There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.
Burn in me
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace (or let us hold fast), whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” Heb. 12:28-19.
Verse 29 is quoted from Deut. 4 where we also read, “Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of anything, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee. For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” Vs. 23-24.
We also read, “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” Ex. 34:14. He is rightfully jealous of His place in the hearts of His people. He would keep us pure, undefiled and true to Him. We may learn much about Him in considering the names and nature of our God. It is not any wonder then that we read our Apostle Paul saying, “I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy” II Cor. 11:2.
May we truly burn in spiritual fervor of love divine for our Father’s, and Lord’s honor and glory? WHY NOT? He is able to consume all that oppose Him or His. II Pet. 3:7,10-12; Rev. 20:9-15. OH, Yes, there is indeed a mighty purging coming. Fire in Scripture most predominantly speaks of judgment. We understand that it is also very beneficial for wamth, illumination and purification. In Matthew 25:41 Jesus spoke of “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” II These. 1:8 & 2:8 states what Jesus is going to do soon, when he returns with His overcoming people, those that have submitted to a purging and purifying work in their lives.
We are loved with an everlasting love. Our God and Father proved it when He delivered up His only Son on the cross for us, to the fire of His wrath of divine judgment. Our sweet Jesus gave himself up to that judgment in our stead. Shall we not set Him an a seal upon our hearts and arms? “For love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are the coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannnot quench love, neither can the floods drown it; if a man would give all the substance of His house for love, it would utterly be contemned” S.O.S. 8: 6-7. Our Jesus sold out for love, didn’t He? How about the lesson of Mt. 13:45,46 and Heb. 12:1-4?
As creator and redeemer He owns us completely. He would have us put our all on the alter, present our bodies a living sacrifice. He wants our all to be given to Him of our own free will instead of being just puppets on a string. Jesus said, “thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and all thy mind” Mt. 22:37.
“Our God is a consuming fire.” It sounds like He would occupy us fully, be our all in all, consume us entirely with Himself. But he must inflame our innermost being with the vehement fire of His love, which He sheds abroad in us by the Holy Ghost.
We do well to allow Him to consume everything about us and within us that is opposed to His Holiness, and our eternal happiness. Read I Pet. 1:7; 4:12; Job 23:10. In the trials that come our way our dear Lord provides for us course correction, lighting our way, warming our hearts, ignites spiritual fervor, as well as purifies the gold.
The great architect graciously teaches us, who have been made laborers together with Him, about the most durable building materials in living construction. He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, I Cor. 3:12-16; II Pet. 1:3-11. He tells us of the danger of using combustible materials that will not stand the fire test, at the judgment seal of Christ, as well as the wrong motives. He also motivates us aright by the constraint of love divine, II Cor. 5:14-15; Rom. 14:6-9.
Our God promised to consume His peoples enemies and did so repeatedly, Psa. 97:3; Deut. 9:3; I Kings 1:10,12.
The Burning Bush
Some of God’s people seem to be afraid to let the Lord burn in them too completely, for fear that they might burn our, or burn up. Consider the bush. The angel of the Lord appeared unto Moses “in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush in not burnt. And when, the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I” Ex. 3:2-5. God then told him to put off his shoes for he was standing on holy ground.
The Scriptures teach of many forms of communication that God used to make His purposes known to humanity, but what a mode! What manner God used here! In a flame of fire from a bush. We often wonder at the unlikely fuses that God used to make his will known. The Holy Spirit appeared at Pentecost like cloven tongues as of fire. It is a sweet privilege to be thus set aflame by the Lord. Many claim to be on fire for the Lord, but it turns out to be strange fire, which is not of Him at all, and must be judged. He makes his messengers a flame of fire to burn for His glory, Heb. 1:7. This great sight caught Moses’ attention and God certainly lit his candle.
We each may feel like an insignificant unlikely, dried up bush in the desert, but oh, how blessed we are that we may invite Him to burn in us. May we not allow the promised approaching fiery trials move us off course so that we finish our course with joy.
PRAISE AND WORSHIP
Anita Clark – Pastor, Carbondale, Kansas
“The woman saith unto Him, Sir, I perceive that You are a Prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain worship, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is , when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth; for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” John 4:19-24.
In verse 22 where Jesus told the woman, “Ye worship you know not what,” it shows her ignorance of who should be worshiped. Jesus said the Jews worshiped God Whom they had knowledge of and understood. Many religious people today are claiming to worship, but have no idea whom they are worshiping or what they are worshiping. Jesus said that there would come a time when the “true worshipers” would worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth (reality). There is much false worship in many religious places today. God is seeking true worshipers.
In Exodus 20:3-5, the Lord declares His desire and commands worship that is acceptable to Him, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me...Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” We are not to worship literal images and false gods, but how about other things we may worship. When we put other things before God in our lives, we are worshiping those things. Think about it.
As John 4:24 says, “God is seeking worshipers who worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” The word “worship” in the Greek means “to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand, to fawn (exhibit attention and affection and attempt to please), crouch to, prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore).” This word “worship” in the English language means “ reverence, to give homage, adoration, honor, celebration, extol, revere, exaltation, glorify, or deify.” In many places the Bible states that no one or nothing else is to receive this reverence except God.
What does it mean to “ worship the Father in Spirit and in truth.” I believe that Jesus was referring to the new life of Christ within us, and the Holy Spirit, not in fleshly, carnal or formal ways. There is much worship (so called) which is false, not Scriptural and so is not true worship, but truly a manifestation of the flesh, the religious carnal nature. This kind brings glory to man and not God. Not all worship is in “Truth.” Some so called worship is only pretense or hypocrisy, pretending to be pious, and spiritual and worship of God. Christ is the “Way the Truth and the Life.” Study of the Word of God brings more enlightenment and Truth.
Psalms 145:1-7 expresses what real worship of God is. “I will extol thee, my God, O King; and I will bless Thy name for ever and ever. Everyday will I bless Thee; and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Thy works to another, and shall declare Thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honor of Thy majesty, and of Thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of Thy terrible acts: and I will declare Thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of Thy goodness, and shall sing of Thy righteousness.”
Who should praise and worship the Lord? “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down in silence, But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore” Ps. 115:17,18. The “we” is referring to those who believe.
Where should we praise and worship? “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord” Ps. 134:2. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” I Thess. 5:18. Where ever I am - Whatever I’m doing - or not doing - I can worship - In my car - at home - in the Church meeting.
Why should we praise and worship Him? Because of a peaceful worshipful heart, showing that we are grateful for all the marvelous things that He has provided for us, and because of Who He is. I heard one time, that sometimes it almost seems we can’t praise Him while we are in a terrible trial, but we can worship and praise Him for Who He is and what He has done for us. “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” I Thess. 5:18.
When should we worship? We should worship Him - “forever and ever” and “everyday” Ps. 145:1, 2. “...in the night seasons” Ps. 16:7.
How should we worship? With all our being, heart, and strength. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
Remember Mary of Bethany in John 11:3. She bought a “pound of spikenard, very costly, and anointed Jesus feet.” The house was filled with the smell of the spikenard. Her estimation of Jesus’ worth was very high. Her worship of Him was a great sacrifice. Judas, the one who would betray Jesus, thinking that this was a waste to pour out this costly ointment on Jesus’ feet, said, “Why was not this ointment sold and the money given to the poor?” It says this was because he held the money bag for the expenses of the group and he was a thief.
Posture of Worship -”O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker” Ps. 95:6. “And so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth” I Cor. 14:25. “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands...” I Tim. 2:8. “Job arose, and rent his mantle and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped” Job. 1:20. “When I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in night watches” Ps. 63:6. All of these Scripture verses show us that God can be worshiped in many different positions and places. He is worthy of our adoration, and we need to learn to voice our praises to Him. “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” Heb. 13:15.
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WE SEE JESUS
Part 4 of 4
Pastor Floyd H. Crook(1982)
“THEREFORE we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip….Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet….But now we see not yet all things put under him. BUT WE SEE JESUS, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste DEATH FOR EVERY MAN.” Hebrews 2:1,8b,9.
JESUS’ ASCENSION TO GOD’S RIGHT HAND
After being with the disciples forty days, He gave the disciples the promise of the Holy Ghost, and “...while they beheld, he was taken up… Acts 1:9. After He went out of sight, they kept gazing up. He went beyond their vision, but we know by the Word of God that Jesus went to the right hand of the throne of God, where He lives to make intercession for us. He is our attorney; He always wins the case, and is never “bought off.” HE IS COMING AGAIN. WE SEE JESUS.
