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

Posted in Anointing, Creation, End Times Related, Everything, Faith, Free Will, Holy Spirit, Obedience, Peace, Psalms, Sabbath, Testing, Worship | Comments Off on Heart Conditions….and their effect on our spiritual ears

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

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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.

 

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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

Posted in End Times Related, Everything, Fear of the Lord, New Testament, Obedience, Personal Relationship | Leave a comment

NATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY – aka when and how God addresses a rebellious society. And the Yom Kippur invitation, to all, to personal and national repentance.

I’ve read articulate opinions that God only covenanted/covenants with Israel. I believe those opinions are in error, being out of line with biblical revelation.

The door to intimate relationship with God is an open door, to all, both as individuals and I also believe, to nations.

I wish there were better titles for those dispensational writings commonly referred to as NEW Testament and OLD Testament. “OLD” implies “done”. Meanwhile, the Jewish scriptures remain eternal, clearly alive and well, in our times, I firmly believe, within the context of the Messianic fulfillment on Calvary. That very-much-alive “OLD TESTAMENT” clearly presents itself as appearing more stringent and more Israel-focused then the NEW one, and yet look what our/the great God of Israel tells us, even then, to NOT allow: DO NOT ALLOW Gentile exclusion. Verse 3, below, constitutes a pre-emptive strike against the exclusionary-error of no-covenant for the Gentiles/foreigners/non-Jews. That has huge promises and ramifications for all peoples, at all times, including our predominantly Gentile nation, now.

Isaiah 56:3-7
3 Do not let the son of the foreigner
Who has joined himself to the Lord
Speak, saying,
“The Lord has utterly separated me from His people”;
Nor let the eunuch say,
“Here I am, a dry tree.”
4 For thus says the Lord:
“To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths,
And choose what pleases Me,
And hold fast My covenant,
5 Even to them I will give in My house
And within My walls a place and a name
Better than that of sons and daughters;

I will give them an everlasting name
That shall not be cut off.
6 “Also the sons of the foreigner
Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him,
And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants—
Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
And holds fast My covenant—
7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain,
And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
Will be accepted on My altar;
For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

These verses speak prophetically to future times, but their invitation is for all times. Ask Ruth the Moabitess. Moab and Israel were fervent enemies. And yet this woman saw God in Israel and fully entered into the Abrahamic faith, and is cited in the lineage of Christ. Go figure. THAT illustrates the heart and hopes of God.

It comes down to individual people, and also to people groups, being invited and in response wanting and willing to come into covenant relationship with God, on His fair terms.

Nationally, without any doubt, Israel is the poster-child for covenant relationship. Always has and will always be. Yet special-Israel, clearly, in both testaments, is not alone in the invitation, both to the blessing as well as the accountability of covenant.

Furthermore, the scriptures make it clear that God works His purposes in all nations.

EXAMPLE TEXT:
2 Kings 5:1
1 Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.

Syria was an enemy of Israel, and yet we see God gave a Syrian army commander victories.

God’s sovereignty over all nations, tribes, tongues and people-groups is biblically asserted and deserves its own writing. Suffice to say:

Psalms 24:1-2
​1 The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.
2 For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

Acts 17:26-27
26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

It is clear that God’s plans center around Israel – always have and always will, whether the Jewish people are obedient or disobedient will impact how He deals with them. He is in covenant with them and that commitment and intimacy bring about the highest level of both blessing and also accountability.

All that said, let’s go back to Jeremiah and see what the Lord tells us regarding any nation. First the anointed prophet addresses Israel. Then that same anointed prophet, in the same breath of anointing, broadens the span to include all nations, any nations. This is not to be missed.

Jeremiah 18:1-11
1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying:
(Verses 2-6 specifically address Israel. Verse 7 and onward take things broader)
7 The instant I speak concerning a nation (Hebrew: “goy” – foreign nation, Gentile) and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it,
8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.
9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it,

(God is revealing His all-times plan to build and plant Gentile nations – the plan of His heart being to always bring them to Him – Acts 17:27 – including the end-of-age shaking-work to draw them to Himself – Haggai 2:7).
10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.

(Verse 11 refocuses on Israel – but we ought not limit Verse 11 to Israel-only application – the invitation to “return” is an invitation to defuse upcoming troubling from the hand of the always-righteous King of kings).
11 “Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.” ‘ ”

America is quite an amazing place. Ethnically/prophetically, it is a coat of many colors. Check out our Olympic teams.

Back to the Israel-component for a moment: America has historically also been THE nation of refuge for the Jewish people. Until most recently, just as many Jews dwelt in America as dwelt in Israel. God’s eye is on America for many reasons. Gen 12:3 is alive and well. America has been blessed for being a refuge to the dispersed Jews. Personally, thank you, America.

God is looking for all men, everywhere.

