Category Archives: Last Days

The Many Cold – The Few Faithful

“Because iniquity shall be multiplied the love of the many shall wax cold.” Matthew 24:12.

IT IS evident that our Lord is not here speaking of the world, for the world does not have this love. It is the Church of whom Jesus is speaking; it is only the Church with whom God is now dealing. As New Creatures, God’s children have seen a great Light, Christ Jesus. Through this Light we have ourselves become illuminated, and we seek to let our light shine before men. We are not lighted candles to shed light upon others until we have become the Lord’s, until we have received of His light. The Bible declares that all men are by nature sinners, unworthy of God’s notice. But He has made a provision of everlasting life for the perfect. How, then, will any member of our sinner race ever get everlasting life? Surely none of the children of Adam are worthy of everlasting life! The Lord, however, has provided for this emergency through the death of Christ. During the Gospel Age God has been delivering from death a certain class. During the incoming Millennial Age, He will lift up and make perfect the world of mankind. But only at the close of that Age, after they have been finally tested, will God grant them, if worthy, everlasting life. If they fail to attain perfection, He will not give them everlasting life at all, but will destroy them.

UNIQUE ARRANGEMENT FOR THE PRESENT AGE

The Church is an especially called-out class. “Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world,” said the Master. “I have chosen you out of the world.” Mankind in general are in a different heart attitude from those who come into the Church. It is only the minority who now hunger and thirst after righteousness. God in mercy keeps back the Truth from those to whom it would not in the present time be a blessing. This class that the Lord is now calling out from the world are “called to be saints.” The word saint stands for one who is holy. The word holy has the significance of the word whole–that which is entire, lacking nothing. God, who is holy, calls His children to be holy, saying, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16.) But we were by nature unholy; hence His arrangement for our justification, our being made right, whole. The world in general will be made right during the Millennium. None is made right now in the actual sense. In what way, then, does God make the Church right now? Ah, there is the beauty of God’s Plan! They are made right reckonedly, by the counting to each of them of the perfect merit of Christ. This is a unique arrangement, peculiar to the present Age alone. God says, “My Call at this time is an invitation to a new nature. I am not inviting any now to Restitution; if so it would not be necessary to issue this special Call. I want a certain class for a specific purpose, to be used later in blessing the whole world. I know of some who will be glad to respond. So I am sending My Message, that those able to hear may hear.”

WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY ILLUSTRATES GREAT TRUTH

We all know something of the wireless system of telegraphy. This is one of the blessings of this “day of the Lord’s preparation” for the incoming New Age. It may serve as an illustration of how God has been sending out His Truth during the Gospel Age. If we would hear the Lord’s Call, we must have co-hearers. If we do not have co-hearers, we cannot hear His Message at all. We need to have responsive hearts, ready to receive with gladness the Message of God’s love and mercy. If your heart is not rightly in tune, you cannot understand; but as you get it in tune with the Lord, the Message enters, and you can hear the wave tones. God speaks to us in tones of a certain character. We recognize those tones and respond, if our heart is in the proper attitude. We had a wrong tone given us by the Adversary– that God had damned the world, had made a place to eternally torture the majority of mankind. With that wrong tone given us, we were not in a position to get the true Message. God’s true Message is a glorious tune, a marvelous melody. Finally we got the right tune from the Word of God. “I can hear better now,” we said. “Yes, yes; God is Love!” “God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son”; “Like as a Father pitieth His children, so the Lord pitieth!” Yes, I now understand something of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love of God! It is too wonderful a symphony to fully comprehend, I cannot take it all in, but it is there. I am hearing it more and more clearly! Only those who get their hearts in tune with God can hear it all, and the more fully in tune you get your heart the better you can hear. If your instrument is out of tune, if something happens to get you out of touch with the Heavenly electric wave, then you cannot hear the wonderful melody. If you do not keep in close touch with the Lord, you will fail to catch the harmony. You are out of tune with the Infinite One.

JUSTICE THE BASIC QUALITY OF CHARACTER

What is the character of God that we are learning more about as we study His Word? We find that the very basis of God’s character is Justice, absolute Justice. If God were an unjust God, we could never depend upon Him. He might make some term or condition today and then alter it tomorrow. But He is absolutely just; “Justice and judgment are the foundation of His Throne.” (Psalm 89:14.) He changes not; “I am Jehovah, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6.) He is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” He will never fail us, He will never deceive. Whoever desires to be in proper tune with God must practice upon that string of JUSTICE. Justice must come into our heart and into our life. The nearer we come in line with justice, the better we shall understand and enter into the spirit of God’s great Plan. We trust that is what we are striving to do. But there are many ways of being unjust. We may say unjust things about our neighbors; we may make trifling faults appear to be great faults; we may color things unjustly. We may use words with a certain intonation or emphasis, with a shrug of the shoulders, giving a wrong impression which might be detrimental to the reputation of another.

Although we might not really mean to wrong another, yet this course would be wrong, and might do incalculable harm. When you say, “I would not wish to be seen in that man’s company,” you might not mean to do wrong, and yet be guilty of slander. Your co-hearer is out of tune with God. Then in the mind one might be unjust. Many people seem to become prejudiced against certain things or persons without just reason. To that extent they are out of harmony with justice. What we need to do is to think righteously, soberly, kindly, along the lines of the Golden Rule, to let our words and deeds be in harmony with the principles of righteousness. Thus we shall be greatly assisted in the development of the sterling Christian character which is absolutely essential if we would have our Father’s approval. Justice, then, is the basis, the first thing necessary, in building character. From this basis we are to go on to the attainment of sympathy, benevolence, forgiveness, love. God has been very loving and sympathetic with us. He has provided us a Redeemer. He has covered our many blemishes from His sight. Then, as we seek to copy God, we shall wish to be kind and forbearing and helpful toward all. But we must be just first. If we have an unjust twist in our mind, it will interfere with our communion with God, and we shall be in danger of failing to make our calling and election sure. We are continually surrounded by the spirit of the world–hatred, envy, malice, strife. So we must keep very close to the Lord to counteract this spirit. The world and the things of the fallen nature are so close to us that we can with difficulty avoid being contaminated by them. One can hardly pass through a vile neighborhood without carrying away vile odors. But the Lord has furnished us with a most effective disinfectant in His Word. All the cleansing we need is derived from the Message which God has given us, with its explicit instructions. This wireless Message from Him tells of His love for us, speaks peace through Jesus Christ our Lord, makes known to us our privilege of becoming heirs of God and joint-heirs with our Lord Jesus. Having been called with this Heavenly Calling, we can readily understand that God would not have us in this class unless we have the right spirit. The selection is not according to a whim of Divine preference. On the contrary, God chooses according to character, according to natural qualifications of honesty and the desire to be just, to be right, whatever may be the fleshly weaknesses. Justice is the very basis of God’s Throne, the foundation of His Government.

WORLDLINESS AMONG PROFESSED CHRISTIANS

In our text the Lord Jesus declares that at a certain time in the Gospel Age, and apparently pointing down to our day, “because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” The Revised Version given here is stronger than our Common Version rendering. It is not only many who will grow cold, but the many, the majority, of professed followers of Christ. How truly the Master’s words have been fulfilled! Iniquity is inequity, injustice, unrighteousness. Our text might properly read, “Because unrighteousness shall abound, the love of the many shall grow cold.” We are in the time against which the Lord sought to especially guard us. How few comparatively have heeded the warning! The STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES point out that in God’s arrangement the Prophet Elijah was a type of The Christ in the flesh–Jesus being the Head of the antitypical Elijah and the Church being His Body. The three and a half years, 1260 days, of Elijah’s experiences while hiding in the wilderness from Queen Jezebel were symbolic, and corresponded to the 1260 years of the true Church in the wilderness condition, where she had fled from the antitypical Jezebel. (Revelation 12:6,14; Daniel 7:24,25.) Elijah’s coming out of the wilderness prefigured the coming out of the true Church of God from her wilderness hiding after the year 1799 A. D., when Jezebel’s power was broken, and the copious rains following represented the wide circulation of the Bible since that date. The Church of Christ, the watching ones, are now in a particular time of waiting. The Elijah class is soon to be taken beyond the veil. The Elisha class will be left until later, to wash their soiled robes in the blood of the Lamb in the “Great Tribulation” just before the world. It seems that the Lord is now especially testing His people. Among many of the people of God love has waxed cold, because unrighteousness is abounding everywhere. Many today profess to believe things that they do not believe. Empty forms of godliness prevail. Love of pleasure is rampant. As a result many professed Christians are lukewarm or cold. They say, “Look at what the church systems are doing. What is right for our church leaders is right for me.” Thus many are taking a very wavering course. There is much injustice practiced everywhere. We find great neglect of the Golden Rule. Christian parents, too, are leaving the religious training of their children too frequently to the Sunday School, where the teachers are often wholly incompetent to instruct them in the Word of God. Christian parents should be the priests of their own family. They have a great responsibility. Because iniquity prevails, the temptation is strong with many to follow the multitude. But the Lord’s children should not follow a multitude to do evil. We must learn quickly now all God’s will concerning us. The end of the Church’s probation is drawing near. We have not much time left in the School of Christ. The saints are soon to be judges of the world. Shall we be among those judges?