The words to the disciples were: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? THIS SAME JESUS WHICH IS TAKEN UP FROM YOU INTO HEAVEN, SHALL SO COME IN LIKE MANNER AS YE HAVE SEEN HIM GO INTO HEAVEN.” Acts 1:11. That refers literally to when He will come to the earth. His feet will stand on that same mountain from which He was taken to heaven. When He returns that very mountain will cleave asunder, half to the north and half to the south - and another cleaving half to the east and half to the west; a cross. He will come as King of kings and Lord of lords.
That is a thrilling thought, but before He takes control of the earth, “...the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” I Thessalonians 4:16-17.
When He comes down there is going to be some ready ones that will meet Him in the air. We see Him coming for those that are walking with God; like Enoch of old. He walked with God continually for at least 300 years. After Enoch’s translation there came a terrible judgment on this earth God sent a flood, and all perished, except the eight souls in the ark. The Bible tells us that something similar is going to take place before another great judgment falls. Some on earth have gone through terrible things, but that is not the Great Tribulation. This judgment will involve the entire world.
Jesus said: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24:21. But the Lord has given the promise: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon ALL THE WORLD,” Revelation 3:10. We see the shadows of the tribulation right now, but thank God, WE SEE JESUS, figuratively speaking.
Another way we see Jesus is in the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
In conclusion, First we see Jesus as our Savior; then as the One who fills us with the Holy Spirit and causes us to be “More than conquerors through him that loved us.” The Holy Spirit enables us to stand the tests when the enemy assails us. We need to be endued with “POWER FROM ON HIGH.” to stand the trials.
Today, by faith, WE SEE JESUS, but one of these days we shall behold Him in all of His beauty and glory! HALLELUJAH!
A Great Warfare – Daniel 11
In the first 35 verses of Daniel 11, there is a record in detail of events in the future to Daniel, but it is history to us. Between verse 35 and verse 36 is the Church Age, but the Church was still a hidden purpose of God in Daniel’s day. I will start with verse 36 which refers wholly “to the time of the end…a time appointed” (V. 35b).
The king mentioned in V. 36 is the final persecutor of Israel, the evil man of destiny, the man of sin, the Antichrist. He shall do what he wills to do and will exalt himself, which is the essence of Satan. He will put himself above everyone and everything, even show himself as God Almighty. The Lord will allow him to go to the uttermost lengths in his self-willed exaltation and his persecution of Israel. No man ever had the power to do all his will. Our Lord Jesus Christ did His Father’s will. Even Satan has not been given a free reign to accomplish all his will, but for a few years God will say to this devil-filled man, “go ahead, wreak you anger upon My people. The Jews will be his special target. He shall prosper “till the indignation be accomplished” (God’s wrath upon His people is satisfied, their punishment accomplished). God just uses him as the instrument of Israel’s chastening.
Some believe by V. 37 that he is an atheistic Jew and others think he is an apostate Christian rather than a Jew. But the real issue is, he refuses allegiance to the God of the Bible. V. 37, He regards not the triune God, for he regards not the Father, “the God of his fathers.” Neither Christ, the Redeemer which was the desire of all Jewish women to give birth to the Messiah (Isa. 7:14). Neither did he regard the Holy Spirit (“any God).” V. 38, He regards the god of forces, He wants power and authority, so he bows to a god who will give this to him, Satan. Christ rebuked Satan’s offer of this earthly power (Mt. 4:8-10). Satan has waited for a man who on condition of worshiping him, he would give the honor of supreme ruler upon the earth. He will literally usurp the office of Christ for 3 1/2 years. John describes him as the beast (Rev. 13:2) and the dragon Satan will give him his power, and seat of great authority. The Apostle Paul refers to him in II Thess. 2:4,9.
V. 39, the R. V. “And he shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god.” “He will divide the land for gain.” The holy land will be portioned out to disloyal apostate Jews. Those who surrender to him and serve his purposes will he reward with a place in his kingdom, sharing his authority in a measure (Rev. 17:12-13). John sees the end at a later stage then Daniel. Christ’s people will share in His kingdom and its honors at His coming, God honors them that honor Him.
Trouble shall arise, the peace and safety slogan will no longer be heard (I Thess. 5:3). War will break out, viewed in symbol in Rev. 8 & 9. The result (Rev. 17:10-11) Five kings will be dethroned and one king is killed while the other must be the victorious one – “he is.” The one with the deadly wound by the sword is raised from the dead. And all the world wonders after him (Rev. 13:3,14).
Being raised from the dead is a counterfeit of Christ. He becomes the supreme ruler, empowered by Satan and assumes leadership over all and puts down all rule. V. 40 tells of this stage of his career and suggests an engagement of air, naval and land forces (whirlwind with chariots, horsemen and ships). He overcomes the world and shall overflow and pass over. Even the famed conquest of Alexander the great is nothing compared to this man.
There is a hint that 3 countries escape (V. 41). God preserves 3 countries (Edom, Moab, and Ammon) for special judgment because of their treatment of Israel (Isa. 11:11-14; Ezek. 25:12-14; 38:14-23). The land of the Jews will not escape. The Holy land was the objective of Antiochus and he tried to a force new religion on them. Like-wise the Antichrist will enter the land and overcome the people forcing the Jews to worship his image under treat of death.
He will cause all sacrifice and oblation to cease (Ch. 9:27). He will stop all worship of the true and living God. This is different from the taking away of the daily sacrifice (Ch. 8:11). When the nations make a covenant with the Jews the daily burnt-offering ceases as a condition. This surrender of the offerings is the signal for God’s surrender of the Jews. For they turn to the Antichrist, accepting him rather than Christ. Then later when this monster has come into his place of exaltation. He forbids all sacrifices. The Jewish religion is set aside. Everyone is commanded to worship this man the his image which he set up in the temple. (Ch. 12:11 & Mt. 24:15).
V. 43, Not only is all the national power at his command but all the wealth of the world as well. He will seize all banks, vaults, etc. All is given into his hands for 3 1/2 years. He conquers Egypt. He is materially enriched, in honor and wealth and worship. The Libyans and Ethiopians yield to him.
V. 44, Trouble from the north and east arise and it rouses up the beast to ferocious fury. He vents his wrath upon the people and destroys many. It is not clear whether the Jews are meant, but the next verse might lead us to think so. V. 45, describes the final enthronement of the Antichrist. His palace is planted between the seas in the Holy Land, Jerusalem no doubt. There he meets his doom.
John gives us a view of that conflict (Rev. 16;16). Armageddon means “hill of slaughter.” It lies on the southern edge of the valley of Jehoshaphat or valley of Jezreel. There were many historic battles fought there and many victories won. It is the last great assault on Israel, the Gentile nations purpose to destroy Israel and get possession of the land. The poor people will not be able to take the field against the combined forces, but will resist and stand against them in the Holy City. In that final assault, the Lord will fight for His people, the Antichrist will come to his end and none shall help him.
Next issue: Ch. 12, The Miraculous Deliverance.
Debra Isenbletter, PastorSpringfield, Missouri
Jonah 2:6: “I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.”
Jonah sees God’s grace behind the discipline. He says he went down but he is able to say by faith, that the Lord brought him up. We see the depths of his descent: “I went down to the bottoms of the mountains.” The phrase implies movement from a higher to a lower place. It can mean “to bring down, to send down, to take down” and “to lie prostrate” while in that position.
Vine’s says that one may “go down” to a lower spot in order to reach the city gates which was in an elevated place. He gives an example in Judges: “the people of the Lord go down to the gates.” (Judges 5:11). I was struck by that statement because it shows that one may go down to a lower location in order to reach a higher location. In this sense, it implies that Jonah must go down in order to or before he can go up. The gates of the city figure the gates of deliverance. The gates bring him into God’s Presence. The gates are resurrection. How many times are we brought down before we are brought up, and having been brought up from that lowly position, find that we have a greater appreciation for it. The phrase “went down” is also used of dying, of going down to the grave. We see movement and the descent, but also that there is no return. Those that make this descent, go down into the realm of the dead. The only way up is resurrection.
Jonah describes how far down he went, to the “bottoms of the mountains.” There are depths within the ocean and mountains in those depths. he bottom of those mountains is about as deep as you can get. This is what he felt in his experience. There are mountain ranges under the surface of the ocean some of the mountain ranges extend 40,000 miles from the Arctic Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, around Africa, Asia and Australia, and under the Pacific Ocean to the west coast of North America. Jonah said he went to the bottoms of those mountains. The words “bottoms” and “mountains” are both plural, showing there were levels in his descent as he went deeper. It must have been a terrifying experience. That is what despair feels like when we are out of the will of God.
