Conditions on earth during Peter’s time – as our baseline, for our understanding

I am not in agreement with noted theologian John Walvoord’s position regarding several key doctrines (once-saved-always-saved, dispensationalism, church rapture timing, etc.). Nonetheless, I greatly respect and honor this learned man of God and truly appreciate all the good that he contributed to the Kingdom during his productive lifetime. His writings bless me. What we disagree on challenges me. What he teaches grows me.

Below is a portion of his succinct introduction to the book of 1 Peter. And here’s a picture of a sculpt of Peter: Included in Walvoord’s intended purpose to frame the history of this mighty epistle, notable and not to be missed by us are the conditions encountered by the believers in century #1 of the church.

Spiritually things have not really improved on earth (although Western church has enjoyed somewhat of a temporary “peace-bubble” pretty much since the Renaissance).

We are told, including by our Lord Himself, that the conclusion of this age will present the most escalated troubles, ever. This blog, and Walvoord’s writing, are written to freak anyone out but rather to prepare us to prepare ourselves, in Him, so that we might not be shaken.

Matthew 24:21-31
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
(and see Daniel 12:1)
22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

…27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
29 “Immediately (“immediately” leaves no room to insert 2,000 years between the most troubling days ever, and the Lord’s dramatic return, as some popular doctrines would require) after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

And now here’s John Walvoord depicting Christian living, troubles, challenges and struggles in an increasingly darker world environment. This is history that allows us to see clearly both in the present times, and also forward to our Lord’s glorious return. World news affirms the current conditions of percolating troubles and an orchestrated global assault against righteousness.

‘Peter wrote this epistle apparently just before or shortly after the beginning of Nero’s persecution of the church in a.d. 64. Since Peter referred to the government as still functioning (an institution which commends those who do right and punishes those who do wrong; 2:13-14), some believe that the church was not yet facing an organized Roman persecution. Evidently repressive laws had not yet been enacted specifically against Christians. It was still possible for Peter’s readers to “honor the king” (2:17). The persecution and suffering that Peter did refer to was primarily social and religious rather than legal. A hostile pagan society would slander, ridicule, discriminate against, and even inflict physical abuse on those whose lifestyles had radically changed because of their faith in Christ.

However, Peter seemed to indicate that greater persecution was imminent. He assured his readers (1:6) that they could rejoice though they “may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” Peter exhorted them to prepare, to be self-controlled (1:13), possibly to suffer as Christians according to God’s will (4:19). So perhaps Nero’s severe persecution had already begun in Rome and was spreading to the provinces to which Peter was writing. This would place the date of the letter in late a.d. 64 or early 65.

The suggestion that the persecution had already begun in Rome also explains why Peter would refer cryptically to his location as “Babylon” (5:13). Peter was in Rome during the last decade of his life. His martyrdom is dated about a.d. 67. At the time of the writing of 1 Peter he was not in the custody of the Roman officials, and evidently wished to conceal his true location. (Other scholars, however, say that Peter was in the literal city of Babylon, where a Jewish community then flourished.)’

TAKEAWAY?
Ephesians 6:13
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

All scripture NKJV

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Warnings, Correction, Promises, Keeping On Course, Finishing Well.

Challenging times require perseverance.
It is a biblical reality from Genesis through Revelation.

Ephesians 6:13
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Hebrews 6:1-8 speaks sobering words of warning re intentionally falling away and turning back into sin. You can read them for yourselves. Recommended. It is God’s word, and therefore for our benefit. Sometimes that falling back action can be a result of tumultuous times. Ironically there’s also biblical reference to folks falling back during times of leisure and prosperity that led them to complacency. Humans. Go figure.

The writer of the Hebrews letter (most agree it is likely not Paul), later in Hebrews 6 (our primary text for this writing) then interjects encouragement based upon:
A. (Most importantly) God’s faithfulness and desire for us to all finish well, and also
B. The writer’s original audience’s prior investment of faithful kingdom service – which God does not overlook.