PROPER ATTITUDE OF CHRISTIANS

Let each child of God bestir himself. Let him encourage the brethren to faithfulness. Let us give close attention to God’s Word, that we may become more and more like our Father in Heaven. Let us love the things which are true, right, noble, Godlike. Let us renounce all else for the Heavenly things. We cannot stand for our own rights in the world. We gave up our human rights when we gave ourselves to the Lord. There are times perhaps when we might offer a protest, as Jesus did when He was smitten. But He did not retaliate nor try to render evil for evil. And we are to walk as He walked. Let us not allow the inequity of others to cause our hearts to grow cold. The One whom we are to please, the One with whom we have to do, the One whom we love above every human tie, is our Lord. We desire to do His will. As for the brethren, let us do the best we know how for them. Let Heavenly wisdom be our guide. Let us faithfully follow Jesus in the Narrow way, whatever others about us may do; and soon we shall hear His sweet “Well done!” <R5856>

The Opening Year

Christians cannot remain oblivious to the very real and dangerous
problems that exist in the world today both locally and worldwide, our news media inform us daily of the crises and hardships which so many suffer and we cannot but feel for those involved, even though there may be little we each can do. Only God’s Kingdom holds the final and complete solution. In the meantime, we have the assurance of God’s word given long ago that all those “will be kept in perfect peace whose hearts are stayed upon Jehovah”, those whose lives have been firmly established thereon for support. (Isa 26:3)
The promise of peace within a world of turmoil was reiterated by our Savior, through whom we have come to know God as our Heavenly Father – “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto thee; let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid”. “In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good courage, I have overcome the world. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace”. (John 14:27, 16:33) Peace is His will for His followers!
Such peace is the treasure and privilege of all the Lord’s people and we do well to draw deeply upon this source of inner peace and rest in the Lord. Such peace will strengthen us and enable us to go forward in trust and assurance into the new year, whatever 2017 may hold for us as individuals, as assemblies of God’s people, as part of that one Church “which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all”. “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His”. (2 Tim 2:19) He who knows and loves each one of His children will surely be their peace, as they trust Him.
As we look back over 2016, can we say with Samuel “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us!” (1 Sam 7:12) Surely He has indeed done so for us each as we think carefully back over the experiences of the way. God’s promises do not fail as we are reminded in Lam 3:22,23 – “His compassions fail not, they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness”, also in 1 Thess 5:24 – “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it”. So in times of special stress when it seems that “help delays to come”, we need to trust Him even more, knowing “He will send the answer, though in wisdom oft delayed”. In such times, we can help one another, by prayer, by the word of encouragement, by practical support.
Yes, even in a troubled world, Christians may still know real joy, in the abiding presence of our dear Master, in present enjoyment of the great and precious promises of God, in the rich and satisfying truths of His Word as they have been opened up for us in these last days, in the glorious prospects for all mankind, when the dark night of sin gives way to the light of a new and glorious day. Such inner peace and hope and joy will help to sustain us each one whatever our experiences may be in the coming year.
At this turning point, then, when one year closes and another opens before us, let us take stock. What progress has been made “in the school of Christ” in faith and understanding, in character and daily living, in love for the brethren, in appreciation of the so great love of our Heavenly Father, in zeal for His service even in what may seem the smallest way, in the joy of our Lord? All these things are His will for us, let us resolve then to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race which is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”. (Heb 12:1)
May we each prove ”more than conqueror” through Him
who loved us. Amen.

Staying Awake

awake

I guess for most of us there have been times in our lives when we have wanted to stay awake all night. It might be because we wanted to read or study, maybe because we were excited about something happening the next day or because we were on a long journey and travelling at night was more convenient. It may have been because we had to work. Whatever the reason, it was sufficiently necessary or interesting to keep us awake. Yet as the night draws on, tiredness sets in and often we awaken in the morning with a book fallen to the floor or if driving we need to pull over and sleep. I have not worked or travelled at night very often, but have found that the hardest time was 3-4 am when my eyes wanted to close and concentration was at its worst.

I am sure we all remember the parable Jesus told about the 10 virgins, five who were wise and five who were foolish. All of whom fell asleep waiting for the bridegroom to arrive. Though they all fell asleep the wise had at least prepared for the bridegroom coming, they had tried to remain alert and prepared before sleep overwhelmed them.

Our primary goal in life must be to keep our eyes firmly fixed upon God’s Kingdom and the things that we so dearly believe in. Indeed the cry “Here is the bridegroom come out to meet him!”  has come(Matthew 25:6) Now Jesus said that upon his return, the angels would go out to gather the elect from the four corners of the earth. That gathering continues till this day, although in smaller number. What will our reaction then be? Will we be alert and prepared? Shall we have thoughts of this life and what we are leaving behind, or shall we go with fear?

Let us daily fix our eyes upon his coming Kingdom, for it will generate zeal to stay alert. It will generate a willingness to make the effort to develop a character pleasing to the Lord Jesus. It has been a long night, the ‘bridegroom’ has tarried long and it is now almost dawn. It is well worth considering and meditating upon what is to come, for it will help us remain awake. The Master has come, our hope is certain; as we read “Your eyes will see the King in his beauty and view a land that stretches far” Isaiah 33:17. At that time when the earth is ruled by a righteous King, there shall at last be peace. God’s righteous and just law shall go forth from Jerusalem, we read that:

“In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more. Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig-tree, and no-one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” Micah 4:1-5.

With this wonderful vision of the kingdom to come, a time when the nations will be ruled by God’s just law, is our resolve to “walk in the name of the Lord our God”? We have been called to know the one true God, our Creator, what an immense privilege! This calling is something we do not deserve and do not merit. It is a calling based upon the great mercy of our Father in heaven. So, how much does that coming Kingdom mean to us? Is it valuable enough to us, that we consider it worth staying awake for? Jesus frequently tells us throughout the gospel records to be watching and if we truly value and love our Lord and Master, we will obey this command.

But surely this obedience is not something we would find onerous. It is for our ultimate good, it is a command born out of love. It should be a joy to follow the Lord Jesus and his example. To encourage us we have a glorious view in the scriptures of the earth at that time when the Kingdom is established. In Isaiah we have many word pictures of the Kingdom age. For example:

“Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Isa 35:4

That is our trust, that is our hope, God will indeed save us. Therefore let us be strong, let us hold fast to the end, for God’s word will never fail! The chapter continues

“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. “ Isa 35:5-7

No need for a national health service, no need to fear disability. No more will the earth be desolate and famine strike. But apply this to spiritual matters and the vision becomes even more thrilling. No more will mankind stumble around, groping as a blind man to find some meaning to life, limping along striving to make some sense out of the world and the many troubles that beset us all. No, the eyes of the spiritually blind will be open; the knowledge of God’s ways will set man truly free. The tongue shall be full of praise for our Creator and joy will fill the heart. Sorrow and sighing will flee away and this spiritually parched desert of life will be full of bubbling fresh springs of the water of life.

“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice for ever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. Isaiah 65v17-20

Such will be the contrast between the peace of the Kingdom age and life now, that our trials and sorrows will be but as a bad dream that vanishes when we awaken, vanishing like the morning mist when the sun shines. It will be a time of renewal, a time of refreshing and we will indeed sing for joy at the wonder of the new creation. Once again, the difference will be seen between the righteous and the unrighteous, the godly and the ungodly. God always hears the prayer of faith; He will bring peace and salvation.

“…they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.” Isa 65:23-25

No, there shall be no harm in that glorious age for sorrow and sighing shall flee away. The great Prince of Peace will rule in righteousness and we shall be with him! Regarding the wisdom as righteousness of Christ Isaiah records:

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD— and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash round his waist.

Creation itself shall be at peace and at rest:

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:1-9

Peace will only come when the world is full of the knowledge of the Lord our God and mankind obeys His righteous and just law. His name alone shall be honoured.

We have been called according to God’s mercy to be part of that nation of kings and priests, to honour Him and reflect His glory. Of that city we are destined by God’s grace to inherit, we read:

“You have come to mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the first born, who’s names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant” Hebrews 12:22.

Thus we shall be privileged to join in with that mighty throng singing “The song of Moses, the servant of God and the song of the Lamb” Rev 15:3. We have so much encouragement to keep us awake and striving to please our heavenly Father. We deserve nothing, yet have been offered everything! Surely as the scripture say’s “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb” Rev 19:9.

This life is full of much sorrow and much sadness. But, and it’s a big BUT, we have so much to look forward too. We are called, as the scriptures say’s to be FIRST BORN SONS of the LIVING GOD! What a privilege, what a hope!

It is our Lord who has made all these things possible, he who has redeemed us by his own great sacrifice. John writes “This is how God showed his love among us, he sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him”. John 4:9 Of Jesus it is written “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”. If we obey his commandments, we remain his friends.

Therefore, let us keep AWAKE! For if God loved us while we were yet sinners, how much more will we not be loved now we are reconciled to him through Christ. Let us then diligently, watch and pray for his coming, confessing our sin’s before him and resolving to do his will. Let us always keep in our mind’s eye that wonderful and exhilarating view of the Kingdom age, for it will spur us on, keeping us spiritually alert and filled with the oil of the word of our heavenly Father.

Difficult Times

tough-times-aheadThere is no doubt that we are living in the last days. Many of the faithful have lived in difficult times, but these times in which we live grow ever more evil. The age is materialistic and centered around self and self seeking. The solid foundations of the Truth are questioned in some quarters and zeal is something considered somewhat archaic. The words of Paul to Timothy come to mind:

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” 2Timothy 3:1-5

Now if we stayed with verses 1-4 the description is very apt for the world in general but verse 4 applies it to those nominally disciples of Christ who have a ‘form of godliness’. In other words having the outward appearance of godliness, but not having a true desire in the heart to seek the Truth. Of this ilk are those who will say:

“Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

Under these circumstances what can those who seek to be righteous do?

The answer to this question applies equally as much to those from any age who sincerely desire to love the Lord their God. We must hold fast to the solid foundation of scripture neither adding to it, nor taking from it, rightly dividing the word of Truth and being very clear in ones mind about what is believed and what is to be rejected. This is exactly what the faithful of old did and it is exactly what we must do in our day and age.

There is a need to be definite and uncompromising in ones stand for the Truth and sound doctrine. Do not follow the crowd, but be willing to stand up for what is right just as did Daniel in his day.

But how should we speak of the true gospel message and the sound teaching of scripture? Well, by speaking the words of scripture, not embellishing scripture overly with personal feelings and experiences, but speaking the Truth in its purity and simplicity. Proverbs says:

“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” Prov 10:19

And Ecclesiates:

“The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?” Eccl 6:11

These thoughts apply to all that we do, be it proclaiming the Truth, giving an exhortation or giving a sermon. The whole objective must be to speak the words of God, not propound our own ‘crotchets and quavers.’

