Boar Down!

Herschel Smith · 30 Oct 2022 · 9 Comments

Readers may have noticed I was absent the last several days.  It was a good time away.  A very good buddy and neighbor of mine, Robert, and I went hunting courtesy of the fine folks with Williams Hunting in South Carolina. I was shooting a 6mm ARC rifle with a Grendel Hunter upper, Aero Precision lower, Amend2 magazines, Brownells scope mount, Radian Raptor charging handle, Nikon Black scope, and a Viking Tactics sling.  I have no complaints about the gun.  It's at least a 1 MOA gun…… [read more]

The Mystery of Godliness

BY PGF
1 month, 1 week ago

“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.” – 1 Timothy 3:16

We find this unusual and compelling verse amid the instruction to pastor and preacher Timothy. It’s complex and rich, full of the revelation of Christ but put in simple terms that we’ll examine to find the depth of purpose in this writing. There are many verses we won’t use for length of post considerations. Perhaps you’ll think of some related verses.

This verse is oddly placed between the teaching of what makes a qualified bishop or deacon in 1 Timothy chapter 3 and before a prophetic warning in chapter 4 about some who shall depart from the true faith to chase fables forbidding that which is lawful in the New Covenant.

There are many verses like this in Scripture; God gives us a foundation upon which our faith is built, reminding us who we are supposed to worship and what happened that brought in the New Covenant. The Old Testament Jews were constantly reminded of how God brought them out of Egypt. God did this so that they might not stray. Some verses in the New Testament are designed to summarize and remind us of the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the destruction of the Old Covenant, Christ’s current office, our duties in the body, and His return.

It’s indeed a Gospel verse. It begins:

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness”

One of the remarkable things about this verse is there’s no claim as to a lack of controversy over the mystery of godliness. Well, that might seem odd. Millions have been slaughtered for the name of Jesus; nations and empires have fallen, and risen, and fallen again upon His word. Jesus is by far the most controversial name in history. It’s reviled, spit at, laughed at, ignored, used as a cuss, and railed against, and those that claim it are treated upon the scale from pity to murderous rage. But, it’s believed on, called upon, depended upon, glorified, and sought both in the light and in the depths of darkest despair by those coming to the awareness of Christ and God’s sainted believers.

Keep in mind that in Bible terms, the word mystery means being revealed. It does not mean some hidden thing or strange understanding that only the learned, priest or a mystic can proclaim. The Bible explains each mystery it shows; it’s a book of revelations. The Bible is the only and best source for finding the answer to every mystery within its pages. Everything the Bible proclaims, it also demonstrates. Every Law is also exemplified.

The first phrase doesn’t say that there’s no controversy about Jesus Christ; it says there’s not a controversy that the mystery of Christ is great. That simple fact is incontrovertible. The revelation of the Son of God is indeed great. So too, is the manner in which God forges His followers upon the trials of faith and service, regenerating them into the likeness of Christ and further purifying their hearts with each refining.

The revelation of godliness is so great that millions have died, age after age, in every land on earth to bring it to fruition. Nobody can deny it. To the believer and unbeliever alike, the faithful and the heathen, the wise and the simple, the religious and spiritual, there is no controversy that the mystery of God is great and captivating, causing the full range of emotions in believers and unbelievers alike.

All have wondered at the notion of God. We were built that way; to seek Him and to know Him. Though most admire the mystery of His creation, why do they not marvel at Him; why do they not pursue? This is the mystery revealed by our sin.

What is godliness? When we first set out to teach this some time ago, searching the Holy Bible for a definition of godliness proved difficult. Having learned much since then, we see it hinted at in places. An online dictionary defines it thusly: “The character or quality of being godly; conformity to the will and law of God; piety.” Conformity to the will and Law of God is not a terrible description.

To have the character and qualities of being Godly, one must know God, be like God, and follow God by keeping His Law-word while seeking His will. Ecclesiastes 12:13 tells us to “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

That’s an immense undertaking, a lifetime pursuit of allowing the Holy Spirit of God to transform you into a son of God, in His likeness (Romans 8:29). It’s easy to see an ungodly person or thing, but blessed be the man that shows himself to be God’s man in all things (1 Peter 1:16).

