Throwing Them Out! #4

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying (Mark 5:40 KJV).

Why did Jesus throw these people out?

Jairus’ child, his “one only daughter,” was 12 years old (Mark 5:42; Luke 8:42). Any skilled student of Scripture will immediately recall 12 in the Bible is Israel’s number. Remember, did not Jacob have 12 sons who became the nation Israel? Were not those 12 men the fathers and heads of the 12 tribes of Israel? Does not Israel have 12 Apostles—one to reign over each tribe in the ages to come? Yes! Yes! Yes!

“And he [the LORD God] gave him [Abraham] the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs (Acts 7:8). After dying Jacob blessed his 12 sons, the Bible says, “All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them” (Genesis 49:28). “And Jesus said unto them [the 12 Apostles], Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging [ruling] the twelve tribes of Israel(Matthew 19:28).

Jairus’ daughter is in the process of dying. God’s Son is en route to heal her, but a delay causes Him to be “too late” and, tragically, she passes away! Here is national Israel, spiritually and functionally dead. God’s daughter is expired! The Lord Jesus comes to the house, and, entering the room, sees and hears the grievers. Today’s Scripture again, “And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.” Jesus argues, paraphrased, “The girl’s condition is not permanent. While her spirit has left her body, this is temporary, like a sleeping state. She will live again!” Lacking faith, however, His audience finds this comical. “Surely, she is hopelessly dead, never coming back!” Upon their chuckling, Jesus drives them out. They will not see Israel’s resurrection….

Israel Blinded Thrice! #3

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9,10 KJV).

Friend, did you know this passage is applicable to three particular times in Israel’s history?

The Holy Spirit was poured out on Israel’s believing remnant in Acts chapter 2, bearing witness of Christ’s resurrection by performing miracles through the Little Flock. Yet, national Israel remained in unbelief, persecuting the Apostles and Prophets—Peter, John, Stephen, et cetera. Christ raises up a new Apostle, Paul, to begin the Dispensation of Grace and the Church the Body of Christ. Israel continues opposing God’s work through the rest of Acts.

With Acts closing, Paul quotes today’s Scripture in chapter 28: “[25] And when they [the Jews] agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, [26] Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: [27] For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

Read Romans 11:6-10,25-27 (cf. Isaiah 29:10). God again removes whatever spiritual light Israel had and willfully refused. Israel’s blindness will not be lifted until God gives her a sign, another miraculous demonstration intended to teach doctrine. Following the blinding of Israel in our dispensation, God will send Israel a sign, Christ’s Second Coming, as in Matthew 24:30: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” At Christ’s return, as per Romans 11:25-27, Israel is nationally enlightened and converted, and enters the Millennium!

Israel Blinded Thrice! #2

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9,10 KJV).

Friend, did you know this passage is applicable to three particular times in Israel’s history?

The Lord Jesus Christ conducted His earthly ministry for three years in Israel. Yet, they overwhelmingly rejected Him as Messiah-King. Consequently, He began to gradually withdraw from public ministry, dealing with just believers. He quotes today’s Scripture twice—Matthew 13:14-16 and John 12:37-41. Read from John: “[37] But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: [38] That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? [39] Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, [40] He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

Again, God removes whatever spiritual light Israel had and willfully refused. She is blinded a second time (beginning with Jesus’ parables). That darkness will not be removed until God gives her a sign (another miraculous demonstration designed to teach doctrine). Following Israel’s blinding in Christ’s earthly ministry, God sends Israel the sign of Christ’s resurrection, as per Matthew 12:39,40: “[39] But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas [Jonah]: [40] For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

After Christ’s resurrection, the Holy Spirit preached to Israel through the 12 Apostles (see Acts chapters 2–7). Israel is enlightened, having another chance to believe! Alas, she persists in unbelief again, still refusing to trust the Gospel of the Kingdom. God blinds her a third and final time….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does Acts 7:6 have a mistake?

Who Will Go? #2

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

Remember Moses’ call to the ministry in Exodus chapter 3, when God appeared to him in the burning bush: “[10] Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. [11] And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? [12] And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” After many excuses and much persuasion, Moses finally serves as God’s spokesman to Pharaoh. The LORD gave Moses a job to do… and He fully equipped him to do it!

Apostles Peter, Andrew, James, and John were called to the ministry in Matthew chapter 4: “[18] And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. [19] And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. [20] And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. [21] And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. [22] And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.” The Greek word rendered “apostle” is “apostolos”—“sent one.” Here is their commission in Matthew 10:5-7: “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Let us see how others respond to the ministry call in Scripture….

Bible Q&A #745: “What about the ‘wrath and doubting’ of 1 Timothy 2:8?

A Lost Generation! #9

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

Concerning the nation Israel after Jesus Christ finished His earthly ministry and His 12 Apostles undertook their ministry under the power of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter chapter 2: “[9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” No longer was Israel “lost!”

