Monday, April 30, 2018

In reading the example of Rich Young Ruler, why is it so difficult for a rich man to be saved? What of tithing?

Matthew 19:24, “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Repeated in Mark and Luke, a major lesson to be taken literally.
1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money (G5365) is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 
G5365, love of money, fond of silver (money), that is, avaricious: - covetous.
Avaricious is also defined as greedy, rapacious, and grasping
Applicable verses are found throughout the Bible concerning the use of/ misuse of money. Many are found in the book of Proverbs including;
Proverbs 13:7, “There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.”
One can have great riches but be a spiritual pauper, and the poorest (financially) believer is an heir to the great riches of God.
Proverbs 21:17, “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.”
Is there really satisfaction and in luxurious living, here, wine and oil. How often have we read of the poor little rich girl? Many pursue the so-called better things in life which often drains one financially and spiritually.
As for questionable use of wealth, an example would be the oil-rich Arab countries.
Meet the super-rich Arabs
“Meet the super-rich Arabs whose life includes pet Lions, Tigers, Cheetahs, Chimps, Snakes, falcons, his n' her private jets and Collection of cars. How mega-wealthy Arab men are accessorizing their super-cars and powerboats with lions and cheetahs. Meet Humaid, He Owns Many Supercars and Many Big Cats! Humaid really is unlike any other supercar owner in the world. Why? Because he also loves big cats! He owns a selection of big cats most suited to life on the African savannah including a couple of lions, a tiger and a cheetah and he loves nothing more than posing and playing with them around his expensive supercars!”
Death is the great equalizer:
Proverbs 22:2, “The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.”
We all come from the same Creator and will all be judged someday. There are no class distinctions that survive death.
Money itself is not an evil. It is the love of money leading to greedy and questionable acquisition and misuse of same that is the evil.
Money can be used for good and for evil. Wealthy families set up foundations that do a lot of good throughout the world. Sadly, there are those such as George Soros who use money as a weapon to destroy countries.
As for the question of the young ruler and why it is so difficult for a rich man to be saved, being wealthy can lead not only to pride but to boasting about what one has done. We could ask King Nebuchadnezzar how well that worked out for him. His pride and boasting resulted in seven years of eating grass like oxen. The good news is that this experience likely saved King Nebuchadnezzar’s soul.
As for tithing, we are really just giving back to God a portion what he has provided for us.

Monday, April 23, 2018

The prophecies of the Old Testament were documented well before the New Testament period 529-2 - 14 - 3

The Septuagint was completed nearly three centuries before the birth of Jesus. The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 include Book of Isaiah from ca. 125 BC.
The Septuagint (also known as the LXX) is a translation of the Hebrew Bible into the Greek language. The name “Septuagint” comes from the Latin word for seventy. The Septuagint was translated in the third and second centuries B.C. in Alexandria, Egypt.
Here are two often quoted prophetic verses from the Septuagint:
Esaias (Isaiah) 53:5, "But he was wounded on account of our sins, and was bruised because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and by his bruises we were healed. 6 All we as sheep have gone astray; every one has gone astray in his way; and the Lord gave him up for our sins."
Michaeas (Micah) 5:2 And thou, Bethleem, house of Ephratha, art few in number to be reckoned among the thousands of Juda; yet out of thee shall one come forth to me, to be a ruler of Israel; and his goings forth were from the beginning, even from eternity.
[Brenton, Sir Lancelot C. L. English Translation of the Greek Septuagint, Including the Apocrypha]
The Great Isaiah Scroll
"The Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsaa) is one of the original seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Qumran in 1947. It is the largest (734 cm) and best preserved of all the biblical scrolls, and the only one that is almost complete. The 54 columns contain all 66 chapters of the Hebrew version of the biblical Book of Isaiah. Dating from ca. 125 BCE, it is also one of the oldest of the Dead Sea Scrolls, some one thousand years older than the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible known to us before the scrolls' discovery."
Isaiah 53 at Qumran
"Among the Dead Sea Scrolls found in caves at the village of Qumran overlooking the Dead Sea (Hebrew, Yam haMelach, Salt Sea) were fragments or whole copies of 21 distinct scrolls of the prophet Isaiah. The best known is the Great Isaiah Scroll (designated 1QIsaa), the only complete copy of Isaiah at Qumran, measuring 24 feet long. It was among seven original scrolls found in 1947."
2 Peter 1:19-21, “19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 
353 Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus - A good witnessing Tool