2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Pilgrims left Europe in search of many things – freedom to worship, freedom from persecution, wealth, adventure, new life, etc. Some were running away from things. Other were running to new things. Likely they all were reasonably desperate, and/or visionary, and/or adventurous. Complacency doesn’t take people thousands of miles on wooden ships, over often stormy oceans.

Intending to land in the Virginia Colonies, weather and sea blew a little ship called the Mayflower to Massachusetts. William Brewster, a pastor onboard, is credited with the writing of the following brief document. The Mayflower was not a Christians-only, praise-the-Lord cruise ship. It was a ship of desperate, visionary, and sober people. More than only the onboard Christians anticipated the perils and jeopardies of new lands, new challenges, new life. They signed a covenant with one another, and with God, Who listens to the words of His people, and enters into covenant with them, even for the general good. Daniel’s chapter-9 prayer owned the sins of his people, and God showed mercy. Saints, in both testaments, divinely function as salt of the earth. It was Israel’s call from the beginning (sadly, for the most part they have failed). In our current Dispensation it has primarily been the call to the Christian church (sadly, for the most part we have failed). Meanwhile, God looks for and rightly expects covenant-people to maintain covenant (it’s part of the deal), and covenant people are sent forth to exemplify His goodness, and to attract others into divine covenant. THAT has always been the plan, and THAT having stalled and failed so often throughout the history of the world, we find ourselves in a world that screams louder, daily, about its condition.

Back to the Mayflower.
Keep an eye on in Whose name it is being written, for the glory of Whom, and what advancements were desired to be undertaken, and why the concept of laws and ordinances was to be undertaken.

THAT is covenant. I’ll help the specific focus of this writing by underlining.

The Mayflower Compact said:
In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc. Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, 1620.

Through the lens of history we can now look back and see that the matters of “King of England” etc. took some violent and (to the Mayflower folks) unexpected turns, but meanwhile the divine intent of the covenant with God remains intact. Nations come and go. God remains.

America has made covenant with God.

America has been blessed beyond measure over these past 400 years (4’s being a notable number in God’s divine math – flood rains, bondage in Egypt, years in the desert, rules of the three primary kings of Israel – Saul, David, Solomon).
Hey – 1620 to 2020 = 400 years. Just sayin’.

BACK TO ISRAEL. Can we, upon whom the end of this age has come (1 Cor 1:10), learn from this particular admonition, below, from Jewish-prophet Isaiah? Here is God, revealing how He will work against any covenant-breaking people group (once again focusing upon Israel, but let’s not lose ground from the broader understanding we’ve come to in this writing):

Isaiah 3:1-12
1 For behold, the Lord God of hosts is going to remove from Jerusalem and Judah
Both supply and support, the whole supply of bread
And the whole supply of water;
2 The mighty man and the warrior,
The judge and the prophet,
The diviner and the elder,
3 The captain of fifty and the honorable man,
The counselor and the expert artisan,
And the skillful enchanter.
4 And I will make mere lads their princes,
And capricious children
(pretty much arrogant, unfit-to-rule) will rule over them,
5 And the people will be oppressed,
Each one by another, and each one by his neighbor;
The youth will storm against the elder
And the inferior against the honorable.
6 When a man lays hold of his brother in his father’s house, saying,
“You have a cloak, you shall be our ruler,
And these ruins will be under your charge,”
7 He will protest on that day, saying,
“I will not be your healer,
For in my house there is neither bread nor cloak;
You should not appoint me ruler of the people.”
8 For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen,

(HOW AND WHY did they stumble?)

Because their speech and their actions are against the Lord,
To rebel against His glorious presence.
9 The expression of their faces bears witness against them,
And they display their sin like Sodom;
They do not even conceal it.
Woe to them!
For they have brought evil on themselves.
10 Say to the righteous that it will go well with them,
For they will eat the fruit of their actions.
11 Woe to the wicked! It will go badly with him,
For what he deserves will be done to him.
12 O My people! Their oppressors are children,
And women rule over them.
O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray
And confuse the direction of your paths.

I would humbly and in the fear of God put forth that it would require purposeful ignoring of scripture to consider the above admonition of Isaiah as being old, worn-out, no longer applicable to any covenant people. Current events weigh in favor of our acceptance of these eternal truths. Some of the above-cited sad conditions of heaven-sent discipline already appear to be at work in America.

DAYS OF AWE: This is being written between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah functioning as the prophetic “WAKE-UP!!!” trumpeting, by God, to His people, alerting them to the upcoming day of atonement (which comes with repentance). That day is Yom Kippur. The Lord presents Yom Kippur soberly and clearly.

Leviticus 23:26-32
26 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.
28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God.
29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people.
30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people.
31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.”

Verse 31 stamps this holy-day with what appears to be an eternal stamp – a statute forever throughout your generations, observed in your homes. Of course we as believers in Messiah are invited to prayerfully process and observe this most holy-day in the freedom of the Calvary redemption, covered under the blood. Still, it appears we would do well to prayerfully consider, and respond to, what the Lord might expect of us on that day.

