That They All May Be One! #10

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Contrary to popular belief, the harmony or accord of which Jesus spoke in John chapter 17 was not Bible believers setting aside doctrine so as to unite with heretics and apostates. Rather, it was the reunification of the peoples of Israel and Judah, the divided kingdoms joined together as they were in the days of David. Through the Apostles’ preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom—Jesus is Christ, the Son of David—their converts would return to Father God and thus submit to the Davidic dynasty as before. Ultimately, this will occur during the Millennium.

Re-read John chapter 17: “[16] They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. [18] As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. [19] And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” We must not throw away sound Bible doctrine, for true Christian unity is based on the truth (cf. Ephesians 4:3-6). Thus, it is impossible to make all beliefs equivalent: all religions and denominations cannot be accepted without reservation. The Bible is specific in its teachings; therefore, we conclude doctrine matters (Romans 16:17,18; Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; Titus 3:9-11; et al.). Remember, the division between Israel and Judah occurred because of Solomon’s false religions, epitomized as: “Doctrine does not matter. Let us all gather around any and every god. All religions are the same anyway!”

Nay, brethren, we bring to mind the stern warning in Scripture: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (2 Corinthians 6:14,15).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘by and by’ mean?

That They All May Be One! #9

Friday, March 26, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

One purpose of the New Covenant is to rejoin Israel and Judah, redeem them through Jesus Christ’s shed blood, and forgive their sin debt incurred under the Old Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; cf. Hebrews 8:8-13; Hebrews 10:1-39). Sin split them from God, and also divided them into two kingdoms and two nations. Yet, God’s grace will cover those transgressions and restore all 12 tribes under one King, the Lord Jesus Christ, to become one born-again nation. Returning to the Promised Land, they never again leave it because of Gentile captivity (Jeremiah 32:36-44; Ezekiel 36:16-38; et al.).

Although unbelieving, High Priest Caiaphas was used of the Holy Spirit to describe Jesus’ impending death: “And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad (John 11:49-52).

Believers from Israel and Judah, dispersed worldwide, will be made one people through Christ’s finished crosswork: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd (John 10:16). Again, it was this prophetic unification of Israel and Judah underlying Jesus’ prayer in today’s Scripture. Speaking of that Millennial reconciliation and blessing of Israel and Judah, Psalm 133:1 exclaims, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

That They All May Be One! #8

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Israel and Judah divided was foreseen in the Jewish religious calendar given to Moses. Leviticus chapter 23: “[15] And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: [16] Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. [17] Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.” Roughly 50 days after Passover, the Jews were to bring two wave loaves of two tenth deals,” or a new meat [meal/grain] offering.”

As touching the fulfillment of the aforementioned Leviticus passage, the issue of harmony among Jesus’ disciples is accentuated. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:14). “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place(2:1). “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,…” (2:46).

“And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:….” (4:24). “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common” (4:32). “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch(5:12). This was a foretaste of the New Covenant friendship…..

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why does ‘revived’ appear in Romans 14:9?

That They All May Be One! #7

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Once Israel and Judah split, their civil wars lasted centuries (1 Kings chapter 12 onward). Instead of fighting the Gentiles, they turned on each other! As opposed to doing God’s will in the Earth, they wasted all their time and energy on endless battles—not to mention their pagan idolatry that continued up until their respective captivities in Assyria and Babylon.

Continue reading Ezekiel chapter 37, God delivering them from their political, social, and religious factions: “[23] Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. [24] And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

“[25] And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. [26] Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. [27] My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [28] And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

Indeed, when Christ reigns as the ultimate Son of David, all 12 tribes will come under one government as before, with resurrected David ruling too….

That They All May Be One! #6

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

The Prophet Ezekiel was afforded a glimpse into the future, when the LORD restores the Jewish people to Himself under the New Covenant. Read chapter 37: “[15] The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, [16] Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah [Southern Kingdom], and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph [Northern Kingdom], the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions: [17] And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. [18] And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?