Hebrews 6:9-12
9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.

(“This manner” in which he was speaking was the chilling warning of 6:1-8. Although unpopular and sobering, the writer had told them what he told them, because it is what it is, and we’re better off knowing tough Kingdom truth than believing what is untrue and invalid).
10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
(And here’s the admonishment to keep on keeping on)
11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,
12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises
.

The original recipients of the letter to the Hebrews were discouraged, growing weary, and some were turning out of the way, abandoning their active faith in their Savior. In response to their dangerous wayward actions, the loving Shepherd was necessarily correcting them, as He has corrected His people throughout all of scripture.

PLAN A is that we are willing and obedient, that our guidance is via eye contact with our Good Shepherd, as opposed to (PLAN B) via bit and bridle tugging and yanking at our stiff-necked determination to do things our own way:
Ps 32:8-9
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.

Further along in Hebrews, in his desire to encourage all who may suffer as a result of God’s corrective measures (btw not the only reason for suffering, so please don’t conclude something in your life is wrong each time you suffer), the writer references the suffering of our sinless Lord…
Hebrews 12:3-5
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;

God is as serious as a heart attack when it comes to the matters of correction, discipline and alignment w His purposes. Covenanting with Him means we’ve willingly come, and continue (daily) to come, into and under His rules and ways – in which place is His promised provision and blessing.

BACK TO HEBREWS 6 – in for the long haul, we’re told to not grow sluggish, never to slow down or back off in our pursuit of God, understanding the reward awaiting us.

12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Speaking of his own exemplary life (clearly worthy of our imitation), and happily including us in the promise to the faithful, our beloved Rabbi Paul says this to his young protégé:

2 Timothy 4:7-8
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

(And here’s the promise to you and me)
8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

All scriptures NKJV

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Hear The Heavenly Voice – and what that entails as our part of the deal

Students of scripture recognize that chapter and chapter-section titles are typically excellent, although not in the original text. This section of Hebrews 12 is particularly well titled.

Hebrews 12
“Hear the Heavenly Voice”

25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”
27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
29 For our God is a consuming fire.

After having just earlier (Heb 12:18-24) declared the greater/more intimate availability of the knowledge and presence of God via the indwelling spirit, and contrasting that NT advantage against the dramatic OT on-earth experiences of God descending at Mt. Sinai (including the mountain shaking with His presence!) the writer goes on to:
A. Advise and confirm to the believer that God indeed speaks to His people (throughout Hebrews the writer quotes Psalm 95 – “Today if you will hear His voice…”); AND
B. Admonish NT readers (us of course included) of the accountability that comes along with the increased intimacy and availability of the knowledge and will of God. That’s verse 25:

25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven

POINT TO NOTE: In the Gospels, Jesus speaks the words “ears to hear” eight times. He is clearly confirming God’s intent to be speaking to His people – at which time His intent is for our response.

Verse 26 then confirms that the Haggai prophecy of shaking heaven and earth is still to come, and that shaking involves two distinct realms – not only earth (the natural) but also the heavens (the supernatural).

26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”

Verse 27 reveals the shaking has radical intent and purpose – things wasteful and useless and temporal, that get in the way of man acknowledging, serving and worshipping God, will get rocked, and more:

27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.

Verse 28 advises us that since this radical shaking process is part of God’s sovereign conclusion-of-this-age plan to transition us into the eternal, we who are here ought to lay hold of true grace for its intended purpose – that we might come into His perfect presence even in our imperfect condition and serve Him with reverence and godly far (which Psalm 34 encourages us God will teach us as we press in):

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

And verse 29 cements the admonishment by reminding us who God is – and that He is worthy to be revered and feared.

29 For our God is a consuming fire.

This is New Testament truth and reality.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Our great God breathed on His entire word for our benefit and our success.

All scripture NKJV

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Heart Conditions….and their effect on our spiritual ears

Psalm 95 is presented to us as a “A Call to Worship and Obedience”

Hebrews 4:7, btw, attributes the psalm to King David. Figures.