Many eschatological (end-times/end-of-age) students feel (I am not in disagreement) that the perfect fulfillment of the SPRING holidays having been fully-filled during our Lord’s first Advent (appearance on earth), we can and should look to and expect the perfect fulfillment of the FALL holidays during His second Advent (in flaming fire, says Peter).

All that to say, the rapidly eroding social, political, family-value, bible-value, financial etc. conditions upon earth, and especially the notable madness and fracturing in our own covenant nation of America ought to point all of us to humility, repentance, and intercession, Jew and Gentile alike. Peter asks how we ought to be living our lives. Rabbi Paul speaks of us warning every man.

These are critical times, critical days, critical moments.
Paul told us to redeem the time because the days are evil.

How much more, now?

Daniel’s chapter 9 prayer is a good model for us all.

Most scripture NKJV. Jeremiah is quoted from NASB.

Posted in Apocalypse, Blessed, End Times Related, Everything, Fear of the Lord, God's Word, Holiness, Israel, Old Testament, Prophecy, Prophets, Repentance, Sabbath, Tribulation, Understanding & Knowing God, Word Of God | Leave a comment

A Recent Message RE: Both Testaments

This message was spoken to a small group of hungry interns at a local church.
It’s ground that I’ve covered before. But in preparing the message I did realize its timeliness, its relevance, and also the clear resistance that our adversary would always be exerting to our recognition of the glory, majesty and revealed mystery of the end-of-age plans of God. So I am posting this to refresh us all, challenge us all, remind us all, encourage us all.
Here goes.

BOTH TESTAMENTS = The complete word of God.
OR: The ECHAD of God’s word.
8.12.18

Over the decades I’ve found myself not only teaching the bible, but becoming more and more mystified by its majesty and its Spirit-life. It is not simply A BOOK. It is not simply THE BOOK OF GOD.

It is the LIVING WORD OF GOD, and it IS complete, REFUSES dissection, and it TESTIFIES of itself in its completion.

I personally love the word of God and I personally utilize LOTS OF SCRIPTURE when I speak teach and minister – because I believe in its accuracy, I don’t HAVE TO or WANT TO dance around scriptural truth, and I also can be confident that what I am speaking ALIGNS w the purposes of God – because anything else is a waste of time, and disastrous, and dangerous to ME – because as a minister I tremble at the word, and I understand I am accountable to the word (as are you, even as a reader, btw).

Remember when a student and writer of scripture came to Jesus and asked a profound question:
Mark 12:28-31
28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”
29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

JESUS was referring back to Deuteronomy – to a portion of critical Jewish (and now Church) scripture, referred to as the S’hma – it’s how most synagogue services (morning and evening prayer) begin:

Deuteronomy 6:4-5
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! (ECHAD)
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

We don’t have to do this every time we pray, but clearly some of the praying church gets the significance…check out this video of our brethren in Papua New Guinea!

The most important Jewish prayer declares God’s ECHAD – completeness, wholeness, holiness, perfection, “set-apart-ness”, incomparability.
Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One (Echad).

Couple that to Jesus being described in the book of John as Himself being the WORD OF GOD MADE FLESH, and you start seeing that cutting the two testaments in half is not a good thing. It goes much further than that, though.

ALL OF SCRIPTURE is quite frankly alive and well, and in its WELLNESS and WHOLENESS intentionally contains layers upon layers of revelation as well as instruction and admonition and historical accuracy.

The writer of Hebrews – writing to first century Jewish believers in Jesus, said it this way:
Hebrews 4:12-13
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

At the time of writing of the letter of Hebrews, the majority of the Jewish people – the originally targeted audience for the writing of the letter, had for the most part stumbled over the word, not recognizing its “living component” and in that stumbling had fallen into a religious blindness. Some indeed were awaiting the first appearance of Messiah. Most were not. They majority sadly missed the Savior that their entire “OLD TESTAMENT” had testified and pointed to.

We meanwhile, as the mostly Gentile church, need to be careful that we don’t fall into the same trap. I am convinced we have an active spiritual adversary who FEARS any people of God understanding and pressing into the whole word of God.

That stumbling work continues to this day to give the Jewish people huge trouble – and meanwhile THAT SAME word of God is also the ANSWER TO ALL THE MYSTERIES OF GOD – when the Spirit of God is included in the equation, when the veil is taken away in Christ.

I was born Jewish and in Hebrew school was dutifully taught the Jewish bible (Tanach). The Jews do not refer to the OLD TESTAMENT as the old ANYTHING. It is Tanach and Torah to them – the law of God.

