You MUST Be Born Again

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John 3:1-7 (KJV)  There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:  [2]  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.  [3]  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  [4]  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  [5]  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  [6]  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  [7]  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

The first person Jesus called to salvation was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother (see John 1:40). Nicodemus was not the first. He was not even in the top five. but Nicodemus was the first powerful man who humbled himself to come to Jesus.

Nicodemus did not TOTALLY humble himself. The name “Nicodemus” literally means “Victory of the People”. His name shows us that he was a politician and as a politician was loved by the people.

Jesus said: Luke 6:26 (KJV)  Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you!for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

If you live for the Lord you will have a few enemies. The darkness hates the light! The world of dark light – the Luciferian darkness – hates the Light of God and His Children. So Nicodemus as a politician was well loved. Further, Nicodemus was powerful. The Bible says that he was:

a ruler of the Jews

The“rulers of the Jews” were members of the Sanhedrin, a council of 70 leaders who oversaw the nation. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a powerful man. He was drawn by God to Christ, and humbled himself, but just so much. The Bible tells us that Nicodemus:

The same came to Jesus by night

The Pharisees were conservative in their religion. When Jesus came and cleansed the Temple of the money changers, was chasing out those who had allowed the liberal practice of using the Temple to make money. The Sadducees were the liberal element that perhaps encouraged this behavior. The Pharisees would not have despised Christ for chasing the Sadducees out, though they disliked Jesus for other reasons. Nicodemus came to Jesus “by night” for two reasons.

Nicodemus wanted to meet Christ but didn’t want his people
nor his power base to know what he was doing.
Nicodemus was in spiritual darkness.
Though he had a name as being a Bible scholar,
he was resting not in God but in darkness.

There are many like this in God’s Church. Jesus said:

John 11:10 (KJV) … if a man walks in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

Nicodemus was stumbling around in the darkness. He came to see Jesus but was ashamed to publicly profess his need. When Nicodemus came to Jesus by night the first word he said was:

Rabbi

Jesus, You are a Rabbi”. Nicodemus meant to honor Jesus, but he honored Christ, not as He is but as he – Nicodemus – though He was. Jesus to Nicodemus was not LORD.

John the Baptist came to “Make straight the way of the LORD” (John 1:23)
The disciples told Jesus “LORD, to Whom shall we go?
You ALONE have the Words of Life” (John 6:68)
The sinning woman forgiven by Jesus said “No man condemns me, LORD” (John 8:11)
The blind boy received his sight when he told Jesus “LORD, I believe.” (John 9:38)
Martha told Jesus “Yes, Lord: I believe that You are the Christ,
the Son of God (John 11:27)

And Jesus said, “You call Me Master and LORD, and you are right, for I am!” (John 13:13)

Jesus is LORD! He may have taught, but He is more than a Rabbi. He is LORD. He is God incarnate, God among us, God in the flesh. He is LORD. His Words are LIFE and LIGHT. Nicodemus went on to say:

we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him

Jesus is God with us. Nicodemus saw Jesus not as “God with us” (see Matthew 1:23)but as“God is with Him”. God is with Jesus, but Jesus is no mere man. He is the Son of Man and the Son of God. Nicodemus was a Rabbi himself and saw Jesus as his equal. That was why he addressed the Lord as he did. Notice that Jesus does not correct Nicodemus – He IGNORES what he said.

Jesus Does Not Argue Light With A Blind Man

Too often today the Church has tried to be “seeker sensitive” in order to reach the world. People study apologetics and spend time trying how best to win arguments with the lost. A person who does not know Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior is in darkness. Jesus came:

Luke 1:79 (KJV)  To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Jesus said in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Nicodemus was in darkness. He was in physical darkness because he came to Jesus by night. But he is in spiritual darkness because he does not know the Lord. He knows God as one might know Abraham Lincoln or George Washington. He knows God by studying the Scriptures. But Nicodemus needs something, and Jesus cuts right to the point. He says:

John 3:3 (KJV) … Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he CANNOT SEE the kingdom of God.  

A person must be born a second time – born again– or else that person cannot SEE the Kingdom of God. This is the big problem in the Church and in the world today. A blind person does not know light nor color because a blind person cannot SEE. That blind person must be GIVEN NEW EYES. Those who are spiritually blind cannot be argued nor persuaded into believing in the light. God must open their eyes. When God came to save us:

Isaiah 35:5 (KJV)  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

Nicodemus, you must be born AGAIN. You were born ONCE from your mother, but you need to be BORN of God. You need to be BORN AGAIN:

1 Peter 1:23 (KJV)  Being BORN AGAIN, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.

We have always had many religious people in temple and church, but we need those who are BORN AGAIN. Jesus said:

John 9:39 (KJV) … For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

Nicodemus thought he saw – but he did not. Jesus showed him he was lacking, blind, in need of a new birth. Nicodemus is puzzled, as all lost people are puzzled. He asks:

John 3:4 (KJV) Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

To the lost the FLESH is everything, the PHYSICAL is what matters the most. All Nicodemus could understand at this point is that Jesus was talking about a second birth, and all he could think of was his mother’s womb. When we are born into this world we are born sinners. David said:

Psalms 51:5 (KJV)  Behold, I was shapened in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

That little baby – so cute and cuddly – is born in sin. If you do not think so watch your child in the sandbox with other children. Another child comes to play. One child will drop the toy he is playing with to grab another child’s toy. This is sin. Sometimes one child will crown another child with a toy. THUNK! This is sin. In our first birth, we are born sinners. This is why the Scripture declares without reservation:

Romans 3:23 (KJV)  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 5:12 (KJV)  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

We are all sinners because Adam passed on his old sin nature to us all.“And so death passed upon all mankind, for ALL have sinned”. We are all sinners because the nature of Adam is upon us. We are all sinners because we sin. Nicodemus couldn’t understand this. Neither can many people today.

Many see God as a Cosmic Santa Claus, and so they sing with their lives:

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So BE GOOD FOR GOODNESS SAKE!

We can’t “be good for goodness sake”. The Scripture declares:

Psalms 14:2-3 (KJV)  The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.  [3]  They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is NONE THAT DOETH GOOD, NO, NOT ONE.

You Must Be Born Again

John 3:5-7 (KJV) … Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  [6]  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  [7]  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

What does it mean
“to be born of water and of the Spirit”?
What does it mean “to enter into the Kingdom of God”?

Let’s answer these questions one at a time.

  • To Enter The Kingdom of God Is To Obtain Eternal Life. Jesus said in another place:

Mark 9:43-48 (KJV)  And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:  [44]  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.  [45]  And if thy foot offends thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:  [46]  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.  [47]  And if thine eye offends thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee TO ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:  [48]  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Those who leave this life without God do not enter into the Kingdom of God, but into a place of burning where the fire is not quenched. To enter into the Kingdom of God you must be born again. To avoid a future hell you must be born again. Birth is something we cannot do for ourselves. It is something that God must do for us. We were born physically into this world totally apart from our own effort. We are born into God’s Kingdom totally apart from our effort.

  • To Be Born Of Water And Of The Spirit does not refer to any work that we can do, but to a work that only God can do. In the PHYSICAL world, we are born of water and of the flesh. We come forth from our mothers into this world. In the SPIRITUAL world, we are born of water and of the Spirit. In the Old Testament (and the Old Testament was the Bible that Nicodemus read from) God is often depicted as cleansing water. We read:

Jeremiah 2:13 (KJV)  For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken ME THE FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATERS and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

God is “The Fountain of Living Waters”. It is He Who cleanses the sinner and makes us pure. It is God that David spoke to when He said:

Psalms 51:7 (KJV)  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

God washes His people from sin. The LORD is the “fountain of living waters”.

Jeremiah 17:13 (KJV)  O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have FORSAKEN THE LORD, THE FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATERS.