Ps 95 is brief, succinct (to the point) and eternal. It is quoted 3X in the New Testament by the author of Hebrews (3:8, 3:15, 4:7), who was writing to an audience of discouraged and/or drifting saints who were in jeopardy of allowing circumstances, disappointments, offenses, distractions and spiritual inactivity to cause hardening of their own hearts, to their great jeopardy.

The psalm reveals to us that our spiritual hearts are indeed connected to our spiritual ears.

It comes down to us wanting to hear, and then hearing, the voice of our living God – hearing every word that CONTINUES TO PROCEED (current and ongoing tense) from the mouth of God. We are talking daily, Spirit-surrendered, aligned and directed lives:

Matthew 4:4
4  But He (Jesus) answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

Without that, our walks grow stale, our lives are subject (and even can become victims) to dark turns. Elsewhere in Hebrews the writer warns us not to stray or drift away from the place of rest. It can become quite a mess, and the road back can be bumpy. Meanwhile, the remedy, hearing the voice of God, takes us into intimacy, safety, life and peace.

Here’s the revelation, the admonition, and the plan:
Ps 95
(THE INVITATION AND WHAT TO DO, WITH WHAT ATTITUDE)
1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us
shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

(WHY?)
3 For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.

(HIS OWNERSHIP BY WAY OF ETERNAL PATENT RIGHTS)
4 In His hand are the deep places of the earth; The heights
of the hills are His also.
5 The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.

(C’MON NOW)
6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

(HIS RIGHTFUL OWNERSHIP OF US)
7 For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

(THE IMMEDIACY AND NOW-NESS OF THE INVITATION)
Today, if you will hear His voice:

(THE ADMONITION AND THE WARNING, BY WAY OF REMEMBRANCE OF PAST FAILURE)
8 “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the
day of trial in the wilderness,
9 When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.
10 For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And
said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My
ways.’

(THE SAD RESULT OF BAD DECISION)
11 So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’”

Our investment into hearing the voice of God is our intentionality and desire. All of our heart, soul, mind, strength.

Our moment by moment (presented as “Today” in verse 8) decisions are critical. It is quite frankly an ongoing matter of spiritual life and death.

Our enemy has proven himself to relentlessly campaign for our attention, affection, time, and allegiance. He’ll accuse God and family, friend and circumstance. His tools are anger, offense, unforgiveness, distraction, etc. Avoid those traps.

And through all the noise and propaganda, it remains our daily, moment by moment invitation as well as our moment by moment choice. Choose wisely, Grasshopper.

6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
7 For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

All scripture NKJV

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God’s Miscellany

One takeaway from this writing is that there is no “Miscellany” with God.
He is intentional, purposeful, specific, deliberate, true, and quite frankly mind-boggling. There’s more though, so please read on.

That prophetic profundity is followed by some “sticks” event that might, at cursory read, seem somewhat after-the-fact as well as matter-of-fact to us.
1. First we could declare that the division of the Jewish nation into primarily 10 tribes and 2 tribes was Old Testament pertinent and therefore a non-issue even in our time, so clearly it’ll be a non-issue at His imminent return.
2. Second the “sticks” imagery could be (mis)interpreted as presenting some small happening. No altar of commemoration was instructed for erection. Just some gathered sticks.

Ezekiel 37:15-17
15 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
16 “As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.’
17 Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand.

What’s being prophesied by God, via Ezekiel, is the reunification of all Israel and their being repositioned in their land, His land.

At the risk of sounding like a late-night As-Seen-On-TV commercial, BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE.