But those Jewish teachings, true as they were, were pretty much dead to me because I was without any knowledge or experience w my own Savior – until a little later in life when my girlfriend (now my wife) and I got ambushed by God at a wedding in a small revival church in Southern California around 1973. THAT was the game-changer. It took us 6 months to belly up to the bar and start really surrendering to God, but from that very first experience on that Friday evening, we both knew for certain that Jesus was the Messiah of the world.

The past 45 years have only grown our/my love for God, our understanding of need for a Savior of the world, and our very clear understanding of the truth of Jesus – Y’shua – Jewish Jesus being the one and only Savior, and the soon and coming King.

I’ve been teaching the bible for the past 35 years and admit to continually being overwhelmed by the majesty of God that is revealed in that Book, as one applies himself/herself to dig and study.

Because God is jealous over His word, He defends it vehemently, and also He chooses to:
A. Reward those who will SPEND themselves to come into the place of study and obedience to the word; AND ALSO
B. Work against those who would try to undermine His word, or corrupt or misrepresent the bible or the God who is revealed in that word.

God is JEALOUS/ZEALOUS – QANA – it’s the same word in Hebrew both for ZEALOUS and JEALOUS.
In ENGLISH you can sit on your couch and be JEALOUS. By definition, in Hebrew, there’s implication that when GOD is JEALOUS, He is also ZEALOUS and plans to do something about it.

In this message my goal is:
1. To back up the already-strong statements I’ve made about the WORD OF GOD being alive;
2. To hopefully light you up and inspire you re the great glory of SPENDING yourself on knowing the word of God – giving yourself over to digging deep and truly learning the Word of God, studying IN THE HOLY SPIRIT and dialoguing w God as you study so that you might receive the intended revelation of scripture; AND
3. To fully convince you that the OLD TESTAMENT is absolutely CRITICAL and NECESSARY for you to press into and understand, so that you might better understand the NEW TESTAMENT and the fullness of God’s plans as we head towards to the conclusion of this Age and the appearance of Jesus.

I also want to impress upon you the urgency of the HOUR in which we are living; AND
I want to warn you of the plans of our very real enemy that are exposed in scripture as being plans to deceive, distract and divert us from our successful walks in God.

We WANT to be found IN CHRIST, IN HIS WILL, IN HIS WORD.
And all that is quite possible.
We’ve been called into an amazing life and an amazing journey to glory.
It is not easy. No one ever really said it was easy.
The scriptures clearly do not present the ways of God as “easy”.
But it is THE WAY to go.

PETER SAID IT THIS WAY after Jesus asked Peter this question – after some hard things had come down, and hard things had been said. The gospel goes way beyond: “Jesus love you”. It also points to the fact there is only one successful way THROUGH THIS LIFE and INTO THE NEXT AGE.
John 6:66-69
66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

BACK TO EARLIER STRONG STATEMENTS – the power and authority of the fullness of scripture (REMEMBER this is WRITTEN in the “OLD TESTAMENT” – the Word of God testifies of itself):
Psalms 19:7-11
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.

PERFECT means the word is complete – not lacking anything. ECHAD…
CONVERTING THE SOUL points to its living ability to make changes in the soul of man.
REJOICING THE HEART and ENLIGHTENING THE EYES is about happiness and understanding. The confusion gets blown away as truth becomes clearer. LIFE makes more sense when it is processed by a converted mind.
ALL THE WAY TO V 11 – There is great reward in the wholeness of God’s plan – and that plan is revealed in scripture. THAT is how God planned it.

Meanwhile, we are told IN THAT WORD – that we have an active enemy who is campaigning against us and against God.
He is an ACCUSER – accusing
US TO US
US TO GOD
GOD TO US
US TO EACH OTHER

We’re told that ACCUSER will be active until the very conclusion of this age – so we needn’t be surprised at that:
Revelation 12:10
10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

We therefore would do well to understand:
THE WAYS OF GOD and also the
REVEALED PLANS AND STRATEGIES OF OUR ENEMY.

Picture this – Jesus is about to begin His own earthly ministry – and Satan shows up.
READ THIS DIALOGUE:
Matthew 4:1-11
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,
6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and,
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”
7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”
8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

There were no “apologetics” spoken by Jesus to Satan.
He went back to the word of God and declared what was written. He also UNDERSTOOD what was written, so that when the Deceiver even QUOTED SCRIPTURE – Jesus understood what it DID NOT MEAN.

What does that tell you about our enemy, his ways, and our successful strategy?

Note that Jesus was quoting the “OLD TESTAMENT” it was all there was to quote in those days. And it WAS and REMAINS as true as ever.

What did Jesus think about the relevance of the OLD Testament as He told us about Satan and OUR TIMES – and as we head towards the conclusion of this age and our Lord’s return?
Matthew 24:21-25
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.
22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.
24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
25 See, I have told you beforehand.