We learn in 1 Timothy 3:12, just before our topic verse, that all who live godly shall suffer persecution. After our verse, 1 Timothy 4:8 says in part: “godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” Godliness is profitable that it may go well with us now and reap the blessings of God’s rewards in eternity. And We find in 2 Peter that we ought to be holy in all conversation (all we show outwardly) and godliness.

The first Psalm provides a satisfactory definition of godliness as well. We are to be godly that whatsoever we do will prosper.

“1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” – Psalm 1:1-3

And what better than for all men to delight in the Law of the Almighty, seeking the face of the Lord, praying without ceasing, bringing forth good fruit, laying up treasures in heaven, and always going about to please the one that saved you and gave you the promise of life now and eternity to come: indeed, without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness.

After that introductory phrase, the text takes a shift. Though we’ve searched the Scriptures for an adequate definition of godliness, we take this verse as self-defining about the mystery and godliness, for there is nothing hidden; all is brought to light by God to those that love Him.

The great mystery from before time and through all ages, evident in creation, hinted at and pointed to within God’s holy word arrived in the flesh as John Baptist declared; “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” If you want to know godliness, look to Christ, for He is God.

“God was manifest in the flesh”

The phrase here starts the revelation of the mystery by defining the life and work of Jesus Christ; God in man. And what a great mystery, Christ was prophesied to be a man, born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). Malachi points to His arrival in chapter 3 and verse 1. And as the time drew near (Matthew 1:23), God, as He’s always done, delivered upon His promise.

God was in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19, John 14:10-11); what more straightforward statement than “I and my Father are one.” – John 10:30. We take the virgin birth as sufficient. Christ is the deity in the flesh, having the pure and perfect blood of the Father. The Scripture is fulfilled from Genesis forward up to the virgin birth. The immaculate blood of Christ (God in flesh) is sufficient for the remission of sin. Jesus is the Son of God, and God the Son.

Also, see Isaiah 53:2-5.

What a thing that Holy God would have you to know that Jesus was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. He was stricken and smitten, tortured to death for your sin, but He had done no wrong and knew no sin. We supposed it correct to point out that He rose from the grave again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), showing Himself among many witnesses, and to Thomas, the holes in His hands and side were still there (John 20:27-28). Having power from the Father to lay down His life and take it up again: God was manifest in the flesh.

“justified in the Spirit”

Jesus is the incarnate Word, the Spirit in flesh. Not simply was the Scripture fulfilled when Christ arrived, but the Word was justified becoming God in flesh; in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily (John 1:14, Colossians 2:9).

This is the most difficult of all the phrases in this verse. Jesus is justified in the Spirit. He didn’t become Christ after the Holy Spirit alighted upon Him in the form of a dove. He was always God the Son. The build of the dove was so that John Baptist, and you, by his recorded testimony in the book of John, might know that this same Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God and Christ (John 1:32-33).

How can the unjust justify? The notion that Jesus was not Christ until His baptism by John is erroneous. His mother (Luke 1:30-35) and her husband (Matthew 1:18-21) were both told. Simeon in the temple saw Jesus as a personal fulfillment of prophecy and global fulfillment for the salvation of His people (Luke 2:25-32) – Daniel’s 70 weeks were coming to their end – Jesus arrived right on time according to the Scriptures. John leapt in the womb (Luke 1:41-42) and knew that Christ was among them before he saw the image of a dove (John 1:26-27). Jesus taught the Pharisees at 12 years old (Luke 2:46-47).

The triune God is One (1 John 5:7 and John 1:1-3). What will those that deny His deity say when they see him? Well, nothing; they’ll be flat on their faces, speechless, scared out of their minds. Here’s what a true believer and His best friend on earth did when he saw Christ: Revelation 1:17.

Still, we admit this is one of the most complex things to understand anywhere in Scripture. It’s much easier to accept by faith for a believer, but the Godhead is often a sticking point for the lost man trying to understand who and what God is. Those who don’t believe will know what Just is when they see face-to-face He who justifies.