Jonah describes his prison: “the earth with her bars was about me forever.” The “earth” is translated “a country,” “nations,” the “world.” The earth contains all of these. It does not matter where he was, he was restricted and confined. This is what Israel has felt every time God has disciplined them. It does not matter where they are, they cannot escape God’s discipline and neither can we. In that discipline, even the country or nation we find ourselves in is not so large that it cannot feel like a prison. And when we are in God’s Will, we can be in a prison and it will not feel like one.
What is so striking is that Jonah felt not only the discipline but felt the prison. It was as if he could see the “bars” that held him in place. Those bars were visible and yet invisible, they were unbreakable and inescapable. Those bars can represent several things. Those bars were emotional grief and physical death. The Psalmist described these bars with the words “sorrows” and “death.” “The sorrows of hell (Grief: Emotional) compassed me about: the snares of death (Death: Physical) prevented me.” (Psa.18:5). Those bars were the gates of hell or the grave. Jesus He is the Rock upon which the church is built and told Peter “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mt.16:18). That is the power of the work of the Cross. It unlocks the gates of hell. Those bars were God’s Will and God’s Word, they held Jonah in place and he knew it.
Jonah is looking at eternity when he says they were “about me forever.” One translation is “they closed behind me forever.” It is as if Jonah heard the gates shut, the bars go down over the gates and the doors locked. These were bars that he could not break and there was no escape from this place. This is what the unsaved do not see or realize. They do not see what a terrible place awaits them but we do. We also see what a terrible place our Savior endured for us in Jonah’s description. We see the loneliness, the emptiness, the despair He felt. Jonah felt this, Jesus felt this. The only thing that Jonah had were the promises of God and the hope of deliverance. Jonah is a type of Jesus in the grave and although Jonah was hoping for salvation, Jesus knew absolutely that He would be delivered. He knew every promise. He knew “salvation is of the Lord” and He gives us that same assurance and hope, we are not hopeless or helpless.
Finally Jonah by faith describes his Ascent: “yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.” We see his Life: Jonah uses the wonderful word “yet.” This word looks upward and forward and sees deliverance. Jonah is saying, “yet” despite of where I am; “yet” despite of what I am; “yet” despite my failures; “yet” despite my fears. Jonah is saying “yet” despite of everything I have hope. This word “yet” lays hold of the impossible and sees it as possible for “with God all things are possible” (Mt.19:26). We see Jonah’s absolute faith because he uses the past tense, “yet hast thou brought” me up. Jonah sees what his God can do and what his God will do and he sees it by faith. Jonah is transformed by his experience and his suffering.
Jonah next says “brought up” and in those words we see a wonderful picture of the resurrection, the ascension and the exaltation of the Lord Jesus. The meaning for “brought up” is “to bring up or take up” and there we see the resurrection of Jesus. It also means “ascend up” and there we see the ascension of Jesus. It also means “to exalt” and there we see the exaltation of Jesus. What is so wonderful is that in our identification with our Lord and Savior, we experience all three of these.
Jonah says “my life.” He is saying that his life is a transformed life, a chastened life. He is saying “my life” is an obedient life, a surrendered life, an overcoming life. He is saying “my life” belongs to you, it is your life. Jonah’s life was given new purpose and new power. We can say these same things concerning our life. This should be our testimony also because we have come up in resurrection with Jesus and our life should show this transformation. Because of the price Jesus paid we should surrender that life to Him. Because we have been bought with a price our body should glorify God because we belong to Him. (1Cor.6:19-20).
We see his Death: “from corruption,” in the Hebrew this word is also translated “the pit” or “the grave.” Jonah is remembering the scriptures and through them he finds hope. He sees the reality of death but along with the reality is another reality, that of hope and through the scriptures he has hope. Jonah remembers what Job said, “He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.” (Job 33:28). Jonah remembers the Psalms, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Psa.16:10); “O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave, thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.” (Psa.30:3). We see the “grave,” the “pit,” the “corruption” but we also see the promise of deliverance, the hope that is given through the Holy Spirit as these individuals spoke under His Anointing.
We see his God: “O Lord my God.” Jonah concludes with this wonderful testimony of faith, he looks to his “Lord” and calls Him “my God.” Jonah knows that only his God can free him and he places his hope in the promises of God. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown says that “he speaks as if the deliverance were actually being accomplished” and “against hope he believes in hope” (Rom.4:18). What a glorious testimony of faith that will lead to a greater faithfulness. What a glorious testimony of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. How death could not hold Him in the grave because God raised Him up, (Acts.2:24). What a glorious testimony of the resurrection, of the New Creation, of all who believe in and receive the Lord Jesus by faith. Col.2:12, we are “buried with him” and yet we are “also risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him (Jesus) from the dead. Faith is such an essential part of our lives. Faith lifts us up out of the pit of despair, faith embraces the Word and Will of God. Whatever bars that hold us helpless are lifted and we walk through victorious because our Savior led the way and we are victorious through Him.
By Vicky Moots
Psalm 23:5b: “…thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” In Bible times olive oil was used as an agent for healing wounds and for dry skin, and in a modified manner oil is still being used today for healing. The parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-35 is an example of this use of oil. In v. 34 we read that the Samaritan went to the wounded man and “…bound up his wounds pouring in oil and wine…”. Shepherds would also apply oil to the wounds of their sheep and pour oil on their heads to keep the insects away from their eyes and ears.
Oil in Scripture is a type of the Holy Spirit. We are instructed by James in his epistle, which is applicable to us today, to use the anointing of oil in praying for the sick. The oil itself does not heal, even though it has some healing properties, but it is used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. James 5:14-15: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up…”. Our Shepherd is aware of our need for healing, both physically and spiritually, and will faithfully and freely anoint us with His oil when we call upon His name.
He will also come to us where we are, just like the Good Samaritan did, if we are too weak emotionally or too depressed to come to Him. He will pour out His oil and wine upon us and bind up our broken, wounded hearts and bring healing to our souls. David experienced this himself and tells us in Ps. 147:3 that our Shepherd will do this for any of His sheep when the need arises: “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Why not stop what you are doing right now and call upon your Shepherd today for His healing anointing if you currently have a special need.
We also need the Holy Spirit anointing to protect our minds from the attacks of Satan and to keep our minds stayed on the Lord. Isa. 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee…”. Have you ever noticed how easily you become distracted when you are praying, reading the Bible, or listening to a sermon? That is because Satan is attacking your mind to take your mind off of the Lord and His Word.
Paul warns us in II Cor. 10:4-5 concerning this type of spiritual warfare and tells us that we need to be “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought [take it as a prisoner of war] to the obedience of Christ.” This is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit, as our Shepherd anoints our heads with oil.
Even Jesus had His head anointed by God prior to beginning His earthly ministry. He was baptized by John the Baptist, and as He came up out of the river Jordan, the Holy Spirit (God’s anointing oil) was poured out from heaven upon Him bodily as a dove and sat upon Him.
Jesus was called “Christ,” which means “the anointed one.” Peter tells us in his sermon at the house of Cornelius, in Acts 10:38, that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power…”. That anointing occurred at the time of His baptism, as a sign that He was, indeed, the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One sent from God.
Kings and priests were also anointed for service by having oil poured on their heads. The anointing of David as King by Samuel is a good example of this and is described in I Sam. 16:12-13: “…And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him [David]: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward…”.
Ex. 29:5-7 describes the anointing of the high priest, Aaron, for his priestly ministry. Verses 5-6 tell us that Moses was to put the priestly garments on Aaron after he had been washed in water. Verse 7: “Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.”
Jesus’ anointing at the time of His baptism was not only to confirm that He was the Christ, the Messiah, but also that He was to be both King and Priest. But how does that apply to us? Would you be surprised to know that God has also chosen us to serve Him as spiritual kings and priests? John reveals this to us in Rev. 1:5-6: “…Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father…”.
We are therefore anointed with the Holy Spirit, even as Jesus was anointed, for the purpose of ministering the Word of God (in word and deed) to others and to intercede for them in prayer as spiritual priests. He has also anointed us to reign in heaven with Jesus as kings to reign in life now to be overcomers and not to serve the desires of the flesh. As faithful sheep, let us yield to our Shepherd and allow Him to not only anoint our heads with His oil but to fill us to overflowing with the Holy Spirit for the purpose of ministering as kings and priests unto God and to serve others.
