A Prayer According to God’s Will

Thursday, May 5, 2022

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;(1 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

On this United States’ National Day of Prayer, we pray you pray according to the Lord Jesus Christ’s will for today!

Today, religious people—the general public, clergy, and government officials—will assemble nationwide, like they do every year, and pray for spiritual and moral revival of the “Christian” (?) United States of America. We commend their noble efforts, but God’s Word says there will be no godly revival of any of the world’s Gentile nations until Jesus Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 59:20–60:3; Zechariah 8:20-23; Revelation 11:15; et cetera).

The LORD’s words to King Solomon are often quoted on this day: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Friends, this is certainly God’s Word, but has nothing to do with Gentiles in the United States in the Dispensation of Grace. This verse has a context often overlooked—the nation Israel under the Mosaic Law, praying in relation to God’s Temple in Jerusalem (verses 15,16). Actually, that Temple was destroyed over 19 centuries ago! Unlike Israel, the United States was never a divinely-founded nation. The American people as a whole are not God’s people like Israel was.

Rather than praying 2 Chronicles 7:14, remember today’s Scripture (God’s Word to us Gentiles). The verse following today’s Scripture says, “[God] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Pray for those in authority, that they would trust Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour, and then grow in His Word to them so they can make wise decisions on behalf of the people they govern.

Categorized! #2

Sunday, April 24, 2022

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night (Revelation 12:10 KJV).

Behold, the evil categorizer!

When our English Bible names Satan as “accuser” in today’s Scripture, it supplies us with the translation of the underlying Greek word “kategoros.” Obviously, here is the origin of the English term “category.” As we categorize something, we are really judging it based on its size, shape, color, texture, and so on. That is, we have accused it of possessing or lacking certain qualities. Satan is functioning in this capacity with respect to believing Israel in today’s Scripture. Yet, before we look into the future any further, let us go back into history.

After a Jewish remnant returned to the land of Judah following the 70 years of Babylonian captivity, the Prophet Zechariah conducted his ministry. The restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem and its Temple (Zerubbabel’s replacing Solomon’s) looks forward to Israel’s future kingdom restoration when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back to permanently deliver them from all five courses of punishment and bless them (see Leviticus 26:1-46, especially verses 40-46). In fact, the Book of Zechariah, written circa 500 B.C., has Messiah’s two comings in view (though only one coming is apparent to them at that time because God was withholding details of two advents).

One of Zechariah’s prophetic visions is recorded in chapter 3: “[1] And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. [2] And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? [3] Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.” Satan is opposing Joshua the High Priest (not to be confused with Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ successor, who lived a millennium prior!). Joshua has been categorized as dirty, unfit for his noble office….

Without Blemish and Without Spot #3

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:…” (1 Peter 1:19 KJV).

How was Israel to see Jesus Christ was “without blemish and without spot?”

Passover/Calvary is two days away (Matthew 26:1,2). Israel’s chief priests, scribes, and elders connive to deceitfully arrest and murder Jesus. At Simon the leper’s house in nearby Bethany, Mary pours ointment on Jesus’ head (unknowingly preparing Him for burial). Judas Iscariot schemes with the chief priests to betray Christ for 30 silver pieces (verses 14-16). Jesus eats an early Passover with His 12 Apostles (verses 17ff.). On the Mount of Olives, He prays, before being betrayed and apprehended. His unjust, nighttime trial concludes late the next morning. Sentenced to death (!), He is crucified at 9 A.M.; He lets Himself die by 3 P.M. (Mark 15:25-38).

Israel could have verified Jesus as Messiah-Redeemer during those four days between Palm Sunday and Calvary. Rather than wrongdoing, He cleansed the defiled Temple, demonstrated God’s power, preached the truth, upheld the pure Mosaic Law, defended and expounded the Hebrew Bible, and exposed Israel’s perverted religious leaders. Scripture testifies of Christ Jesus during His last days: “the innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4), “just [righteous]” (Matthew 27:19), “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4), “I… have found no fault in this man… No, nor yet Herod…” (Luke 23:14,15), “I have found no cause of death in him” (Luke 23:22), “this man hath done nothing amiss [no wrong]” (Luke 23:41), “I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:38), “I find no fault in him” (John 19:4). (Cf. Matthew 27:23; Mark 15:14; Luke 23:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; cf. today’s Scripture)

Matthew 27:24,25: “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the [Jewish] people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.Israel knew Pilate was correct; however, they could not care less that Jesus was innocent. Like all other sinful (deceived) children of Adam, they refused God’s sinless Son as their King: they demanded He be crucified as an imposter (John 19:15)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Peter merely cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant?

