is he speaking to make him worthy of being “put to death?”

According to the verses previous to today’s Scripture, Jeremiah preached: “[2] Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live. [3] Thus saith the LORD, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.”

In today’s Scripture, Judah’s princes complained to King Zedekiah that Jeremiah was discouraging the Jewish people from fighting and resisting the Babylonians. Unbelief at its very best! Jeremiah was preaching in the name of JEHOVAH—“thus saith the LORD”—and JEHOVAH God had already determined that the Babylonians would come in and defeat the Jews. That is, Jeremiah was telling Israel it was no use fighting the Babylonians, for God had already determined that judgment on the Jews. Israel’s God had given them centuries of warnings to reform or be punished, but the Jews never turned back to Him.

Of course, Jeremiah was portrayed as the evil one. Judah’s princes accused him of not seeking Judah’s wellbeing. In fact, it was they who were not seeking Judah’s wellbeing. They were the evil ones. To fight against JEHOVAH, as they were doing, was sure to lead to physical harm and death. Contrariwise, to obey JEHOVAH’S words through Jeremiah, and submit to Babylon, “he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live.”

What another interesting parallel to today’s Scripture. Those who rebel against God, they are “innocent.” It is the Bible-believing Christian, speaking against injustice and unrighteousness, who is the evildoer!

“Hate Speech” #5

Sunday, February 21, 2016

“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt” (Jeremiah 38:4 KJV).

Who is “this man?” And, what words is he speaking to make him worthy of being “put to death?”

The Prophet Jeremiah preached with authority, “Thus saith the LORD (verse 2). This greatly upset the Jewish people, for they knew quite well that they had disobeyed the LORD and His impending judgment on them was just.

While they did not take Jeremiah’s life, verse 6 says that they threw him into a dungeon. The language indicates that it was an empty in-ground cistern or well. Instead of water, it had mire (slushy mud). In less than five years, Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar came in and destroyed Jerusalem (chapters 39 and 52; cf. 2 Chronicles chapter 36)—JEHOVAH’S word (through Moses and Jeremiah) was fulfilled. The Babylonian captain freed Jeremiah, who remained in Judah before moving to Egypt with the remnant of Jews not taken to Babylon (chapters 40-45). Jerusalem, actually, 2,600 years later, is still awaiting God’s restoration.

Today, brethren, we speak with authority when we say, “Thus saith the LORD.” When the Bible delineates specific actions as sins, they are sins. End of story. People can argue all they want but there is no room for argument. They can throw their tantrums but they need to grow up and face reality. There is such a thing as right and wrong, and God’s judgment is sure to fall on those who are outside of His Son Jesus Christ. Let us warn them in love, but let us warn them while there is still time. We Bible believers do not preach “hate speech.” We preach “love speech.” We preach God’s love on Calvary commended to sinners (Romans 5:8). May we point them to Calvary, lest they go to hell forever, something infinitesimally worse than invading Babylonian armies and Gentile captivity!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is it ‘un-Christian’ for a country to have border walls?

“Hate Speech” #4

Saturday, February 20, 2016

“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt” (Jeremiah 38:4 KJV).

Who is “this man?” And, what words is he speaking to make him worthy of being “put to death?”

It is not uncommon for people today to criticize the Bible in the following manner: “We have come so far from those primitive days of ignorance. What does that book of fairytales have to do with me? I stopped believing in make-believe when I grew up.” (Really?!) When you think about it, they still believe in make-believe. They assume that the problems that existed back then have since disappeared. As our news reports demonstrate, those problems are still here in society. Their ignorant words prove that we have not moved very far from those “primitive days of ignorance!”

We are certainly more technologically advanced than the society of Bible days. Better-fabricated houses, more sophisticated modes of transportation, innumerable more “gadgets,” and faster communication; yet, human nature is unchanged, as depraved as ever. The basic problem with mankind still exists—he refuses to interact with his Creator because his Creator is holy and he is sinful. Strangely, if you condemn sin by quoting the Bible, you are accused of “hate speech.” However, it actually is the other way around. The sinner hates to hear the Word of God, and will hatefully speak against it. (“Go away with your fairy-tales, you religious fanatic!”) Definitely, one of the effects of sin is lost mankind abounding with “haters of God” (Romans 1:30).

Furthermore, God’s Holy Book is a sword, and spiritually speaking, a very sharp sword. It cuts deep into the innermost being of whoever hears or reads it—“pricking in the heart” (Acts 2:37) and “cutting to the heart” (Acts 7:54). We can understand exactly why Jeremiah was condemned in today’s Scripture. Bible haters still want Bible believers harmed (or murdered) even in the “sophisticated” 21st century!