To be continued
Friday, August 6, 2021
Winners in Control
“In your patience possess ye your souls.” Luke 21:19. Let us see to it (make it a matter of attitude and action) that we stay consciously in His hand by patiently waiting upon the Lord in each test. In “patience” we think of steadfast endurance, characterized by constancy and consistency. In the word “possession” consider the thought of taking control or gaining the mastery over. i.e. Winning ones soul for the purposes of God. What shall it profit a man to gain the world and lose his own soul?
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shall thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thy self also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him…For evildoers shall be cut off: But they that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.” Psalm 37:7,9.
“I waited patiently for the Lord, and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God.” Psalm 40:1-3.
In these and many other scriptures we find how our souls may be brought into gainful possession.
“For thou hast possessed my reins; (Heb. ‘Kidneys,’ i.e. my innermost being) thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13-14. Our Lord would have us aware that He has determined to control our lives from within. “Possessed” here expresses to own, erect, create and also procure. We are His both by creation and redemption.
Oh how blessed, what glorious rest, to stay joyfully impressed, with being divinely possessed. For His timing is always the best. It will be worth every minute that we have waited in learning to lean on Him. Those faithful unto death are promised a crown of life. Those that keep the word of His patience will be kept out of the hour of temptation (tribulation) coming on this world.
There are so many ills today that abound in relation to impatience, whereby we seem to get out of proper control. There are many that teach ‘“self control,” telling us how to take authority of our lives. But How? How else, but by total commitment unto our living Lord. He says to us, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me.”
Consider The Context
This admonishment if given in relation to the later day signs, the things that are to take place in connection with Jesus return and revelation to His people. They had asked him, “When shall these things be? And what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass.” Luke 21:7, Therefore He spoke of “nation rising against nation, great earthquakes in divers places and famines and pestilences vs. 10-11. He tells of the times of the Gentiles coming to fulfillment v. 24. Then in v. 34 He said, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting (Over indulgence); and drunkenness, and cares of this life, (earthly existence) and so that day come upon you unawares.”
I appreciate the way Paul said it in that thrilling and comforting chapter on our being caught away at Jesus coming. “That everyone of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour.” I Thess. 4:4. Read verses 1 through 9.
We are often urged, in view of our dear Lord’s return, to allow spiritual possession of our triune being. When was there ever a greater need to put on the helmet of hope, and the breastplate of faith and love, in all soberness? I Thess. 5:6-8. These tell us of some controls that afford us timely protection for hearts and mind that may otherwise be susceptible to dangerous distractions.
Paul beseeches us to present our bodies a living sacrifice, and tells us how important it is that our bodies be under the control of the new creation life, lest we be disqualified to be crowned winners on this Christian race course. Rom. 12:1 and I Cor. 9:24-27.
We are taught by grace to deny ungodliness, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, while we look for that blessed hope and glorious appearing. Titus 2:11-14.
Peter urges those that are kept by the power of God, to gird up the loins of their mind, be sober, and hope to the end for that grace that is to be brought at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Pet. 1:5,13. We cannot allow our minds to run rampant or out of control. Let not our hearts get out of focus, our race is almost over. Oh, Yes we have been provided “Mighty” weapons whereby we are able to pull down strong hold, cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. II Cor. 10:4-6.
He has provided that we be consistent in a patience of hope, waiting for His Son from heaven. I Thess. 1:3,10. This is indeed intended to have a purifying influence in our lives I John 3:1-3. This hope, laid hold of, acts as an anchor for our souls. Heb. 6:19. How privileged we are to be able to allow our hearts to be divinely directed into God’s abiding love, and a patient waiting for Christ. II Thess. 3:5.
Let us walk with patience as Abraham did. “So after he patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Heb. 6:13-15. Let us work with patience for He has promised; “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love…” Heb. 6:9-12, I Cor. 15:58 and Col. 3:23-24. Let us run with patience, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
THE WILL OF GOD
Anita Clark – PastorGrace Chapel Carbondale, Kansas
What is meant by “God’s Will” or doing the will of God? He has a plan, which is His divine working and will. There are many references in the Bible that speak of “God’s Will.” What God will do is always according to His plan. This plan was made before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). The word “will” speaks of his “determination” according to His plan.
Psalms 143:10 says, “Teach me to do Thy will for Thou art God, lead me in the land of uprightness.” This should be our desire. God wants us to do His will, and honor Him, yielded to His desires in our lives. He wants to be first place in our lives always. We are either in the will of God, following what He wants, or out of the will of God through our disobedience.
Psalms 50:15 says, “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.” Psalms 91:14-15 says, “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble.” Note, God is willing to help us.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Labour”- in the Gk. “speaks of hard work, or to have fatigue.” In Matthew 12:50, Jesus said, “For whomsoever shall do the will of my Father, which is in heaven, the same is my brother and sister and mother.”
Romans 12:1-2, tells us what the will of God is, holding nothing back, responding to His mercy (Vs.1). This is the will of God that we give ourselves to God, presenting our bodies to Him (“as living sacrifices”). Paul and many others have done the will of God, walking in His will for their lives. How about us? The word “present” in Vs.1, means offer, as a willing sacrifices. Verse 2, “..that ye may prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.” These three words are descriptive words of the will of God, and they are adjectives in this sentence. The word “good” means “of benefit, or well” while “acceptable” means “fully agreeable.”
When used in other places in the New Testament it is clear it is not a word trying to show an inferior place to be in, but our yieldedness to God in His divine will. Then, we have the word “perfect” which means - “complete, of full age.” We are to enter into the Will of God for our lives. Some walk after the flesh, in half heartedness toward God and His will for them. Yielding to the will of God or else not walking in the will of God, that is the question.
In Romans 9:28, Paul says, “For He will finish the work, and cut it short (speedily) in righteousness because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.” In Galatians 1:3-4 Paul says “...our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” Jesus prayed in the garden before His crucifixion, “He prayed saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” He hated the sin which would be upon Him, but He was willing for God the Father’s will to be done. This will speaks of God’s plan from before the foundation of the world. Jesus went to the cross to do His Father’s will.
In Romans 8:26-27, we learn that the Holy Spirit is making intercession for us “with groanings that cannot not be uttered.” Verse 27 says that the Holy Spirit is “...making intercession according to the will of God.” Isn’t this a precious thought? The scripture says that Jesus Christ is interceding for us (Vs. 34). Psalms 44:21 says, “Shall not God search this out? For He knoweth the secrets of the heart?” Psalms 139:23 says “Search me , O God and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts.”
Many times the Word introduces Apostle Paul, as “by the will of God.” We should always be in the will of God, what He wants for our lives and in our lives. I Thessalonians 4:3 states, “This is the will of God, even your sanctification...” God is working in us, setting us apart from the world and sin. This is what “sanctification” means. Hebrews 10:36 says, “For ye have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” God’s will for each person to know Him as Saviour, to grow up in Christ from babyhood to adulthood as we learn the Word, our Spiritual food, to overcome daily by leaning on Him, to be learning more about Jesus everyday, and to be ready for the coming of Jesus at anytime.
WE SEE JESUS
Pastor Floyd H. Crook(1982)
“THEREFORE we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip….Thou host put all things in subjection under his feet….But now we see not yet all things put under him. BUT WE SEE JESUS, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste DEATH FOR EVERY MAN.” Hebrews 2:1,8b,9.
JESUS’ VICTORY OVER DEATH
When Jesus was buried the religious rulers came to Pilate, “Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure….” Pilate replied, “Ye have a watch: go your way, MAKE IT AS SURE AS YOU CAN.” Matthew 27:63 and 65. I do not know what was in the mind of Pilate, but somehow I feel he thought, “Make it as sure as you can, but it isn’t going to be sure.” They rolled the stone to the door, set a seal upon it, and set a watch to guard the tomb. In spite of all of the precautions, the Bible tells us that some women were on their way to the tomb early in the morning, the first day of the week. As they were going, they reasoned about who could roll that stone away, because it was very great. When they LOOKED, they saw the stone rolled away. (As far as I am concerned, no one saw that act.) When they got there, Jesus was not in the tomb. Hallelujah! Glory! HE WAS RISEN FROM THE DEAD. “...it was not possible that he should be holden of it (death).” Shortly after I had that heart attack (Do not want to talk about myself too much)”, something struck me in my left arm. It might have been a stroke. It was terribly painful; looked like I was going to lose the use of my left arm. It has improved much, because God has given me a vision of Jesus. Hallelujah! It is marvelous when we get our eyes on the Lord.
