His Son #3

Friday, October 21, 2016

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

In a fragmentary fashion and in assorted ways, JEHOVAH God used the prophets to speak to Israel’s patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jacob’s 12 sons, David, Solomon, et cetera—about His purpose and plan for them. The Book of Hebrews is written to the descendants of Israel’s fathers. It has no relation to us Gentiles or the Church the Body of Christ. Never forget, friends, the Book of Hebrews continues the prophetic program that began in the “Old Testament.” We study Hebrews, but are always mindful it does not speak to or about us.

According to the writer of Hebrews, penning during the Acts period, the God who spoke to Israel’s fathers by the “Old Testament” prophets is not speaking by them anymore. He has spoken to Israel by His Son. As Jesus Himself declared, “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16). John the Baptist’s ministry was a transition, or “bridge,” from the Law and the Prophets, to the earthly ministry of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. God’s earthly kingdom, long preached by the “Old Testament” prophets as coming, is on the verge of being established during Christ’s earthly ministry. (Hebrews, written during Acts, looks back at Matthew through John.)

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand [near]: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14,15). That Gospel of the Kingdom was simply Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16)….

His Son #2

Thursday, October 20, 2016

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

For some reason known only to Him, God the Holy Spirit chose not to reveal the human instrument He moved to write the Book of Hebrews. So, rather than squabbling about the man’s identity, all we need to know about its writer is found in the first word—God!

JEHOVAH God, Israel’s God, for centuries, had sent prophets to communicate more and more of His Word to her. “Time past” here in this context (Hebrews 1:1) denotes Abraham’s call all the way up to John the Baptist’s ministry (about 2,100 years). It started with Abraham because he was Israel’s father, and it ended just before John the Baptist’s ministry began (we will look at this verse later). For now, just know this was a time of piecemeal revelation to Israel—“at sundry times.” It involved various angelic appearances, handwriting, visions, dreams, miracles, fire from heaven, and so on—“in divers manners.”

First Peter chapter 1 says of the “Old Testament” prophets who, with limited understanding, tried to make sense of it all: “[10] Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: [11] 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.” Notice this reference to Christ’s First Coming (earthly ministry—“the sufferings of Christ”) and His Second Coming (“the glory that should follow”).

With the passing away of such “piecemeal” prophetic ministries, Father God sent His Son as His Spokesman to Israel. Whatever those holy men spoke prophetically, Jesus would come (Matthew through John) and repeat, explain, and add to it….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Was the Law of Moses given by the LORD, or by angels?

His Son #1

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

The Book of Hebrews opens with these three verses. We would do well to notice this is the Epistle to the Hebrews. This will greatly help us understand today’s Scripture. Throughout church history, Bible expositors and church members alike have gotten into much trouble and suffered tremendous confusion because they took verses written to and about Israel, and forced them onto us (the Church the Body of Christ).

For many centuries prior to the Book of Hebrews, for several hundred years before the early Acts period, for many centuries before Christ’s earthly ministry, Father God had sent numerous prophets to Israel concerning His coming Son. Through the preaching of those holy men, He was preparing His nation to identify their Messiah when He arrived. Yet, Israel became increasingly unbelieving and stubborn. Suddenly, God began to speak more and more about His coming wrath as well.

As the Book of Hebrews tells us in today’s Scripture, Israel’s “last days” (the final stages of her program) commenced with the earthly ministry of Christ. Some 800 years before Jesus, the Prophet Joel (2:28-32) predicted those “last days.” First would be the outpouring of God’s Spirit on believing Israel (fulfilled in Acts chapter 2). Then there would be the outpouring of God’s wrath on unbelieving Israel (still awaiting fulfillment, but would have come in early Acts). In Acts 2:14-36, Peter the Apostle preached to Israel that Joel’s prophecy was coming to pass, and that wrath was coming! They must “repent and be baptized… in the name of Jesus Christ.” God’s Son, whom their prophets foretold would come, has come, and they have rejected Him, nailed Him to Calvary’s cross, and still refuse to hear Him….

“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!