Refuge! #7

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares (Numbers 35:11 KJV).

Look closely! Could there be something prophetic here?

To spare Israel absolute annihilation, God graciously provided a loophole in the Mosaic Law. If one ignorantly killed another, the slayer could flee to a city of refuge and escape the avenging relative’s hand. The deceased person’s relative could not harm him in that special city.

Similarly, prophetically, the Antichrist is the avenger of blood, coming to punish national Israel for rejecting her Messiah (Jesus Christ) (Isaiah 10:5,6; John 5:43). Thankfully, individual Jews can flee to a (figurative) “city of refuge.” The Little Flock will survive God’s judgment: membership therein (via water baptism) is protection from “the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:1-12; 1 Peter 3:20,21).

Throughout early Acts, God the Holy Spirit constantly indicted Israel for killing her Messiah. They were worthy of His wrath! However, He downgraded the charge from murder to manslaughter. Israel was spiritually ignorant when she crucified Jesus, thus allowing her opportunity to flee to refuge—Israel’s believing remnant. In Acts chapters 2-5, Israel was offered a renewed opportunity of repentance.

“That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:18-20). Believing Jews in Israel’s kingdom program have “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” Having trusted Jesus as Messiah, they will enter His earthly kingdom when He returns to redeem them nationally at His Second Coming (cf. Hebrews 12:25-29).

“And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God (Zechariah 13:9).

Death in the Pot!

Friday, August 24, 2018

So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot (2 Kings 4:40 KJV).

Why is there “death in the pot?” What is the remedy?

“[38] And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth [famine] in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets. [39] And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not. [40] So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.”

Elisha, God’s prophet, instructed his servant to boil a soup for the sons of the prophets. One “son” scouted and unwittingly collected gourds from “a wild vine.” He tossed them into the pot without their knowledge. Later, the men realized they were eating toxic food! Verse 41 continues, “But [Elisha] said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.” Elisha had them bring “meal” (flour), which he threw into the soup to make it harmless. Strange! What is being communicated by this miracle?

Israel is called God’s “vine” (Isaiah 5:7; Psalm 80:8); in contrast, the wild vine is sinful, man’s efforts (note the “wild grapes” of Isaiah 5:2). Human works corrupt God’s work. However, when God’s Word is added, the evil is overcome. Scripture is likened unto bread, flour (Matthew 4:4). God’s Word can transform sinful (spiritually deadly) Israel into a blessing! “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:27). Israel has a glorious hope indeed! 🙂

Growing in Grace #7

Friday, August 17, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” Peter thus bids farewell to the Circumcision Saints, supplying them with the information needed to avoid the “error of the wicked.” These various doctrinal and practical sins—false teaching, confusion, doubt, non-dispensational Bible study, and so on—are to be replaced with an updated view of God’s program for man.

Israel’s Little Flock is to grow in the doctrines of grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ as revealed to the Apostle Paul. They must appreciate why their earthly kingdom has been momentarily suspended (but certainly not abolished!!). Despite ignorant mockers’ accusations, God’s promise to send His Son again stands firm. He has not forgotten about Israel; He has merely postponed her program to operate our mystery program. Rather than pouring out wrath, He is offering mercy to the whole world—Jews and Gentiles alike (Romans 11:25-32)!

Dear brethren, if God wanted the Circumcision Saints long ago and yet future to be “established in the present truth” (1:12), how much more does He desire it for us? After all, “the present truth” is that we (the Church the Body of Christ) and the mystery program have currently/presently interrupted and delayed Israel’s prophetic program. We are the reason why the Antichrist has not yet been revealed. The Dispensation of Grace, the Body of Christ, prevents the prophetic program from operating (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-14).

At the Rapture, our gathering together unto Christ in Heaven, our dispensation will close, causing the prophetic program to recommence. The Antichrist will rise, reign for seven years, and ultimately be destroyed by Jesus Christ at His Second Coming. Here, unbelievers are judged, including the scoffers who assumed that fiery wrath was fiction! Finally, Israel becomes God’s kingdom of priests, redeemed and ready to enter the Millennium. May we “grow in grace” too! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we call a minister ‘reverend?’

A Small Moment Versus Everlasting #2

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

“For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:7,8 KJV).

The nation Israel is in terrible straits, but she also has a spectacular future!

While the fifth course of judgment is dreadful, it (looking into the future) is winding down. Jesus Christ returns to Earth to conclude its final seven years. Israel will be permanently restored to JEHOVAH God: He will marry her again, and marry her to her land again. He has not left her under His wrath indefinitely, oppressed of the Gentiles forever. It is “for a small moment” He has forsaken her, hidden His face from her. “In a little wrath” that is “for a moment,” He has punished her for her sins.