Jesus decreed blindness on Israel (Luke 19:42) until..... 529-2 - 14 - 2

Jesus rode into Jerusalem in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Also, the timing was as prophesied in Daniel 9:25.
Luke 19:41-42, “41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.” It is as if scales have covered their eyes and they were and are blinded to Jesus as Messiah.
Saul was spiritually blinded by the law to the point that he persecuted the believing Jews. On the road to Damascus, Saul had an encounter with the glorified Jesus and was blinded physically. Ananias was sent to Saul by Jesus, "that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost." Act 9:18, “And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight , and arose, and was baptized.” Perhaps foretelling of when the fullness of the Gentiles come in and the scales drop from the eyes of the Israelis.
Matthew 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”
Jesus held the Jews responsible to know the time of thy visitation. Matthew 23:38-39, “38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
Romans 11:25 speaks to how long the blindness would last. “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” The fullness of the Gentiles is when the Gentile bride is completed and caught up/ Raptured from the earth; then God will resume His dealings with Israel.
Ezekiel 37 and the “Valley of dry bones” is prophetic of the restoration of the unbelieving Israel that occurred in the 20th Century. Ezekiel 36:22, “Therefore say to the Israelite's, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name.” God cannot abandon Israel without breaking His Word. God will protect the Jews as prophesied in both Ezekiel 38 and Psalm 83.
During the tribulation many Jews will be killed by the Antichrist and his minions, nevertheless, a remnant will escape to Petra. According to Zechariah, the remnant “shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son.” Then the scales will drop from their eyes and they will be brought into the Kingdom.
As Christians we are required to know the time in which we live, to be like the Sons of Issachar.

John 8 and Psalm 69 provide insight into Jesus’ childhood and the reputation that followed Him 529-2 - 15 - 4

John 8:18-19, “I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. 19 Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. “
John 8:41-42, “41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.”
The temple leadership accused Jesus of being born through fornication, an accusation that followed Him from childhood through His ministry.  
Psalm 69 is a Psalm that deals not only with David; it deals with the crucifixion and provides insight into the childhood of Jesus, considered illegitimate by many.
Psalm 69:4-5, “4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away. 5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.”  It’s difficult to understand the hatred directed at Jesus by the very people He came to offer eternal life. Jesus was the sinless lamb of God who took on the sins of the world. As is was 2000 years ago, so it is today.
As a child Jesus was subject of speculation. Psalm 69:12, “They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards.”  The men who sat at the gate of the city would be like today’s city council members. They would speculate as to who was the father of Jesus and the town drunks would make up vulgar songs.
Prior to the resurrection Jesus siblings likely rejected and ridiculed Him as possible mentally defective. Psalm 69:8, “I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children.” Psalm 69:10, “When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.”
Again, Psalm 69 is prophetic of the crucifixion including Jesus being given vinegar to drink. Psalm 69:21, “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” John 19:28-30, “28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
Psalm 69 also suggests the second coming of Jesus as the avenging Lion of Judah and of His reign during the Millennium. Psalm 69:34-36, “34 Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein. 35 For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. 36 The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.”

Friday, April 20, 2018

Adam was a type of Christ 529-2 - 13 - 5

Who Created God?
“Every event has a cause.
The universe is an event.
Therefore, the universe has a cause. (And, of course, he said that cause was God).”
[Pastor Lutzer]
As a Christian I hold to the worldview is that our world is deliberate result of our Creator: Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning (H7225) God created (H1254) the heaven (H8064) and the earth (H776).
H7225 - the first, in place, time, order or rank (specifically a firstfruit): - beginning, chief first-fruits, first part, principal thing.
H1254 - to create; select, feed (as formative processes): - choose, create (creator), cut down, dispatch, do, make.
H8064 - to be lofty; the sky, aloft; alluding to the visible arch in which the clouds move, as well as to the higher ether where the celestial bodies revolve.
H776 - to be firm; the earth, a land, country, earth, field, ground, land, nations, wilderness, world.
Genesis 2:7, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
Adam was created by God as were the angels. God formed his body from the dust of the ground, but only by the breath of God did Adam become a living being.
Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
Jesus was not a creation of God but was from everlasting.
Genesis 2:21-22, “21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” God provided Adam with a helpmate, Eve.
Genesis 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” God created he marriage bond between Adam and Eve, a type of the relationship that exists between Christ and the Church.
Then came Satan. Eve was beguiled by Satan; however, Adam ate of the forbidden tree with full knowledge. Adam chose to join his bride in a hostile world suffering spiritual death, a foreshadowing of Jesus sacrificing his life on the cross for his bride, the Church.
Genesis 3:21 “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” In his concern for his creation, God sewed skins of animals for Adam and Eve to wear both to protect their bodies and to demonstrate that a blood sacrifice would be needed to redeem mankind.
Hebrews 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
By giving up paradise for his wife, Adam was a type of Jesus who was the propitiation for his bride the Church: Philippians 2:8, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Both the Shroud of Turin and the fiery serpent of Numbers can be a hindrance to a person's faith 543 - 8 - 2