The Hebrew word English-translated as “stick” in Ezek 37 is “ES”. I humbly contend a better English representation might help us. Here’s the STRONG’S definition:

עֵץ STRONG’S NUMBER: Dictionary Definition h6086. עֵץ ‘êṣ; from 6095; a tree (from its firmness); hence, wood (plural sticks): — + carpenter, gallows, helve, + pine, plank, staff, stalk, stick, stock, timber, tree, wood.
AV (328) – tree 162, wood 107, timber 23, stick 14, gallows 8, staff 4, stock 4, carpenter + h2796 2, branches 1, helve 1, planks 1, stalks 1;

The same Hebrew word “ES” is translated as “tree” in Isaiah 44:13-15, where God justifiably mocks the idolator for growing and then cutting down oaks and cedars both to cook hot dogs, warm the house, and also carve something (perhaps even large) to worship. See the “ES” become a tree in you mind?
Isaiah 44:14
14 He cuts down cedars for himself,
And takes the cypress and the oak;
He secures it for himself among the trees (h6086 “es”) of the forest.
He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it.

To our point – the prophet Zechariah, in utilizing another word, confirms there is perhaps  more particular Hebrew for what we might envision or refer to as “stick” (in Ezekiel 37). Zechariah employs “Maqqlah”. It Anglo-morphs into “staff(s) (or sapling) for us:
Zechariah: 11:7
I took for myself two staffs (“maqqlah”): the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bonds; and I fed the flock.

Zech 11:7 – h4731. מַקֵּל maqêl; or (feminine) מַקְּלָה maqqlah; from an unused root meaning apparently to germinate; a shoot, i.e. stick (with leaves on, or for walking, striking, guiding, divining): — rod, (hand- staff).

BACK TO bigger-than-miqqlah:
Galatians 3:13-14
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),
14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The Hebrew word “ES” is clearly qualified to be translated TREE or TIMBER. It is not necessarily a little stick one might hold in his hand and secure together with twine. We might be talking big timbers secured with heavy rope.

Had the New Testament been presented to us in the Hebrew language I’d venture to guess it would have chronicled and descried our Lord having struggled and stumbled carrying a weighty cross or at least a weighty cross-bar “ES” to His crucifixion site.

The prophetic implication of Ezekiel 37 is that:
A. Sin had precipitated and provoked the tearing division of God-chosen covenant Israel;
B. The redemptive work of Christ on the tree (ES), was to follow – to bear the curse and pay the price in full (by His death);
C. His supernatural resurrection would confirm and demonstrate God’s authority even over death; and
D. The Savior’s timely, heaven-authorized return to overthrow rebellious governments and establish His eternal reign on earth will include the glorious reconstruction, redemption and revival of the covenant people, including every single Gentile who has reached out and will reach out to embrace the offer of full-rights adoption into the never-again-to-be-divided family of God.

Wholly, Holy, Eternally.

Ironically presented in my bible with the section heading: “MISCELLANEOUS LAWS”) is Deuteronomy 21:21-22:
22 “If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree,
23 his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.

Nothing in God’s plan is really miscellaneous.
Everything is intentional. Every jot and tittle, in fact.

He invites us to discover His majesty, His wonderment, His unique and specific plan.

The timbers upon which our Lord hung, bled and died were (prophetically) hinted at by Ezekiel. The curse of sin and the tearing work of separation between man and God as well as between man and man, was to be resolved. That in place, the ball is in now each person’s own court.

Revelation 22:14-17
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

All scripture NKJV

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The Terror Of The Lord, and the Yada invitation.

Are we perhaps missing something in our “God is good all the time” stadium cheers?
God is clearly good all the time. He’s great all the time, in fact.
And yet Paul, the writer of most of the New Testament, tells us – in more than one portion of scripture – that God’s goodness in no way detracts from the fact that He is full of terror. That is who He is. Bible commentators from the 1800’s sometimes refer to our Christ as “awful” – full of awe. Yep.

Our beloved Lord Jesus is the One who will be coming up out of Bozrah:
Isaiah 63:1-4
Who is this who comes from Edom, With dyed garments from Bozrah,
This One who is glorious in His apparel,
Traveling in the greatness of His strength?—
“I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
2 Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?
3 “I have trodden the winepress alone,
And from the peoples no one was with Me.
For I have trodden them in My anger,
And trampled them in My fury;
Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments,
And I have stained all My robes.
4 For the day of vengeance is in My heart,
And the year of My redeemed has come.

