Their Vanities #5

Friday, August 18, 2017

“They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation” (Deuteronomy 32:21 KJV).

What are these “vanities?”

Speaking to the apostate (anti-Jesus, idol-worshipping) Jews, especially Israel’s religious leaders, the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 21:43: “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” This “nation” is the “foolish nation” of today’s Scripture (the “Little Flock” of Luke 12:32). In the eyes of their lost and idolatrous Jewish relatives, they are “foolish” for believing JEHOVAH God’s Word (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14; Acts 26:24; Acts 4:13).

In 1 Peter 2:8-10, the Apostle Peter spoke to “new Israel,” that believing Jewish remnant: “[8] And [Jesus Christ is] a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient [unbelieving]: whereunto also they were appointed. [9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

Every Jew should have had a personal relationship with the one true God. After all, JEHOVAH God had promised Israel various covenants He had not given the Gentile nations (cf. Romans 9:4,5 and Ephesians 2:11,12). Alas, most Israelites preferred to worship idols (cf. today’s Scripture). This will be true even after our dispensation. God will consume them in His wrath (seven-year Tribulation and Second Coming), leaving the believing Jews to enter His earthly kingdom and become His priests (Millennium).

Unbelieving Jews will be permanently cut off from the God whom they could have had as their own. With Him accepting believing Jews, it will make the unbelieving Jews “jealous” (He was supposed to be their God by covenant relations too). As the unbelieving Jews replaced Him with idols (“vanities”), so the Lord Jesus Christ will replace them with believing Jews.

Bible Q&A #410: “Why does the King James Bible say, ‘pisseth against the wall?’

Their Vanities #4

Thursday, August 17, 2017

“They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation” (Deuteronomy 32:21 KJV).

What are these “vanities?”

Recall the two sets of parallel phrases: “that which is not God” with “their vanities,” and “those which are not a people” with “a foolish nation.” Now, we are particularly interested in the latter set. Who are these “not a people,” this “foolish nation?”

Deuteronomy chapter 32 (today’s Scripture and its context) is “the Song of Moses.” Some of Moses’ parting words to the nation, it covers Israel’s history and future (prophecy, events beyond our day). Today’s Scripture points to the future by first pointing to the past. Remember, Israel was to be God’s nation of priests. Every Jew was to have a spiritual relationship with JEHOVAH God, that every Israelite, in a coming earthly kingdom, would share the message of his God with the Gentiles/nations (see Genesis 12:1-3, Isaiah 60:1-3, Isaiah 61:6, Zechariah 8:20-23, Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:47-48, Acts 1:8, et cetera).

Jeremiah 2:11, almost 1,000 years after Moses spoke today’s Scripture, says that Israel worshipped idols and abandoned the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: “Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.” God actually gave Moses the insight to see Israel’s apostasy that Jeremiah witnessed centuries later. Today’s Scripture takes it a step further though. God will still get a Jewish people for His name. He will reach within the nation Israel and pull out a believing remnant. That believing remnant will become “new Israel,” His kingdom of priests.

Notice what the Lord Jesus said in Luke chapter 12: “[31] But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. [32] Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” In contrast to the idolatrous Jews, His followers would be that “foolish nation,” heirs of that earthly kingdom. Just as unbelieving Jews had given Him up for idols, He will give them up for believing Jews….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘joined hard’ mean in Acts 18:7?

 

The True God Revealed

Monday, July 17, 2017

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10 KJV).

Rest—and see the true God manifest!

Today’s Scripture sits in a prophetic psalm. We see God delivering Israel’s believing remnant from her enemies in the final days of the seven-year Tribulation, and God’s wrath manifested in nature: “[1] God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. [2] Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; [3] Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.”

We see the establishment of God’s earthly kingdom, Him dwelling with Israel in the land of Palestine: [4] There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. [5] God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.”

There is a flashback to Christ’s fiery wrath at His Second Coming: “[6] The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.” We see Him on the Earth once more, conquering His enemies and bringing in everlasting peace: “[7] The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. [8] Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. [9] He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.”

Finally, we see Jesus Christ exalted among the nations, proving Himself to be very God and their “gods” but worthless, dead idols. The reader is urged to simply rest and contemplate who is God and who is not: “[10] Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Israel’s believing remnant replies, repeating verse 7 and concluding the psalm: “[11] The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

The Love of the Truth

Sunday, July 16, 2017

“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9,10 KJV).

What is “the love of the truth?”

Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The “love of the truth” in today’s Scripture is the love of God manifested in the truth of God, and the truth of God is the Word of God (particularly the Gospel of Grace). The people in today’s Scripture rejected God’s love to them as He offered it to them in the Gospel of the Cross of Jesus Christ. That is, they “believed not the truth” (verse 12), and “the truth” is the Gospel mentioned in chapter 1.