Shifting gears, we’ll examine some aspects of this more.

“I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession” – 1 Timothy 6:13

Not that Christ needed any justification by men, but Pontius Pilate found Him not guilty of the things the Jews charged. Jesus committed no offense, and in this, He was justified in all He did and said.

“And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it.” – Luke 23:3

Also, we’ll say that Pilot found no fault with Jesus, even after Jesus essentially told Pilot that he himself knew Christ was the King of the Jews.

Jesus was justified at His trial, but the Jews would hear none of it and thrice asked, with increasing vehemence, that Jesus be crucified. Jesus was found not guilty, justified as God in the flesh, and just according to the Spirit as recorded in the word of God. Jesus was justified in all He did and now does; the guilt of His death, therefore, is upon the Jews.

He swears His covenants by Himself since there is none higher; it’s important to note that it’s God who justifies Himself; He needs no man for this. Indeed, being sinners, none can justify God or Christ.

Being the Son of God, He thought it not robbery to be equal with God (Philippians 2:6). Jesus, doing miracles, teaching, and preaching, all in the spirit of truth, operated as the finger of God (Luke 11:20).

But we think Pentecost also provides a sure clue.

Note: see Joel 2:28-32, Matthew 24:29-30, and Acts 2:16-21 together. Jesus was justified in the Spirit for destroying Jerusalem.

The Apostles did err at times, and some had a season of doubt. Still, the Holy Spirit was sent to lead, guide, and direct them into all truth (John 14:17, John 16:13). The arrival of the Holy Spirit justified all of Jesus’ life and ministries, being the Son of man and the Son of God. What surer evidence than the Holy Spirit sent from God fulfilling Christ’s promise of power from heaven?

“16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Acts 2:16-21

When the Spirit was poured out from the Father, Peter was reminded by the Spirit of Joel 2:28-32 and the end of the Old Covenant and the birth of the New Covenant. This is, in part, what Christ spoke of in Matthew 24:29-30. The period from Pentecost through Jerusalem’s destruction fulfilled Joel’s prophecy, justifying Christ by the Spirit as the rightful heir of all things and the Judge of the quick and the dead, great High Priest, for a better covenant. The New Covenant, which was sealed in the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, was brought in; the Old Covenant necessarily passed away.

“seen of angels”

Angels announced the birth of Christ (Luke 2:9-14), attended to Christ after the temping (Mark 1:13), in Gethsemane (Luke 22:43), at His resurrection (Matthew 28:5-6), and at His ascension to the right hand of Power (Acts 1:10). And see Hebrews 1:6.

Angels were very involved in the ministry of our Lord. Though Christ was despised by mighty men and those wise in their conceit (1 Corinthians 1:26-27), all of heaven was keenly interested in this most important (so far, He’s coming back) of days in all of human history.

Some are interested in angels. We thank the Father for His angels, but more so, we thank God for His messages delivered by them. However, studying angels in the Bible has never been a priority. But they’re often in Scripture pointing to the power of God and delivering the message of hope in Christ to His people. If one were to study them, look for their announcements more than any other aspect, for God’s promises and plan are in the messages.

“preached unto the Gentiles”

Jesus healed a Gentile Roman Centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13). Somebody told the centurion, or he witnessed Jesus’ ministry, but most importantly, he believed. Jesus said of him: “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”

After receiving the Holy Spirit, later in Acts 15, Peter was called upon to preach unto the Gentile Cornelius in Acts 10:34-44.

Also, in Acts 15, a sect of the Pharisees (Judaizers) claimed the Gentiles needed to be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses. Peter explains that this is not so.

“6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” – Acts 15:6-11

The preaching of the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ by His death, burial, and resurrection has gone out to all men. And in Romans 11:13, Paul claims the office of the “Apostle of the Gentiles.”

The mystery of godliness in the Gospel has even been preached unto the Gentiles on TCJ: here, here, here, and others.

“believed on in the world”

“9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” – 1 John 5:9-10

Either you believe in Jesus Christ, or you don’t. We that believe have the witness in us and do testify that these things are so: 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. This is the record; God has given us eternal life in Jesus Christ by belief through faith in His finished work on the cross.