Clearly, Old-Testament-Isaiah is prophetically looking forward to the conclusion of this age, looking to the return of Messiah to rescue (aka: finalize and complete the salvation work) of His people and to perform righteous judgment upon the (by that time) fully rebellious people of earth – the ones who have “succeeded” in ignoring and resisting the tough shaking work that the Lord told He would carry out in His violently merciful effort to get everyone’s attention (Haggai 2).

Meanwhile we are watching, day by day, as the escalating shaking increases. God is not willing that any should perish. He’s good all the time. So He shakes things.

Isaiah and Haggai are Old Testament indeed – but the timing of the prophesied events are yet to happen. Without any argument, 2019 is New Testament times – and we remain awaiting these Old Testament fulfillments.

Paul certainly got it:
2 Corinthians 5
9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

The very popular concept of “we’re under grace, we no longer have to fear the Lord”, is downright dangerous, contrary to the biblical text.

The day of vengeance (Isa 63:4) is during the year of the redeemed. Two concurrent truths. Both will surely happen. The choice as to whether the day is great or dreadful for any one person, is up to that person. It’s up to us, individually.

Daniel 11 speaks of troublesome days prior to Messiah’s time – a time unlike any other time on earth.
Daniel 12:1
1 “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.

That maximum-trouble wording is nearly repeated verbatim by our Lord in Matthew 24.
Matthew 24:21
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Earlier, in the same prophetic breath (Dan 11:32), Daniel assures us that those who know (“yada”) their God will accomplish great exploits. Yada implies intimacy of relationship. God is good, all the time.

And now is great time to be pressing in to “yada-ing” God. A great time to be found in Him. Paul’s perspective is this:
Philippians 3:7-11
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

All scripture NKJV

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Some Christmas Scriptures, and the separation of Church & State. Not.

The argument re church and state separation has its roots in varying denominations landing on the shores of America, disgusted with the heavy-handed and typically ungodly control one denomination sought to exert over other denominations throughout both Western and Eastern European history. Inquisitions, pogroms, imprisonments and slaughters, in the name of God, were sadly commonplace. Nor ought we to ignore the “evangelistic” effort of the known-world Crusades that slaughtered millions in the name of Christ and God, even beyond Europe.    

Meanwhile, scripture remains scripture – perfect, eternal, non-negotiable, inevitable. When our precious Lord Jesus, the King of kings, returns in flaming fire and establishes the Kingdom of God on earth, the government will be upon His shoulders, righteousness will prevail and every tongue that rages against God will be stopped, as every knee bows. That is truth. A bluntly worded t-shirt states: “Bow now or bow later”.

The promise of that biblical truth and victory of righteousness triumphing over unrighteousness is revealed in “Christmas scripture”. THAT truly ought to make us merry, keep us merry, and keep us focused, even as our world shakes more and more as we approach the great and dreadful day of the Lord. It will be great for all who lay hold of the grace of salvation open to all men, who believe and follow the Lord in truth, and who are found prepared at His coming. And it will be dreadful for many.

Here’s some great Christmas Card verses. How can you not love this stuff?

Isaiah 9:6-7

6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;

 And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of His government and peace

There will be no end,

Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,

To order it and establish it with judgment and justice

From that time forward, even forever.

The zeal of the Lord of  hosts will perform this.

Verse 6 confirms the separation of church and state will eventually be non-existent. The government will be upon His shoulders. He is proclaimed King of kings.

Verse 7 speaks of a world with equitable and righteous government, and the ensuing peace. We obviously aren’t there yet, and in order to get there, we are told throughout scripture that the world must and will prove it cannot and never will work properly as it even increases in its defiance against the laws of God.

Psalms 2

​1  Why do the nations rage,

  And the people plot a vain thing? 

2 The kings of the earth set themselves,

  And the rulers take counsel together,

  Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 

3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces

  And cast away Their cords from us.” 

