Return, LORD! #1

Thursday, November 19, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture mean?

The Berean Bible student understands “rise up” is an imprecation for JEHOVAH God to enter the Promised Land and thoroughly cleanse it of all its ungodly inhabitants. In Moses’ day, it was the pagan Gentiles, whose horrific lifestyles are described in Leviticus chapter 18. The LORD’S purpose in forming Israel was to put her, His nation, in that Holy Land, that they do His will and not follow their pagan neighbors (note especially Leviticus 18:24-30).

Yet, Israel repeatedly ignored God’s warnings to remain separate. She joined those false religions, becoming so polluted with erroneous thinking that she sided with the Gentiles against the LORD! By the time Jesus Christ came, He called them “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6; Matthew 15:24). They were so far gone, unable to be His kingdom of priests. Actually, Jesus declared point-blank in John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil!”

Our completed Bible canon provides the full layout. Moses’ words in today’s Scripture not only apply to idolatrous Gentiles, but in the future, it will also be true of idol-worshipping Jews. Whether Jew or Gentile, all idolaters hate Jesus Christ. As Peter forewarned in Acts 3:19-23 (cf. Moses’ warning in Deuteronomy 18:18,19), Jews who refused to hear Jesus Christ’s words will be “destroyed from among the people.”

The Prophet Zephaniah foretold 600 B.C.: “[1:18] Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land. [2:1] Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation [Israel] not desired; [2:2] Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you.”

Now, the LORD will “return” to Israel!

Riches and the Four Gospels #4

Monday, August 4, 2014

“And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24,25 KJV).

Understandably, “health-and-wealth” preachers and teachers never quote Jesus’ words in today’s Scripture!

When Jesus spoke today’s Scripture, He had Israel’s prophetic program in mind. The book of Proverbs had already foretold: “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death” (11:4). “Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land” (Zephaniah 1:18).

Once Israel’s Messiah, Jesus, arrived, her program was in its “last days” (Hebrews 1:2; cf. Acts 2:16-21; Joel 2:28-32; Luke 16:16; Matthew 3:7-12). After the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), the day of the LORD’S wrath, the seven-year Tribulation, was to begin. Then, the Antichrist, the false Messiah, would con Israel, and cause her to rest in a false peace policy. He would then manifest himself as satanic by implementing a tyrannical economic agenda: “[16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:16,17).

Jesus knew that material riches would spiritually hinder and destroy His little flock, for they would be tempted to take the Antichrist’s mark and accept his name or number in order to retain their physical possessions. He even warned Israel’s believers not to be attached to material goods during the Tribulation period (Matthew 24:15-18; Mark 13:14-16). If they sold all they had, they would be guarded against materialism. However, those rich would value their possessions, and thus submit to the Antichrist….

 

Aerial Attack! #9

Monday, July 14, 2014

And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines(2 Samuel 5:24 KJV).

Some 3,000 years ago, Israel had aerial military support, and it is only a preview of the “fighter jets” yet to come!

Zephaniah the prophet wrote: “Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land (1:18).

The Prophet Isaiah (34:8-10) explained: “[8] For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. [9] And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. [10] It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.”

The Prophet Amos further discussed Jesus Christ’s Second Coming in wrath and vexation: “The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem….” (1:2). Throughout chapters one and two, the Prophet delineates the “flight path” Messiah will take as He returns to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4): Damascus (Amos 1:3), Gaza (Amos 1:6), Tyrus (Amos 1:9), Edom (Amos 1:11), the land of the Ammonites (Amos 1:13), Moab (Amos 2:1), Judah (Amos 2:4), and Israel (Amos 2:6). Amos also prophesied that Christ would send a fire into each of these wicked areas.

Psalm 97:1,3-5 foretells Jesus Christ’s return to Earth to reign as King: “[1] The LORD reigneth;…. [3] A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. [4] His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. [5] The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the LORD of the whole earth.”

Let us now summarize this devotionals arc….

Iniquity Not Yet Full #13

Saturday, May 24, 2014

“But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:16 KJV).

Today’s Scripture expressly declares why the God of the Bible “takes His time” when dealing with sinful mankind.

Just as God finally had enough of the sinful Amorites and evicted them (today’s Scripture), so the unbelieving, unrighteous world will be dispossessed from God’s planet one day (the day of His wrath). Rest assured, God will right the iniquitous deeds of the world one day, just not today, not in our Dispensation of Grace.

Regarding our dispensation, God has given all of mankind nearly five times as much longsuffering as He gave the Amorites, but how mankind has squandered that goodness! “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). God has given all of mankind nearly five times as long as He gave the Amorites, to prove Himself righteous in pouring out His wrath on them.