Now, with Christ’s Second Coming drawing closer, God will soon show Himself to Israel for the first time in millennia. He is approaching to “gather” her “with great mercies.” Wrath is passing; light is dawning. His face literally shines as He enters Earth’s atmosphere! They see Him! His people mourn that their ancestors crucified Him all those centuries ago! His enemies wail in fear—He is not happy! As He literally and physically stands in Israel’s land for the first time in 20 centuries, He shows her “everlasting kindness” and “mercy.” He is her “Redeemer,” having rescued her from sin, death, Hell, and Satan. Now, she will enjoy God’s goodness forever in His earthly kingdom, never again to be judged.

Isaiah chapter 49: “[24] Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? [25] But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. [26] And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.”

A Small Moment Versus Everlasting #1

Monday, July 2, 2018

“For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:7,8 KJV).

The nation Israel is in terrible straits, but she also has a spectacular future!

As per the Law Covenant (Leviticus 26:1-46; Deuteronomy 28:1-68), Israel’s obedience brought God’s blessing while disobedience occasioned curses. In today’s Scripture, she finds herself cursed. Unbelieving and rebellious (idolatrous), now God has chastised her with five courses of judgment. The fifth stage is operating. It began in centuries before Christ, it is currently suspended during our Dispensation of Grace, and (thus from our view) today’s Scripture is actually Israel yet future. In the seven-year Tribulation, Israel will be judged most terribly.

Today’s Scripture in context: “[5] For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. [6] For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. [7] For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. [8] In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.”

JEHOVAH God had married Israel, but she was unfaithful—“a whoring after other gods” (Judges 2:17; Judges 8:33; 1 Chronicles 5:25; Hosea 1:2; cf. Exodus 34:10-17). God divorced her (Isaiah 50:1; Jeremiah 4:1-9), evicting her from His Promised Land and giving her over to her Gentile enemies. Psalm 106:39-42: “[39] Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. [40] Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance. [41] And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them. [42] Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.”

Israel finds herself here in today’s Scripture….

Two Rocks #8

Sunday, June 10, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

Hebrews chapter 3 reveals that God sees Israel as two houses overall: “[1] Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; [2] Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. [3] For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. [4] For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. [5] And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; [6] But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”

One house is historical: Israel under the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Law, a “weak and beggarly” system (Galatians 4:9) because Israel was a nation of sinners always falling short of God’s righteous standards (Hebrews 8:7-13). She repeatedly engaged in idolatry (“rocks”). The other house is prophetic: Israel under the New Covenant, God making her His people by Christ’s finished crosswork (1 Peter 2:3-10; cf. 1 Peter 1:2-5,13-25). She will never again be idolatrous.

Isaiah 51:5 anticipates new Israel, what Hebrews 3:6 calls “the house of Christ:” “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD [the Rock!]: look unto the rock [!] whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” God generated Israel’s bloodline with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons. He delivered them from Egypt to become the nation Israel. They are to see Him as He really is (the Rock that their ancient ancestors refused to build on because their counterfeit “rocks,” or idols, had distracted them). Jesus Christ said Israel had better build on the right foundation (Him, the Rock, and His words), or experience spiritual destruction (Matthew 7:24-27)!

Israel Pardoned in Full!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve (Jeremiah 50:20 KJV).

Israel awaits this most magnificent pardon!

Many—yea, most—have great difficulty reconciling the nation Israel’s ungodly behavior in history with God’s future plans for her in prophecy. After all, her willful pagan idolatry for numerous centuries culminated in her rejecting Messiah (Jesus) and nailing Him to Calvary’s tree! How could the LORD God ever make her His people, His kingdom of priests that He originally intended her to be (Exodus 19:3-6)?

Satan realized that once he corrupted Israel, God could not use her to overthrow Satan’s plans for Earth. However, God had already planned well in advance Israel’s redemption: He would use her rejected Messiah’s shed blood to institute the New Covenant. This new covenant will take care of her breaking the Old Covenant (see Jeremiah 31:31-34). Christ’s blood will wash away her sins; yea, she will be eternally purified. Never again will Israel have intimate relations with (worthless) idols.

“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,…” (Revelation 1:5). “For finding fault with them, he saith [Jeremiah 31:31-34], Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:… I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:…. for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:8-12, in part).

Notice these other Second Coming verses concerning Israel’s national forgiveness: “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). “For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Romans 11:27).