Numbers 21:8 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent (H8314), and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”
H8314, A masculine noun meaning a serpent, generally a poisonous snake. There is a burning sensation from the serpent's bite sent as judgment.
King Hezekiah, a ruler in Judah, was one of the kings who did what was right in the eyes of God. He was a great reformer, campaigning against all forms of idolatry. 2 Kings 18:4, “He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.” Nehushtan, meaning literally "A Bronze Thing."
Much has been written and theorized concerning the Shroud of Turin as being the covering that was used to wrap Jesus's body
Why Shroud of Turin's Secrets Continue to Elude Science
“The 53-square-foot rectangle of linen known as the Shroud of Turin is one of the most sacred religious icons on Earth, venerated by millions of Christians as the actual burial garment of Jesus Christ.
It is also among the most fiercely debated subjects in contemporary science, an extraordinary mystery that has defied every effort at solution.
Over the 117 years since a photographic negative of the linen unexpectedly revealed the image of a tortured body, ranks of physicists and chemists have weighed in on the fabric’s age and the image’s composition. Forensic pathologists, microbiologists, and botanists have analyzed its bloodstains, along with specks of dirt and pollen on its surface. Statisticians have combed through mountains of data.”
The shroud appears to be that of a man who was crucified. Carbon dating indicates that it postdated Jesus by centuries. Then it was theorized that the piece of cloth tested had been added later. Speculation concerning the shroud continues.
Full Scale 3D Printed Model of Christ Created Using the Famous Shroud of Turin
“Professor Giulio Fanti at the University of Padua created this 3D printed carbon model of Christ using precise measurements taken from the Shroud of Turin.”
The Roman Catholic Church places great values on relics such as:
Head of St Catherine of Siena
Blood of Saint Januarius
The Tongue of St Anthony of Padua
The Finger of St Thomas
Like the fiery serpent, the above relics including the Shroud of Turin are just things. King Hezekiah broke the fiery serpent, “A Bronze Thing” as it had become an idol. Relics denigrate who Jesus was. It's very easy to get caught up in things and forget the simple declaration by Paul 1 Colossians 15:3-4, “3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
Of great spiritual importance to me is the burial napkin that was neatly folded beside where Jesus' head would have been. In that day a folded napkin meant "I am coming back." Jesus rose again and was seen by hundreds of people. We still have His promise of the folded napkin, He will be back!

The brass serpent in Numbers 21 was a foreshadow of the death of Jesus on the cross. 543 - 8 - 5

During their time in the wilderness, the people often murmured against God. Murmured, Strong’s H3885, to stop usually over night; by implication to stay permanently; to be obstinate, to complain, grudge, remain, tarry.
It sounds like instead of moving on the Israelites would tarry in one place and complain. Murmured appears several times in the Torah, Exodus 15:24, 16:2, 17:3, Numbers 14:2, 14:29, 16:41 and Deuteronomy 1:27.
God parted the Red Sea for the passage of the Israelites and closed it on the Egyptian army, manna to as food, water from rocks and garments that didn't wear out; still the people murmured. Numbers 21:6, “And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.”
The people asked Moses to intervene with God, Numbers 21:7, “Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.”
Numbers 21:8, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent (H8314), and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”
An interesting therapy as a serpent is symbolic of sin and brass of judgment. H8314 - Burning, that is, (figuratively) poisonous (serpent); specifically a saraph or symbolical creature (from their copper color): - fiery (serpent), seraph.
Numbers 21:9, “And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”
Fast-forward hundreds of years to the time that Jesus stepped out of eternity. Here Jesus was not only instructing his disciples, he schooled Nicodemus as well. John 3:13, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” Jesus is/ was fully man and fully God.
John 3:14, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:” Moses lifting the brass serpent in the wilderness was prophetic of Jesus being lifted on the cross.
Just as the Israelites were instructed to look at the fiery serpent and be healed, we are to look to Jesus for our redemption. Jesus carried all the sin that ever was or ever will be to the cross. We are offered the gift of an eternity with Jesus; however, it is our choice as to whether we accept it or not. John 3:18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Remez throughout the Bible 529-1 - 12 - 1