How can we then prepare ourselves for speaking the sound words of scripture? Well only by knowing the word of God! Do not be content with the elementary things of the Truth but rather try to understand some of the deeper things. Bible study is essential, but not all are for example inclined towards wanting to study the meanings of Hebrew and Greek words, understanding the ‘signs of the times’, working out the relationships between scriptural characters, knowing the history of the nations and kings or gaining a deep understanding of the furnishings and ritual of the Tabernacle or Temple. These things undoubtedly have their place, but we each have different interests and abilities. Equally of interest and of great importance is to study the life of Christ, comprehend his teachings, understand and develop the fruits of the spirit that Paul speaks of, learn the proverbs and how to apply them in our lives or study the profound subject of prayer. What ever our level of knowledge, interest, or ability every single one of us will benefit from reading the scriptures daily by following the Bible Companion or other method that ensures we read the totality of the Bible regularly. There is no substitute for regular reading, yet not just merely reading, but also thinking about what we read and then putting it into practice. These two aspects cannot be emphasized enough, think and put into practice.

Who would go to college from work to learn more about their job and not then use what they had learned? Nobody would go to that effort and not make use of knowledge gained. How then can the Truth be any different? No, we should the more so act upon it.

Finally we must always remember that we need a balance in all that we do, think and say. Do not discourage by thinking only upon the hardships of the way but consider also to the joys that lie ahead.

The hardships are there, the need for warning always present because of our human nature, but we also very much need the encouragement to persevere and there is indeed great joy ahead. There are promises from God so wondrous in their scope, that they are beyond our full comprehension and appreciation. Paul writes that we shall be made to be like the Lord Jesus Christ:

“If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” Rom 6:5

”…who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Phil 3:21

Finally by way of encouragement we can think of these words penned by John:

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1John 3:2

What manner of love indeed Yahweh has shown to us that we who are but dust are called to be His children. Should we be discouraged by the need for separation and hardship along the way? Should we be discouraged when we fail and come short? No, not at all! These things that befall the faithful are cause for perseverance, joy and encouragement. The trials confirm that we are called of God, that He treats us as His children and that He is merciful. This is the response of faith:

“Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. “ 1John 3:3

Redeeming the Time

Redeeming-the-TimeThe Apostle Paul was one who, on many occasions exhorted the brethren. Many of those exhortations are recorded for us in Scripture. As we read God’s Word, you’ll notice there is a sense of urgency that is transmitted from the words and from its pages.

For those who fear God and wish to walk in His ways, that sense of urgency has to be embraced and applied on a day to day basis. There is an urgent cry found in Ephesians 5:16, which reads “redeem the time, for the days are evil.”

That word “evil” is ponēros [Strong’s 4190], a Greek word translated “hurtful in effect or influence.” We can all agree that in the times we live in there are plenty of things that can be classified as “hurtful” especially among the brethren, both young and old, as none of us are invulnerable.

We are admonished in Isaiah 55:6; “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found.” Now is the time for the Lord’s people to cry out to Him, to draw close to Him, to receive the strength and the help we all need. None of us are able to execute what needs to be done in our own personal lives apart from God Himself.

Because we are human, there are things that crop up in our lives, things that cause roadblocks to our spiritual growth and well being. For example, apathy and lethargy.  We live in a world that is apathetic and lethargic. And because we live in this world, it’s easy for that to bleed off into our lives. Maybe not in the whole spectrum but in certain areas of our lives where we can become apathetic and lethargic, such as in our prayer life, where days go by and things escape us, like personal Bible study, preparing for meetings, because we let other things crop up into our lives, from the world around us.

We have admonishment in Scripture that tell us that this sort of thing happened to the Church in the past.  Such as in the early stages of the Ephesus Church when they first began. (Rev. 2:4) Where it says after starting out so good, something happened, and all of a sudden they lost their first love. And the admonishment was to WAKE UP, get back on track in your consecrated walk.

What is this “first love”? Deu. 6:5 tells us: “Love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might”. If something else comes in the way of our consecrated walk, somehow the love of God got diverted into other areas. The Ephesians were becoming apathetic and lethargic in their execution of what God had commanded them. A little bit later as the Church progresses along the prophetic picture that is pictured in Revelation 2 and 3, we see in Revelation 3:15, 16, the last Church that is mentioned is Laodicea.

Laodicea is a church that is described as being in a quasi state of affairs, hot and cold, which is translated as being lukewarm. They are not full of fire and zeal for the things of God, but they are not against it either. They are as we say cooled down. We are told because of the world we live in, the Laodicean age, “the love of many is waxing cold.” (Matt. 24:12) And as it waxes cold, it is going to have an impact upon the consecrated, lest they recognize this as the scriptures exhort us to do. To be mindful, to WAKE UP to what’s happening all around us.

This WAKE UP call is very important. As you know our nation was stunned back in 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and our nation was suddenly hit with a WAKE UP call, the  likes, it had not seen before. It wanted to stay out of this trouble that was going on in Europe and Asia. Well this trouble became reality on December 7th, and “we” had to do something. We had to WAKE UP as it were, and it mobilize the whole nation, as we were in a fight for our physical survival as a nation. That’s how serious it was.

Again on 9/11 2001, two airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center and another WAKE UP CALL goes out to the powers that be of the United States. What happens? They get quite concerned “What’s going on?” And immediately, they take action, and start taking the necessary precautions to protect the homeland, people rushing to the Churches to draw close to God in this time of trial.

But after a handful of weeks and months, what happened? It was business as usual. The Churches were no longer filled as they were. Seems like people always run to God when there’s trouble, when times are good who needs God? That’s exactly what happened; people began to fall back on their former ways.

So the American people became a little apathetic, lethargic, to the seriousness of that wake up call on September 11, 2001. The Apostle Paul had admonished the Christians in his day, and his words are preserved for our edification so that you and I will keep something in mind, that we never lose sight of God’s admonishment and WAKE UP call.

In Romans chapter 13, we’re told that there was a need for exhortation, the Apostle Paul wanted to exhort the brethren in Rome, and he told them to AWAKE, as it were, out of sleep. He said that their lives were beginning to reflect a dull sleepiness, and he senses that they are losing something.

Exhortation has to do with giving warning or advice, as an example of that, 2 Tim. 4:2 where the Apostle Paul told young Timothy; “Preach the word; in season, out of season” and tells him to do what? To “exhort”, in other words let the people have the warning from the scriptures, help them to understand the sense of urgency that God is trying to convey so that they don’t fall into an apathetic or lethargic lax frame of mind and therefore things slip up on them, and capture them unaware.

What we see in the term “Awake!” carries the connotation of don’t be careless or indifferent, because It is so easy to get careless and indifferent, because we live in a careless and indifferent world, where people don’t have that spark, that desire to want to do things the right way.  Even from a physical point of view.

We need to understand that we are called from a spiritual point of view. We have to shake off as it were any slothfulness, we need to be mindful that if we’re not constantly aware of what is going on around us, it will infect our mental state of mind. This is why we have to bring every thought into subjection to Christ, according to the word of God. Because if we don’t then other things can get in there. There are a lot of things that can penetrate our minds that don’t belong there. That is why it is important to be mindful that we cannot be fatally indifferent to spiritual things.

It’s time for us to wake up, because the day and age is moving very rapidly and as it says in Romans 13:11; “knowing the time”; Paul is focusing in on time, time is a precious commodity that we have been given. And here we are told that the time is now “high time”, in other words this is something that should be top priority on our time schedule of events.

Paul continues “that now it is high time to awake out of sleep” that if we have been sloppy, groggy, somewhat dozing, in terms of our own personal lives that God wants us to wake up and realize the seriousness of the time in which we find ourselves living.

We are not living back in the middle ages, we’re living at the consummation of man’s world we’re living at the day where scriptures talk about all the prophecies that have been proven and that have definitely been fulfilled in the Old Testament ring loud and clear and all the prophecies in the New Testament concerning the Lord’s presence have great impact saying “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:22 ) We are living in quite an unusual period of time to say the least.

Now is not the time to be dozing off. Paul says “our salvation” that is what God has called us to understand, grasp  and comprehend, and he says it’s nearer now then when we believed. When we were first coming  in as “babes in Christ.”

Now look at how the years have passed in our life, what have we done with those years? Have we really made them count when it comes to our relationship with our Heavenly Father Jehovah, and elder brother Jesus? I think it’s safe to say we should all hang our heads in shame, that we have wasted an awful lot of time. We have wasted time on foolish things, on things that are not worth it when all is said and done. If we were to put it on a scale and see what we’ve done with that time , we would all be ashamed and say “Father, be merciful on me a sinner, I have truly messed it up.”

God is desirous that we wake up and acknowledge our shortcomings. He’s willing to forgive us. But if we say we’re wide awake and walking in the light when in reality parts of our life are dark, we’re walking in darkness as the scriptures says. If we do that we lie, and the Truth is not in us.

The verse is clear; “it is nearer now then when we believed, because the night is far spent, the day is at hand.” God’s Divine Plan is drawing closer and closer with each passing day.

 

Do we sense that urgency? As God sees it, as he tries to convey it to us. It goes on to say “therefore cast off the works of darkness” now we’re told in John 3:19 that men love darkness because their deeds are evil. You and I have been told in 1 Peter 2:9 to come “out of darkness and into his marvelous light”, we’ve been transferred into that marvelous light. He goes on to say “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying”. In other words not get caught up in the devices and problems of this world as the world is sinking in morality very fast.

Rom 13:14  “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof”.