4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;

  The Lord shall hold them in derision. 

5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,

  And distress them in His deep displeasure: 

6 “Yet I have set My King

  On My holy hill of Zion.” 

7 “I will declare the decree:

  The Lord has said to Me,

  ‘You are My Son,

  Today I have begotten You. 

8 Ask of Me, and I will give You

  The nations for Your inheritance,

  And the ends of the earth for Your possession. 

9 You shall break them with a rod of iron;

  You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ” 

10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings;

  Be instructed, you judges of the earth. 

11 Serve the Lord with fear,

  And rejoice with trembling. 

12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,

  And you perish in the way,

  When His wrath is kindled but a little.

  Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Meanwhile here we are, strangers in a strange land, redeemed out of our own former dark state, invited to become gates who keep our heads lifted up so that the King of glory may come in (Ps 24) and invade this dark (and getting darker) place with light, through us.

Isaiah 60:1-3

Arise, shine;  For your light has come!

  And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 

2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,

  And deep darkness the people;

  But the Lord will arise over you,

  And His glory will be seen upon you. 

3 The Gentiles shall come to your light,

  And kings to the brightness of your rising.

The biblically revealed course leading up to the culminating events at the conclusion of this age will not be avoided, discounted or delayed, no matter who may attempt to ignore, sand-down, or dissect scripture. Preacher or senator, philosopher or false prophet, none will succeed in dissuading God. It is what it is. Isa 14:24-27 – Who will annul it?

Perhaps our society would benefit by a somewhat clearer (though more sober and breathtaking) prophetic roadmap to the conclusion of this age were we to include verse 5 before verses 6 and 7. It would read as it was written –revealing the clean-up work following the violent world-government overthrow:  

Isaiah 9:5-7

5 For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,

And garments rolled in blood,

Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.

And how will the Savior King make His first appearance so that He might set in place the components necessary for His second appearance?

6 For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Verse 7 concludes by revealing how and what will cause this great worldwide governmental change – not the successful evangelism of theentire known world (although we are clearly called to preach the gospel toevery creature and warn every man as the Lord shakes heaven and earth to getthe attention of all people).

7 Of the increase of His government and peace

There will be no end,

Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,

To order it and establish it with judgment and justice

From that time forward, even forever.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

It is the zeal of the Lord, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, that will successfully overthrow the governments of this world, replacing the rebellious with meek and humble people who we are told will inherit the earth. He will rule and reign from Jerusalem in righteousness, and it will be very good.

Merry Christmas.

All scripture NKJV

Posted in Apocalypse, End Times Related, Everything, Fear of the Lord, Free Will, God's Word, Old Testament, Prophecy, Revelation(s), Tribulation, Understanding & Knowing God, Word Of God | Leave a comment

My Go-To Giving-Of-Thanks Thanksgiving Verse

The verse that immediately comes to mind, when the theme of “giving thanks” is brought up, can be found in a very tough and for the most part infrequently discussed psalm. Number 50. It’s infrequency of discussion is likely because it contains sobering and harsh warnings to the covenant people of God. In our dispensation, that would mean both Jew and Gentile – those who’ve made a covenant with the Lord.

God, in His infinite plan to grow us and mature us and align us with His full personality, often locates roses among thorns – offering us supernatural fragrance of His revelation and His plan, in the midst of purposely (I believe) thorny stuff, stuff that is tough to hear.

This particular thorn-wrapped promise is one we don’t ever want to miss, (particularly in times of trouble) as it contains not only a promise of deliverance and mercy, but also provides us with an understanding as to how our great God “reglorifies” the earth via His activity, via His planned response of deliverance towards His people. If you like, you can confirm this prophetic procedure by also reading Ps 67. It’s below in this writing, for your convenience, btw.

