Placebo #4

Sunday, October 10, 2021

“That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:” (Isaiah 30:9,10 KJV).

What is a “placebo?” Can we find it in the spiritual realm?

In the Book of Daniel, the LORD God foretells the world’s governments while David’s throne is lost to Gentile political powers. During this “time of the heathen” (Ezekiel 30:3) or these “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24), no son of David governs Israel from Jerusalem; see the curses of Leviticus 26:18-19 and 27-39. When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon progressively weakened Judah militarily and politically circa 606 B.C., the final three sons of David or kings of Jerusalem served (until Jerusalem’s fall in 586 B.C.). Messiah/Christ Jesus, the ultimate Son of David, sought to reclaim his throne from non-Jews (Ezekiel 21:25-27). Howbeit, Israel refused, for, in their unbelief and sin, they exclaimed, “We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:15).

With Messiah rejected and heading to Calvary to die, a counterfeit king of Israel will sit on David’s throne (cf. John 5:43; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). “And in his estate [the political office of the king of Syria/Turkey that precedes him] shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries [halaqlaqqot]…. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries [halaqa]: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:21,32).

On the “campaign trail,” the crafty Antichrist shares a “feel-good” message with Israel—particularly promising her peace with her enemies. Yet, most disastrously, once she is disarmed and unsuspecting, he authorizes these ancient Gentile foes to assault her, thus revealing himself to be the traitor he was all along: “He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant. The words of his mouth were smoother [halaq] than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords” (Psalm 55:20,21).

Israel is now in receipt of her desire (!) of today’s Scripture….

Placebo #3

Saturday, October 9, 2021

“That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:” (Isaiah 30:9,10 KJV).

What is a “placebo?” Can we find it in the spiritual realm?

Although Israel of old possessed the very words of Almighty God, they made a conscious choice not to hearken unto them. Instead of this Divine revelation, they preferred to hear “smooth things.” The Hebrew word translated “smooth” in today’s Scripture is “helqa,” also rendered “flattery” or “flattering.” For example, see Psalm 12:3,4: “The LORD shall cut off all flattering [helqa] lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?” Also, Proverbs 6:24: “To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery [helqa] of the tongue of a strange woman.”

One popular “feel-good” message in ancient Israel was described most succinctly and outright denounced in Jeremiah chapter 23: “[16] Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. [17] They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.” While God’s (genuine) prophets were warning fellow Jews their habitual sin would result in horrific judgment, self-appointed (counterfeit) prophets were contradicting that by proclaiming a message comparable to today’s cheapened “Christianity:” “All is well, you are fine, God is happy with you, no wrath is coming, keep doing what you want to do!” Of course, such false teaching would not turn Israel away from sin; the “negative” true words of God that would lead to reformation had been shoved aside in favor of a “positive” message.

Since Israel wanted “smooth things,” and the LORD God of the Bible values free will, Israel is destined to hear even more “feel-good” words, even more outrageous lies….

Placebo #2

Friday, October 8, 2021

“That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:” (Isaiah 30:9,10 KJV).

What is a “placebo?” Can we find it in the spiritual realm?

Today’s Scripture in context: “[8] Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: [9] That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: [10] Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: [11] Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.”

Verse 8 is the promise of Bible preservation. The LORD directed the Prophet Isaiah to write His words, so those words would be for ever and ever.” (For us as English-speaking people, this is the King James Bible!) What is Isaiah’s message preserved even now? Ancient Israel was just like any other group of sinners, opposing God’s will for them and doing what they wanted to do: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way…” (Isaiah 53:6). “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:25).

Friend, draw your attention to today’s Scripture: “…rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD.” They were not interested in learning the LORD’S words, especially the Law of Moses, the covenant that laid out the conduct of their daily lives. “Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:….” They refused to hear from God’s messengers or spokesmen, for such words convicted them of their sin. Instead of “right things,” they wanted to hear “smooth things… deceits,” a pleasing or complimentary message….

The Secret Things #1

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

Aged and dying Moses is addressing Israel one final time. He has restated the Law for those newer generations born during the last 40 years of wilderness wanderings, as well as those no more than age 60, plus Joshua and Caleb who are older. (“Deuteronomy” means “second law.”) They know precisely what the LORD God expects of them as He brings them into the Promised Land under Joshua’s command.