“[19] Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. [20] And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. [21] And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: [22] And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.

Christ had this passage in mind as He prayed in today’s Scripture. He was sending forth His 12 Apostles with the Gospel of the Kingdom, a message of a united Jewish kingdom….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘palsy?’

That They All May Be One! #5

Monday, March 22, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

All 12 tribes were safe and secure under King David. After idolatrous King Solomon’s death, however, the 10 northern tribes branched off to form the Kingdom of Israel, and the two southern tribes became the Kingdom of Judah. While Judah remained loyal to the Davidic dynasty for the next 350 years, Israel had a succession of various dynasties ruling it. Ultimately, the Assyrians overthrew Israel circa 722 B.C., and the Babylonians conquered David’s family in 586 B.C. with the fall of Jerusalem. No son of David has ever reigned in Israel since.

In Luke chapter 1, the Angel Gabriel informed Mary the virgin she was to be the mother of the Saviour: “[31] And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: [33] And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” This points back to God’s promise made to David 10 centuries prior (cf. 2 Samuel 7:12-17; Isaiah 9:6,7). The house of Jacob is still broken, politically devastated, but with the Messiah comes unity for the Jewish people.

The curse of the Old Covenant brought division, yet the blessing of the New Covenant brings harmony: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake [disobeyed], although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:….” (Jeremiah 31:31,32). JEHOVAH God will reunify all 12 tribes under David’s dynasty….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we have a ministry to people who abuse us?

Glory Days #7

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[1] Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. [2] Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. [3] For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. [4] Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.”

Here is Israel’s future restoration, Earth’s forthcoming renewal. Souls and bodies will be healed, and the natural world refurbished. Read also chapter 36 of Ezekiel, noting especially these verses: “[28] And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. [29] I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. [30] And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen…. [34] And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. [35] And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. [36] Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Will the Antichrist be a homosexual?

Glory Days #6

Monday, March 15, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Genesis chapter 2 relates how the Garden of Eden was a beautiful place: “[5] And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. [6] But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. [7] And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

“[8] And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. [9] And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. [10] And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads…. [16] And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

As we know, however, Adam disobeyed the LORD by eating the forbidden fruit. Thus, the whole planet—including the Middle East, and especially Iraq between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (the site of the Garden of Eden; Genesis 2:10-14)—is cursed with extreme climatic fluctuations and life-threatening weather. Natural landscapes are not as hospitable as they were before man’s Fall into sin. The abundant thornless, thistle-free vegetation of Eden is long gone (Genesis 3:17-19), but today’s Scripture promises it will reappear when Christ does….

Glory Days #5

Sunday, March 14, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Today’s Scripture awaits the day when the LORD consoles Zion (Jerusalem). Not only has she suffered the terrible effects of the curse established in Genesis chapter 3, God has judged her for her people’s idolatry. Gentiles have entered her land, ravaging it with war and destruction. Her people have been taken away captive for their transgressions, their disobedience to the Old Covenant (Mosaic Law) punished. Read Leviticus 26:27-46.

“And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the LORD, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more: And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword” (Amos 7:8,9; Israel’s Assyrian Captivity). “In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished” (Ezekiel 6:6; Judah’s Babylonian Captivity a century later).

However, there is the hope of Israel’s restoration at Christ’s Second Coming: “Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Isaiah 52:9,10). “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:12).

Earth’s former glory days—the Garden of Eden—will return. When the Lord comes back, the planet will revert to pre-Fall conditions….

Glory Days #4

Saturday, March 13, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Chapter 35 of Isaiah, describing Israel’s Messiah arriving: “[1] The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. [2] It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. [3] Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. [4] Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

“[5] Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. [6] Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. [7] And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. [8] And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. [9] No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: [10] And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

Verses 5 and 6 correspond to Jesus’ healing miracles during His earthly ministry (cf. Matthew 11:2-6). Isaiah also foresees His Second Coming in wrath and glory, judgment and reign. Christ’s return brings major spiritual and geographical changes….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What was wrong with Moses’ speech?