Often with God there is a hint of something hidden in plain sight, something of a Remez. Remez hints at the deep (allegoric: hidden or symbolic) meaning beyond just the literal sense. CM often mentions the layout of the camp of Israel forming a near perfect cross. A remez?
Melchizedek is a remez in my opinion. After rescuing his nephew Lot, Abram was returning home and was met by Melchizedek who was both a king (of Sodom) and a priest. Scripture provides no record of father or mother or genealogy for Melchizedek. Genesis 14:18, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” Bread and wine, a foretelling of the Last Supper?
Confirmation of Melchizedek being a king and a priest is found in Psalm 110:4, “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. “And echoed again in Hebrews 5:6, “As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” There are only three occurrences of being both King and priest in the Bible, Melchizedek, Jesus and the Church.
Melchizedek may have been a theophany of Christ as suggested in Psalm 110:1, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Supported by Luke 22:69, “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.”
The Red Heifer and Jesus turning water into wine is another remez. In Numbers 19 we read that a female red heifer without spot, etc., would be ceremoniously slain, blood sprinkled, and the ashes stored for use either at the temple or in more remote areas of worship. The ashes of the red heifer, when mixed ceremoniously with water was considered "Water of purification."
Jesus performed his first miracle during the wedding at Capernaum.  I understand from another commentary that the jars used by Jesus to turn water into wine were meant for the water of purification, i.e. a religious use. Had the temple leaders known of the use Jesus had made of the water purification jars they would have considered it an abomination. Was Jesus simplifying the many laws of the “Old Covenant” into the “New Covenant.”
We are covered by the blood of Jesus, a one-time propitiation that forever negates the requirement for blood sacrifices. There will be animal sacrifices during the millennial kingdom likely due to people born during that period who reject the gift of grace and/ or revert to the law.
Another remez is Joseph interpreting the dreams of a baker and the wine steward. Matthew Fontaine Maury, the “Father of Oceanography,” noticed that in Isaiah 43:16 God spoke of “a path in the mighty waters” and in Psalm 8:8 “the paths of the seas.” He produced charts of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, a profile of the Atlantic seabed, and the first modern oceanographic text.
Indeed, there are many remez found throughout the Bible.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Angels are found throughout the Bible 529-1 - 12 - 5

Angels are powerful and serve God and can take on the form of a human being as evidenced by the Bible including:
Genesis 19:1, “And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;” After Lot insisted the two angels enter his home, the men of Sodom beat on the door saying they wanted to “know” Lot’s two guests. The angels “smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness.” Lot his family were removed from danger by the two angels before fire and brimstone could destroy Sodom and Gomorrah until.
When the king of Syria sent men to capture Elisha he calmed his servant Kings 6:16, “And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” Then the servant was treated to an extraordinary and supernatural experience. Kings 6:17, “And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” 
Isaiah 37:36, “Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.” Also 2 Kings 19:35.
 Daniel had a vision of the archangel Gabriel, Daniel 10:5-6, “Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: 6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.”
Two angels appeared at the empty tomb, Luke 24:3-4, “3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments”
An encounter with an angel, I think so. I grew up in Michigan, the youngest of three children. We lived in a big old frame house that was very expensive to heat. We have plenty of blankets upstairs but no heat as no registers. Winter mornings the three of us kids would race downstairs and the first one down would to get to sit on the register in the living room and warm up.
I rarely was the first to get to the cozy register, however, one morning I was downstairs first and was soaking up the warmth in my flannel nightie, years before flame resistant materials were common. I heard an audible voice behind me telling me to get up and I immediately stood up a distance from the register.
Apparently, there was coal dust in the vent to the register because a flame shot out about 3 feet. The flame lasted a very short time, but I remember it distinctly. I told my mom about it, but she didn’t seem to believe me. All these decades later I remember turning around and seeing the flame. So, was this the devil trying to destroy a child of God before I was old enough to oppose him?
Angels are real and can take the form of a human or be a voice of warning. Angels are found throughout the Bible, Archangel Michael as the warrior of God and Gabriel as a messenger of God.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Spiritual maturity 543 - 7 -3