When the disciples were told about Jesus’ resurrection, they did not believe it. Jesus came to them, as they were gathered together, with one missing - you know who that is. Thomas came later and said, “Except shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger Into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:25. Later, when Jesus appeared, I think He gave Thomas the invitation, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands, and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered: “My Lord, and my God.” I don’t think Thomas put his finger in the nail prints. He was so overjoyed, he forgot all about the natural proof he had wanted to have. HE SAW THE LORD! GLORY TO GOD!
He appeared to the disciples various times, after His resurrection. One time they had toiled all night - fishermen, you know - and had caught nothing. Jesus told them where to cast their net, and they found fish in abundance. Later, Jesus called them to the shore, but he didn’t tell them to bring along their fish and cook them. The meal was all prepared. You see, Jesus wants to do something for us. To be sure, we in turn bring something to Him, but first of all, He does something for us. If we will just let the Lord do what He wants to do on the inside, every thing else will automatically be regulated. He will do for you, and through you, what He wants to do.
Part 4 – continued in the nest issue
A Great Warfare
Daniel’s last and greatest vision is recorded in chapters 10,11 & 12. It gives further revelation of end time events and contains what has already been revealed. The first section fo the vision (Ch. 10 to 11:1) is mainly introduction.
Daniel 10, verse one, “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.”
The original Hebrew text reads, “and the thing was true, even a great warfare. That is the subject of the vision, even a great warfare, a war between opposing forces which affects the nations. Daniel knew it is not to be in his day, “the time appointed was long.”
Cyrus had given commandment that the Jews could return to and land, and a few went back. Those who did had much difficulty which is recorded in the book of Ezra. The neighboring people withstood those returnees. A small replica of the temple was undertook that did not have the glory that it once had in Solomon’s time. All this burdened Daniel.
Daniel fasted and praye and Daniel sees a man, it is none other then the Lord Jesus Christ clothed as Judge (Vs. 5-6), the judge of the nation Israel. In the book of Revelation, John saw Christ as judge of the church, but Daniel was shown only those things concerning His people (V. 14).
The others with him did not see Christ, only the brightness and they trembled being afraid and fed (V. 7). Daniel became weak hearing the voice of his words and fell, his face to the ground (Vs. 8-9). Behold a hand touched Daniel and set him on his knees and the palms of his hands (V. 10). He is told by the Lord Himself that he is greatly beloved and told to stand up and not fear, for I am come in answer to your prayers (Vs. 11-12).
The voice said the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me 21 days, but Michael, a chief prince came to helped me and I remained with the kings of Persia (V. 13). Many people do not understand the strength and power of wicked forces in the heavens. In spite of people thinking that Satan is in hell, he is not there yet, he is loose today, he is the god of this world, the prince and power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience (II Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2). Satan has organized wicked forces (Eph. 6:12). We learn here that he has a captain over ever nation. The prince of Persia is not Cyrus, he couldn’t withstand the Lord. It had to be a spiritual power of Satan forces.
The devil knew the Lord was going to show Daniel this and he did not want anyone to know what was going to happen. Today the devil knows his time is short (Rev. 12:12). He redouble his efforts all he can, especially against the people who want to know the truth and who want to reign with Christ. He fights them more than anyone else. Because if he can defeat them, in that sense he has defeated the Lord. So he withstood and Michael a warring prince, fought against that evil force.
We read of Michael in the book of Revelation (12:7-9), he will rid heaven of these wicked powers. We cannot fight against the devil with flesh and blood, we have no power over him. Our one spiritual weapon is the sword of the spirit. We do have an Armour to clothe ourselves with (Eph. 6:12,17).
Again Daniel is told that the vision is “for many days.” “The later days.” It is to much for Daniel, he looked toward the ground and became dumb, he could not speak a word. (Vs. 14-15).
The Lord touched Daniel lips. Daniel said, how can I talk, I have no strength, there is no breath left in me. The words of God strengthened Daniel and they strengthen us (Vs. 16-18). Again the Lord tells Daniel that he is greatly beloved and not to fear, “peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me. I was strengthened, and said, Let my Lord speak: for thou hast strengthened me” (V. 19).
Isn’t this wonderful, how even the words of God can strengthen us. We are so privileged to have the written Word. As we read, it, it is as though someone speaks it to us. When we have it in our heart and mind, it strengthens us. The Lord is speaking, just like He spoke to Daniel. Praise the Lord! He speaks to our hearts and strengthens us.
V. 20, “Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.”
These are opposing forces. It started in the heavenlies and was reflected on the earth. Here was the prince of Persia and the prince of Grecia and they do battle together and then on earth they had the battle.
V. 21, “ But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.”
No one strentheneth himself with me, but Michael your prince. God sent Michael to Daniel for this. Michael is a special warring angel for Israel.
Chapter 11:1, This is referring back to Michael even in the first year, there was a mighty conflict in the skies, the evil forces were against the setting up of the Medo-Persia Empire. Why? Because that signaled the Jews release.
Continued in the next issue.
Debra Isenbletter, PastorSpringfield, Missouri
Jonah 2:5: “The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.”
In this verse Jonah gives descriptions of the restrictions, of the confinement that he cannot escape.
The first description is “The waters.” There are many things that these “waters” can picture. The waters can picture many dangers. In his song David writes of how God delivered him from “many waters” which can picture the many dangers from his enemies and from Saul who constantly sought his life. “He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.” (2Sam.22:17). These were waters that David could not escape. Without God’s help David would have despaired and died. Sometimes the deliverance takes place while in the midst of the waters. David did not drown in despair, and he did not die, he trusted in his God and he was kept afloat until he was delivered. The waters can picture a powerful overwhelming force. These waters are described as “the breach of waters” (2Sam.5:20) where the Lord breaks through the defenses of the enemy. There these waters are like a great tidal wave, a Tsunami that crushes everything in its path. The waters can picture the godless nations that overwhelmed God’s people. “The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters” (Isa.17:13). Sometimes the godly can feel as though they are being overwhelmed by the ungodly. The waters can picture great fear. “Terrors take hold on him as waters, as a tempest stealeth him away in the night. I believe for Jonah “The waters” are a picture of despair and death. That was all he could feel and all he could see.
The restriction is that they “compassed me about, even to the soul.” Jonah felt “surrounded” and “engulfed” by these waters, not just outwardly but inwardly. He was utterly and completely overwhelmed and felt that he was at the point of death. This can be translated, “The waters compassed me about, even to [the extinction of] life” (Amplified) or “to the point of death” (New American Standard). Jonah was physically and emotionally overwhelmed and overcome. We can be overwhelmed by the weight of sin and the judgment of sin. David wrote: “For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up…” (Psa.40:12) Here we see the weight of sin and the soul being overwhelmed by sin. The sinner must feel the burden of his sins before crying out: “Lord be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luk.18:13). David confessed his sin and felt that weight lifted. Jonah must feel the burden of his sin before crying out for deliverance. This is also a picture of the judgment of Jesus at Calvary. He felt the weight of our sins for He was “made sin for us who knew no sin”. (Rom.5:21). That weight made him feel like “a worm (a maggot)” (Psa.22:6).
The second description is: “the depth closed me round-about.” This was a confinement he could not escape. The “depth” can be translated the “abyss.” It can picture the grave because it is an enclosure within another enclosure. The restriction is: “closed me round about.” It “surrounded” him, it “encircled” him”, it “enveloped” him. But it can also mean “to turn about, change, transform.” Jonah was held in place by God’s Will and God’s Word. There was a limitation because he is “surrounded, encircled.” There was protection because he was “enveloped. There was direction because he was “turned abou.” There was transformation because he was “changed, transformed.” It is through his suffering that he is changed. It is from this inescapable place of both restriction and protection that he will learn to submit. It is from this place that he will learn to cry out in faith. Again, Jonah looks back to the scriptures, and we find a similar cry, “I am come into deep waters where the floods overflow me.” (Psa.69:2). We are all changed by our suffering and our submission, and by our faith in our Deliverer. In Jonah we see several types. We see Jesus in the grave waiting to be delivered, dependent and submissive and waiting upon God. He will be transformed by resurrection. We see the saint transformed by Calvary. We see the remnant that will one day receive their Deliverer, their Messiah and be transformed by suffering.
Finally, we see the last restriction. “the weeds were wrapped about my head.” The word “weeds” means literally “a reed, a water plant, sea weed.” Figuratively Strong’s says it can mean “to stop, to rule.” It can mean “to bind (up), gird about, govern.” It can mean “to bind on, to bandage (to heal). These were the weeds of the sea, we would say seaweed. These weeds can picture all the things that bind and hold tight. As he was dragged through them, they began to wrap around him, especially his head.