Let’s ask ourselves a very important question. Why do we need to keep awake?  What is Paul emphasizing? Time. Time is a critical component for us. We don’t know how much time our heavenly Father has bestowed on each and every one of us. Time is in His hands. And he’s given us time, and we ALL hope and pray that we use whatever time we have left wisely in making our calling and election sure.  Knowing that the time is short, it should speed us up with an urgency and a desire to make the most of that time.

In James 4:14-17, we’re reminded that our lives are like a vapor.  How many of us can remember our youth. It seemed like yesterday we were in grade school, high school, college, and now out on our own.  Married, children, grandchildren, and we ask, “where did the time go?” It went by so fast. Actually, it went by one day at a time, and it was gone before we knew it.  That is why we need to make the most of our time as the 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 tell us: “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (Firstfruits for he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) Paul tells them the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)”(this should read “a” day of salvation, according to Isaiah 49:6) And it is for the firstfruits of God. Those called at this time, have been given insight to understand this very important calling.

This is revealed to us in the Scriptures, through the Divine Plan of the Ages.  So we see that this is our day, our time, the rest of the world will have a different time, a different schedule, when God will work with them. He is no respecter of persons, and wants ALL to come to a knowledge of the Truth,  but the vast majority of the world is not at this time able to do that. They do not know what they are doing. They did not know what they were doing when they crucified Jesus.  In their minds they knew exactly what they were doing. They were putting to death one who claimed to be the son of God. What they didn’t know, was that he WAS the Son of God, who provided a “ransom for all”, to provide salvation through his death, his shed blood for all of us, and so the Apostle Paul tells them “that through ignorance ye did it.” Acts 3:17.

Next we are told that our salvation draws near, and yes it is. And most people do not grasp or comprehend what are we talking about when salvation is discussed.  They think it means going t o heaven when you die.  And they do not realize that there is much more involved when the Scriptures mention salvation. It is nearer because God’s Revelation tells us as we move through the corridor of life we begin to discover how truly our own mortality is.  “The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing at all.” Until the times of restitution, when the Lord will call forth all mankind and bring them forth in the resurrection of life and judgment.  We are reminded in Hebrews 9:27: “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”  Because of what happened in the Garden of Eden, and the path that was chosen by our original parents. We have all been indoctrinated  and implanted with a seed of rebellion in our natures, and we have all gone down that wrong path,  and it has brought about wages that we have earned. Paul talks about that in Romans when he said; “the wages of sin is death.” Death is in this world, but it is not God’s desire to allow it to remain in this world. He is going to destroy it in the process of time. He tells us that “the night is far spent,” and what does that translate too?  It translates to the fact that the world we are living in is drawing to its final close, that the time of man’s days is drawn unto its conclusion, and the Kingdom of God is on the horizon, and when the Kingdom is FULLY established, the world will see something wonderful, a transformation of this whole entire world . What humans beings have talks about, God is going to produce. Human beings talk, but they do not produce the right results, only God can. Notice what it says in 1 John 2:8; “Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.”  We now have access to the True Light, and what does light do? It dispels darkness. God is cleansing our hearts, minds and spirits. He’s showing us what Truth is all about.  How it relates to His character, He is the most beautiful being in all the universe.

That’s why he says “don’t make any idols or statutes, and try to pawn them off as God.” Because they don’t even come close in representing what he is like. This is what we need to keep in mind. This is the fear of God that shows acknowledgment and reverence to Him.

Now we live in a world today that is far from the Truth, we hear a lot about God in the Churches, but as 2 Tim. 3, states: “they have a form of Godliness but deny the power thereof”. They don’t want to hear about God “ruling in the Kingdom of men”, that’s exactly what Daniel 4 says he does, he rules in the kingdom of men, he is bringing to pass the prophecy of his word, just like he said he would. He uses individuals to bring to pass what He wants, and when it’s all said and done God weaves his wonderful promises and all these things come to pass and not one fails. Not one promise will return without accomplishing His purpose.

This is what God wants us to keep in mind. How He’s working with us, because we are a work in progress. We are the first fruits of this wonderful work in progress that God is creating. We have been made in His image.

What are we willing to do in return? He tells us we should respond accordingly because the night is far spent; it’s coming to a close. If we look around today, just as the scriptures say prophetic clouds are gathering. And as those clouds gather, what are they telling us? They are rushing towards fulfillment. When we read the book of Revelation we see a book that has a special blessing for all who read it. And yet there are ministers out there in the Churches who say “you don’t need to read that book. It doesn’t mean anything.” How sad, when people need answers to the questions that plaque them and bother them today.

2 Peter 1:19-21 states: “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;  knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,  for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

We see that God’s hand is at work, His hand is going to accomplish his will, his purpose and that brings us as to how we ought to walk. As we look at the world around us, we need to stop and consider very seriously how have we been walking? How have we been using this time that God has given to me? Have we walked with him more this year than the last? Did I walk with Him less? Did I pray to Him more? Did I pray to Him less? Did I appreciate and thank Him for the many blessings that he has given me? Or did I just accept those blessings and never said ‘thank you’?

Today we live in an age when people just accept things and never have the courtesy to say ‘thank you’. We live in serious times. We are told to cast off the works of darkness”. Romans 13: 12 “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” We need to be combat ready, we have to wear the material that will aid us in our daily battle and struggle in living life as God fearing men and women. This armor is described for us in Ephesians 6.

I would hope and pray that none of us are deliberately practicing willful sin, but at the same time it would be an error to say that we are sinless today, if we say we have no sin we lie and the truth is not in us. We have all strayed from the path, not deliberately, but because of human weakness we stumble, we falter from time to time. The point in question is, do we follow the example of David, do we quickly give back to God and acknowledge to God where we have fallen, where we have gone wrong and ask God to help us and to restore us again with the joy of His salvation? Would we rather shake ourselves to get back on track or would we rather have God shake us? I believe the former is the better way to go. Don’t you?

Because when God arises, he is going to shake this earth, and people are going to go out of their minds, they are not going to know what to do. The Scriptures constantly admonish us to consider our way. The world has encroached upon all of us, perhaps in more ways than we care to admit, and that’s why it’s time to WAKE UP. All of us need to take a self-analysis. Do we allow into our lives now things that just ten years ago we would not have done? Has something softened us? Weakened us? Invaded our spiritual lives? Only we as individuals can answer that question. And if it has happened, do we see it for what it is? Do we acknowledge it for what it is? Do we run back to God and say ‘forgive me Lord”. This becomes a very important issue. What are we suppose to get rid of? Notice some of the things mentioned in Gal 5: 19-21 Col 3:5-8. “drunkenness, revelry, lewdness, lust, strife, envy, adultery, fornication, idolatry, sorcery, contentions, jealousies, wrath, selfishness, and the list goes on.

Some of you may say ‘I’ve never been involved in that’, but you’re wrong, perhaps not deliberately, but vicariously. Jesus stated Matthew 5:28 “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Have you been to the movies lately? Do you have a television? What are the themes of those programs? That many times we have ALL watched? Murders, adultery, fornication, violence, vulgar language, it crops up doesn’t it? They keep pushing the envelope. Granted, it’s not like you sit there and say, I want to see this program and listen to the vulgar language, no, we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about sitting there, watching a program and say, “well, this is a decent program and then all of a vulgarity is slipped in. Sometimes you know it’s coming and think they’ll bleep it out. They no longer bleep out the bad words.  Why? Because it is now culturally acceptable and people are beginning to become addicted to it.

Well the point of it is this, we need to view everything in life according to how God sees it. He said “come out of her my people” this is not anti-movies and television, because there is a balance here.  There are wholesome movies, but most people aren’t interested in wholesome movies, they want action, violence, death and see things blown up. But even with so called wholesome movies, we need to be careful. The ratings system is no longer what it was, as time and culture changes, so does ratings. What was unacceptable 10, 20 years ago, is now acceptable. Sex, violence and profanity have crept into PG and even G rated movies, something that was rated R years ago.

That is why we are admonished to put on the whole armor of light, because we are constantly in combat mode. Now you have to watch when you go to movies or watch television. There’s always a good side to everything, remember it’s not the thing that is wrong, it’s how it’s used. Man has this wonderful proclivity of taking something good and twisting it and making it wrong. Now in this particular case what we see is that people today are being hypnotized literally by this stuff, it’s a form of entertainment to them, instead of entertainment it should be viewed objectively and look back and asked, where are they taking me with this?

We need to put on Christ, by first arming ourselves as we are at war, in combat. On a National Geographic special there was an episode about the lioness’ (the female lion) and how they hunt water buffalo for the pride, they go out and circle the herd of water buffalo, and what happens is that they target a specific one. That’s how the adversary works; 1 Peter 5:8 tell us that Satan “roams about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour”. They’re out there seeking which one of those water buffalo is going to be the evening meal. Here’s the interesting part, they start a procedure whereby they go around and around and around and they’ll attack the herd and push them back and they’ll attack again and push them back and they’ll go around and around. The whole point being this, they keep pressuring the herd and pressuring the herd until the herd makes a mistake. When the herd makes its mistake, they go for the kill. How many times have you and I made mistakes in life because we were under pressure and we finally caved in under pressure? Satan knows how to attack, he knows where our weak spot is, and he will pressure and pressure until he can succeed in his attack. Therefore it is important that we do not allow him or as Ephesians 4:26 tells us, “don’t give place to the devil.”

Speaking of pressure, have you notice that the world in which we live in is like a pressure cooker? People long for the good old days, when you can sit on your porch and relax (provided one has a porch). What happened to those days? They’re gone! Everybody’s so busy now, everybody’s pressured, pressured, pressured.

Who’s creating the pressure? Who’s out there seeking whom he may devour? This is why you and I have to be combat ready according to scriptures. Put on Jesus Christ, Galatians 3:27 tells us , we did that when we were baptized. We are told to continue developing the character of God. It is critical, that we are to make no provision for the flesh. How do we understand that? We have the responsibility not to feed the flesh. When you feed the old man, you get the wrong results. When you feed the new creature, you get the right results.