It is God the Holy Spirit Who must cleanse us from sin. It is God the Holy Spirit Who must make us born again. It is the Blood of the Christ that cleanses us:

1 John 1:7 (KJV)  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the BLOOD of Jesus Christ his Son CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN.

To be “born again” is to be washed at the soul level by God.
To be “born again” is to be changed supernaturally from Adam’s child to God’s Child.
To be “born again” is to be part of God’s Kingdom both now and into eternity.
To be “born again” is to be changed from one creature to another Creation.

When you are “born again” you are “born from above” as says the Scripture:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (KJV)  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  [10]  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  [11]  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Those who are “born again” are WASHED by God. They are SANCTIFIED, set apart for God. They are JUSTIFIED or declared righteous by the Blood of Christ. Salvation is entirely an act of God. God must make us BORN AGAIN. God must change us. God must do this. God must make us new creatures in Christ where the old has passed away, and behold, all things are made new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus emphasizes our inability to be BORN AGAIN when He illustrates God’s ministry of salvation, saying:

John 3:8 (KJV)  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

You can hear the wind in the trees. You can feel its cool breeze on a hot day. You can see the leaves rustling. But you neither make the wind blow nor control the wind. God does. Only God does. I cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless I am born again, and being born again is something I can experience, but not something I can force or work toward.

So how to be born again?
We must receive and believe the Lord Jesus.
He must be more than a Rabbi to me.
Nicodemus, you are not His equal.
Jesus is God’s Son.

John 3:13 (KJV)  And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

As Jesus spoke to Nicodemus He referred to Himself as “The Son of Man”. He said, “no one ascends to Heaven but He (Jesus Christ) Who came down from Heaven”. Jesus is the Messiah Who came from Heaven. And then Jesus said something mind-blowing. “Even The Son of Man which IS IN HEAVEN”. He said, “I came from Heaven, but as I stand before you Nicodemus I AM IN HEAVEN”. Jesus is both mortal, and immortal. He is both Sinless Man and Perfect God. Why did Jesus come?

Jesus Gave Himself So We Can Be Born Again

John 3:14 (KJV)  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so, must the Son of man be lifted up:

Jesus came to be LIFTED UP on the Cross of Calvary. When sin brought snakes in the camp of Israel in the Old Testament – deadly snakes – God told Moses to put a bronze serpent on a pole and lift it up. When the people looked at that serpent believing they would be saved (see Numbers 21:9ff). Jesus must be “lifted up”. He came from Heaven as the “Son of Man” to die for our sins.

John 3:15-16 (KJV)  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  [16]  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

When we believe in Jesus as He is – not just as a Rabbi but as the Messiah Who died for our sins – then God’s Holy Spirit comes to our lives. We become “born again” as the Spirit separates us from the world and binds us to God. Jesus came so that believing in Him we could be brought into God’s Kingdom. God does not wish us to perish, but to be with Him forever. Christ is the Key to the Kingdom. Believe Him. Receive Him. Trust Him. Follow Him. May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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Jesus, John, and Paul – Amen!

good words!

Dana S. Bicks LLC, Author

I told my wife I felt as if I am starting off in the middle of this blog, with no beginning nor an end. It all began with research on questions plaguing my brain about the simple word, amen. For example, do you know what it really means? I read the footnotes of articles which brought me to an inconclusive decision so, I dug deeper. Where I ended up is mind-blowing, especially for those growing up in the era of the sixties. I am from a generation of influential music such as the Beatles, and I even have to contemplate the answers I found to be true.

We all know the biblical story of God’s conception of a special child named Jesus. He was given to us for our salvation and to spiritually guide us in life on earth. But did you know the Lord, himself, never uttered amen

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“Church” is the Object of God’s Supreme Regard, but what is a “Church” ?

good article. Thank you!

The Red Horse War.com a book of Bible Symbols

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;…(Ephesians 5:25)

"THE CHURCH" A building? With eminence political power and ties to all Governments of the World. "A position of prominence or superiority!" “THE CHURCH” A building? With eminence political power and ties to all Governments of the World. “A position of prominence or superiority!”

What manner of love is this that Jesus laid down His Life, for His Bride as Christ loved the “church.”

He gave Himself, He humbled Himself, He sacrificed Himself for His Bride, His Wife, His Church.

When a humble priest came from Germany to the see the Pope, He was frightened by the beauty, pomp and ceremony, riches and splendor of Rome! How could God use such “glory and power,” to honor the name of the lowly Jesus, hanging in shame, among the Idols, once venerated and worshiped as the gods of Jupiter, sun gods, women gods, idols, the Pagan gods of Rome!

Painted by Givanni-Paolo the Great Halls dwarf humans to the size of an ant. Painted by Givanni-Paolo the Great Halls dwarf humans…

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God Will Save Whosoever Will

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(Revelation 7:1-8) 1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5 Of the tribe of JudaJudah were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of AserAsherwere sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of NepthalimNaphtali were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses Manasseh was sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8 Of the tribe of ZabulonZebulun were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

Revelation 7:9-11 (KJV)  After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;  10  And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.  11  And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might be unto our God forever and ever. Amen. 13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

When we come to Revelation chapter 7 we see two things at the very beginning. First, we see that God is not finished with Israel. Though one-quarter of humanity died in the Judgments of Chapter 6 – perhaps as many as 1.9 billion people – God is still in the salvation business. The Lord has always loved humanity. Even at the end of this Book the Lord cries out with His Church, saying:

Revelation 22:17 (KJV)  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take the water of life freely.

God will save whosoever will come to Him. This is the grand and central theme of Scripture. The Lord loves to save whosoever.

John 3:15-16 (KJV)  that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  [16]  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Oh, Beloved, I cannot save this enough. God wishes to damn no one. God sent His Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43). Oh, what wonderful words of life! Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed (Romans 10:11).David Platt wrote in his book Counter Culture:
The Gospel is the good news that the just and gracious Creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful men and women … {He}has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin on the Cross and to show His power over sin in the resurrection …. Everyone who turns from their sin and themselves and trusts in Jesus as Savior and Lord will be reconciled to God forever.

I have had people ask me “Will people be saved during the Great Tribulation”? The answer is a resounding YES. People will be saved. God will start by saving Israel first but then will save others. That is what we see in this text.

God Is Not Done With Israel

(Revelation 7:1-3) And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

I am told that when there is a hurricane, the calmest place to be is in its eye. Chapter 7 is like the eye of a hurricane. In Chapter 6 the Anti-Christ has been released to make war and conquer. Along with him ride bloodshed, famine, and death. One-quarter of the population of the earth is decimated. But the four angels arise to hold back destruction:

that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree

This is not just any wind, but a destructive wind. We know this because of the fifth angel – a Herald much like those who praised God when Christ was born – who says:

HURT NOT the earth, neither the sea nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads

Word StudyThe earth WILL be hurt during the Tribulation, but not now. At this moment judgment is adverted “till we have SEALED the SERVANTS of our God in their foreheads”. The word translated “sealed” is σφραγίζω sphragizō which means “to seal up or set a seal, to impress with a mark of ownership”.

Before God judged the earth by flood, He told Noah and his family to get in the Ark then God shut them in (Genesis 7:16). Before God brings utter judgment on the earth He first reaches out and saves the Servants (Doulos – bondservants) of our God. Every believer in God is“sealed”:

(Ephesians 1:13, 14) In {Jesus} ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also AFTER THAT YE BELIEVED, YE WERE SEALEDSPHRAGIZŌwith that Holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 4:30 (KJV)  And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are SEALEDSPHRAGIZŌunto the day of redemption.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (KJV)  Now he which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;  [22]  Who hath also SEALEDSPHRAGIZŌus, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

The word “Sealed” (sphragizō) is used repeatedly in this text to show that these are believers in Christ. These are also JEWS, of the House of Israel. When Christ came, He came “to the Jew FIRST”:

Romans 1:16 (KJV)  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; TO THE JEW FIRST, and also to the Greek.