Another interesting point is that “weeds” is plural, showing there were many. They can picture the many prophecies that will be fulfilled, and until they are fulfilled Jesus is held by them. They can also picture the different truths of God’s Word. They have the power “to stop” us, “to rule” and “govern” and “to bandage (heal).” Jonah says that they are wrapped about “my head.” The “head” literally speaks of a “part of the body.” It is where our mind resides. It is where our will resides. The “head” typically speaks of an individual, a “captain,” a “chief,” someone in authority. This is about acknowledging authority and submitting to authority.
The weeds that wrap about his head are a personal, painful, powerful lesson for Jonah. In that moment he recognized God’s Will and God’s Word, which is what he had run from. Those weeds will make him recognize God was his “head,” his “chief.” Those weeds will turn into promises that give him hope. The weeds wrapped around the head is a picture of submission to authority. Jonah submitted to his “head” (God); Jesus submitted to His “head” (God); we submit to our “head” (Christ). Those weeds are part of God’s judgment and God’s lesson to Jonah. He may have struggled and been overwhelmed at first but when he realized he stopped struggling, he no longer feared them or fought them, he submitted to them.
Part 5 continued
By Vicky Moots
Psalm 23:5 “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies…”. That seems like a strange thing for God to do: to prepare a table and to tell us to sit down and eat when we are surrounded by our enemies. But if we are going to be going into battle, we need strength to fight or we will faint. We need to feed upon the Word of God in order to have the strength to overcome Satan.
God provided a table in the presence of the enemies of the prophet Elijah in I Kings 19:1-8. Elijah was running from Jezebel who sought to kill him. He became discouraged because of this, and fearful, and even asked the Lord to take his life. He fell asleep in the wilderness under a juniper tree and was awakened by an angel. “…an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat…And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.” I imagine he thought he was dreaming. Perhaps this was the first “angel food cake,” or where the name came from. “And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights…”.
The number forty in Scripture speaks of completeness, or full measure, of testing. The Lord knew exactly how long His trial would last both physically and spiritually, and He provided sufficient food for strength for the battle He would face. The Lord is also faithful to provide something from His Word, exactly what we need, that will encourage us and strengthen us when we go through our trials.
He wants us to arise, wake up out of sleep, and to eat. We must partake of His Word daily and whenever we feel weak or discouraged. Reading self-help books or something like “5-easy steps to overcoming” is not sufficient. There is no substitute for the nutritious banquet He has provided for us in the inspired Word of God. We need the “Word of His grace” to build us up, so we must feast at the table that the Lord has provided for us. Sometimes we even need to take a second helping, as Elijah was told to do!
There is another example given in the Old Testament in which God provided the necessary food for strength for the battle in the presence of enemies. This is found in I Sam. 14:24-29. The people of Israel had gone to battle against the Philistines, but King Saul had commanded them to not eat anything at all until evening, until he was avenged of his enemies. As a result, the people in the army had become very weak and faint. Verse 25, “And all they of the land came to a wood; and there was honey upon the ground.” None of the people ate it because they were afraid of the King’s command. But Jonathan, the King’s son, had not heard about his father’s oath and so “…he put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in an honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened.” After they told him about the command he said, “…My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey.” Honey represents the Word of God. Ps. 119:103, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Just as the honey enlightened Jonathan’s eyes so that he could see and think clearly so the Word of God enlightens our minds and hearts and enables us to see clearly who our enemy is, and to see the Lord, who is leading us. Satan disguises himself as a wolf in sheep’s clothing and tries to seduce us to go down the wrong path. Many churches today have become places of entertainment instead of true worship. They try to make you feel good with the music and the social gospel they preach but they provide no food for the soul. The sincere milk of the Word of God has been watered down by man’s ideas and so the sermon is void of spiritual nutrition. No real food being served.
But if we are following our Shepherd, he will prepare us a table that is filled with exactly what we need to strengthen us for battle. God does not remove our enemies. Instead, He provided the strength to overcome as we partake of the food that He has prepared for us. We will be able to go on in the strength of that meat until our trial is complete and the victory has been won.
Even Jesus, shortly before He was arrested and crucified (the same night) had a table prepared for Him in order to strengthen Him for what lay ahead. He sat down with His disciples to eat His last Passover meal, which we now call the Last Supper. At that table, He was in the presence of His enemy, for Satan had entered into Judas who would soon betray Him. They all partook of the Passover lamb together as a remembrance feast of that first Passover lamb that had to be slain by each household of the children of Israel when they were in bondage in Egypt in order that the blood could be applied to the doorposts so that the death angel would pass over their house that night, and their firstborn would escape death. Then they roasted the lamb and ate it so that they would have the strength to leave Egypt that night.
Jesus then explained to His disciples while they were eating, as He took the wine and the bread that it represented the new covenant in His own blood and His body that was broken just like the bread, and given for them, and that they were to all to partake of it in remembrance of Him. Even then, they did not understand that He was soon to be sacrificed, to shed His blood, just like that first Passover lamb.
Why would Jesus, the Son of God, need to eat the Passover meal before going to the cross? It was because He was also a man and needed strengthening for what He would soon face. When He partook of the lamb that had been prepared, it was to strengthen Him to be able to be in full agreement with His Father’s will, to die on the cross as the Lamb of God that would take away the sin of the world, to become sin for us, to finish the work He was sent to this earth to do. He was also identifying with the lamb that they were eating, knowing that it represented Him.
Shortly after supper, Jesus took His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He left them and went on further to commune with His Father privately, and there He prayed in agony alone, to let the cup pass from Him if at all possible. After the third time of intercession, Jesus said to His Father, “Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.” Immediately after rejoining His disciples, the soldiers came to arrest Him, and Judas betrayed Him with a kiss. But Jesus went with them willingly to do the Father’s will. He had won the victory in the Garden, for He had been strengthened by the table that was prepared for Him.
Each of the disciples was also in need of strengthening by partaking of the Passover lamb, the life and blood of Jesus symbolically at that table to prepare them for the battle they didn’t even know they would soon be facing. After Jesus was arrested, they would be in fear of their own lives too. They did not yet know the victory of the resurrection. Even Judas was given an opportunity to partake of the wine and the bread at that table as Jesus passed it around. Did the disciples have to be worthy to partake of the Passover meal? No! It was the lamb that had to be worthy. The Lamb had to be perfect, without blemish or spot. None of us are worthy of that sacrifice that Jesus made for us but His blood makes us worthy. As Christians we do not observe Passover. Instead, we partake of communion in remembrance of the Lord’s death, but also to celebrate His resurrection and second coming. This was explained to us by the apostle Paul in I Cor. 11:23-26 as it had been revealed to him: “For I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lords death till he come.” He could not be coming back for us if He had not risen from the dead. Each time we partake of communion we remember not only that He died for us but that we live because He lives and that He is coming back. We are strengthened as we feed upon the Bread of Life that was broken for us. Everyday we face our spiritual enemy, Satan, so we must also feast on the Bread everyday by reading the scripture, thus eating from our table that our Shepherd has prepared for us in the presence of our enemies.
Saturday, July 3, 2021
MYSTERY OF GODLINESS
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” I Tim. 3:16.
BELIEVED ON IN THE WORLD.” This expresses the only way humanity could become partakers in this “mystery of godliness.” As we now come to the fifth feature or factor in the unfolding of this mystery, we do well to be aware of its connection with the preceding clause.
Paul seems to summarize the Gospel that he preached in I Cor. 15:1-4. He declared clearly the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ according to the scriptures. Those wonderful promises of redemption were beginning to be fulfilled in the coming of our dear Lord.
It is encouraging to know that the object of the preaching was, and is, being realized. There is not only a bringing men to faith in Christ, but also bringing the Christ life to maturity in believing humanity.
It was evident in the life of believers that the mystery preached to the Gentiles had it’s intended results. Read I Thess. 1:6-10; 2:13-14; & II Thess. 1:10. Thank God, the same Word is still working effectually today, without necessity to add human wisdom (?) I Cor. 2:4-5. To God be the glory, that without man-made formulas, lives are still being transformed.
RECEIVED UP INTO GLORY.” Oh, praise
God! What a marvelous event! “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11.
That must have been an exciting and yet somewhat disconcerting experience. They needed these words of comfort concerning His return as they watched him ascend.
While his resurrection proved that this same Jesus was indeed Lord and Christ; the advent of the Holy Spirit was proof positive that Jesus had returned to heaven; for he had promised to send the Comforter. Acts 2:2-4, “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind…”. Jesus was indeed the one that heaven must receive, Acts 3:21.