Excerpt from Walking Dead Man:

“11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” – John 3:11-12

“There is murder, war, adultery, child trafficking, and on and on the list of grievous sins could go. From the earliest days of history, Holy God has sent many witnesses into the world to testify of the things they have seen and heard of God. Jesus says if you can’t hear of the earthly things, how shall you believe the heavenly things? If you won’t believe that God made you in the first place, how will you believe He can make you anew by His Spirit?”

“1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” – Hebrews 1:1-3

God, in these last days, has spoken unto us by his Son, and we heard.

We believe all men are sinners born that way by inheritance of sin from the first man, Adam. We believe that all men are sinners, and because of sin, all men are appointed once to die, then to stand in judgment before God Almighty. We believe that death and wrath abide on all men because of their sin; this wrath is outer darkness, eternal torment, hell, and burning alive. We believe and do know that under our own power, we cannot cease from sin, that the consequences of sin are eternal damnation, that following the Law cannot save anybody’s soul from death and eternal torment, and that no amount of appeasement toward God Almighty or good works on our part could save us. Man is totally depraved, and without God, he is lost forever, having no power on his own to save himself.

But we believe and do know that “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Having been the enemy of the Almighty, Christ made peace between God and us by His literal bodily blood sacrifice on a cross at a place called Golgotha in Israel just outside the city gates of Jerusalem some 2000 years ago. That same Jesus was and is the Christ of God. And He was buried in a never before used tomb owned by one Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent man. And we believe that this same Jesus Christ rose from the dead again the third day and was seen by apostles and other eyewitnesses over a 40-day-long period, including being seen and spoken with in the presence of 500 brethren at once. Christ was alive again in power and glory, teaching and preparing His men for the birth of the New Covenant by the Holy Spirit that would come into them. Then, also witnessed by many, He ascended into a cloud out of sight and, still today, is seated in judgment at the right hand of Majesty in heaven.

This same Jesus, the Christ, is the highest Judge and final authority in all things. We believe He is ruling and reigning in heaven and earth in the affairs of men and nations until His literal bodily return, the day of which no man knows, but you must be ready for that final day when He will judge the quick and the dead.

After His resurrection and ascension, He sent the destructive forces of the first-century Roman Empire against the temple and Jerusalem in 70AD to show that the Old Covenant temple worship system was completed in Him, ending it once for all.

We know and testify that He has forgiven us our sins and saved us from the wrath of God, death, and hell, having, by His grace, given us eternal life. And we do testify that if any would believe in the power of God to forgive you of your sin and save your immortal soul through faith in Jesus Christ’s atoning death, burial, and resurrection, Holy God is faithful to forgive your sin and save your soul. You, too, can enter into the New Covenant by Christ’s blood having life everlasting in heaven with Holy God.

We further believe and do know by the Holy Spirit in us that the real Holy Bible is the perfect, inspired Word of God, holy and inerrant, the words of God to all men, given by Him that you might know Him and His mind toward you.

“received up into glory”

“7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 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 1:7-11

All that Christ has done, in our topic verse, is the revelation of the mystery to man, showing evidence in abundance that they might be brought back from their course toward hell and made one with Christ in God.

Hidden

BY PGF
1 month, 2 weeks ago

“Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” – 1 Timothy 5:24

Some live in sin openly without fear of God; all see their sin and know it as such. Yet more men hide their sin from others, even trying to deny it to themselves, looking for and desiring some escape that never comes. There is no flight; all evil is set before the holy hill, appearing as a dead stinking fish in a meadow, entirely out of place before the throne of God. There is God and your sin before Him. There is no escape, whether iniquity is hidden in this life to follow after in final judgment or exhibited now going before you for judicial review.

There are sinners of the baser sort, foul creatures without remorse, having no fear of God and never considering a coming day with God, and such were some of you.

But others suppose that living in open sin while pretending it’s not wrong will have no consequence. Everybody looks upon their sin as they gallantly expect some new level of social sophistication in maturity, proclaiming their adult and responsible choices; God is not impressed. Hiding your sin in plain sight for all to see while pretending it’s not wickedness isn’t maturity; it’s childishness. You can fool some and even yourself for a time, but God sees your sin; all things are established before Him.