As in Peter’s day, the Christ-rejecters still inquire about the Lord’s return in flaming fire and vengeance (2 Peter 3:3,4). Peter replied, “[5] For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: [6] Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: [7] But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. [8] But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [9] The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Dear friend, you can be saved from God’s wrath, so please do not reject His grace. Come by faith alone in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, and your iniquity will be paid in full! 🙂

Iniquity Not Yet Full #9

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

“But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:16 KJV).

Today’s Scripture expressly declares why the God of the Bible “takes His time” when dealing with sinful mankind.

The Old Testament prophets (Psalm 2:4,5; Isaiah 2:12ff.; Jeremiah 25:29-33; Joel 2:30-32; Zephaniah 1:14-18; Zechariah 13:8–14:4; et cetera) foretold of God’s wrath, “the day of the LORD” (the seven-year Tribulation). John the Baptist (Matthew 3:7-12), Jesus Christ (Matthew chapter 24), the Apostle Peter (Acts 2:19-21), and the Prophet Stephen (Acts 7:55,56) warned of “the wrath to come.” God’s wrath on wicked mankind was expected to come within their lifetime!

Nearly 2,000 years later, and God has not poured out His wrath on Earth. Why? Was the wrath not real? Was God lying? Nay, He was gracious to implement a plan, a dispensation, He had devised long ago, but had kept secret until He revealed it to the Apostle Paul (Romans 16:25,26; Ephesians 3:1-11; Colossians 1:23-27). To “have mercy upon all” (Christ-rejecting Jews and Gentiles; Romans 11:32), God concluded all lost people “in unbelief.”

The Apostle Peter answered scoffers who asked where was Christ’s coming back in wrath (2 Peter 3:3,4): “[9] The Lord is not slack [careless, unreliable] concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. [15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (verses 9,15,16).

Notice, Peter instructed his audience to read Paul’s epistles (especially Romans chapters 9-11) to learn that God had paused Israel’s program, and was “longsuffering” so “all should come to repentance [trust Christ and get saved].” As Peter and Paul affirmed, Israel’s prophetic program (which involved God’s wrath) is currently postponed….

Big Brother Versus Heavenly Father #5

Friday, November 8, 2013

“…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5c,6 KJV).

Big Brother is watching; Heavenly Father is, too!

In Daniel 9:24-27, the angel Gabriel informed the prophet that, in addition to Israel being out of her Promised Land for 70 years (the Babylonian captivity of 606-536 B.C.), so that her land could be cleansed of sin, there would be 70 weeks of years (or 490 years) for her people to be cleansed of sin. Verses 25 and 26 say that 483 years were fulfilled before Calvary. The last seven years—God’s wrath, the “Tribulation,” or “day of the LORD”—should have occurred in early Acts (Joel 2:28-32 cf. Acts 2:16-21).

However, rather than wrath, the ascended Jesus Christ poured out His grace and peace on Saul of Tarsus, his chief enemy on earth. In Acts chapter 9, Saul was saved, and was ordained of Christ as the Apostle Paul. The program that God had been operating—Israel’s prophetic kingdom program (Acts 3:19-21)—was interrupted. Jesus Christ’s earthly kingdom is still awaiting fulfillment.

From Paul’s salvation onward, God began to form a body of people, the Church the Body of Christ, who would govern the heavens for His glory like Israel would do on earth (Ephesians 1:20-23; Ephesians 2:6,7; Colossians 1:16-20). The Bible calls this the mystery program, which God had kept secret until He revealed it first to Paul (Romans 16:25,26). We, living in the Dispensation of the Grace of God, are actually living in an interim time period between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel’s prophecy.

The program that God is operating today has nothing to do with Israel’s prophetic program; our current dispensation, the mystery program, revealed first to the Apostle Paul (Ephesians 3:1,2), is totally isolated from Israel’s program. Hence, earth’s governments remain corrupt: God’s program to restore them is currently postponed so He can operate our program to restore the heavenly governments to Himself.

Howbeit, before we discuss God’s present-day dealings with mankind, let us see the resumption of Israel’s program….

One Little Nation With a Big God #4

Sunday, November 18, 2012

“Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud” (Psalm 94:2 KJV).

Israel’s enemies are persecuting and destroying her, and today’s Scripture is her plea for JEHOVAH to shew Himself!

Jesus Christ described the end of the seven-year Tribulation: “And they [Israel] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). Basically, the antichrist and his armies will unite against Israel and persecute Jews (Revelation 16:12-16; Revelation 19:17-19)… but God will retaliate (Psalm 83:1-18)….

Zechariah 14:1-4 explains: “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle [Armageddon]; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley….”

Just when Israel’s fate seems utterly hopeless (refer back to Luke 21:24), Jesus Christ will leave the third heaven and return to earth (His Second Coming). Just as He brought Israel military victories in the past, JEHOVAH—who had been silently waiting in heaven for 2,000 years—will finally “shew [Himself]” and defend Israel. Jesus Christ, riding a white horse as He glides over earth, will speak forth God’s Word, and He will slay and consume in His wrath the antichrist and all the armies gathered against Israel (Revelation 19:11-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:8).