The Head of the mystical body, the author of the mystery of godliness, had then gone to heaven, and yet He still lives and moves in His spiritual body on earth. What a wonderful mystery! As we live and move and have our being in him by the power of the Spirit, we manifest the light of His life from earthen vessels.
What a blessing to realize that the Heavenly Father, and all in heaven, received Him there with exceeding joy! Unspeakable! But, beloved He has also entered there as our “forerunner” Heb. 6:18-20, and the “first fruit” of resurrection and translation. I Cor. 15:23, I Thess. 4:17 and 5:10.
He who has gone to prepare a place for us, has promised to come again and receive us unto himself. Therefore because the agreement between the Father and the Son (Heb. 13:20-21 has been fulfilled for the most part by the Son, soon His quest and request to have his people with Him will be fulfilled. John 14:1-3; 17:24.
We are therefore now to have our affections set above, where we are to appear with him in glory. Col. 3:1-4. Those whom have drawn the nearest to him in the trials and conflicts of this age, will be his innermost circle for the ages of the ages. Then the greatness of the mystery of Godliness, will have been completed and universally manifest. GLORY! GLORY! GLORY TO God!
“RESTING IN HOPE”
Anita Clark – Pastor, Carbondale, KS
Psalms 16:9 -”Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth, my flesh also shall rest in hope.”
Note the statement, “Therefore my heart is glad.” The “heart” means “the ruling center of the whole person, the spring of all desires.” In I Kings 3:9, King Solomon asked of the Lord, “Give therefore thy servant and understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad; for who is able to judge this Thy so great a people?” And God answered, (Vs.11-13) that because Solomon had not asked for a long life or riches and other things, but had asked for understanding and to discern judgment, God would give him, what he requested. There would not be a king as great as him all his days. God said this rested on, “... if thou wilt walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as they father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.”
So, when the Bible speaks of the heart, i.e. “Thou shalt love the Lord with all of your heart.” It means that deep within your being you should love God above everything else. As you walk with Him, He grows sweeter continually.
Our lead scripture (Psa. 16:9) speaks of a heart that was glad. The word “heart” is really speaking of the soul - our inner seat of motivation and affections. The word “glad” means to be cheerful, or joyful. Verse 8 actually tells us why David the writer was glad. It says, “I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” That security gives the writer a spirit of rejoicing, rest and gladness. Notice it says, “...my flesh shall rest in hope.” The word “rest” means in the Hebrew, “to reside permanently, with the idea of lodging and continuing to inhabit and remain.” The word “hope” means “a place of refuge, safety, security assurance, confidence, to trust and stay.”
In Romans 12:12, Apostle Paul says to the brothers, “Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.” In Romans 5:1-5, Apostle Paul says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace, wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” The word “hope” in these verses means in the Greek - “anticipation usually with pleasure, expectation and confidence.” This hope comes to us by our learning to rest in the things of God. Romans 8:28 is said to be the “Christians rocking chair.” And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”
Romans 5:3 speaks of “Glory in tribulation.” The word “tribulation” means in the Greek, “pressure, afflictions, anguish, burdens, persecutions, tribulations and trouble.” All of these were the lot of Apostle Paul and his followers. “All who are godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (II Tim. 3:12) What does it mean in the original Gk. to “glory in tribulations?” It means “to boast, have joy and rejoice in trials”. Apostle Paul always did that. Remember he said , “Look not at the things which are seen,” (II Cor. 4:18).
Back in Romans 5:4, we see the word “patience,” which is worked in our lives by going through tribulation. This word, means in the Gk. “Cheerful endurance, waiting, patient continuance.” The next word, “experience”- in the Amplified Version reads “proven character.” The tests and trials we go through do a great work in our lives. They prove the faithfulness of God’s. Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding; shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The amplified version says, “That tranquil state of a soul assured of salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with it’s earthly lot of whatsoever sort that is, that peace, which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” How many times when we are in deep trials that we have experienced this wonderful peace of God!
The next word (Rom. 5:4) is “hope.” In Lamentations 3:18,21-24, Jeremiah, the Prophet was expressing his lament about the terrible persecution he and the nation endured. “My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD.” There are times in our lives when trials are so great that we might feel this way. In verse 20 he says, “My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.” He is down in spirit. However, in verse 21-26, He has victory and hope in his great trials. None of us have ever gone through the suffering that Jeremiah went through. He trusted in the LORD. As he states, “This I recall to my mind; therefore I have hope: It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The LORD is good to them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” What an overcomer! The word “hope” here means, “to wait, to be patient, be pained, trust.” The word “compassions” in verse 22, means “mercy, pity tender love, from inside His heart.” Isn’t that a beautiful thought, from inside His heart he shows His great love and compassion for us in whatever trial we are going through. Where Jeremiah says in verse 24, “The LORD is my portion” (allotment, or inheritance).
In Romans 8:18-25. Paul says, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” He goes on to express how the creation is waiting “for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Vs.19). In verse 21 - He speaks about how the creature (the believers) “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” In verses 24-25, “For we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” Titus 2:12-13, says the Grace of God is “Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, Looking for that blessed hope of the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ…”. This is our “blessed hope.” This should be seen of our lives at this moment - to be ready for the soon appearing of Christ. Are you seeing the signs in the earth today? Are you watching for Him today? There is nothing holding back His soon return. Watch!
WE SEE JESUS
Pastor Floyd H. Crook
“THEREFORE we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip….Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet….But now we see not yet all things put under him. BUT WE SEE JESUS, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste DEATH FOR EVERY MAN.” Hebrews 2:1,8b,9.
JESUS MINISTERING TO MANKIND
We see Him, as He grew up to manhood, going in and out among the people in various places. The Bible declares, He “went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him,” Acts 10:38. Many of the religious rulers did not believe. As time drew near for Him to die on the cross, we see Him in the presence of those leaders; and the multitude cried out: “Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas.” Pilate asked them a question that is certainly important to us today: “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” This is the ALL-IMPORTANT QUESTION THAT EVERY ONE MUST FACE.
Jesus, at one time, uttered these words: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.” John 12:32-33. In other words, He was saying that He was going to be lifted up on the cross, and that all of the human race is going to be drawn to Him one way or another; either in salvation or condem-nation. God laid on Him the sins of the entire world; every one has the respon-sibility of taking Him as Savior. If they refuse, they will still have to deal with the Son of God.
They took Jesus out to Calvary’s hill and put the nails in His hands and feet. The Old Testament records these words: “...they pierced my hands and my feet.” There are a lot of false prophecies, but this is a true prophecy. We see Him there for six long hours. We can not imagine the terrible agony that He went through. He not only suffered, physically, but the last three hours He was bearing the sins of the whole world. There God the Father turned His back on His well beloved Son. We have the fulfillment of prophecy in both the Old and New Testaments, when Jesus cried out these agonizing words: “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Psalm 22:1. Think of your own sins now as a Christian (made free from sin), how you would feel if all of those sins you were once engulfed in, were again heaped upon you. All of the sins of all people of all ages were heaped upon Jesus there on that cross. Can we treat His sacrifice lightly?
About one and one-half years ago, I was stricken, with a heart attack (I will not go into details), but this may give you a little thought. Those few hours of agony I went through gave me a deeper appreciation of what Jesus went through for me. It was not any thing pleasant to go through, but I am glad I had that experience. I can not tell you what it meant to me - the reality of the suffering of Jesus Christ in my behalf. In many ways, during that time, the Lord enabled me to see Jesus in it all.
Continued – Part 3 in the next issue
At His Feet
She came and stood at His feet
And wept with bitter tears.
Her heart was filled with such need,
And overwhelmed with fears.
She came and stood at His feet
And wiped them with her hair.
Washed them with those bitter tears,
So unafraid to care.
She came and stood at His feet
For all the world to see.
Knowing who and what she was,
Yet wanting to be free.
Oh what love was in her heart,
What need and great desire.
For only Jesus had the power
To lift her from sin’s mire.
Fragrance filled that little room,
As ointment was poured out.
Others sat and watched with shock
But her soul gave a shout!
Jesus knew her love was great,
And spoke the words to heal.
Showing He alone could save
And that her faith was real.
By Debra Isenbletter
Daniel 9 – The Seventy Weeks
We read in Daniel chapter 9 that Daniel knew by the writings of Jeremy the prophet, that 70 years were appointed by God for his people to be in Babylonian captivity and under Cyrus they would be allowed to go back to the land. But when he had the vision of chapter 8 he realized that it was for many days. Their trouble was not going to end in 70 years. That only ended the Babylonian captivity. The 70 years was over, God had judged Babylon and Darius of Media was reigning. Not much was happening, Daniel did not understand why they were not going back. Why are not the people spiritual? We feel like this sometimes, why don’t God’s people put you first in their lives when your coming is so soon?