As touching formerly pagan Gentiles, now members of the Church the Body of Christ, the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 2: “[1] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. [4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; ) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” No longer were these Gentiles “lost!”

Provided each “lost” generation of every moment in human history believes God’s Word to and about it, it can be a found generation. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

A Lost Generation! #8

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

As Jesus Christ conducted His earthly ministry, He remarked, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). He commissioned His 12 Apostles: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:5-7). The nation Israel was “lost,” removed from the path JEHOVAH God had for her. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Christ proceeded to bring Israel back to Him by preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. He was her long-promised Messiah/Christ-King-Saviour-Redeemer. Individual Jews were to “repent,” change their mind about their idolatry, and trust Him as the Son of God and heir to David’s throne. He performed miraculous demonstrations to validate His Gospel message: “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35).

Likewise, when the Apostle Paul began his ministry in Acts chapter 9, the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Jesus Christ commissioned him: “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:17,18). It is through Paul’s ministry and message that we Gentiles can be saved….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does God suffer from Alzheimer’s disease?

The Inner Three

Saturday, May 2, 2020

And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James (Mark 5:37 KJV).

Behold, the inner three Apostles of Israel—Peter, James, and John!

The Scriptures group Peter, James, and John on three occasions:

  1. As touching Jesus transforming on the Mount of Transfiguration: “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,…” (Matthew 17:1). “And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them” (Mark 9:2). They were the only Apostles to see a preview of Jesus Christ’s glory to be demonstrated at His Second Coming.
  2. In regards to Christ raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead: “And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James (today’s Scripture). “And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden” (Luke 8:51). They were the only Apostles to witness a preview of the nation Israel’s resurrection, to take place at Christ’s Second Coming.
  3. As touching Jesus praying just prior to His arrest in Gethsemane: “And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;…” (Mark 14:33). They were the only Apostles to see Christ agonizing in prayer leading up to His death.

Interestingly, they were the only three Apostles to whom Jesus gave nicknames. According to John 1:42, Simon was renamed “Cephas” (“stone”) or “Peter” (Mark 3:16). Mark 3:17 says brothers James and John were renamed “Boanerges” (“the sons of thunder”). Peter was the head Apostle, as per Matthew 16:19: “And I will give unto thee [“you” singular] the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou [“you” singular] shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou [“you” singular] shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Thus, he was often the 12 Apostles’ spokesman. James and John were likened unto God’s voice, thunder a picture of His Word going forth (2 Samuel 22:14; Job 37:4,5; Job 40:9; Psalm 29:3; Psalm 104:7).

The Cup of Cold Water

Friday, May 1, 2020

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward (Matthew 10:42 KJV).

In the world’s eyes, a cup of cold water is so insignificant. However, the LORD God sees it as notable. Even the cup of cold water given to the believer in Christ has an eternal reward attached to it….

Matthew chapter 10 is the first installment of the so-called “Great Commission.” The Lord Jesus Christ is sending out His 12 Apostles—and other members of the Little Flock. Read today’s Scripture in context: “[40] He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. [41] He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. [42] And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”

Lost Israel should receive Jesus’ messengers, bring them into fellowship, that they may hear and believe that Gospel of the Kingdom: “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68,69). Christ said, “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me” (Luke 10:16). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me” (John 13:20).

In the hot, arid Middle East, a cup of cold water is a precious commodity. As Christ’s preachers minister to Israel, giving them that life-giving message, so Israel is encouraged to give these preachers that life-giving liquid. God does not overlook even a cup of cold water given in His Son’s name.

Bible Q&As #719 and #720: “Are the Christian life and ministry about bossing people around?” and “Why did God command Abraham to physically circumcise Ishmael?

Without Blemish and Without Spot #3

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

“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)!

My Father’s Business #16

Monday, January 20, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). The Lord Jesus Christ knew exactly (!!) what His Father was doing as touching His earthly ministry. He did not wonder or guess: having a clear understanding of His Father’s will for Israel, He worked with His Father to accomplish it. At the end of that ministry, He prayed to His Father: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I (!) have (!) finished (!) the (!) work (!) which (!) thou (!) gavest (!) me (!) to (!) do (!)(John 17:5). What was that “work” exactly? Keep reading.

“I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word” (verse 6). Christ’s earthly ministry was designed to overpower spiritual darkness in Israel, expel Satan’s influence from Palestine: “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is spring up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:16,17,23).

For three years, Christ tirelessly taught, preached, and performed miracles in Israel’s land. While most of Israel preferred to remain in their ignorance, a believing remnant was nonetheless formed. These saints—headed by the 12 Apostles (with Matthias instead of Judas Iscariot)—are the “men” to whom Jesus gave the Father’s words. “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me: and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me” (John 17:8).

Dear friends, if we are to be about “our Father’s business” today, we have to know what “our Father’s business” today even is….

NOTE: Happy 40th spiritual birthday to my Mom, who will be reading this. We joy in our Lord Jesus Christ, He who used you to interest in me “our Father’s business” nearly a quarter-century ago!