First, here’s a nice pic of a rose among thorns:

And now here’s the revelation of Kingdom-plans and procedures:

Psalms 50:14-15
14 Offer to God thanksgiving,
And pay your vows to the Most High.
15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

We’re encouraged/admonished/instructed to offer up thanksgiving to our God (at all times and in all things, adds Paul) and then we’re told that even (and sometimes especially) in that place of solid relationship with the Creator of the Universe, in the middle of His, we will find ourselves in trouble – often with the eyes of a skeptical society waiting and watching to see how the saints might react to life’s troubles.

It’s in that place that God makes a promise to us: it’s not that we won’t HAVE troubles, it’s that He will deliver us out of our troubles and the end result will be Him being glorified. Reglorification of the earth, if you will. Just like lightning repowers the charge of life on the planet, our deliverance restores some of the glory that is constantly dissipating through the rage of sin.

I believe Psalm 67 will be fully ignited when our Lord returns, but it’s also quite alive right now:
Psalms 67:5-7
5 Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
6 Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

In this season of troubling (by God, as He promised would occur prior to the conclusion of this age – see Haggai 2), the response and proclamation of thankfulness to our God will accomplish great purpose.

So the saints (Ps 24) lift up their heads and the King of Glory comes in, and the world gets to see more evidence of His goodness and His plan of salvation.

Your thanksgiving, besides posturing you for a blessing, is evangelistic.

Thank You Lord.

scripture is NKJV

Posted in Blessed, Creation, Everything, Fear of the Lord, God's Word, Old Testament, Personal Relationship, Thanksgiving, Tribulation, Understanding & Knowing God | Leave a comment

Has This Chapter Been Fulfilled Yet?

Our Lord, in Matthew 5, advised us New Testament believers that even the smallest punctuation mark of the complete law (“nomos”) of God would be fulfilled. He in fact warned us not to think otherwise. Sounds like He understood beforehand what even would be preached and taught in most churches.

That same word “nomos” was employed by Rabbi Paul in 1 Cor 14:28 in reference to Isaiah 28, so wisdom would have us not assume Jesus was only limiting fulfillment to the Mosaic law. Our Lord was telling us the entire word of God is considered by God Himself as being our law.

That said, reading Zephaniah 3 would invite us to consider whether or not that part of the “nomos” has yet to be fulfilled. Hint: it hasn’t yet been fulfilled, so stay tuned.

Regardless as to what any one of us may have been taught about happy-God always being happy, the reality is that He indeed loves His people, and yet He continues to deal strongly with an increasingly rebellious world. So this entire planet (Jerusalem being central and primary, but not exclusive in regards to accountability) will experience the fullness of God’s plans – to accomplish His purpose and to be doing whatever is necessary to get mankind’s attention, in hopes of turning many to Him. He is not willing that any should perish. Any. He wants all men to be saved.

The NT plan is revealed in the OT verses that are not yet fulfilled. That includes surely they will fear Him (v7).

And now Zephaniah 3. There’s glorious and amazing promises of comfort and joy and restoration and rejoicing, and yet there’s a plan and process through which those components will later be manifested. BTW – the restoration of one pure language confirms the international, global nature of these prophetic words. He is gathering the nations for His purposes, and to see His power.

Our God ain’t just talking Israel here. The glory of His plan is indeed to His people, Jew and Gentile believer alike.

Fact: The God of the whole earth is dealing with the whole earth.

Zephaniah 3

1 Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, To the oppressing city!
2 She has not obeyed His voice,
She has not received correction;
She has not trusted in the Lord,
She has not drawn near to her God.
3 Her princes in her midst are roaring lions;
Her judges are evening wolves
That leave not a bone till morning.
4 Her prophets are insolent, treacherous people;
Her priests have polluted the sanctuary,
They have done violence to the law.
5 The Lord is righteous in her midst,
He will do no unrighteousness.
Every morning He brings His justice to light;
He never fails,
But the unjust knows no shame.
6 “I have cut off nations,
Their fortresses are devastated;
I have made their streets desolate,
With none passing by.
Their cities are destroyed;
There is no one, no inhabitant.
7 I said, ‘Surely you will fear Me,
You will receive instruction’—
So that her dwelling would not be cut off,
Despite everything for which I punished her.
But they rose early and corrupted all their deeds.