Chapter 30: “[10] If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. [11] For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. [12] It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? [13] Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? [14] But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

No matter the dispensation (body of truth) or age (period during which that information is applicable), God has always revealed something intelligible for mankind to believe and obey. When He does unveil a doctrine (a teaching worthy of man’s trust), He expects man to have faith in those Divine words and act accordingly. Such is the case with Israel just prior to entering the Land of Canaan with Joshua. Yet, Moses understood God had not revealed every single detail about what He was doing in creation. These “secret things” were God’s business, and God would choose the proper time to reveal these concepts….

God’s Offer to the Nations

Saturday, September 11, 2021

“…[T]hat God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is God’s offer to all the nations of the world today.

September 11, 2001 was a day that changed our nation forever. It was the worst terrorist attack in our two-century national history. Afterward, many Americans began to talk about “God Bless America” and “God Save the United States.” These phrases are not as commonplace as they used to be.

In the 20 years that have passed since that awful day, it is a sad commentary that “God” is now the least of our nation’s concerns. With the redefining of marriage, controversial political arena, moral decay, skyrocketing national debt, and the uncertainty as to what constitutes a human life and what does not, obviously, the God of the Bible has been largely pushed out… until we need His help, and then we cry out to Him. Unless we need Him, we rather not think about anything He has to say.

While many argue that God is judging America today for its sins, the Bible does not support such an idea. Certainly, God dealt with Israel in that manner—“Do good and I will bless, but disobey and I will curse” (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28)—but we have no relation to that Old Covenant of Law.

For the last 20 centuries, God has offered His grace to all the world’s nations, to have a right standing before Him by trusting Jesus Christ. People still die and go to hell, but today’s Scripture says that God is not judging nations for their sins. Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, God offers reconciliation to sinners, whether here or around the world. However, that grace is exhaustible, and one day, it will be replaced with His wrath (Romans 2:1-16). Still, we believers are not appointed to God’s wrath; we are saved from all wrath through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

The only hope for America—yea, for any nation—is faith in Jesus Christ alone!

*You can also see our 2011 Bible study commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It can be watched here or read here.

The Opened Ear #2

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever (Exodus 21:5,6 KJV).

How is the opened ear meaningful in the Holy Scriptures?

Let us hear (pun not intended) the words of Psalm 40 yet again: “[6] Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. [7] Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, [8] I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”

Now, listen to (pun not intended) this passage from Hebrews chapter 10: “[5] Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: [6] In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. [7] Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. [8] Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; [9] Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. [10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

The Holy Spirit interpreted “mine ears hast thou opened” (Psalm 40:6) as “but a body hast thou prepared me” (Hebrews 10:5). Of course, here is God the Son speaking to God the Father regarding the incarnation. The complete payment for sin went beyond the shedding of animal blood: it would require God’s sinless blood. Consequently, the Father through the Holy Spirit readied in Mary’s virgin womb a human body in which Jesus’ Spirit would live. As the aforementioned physically-pierced-ear servant obeyed his master, so Christ submitted to the Father who had opened His ear figuratively. Indeed, Jesus “took upon him the form of a servant… and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).

Bible Q&A #870: “Can you explain, ‘Let your loins be girded,’ in Luke 12:35?

The Opened Ear #1

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever (Exodus 21:5,6 KJV).

How is the opened ear meaningful in the Holy Scriptures?

As part of the Law of Moses, the LORD God commanded the Israelites: “[1] Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. [2] If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. [3] If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. [4] If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. [5] And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: [6] Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever” (Exodus chapter 21).

The above verses are self-explanatory—although definitely unheard of in our culture (pun not intended). If the freed Hebrew servant loved his master, his wife, and his children, and refused to leave them, the master was to pierce a hole in the servant’s ear with an “aul” (also spelled “awl,” it was basically a large needle). This opened ear symbolized the bondman’s permanent submission to the master’s will in everything. Let us now turn over to Psalm 40:6-8: “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” Here is a “Messianic Psalm,” and it contains an expression that sounds familiar (pun not intended)….

The Good Samaritan #7

Monday, August 23, 2021

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:33,34 KJV).

How can this classic passage, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, enlighten us concerning God’s purpose and plan for the nation Israel?

The lawyer in the context of today’s Scripture was incorrect (verse 29). Using Jesus’ definition, a “neighbour” is anyone we encounter in life whom we can and should help—not necessarily someone whose house is next to ours, but even complete strangers. Here was the original teaching of Leviticus 19:18, as JEHOVAH God Himself described for us here during His earthly ministry (verses 30-35). To show the impossibility of a sinner keeping the Law, the Lord ordered the lawyer to love everyone (!) he met to the degree (!) the Samaritan loved the wounded traveler (verses 36,37). Yet, have carefully examined that well-known story, we can look at it with mature spiritual eyes to see more than the common, simple Sunday school children’s lesson of “Jesus wants us to do good to others.” The Parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates what the Lord Jesus Himself did and will do for Israel.