James 5:7, “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.”
Here James speaks to believers who were being persecuted. James uses the farmer as an illustration of the need for patience. The farmer plants his seeds and waits. First comes the early rain allowing the seed to germinate. Then the latter rain at the end of the season.
The Parable of the Sower
CM provided a very pithy summary of the Four Soils, Matthew 13:5-8:
• Wayside without understanding; birds steal the seed away.
• Stony places without root; fail under pressure.
• Among thorns; too entangled in the cares of this world.
• Good ground; hearing and understanding: bear much fruit.
To me, soils three and four apply to Christians. Soil three is the easily distracted Christian and Soil four is the spiritually mature Christian.
Matthew 13:7, “And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:” Here the earth was somewhat broken up but was not cleared of brambles and thorns. Do we Christians get so involved with the cares of the world that we sometimes take our eyes off God.
Matthew 13:8, “But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” This is my goal; earth that is deep and well broken so the roots of the Word can take hold and the thorns/ Flesh are removed so the roots are not choked off. A goal that I often fall short of, a work in progress.
King David is an example of grace under fire and spiritual maturity. Psalm 141:3-4, “3 Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. 4 Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.” 
The above verses, mentioned by CM, are compatible James 1:19-21, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls”. 
As a work in progress towards spiritual maturity I work daily at keeping my focus on God as I wait for the Blessed Hope. According to “The Doctrine of Imminence” we can expect Jesus at any moment; there is nothing more required for the Rapture of the Church to occur. Like the five wise virgins in The Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25 I’m to keep my lamp filled with oil so I'll be ready when Jesus comes in the clouds for his Church.

Monday, April 9, 2018

"Opportunity costs" and it's application to my everyday living and where I spent eternity 543 - 7 - 2

Back in the corporate world I did many cost analyses concerning the costs for packaging a given product. Two primary resources were the cost of materials required and the cost and the availability of workforce. Here the opportunity cost was in developing one product and not another that had less return on investment.
Later in my working career I changed to the aerospace industry, taught myself database management and helped implement better organization. My opportunity cost was giving up packaging development.
Although retired, time and income are limited so daily I consider my opportunity cost. Do I spend time in prayer and in reading the Bible or spend time in frivolous activities? As for my fixed income, do I give to the Lord or spend money on myself. Cloths wear out and hairdos are good for a few days. Time spent with the Lord is priceless. Yesterday a couple who are missionaries in Lisbon were guest speakers at church. The small amount I gave to their organization gifted me far more than it did them.
Joshua 24:15, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Every day we have the choice,  to serve God or to serve the world.
James asks, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:7, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” This would be a sin of commission rather than a sin of omission. Does a sin of commission would carry a greater penalty than a sin of omission?
James gives good advice, 4:15, “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that”. 1 Timothy 6:19, “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” I try to do God’s will, the opportunity cost of not doing so has eternal ramifications.
In the Parable of the Rich Fool Jesus taught about a rich man whose ground had “brought forth plentifully.” The man had so much that he was running out of room. His solution, pull down his barns, and build greater storage room then in time he could retire and eat, drink, and be merry. Oops, Luke 12:20, “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” 
Lesson learned, Luke 12:21, “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Rather follow Matthew 6:20-21, “20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 