Daniel “set his face unto the Lord” about the matter and fasted, he was so burdened. He intercedes for the people of God Identifying himself with the whole nation as though he is guilty of their sin, saying “we have sinned.” It is a wonderful prayer of repentance and abasement toward God, yet also confidence in His unchanging love and faithfulness to His people. We learn much from Daniel’s prayer of supplication, getting under the burden as though it is our burden. We are not being made kings and priest unless we inter into this ministry which is a sweet odor to God.
While Daniel was yet speaking, immediately God answered and sent Gabriel, being caused to fly swiftly and touched Daniel. The Lord reveals Himself to those that seek Him. Gabriel’s message, I am come to give thee skill and understanding, for thou art greatly beloved. Daniel was greatly beloved of the Lord, for He was faithful to the Lord and gave himself unto the Lord and God loves that. Anyone who will yield their lives to God has His special favor.
Daniel had a measure of understanding of the visions of Gentile Times, but not the length of time they would take place. He did not know it would be over several hundred years. God reveal this to Daniel, the revelation is Vs. 24-26a. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (These all were fulfilled by Christ). Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:” We stop at the colon because this is the end of the 70 weeks of years. The period of time God would bless the Jews in their land during “Gentile Times.” It helps us to know year day counting. Simply put, it is a year for a day. So you multiply 70 weeks times 7 days and you get 490 days or 490 years. We know these are weeks of years, because this is history to us and 490 days would not be the fulfillment of this.
The 70 weeks have nothing to do with the Gentiles or the Church. It is strictly the Jewish people and Jerusalem. The church was still a hidden mystery at that time.
God breaks down those 490 years into divisions and we see when those 490 years began - V. 25 to the colon is 7 weeks, 49 years. There was 49 years from the commandment to go forth and rebuild Jerusalem unto the last prophecy in the Old Testament, the book of Malachi. Then there was 434 years from Malachi to the book of Matthew. There was no prophecy during these years. God uses His calendar of 30 days in a month and 360 days in a year, not the calendar of the nations. So 483 years were accurately fulfilled (49 + 434 = 483 years). So what part of Jesus life was fulfilled in this 69 weeks of years (483 years)? Notice V. 24 – it was determined upon the people and the holy city. So this would be His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, offering Himself as their Messiah (4 days later He was crucified).
From the colon on is what will take place because of Israel’s rejection of their Messiah. Their rejection opened the way for Satan and his man and delayed their blessings, not only for the years of the Church Age, but 7 more years of terrible judgment. There is more than 2,000 years in that colon. So the question, when was the last week fulfilled. Most Bible scholars believe it to be the unfulfilled week of V. 27. This can not be true because everything from this colon on is tribulation not blessings for the nation of Israel. So where is that other week? Well it was 7 years from the resurrection of Christ to the stoning of Steven. Messiah had come, He had finish the transgression, he made an end of sin, He made reconciliation for iniquity, He brought in everlasting righteousness. He sealed up the vision. He fulfilled prophesy and the most holy was anointed. If Israel had received their Messiah at the time of Steven message to them, He would have ushered in the Kingdom at that time. Acts 7:55, Jesus was standing ready to return if they received Him), but they didn’t they stoned Steven, rejecting their Messiah. God had expended His grace for one more week until the stoning of Steven. There was a young man holding the coats of those doing the stoning and he consented unto Steven death. His name was Saul which later became the Apostle Paul – which ushered in the Church Age. So the fulfillment of the 70 weeks is up at the stoning of Steven.
Next issue, we will read of the prince to come and the judgment of the tribulation week of 7 years.
Debra Isenbletter, Pastor, Springfield, Missouri
Jonah 2:4: “Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.”
In this verse we see Jonah’s Exclamation and his Expectation. This is about what Jonah knows. He knows where he is, he knows why he is where he is, he knows who put him where he is. He also knows there is hope and he knows Who to look to for that hope.
Jonah’s Exclamation: “Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight (presence).” Jonah is not being thrown away and discarded, he is being disciplined. He says he has been “cast out” but he has not been “cast away.” “Then” points back to what has happened. This is said after Jonah is thrown overboard, after the fish swallows him. This shows Jonah sees the consequences of his actions. By these words Jonah accepts God’s judgment and chastisement. While in the belly of the fish he felt that he has been “cast out” of the Lord’s “sight,” or the Lord’s presence. But the Lord still sees him and still hears him.
“Cast out” speaks of separation, of a forceful separation and Jonah feels that separation now. “Cast out” can also mean “driven out” or “thrust out” or it can mean “to divorce.” Both are different types of separation. Both figure Israel in the ways God chastised them and their relationship with their God. Israel was forced to leave the land of promise and driven out into the nations. Those nations stripped them of everything. They lost their homes and their land, but they lost something even more precious, they lost sight of their relationship with their God. They separated themselves from their God and God separated Himself from them. God “divorced” or “put them away” because of their unfaithfulness to Him, because of their idolatrous worship (Jer.3:8). It was not until they lost all these things that they realized what it was they lost and Jonah is a picture of that loss, and he feels it deeply.
Like Israel, Jonah felt that he had been removed by force, by circumstances out of his control. What is sad is that before he was “cast out” he had already left God’s presence. He did it voluntarily, he did it willingly when he ran away Jonah did not realize what he was turning away from and running away from.
There are different types of separation. There can be a physical separation, such as Israel from their land, their homes, and the blessings of God and Jonah’s physical separation from his home, his land, his people. There can be a spiritual separation, such as loss of fellowship. The relationship is still there because Jonah cries out to his God but the fellowship has been damaged and needs to be restored.
Jonah says “I am cast out of thy sight.” That does not mean God cannot see Jonah. Jonah does not feel the Lord’s “presence.” Jonah suddenly feels the loss of something that he had taken for granted. Jonah finally realizes what it is he has really lost. It is not about loss of life, it is about loss of fellowship. It is not that the Lord is not there, He is there. He hears Jonah’s prayer on some level, Jonah knows this, because he prays. It is when Jonah changes his attitude, when he repents, when he submits, when he prays, it is then that he will feel the Presence of his God.
Jonah’s sin had separated him, he could not hear God and he did not want to be near God. Sin separates man from God. After Adam sinned he hid from God (Gen.3:8). This is a lesson Jonah must learn, it is the difference between feeling and faith. Jonah feels cast out and rejected because of judgment, he does not feel the Lord’s presence. At the moment, Jonah sees only judgment, not the love behind the judgment. The Apostle Paul saw the love behind the judgment concerning God’s people, he knew that God had not “cast away his people” (Rom.11:1-2,5). He knew God would take them back again, on His terms and not theirs. This is what Jonah will learn.
Jonah’s Expectation: “yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.” In this statement we see that Jonah’s faith begins to overcome his feelings. Jonah says, “yet I will look again,” as impossible as it seems, he has this hope that one day he will “look again” at the place that he loves. To “look” means to “regard with pleasure” to look “again” means to look “toward;” to look “often;” it means that he will look “henceforth” or “from now on.” It could be he had not been looking like he should have, now he says he will look and that he will do this and not stop looking. The place that he is looking toward is “thy holy temple;” a consecrated place, a sacred place, a place of sanctuary. In the belly of that fish, with his eyes lifted up to his God in faith, with his voice crying out in faith, the place could be transformed. It had the potential of becoming a sanctuary.
It could be until this moment Jonah had not felt this way about the temple, he may have taken it for granted, now it means something. Sometimes we take for granted the opportunities and privileges of worship until they are gone. It could also be that being a prophet for the ten tribes, it was not easy to go to the temple after the division of the kingdom. The kingdom was split, the ten tribes worshiped in Dan and Bethel, the places Jeroboam chose instead of Jerusalem. (1Ki.12:26-29). The temple was in Jerusalem, it was where the two tribes worshiped. If anyone from the ten tribes went to the temple, it would not be easy.
Now in faith Jonah looks toward the temple with longing and remembers how precious worship and fellowship are. The temple was a place for God’s people to pray in (1Kings 8:38-39) and it was also a place for God’s people to pray towards, if they could not be in the temple. (2Chr.6:38-3; Dan.6:10). They did not have to be physically in the temple for their prayer of faith to be heard. Jonah looks forward to the time he will be in the temple again. Can you imagine, after this experience, what his testimony and his worship would be like? He could offer a sin offering or trespass offering acknowledging his sin. He could offer an offering of thanksgiving for his deliverance. He could worship the Lord his God, and his heart longed for the place he could do this.