Whereas the Law of Moses (the priest and the Levite) could do nothing but condemn Israel as a nation of sinners worthy of death (spiritual and functional), Christ (the Samaritan) offered them grace, forgiveness, and restoration through the New Covenant. He delivered her from deception in Satan’s evil world system by imparting spiritual light to her (preaching during His earthly ministry). When they rejected Him to the point of crucifixion and exile to Heaven, He temporarily left her in the care of His 12 Apostles, kingdom doctrine being their “goods” to trade until His Second Coming (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 12:35-48; Luke 19:11-27). When He returns from His Heavenly Father’s right hand, He will bless Israel with the New Covenant, forgiving their sins and making them His kingdom of priests (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-28; Acts 3:19-21; Romans 11:25-32; 1 Peter 2:9,10). No more will they be helpless and hopeless, for the Samaritan was “neighbour unto them!” 🙂

The Good Samaritan #6

Sunday, August 22, 2021

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:33,34 KJV).

How can this classic passage, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, enlighten us concerning God’s purpose and plan for the nation Israel?

Let us return to verse 29, the question that led to that renowned parable: “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” This lawyer, wishing to be made right in God’s sight on the basis of keeping the Mosaic Law, was endeavoring to find an escape. He assumed “love thy neighbor as thyself” simply meant “seek the highest good of those who live literally right next-door to thyself.” The parable he subsequently heard, however, corrected his erroneous belief. To say the least, he was shocked to learn this magnificent story would be Jesus’ response to his self-centered inquiry!

To briefly recapitulate the Parable of the Good Samaritan. A man was traveling when thieves assaulted, robbed, and left him for dead. Whereas neither a (Jewish) priest nor a (Jewish) Levite came to his aid when they encountered him on that lonely road, a Samaritan (half-Jewish/half-Gentile) came from afar to tend to his wounds and pay for his recovery. After relaying this story, the Lord Jesus asked the lawyer, “[36] Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? [37] And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” The lawyer, being Jewish, knew the “good guy” was indeed a Gentile, but he could not even bring himself to say, “The Samaritan was neighbour unto him that fell among thieves.” His lame, simple reply was, He that shewed mercy on him,” upon which hearing Jesus retorted, “If you want to keep the Law perfectly, you go and follow that Samaritan’s example!”

We have a few more closing comments, so let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

The Good Samaritan #5

Saturday, August 21, 2021

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:33,34 KJV).

How can this classic passage, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, enlighten us concerning God’s purpose and plan for the nation Israel?

The man leaving Jerusalem for Jericho represents wayward Israel, forsaking the center of God’s presence and words (cf. 1 Kings 11:36; Isaiah 2:3) and preferring a cursed, idolatrous city as its destination (cf. Joshua 6:26; 1 Kings 16:29-32). As the thieves robbed the traveler, so Satan’s evil world system spoiled and fatally wounded Israel. Distracted, unrighteous (lacking spiritual clothes), and now dying, she can do nothing to save herself. Her sin has found her out!

Along walks a Levitical priest, but this Jew cannot help the man, for the man is mortally wounded and unable to offer a sacrifice. Here comes a Levite, a teacher of the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 31:9-13,24-26; Deuteronomy 17:18; 2 Chronicles 15:3; Ezra 7:6,10,11). However, while this Jew can teach the man what he needs to do according to Moses’ instructions, the dying man cannot perform according to the LORD’S strict rules and regulations. The priest and the Levite, both having looked at the unfortunate soul and gone on their way, can do nothing for him. All hope is lost!

Suddenly, there appears a Samaritan—a societal outcast in Israel. He notices the dying man and pities him, applying antiseptic wine and soothing olive oil to treat his wounds. Whereas the Jews (priest and Levite) did none of this, the Samaritan takes it a step further. He pays to lodge the man in a hotel, that he recover from his injuries. The next day, the Samaritan entrusts the man to the innkeeper, and finally leaves after promising his return. Here, Christ turns Israel over to the 12 Apostles (cf. John 19:25-27; Luke 19:12-27), dies, resurrects, and ultimately ascends to His Father’s right hand wholly rejected. He is coming again to repay them for their service (Matthew 16:27; Revelation 22:12)! Indeed, the Samaritan of that noteworthy parable symbolizes Jesus Christ Himself and His work on Israel’s behalf….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Whose are the ‘words’ of 1 Samuel 3:19?