Examples of expositional constancy throughout the Bible 529-1 - 1 - 3

According to CM, “The Principle of Expositional Constancy” is the theory that an idiom is used the same way throughout Scripture. A few examples would be the rock, leaven, a lamb, and the scarlet thread.
Throughout both the Old and New Testaments the rock and/ or stone is used a type of the Messiah. I covered this in “References about rocks that have messianic overtones.”
Thayer's definition of leaven; “metaphorically of inveterate mental and moral corruption, viewed in its tendency to infect others Leaven is equated with sin, a puffing up.” The Complete Word Study Dictionary adds the reference of a false doctrine and is associated with “hypocrisy and insincerity.”
There are 29 references to leaven in the Bible in 20 verses, 18 in the Old Testament and 11 in the New Testament.
First mention of leaven in the Bible, Exodus 12:15, “Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.”
Matthew 13:33, “Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” The Believer’s Bible Commentary suggests that in this parable the meal represents the Biblical food of God and the leaven is evil doctrine. The woman is a false prophet as in Revelation 2:20.
Jesus warned of the Hypocrisy of the Pharisees in Luke 12:1, “…., he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” This warning was repeated in Matthew 16:6,11,12 and Mark 8:15.
Paul warns us in Galatians 8:9, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”
From Genesis through Revelation, the Lamb is an idiom for the Messiah.
Genesis 22:8, “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” Prophetic of Jesus as our propitiation.
Passover lamb, Exodus 12:5, “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats”
Exodus 12:13, “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” As the Israeli were protected by the blood of the lamb, the blood of Jesus protects us.
 John 1:29, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Again, Jesus was to be our propitiation.
1 Peter 1:1, “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
Revelation 22:3, “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him” is one of several verses in Revelation referring to the Lamb.
One of the many patterns In the Bible is the Scarlet Thread that starts in Genesis with the seed of the woman. Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her’s; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
When departing Egypt God told Moses, Exodus 12:7, “And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.”
An interesting interweaving of the Scarlet Thread is in the story of sons of Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar. Genesis 38:29-30, “And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez. And afterward came out his brother that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah. Pharez/ Perez was in the line of Jesus.
The Scarlet Thread hung from her window saved Rahab and her family. Rahab is  in the line of Jesus.
Psalm 22:6, “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” 
On the cross Jesus gave His life as a propitiation to bridge the gap between a righteous God and fallen man, something of a similitude to the Tola, the scarlet worm, who gives her life so that her young may have life. Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
The lamb and the rock are two idioms of Jesus and are found throughout the Bible. The Scarlet Thread also weaves its way throughout the Bible. Leaven is an idiom for sin, puffing up and hypocrisy.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Transfiguration and Revelation have the two witnesses in common 529-1 - 11 - 6

The Transfiguration, Matthew 17:1-3, “1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.” The Shekinah Glory!
Revelation 11:3, “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.”  During the first half of the tribulation, the two Witnesses will be Elijah and Moses. This is based on the powers given to them by God in the past that will match those prophesied to happen during the tribulation.
2 Kings 1:12, “And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.”
Revelation 11:5, “And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” 
1 Kings 17:1, “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.”
James 5:17, “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.”
Exodus 4:9, “And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.”
Revelation 11:6, “These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” Here Elias is responsible for the 3 ½ year drought and Moses for turning the water to blood.
Matthew 17:8, “And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.” Elias and Moses were taken up after their meeting with Jesus. 
After the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation, the beast murders the two witnesses. Their bodies will lay on the streets putrefying for 3 1/2 days and then they will be called to heaven. Revelation 11:12, “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” 
Just as Elias and Moses were with Jesus during the Transfiguration they will be the two witnesses during the first half of the tribulation.
As an aside, 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” This verse is so wonderful because when we are with the Lord we shall be like him. I still grief for the prideful Dr. Hawkins who attributed God's creation to the forces of gravity. Had Dr. Hawkins given his life to Jesus and he would have traded his twisted body for a glorified body.