It’s like everything else, if you don’t make the right deposit in your checking account, if you don’t keep putting money in, and you’re just taking out all the time, sooner or later it’s all gone. A zero balance. In the same way, if we allow ourselves to feed the flesh rather than the spirit, then what ends up happening is that we end up being spiritually delinquent and we live only for the moment, the flesh, and that is what Paul is warning us against.

Let’s notice Romans 8:12, 13a; “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die” In other words if you just go about your normal pursuits of life, and don’t take God seriously in the equation of living life, you will die. And that’s what the world is doing, they live, they die. Perhaps that’s why they came up with that old expression in 1 Corinthians 15:32, “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” They see no hope, no future. Only through God do we see a hope and a future, because He gives us one.

Romans 8:13b; “but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body…”  That is when a wrong thought comes into the mind, we immediately dismiss it. Kill that thought, stop it right then and there.

Wipe that thought out. Because if we hold onto and feed it, it’s going to feed the flesh. So we see if we do this, and “mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live.”

1 Corinthians 10:13;  tells us that God is faithful,” and he “will not allow you to be tempted beyond  that you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to  bear it.”  So our Heavenly Father will never allow anything to get so bad against you that it would break you spiritually. He knows your breaking point. You know, everybody has a breaking point. You could only go so far. And God says I will never put anything on you or allow anything to come on you greater than you can bear.

Now let’s take a look at 1 Peter 4:7 because this has a very important application. I Peter 4:7. Here we are admonished on the following:  It says: “But the end of all things is at hand:. . .” and because of that, it says: “. . . be you therefore sober,. . .” notice that means have a high degree of alertness, that’s what sobriety means in the term you’re sober; you’re very much alert, and notice, “. . .watch unto prayer.” As you’re watching, as you’re looking, and evaluating things in your everyday life, make sure you’re praying about these things because what you see is not always what it is. You may see something and think it’s a certain way, but when you pray about it, all of a sudden God’s Spirit puts something else into your mind and you say, “Oh wait a second, there’s more here than meets the eye.”

Because God’s Spirit, remember, is a Spirit that does what? “Shall show you all things,” it says. It’ll show you prophetic applications of things, and it’ll lead you the way God is directing the affairs. Otherwise, it’s just a guess. It’s just speculation. And that’s what human beings do. They guess; they speculate; but God knows the outcome. And God tells us to be sober and to watch unto prayer. Now we know that we are to watch for what reason? So that we may be accounted worthy to escape all these things.

There are things coming that we don’t want to be a part of. They are recorded for us in scripture to both  inspire and encourage us to do the right thing. It’s not designed to scare the daylights out of us as if God’s going to get us, so we’d better do this now. That’s not what God wants. He wants us out of what He has revealed as Jesus said, “Behold I’ve told you all things ahead of time that you might believe. That you know that I have your best interest at heart. That I’m trying to show you what to escape, to avoid the minefield that’s gonna blow up and cause mass confusion in the minds of people. But God is not the author of confusion. He’s the author of wisdom, knowledge and understanding, and He shares that with us and gives us that understanding. So we see here a very important application that we need to ask ourselves how serious are we in this regard of waking up and redeeming the time.

Are there areas in our lives where we need to really wake up and get on the ball and as we see God’s Plan moving closer and closer to the end? We cannot afford to be indifferent about spiritual things. We can’t allow the Spirit of God to become something that is looked upon in a careless manner. We need to value the Spirit of God. We need to stir up the Spirit of God. We need to thank God for His Spirit because without that Spirit, all we’ve got to rely on is our human spirit, and that’s not enough. We have to be guided and directed in the knowledge of the things of God. And only God can administer that to us, but we have to ask. You have not because you ask not. And you’ve got to make sure you’re always asking with the right motive at heart, because if you ask amiss, it isn’t going to happen. Plain and simple.

So God, out of love and concern is telling us He does not want us to be in any aspect of our lives lethargic or apathetic.  Let’s have to look at 1 John 1:8, 9. We already read verse 8 before:

1 John 1: 8 – “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

Verse 9 – “If we confess our sins,. . .” and that’s part of what this whole period of self examination is all about right now. We’re in the process of confessing our sins to God. Have we been indifferent? Have we been lax in areas? Do we need to polish up the armor of light so that we can let God’s Spirit work and flow more effectively in us? It says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness”. He’s there to help us do what? To keep His commandments and do those things pleasing in His sight.

Because unrighteousness is the opposite of what righteousness is. And the righteousness is defined as keeping the commandments of God. Psalm 119:172: “My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.”

So God is teaching us how to live by His law. To have it written in our hearts and minds, so that we understand how we are to conduct ourselves.

We need to be excited each time we come together as brethren in Christ. This is not something to take for granted. This is something that the adversary would love to destroy, and we have to guard it. Hebrews 10:25  tells us “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 commands that so that we hear when we hear, it inspires us and encourages us and makes us realize our God is real. And that our God is going to do what He said He’s going to do. No human being can alter that fact.

We find from God’s Word that as individual men and women, we are to be children of the day, not the night, to clean up our lives, if there’s any dark spots, any places there that are unacceptable. We’re to put on Christ more and more and let that light shine just as He said. We’re to put that whole armor on. We’re to walk properly, to stay away from things which are wrong.

You know, the world we live in can hypnotize you if you’re not careful. Have you ever been driving down the highway, your eyes wide open and yet you were asleep? For a split-second. Does that ever happen to you? It’s happened to a lot of people. Myself included. The technical term for it is myoclonic jerk.

You’re driving down the highway, and all of sudden you do this jerk, and you suddenly come back to reality. Where was I? I thought I was awake, driving down the highway. They call it highway hypnosis, that you just keep your eyes riveted in one spot all the time, this will happen to you. So they tell you always to keep your eyes moving. It breaks up that monotony so you don’t fall prey to that.

Well, think about how people today are hypnotized through the media, e.g. television, radio, news, advertisements, etc. Their eyes are focused on one thing, and they’re constantly blitzed and bombarded by this stuff. And a lot of the things that are on there today, once they get in there, it’s hard to get it out. And so what God is telling us, just like that myoclonic jerk, it’s time to jerk yourself back to reality and see exactly what’s going on around you.

Unfortunately some of our brethren get caught up in the latest fads, the political scene. They get upset over things they have no business getting upset over.  It’s one thing to watch the world, it’s another to get involved. This is something we have to see through God’s eyes, and what God sees, He says it isn’t very good. What a merciful God we have, that in spite of all the chaos that goes on in this world, in spite of all the evil, God still blesses.

Prince Lucifer of Old is Now Prince of Demons

lucifer“The God of Peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” – Rom. 16:20
Doubtless many have been much surprised when told that Satan is  not in some far-off place stoking fires and torturing human or
other victims, but that he is present amongst men, an invisible
angel of evil, ably supported in his work as an Adversary of God
by legions of other fallen angels, of whom he is master a “Prince
of Demons,” either because of his superiority of nature, or
because of belonging to a higher rank or grade than the ordinary
angel. It is a surprise many to learn that Satan, so far from being
ill favored, is beautiful, according to the Scriptures, and that he is
supervising the work directly and through the fallen angels, his
servants, to mislead and to deceive humanity putting light for
darkness and darkness for light, error for truth, etc.

The time was not long ago when intelligent people made light of
everything in the Scriptures respecting invisible spirit beings,
good and bad the messengers of God and the messengers of
Satan. This, however, can no longer be done. Under the
increasing light of the New Dispensation man himself today can
do things which but a short time ago would have been
considered impossible. Can we not speak with our friends over
hundreds of miles with a telephone and recognize each other’s
voices? Yet there is no pipe, no tube to convey the sounds and
nothing, seemingly, carries it over the wire. We speak into a hole
in the wall and our friends hundreds of miles away hear plainly.
Still more marvelous is wireless telegraphy and wireless
telephony. If man can accomplish these things, what cannot the
Almighty accomplish? Who can deny the possibility of the
invisible presence of spirit beings and yet admit the possibility of
wireless telegraphy? We are safe, dear friends, in guiding our
judgments directly by the Word of God and reasoning inside and
not outside of its boundaries.

THE BIBLE IN PERFECT ACCORD

The Bible, and it alone, explains certain phenomena, and all of
the Bible explanations, although written, some of them centuries
apart, are in most perfect accord. Thus in Genesis the Bible tells
us respecting Satan’s deflection, and the book of Revelation,
written more than three thousand years later, tells us of his
binding for a thousand years, of Messiah’s reign and Satan’s
ultimate destruction. Isaiah and Ezekiel tell us of his being at one
time in full harmony with God, and that then he was the
“covering cherub,” glorious, grand, beautiful, and that his name
was Lucifer, which signifies the Morning Star.

All of the angelic, heavenly hosts are termed stars, bright ones;
but Lucifer, being of a higher order, was styled the Morning Star,
the Brightest Star. It was at that time, while in Divine favor, that
Satan permitted the lodgment in his mind of a disloyal thought of
how, indirectly, by being in higher responsibility, he could work
some wonders and do some things better than the Almighty. He
craved the opportunity to make a demonstration of what he could
do. But the Scriptures declare that, first of all, he said this merely
in his heart and uttered it not. “He said in his heart, I will ascend
into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God (still
farther above his angelic associates), I will be as the Most High”
a ruler.

THE OPPORTUNE TIME CAME

Never had there been sin in heaven. Satan was the first of all its
inhabitants to cherish, to entertain, a rebellious thought and to
bring it to a consummation. He held the thought in abeyance
until the opportunity afforded, and God Himself afforded the
opportunity, with full knowledge of the consequences, and with
the desire that this test of the entire heavenly host, and of a
human race as well, should be effected, because God seeketh not
the worship of constraint, but “seeketh such for worshipers as
worship Him in spirit and in truth,” voluntarily, joyfully.