We are told by OUR JESUS that there will be DEVIOUS EFFORTS to even try to deceive the people of God. And then Jesus reminds us to not forget – He’s already warned us about these deceptive plans. “SEE, I’VE ALREADY TOLD YOU”.

See the critical nature of understanding the word of God?
What did Paul tell his own spiritual son, Timothy – called to be a minister in his young life:
2 Timothy 2:15-16
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.

2 Timothy 4:3-4
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

The issue will not be that folks don’t want to hear anything, but they will not want to hear the truth.

Converted Rabbi-Paul already saw that there would be works of deception IN THE CHURCH – and he admonished Timothy to do something about it – to make a pre-emptive strike at FALSE DOCTRINE (TEACHING) by studying to understand that which was true.

The days in which we are living are most critical. These are days that have been clearly spoken about in BOTH TESTAMENTS – and these are days that – if we are not aware of the time in which we live – we can find ourselves unprepared.

REMEMBER WHAT PAUL SAID about “how much to do”:
Ephesians 6:10-13
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
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.

Had the NT been written in Hebrew, we might have seen some ECHAD’s in these verses, for WHOLE and DONE ALL.

Here’s where things get amazing for us and our topic in this message (I mentioned it a little, earlier):

Part of the plan of the enemy is to keep us out of the OLD TESTAMENT. There is a propaganda campaign, initiated by Satan himself, to keep us ignorant of the OLD TESTAMENT revelations, because without those revelations, we are more apt to fall prey to goofy teachings that CANNOT BE SUPPORTED by the fullness of scripture.

To impress upon you the critical nature of the “OLD” TESTAMENT to the saints of these days, listen to what Jesus told His disciples when He was asked about the conclusion of THIS NEW TESTAMENT AGE – and His return (a return that Peter tells us will be violent, forceful and worldwide):

Back to Matthew 24…

Mark 13:3-19 and
Matthew 24:3-25
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.
5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),
16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.
18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.
19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!
20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
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.
22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.
24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
25 See, I have told you beforehand.

Jesus – with the words from His own mouth – is looking FORWARD to our days, telling US that WHEN (verse 15) we see something taking place in the temple in Jerusalem, we’re to GO BACK INTO THE OLD TESTAMENT and read the BOOK OF DANIEL!!!

And as if that was not enough, Jesus goes and says the EXACT SAME THING that Daniel himself says about those days of troubling:
JESUS SAYS:
MATT 24:21
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.

DANIEL COORDINATES PRECISELY WITH THAT, AND TELLS US:
Dan 12:1
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.

Here’s more of which Daniel wrote re those end-of-age times:
Daniel 12:1-4
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.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book.
2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3 Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever.
4 “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

Time prevents me from going into all the detail of Daniel’s amazing prophecy, but looking a little further into this one chapter (Dan 12) – it tells US that the mysteries of God are effectively in a HOLY SPIRIT TIME CAPSULE and will only be revealed WHEN IT’S TIME FOR THEM TO BE REVEALED – at the end of the age:
Daniel 12:8-10
8 Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, “My lord, what shall be the end of these things?”
9 And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.

For someone who would want to limit their study of the OLD TESTAMENT and write it all off as OLD, they would be missing this magical revelation, and in fact would also be missing this global truth about ALL THE MYSTERIES OF GOD:

Deuteronomy 29:29
29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

So we can immediately see that God is offering us instructions as to HOW HE WORKS – and many of those instructions are in the “OLD” TESTAMENT – intentionally placed there to draw us back into those writings.

It is ironic that it is the BOOK OF HEBREWS – written to the Jewish believers of the day, that contains some verses people (who want to discount the earlier Jewish scriptures) use to try to prove their point of the “OLD” Testament being outdated. Great scriptures, used in error.

LET’S ADDRESS THIS HEAD-ON.
The writer of Hebrews says this:
Hebrews 8:7-13
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.
8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—
9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

VERSE BY VERSE:
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.
8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—

(House of Israel and House of Judah are never terms used to describe the Gentile believer church).

9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. (those were the Jews who were already under the covenant of Abraham, but were about to be under the covenant and laws that were to be given to Moses – LAWS that could not make people holy, but instead could only DIRECT the people toward holy ordinances).

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (this is what God was promising the Jews, and also promising to “whosoever will” come into His family by way of adoption).

11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.
(great verse for a teacher to address. This DOES NOT SAY there won’t be teachers – other verses confirm there WILL be teachers – Isa 30:20. This says that the PERSONAL EXPERIENCE of KNOWING – “Yada” – the Lord will be a PERSONAL EXPERIENCE – in this great salvation you can teach OF God, and about the WAYS of God, but the KNOWING has to be a taste and see that the Lord is good experience (per Isaiah).