Those who are saved from Israel are NUMBERED. We read:

(Revelation 7:4) And I heard the NUMBER of them which were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

There is a cultic offshoot of Christianity called the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They take this portion of the Scripture out of context and claim that the 144,000 listed here are the only ones who can enter into Heaven. This is patently untrue and can be easily proven false by reading the Scripture as it is presented. These 144,000 are“of all the TRIBES OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL”.They are taught in their Watchtower Publication:

Who and how many are able to enter it. The Revelation limits to 144,000 the number that become a part of the Kingdom and stand on heavenly Mount Zion” (Let God Be True, p.136).

This is untrue. Read your Bibles. Again I say, READ YOUR BIBLES. We read

Revelation 7:9-11 (KJV)  After this I beheld, and, lo, A GREAT MULTITUDE, WHICH NO MAN COULD NUMBER, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;  10  And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 

We are directed to see Israel saved FIRST. Israel is NUMBERED. There are 144,000 “sealed servants” in Israel. And after we see Israel numbered, we see …

A GREAT MULTITUDE, WHICH NO MAN COULD NUMBER, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne

Why did God NUMBER Israel? I have heard it said that these 144,000 saints are Hebrew Evangelists who go out and tell others of Christ. This may well be true. The Bible said that God expected His Israel to be the light of the world. To Israel was given the message of the Coming Messiah. When Jesus came He was to come to Israel, then to come for the world THROUGH Israel. The Prophets spoke of the Coming Christ:

(Isaiah 42:6-7) I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, FOR A LIGHT OF THE GENTILES; 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

(Luke 2:30-32) {Jesus is} A light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.

Matthew 12:21we are told it … “in His name Gentiles will trust.”

The Old Testament Israel was to share the Coming Christ with the world. And God did reach a few through Israel. The witness of Scripture is that …

God healed Naaman – an Aramean Commander – from leprosy
God saved Rahab a Gentile Prostitute and put her in Christ lineage
God saved Ruth a Moabite and made her of His Family
God sent Jonah to the Ninevites, the Assyrians, and many were saved

It was God’s intention to save the world through Israel. This was what He promised Abraham in Genesis 12. God said …

Abram, you shall become a mighty Nation (Israel – Genesis 12:2)
In you, ALL the nations of the world will be blessed (Gentiles – Genesis 12:3)

God wanted to save Israel and then, through Israel save the world. But sadly the Scripture declares:

John 1:11 (KJV)  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

But during the Great Tribulation, His own WILL receive Him. They will be saved, sealed, and as believers, I think they will reach out to the lost world around them. This is what I surmise from the text. Though the text doesn’t call these people evangelists they nonetheless are witnesses of Christ. We are told later of these 144,000 that:

Revelation 14:4-5 (KJV)  These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.  [5]  And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

A Hidden Truth In Israel’s Calling

As we look at the list of the Twelve Tribes we find something interesting.

Revelation 7:5-8Of the tribe of JudaJudahwere sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of AserAsherwere sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of NepthalimNaphtaliwere sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of ManassesManassehwere sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8 Of the tribe of ZabulonZebulunwere sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph tribes Manasseh & Ephraim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

  • The tribes are first of all NOT LISTED IN ORDER. This is very interesting. Each tribe is descended from a son of Jacob. The children were born in this order: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. (see Genesis 35:23-26; Exodus 1:1-4; 1 Chronicles 2:1-2). Rather than list these tribes in order, they are arranged in a certain way as to give us a wonderfully hidden meaning. I want first of all credit to Theologian and Bible Scholar Shari Abbot from Reasons for Hope Ministries. Reading her article “Is There A Hidden Message In Revelation 7?” she notes rightly that every Hebrew Name has a meaning. She researched the meanings of each name of each tribe listed and placed them together with their meanings:

Tribal Name

Meaning of Name

Judah

Praise The Lord

Reuben

He Looked On My Affliction

Gad

Good Fortune Comes

Asher

I Am Happy & Blessed

Naphtali

My Wrestling

Manasseh

Has Made Me Forget My Sorrow

Simeon

God Hears Me

Levi

Has Joined Me

Issachar

Rewarded Me

Zebulun

Exalted Me

Joseph

Adding To Me

Benjamin

The Son Of His Right Hand

When Shari put together the meaning of the names of Revelation 7 in the order they are presented she found this wonderful message:

Praise the Lord. He has looked on my affliction [and] good fortune comes. Happy and blessed am I. My wrestling has made me forget my sorrow. God hears me, has joined me, rewarded me, exalted me [by] adding to me the Son of His right hand.

What a wonderful God we have! He loves us. It takes the Great Tribulation to bring Israel to her senses, but under fire, God uses the trials of that time to cause His people to look up. God deliberately saves Israel. Israel is still in His plan.

  • Though twelve tribes are listed, the Tribe of DAN is not on this list. Why was Dan omitted? When the head of Israel (Jacob) spoke of his son Dan he said:

Genesis 49:16-17 (KJV)  Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.  [17]  Dan shall be a serpent, by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

And when Moses spoke of the Tribe of Dan he said:

Deuteronomy 33:22 (KJV) … Dan is a lion’s whelpcub: he shall leap from Bashan.

Bible scholars have long debated why Dan is removed from the list of the twelve tribes of Israel saved in the Tribulation. To put it truthfully we really do not have solid evidence as to why Dan was removed. The Scripture doesn’t tell us. However, many believe that the things said of Dan in the Old Testament point to this Tribe as being not only idolatrous, but also the Tribe from which the Anti-Christ shall come. An early Church Pastornamed Hippolytuswrote:

For as Christ springs from the tribe of Judah, so Antichrist is to spring from the tribe of Dan. And that the case stands thus, we see also from the words of Jacob: Let Dan be a serpent, lying upon the ground, biting the horse’s heel. (Genesis 49:17) What, then, is meant by the serpent but Antichrist, that deceiver who is mentioned in Genesis, (Genesis 3:1) who deceived Eve and supplanted Adam (πτερνιAdam’s heel)? But since it is necessary to prove this assertion by sufficient testimony, we shall not shrink from the task. That it is in reality out of the tribe of Dan, then, that that tyrant and king, that dread judge, that son of the devil, is destined to spring and arise, the prophet testifies when he says, Dan shall judge his people, as (he is) also one tribe in Israel. (Genesis 49:16)”

And Pastor Methodius of Olympus wrote:

When the Son of Perdition appears, he will be of the tribe of Dan, according to the prophecy of Jacob. This enemy of religion will use a diabolic art to produce many false miracles, such as causing the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear. Those possessed with demons will be exorcised. He will deceive many and, if he could, as our Lord has said, even the faithful elect. … Even the Antichrist will enter Jerusalem, where he will enthrone himself in the temple as a god (even though he will be an ordinary man of the tribe of Dan to which Judas Iscariot also belonged).”

Am I certain this is the truth? By no means. And yet God chose to NOT list Dan as a tribe of Israel, and it makes it seem as if NONE of Dan was saved. God will save whosoever will – but if you harden your heart against God He will not save you. Sadly, not all Israel is of Israel.

God Saves Many Others

(Revelation 7:9-10) After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

There is a great multitude – many people of all nations, cultures, and tongues. God saves a numbered Israel, but now we see an UNNUMBERED multitude “which no man could number”. These people are saved and gathered before the Throne and before the Lamb. When Jesus rode for the last time into Jerusalem people cast palms down before Him

Matthew 21:8 (KJV)  And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.

Now in Heaven, this scene is replayed. The people cry out:

Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb

Who are these people? One of the 24 Elders (I think, a picture of the Raptured Church) states that ….