It was when Satan beheld our first parents, in the image and
likeness of God, yet not spirit but flesh, earthly, that he perceived
the opportunity of gaining the coveted power for an empire,
separate from that of Jehovah. In the first pair the Adversary
beheld a new thing, a creature of Godlike qualities and possessed
of the power to propagate his own species. Satan realized that the
conquest of this pair and the bringing of them into subjection to
himself would signify the capture of a world full of people
eventually that the enslavement of the parents would signify the
enslavement eventually of the race.

SATAN’S METHODS WERE SUCCESSFUL

We cannot deny that Satan’s plans were logical and that he has
carried them out with great success so that the Scriptures declare
him “the Prince of this world” (John 14:30);and again, “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4). Nevertheless, his victory was not so great a one as he doubtless expected it to be.

No doubt he expected that he was capturing an immortal race.
Quite probably he believed the falsehood he told mother Eve,
when he contradicted the Word of God that sin, that
disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit, would bring upon
them the penalty of death, “dying thou shalt die.”

Satan’s charge was that God had misrepresented the facts for the
purpose of holding His creatures in mental slavery to Himself;
that He did not wish them to be wise, therefore He forbade the
eating of this particular kind of fruit and declared the penalty of
death for the transgression of His Law. “I, Satan, assure you that
you need not be afraid of the fruit; I assure you that it will do
you good, and that you will not surely die from the eating of it.”
Alas! Mother Eve believed the Adversary and disbelieved her
God, and then enticed her husband, still thinking, no doubt, that
she would not die and that the serpent had told her the truth and
that God had been the deceiver. St. Paul tells us that father Adam
knew better and ate the fruit, knowing that it would cause his
death, willing thus to disobey in order to maintain the fellowship
of his wife, whose life, he realized, was already forfeited.

When the Divine sentence began to go into execution, when our
first parents were driven out of Eden to battle with the thorns and
thistles until they should return to the dust, no doubt Satan was
disappointed. He would rather be the Prince of a noble, living
family of angels or of humans than the Emperor of a weak and
dying race. However, from that day to the present time he has
been fighting upon the same line; he has been contending with
mankind that the Word of God is false when it declares that “the
wages of sin is death,” and that “the soul that sinneth it shall
die.” From that day to this he has been using this falsehood to the
injury of our race, and surely he has succeeded wonderfully.
Today, not only in heathen lands, but amongst the most civilized,
it is freely believed (and by many Christians considered
Scriptural to believe the nonsensical) that a dead man is more
alive than before he died. People of good, sound, reasoning
faculties on ordinary subjects seem to be “hoodooed” by this
falsehood of Satan, “ye shall not surely die.” So true is this, that
it seems not inconsistent to them to say that a man hit over the
head with a stick and knocked senseless knows nothing, but a
man hit over the head harder and killed, knows everything.

THE FALLEN ANGELS

It was sometime after the fall of Satan and the fall of man that
the Lord permitted the great test to come upon the angels of
heaven, under which test a host of them fell into sin,
disobedience, etc. and since then are known in the Scriptures as
the fallen angels, and as devils more properly demons. These
fallen angels, demons, are under Satan as their great Prince and
they have been his active agents for long centuries in deceiving
mankind and opposing the Divine Program.

SATAN THE GREAT MURDERER

No less an authority than our great Lord and Redeemer tells us
that Satan is a murderer and a liar. He declares that “He was a
murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth; when he
speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own, for he is the father of lies.”
(John 8:44) It is well that we keep this Divine testimony in our
minds. It is well that we note just what the first great lie was,
namely, Satan’s misrepresentation saying, “Ye shall not surely
die.” It is important that we notice this, because so thoroughly
has Satan accomplished his deceptive work that practically
everybody, heathen and civilized, accepts Satan’s version of the
matter and discredits that of the Almighty.

Let us notice that Satan is a murderer; that he murdered Father
Adam and Mother Eve, and that his lie is still murdering our
race, under the just laws of heredity. The error of believing Satan
instead of God has gotten many into the confused situation of
disclaiming that God proposed that man should live forever on
earth in a Paradise, and, as his family would increase and
continue in harmony with His wise regulations, the boundaries of
his Paradise would be enlarged and be a Paradise filled with the
knowledge of God and the home of a perfect humanity, in accord
with God, privileged to maintain everlasting life here. And, says
this theory, by Satan’s lie and our first parents’ fall, we die and
by dying become more alive and some of us go to heaven and
the mass to some eternal, fiery hell, of which we have no
knowledge.

THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE (Rom. 6:23)

God, while permitting Satan and sin and depravity and death to
take their course, has not been idle. He has had, and still has, a
great plan for human salvation a plan for recovering man from
sin and from death and from all of his fallen conditions, a plan of
restitution to human perfection, a plan by which the Seed of the
woman shall yet, literally, crush the Serpent’s head, and undo
Satan’s great original misdeed recover man from his murdered
condition and from his fallen estate to all that he had at first plus
the knowledge and experiences of the present life and plus the
experience incidental to his uplift, during the reign of Messiah,
for which we pray, “Thy Kingdom come.”

The Scriptures clearly show us that all of this recovery is to be
accomplished through the merit of Jesus” sacrifice—” the just for
the unjust.” That the work has not yet begun is evident. We are
still living under the reign of sin and death. The Messianic
Kingdom must come in power and great glory and be
established, the Scriptures tell us, in a great time of trouble. Then
the earth will be made to blossom as the rose, and the wilderness
and the solitary places will be made glad, and all mankind will
receive Divine blessing and opportunity to return to Divine favor
and eternal life as human beings. And the willfully disobedient
and the negligent of those opportunities will die the Second
Death, from which there will be no recovery, no resurrection, no
hope.

THE SAINTS SHALL JUDGE THE WORLD (1 Cor. 6:2)

These great blessings of restitution, for which Israel and the
whole world are waiting, cannot be brought about until first the
special salvation of a special class, the salvation of the very elect
not to human nature, but to a heavenly nature, as the Bride of
Christ shall be accomplished. The selecting of these has
progressed for nearly nineteen centuries and, apparently, is about
complete. The Divine blessing and work then to be inaugurated
will be restitution to earthy nature and perfection—” to the Jew
first.”

SATAN SERVES THE SAINTS

During all these centuries, while Satan has been the Prince of
ruler amongst the children of this world, and while he has
blinded them with his sophistries and falsehoods, he has also
done another work for the saintly few now being called to the
heavenly places. For these he has, so to speak, turned a polishing
grindstone to prepare them for the riches of the heavenly glory as
New Creatures, as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ
their Lord. Quite unwittingly, we may be sure, he has served the
Creator’s purposes and helped to prepare, through trials, this
class for the glorious things which God has in reservation for
those that love Him.

SATAN AS AN ANGEL OF LIGHT

St. Paul declares of Satan, “We are not ignorant of his devices,”
and he tells us that Satan and his servants transform themselves
into servants of righteousness, etc. We see this principle in
operation as we read Church history. Satan, all through this Age,
has sought to pervert Christian hopes and distort Christian
doctrines by presenting counterfeits of Bible truths. Thus, for
instance, the Scriptures tell us that eventually the Church, “a
little flock,” will be associated with Messiah in His Kingdom of
glory, to reign a thousand years. It was Satan’s method to
counterfeit this hope, to suggest to men the establishment of an
earthly Kingdom with an earthly little flock, an earthly glory, an
earthly reign. This was set forth as the fulfillment of the second
Psalm.

And when later on some of Satan’s dupes began to get free from
some of his snares, he became their leader in an opposite
direction, called them Reformers and led them to claim that all
the civilized kingdoms of the earth are the kingdoms of Christ.
This is the status of affairs today. The world in general believes
that Christ’s Kingdom has come, even through they are still
praying, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is
in heaven.” Satan has led them away from careful attention to
making their own calling and election sure by Christian character
development, into the various reform movements of the world,
whose trial time has not yet come. Thus Christians of all
denominations have been bewildered, confused by the artful
wiles of our enemy. Now, however, as the morning of the New
Dispensation dawns, our eyes of understanding are opening. We
perceive that our Adversary has but a short time until he must be
bound for a thousand years; that the Messianic Kingdom must
prevail that all the families of the earth may be blessed through
the Seed of Abraham. Finally, at the close of that reign of
righteousness, the Scriptures declare, Satan shall be destroyed.
The Church is the Body of Christ, of Messiah. Hence the
Apostle’s words of our text apply to the Church in glory—” The
God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly”.

Is God Trying to Convert the World Now?

54d5fae6990e297470c048c03d49ed95Jesus promised, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14) Does this promise mean that now is the only time of salvation for all people? The common words ALL and EVERY are two of the most important words in the Bible. In Luke 2:10 the angel who announced the birth of Jesus said, “Behold I rrbring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to ALL people.” Verses 30 and 31 speak of salvation for “ALL people.” 1 Timothy 4:10 speaks of God as “the Saviour of ALL men.”

The simple logic of Jesus dying for ALL is found in 1 Corinthians 15:22: “As in Adam ALL die even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.” Similarly, Romans 5:18 shows that “by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon ALL men to condemnation: even so by the righteousness of one [Christ] the free gift came upon ALL men.” Father Adam sinned with the unborn race yet in his loins.

Therefore, ALL were born in sin and shapen in iniquity (Psalm 51:5) and thus worthy of death. God knew that Adam, due to a lack of experience would disobey. Thus 1 Peter 1:19,20, speaks of the blood of Christ as being foreordained for our redemption even before Adam was created. Since ALL were lost in Adam, it was necessary
that Jesus “by the grace of God should taste death for EVERY man” (Hebrews 2:9).