Without Blemish and Without Spot #2

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:…” (1 Peter 1:19 KJV).

How was Israel to see Jesus Christ was “without blemish and without spot?”

Christ rides the donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-11). (Passover, His death, is about four days away [cf. John 12:1,12-16].) Entering the Temple, He cleanses it of the thieves who had been utilizing “God’s religion” to deceive and rob His people; there, He heals the blind and lame (Matthew 21:12-14). Israel’s religious leaders grow envious when children praise Him (verses 15,16).

Sleeping in nearby Bethany for the night, Jesus returns to Jerusalem in the morning to curse the barren fig tree (verses 17-22). God will never reinstitute the Mosaic Law, for it has produced no spiritual fruit in Israel. In the Temple, Israel’s religious leaders demand of Christ where He received His authority, and slyly dodge His subsequent question about John the Baptist (verses 23-27). He then issues three stinging parables: they do not follow God as they claim (verses 28-32), they willfully reject and scheme to murder His Christ—yes, He knows!! (verses 33-46), and they further refuse to believe on Him (22:1-14).

The Pharisees collaborate to get Jesus to say something incriminating before the Temple crowds (verse 15): they send delegates to ask Him about paying taxes (verses 16-22). The Sadducees then attempt to trick Him with a resurrection riddle (verses 23-33). A lawyer of the Pharisees finally asks Him about the great Law commandment (verses 34-40). Christ answers all three issues wisely! He asks them a question now, which they cannot answer; they are silenced (verses 41-46). Matthew chapter 23 follows—His severest censure of these false religious leaders (cf. John chapter 8)! He finally curses unbelieving Jerusalem, declaring that God’s house has become her house. Exiting the Temple, He walks to the Mount of Olives; in Matthew chapters 24 and 25, He delivers His magnificent end-time “Olivet Discourse.” Calvary is soon!

Indeed, when Israel was appraising the Passover lamb for slaughtering, sinless Jesus entered Jerusalem. He was the true Passover lamb, “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (today’s Scripture), to be sacrificed for us sinners (1 Corinthians 5:7). Would Israel sacrifice Him in faith? Or, in unbelief? Let us see….

Diminish Not a Word! #3

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: (Jeremiah 26:2 KJV).

No matter how offensive they are, we never water down God’s words for anyone!

Return to the context of today’s Scripture: “[8] Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die. [9] Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD. [10] When the princes of Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king’s house unto the house of the LORD, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the LORD’S house. [11] Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears.

“[12] Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard. [13] Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you. [14] As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you. [15] But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears.”

Read the rest of the chapter. Whereas Judah’s apostate religious leaders despised Jeremiah and God’s undiluted words, the common Jews appreciated them….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How are we God’s ‘workmanship?’

Diminish Not a Word! #2

Friday, May 28, 2021

Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: (Jeremiah 26:2 KJV).

No matter how offensive they are, we never water down God’s words for anyone!

Knowing man’s sinfulness, God advised Jeremiah: “diminish not a word.” Jeremiah was just as human as we are, so he was tempted to make God’s words more attractive to pagan idolaters. When Jeremiah entered his ministry, the LORD had warned him his people would “fight against” him (1:19). Behold the conflict!

Read chapter 20: “[1] Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the LORD, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. [2] Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the LORD. [3] And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The LORD hath not called thy name Pashur [“liberation”], but Magormissabib [“terror on every side”].” Jeremiah delivered God’s words in chapter 19, and subsequently suffered physical abuse. He was beaten and then placed in the “stocks” (hands and feet held between hinged wooden boards, for everyone to see and ridicule).

Verses 7-9: “O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived; thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” Discouraged, tired of the ridicule, Jeremiah refused to preach. Yet, God’s words seethed in his inner man and he started talking again!

Now we get to today’s Scripture, where Jeremiah’s people oppose God’s words once more….

Diminish Not a Word! #1

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: (Jeremiah 26:2 KJV).

No matter how offensive they are, we never water down God’s words for anyone!

It is human nature for anyone to “tone down” the Scriptures, to re-translate and/or re-interpret them so they are more pleasing to sinful eyes and ears. We would expect unsaved people to treat God’s Word with such utter disregard and disrespect. However, we Christians can be guilty of this practice too. Bible translators, preachers, and teachers especially need to exercise great caution not to fall into this trap. Fearing negative reactions, we tend to avoid or obscure “inconvenient” Bible truths. In doing so, we appeal to our lost and/or denominational relatives, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances.