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Verse 13 is about the restrictions and demands of the Mosaic LAW covenant. The writer NEVER intended for Satan to use these excellent verses to try to dissuade the NT church out of the “OLD” Testament. These scriptural truths pertain to the Mosaic covenant made with the Jewish people after He had delivered them out of Egypt. God had already covenanted with them in Beersheva, at the time of Abraham. That has not changed, nor have the other eternal truths of the Tanach. The righteous requirements of the Mosaic ordinances were fulfilled in Christ.

HERE ARE TWO GAME-CHANGER PORTIONS OF SCRIPTURE FOR ME – THAT REVOLUTIONIZED HOW I PERSONALLY LOOKED AT THE “OLD” TESTAMENT.

1. One is in the Sermon on the Mount.
JESUS is making a PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE against the rotten and false teaching that the OLD TESTAMENT is no longer relevant to the NEW TESTAMENT AGE:

DO NOT THINK means DO NOT THINK:
There’s all sorts of things we OUGHT NOT TO THINK – but few in scripture are of such extreme importance that they are specifically called out .

Matthew 5:17-20
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

AND HERE’S LINE BY LINE BREAKDOWN OF THIS “DO NOT THINK” SECTION:
Matthew 5:17-20
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

CLEAR – His death and resurrection was the FULL PRICE PAID FOR THE SINS of whoever would choose to accept that sacrifice and walk in covenant w Christ.

18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle (smallest punctuation point) will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

A MASSIVE REVELATION re the “specificity” and accuracy of every prophetic word of scripture – when this is understood and embraced:
A. Many of the false teachings will be exposed as erroneous because EARLIER events failed to FULLY FILL the SPECIFICS of the earlier prophecy – EX: FIRST CENTURY temple destruction and the confusion it has caused when many saints are taught all the “tough stuff” of the OT has already happened. It has not – so we can expect those things to occur – every jot and tittle – of the NOMOS – a word for LAW that Paul even uses in Corinthians when he quotes Isaiah – so it is meant for the whole OT); AND
B. We will see more clearly into YET-TO-BE-FULL-FILLED PROPHECIES.

VERSE 19 is a warning and also a revelation of God’s great mercy – God does NOT see erroneous teaching or erroneous following-of-teaching (either/both w good intent, but wrong) as being a DISQUALIFIER from heaven. Instead we’re told it will diminish one’s reward – which of course we don’t want to do!
19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

AND here we’re actually told the Pharisees, in their “zeal without (YADA) knowledge of what God was truly doing, still had lots right. The bar of righteousness has been set for us:
20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

WOW WOW WOW God.

2. AND 1 PETER 1:10 is the other game-changer re validating the “OLD” Testament for us – but we would be so blessed to read the whole first chapter of 1 Peter, in its completeness

1 Peter 1
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.

WHAT TO DO – OUR RESPONSE AND OUR PARTICIPATION
13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
because
“All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

LINE BY LINE ANALYSIS – which is always far safer and far more sober than SHALLOW-DIVING into favorite verses.
Verses OFTEN stand ALONE in their promises, but ALWAYS stand up in their CONTEXT. That is a safe understanding as to how God wants us to think as we read.

This is a MASSIVE portion of revelational scripture.
PETER THE FISHERMAN is telling us the OLD TESTAMENT was actually written for the NEW TESTAMENT believers and in many ways not for the OLD TESTAMENT believers. They had the teachers and the prophets that they went to for instruction.
Then Peter tells us that we have much to do with our salvation experience and our holiness, and it centers around our willing obedience to the Word of God, and then he concludes by telling us the WORD OF GOD ENDURES FOREVER – none of it is ever made obsolete, even though some covenants had seasons of activation – such as the requirements of the Mosaic Law.
1 Peter 1
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: (we’ve been set aside for OBEDIENCE and in OBEDIENCE there is grace and peace)
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

V1 and 2 – PILGRIMS OF THE DISPERSION was a term typically used for the JEWS from times past, who ally – MANY OF WHOM WERE JEWS in the first century, but MANY WERE GENTILES.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
(WE ARE 100% FULLY-SAVED RIGHT NOW (we won’t get MORE SAVED later!), but the CULMINATION AND CURL ESSENTIAL OF THE SALVATION EXPERIENCE AND SUPERNATURAL TRANSFORMATION WILL ONLY BE REALIZED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THIS AGE – and for now there’s troubles “DOWN HERE”)
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
10 Of this salvation (THE NT SALVATION EXPERIENCE WE ARE EXPERIENCING) the (OT) prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,

(OBSERVE THE TENSES OF THESE VERSES – PAST PERFECT AND THEN CURRENT IN PETER’S TIME AND THEN FUTURE)
11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand (BEFOREHAND – AS OF THE TIME OF THE WRITINGS OF THE OT PROPHETS, BUT ALREADY-DONE AS OF THE TIME OF WRITING OF THIS LETTER BY PETER) the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.