(Revelation 7:14) …These are THEY WHICH CAME OUT OF GREAT TRIBULATION, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

These people are suffering believers who were saved “out of Great Tribulation”. Dr. Thomas Constablewrote in his commentary:

These saints will be in God’s presence because they will have believed in Jesus Christ and will have died in the first half of the Tribulation. Evidently, they will have intermediate bodies until their resurrections (cf. Matt. 17:1-3; Luke 16:19-25; Rev. 6:9-11). This appears to be the condition of Christians who die before the Rapture too (cf. 2 Cor. 5:2-3). These Tribulation saints will serve God continually (“day and night”) in His present heavenly sanctuary.”

There will be much suffering in the Tribulation, but there will also be much saved … probably more than are being saved in the prosperity-driven United States today. Though they suffer much for their faith while on an earth where anti-Christ rules, they will be comforted in Heaven.

(Revelation 7:15-17) …Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

God will bring balance in the end. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

As God saves Israel so Israel can tell others. God saves us so we can tell others. Let us tell others of the glorious salvation we can all have in Christ Jesus! May God touch your hearts with His Word!

Posted in Revelation, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

God Speaks To Whosoever Will

Isaiah 65 God Speaks To Whosoever Will.JPG

 Isaiah 65:1-10 (KJV)  I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.  [2]  I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;  [3]  A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;  [4]  Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;  [5]  Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.  [6]  Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,  [7]  Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.  [8]  Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.  [9]  And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.  [10]  And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.

We cannot study through the Book of Isaiah and not discuss Israel, God’s Chosen Nation. At the end of Isaiah 64 the Prophet prayed for mercy for Israel. He prayed:

Isaiah 64:10-12 (KJV)  Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.  [11]  Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.  [12]  Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?

This past week it was in the news that Israel became a state 70 years ago, May 14, 1948. Yet Israel did not begin 70 years ago. Israel began when God called a man called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees or ancient Babylon. God promised Abraham two things. God promised Abraham “a great nation” (Genesis 12:2). God also promised Abraham “in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Abraham followed God – not perfectly, but imperfectly. Abraham found Grace in the eyes of God. And God did exactly as God promised.

… let God be true, but every man a liar (Romans 3:4)


… Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; Deuteronomy 7:9

Why has Israel been a state for just 70 years?
Because God is faithful, but humans are not.
Why was Isaiah praying for mercy for Israel?
Because God is faithful, but humans are not.

God kept His Word to Abraham and kept His Word to Israel. Israel was a state for a long time. From the time Israel left Egypt – following God by Pillar of Fire by night and Pillar of Cloud by day – Israel was a state. Israel was and is God’s nation.

Israel Is An Example To Us And For Us

God made Israel a nation because He chose to do so. The Lord says:

Isaiah 65:1-2 (KJV)  I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.  [2]  I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

When God called Israel, Israel was not seeking God. God in love spread out His hands beseeching Israel to follow Him. And though God gave Israel life – though He miraculously saved Israel from Egypt – Israel was rebellious.

Are we any different?

God sent His Son Jesus through Israel and for Israel. God promised through the Prophets that Christ would be born of the line of King David, that He would come out of Jewish Bethlehem, that He would grow up in Nazareth. God came seeking His people, loving His people. What does the Scripture say?

1 John 4:9-10 (KJV)  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  [10]  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God loved Israel before Israel ever loved God.
God loved you and I before we ever loved God.
God sent His Son to cover and pardon our sins.

What a love God has for us all. God is persistent in His love. God says “I have stretched out my hands ALL THE DAY to a rebellious people who persist in walking in a way that is not good. They live according to their thoughts!” God stretched out His hands ALL DAY to us. He stretches out His hands even now. Do you not see Him? God offended, and yet God giving mercy. See His hands stretched out on the Cross of Calvary. See His arms held wide open! See Him willing to receive any, but so few come. We walk according to our thoughts. We deny His Word, and turn from His outstretched arms. The Lord is answering Isaiah’s prayer, saying, “I have shown mercy, and show mercy still. Yet they will not come!”

Isaiah 65:3 (KJV) A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;

God gave Israel a Temple to sacrifice in, and yet they refused to sacrifice there. They said “We will do it our way. Not God’s way, but our way.” So they sacrificed not in the Temple, but in gardens. They refused to gather to worship the Lord, but were content to sit in front of television sets or to gather in the park. God is love, so He called His people together to love one another and to worship Him together in love. But many said “we will do what we do and burn our incense on man made altars”. Israel fought among themselves, and divided. They rejected what God told them to do.

Isaiah 65:4 (KJV) Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;

God’s people are to be a living people who serve a Living God. Yet Israel fell from God, much as much of the Church in America today has fallen from God. God calls His people to be light, to reflect His glory by their obedience to Him. We are not to live like the world lives, but to be a living people following a Living God.

The proof of salvation is that we are walking with God. The Scripture says:

Galatians 5:22-26 (KJV)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  [23]  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  [24]  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  [25]  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  [26]  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Ephesians 5:2-5 (KJV)  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.  [3]  But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  [4]  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.  [5]  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

The Bible says “not all Israel is Israel” (Romans 9:6). God’s people do not live among the graves. God’s people obey God, and love God. As Israel drifted from God and into worldliness they began to give way to self righteousness, a terrible form of pride.

Isaiah 65:5 (KJV)  Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. 

The self righteous are a smoke in God’s nose, offensive to Him. The Bible teaches us that we all fall short of His glory. The Bible teaches us that but for the love of God in Christ saving us, we would all be condemned. The Bible says:

John 3:17-21 (KJV)  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  [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.  [19]  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  [20]  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  [21]  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Those who are in Christ and saved are saved by the Grace of God. But those who are saved do not walk in darkness, but walk in the light that is Christ. God will judge sin. God will punish evil doing.

It is not the Israelite that is saved.
It is the Israelite that loves the Lord Who is saved.
It is not the Baptist that is saved.
It is the Baptist that loves the Lord Who is saved.

God warns Israel – and warns us. He says:

Isaiah 65:7 (KJV) Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.

God says to Israel “As you have reaped, so shall you sow”. God did not save Israel so that Israel could walk apart from God. God saved Israel so that Israel could live their lives for Him. God did not save US, dear believer, so that we can walk apart from God. To walk apart from God is to invite judgment upon yourself. Doesn’t the Scripture say?:

1 Corinthians 11:31 (KJV)  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

God calls out to His Israel and to His Church. He that soweth to his flesh shall reap corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Galatians 6:8).

The Saved Of Israel And Of The Church
Are To Serve The Lord

Isaiah 65:8-9 (KJV) Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.  [9]  And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there. 

There were some bad grapes in Israel, but God did not destroy the whole cluster because of the bad grapes. God assures Israel that He will yet save Israel for – He declares – “My Servant’s sake”. God did not destroy Israel because Christ had yet come. Christ was to come from Israel. He was to come of the line of David. The Lord says …

I will bring forth A SEED out of Jacob
And out of Judah an Inheritor of My mountains

For Christ’s sake – and for our sake – the Lord did not destroy a rebellious Israel. Jesus was to come forth from Judah. He is the Seed of the Woman promised in Genesis 3:15, the One God promised the snake:

Genesis 3:15 (KJV)  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.

Jesus will come forth from Judah to rule over Israel. Israel is still God’s Chosen nation, still His people. Though not all Israel is Israel, for Christ’s sake the Lord will have Israel stand. God will not destroy the whole for the sake of the bad grapes. I take comfort in this, and so should you, dear Christian.

Though all the world looks as if it is going to hell in a hand basket, I cannot effect the world. But I can live for my Lord. I can choose to follow Him, to honor Him, to glorify Him. God will not destroy all of America for the bad grapes in the cluster. But if we who love the Lord continue to love Him, He will save America for Christ’s sake. You are Christ’s if you love Him. I am Christ’s if I love Him. I stand for Christ’s sake. For Christ’s sake we who love Him shall be protected.