And thus, God will “render a reward to the proud,” eternally punishing Israel’s arrogant enemies with His wrath in the lake of fire.

Vengeance Belongeth Unto the Lord #4

Thursday, May 24, 2012

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19 KJV).

Injustices abound. The wicked are applauded and often go unpunished while the righteous (God’s people) are despised and penalized. As the cliché goes, “God never sleeps.” All wrongs will be righted one day (today’s Scripture).

When the Lord Jesus Christ went to Calvary’s cross, He purchased our salvation. There, He suffered God’s eternal wrath against our sin: “He became sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21; cf. Isaiah 53:10; Matthew 26:46; Galatians 3:13). Once we trust Christ Jesus alone as our personal Saviour, Christ’s finished crosswork for our sins is applied (imputed) to us, and we will never suffer God’s wrath (Christ suffered that wrath for us).

However, those who physically die without having trusted Christ will remain forever dead in their trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23): physical and spiritual death. Thus, they must pay for those sins by suffering the eternal wrath of God against sin (the everlasting lake of fire; the “second [or spiritual] death” [Revelation 21:8]).

For the past 2,000 years, God has been offering the world His grace and peace. But, when this the Dispensation of Grace ends (at the rapture), God “shall speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure” (Psalm 2:5). During that seven-year Tribulation—“the day of the LORD’s vengeance (Isaiah 34:8), “the day of vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61:2), and “the days of vengeance (Luke 21:22)—our wicked world will finally experience God’s righteous wrath. According to 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, Christ’s Second Coming will conclude those seven years, and fire will further execute vengeance on God’s enemies (Christ-rejecters).

“God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked…” (Nahum 1:2,3).

Indeed, “vengeance belongeth unto the Lord….”

Stand in Awe of the LORD

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

“Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him” (Psalm 33:8 KJV).

Who stands in awe of God today? Very few. For the past 2,000 years, our world has grown very comfortable in its sins. After all, in this the Dispensation of Grace, God is not imputing the world’s trespasses unto it (2 Corinthians 5:19). God’s attitude toward the whole world today, saved and lost, is “grace and peace” (the expression with which Paul began every epistle). Alas, rather than gratefully accepting God’s grace, man has taken advantage of God’s grace.

Ecclesiastes 8:11 explains man’s overall attitude toward God in the Dispensation of Grace: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Today, scoffers mock God and blaspheme His name, with no immediate judgment. They ridicule His Word and persecute His saints. Operating under the false impression they have gotten away with it, they sin even more.

Look at how harshly God dealt with rebellious people in time past (Noah’s contemporaries, Sodom and Gomorrah, et cetera). Today, God does not pour out His wrath and judgment. The day is coming however, when God’s wrath will be executed. Our world is headed for the Tribulation, “the day of the vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61:2; cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:4-10).

We who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we have submitted to God’s authority. We saints humbly stand in awe of God, our Creator, our Saviour, and our Head, awed by His grace, love, and mercy. We respect His power and authority. But, most of the world, lost and headed for hell, hates God.

Nevertheless, the day is speedily approaching when, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10,11). In that day, ALL will be forced to kneel in awe of the LORD!

No Thanks, God! #1

Monday, December 26, 2011

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 KJV).

As the Christmas Season wanes, unwanted gifts that cannot be refunded are being discarded. Imagine all the time, money, and energy spent purchasing those gifts for their ungrateful recipients. There is a worse tragedy! We, sinful humanity, deserve coal, the riches of God’s wrath (Romans 2:5,6,8,9); thankfully, we have been given the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7). Predictably, there are unappreciative individuals who have already eagerly tossed out something worth far more than material possessions—God’s grace.

A noted outspoken atheist, who recently “met his Maker,” described prayer as “meaningless.” During his last year alive, even while cancer-stricken, he had a hardened heart toward God. As far as I know, he died without Jesus Christ. That man, like billions of others before, beheld God’s grace, and haughtily declared, “No thanks! I do not need You, God!” Today’s Scripture describes the attitude of most people: “[They] despise [hate!] the riches of [God’s] goodness and forbearance and longsuffering.” Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for them and God’s love and grace are worthless to them.

In Israel’s program under the Mosaic Law, God utterly destroyed such people. But, for nearly 2,000 years, God’s wrath has been in abeyance. Today, in our Dispensation of Grace, God is “not imputing the world’s trespasses unto it” (2 Corinthians 5:18,19). That will change…

Once our dispensation (time period) expires, during Daniel’s 70th week, the seven-year Tribulation, God will righteously judge this rebellious world in His wrath (Psalm 2:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4; et al.). God will finally retaliate and take vengeance (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). The antichrist will deceive those who received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

Do not toss away the gift of God’s grace and salvation through Jesus Christ. Accept that gift by faith and escape that wrath to come!