12 is KEY – what WE have experienced is something the angels marvel at. We are the sons and daughters of God, not the angels and now Peter tells us what our response to this revelation ought to be: GETTING OUR BRAINS IN GEAR AND LIVING HOLY)
13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
(HERE’S YOUR PARTICIPATION IN YOUR SUCCESSFUL SALVATION LIFE)
22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
because
“All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
(THE ETERNAL WORD – ENDURING FOREVER – even enduring false doctrines and teachings that would want to dilute or distract us from the fullness of the complete word)
25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

Peter concludes with the confirmation of an Old Testament truth – the word of God endures forever. All of it. Forever.

So what we are seeing in this teaching – which I humbly assert is accurate and taught in the fear of the Lord – is that BOTH TESTAMENTS are for the NEW TESTAMENT believer.

They were WRITTEN for us, AVAILABLE to us, and we are ACCOUNTABLE to the fullness of revelation contained in both of them.

Every single writer of the NT referred back to the earlier scriptures. In reality it is madness to think ONLY THE SPECIFIC VERSES they referred to, pertain to us.

TO THAT POINT – let’s look at what Paul told the Corinthian church (and us). Corinth was primarily a GENTILE city, so would be silly to think Paul would be pointing them back to the OT if his overall intent was to wean people AWAY FROM the Old Testament.

Here’s another one of those “DO NOT THINK” admonitions, written as: “I DON’T WANT YOU TO BE UNAWARE” (same thing):

BEGINNING in 1 Cor 9, since the context begins there:
PAUL BEGINS by comparing our WALK to a COMPETITION where we are all called to win, BUT we need to participate in order to finish.
1 Corinthians 9:24 – 10:13
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

(THERE’S A SOBER WORD re a ministry call not being a free ride into heaven)

AND HERE’S WHAT PAUL TELLS THE NT CHURCH:
1 Cor 10:1-13
1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,
2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
3 all ate the same spiritual food,
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”
8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;
9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;
10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

AGAIN WE’RE TOLD THE OT accounts were written for OUR ADMONITION, “upon whom the ends of the ages has come”.
And we’re kick-comforted in V13 by being told:
A. We can make it; AND
B. You’re really not going through anything all that unique. Others have made it; AND
C. God knows your capabilities and limits, and He will intercede to make sure things don’t get truly unbearable. THEY IN FACT ARE BEARABLE, as your cross, as part of your participation in the work of the cross.

I could go on – w the writer of Hebrews telling us that “seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of (faithful, OT) witnesses, to other scripture.

Here’s a bottom line – written by Peter, who fully knew the limitations of his own good intentions. By the time he had written 1 and 2 Peter, he was converted and full of the Holy Spirit, submitted, surrendered and sanctified. He under THE DIVINE PROCESS OF GOD:

2 Peter 1:2-4
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

The rest of that first chapters then goes on to lay out a PROGRESSION OF GROWTH AND MATURING that we are invited into and called into, by our great God.

The end of that progression, of course, is a heart of love – something that God is doing, actively, in all who will say YES to Him, over and over again, each and every day.

The MAGIC PRAYER of our Savior was “YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN”.
That means we are binding our own wills to the altar of God and inviting His will into our lives.
And in that is great success.

Blessings.

All scripture: NKJV

Posted in Apocalypse, Blessed, End Times Related, Everything, False Teachers, God's Word, Holiness, New Testament, Old Testament, Prophecy, Revelation(s), Tribulation, Understanding & Knowing God | Leave a comment

Tapping Out

There’s terminology in UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), and elsewhere – like the somewhat more theatrical (though still challenging and strenuous) wrestling bouts of TV-land, referred to as “Tapping Out”. When one fighter finds himself/(sadly sometimes herself) in a position where (a.) they cannot get out of the grasp of their opponent; AND (b.) if they don’t do something they will end up with something broken, or worse, they make a gesture for the referee and their opponent to see – they tap out. Sometimes they literally bang or tap the mat (hence the name). Other times they might wave their hand or (free) arm into the air. You get it.

They didn’t step into the ring (or fighting cage) with the intent to tap out. They at first thought they had things under control, and that they would win. They had what they thought was a good plan. Situations changed for them. Tapping out was the smartest thing to do.

Sadly, sometimes the most stubborn of fighters do not tap out, or only tap out once something has actually broken. Last week I saw a guy in a televised UFC fight who had a funny shaped forearm. In a previous fight he had been so tough and stubborn that his arm had been broken, and now he has a souvenir to remember that fight.

One of the stubborn Jewish patriarchs was Jacob who wrestled with an angel one long night. His hip socket being out of joint from the encounter, he was renamed Y’israel (to us, Israel). That name means God prevails. It was quite a wrestling match.

Genesis 32:24-25
24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.
25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him.

Scripture supports the consistent theme of wrestling with God from the supernatural events of Genesis 32 to the daily challenge of binding our wills to the altar of the King and declaring “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Every day. When you pray, we are told.