Isaiah 65:10 And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.

To those who seek the Lord, God will preserve your land. God told His Children:

Jeremiah 29:13-14 (KJV)  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.  [14]  And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.

God has always had a remnant that He loves. Israel came back to their land 70 years ago. I believe it is because God is faithful that they returned to the land. God calls a people to Himself to bless, but they must seek the Lord. The Lord does not want your leftovers. He wants YOU. He wants YOU to want Him, to seek Him, to love Him.

SIX times in this text God speaks to His Children as “My Servants”.

We previously read that …

I will not destroy the cluster for MY SERVANTS sake (vvs 8)
MY SERVANTS shall dwell in My mountain (vvs 9)

Now God speaks to ALL OF ISRAEL saying:

Isaiah 65:13-14 (KJV)  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:  [14]  Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.  

I want you to notice the contrast. Though God speaks to ALL ISRAEL, He says:

MY SERVANTS shall eat … but YOU shall be hungry
MY SERVANTS shall drink … but YOU shall be thirsty
MY SERVANTS shall rejoice …. but YOU shall be ashamed
MY SERVANTS shall sing … but YOU shall cry

Who shall be blessed? The ones who serve the Lord.
Who shall feast in famine?
Was it not Joseph raised up of God in Egypt?
Who shall defeat giants?
Was it not David, who loved the Lord?
Who shall become a nation and bless the whole world?
Was it not Abraham who followed God?
Who shall walk through fire untouched?
Was it not the Hebrew Children who loved the Lord more than life?
Who shall lie down and snooze with lions?
Was it not Daniel who loved God more than man?
Who will God raise from hiding and fear, to make a mighty man of God?
Was it not Gideon who trusted and obeyed the Lord?

When we love the Lord we will walk in the light of His love. Let us love Him! Let us serve Him. For herein is the blessings of God.

May the Lord lift you to Him today!

Posted in Isaiah, Sermons Preached | Tagged ,

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

Empty Church.JPG

John 2:12-17 (KJV)  After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.  [13]  And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,  [14]  And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:  [15]  And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;  [16]  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.  [17]  And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

Mark 11:15-17 (KJV)  And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves;  [16]  And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.  [17]  And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

I passed a Church the other day that had a sign out front, and a bunch of people at it. The sign said:

Yard Sale Today”

As I passed that Church I wondered what Jesus would have thought of it.
Then I wondered what Jesus would think of our Church.

Do We Glorify God In All We Do?

If Jesus came into our Fellowship Hall on Sunday would He sit down and visit with us, or go about flipping tables and running people out? If He came into our Sunday School classrooms would He be pleased at what He heard. Would He hear us talking about the Lord and salvation and things that pleased Him? If Jesus came to our Church this Sunday would He empty the collection plates out of our hands, or would He see what we were doing as honoring God?

Everything that Jesus did honored God. This is what God would have us do – glorify Him FIRST. Put Him FIRST. The Scripture says:

1 Corinthians 10:31 (KJV) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Jesus glorified God.
He did things not to show off, but to honor the Father Who sent Him.

The first thing Jesus did when He was baptized was go to a Wedding Feast and turn water into wine. People argue about what Jesus did at the Wedding Feast of Cana even today. I have had preachers tell me with a straight face that Jesus didn’t make wine, but He made grape juice. Jesus couldn’t make wine. After all, we as Baptists are historically teetotalers. That’s fine, but my Bible tells me that Jesus made wine. His mother Mary told Him:

John 2:3 “They have no wine”

The fact that Jesus turned water into wine is very important for several reasons.

  • First, I don’t think Jesus particularly wanted to make wine, but He glorified God when He obeyed His mother. The first Church EVER was and is the FAMILY. When God made Adam and Eve they were to come together and be ONE FLESH. They were to PROCREATE. Not just have sex for the feel goods, but God said multiply and fill the earth. God attached a blessing to obedience. Multiplying and filling the earth is a blessing. God made the Family. The Family is Man and Woman joined together making little men and women.

God has given us laws to live by in our families. Mary tells Jesus:

John 2:3 “They have no wine”

This was important to Mary – the mother of Jesus – because wedding feasts celebrated the union of one man and one woman. When she asked Jesus to do something about the wine situation she knew her Son could do what she asked.

  • Second, though Jesus said “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.” He moved to grant her wish. Why? He was obeying the Commandment of God. The FIFTH Commandment states:

Exodus 20:12 (KJV) Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

The Fifth Commandment recognizes marriage, and gives authority to the male and female who had a hand in making you. We are to honor our parents. Children are taught to be good citizens – and good Church members – at home. Mary tells Jesus “They have no wine”. Jesus will honor His mother because this is righteousness. The Bible declares:

Ecclesiastes 12:13 (KJV) … Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Jesus had the servants bring six stone water pots – each one capable of holding 20-30 gallons (by the way, that’s what a firkin is in the King James). Jesus told them:

Fill the water pots with water”

So they began the process of going to the well, drawing water, and painstakingly filling each pot with water. This took time.

There was no running water.
There was no water pressure.
There were no garden hoses, nor outside the home taps.
They had to fill these pots – 6 times – with between 120-180 gallons of water.
That’s a lot of water.

  • Third, Jesus shows Himself to be God – the God Who has power over creation – when He turns plain water into wine. After the water pots are full Jesus says:

Abracadabra!

No, I’m just teasing and checking if you’re paying attention. As soon as all the pots were filled Jesus said:

Draw out now, and bear it to the governor of the feast.

The ruler of the feast was in charge of refreshments. He tasted what was brought and said:

John 2:10 (KJV) … Every man at the beginning doth set forth good WINE; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good WINE until now.

Jesus Christ turned water into wine. The Greek οἶνος oinos means WINE. The same word is used by Jesus in:

Matthew 9:17 (KJV)  Neither do men put new WINE into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the WINE runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new WINE into new bottles, and both are preserved.

Jesus showed Himself to be Creator God when He turned water into wine. It was not grape juice. Neither do I think it to be the swill that people spike and manufacture today that they call WINE. People have taken this text and used it as a justification for drinking and drunkenness. The Bible forbids drunkenness. The Bible says:

Proverbs 20:1 (KJV)  Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

The Bible says in Ephesians 5:18 (KJV)  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

The Bible says 1 Corinthians 5:11 (KJV)  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a DRUNKARD, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat.

The Bible says 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (KJV)  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  [10]  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor DRUNKARDS, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Jesus turned water into wine, but He did not give it for anyone to get drunk on. But since I don’t want Jesus to come into this place and slap the Bible out of my hand I have to tell you what the text tells you. He turned water into wine. He gave that wine to people, to give to other people. Not to be abused, but to be used to celebrate BIBLICAL MARRIAGE.

Do We Glorify God In Our Churches?

After going to a wedding feast Jesus went to Church. When He got to Church He found something so disturbing that He had to stop it. People were not in Church to worship the Lord, but to make a buck. People were not in Church to pray and seek God’s face. They were there to fill their pockets.

There’s nothing wrong with money, and God wants you to make a living. He says:

2 Thessalonians 3:10 (KJV)   … if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Work is good. Earning a profit is good. But God’s house – His Church – gathers to worship Him.

We come together to pray to our Father.
We come together to love one another.
We come together to learn and grow by His truths.
When Jesus went to a wedding feast He gave them WINE to drink so they could celebrate.
When Jesus went to Church that day He gave them a WHIP to feel because they were NOT celebrating nor glorifying the right thing.

John 2:15-16 …. when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them ALL out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;  [16]  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.

Jesus cleaned house that day.
The people were chased out.
The Priests were chased out.
The animals were chased out.