Chapter 1 already said: “[7] And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, [8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:….” Those individuals consumed in the fiery wrath at Christ’s Second Coming, God had a controversy with them. They did not have an intimate relationship with Him. Why did they lack that personal bond with Him? They “obey[ed] not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our Gospel is that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ without works (Ephesians 2:8,9). These people refused to come God’s way, so they will not be saved from God’s judgment (short-term, the Antichrist’s deception [today’s Scripture]; ultimately, hell and the lake of fire).

Returning to chapter 2, we see their punishment for their receiving not the love of the truth, that they might be saved: “[11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” They rejected God’s love manifested in the truth, so He has given them over to the lie that the Antichrist is the true Christ.

But If Not

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up (Daniel 3:16-18 KJV).

Notice the “but if not!”

After King Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image for all those in Babylon to worship; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to participate in that vain religious service (verses 8-12). Nebuchadnezzar, although very angry, gives them another chance to worship. He tells them that if they refuse to bow before his image, he will throw them into a burning fiery furnace. Taunting them, he says, “And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” (verse 15). They refuse again (today’s Scripture).

It is fascinating that these three young men did not worry about the matter. They told Nebuchadnezzar that if their God wanted to deliver them, He would. But—and here is the really neat part—they said that even if God would not deliver them, they would still not worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image! Here is confidence in morals, men with strong convictions, not afraid to risk their lives for upholding the truth of the God of the Bible.

Nebuchadnezzar commands his officers to heat the furnace seven times hotter than usual (verse 19). He will mercilessly exterminate these three young Jewish men for rejecting his religion. Tied up, they are thrown down alive into the flames. Nebuchadnezzar sees an amazing sight. There are four men, walking around unharmed! That fourth man “is like the Son of God” (verse 25). Nebuchadnezzar finally sees the truth—the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the “most high God” (verse 26).

Their God has indeed delivered them from Nebuchadnezzar’s weak hands. Those three young men escape totally unscathed, having “[through faith]… [q]uenched the violence of fire” (Hebrews 11:34). The lesson? God will be faithful in preserving Israel forever, no matter how violent and extreme her persecutions!

Merciful to a Sorry World

Thursday, June 15, 2017

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting (1 Timothy 1:15,16 KJV).

You can trust that!

The United States—yea, the world—has been rocked by so many tragedies in recent days. Current trends on social media read, “Sending our thoughts and prayers.” Scoffers ask, “How is that working out?” To wit, despite all the “thoughts and prayers,” well wishes, and hopes of religious people, violence and bloodshed remain “front page” news. Where is God? When will He get enough? Will He ever show Himself? Does He even care? When will enough be enough? Is “He” even there?

Christians, who have the Holy Bible, the true Word of the true God, should be leading the world in understanding prayer. They should know what prayer is, and what it is not. Alas, how ignorant they are—how unbelievably and pathetically uniformed! They have the Scriptures but have no idea what they say about prayer. Now we see why skeptics say what they do—they mock people who really do not know the truth either! Beloved, religious people talk about “God” so flippantly we need not criticize the scoffers for doing likewise!

Friends, here is the simple truth. God is not working according to the way most people are praying. Hence, people pray for a certain outcome that actually does not come. They pray for violence to end, for peace, for God to come and judge the evildoers. Actually, here is a shocker…. God is not working today as He did in time past. What He is interested in today is having people come to His Son, Jesus Christ, by faith, that they receive forgiveness of sins and a home in Heaven. Rather than God pouring out wrath today, ushering in world peace today, He is pouring out peace and grace on undeserving sinners!

He will come back in due time and judge this wicked world. Today, He silently offers grace, extending an opportunity for all to be made right with Him! 🙂

Not Mixed With Faith

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Hebrews 4:2 KJV).

We can read and memorize all the verses we want, but, if we are not approaching Bible verses in faith, we will not gain the profit God put in them.

I had a recent phone conversation with a brother in Christ who is in the ministry. He is dealing with an individual who jumps from religious group to religious group (five or six current affiliations). This man, whether saved or not I am unsure, constantly asks the brother various Bible questions. How sad it is that people can ask so many questions and still be so ill equipped, unable to distinguish truth from error. Yea, treating the Bible like some “intellectual gym class” will severely harm rather than greatly help!

Take, for example, the nation Israel in the wilderness (Hebrews chapter 3— previous to today’s Scripture). They heard the voice of God thundering from Mount Sinai. They saw the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments inscribed on them. Unlike the pagan nations around them, Israel had access to the one true God (Deuteronomy chapter 4 in its entirety). Alas, Israel did not believe a word God said (today’s Scripture)! They heard, heard, heard… but they did not believe, believe, believe! Hearing the Word of God does not benefit you if you do not believe it! Paul said this of unbelieving Jews in Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Israel had heard the Word of God for centuries, and yet was still in rank unbelief during his Acts ministry!

The writer of the Book of Hebrews, speaking to Israel during the future time after our Dispensation of Grace, urges the Jews to believe the kingdom doctrines Jesus Christ taught during His earthly ministry. They are to believe on Him as their Messiah, the Son of God, their Redeemer; they must wait for Him to return at His Second Coming to establish that earthly kingdom of God. That wonderful news cannot profit them if “not mixed with faith!”