Friday, April 6, 2018

A very blessed colt of a donkey 529-1 - 10 - 8

Palm Sunday Pastor Bruce of our local Assembly of God Church talked about the donkey that Jesus rode into Jerusalem. First a little background.
Daniel 9:25, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”
This was a timeline brought to Daniel by the angel Gabriel; from the time Nehemiah was sent to Judah to rebuild the walls until The Triumphal Entry and when the “Messiah be cut off.”
Jesus sent two disciples to find a tethered donkey, and a colt with her and bring them to Jesus. If the owner asked why, they were to explain that the Lord needed the animals. Jesus would ride into Jerusalem to the cheering of the crowd as they spread palms before him.
Matthew 21:5, “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” This was in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”
Pastor Bruce’s points concerning the colt:
1. Jesus choose the younger colt
   a. It was not brainwashed
   b. It was ready to be used
2. The colt was prophesied {Zechariah 9:9)  
   a. Are we, like the colt, the generation to fulfill prophecy?
Joel 2:28-29, “28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29  And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” 
3. The colt had to be loosed, men had him tied up
a. Like the colt we are too often tied up by the cares and expectation of the world. We need to be set free (set aside) to follow Jesus.
b. Lesson learned, don't let the world (fresh) tie us up.
4. The colt was tied up, but Jesus knew where he was.
a. Jesus unties us as we accept His gift of grace, confess our sins, and repent.
b. The colt obeyed Jesus
c. Jesus turned Jerusalem upside down.
5. More lessons learned.
a. If God can use the colt of a donkey He can surely use us.
b. The colt received no recognition, nor should we, it’s all about Jesus.
As an aside, there is another donkey, a talking donkey, mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Numbers. Balaam was a soothsayer, a “prophet for profit,” for hire. He agreed to use his ability contrary to God’s will.
Balak, king of the Moabites, feared the Israeli so he sent messengers to Balaam and asked him to curse Israeli. God intervened. Numbers 22:12, "And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed."
At first Balaam refused to curse Israel and eventually traveled to Moab but not until after a conversation with his donkey. Numbers 22:28, “And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?” Numbers 22:31, “Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head and fell flat on his face.”  
Balaam did suggest a way for Balak to corrupt Israel through the flesh. However, there was a final blessing, Numbers 24:17, “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.:
There is an earlier reference to a scepter, Genesis 49:10, “The sceptre (H7626) shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (H7886) come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”
H7626, to branch off; a scion, that is, (literally) a stick (for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc.) or (figuratively) a clan: -  X correction, dart, rod, sceptre, staff, tribe.
H7886, Shiloh, an epithet of the Messiah: - Shiloh.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

My attitude toward the Cross of Jesus Christ is so important to your eternity. 543 - 6 - 2

The foreshadowing of the cross appears in the garden. Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” God had foreknowledge that man would fall so He had a solution. Satan would be the author of evil and bruise the heel of Jesus, nevertheless, Jesus would ultimately destroy him.
Genesis 3:21, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins and clothed them.” God provided coats of skins for Adam and Eve but at the cost of blood. In the same way, we are covered by the blood of Jesus shed on that cross; we are justified before God.
Several years ago Pastor Bruce of the Assembly of God Church talked about “The Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross.” I was inspired to investigate and write an article concerning prophecies fulfilled by Jesus while impaled upon the cross.
Psalm 22 could have been dictated from the foot of the cross. Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?”
Jesus was Tortured and mocked, Psalm 22:7-8, “7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.” There was no deliverance from the cross for Jesus except the deliverance of death.
Matthew 27:46, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Jesus called out to His God and not to His Father as a righteous God could not look at Jesus who represented all the sin that ever was or ever would be. Mark confirms this in Mark 15:34.
Earlier, Jesus stood before Pilate, John 18:37, “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”
Jesus was and is our propitiation, by His sacrifice on the cross Jesus assured us of salvation, nevertheless, we must accept it and place our complete faith, trust, and life in Jesus. To do less endangers our wonderful eternity in the presence of Jesus.

John the Baptist prepared the way of the Lord 529-1 - 10 - 2

The last book in the Old Testament is Malachi which ends with a curse, Malachi 4:5-6, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
Hundreds of years late, an angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias, Luke 1:13, “But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.”
Luke 1:15, “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.”
Luke 1:17, “He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
John would be the prophet of the Most High, the forerunner of Jesus and was tasked with preparing the way for His coming. This was in fulfillment of Malachi's prediction of a messenger to “prepare the way.” As BACs we too are to “prepare the way.”
After the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel, Mary left Nazareth to visit her cousin Elisabeth who was then six months pregnant. The child Elisabeth was carrying would become the prophet known as John the Baptist. Luke 1:41, “And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Decades later John was fulfilling his charge as forerunner to Jesus. Matthew 3:1-3, “1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" 3  For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS: 'PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD; MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.' "
John led a very austere life in the wilderness while baptizing many and warning them to repent. When Jesus was starting his ministry John the Baptist had the following testimony. "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29.
At his first coming, Jesus most assuredly was the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. Jesus gave his life as a propitiation so that we can appear before a righteous God rather than face damnation. Just as John the Baptist had to decrease so that Jesus could increase, Jesus “returned to His place” so that the Holy Spirit could come to us.
Just as John was set aside at conception to be a forerunner of Jesus, we born-again Christians were given responsibility for The Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20, “18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”