Jesus is not against PROFIT, but there is a greater PROFIT than money we need. We need God. We need to PROFIT by following and worshiping Him.

Mark 8:36-37 (KJV)  For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  [37]  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

When we come to Church it is to gather together in His Name so that He will be in our midst. We want Jesus here with us. We want to feel His Presence, to hear His Word, to learn what He has said and live by it. We don’t want Jesus running through the Church with a whip.

At our Associational Meeting Monday night Brother Dale Ledbetter spoke of several local Churches having divisions and fighting in their midst. He asked the Association to pray for them. Let’s pray for Christ’s Churches where ever they might be. Let’s pray for our Church. Let’s pray that we always come together for the right reason. We are not here to make a profit. We are not here to fight or fuss. We are here to do as Scripture says:

Hebrews 10:24-25 (KJV)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  [25]  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

God’s House – His people – do not come together to sell God to others. We come together to worship Him. We come together to love the Lord our God. When the Evangelist Mark wrote of this event He recorded additional words from our Savior:

Mark 11:15-17 (KJV)  And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves;  [16]  And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.  [17]  And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Jesus took His Words from two Old Testament Passages:

Isaiah 56:7 (KJV) Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.

Jeremiah 7:11 (KJV) Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.

When we come together in God’s House for any reason other than to worship and glorify Him, when we gather to reject rather than highlight His Commandments, then we have become robbers and thieves. There is nothing wrong with Churches gathering together to raise funds for the needy, to help the destitute, to minister to the hurting. No, that’s not wrong. But it is horribly wrong to gather together to fill our own pockets.

We are here to worship the Lord.
We are here to honor our Savior.
We are here to magnify our God.
Let us do so with all our hearts!

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

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Tell Me You Love Me

wonderful post. Love you, brother!

Found Who I Am

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Do you actually read to the end of these? Because when I get emails like this, they usually just sit there collecting dust… Maybe I should enjoy reading a little more. (Insert string of emoji. Also, what’s the plural of emoji?)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about something for a month now and I wanted to put it in writing and publicly share it on the internet for the world to see, because that’s how we do in the 21st century. I’ve been wondering what the right way to live is. Is there actually a “right” way? How do we know what is socially or biblically acceptable and what is ridiculous? What is too much and what is too little?

Real talk:

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Three Phases of Salvation

great teaching! Thank you Brother

Spirit Writer

Been Saved, Being Saved & Will Be Saved

Without a lucid understanding of God’s entire and perfect plan for the redemption of mankind, certain scriptures could possibly be confusing. There are three phases to salvation; hence, the bible uses three tenses in delineating the doctrine of salvation. For me personally, it took many years to understand this—I was saved at 12 years old.

Briefly, let’s lay the following stone of truth that we may clear a path to our main topic.

We are saved by a free gift from God called Grace. Grace is bestowed upon those who believe and place their trusting faith in Christ Jesus— the truth. And forever after that, God’s grace continues working for the soul who is saved. Grace is not a once and done kind of thing. When the Lord regenerates us (2 Cor. 5:17) we’ve been born again, and a magnificent…

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Come And See

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(Revelation 6:1-8) And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow, and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse, and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and the name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

As we come to Revelation chapter 6 we see the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ opening the first six seals on the Scroll of Judgment. Jesus – Who gave Himself for the sin of the world – has been rejected by the world. The Lord tarried, waiting, for

2 Peter 3:9 (KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Yet God has not promised to wait forever. His Church has been removed from the earth. The Lamb that is rejected by mankind now begins to open the seals of judgment. This is the time of Tribulation, the Day of Judgment.

The First Four Seals Share A Famous Phrase

As the first four seals of the scroll of judgment are opened each of the four beasts – the Heavenly Choir leaders – contribute to the judgment. You see the same phrase repeated by each beast:

Come and See”

Why is this phrase significant? A few weeks ago we were studying in the Gospel of John, talking about the first five disciples of Christ. If you remember John the Baptist was teaching two of his disciples when Jesus came up. John told those men:

Behold the Lamb of God!

The two disciples immediately left John and began to follow Jesus. When Jesus saw them following He asked: “What do you seek?”They replied, “We want to see where You live”. What did Jesus say?

Come and See” (John 1:39)

Later on Philip – another of Christ’s disciples – is telling his friend Nathaniel about the Lord Jesus. When Nathaniel asks “Can any good come from Nazareth?”Philip simply states:

Come and See” (John 1:46)

Come and See” is what Christ bids each person to do. To come to Him. To watch Him. To experience His Presence. “Come and See”. The world has rejected the “Come and See” of the Lamb of God. They have trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29). What is left then? They would not “Come and See” the Christ. Now the beasts watch as the Lamb of God opens the first four seals. You have rejected Grace, so now here is Judgment.

Come and See”

(Revelation 6:1-2) I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and A CROWN WAS GIVEN UNTO HIM: and he went forth CONQUERING, AND TO CONQUER.

The first seal releases “War” on the earth. Some commentators think that this person on the “White Horse” is Jesus, but it cannot be.

Jesus is opening the seals.
Jesus does not indiscriminately make war.

Jesus will not come back to the earth until the end of the Great Tribulation. We find this in …

(Revelation 19:11) And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, he doth judge and make war.

The rider on this first “white horse” is not Jesus. The Jesus of Revelation 19 has “on His head MANY CROWNS”. The Jesus of Revelation 19 is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. The rider of Revelation 6 has but ONE CROWN, and that Crown was GIVEN to Him. Jesus released the first seal and gave a very limited power to this rider. The rider of Revelation 6 goes forth conquering, and to conquer. He is on a“white horse” which symbolizes purity. But the war which he wages is not pure. It looks pure but is not pure. The Jesus of Revelation 19 “in righteousness judges and makes war”. The rider of this white horse only appears righteous. He appears good. He appears as if his wars are for the common good, but they are not.

The one riding on this first white horse is a pretend Christ. Jesus spoke of this when He said in

(Matthew 24:24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

The first Horseman of the Apocalypse is the False Christ, called by many the Anti-Christ. He is not making righteous war but is moving to defeat all who will not join his cause. He is like the Great Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the White Supremacists or those of color who advocate hatred. He is all the bad Anti-Christian behavior by those who pretended to love God but hate people.He is Religion with a capital R, Evil with a capital E. The Light of the World, the Church of Christ, is in Heaven – and a false light appears to draw many away from God. The world has rejected the real Christ, but it loves the false Christ. The Anti-Christ conquers so as the create a one world government, a universal state that all must adhere to so that his master satan can rule the world.

Revelation 6:3-4Andwhen he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

If the first Rider was the Anti-Christ conquering, the second red horse symbolizes BLOODSHED and WAR. The “righteous war” of the evil one will not be without death. The First Horseman was given a crown, but the Second Horseman was given a GREAT SWORD. Just as the Crown was given by the Lamb, so is the Sword given. It is Jesus Who opened the seal, and Jesus Who removes His hand from the earth allowing this horseman to go forth.

Psalms 66:5-7 (KJV) Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men. 6 He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him. 7 He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.

Revelation 6:5-6 And when he had opened the third seal,I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse, and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

The third Seal of Judgment always follows war and killing. It is FAMINE. The pair of scales/ balances in his hand shows that this Horseman controls commerce. The “voice in the midst of the four beasts” is the Lord speaking from His Throne. The Lord decreed that inflation would be so high that a measure of wheat – about one day’s food – would cost a day’s wages. It will cost everything a person can earn in a day just to feed himself. The cheaper cattle food of barley – we could call it animal feed – you will be able to get three times as much food for the day’s wages. So to put it in modern terms you can have a hamburger and fries, or three cans of dog food. Period.