John 1:7 speaks of Jesus as “the Light, that ALL men through him might believe.” Verse 9 says he is “the True Light, which lighteth EVERY man that cometh into the world.” How can this be? Countless millions died before the time of Jesus. They never saw the True Light! They never heard the name of Jesus. And since the death of Jesus, millions died never hearing of the only “name under
heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). If you are a Bible-believing Christian, you know that no one is saved through ignorance but only by believing in Jesus as his or her saviour. This is a seeming contradiction. The answer is found in 1 Timothy 2:5,6, “. . .Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for ALL, to be  testified in due time”-a plain statement that Jesus died for
“ALL.” If Jesus died for “ALL,” why is it that ALL do not have the opportunity to hear this good news? The key of harmony is found in the phrase “due time.” The Greek word translated “time” is plural; i.e., times (Thayer’s Lexicon of the New Testament). The knowledge that Jesus is a ransom for ALL will be testified “in due times.” The
due time for those God is calling to be of the Church is during the Christian Age. The due time for ALL other people to understand is during the 1,000-year reign of Christ.

Now is not the time for ALL to hear the name of Jesus. God is not trying to convert the world between the first and second advents. If He was, then He has obviously failed. For after nearly 2,000 years, less than one third of the world’s population even claims to be Christian. The fact is Jesus predicted only that the gospel would be a witness to the world, not that all would be converted before the end of the Age.

Mark 4:11,12, specifically states that God is not trying to convert the world now. Jesus said to his disciples, “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without all these things are done in parables. That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” Ponder well this scripture.

If Jesus died for ALL, why has God arranged that many would not be able to understand the Bible and, therefore, not be converted and have their sins forgiven? The Bible is not written like a textbook system of logic. God purposely had the Bible written in parables and symbols, so that many would not be converted and have their sins forgiven. This is why there are over 250 Christian denominations with so many different interpretations of the Bible. God has not
attempted to convert the world, but is only calling a “little flock” at this time. If man’s eternal destiny was dependent upon understanding the Bible now, our God of love (1 John 4:8) would have surely made the Bible plain and simple for all to understand.

Acts 15:14-17 reveals that “God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name [not to convert all]. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, after this I will return [Second Advent] and build again the tabernacle of David [set up the kingdom of God]. . .that the residue [REMAINDER] of men might seek after the Lord and ALL the Gentiles. . . .” God’s work since
the death of Jesus has not been to convert all humankind, but merely to take out or to call out a “people for his name.” In the Kingdom, all the REMAINDER of men, who are not of these called out ones, will have their opportunity to seek the Lord.

 

“Can These Bones Live”?

bones_liveNear Jerusalem, for nearly 4,000 years, deep in ancient tombs lie Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca. For nearly 4000 years, revered alike by Jews and Muslims and Christians. Their bones rest on in the hope of a resurrection.

Jerusalem—Jerusalem the golden; Jerusalem the invaded—by Assyrians, by Babylonians, by Medo-Persians, by Seleucids, by Romans, by Mamelukes, by Crusaders, by Ottoman Turks, and by assorted Arab hordes.

Jerusalem—laid to rest in countless tombs carpeting the western slopes of Olivet. Jerusalem—its bones dried and scattered, bones dead for nearly 2000 years, bones resting on in the hope of a resurrection.

Can These Bones Live?

Many years ago in the city of ancient Babylon the Jewish prophet Ezekiel was asked this very question in a vision.

“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones.

And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many bones in the open valley; and lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me “Son of man, can these bones live?

“And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest.

“Again he said unto me “Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.

Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:

And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

“So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone,

And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.

Then he said unto me, “Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God, Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

“So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”

A dramatic story! Dramatically told! But what does it all mean?

As Ezekiel would say, “Hear the word of the Lord.”

“Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are completely cut off.

Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves.

And shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then ye shall know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.”

Since the twin destructions of Jerusalem under the mighty armies of the Roman generals Titus and Hadrian, the Jewish people entered a long period of dispersion, Diaspora, and their national hopes, like the bones in their ancient graves deep in the valley of the Kidron have been dead.

They have been dry bones. Bones with little hope of ever reviving. They have been scattered bones. A people

dispersed to nearly every country in the world with only their common faith as a bond. They have been bones “completely cut off.”

As the prophet Hosea writes, “without a king, without a prince, without a sacrifice, without an image, without an ephod and without teraphim.”

Can These Bones Live?

It’s a difficult question!

It’s a serious question!

It’s a question worth asking!

History answers, “No!”

Babylon never came back!

Phoenicia has not returned!

Nor has Tyre; nor has Elam; or Philistia.

Can These Bones Live?

Politics answers, “No!”

Not after being totally forbidden to inhabit their ancient homeland! Not after being denied access to their religious shrines! Not after being dispersed so widely throughout the world!

Military strategists answer, “Never will these bones live! Not after their military might was so completely broken! Not after being denied responsibile positions in the countries of their dispersion! Not after being so reviled in the few countries that gave them refuge!

But the Bible answers, “Yes!”

“These bones shall live!”

Current Events resoundingly echo:

“Yes!”

In a twentieth-century miracle, the nation of Israel has been reborn—reborn in its ancient homeland; reborn against tremendous odds; reborn amidst a vastly outnumbered opposition.

Reborn and thriving!

Can These Bones Live?

For over a century the history of the Middle East has been moving in steady steps toward the fulfillment of this prophecy of Ezekiel.

In 1878, after a ban of Seventeen Hundred Forty-three years, Israelis were given permission to own property in the ancient land of their forefathers.

In 1878 , they immediately established their first settlement, Petach Tikvah. Their return had begun.

In 1897, Theodor Herzl issued a worldwide call to organize the Zionist movement.

In 1917, Her Majesty’s government of Great Britain endorsed a Jewish state in the famous Balfour Declaration.

From 1936 to 1945 over six million Jews were killed in the Nazi Holocaust.

In 1948, as a result of a United Nations partition, Israel became a sovereign nation.

Then, immediately challenged by an overpowering Arab force, an Israeli victory legitimized their declaration of statehood.

In 1956, an invasion led by General Nasser of Egypt was soundly repelled.

In 1967, the six-day war of Israel against another Arab coalition enlarged the borders of the new state and Jerusalem was united once again under Jewish control.

In 1973, on the eve of the Jewish high holy day of Yom Kippur, a third Arab attack was again set back.

In 1989 the dismantled countries of the Soviet Union permitted the Jewish refuseniks to return to Israel.

In 1991 and 1992 repeated Scud attacks by Saddam Hassein of Iraq failed to dislodge the Israelis.

Dry bones returning to life. Scattered bones have become regathered bones. Bare bones have assumed sinew and flesh. Covered bones have been topped with skin.

But Can These Bones Live?

What is the meaning of it all?

In the prophesy of Ezekiel the resurrection of the dry bones was a four-step process:

First: a thundrous noise and shaking brought the bones together.

Second: the regathered bones took on sinew and flesh.

Third: skin covered the bones and,

Fourth: after a lapse of time, breath came into the bones and they lived.

Let’s look at these steps, one by one, and see how they have been fulfilled.

“As I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.”

* From Russia.

* From Germany.

* From Syria.

* From the United States.

* From England.

* From South America.

* From Yemen.

* From India.

* From Ethiopia.

* From China and Japan.

* From all over the world.

Israel – the people of history—now, the people of a miracle! Dry bones, shaking off the dust of twenty centuries.

Regathering from every corner of the earth to Israel.

Returning by boat, by plane and even by foot.

Returning to their ancient homeland In an ever-growing stream, like the salmon to its spawning ground. Attracted like metal filings to a magnet, the people of Israel return to their native land! In one immigration after another.

* Lured by the promises of Zionism.

* Attracted by the financial investments of the Hirsches and the Rothschilds.

* Driven by the pogroms of unfriendly nations.

* Hunted by the persecutions of Nazism and the Holocaust.

* There was no place like home.

And home was Israel!

“Next year in Jerusalem” became THIS YEAR IN JERUSALEM!

However, though you may gather bones from the whole world all you really have is a pile of dead bones!

But this was only the first step in the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy. Sinew, flesh, skin and life were yet to follow.

Ezekiel continues: “And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came upon them.”

And so it was, even in those days when nationhood was but a vague hope, an infrastructure began to develop.

Under the encouragement of Chaim Weissman, the Hebrew University was formed. The Haganah, Mossad and Irgun formed the military muscle. Hadassah reached forth to provide medical services.

Ben Yehuda resurrected the dead Hebrew language. A shadow government with such strong ambassadorial figures as David Ben Gurion, Chaim Weissman, Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir began to function in exile.

Bones And Sinews Were Appearing.

But still they were just that; a government in exile. Skin had not yet appeared to give them the semblance of a nation.

And The Skin Covered Them From Above.

As the close of World War II exposed the atrocities of the Holocaust to the public eye, the climate was set for the United Nations motion to partition Palestine and pave the way for a Jewish state.

On May 14, 1948, the ears of the Jewish people were pinned to their radios as the vote in the U.N. was tallied.

In Jerusalem David Ben Gurion capped the results by announcing a new state . . . the state of Israel, reborn from the dust bins of history.

Immediate recognition by world powers, beginning with President Harry Truman of the United States gave legitimacy to their claim.

Like any new birth, there were the pains of travail. Within hours an Arab coalition attacked to drive the new state into the sea.

Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia from the East; Lebanon and Syria from the North; Egypt from the South. Blocked on the West by the Mediterranean Naval armadas on the Western Sea. Outnumbered, surrounded, outgunned, Israel fought back desperately.

They fought back and, despite all odds, they won! The Bones had skin!

Israel Was A Nation!

“But there was no breath in them.”

To be alive in the sight of the nations around them was one thing, to be alive in the sight of God was another!

In Ezekiel’s prophecy there was a time lapse between the bones assembling, growing sinews and flesh, being covered with skin, and then receiving the breath of life.

Notice the last step: “Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God, Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.”

As with Adam in Eden, “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”

In this prophecy, the breath, or life, was to come from the wind. Wind, throughout the Bible, even as in common usage, signifies trouble.

“Winds of war;” “winds of turmoil;” “winds of strife;” causing men to be as turbulent as the wind-driven waves of the sea.

Nor was it from wind alone, but specifically from “the four winds” that this breath was to come.

We read of these same “four winds” in a description of the future climactic battle of the ages in Revelation: “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 any tree.”