Jacob’s wrestling match was a good one. It still left him with a limp. Some of our wrestling matches, and many other accounts in scripture, seem to point simply to our stubbornness.

Throughout our lives we would do well, and do well more quickly, when we learn to tap out quickly to our great God. The revelation of His will to us, whether through the Word or in prayer, or by situation or by revelation,  is our invitation to tap-out.

His ways are not our ways. We’ve been told that.
Isaiah 55:8
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

Job functions as a sports star of scripture (who eventually tapped out after 42 chapters of affliction and testing, theorizing, speculating, justifying and contemplating. Bless that man!)
Job 42:1-6
1 Then Job answered the Lord and said:
2 “I know that You can do everything,
And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4 Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’
5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.
(BEHOLD: THE TAP-OUT)
6 Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.”

Following is a lengthy but valuable portion section of scripture, that teaches us process from stubbornness and religiosity and refusal, to suffering by a corrective God, to repentance and blessings, finally when the folks of God might hear and obey the word of God. Things don’t change.
The word is eternal. The promises remain in place, as does the call to holiness and obedience.
Hosea 5:1 – 6:3
1 “Hear this, O priests! Take heed, O house of Israel!
Give ear, O house of the king!
For yours is the judgment,
(AND WHY?)
Because you have been a snare to Mizpah
And a net spread on Tabor.
2 The revolters are deeply involved in slaughter,
Though I rebuke them all.
3 I know Ephraim,
And Israel is not hidden from Me;
For now, O Ephraim, you commit harlotry;
Israel is defiled.
4 “They do not direct their deeds
Toward turning to their God,
For the spirit of harlotry is in their midst,
And they do not know the Lord.
5 The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
Therefore Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity;
Judah also stumbles with them.
(RELIGIOSITY WON’T COMPENSATE FOR SIN)
6 “With their flocks and herds
They shall go to seek the Lord,
But they will not find Him;
He has withdrawn Himself from them.
7 They have dealt treacherously with the Lord,
For they have begotten pagan children.
Now a New Moon shall devour them and their heritage.
(THE CALL TO THE PROPHETS – Fear God not man. Speak truth)
8 “Blow the ram’s horn in Gibeah,
The trumpet in Ramah!
Cry aloud at Beth Aven,
‘Look behind you, O Benjamin!’
9 Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke;
Among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure.
10 “The princes of Judah are like those who remove a landmark;
I will pour out My wrath on them like water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment,
Because he willingly walked by human precept.
(HOW WILL GOD MOVE TO INITIATE REPENTANCE?)
12 Therefore I will be to Ephraim like a moth,
And to the house of Judah like rottenness.
13 “When Ephraim saw his sickness,
And Judah saw his wound,
Then Ephraim went to Assyria
And sent to King Jareb;
Yet he cannot cure you,
Nor heal you of your wound.
14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
And like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I, even I, will tear them and go away;
I will take them away, and no one shall rescue.
(HOW LONG WILL THE SUFFERING BE?)
15 I will return again to My place
Till they acknowledge their offense.
Then they will seek My face;
In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”

(Hosea 6 – THE CALL OF THE PROPHET – AND THE EXPLANATION AS TO WHY THE TROUBLE)
1 Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
2 After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
(THE ADMONITION, THE GLORY, THE BLESSING)
3 Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

How great is our God?

This of course is not intended to imply that every time we, or our brethren, may suffer, that it has to be a direct result of our (or their) personal stubbornness and disobedience.
The scriptures also clearly tell us that there is trouble on earth, and often the righteous suffer.

God is always aware of our suffering, and promises us that He will deliver us when we suffer.
He defends the innocent, the fatherless, the widow.
He’s all over that. Thank You, Lord.

Back on theme – still, there is much to be learned in the tap out.
It’s why our gracious Lord, teaching His disciples, throughout all times, to pray – modeled the prayer verbalization by saying:
“Your will be done……”.

It’s His will or our will. That is the choice.

Within His will, we are told to entrust ourselves to Him, as unto a faithful Creator.
1 Peter 4:19
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

Suffering out of His will (because we are walking in our will), best is to get back into His will.

I do believe, as we draw closer to the imminent return of our Lord, that the deep-drawing-in work of the Spirit, directed towards the children of God, will take us to places of deeper surrender of our own wills, so that we might further emptied of self, to be further filled with Him. That is when the great exploits of Daniel (Dan 11:32), during the most trying times on earth, will be accomplished, by His surrendered ones.

When we first got saved (in the Jesus Movement revival) there was much street witnessing. I used to think these following verses applied primarily to winning arguments by presenting the truth to the hordes of the unsaved. I have since learned that the thoughts being cast down are primarily my own thoughts, and at the time of my dying to self I can then find myself in the place of anointed authority. I aspire to live in that place of surrender. “When your obedience is fulfilled”. Behold the tap-out.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

All scripture NKJV

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