8 “Therefore wait for Me,” says the Lord,
“Until the day I rise up for plunder;
My determination is to gather the nations
To My assembly of kingdoms,
To pour on them My indignation,
All My fierce anger;
All the earth shall be devoured
With the fire of My jealousy.
9 “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language,
That they all may call on the name of the Lord,
To serve Him with one accord.
10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
My worshipers,
The daughter of My dispersed ones,
Shall bring My offering.
11 In that day you shall not be shamed for any of your deeds
In which you transgress against Me;
For then I will take away from your midst
Those who rejoice in your pride,
And you shall no longer be haughty
In My holy mountain.
12 I will leave in your midst
A meek and humble people,
And they shall trust in the name of the Lord.
13 The remnant of Israel shall do no unrighteousness
And speak no lies,
Nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth;
For they shall feed their flocks and lie down,
And no one shall make them afraid.”

14 Sing, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away your judgments,
He has cast out your enemy.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
You shall see disaster no more.
16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Do not fear;
Zion, let not your hands be weak.
17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
18 “I will gather those who sorrow over the appointed assembly,
Who are among you,
To whom its reproach is a burden.
19 Behold, at that time
I will deal with all who afflict you;
I will save the lame,
And gather those who were driven out;
I will appoint them for praise and fame
In every land where they were put to shame.
20 At that time I will bring you back,
Even at the time I gather you;
For I will give you fame and praise
Among all the peoples of the earth,
When I return your captives before your eyes,”
Says the Lord.

 

Posted in Apocalypse, End Times Related, Everything, False Teachers, Fear of the Lord, God's Word, Israel, Jesus, New Testament, Obedience, Old Testament, Prophets, Revelation(s), Salvation, Suffering, Timing, Tribulation, Understanding & Knowing God, Wisdom, Word Of God | Leave a comment

The End-Of-Age Campaign Of Ungodliness, And Our Wise And Necessary Response.

Rabbi Paul wrote to Timothy (and to all who would choose to read after Timothy), so that he/we might know something in general advance of its occurrence, and especially now and in these times as we see things occurring on earth:

2 Timothy 3:1-5
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Paul bundled various and multiple sins in that prophetic laundry list. He concludes by telling us to turn in the opposite direction (so that brethren might avoid, as Peter later wrote, being led away with the error of the wicked – 2 Peter 3:17)

In Paul’s second letter to the saints in Corinth, our Rabbi admonishes us:

2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
17 Therefore
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”
1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Verse 12 above does NOT tell us to have no fellowship or friendship or relationship of any kind with unsaved folks, in fact we’re called to reach out and love the lost, befriending them, desiring to eventually see their coming around to Christ (as this world shakes more and more, on schedule).

Paul confirms this evangelistic truth in having addressed 4 specific sins in his first letter to Corinth (though it applies to sin and sinners in general), verse 10 clarifying our current bunny-trail mini-topic:

1 Corinthians 5:9-11
9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.
10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.

BACK ON MAIN-TOPIC and picking up at 2 Cor 6:16…..
16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said (NOTE: Here Paul builds a prophetic case as he bundles Lev 26:12, Ezekiel 37:26 and Isaiah 52:11):
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
17 Therefore
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”
1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

TIMING OF THIS WRITING: Verse 16, above, fits in great with the time of year this brief study is being written – the recent conclusion of the Feast of Tabernacles. Succot. Immanuel. God with us- His burning desire always and forever being to be in the midst of His people. And it will occur! Stay on track. Stay tuned.

As our adversary hears the eschatological clock ticking louder, and as he futilely campaigns to lure lost and desperate souls into greater darkness (as well deceive sanctified ones back into darkness as we might allow him through slackness) we would do very well to embrace the promises pointed to by Paul, and to daily determine, by God’s abundant and continuous great grace and by the active promised leading of His Spirit, to address and walk in 2 Cor 7:1:

1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

All scripture NKJV

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