At the beginning of the Great Tribulation, the poor will suffer the most. Jesus told Israel:

Luke 21:10-11 (KJV) … Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: 11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

Hunger will start out to affect the poor, but in time all will be poor. This is what the Rider of the Black Horse will bring.

Revelation 6:7-8 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and the name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

The Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse is Death. He rides a “pale”or literally “pale green” horse(χλωρός chlōros). The Grave follows with himnot“hell” as in the place of eternal punishment, but “hades” (ᾅδηςhadēs). These Four Horsemen – with the Anti-Christ as their leader – kill over 25% of humanity. In our modern era this would be about 1.9 BILLION people. One in every four would die. The Four Horsemen would not have this power themselves, but the Bible says:

power was GIVEN UNTO THEM over the fourth part of the earth

It is God Who allows this judgment to come on humanity. I can hear people now. “But God is LOVE! Why would a LOVING God allow such a terrible thing to come on a quarter of the earth?”The answer is found in the Fifth Seal of Judgment. We read:

Revelation 6:9-10And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

What would YOU do if someone murdered your child?
What if they murdered your child, then you turned the other cheek –
Then they murdered another?

God gave His Son to the world so that the world would not be condemned.

John 3:18-21 (KJV) He that believeth on {Jesus} 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. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

The Lord Jesus has taken His Church off of the earth. Those who have been “Raptured” or “Caught Up” have been given glorified bodies. When Jesus opens the FIFTH Seal (and FIVE is the number of GRACE) you see …

the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God

These are believers who came to the Lord after His Church was taken from the earth.Dr. Thomas Constablewrites:

These people must be those who died after the Rapture since all Christians living at the time of the Rapture will experience a bodily resurrection, and go directly into Jesus Christ’s presence at that time (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Consequently, the people John described in this verse are evidently those who come to faith in Christ after the Rapture (cf. Matthew 24:9; Luke 21:12). They had become believers during the first half of the Tribulation and then had suffered martyrdom for their faith. John did not see their resurrected bodies, because God had not resurrected them yet. The resurrection of Tribulation saints will not occur until the end of that seven-year period (cf. 20:4).

The Gospel still goes forth during the Tribulation. In the next chapter, we see 144,000 Hebrew Evangelists who go out and preach of Christ. People are saved even during this darkest moment in human history. But the world under satan persecutes the Christians saved at an alarming rate. These were slain for the Word of God and for the testimony they held. Their SOULS are gathered around the Throne of God, and they cry out to Him …

How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge
our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

Their words are reminiscent of the Psalmist who wrote:

Psalms 94:3-6 (KJV) LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? 4 How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?5 They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage. 6 They slay the widow and the stranger and murder the fatherless.

The first four Seals of Judgment begin to punish humanity – rebellious and traitorous – for the evil they collude with. These Tribulation Saints suffered terribly for the faith. There are Christians all over the world today who are suffering terribly for the faith. In America – founded by Christians who loved the Lord – we have largely avoided the suffering that most of the world inflicts on God’s Children. But even in America Christians suffer. A case before the Supreme Court right now will determine if a Baker who is a Christian will lose his business for keeping his faith. God tells us today:

(Romans 12:19-21) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

We are never to return evil for evil, but good to all. Those around the Throne were given…

Revelation 6:11And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

They have white robes to symbolize their salvation and immorality. God tells them to be patient – He will repay the evil that they suffered in His own time.

The Sixth Seal Of Judgment

Revelation 6:12-13 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

God sends a planet-sized earthquake to shake the whole world. John’s prophetic words are echoes in the Prophecy of Isaiah, who wrote:

Isaiah 13:9-13 (KJV) Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. 10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. 11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. 12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

The shaking of the earth will – as it does with many volcanic eruptions – cause ash and dust to infiltrate the atmosphere. It will seem as if there are no longer any stars in the sky. The sun will be blocked out, and the moon reddened by the pollution of it. The stars don’t literally fall – they just appear to do so, for we read later:

Revelation 8:12 (KJV) And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

What is more frightening is that the sky will appear to split in two, and roll back like a scroll:

Revelation 6:14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

The opening of the sky will give all of humanity a chance to look into Heaven. Rather than repent, we read:

Revelation 6:15-17 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Hearts hardened by sin do not repent but seek to hide from God’s wrath. The same thing occurs at the Great White Throne Judgment of …

Revelation 20:11 (KJV)11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Can you imagine a Lamb filled with wrath? That is almost a comical thing to read – but it will not be comical to those who are there. Whether kings, or great men, or rich men, or chief captains, or mighty men, or slaves or free men – all will be frightened and in a panic attack. Why? Because God has taken His hand off of the earth. Judgment looms. Pride is broken.

And yet, notice this. Even though they cry out to the mountains and rocks saying, “Fall on us, and hide us from the Face of Him that sits on the Throne”yet they will not repent and turn to Christ. That to me is the most horrible of things. For if they but repent, the Lord would still save. But they will not.

Oh dear Soul, do not harden your hearts!

Repent while you may. Give your life to Christ while you can. The only ones who will stand then, and who can stand now, are those who rest in the Grace of God in Christ. May God the Holy Spirit move you to repentance this very day!

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Oh God, Please Come Down!

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Isaiah 64:1-8 (KJV) Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, 2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! 3 When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence. 4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. 5 Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is a continuance, and we shall be saved. 6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. 8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

The Bible tells us that God is everywhere. When the Apostle Paul spoke at Mars Hill he said:

Acts 17:28 (NKJV) … for in Him we live and move and have our being…

and David, a man after God’s own heart, wrote:

Psalm 139:7-12 (NKJV)Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.

God is everywhere. In fact, God indwells His people. He makes His home in us. He tells us:

1 Corinthians 3:16 (NKJV) Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

Romans 8:11 (NKJV) But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

God indwells His people. God has promised to never leave nor forsake His people (Hebrews 13:5).If this is true, then

Why Are There Times When God Seems So Far Away?

We know what the Scripture says. We know that God has promised to be with us. Yet there are times when trials and tribulations strike, when our lives are seemingly filled with darkness, and it seems as if God is miles away.

In Isaiah 64 God’s Israel had been conquered and carried away into captivity. The world had overwhelmed them. They were transported from the place where God’s Temple was an into an unknown country. So they cried out to God. Isaiah 64 is a prayer from a desperate people. They cry out:

Isaiah 64:1 (KJV) Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence,

Why does God seem so distant at times?
Could it be that we have allowed our pride to stand between us and our God?
Could it be – like the Laodicean Church – that we have become complacent?
Are we satisfied with our STUFF and do not want our SAVIOR and SHEPHERD?
Could the problem be SIN?

God’s people are loved by God, but do WE love God? Do we really want God to come down? To be in our midst? Or do we just want to hear a sermon within a certain allotted time slot, to sing a few songs, and get out of here before the Pentecostals and Methodists raid the food bar at Farmer’s Restaurant?

God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

When God called Israel out of Egypt it was HIS PRESENCE that gave them power. The Church today in America seems to have forgotten that our power is not in our catechisms, our rituals, our buildings, or our denominations. Our power is in our God. Our strength is that He is in our midst. We must EXPERIENCE His Presence. As long as God led Israel:

Exodus 13:21-22 (NKJV) And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.

Israel was not defeated. Israel went through the Red Sea as if on dry land, whereas the armies of Egypt – led by Pharaoh – drowned.

When God is present His people are PROTECTED.
When God is present His people PROSPER.
When God is present His people have POWER.
When God is present His people have PURPOSE.

Oh, how we need our God!
Oh, how we need His Presence!

As long as Israel trusted God then they were invincible. But when Israel allowed the world to come into their thought processes, when they began to trade God’s Greatness for satan’s silk, they got into trouble.