Circa 600 B.C., the LORD God commissioned the Prophet Jeremiah to preach chapter 26 during the start of King Jehoiakim’s reign. Jehoiakim, one of Judah’s final monarchs, was a pagan idolater and poor spiritual example for his wicked nation in Jerusalem. God’s intention in giving Jeremiah’s message was, “If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings” (verse 3). This message will be anything but “feel-good!”

“[4] And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, [5] To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; [6] Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth. [7] So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD.”

Jeremiah faithfully preached every word God gave him. Let us see how Jerusalem’s religious leaders respond to his sermon….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Daniel 7:12?

Lessons from the Ark of the Covenant #7

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

“…[T]he ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;” (Hebrews 9:4 KJV).

What can we learn from the Ark of the Covenant?

About 500 years after Moses, the Jerusalem Temple replaced the Tabernacle. Second Chronicles chapter 5: “[6] Also king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel that were assembled unto him before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen, which could not be told nor numbered for multitude. [7] And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims: [8] For the cherubims spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above. [9] And they drew out the staves of the ark, that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen without. And there it is unto this day. [10] There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.

What happened to the golden pot of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded? Scripture is silent. Regardless, by Solomon’s time, only the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments remained. When the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem and destroyed its Temple 380 years later, the Ark of the Covenant was not among the treasures pillaged. It disappeared, but that does not matter. God Himself will institute a new covenant, replacing that old religious system, erasing Israel’s sins through Calvary, and dwelling with them forever in the Person of Jesus Christ (Millennial Kingdom onward).

“And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more” (Jeremiah 3:16). Israel has finally learned the lessons from the Ark of the Covenant! (Have we?)

Lessons from the Ark of the Covenant #6

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

“…[T]he ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;” (Hebrews 9:4 KJV).

What can we learn from the Ark of the Covenant?

The LORD God had Israel save (in chronological order): the golden pot of manna, the stone tables or tablets of the Ten Commandments, and Aaron’s rod that budded. By having them stored in the Ark of the Covenant for safekeeping, JEHOVAH God used them as teaching aids: despite Israel’s sin and rebellion, He would be faithful in keeping His promises to them!

Firstly, her people questioned whether God had their best interests in mind, so He rained down manna from Heaven. A sample of that bread was to be kept in a container. Secondly, Moses had not yet descended the mount with the Ten Commandments when the Jews fashioned a golden-calf idol to worship! Moses broke the stone tablets, but God had him hew out two new ones and God re-wrote those tables. Lastly, the nation defied Moses and Aaron, doubting they were God’s chosen leaders. Hence, Aaron’s rod that budded was a sign the priesthood belonged to the tribe of Levi—particularly Aaron and his sons.

On top of the Ark of the Covenant was the Mercy Seat, where God’s “Shekinah” glory abode. Literally, the only thing that was between God’s presence and these objects/souvenirs of rebellion was the animals blood applied once a year! Hebrews 9:7,11,12,14 reveals the type/antitype: “[7] But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:… [11] But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; [12] Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. [14] How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Shortcut!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

And [Jesus Christ] would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple (Mark 11:16 KJV).

While there is no shortcut to spiritual maturity, there is one to spiritual immaturity!

To better understand today’s Scripture, we must examine it within its context: “[12] And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he [Jesus Christ] was hungry: [13] And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. [14] And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. [15] And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; [16] And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. [17] And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.”

As in modern society, so religion was “big bu$ine$$” in ancient Israel. The apostate religious leaders had allowed dishonest merchants to sell sacrificial animals in the Jerusalem Temple complex. (All were receiving a large sum of money!) As Jesus pointed out, they made His House—the place where He was to be worshipped—a “den of thieves.” They treated His House lightly, irreverently, and He therefore drove them out! Unique to Mark’s Gospel Record (today’s Scripture), they also used the Temple complex as a shortcut. Instead of walking around it, they would shorten their journey by utilizing the Temple as an ordinary thoroughfare. Again, this was disrespectful to God. Consequently, Christ blocked their entrance and forced them to go the long way!

Israel’s ungodly behavior in the Temple demonstrated her national spiritual immaturity. As opposed to being humble saints skillful in God’s Word, they were ungrateful materialists expert in hypocrisy and fraud! Dear friends, may we not repeat their errors.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did Israel manipulate Moses to murder Messiah?