These “four winds of earth,” a virtual whirlwind of anarchy, depict a period of trouble which particularly involves the newborn nation of Israel.

This battle is described in great prophetic detail in the 38th and 39th chapters of Ezekiel.

While time does not permit an elaborate discussion of these chapters, they describe an invasion of Israel by a coalition of nations “from the north” during a time when Israel is dwelling “in peace and safety.”

Aparallel account in Zechariah informs us that Jerusalem will be attacked and “the city shall be taken.”

But the defeat will be temporary for: “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.”

God gives the reasons for this final battle in many places in the Bible: Note what Ezekiel and Zephaniah prophecy: “I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me.”

“Then will I take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride; and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies: neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.”

Then “they shall know that I am the Lord. So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.”

After trying heroically to save themselves by their own military might, Israel will learn their final lesson. It is their God alone who can ultimately bring deliverance and salvation.

The prophet Zechariah sums it up well:

“Not by might, Nor by power, But by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.”

It is then: knowing the weakness of their own might, knowing the strength of their God, seeking and finding their Messiah, renewed in their faith in the Word of God, that breath will come upon them.

That Breath Will Be The Spirit Of The Lord:

“I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”

Breathing, they shall live! Living, they shall teach others how to live:

“The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.”

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills: and all nations shall flow into it.

“And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

“In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.”

Thus we have God’s promise that these bones shall live again.!

But This Will Be Only The Beginning!

For we realize that these “bones that live” are an illustration of the resurrection of the dead.

For when these dry bones of Israel have breath and live, then the bones of Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Rebecca shall also live.

* Then the bones of ancient Jewry shall also live.

* Then the bones of Muslims buried near the golden gate shall also live.

* Then the bones of Christians buried deep in the Kidron valley shall also live.

* Then the bones buried in neat rows in Flanders. poppy fields shall also live.

* Then the bones of all who have ever died shall come to life.

But When Will It Be?

The bones of Israel have been regathered! They already have sinew and flesh! The bones already have skin! Thus we are on the very brink of the fourth step coming to pass: Israel receiving the breath of life. However, not only Israel but all people will receive life.

For this will introduce the greatest event in all human history—the Kingdom of God!

The kingdom of which men have dreamed. The kingdom for which men have waited. The kingdom for which Christian have prayed:

“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

And what a kingdom that will be:

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart.And the tongue of the dumb sing: For in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.”

For “the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

What a Promise!

The bones of Israel and all who have ever lived will become living bones, with flesh and blood—breathing bones, with life anew!

Yes, everyone,

* Jews

* Arabs

* Christians

* Heathen

* and Atheists.

* All men will all come forth from the tomb.

Unbelievable? Too good to be true? No! Our faith is greatly strengthened when we realize Israel’s dispersion among the nations, and their gradual return of favor, is a direct fulfillment of prophecy given thousands of years ago.

And so we CAN be assured that God’s promise of life to all who have ever lived, will also be fulfilled.

Rejoice!

Rejoice in life coming to Israel’s “dry bones!” Because it means that soon life will come to all the dead—regardless of their color, regardless of their creed, regardless of their nationality.

The return of Israel is the harbinger of the kingdom of God as surely as the robin is the harbinger of spring.

The Spirit of Compromise

TheDangerOfCompromise“Beloved, I now write this second letter to you, in which I stir up your pure mind by reminder to remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of the Lord and Savior by us, the apostles. First, knowing this, that there will come in the last days scoffers walking according to their own lusts and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” –  2Pe 3:1-4

Many—and very plain and positive—are the warnings of God’s Word against the “evil communications” that “corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15: 33). The Apostle Paul’s counsel (Acts 20: 28-30) to all the elders of the church was, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” And Jude said, “Beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves [from the Truth and its Spirit], sensual [minding earthly things, and gratifying the ambitions and tastes of the old nature], having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying with a holy spirit [a spirit of loyalty and devotion to God], keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 17-21).

Thus we are put on guard against the enemies of the Truth, and it is made obligatory upon all the faithful to be on the alert against them, and to be prompt in discerning and in dealing with them, so that the flock of Christ may be spared. The Apostle Paul grows very earnest in urging this matter, saying, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own desires; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple [those not on the alert against the encroachments of error]” (Rom. 16: 17, 18). Again, says the same Apostle (2 Tim. 2: 16), “Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”

HOW THE POLICY OF COMPROMISE SPEAKS

No, says the ungodly policy of this evil day of compromises and of disloyalty to “the faith once delivered to the saints,” “We cannot walk by this strict rule: we dare not recognize and admit the real character of a wolf in the sheepfold, if the wolf be attired in sheep’s clothing; we must accept his professions, notwithstanding his words and his actions to the contrary. We cannot believe that of our own selves—right in the midst of the company of the consecrated—any will arise to ‘pervert the truth’ and to ‘draw disciples after them’; and we dare not ‘mark’ any as such, and ‘avoid them,’ or ‘shun their profane and vain babblings,’ as the Apostle suggests, for that would be uncharitable, unloving and unkind.”

Lately we hear a great deal in favor of a broad-minded charity which gives loose rein to the enemies of the doctrines of Christ—a charity which would affiliate with every form of belief and unbelief; that makes no claims or superiority for one religion over another, be it heathen or Christian or anti-Christian; and that freely fellowships all and bids all Godspeed, utterly heedless of the Word of the Lord, which says, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God,” and “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed; for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 9-11) .

The warning here is not against those who never knew the Truth, but against those who have known it and have been blessed by it, and who afterward turned away from it; of whom the Apostle Peter speaks, saying, “If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning [they are worse off than those who have always been of the world]. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Pet. 2: 20-22). Why do they do so? Because the dog nature and/or the sow nature and disposition are still there, and only wait for opportunities and circumstances to prove it. So also says the Apostle John: They that go out from us—who desert the Truth and its interests—do so because they are not of us (1 John 2: 19), because the old fleshly mind and disposition are still there and are allowed to come again into control.

In some cases the desertion may be only on one or a few items of Bible Truth, in other cases it may be many. Also, in some cases one who is fighting the Truth may never have been enlightened or is insufficiently enlightened on the pertinent truth or truths he is opposing. These things, and also the relative importance of the truth or truths that are being deserted and opposed would all have to be taken into consideration in determining how much friendship and fellowship we could give such. Certainly we should not fellowship with them in their errors of doctrine and practice, but are rather to reprove them (Eph. 5: 11).

Again, many who once were “established in the present truth” (2 Pet. 1: 12) regarding the Bible chronology, the Second Advent and the beginning of the binding of Satan and Christ’s Thousand-year Reign (Rev. 20: 1-4) as having set in with the beginning of the seventh thousand-year day after Adam’s fall, the beginning of Earth’s Great jubilee, in 1874 (B 173-200), now reject these Bible-based truths, some denying that Jesus has come again in His Second Advent, others denying that the binding of Satan has even started yet, and some even casting aside the Bible chronology and substituting a false chronology in an effort to prove that Christ’s Thousand-year Reign has not begun yet.

The love  which goes out toward the enemies of the cross of Christ–those who have been once enlightened by the truth and have turned away from it–is not the right kind of love. We are commanded to “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world,” and told that “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15); and, again, “This is love, that we walk after his commandments.”2 John 6.

“And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”–Gal. 6:16.

Fight the Good Fight

fight the good fight“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life whereunto thou art also called.” – 1 Tim. 6:12.

It is still true that they who will live Godly shall suffer persecution. To live Godly however, implies earnestness and consequent activity in God’s service.

Remember too, that the Apostle refers to these last days of the age as the most perilous times of all. Why? Because the errors and temptations of this day come in more subtle forms than before. This is emphatically the age of reason; an age of advancement in almost every direction; many are running to and fro and knowledge is increasing on every hand. And yet, human conceit and presumption is running vastly ahead of knowledge; and reason, unguided by the Divine Revelation, is falling into many foolish and hurtful errors, which are passing current among those who profess to be the children of God, who are deceived by these errors and are falling away from the faith once delivered to the saints. And though the great Babylon system is crumbling into decay, multitudinous errors, far more injurious than the formalism and slumber of Babylon, are at work, to build upon its ruins other systems of iniquity.

These errors must be met by the faithful few who are armed with the truth, – others cannot detect or defeat them. It is for these armed with the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, to show by its profound reasonings the difference between truth and error, and that God’s plan in God’s way is superior to all the plans and ways of human arrangement. To escape falling into these errors, and being deceived by their subtle sophistries, and by the professions of loyalty to God on the part of the deceived deceivers who advance them, the children of God must keep close to their Father’s Word, and be filled with his spirit; and when they see the truth they must be bold and fearless in its defence regardless of all consequences.

This little army of faithful soldiers, all told, is but a handful, “a little flock;” but though in numbers they are so insignificant that the hosts of the opposers of the truth fear little from their efforts, the final victory shall be theirs; and God’s power will be glorified and manifested in them proportionately more. Like Gideon’s three hundred picked men who feared not to face the hosts of Midian because the Lord was with them, these have but to go forth likewise, strong in faith, sounding the trumpet of truth and breaking their earthen vessels (sacrificing their human nature) that the blessed light of God’s spirit may shine out; and at the appointed hour the hosts of the enemy shall take the alarm and flee. Systems of error new and old shall be turned to destruction, and, as in the case of the Midianites, each shall turn upon the other to accomplish the work of their destruction.

To have the privilege of fighting this good fight of faith and of being the Lord’s chosen ones for the great work now to be done, God’s children, like Gideon’s army, must first be proved – tested. At first there was a host of thirty thousand with Gideon; and when all that were fearful were told to return to their homes, only ten thousand remained, and when God further tested these, only three hundred remained; a little insignificant company truly they must have appeared, not only to the Midianites, but also to themselves. Yet, God’s power was made the more manifest by their smallness and weakness.

JUST SO IT IS NOW.