Great leaders will remind their people that they need God. When Israel finally went into the Promised Land under Joshua was told by God to tell Israel:

Joshua 4:5-7 (NKJV) “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”

When this Church was built, when stone was laid upon stone, for what reason were the stones laid? They were laid to remember how good our God is. Every brick, every board, every stitch of carpet was placed here to be a memorial that our God loves us and that Jesus Christ gave Himself for us. We gather in this place to worship Him. But when we leave this place we do not worship Him less. Our lives are dedicated to worshiping our God.

I love my mother. She is with Jesus today. I love mothers. Happy Mother’s Day! But first and foremost in our hearts is to be our God. It is our God Who made our mothers and our fathers. It is God Who made us. We need God’s Presence in our churches today. We need God’s presence in OUR CHURCH.

Isaiah 64:1 (KJV) Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence,

In Isaiah’s prayer – and his prayer should be our prayer – he is SEEKING God’s Face. Did you come to Church today to seek God’s Face or God’s Hand? Oh, how we need God’s Face. If you are under trials you do not need God’s HAND as much as you need God’s Face. I pray that you would understand this.

We Are Lepers Who Need God

Years ago I preached a revival in a little dead Church. I guess I should say I ATTEMPTED to preach a revival. I remember seeing the sign out front of the Church – yes it was Baptist – and though I cannot remember the name of the Church I can remember thinking it should have “Frigidaire” in its name. On that day I preached a sermon from Luke 17 on Ten Lepers who sought out Jesus for healing. Jesus had just passed through Samaria and Galilee. The Bible says:

Luke 17:12-13 (NKJV) Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

Leprosy was a terrible disease. It broke families apart. It took mothers from their children and caused poverty as no one would hire a leper. It was a terrible scourge. Jesus healed all ten lepers and told them

Luke 17:14 (NKJV) “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

But the story doesn’t end here. The Bible tells us that:

Luke 17:15-19 (NKJV) And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with A LOUD VOICE GLORIFIED GOD, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. 17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

One leper got it – he needed GOD.

One glorified God.
He glorified God by returning to Jesus.
He glorified God by bending the knee and worshiping the Son.
He glorified God by taking the life that Jesus returned to him and
gave just a tiny bit of it back to the Lord.

I remember as I stood at the door of the Church shaking hands with people as they left one bitter old woman came up to me. She said – and I quote

The nine did what they were supposed to do!”

I did not argue with her, but my heart hurt for her spiritual condition. Do you not see? God deserves to be worshiped for the lives that He has given us. God is ever present with us. But God seems far away when we make life about ourselves.

The Mountains Melt When God Is With Me

When God is with us the mountains flow down. When we love God mountains will melt.

Isaiah 64:1 (KJV) Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence,

Oh, how the Presence of God makes life better. The Psalmist said:

Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV) Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law, he meditates day and night.

3 He shall be like a tree

Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper.

Where God is there is the blessing. When Adam chose to walk away from God he found himself and his wife clothed in the fig leaves of self-righteousness. We need the Presence of God.

When we love God mountains of pride, bigotry, and indifference will melt. Hatreds die out where God is. The sins of the flesh do not rule us where God is. The Scripture declares:

Galatians 5:16-17 (NKJV) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish.

When you are walking in self and selfishness, you are not walking in the Lord. But when you are walking with the Lord He will sustain you. He will cause the mountains to flow down, and the valleys to rise.

Where God is, sinners will repent. We read:

Isaiah 64:2 (KJV) As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!

A Church that walks together with Christ will be on fire and in love. When we are on fire for God the lost are attracted like a moth to aflame. We do not need to compromiseGod’s Word to reach sinners. We need to live in Him, doing as He said. When we live in the power and presence of God then the Word of God goes forth.

It is not our strength that will win the lost, but the strength of God in our midst. When His Shekinah Glory is among His people great things happen. God does surprising things when He comes down. We read:

Isaiah 64:3 (KJV) When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.

Isaiah prays “Lord when You came down You did TERRIBLE things we didn’t look for!”

I remember years ago in a Church service when God came down. I was standing at the front of the Church and the people were singing the final hymn. I closed my eyes to pray that God would have His way. I felt as if I had done so poorly in preaching His Gospel that day, so I prayed. As I was praying silently I heard the sound of running feet and a mother’s cry. I opened my eyes to see a young girl – only eight years old – kneeling at the altar begging God for salvation. Her mother was next to her, and as I approached the altar she looked at me and said “Brother David, help her. Help her.”I asked that precious child what she wanted, and she told me she wanted Jesus in her life. As we talked she prayed, and there she met the Lord.

God came down.
Church, God came down.
God melted that little girl’s heart.
She came to Christ that day.

I remember another time when we had our hymn of invitation, and after the third verse (when people usually start putting up their hymnals) I told the worship leader to keep them singing. I don’t know why. It just was. As we sang to the end of the hymn and started over again a young man who was nearly blind stepped out into the aisle, walked halfway down, and fell to his knees. There I met him, and he gave his life to Christ. God came down, and he met the Lord and took His hand.

Oh, that God would come down and melt that hard heart!
Oh that every person today would feel His Presence.
How we need God to come down.

God Comes Down For Those Who Love Him

Isaiah 64:4 (KJV) For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

The Bible says that those who wait upon the Lord will receive an immeasurable blessing. The Scripture reiterates this time and time again:

Psalm 27:14 (NKJV) wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Psalm 37:9 (NKJV) For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth.

Psalm 37:34 (NKJV) wait on the Lord And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

Isaiah 30:18 (NKJV) Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.

What does it mean to “wait on the Lord”? It means to LOOK for Him. To SERVE Him. To SEEK His Presence. To LOVE Him as He loves you.

We turn away from God when we wallow in sin. The Bible says:

Isaiah 64:5 (KJV) Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is a continuance, and we shall be saved.

God MEETS those who rejoice and work righteousness. He comes to those who cherish His Presence and live for Him. When we compromise with the world God will not manifest Himself to us. But when we trust and honor Him and do what He says He will come down. Dr. R.A. Torreyonce said:

“… let a few Christians – they need not be many – get thoroughly right with God themselves. … Let them bind themselves together to pray for revival until God opens the Heavens and comes down…”

Let us repent of our sins. Let us turn to God our Savior. The Scripture says:

Isaiah 64:6-7 (KJV) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

To WAIT on God is to turn from sin.
Sin is not to be cherished but REPENTED of.
Sin is uncleanliness.
God will not come down where sin is cherished.
God is Holy. Sin is a filthy rag.

That word “filthy rag” is a reference to a leper’s clothing. Lepers would wrap themselves in cloth to cover their sores, their disease. Sin is a disease. How do we get rid of sin?

We recognize SIN as SIN.
We recognize OUR RIGHTEOUSNESSES as FILTHY RAGS.
We see INIQUITY as something that carries us away from our God.
We need to call upon the Name of God.
We need to stir ourselves up to take hold of Christ.
This is the only way we will be blessed.

When we trust Him and love Him and seek Him and guard His Word, doing as He requires, then God shapes and molds us.

Isaiah 64:8 (KJV) But now, O LORD, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our Potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

He is God. We are not. We will stop telling God what to do and let HIM tell US what to do. To WAIT on the Lord is to – like a waiter – TAKE HIS ORDER and do as He demands. God is our Father. God is our Potter. We are the Children,

John 1:12 (NKJV) But as many as RECEIVED HIM, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

When a person receives Christ as Lord and Savior the Creator give that person the right to become Children of God. God walks with His Children. God directs His Children. The Potter shapes the Clay as He so desires. When we step away from the Presence of God and begin to live our lives without Him then we bring the curse of uselessness and emptiness on ourselves.

Isaiah 64:10-11 (KJV) Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. 11 Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.

America is in turmoil. We are in a terrible state. How shall we return to a better day?

We need the Lord.
We need His Presence.
We need to walk with Him daily.

May God touch our hearts by His Word.

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