None will get away with sinning. Whether hidden in fear or seen by all, grossly in ignorance or with malignant intent, none don’t sin. It’s hard to know which curse is worse, the exposed sport before men or the hidden self-deceived before God, for none can honestly hide from God, and all are brought to justice.

“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels” – 2 Thessalonians 1:7

The crack in the door to hell is creaking ever wider. You who are troubled with no refuge and nowhere to run, watching the world dissolve into fervor for wars with growing evil all around, seek rest with Jesus Christ. His vengeance against all the disobedient is coming; He will repay with tribulation. There is no other to whom you can hope for salvation than Christ.

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” – 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9

Vengeance at the hand of the Lord our God shall fall upon all who know not the God of their creation. Having heard of Him, obeying not the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they attempt to hide from God; eternal death is soon their home. By the glory and the power of the Lord, you, who reject the Christ of God, shall be punished under the eternal destruction of damnation in hell; flaming fire awaits as you are slipping toward hades, being removed from the presence of the Lord. Face Him now before it’s ever too late, admitting your sin in repentance; renounce the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness.

“Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.” – Psalm 104:29

Christians are commanded to have no communion with the unclean thing and to depart from evil. Even God Almighty hides His face from those that are troubled and beset by iniquity, for He will not look upon sin; holy is He. There is a price upon your head. In the last, their final breath is taken from them, but all does not go blank; the soul of the sinner dies eternally, in torment, his worm ever turning to escape the wrath of God at the hand of evil. Is this your final lot?

They pay a man to read a Bible and lie about the passing; they say the dead was a good man. He was kind and caring and giving perhaps, but none are good; all have come short of the glory of God. And as they place the carcass in a box returning it to the dust, all those looking on also lie to themselves and each other, nodding in agreement claiming he was a good man, a just man; perhaps now he’s with Lord in glory? Certainly not, for God is holy; no sin may defile Him, nor ever will; He won’t look upon the unforgiven.

“Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.” – Proverbs 11:4

His money didn’t protect him, nor did all the preparations for the end prevail, for God owns everything: every penny in the purse, every tool in the shed, and beans in the cupboard. Only the righteousness of Christ can deliver your soul from death. No deeds well done or riches stored up will profit. Hidden in the womb, you arrived naked, scared, and alone: and in dying, though you may try to hide, the transgressor returns naked and fearful before a holy God, alone without defense.

But there was One, sinless yet crucified, tortured to death, beaten and bloodied, with beard ripped from His face, who took His own cross and dragged up a hill, laying down upon it He stretched His arms wide in love and was nailed with spikes of iron. Then the cross was stood while all mocked and jeered; He was spat upon and ridiculed, dying there for you. He died for the sinner.

Dead in your trespasses against the Almighty and headed to wrath; Christ died there on that cross to save you from your sin and certain death. Holy Father God has turned His face and hidden it from you, ashamed of your folly, but this Jesus came to get you and rescue you from the certain eternal damnation of God’s judgment that you deserve. Jesus paid your debt in death and commended His own spirit to the Father.

As we today anticipate His return and the final judgment, some sadly doubt. Even two thousand years ago, they paused three days for the promise; some waivered then, but they waited.

“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:10

And three days later, the Son of God was risen up from the dead, this Jesus of Nazareth who draws all the world to the curious affair of the crucifixion and His resurrection from the dead. He rose again from the dead that He might deliver us, deliver you, from the wrath to come. This is how you can know that Christ Jesus has the power of life. Death could not hold Him, the tomb and hell could not keep Him; this authority He had of Father God, to raise Himself again. Having risen again indeed, this power He has of Himself – to raise you to life eternal, presenting you blameless in the heavenly places with God Almighty.

“For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.” – Psalm 103:11

The fear of God is a mighty thing. This knowing, deep in your conscience, that indeed there is a God, and although you know Him not, and you’re not perfect by any stretch, you dare not to offend overtly putting yourself at ought with your Creator. This is a fear of the Lord yet without faith. For it is your decision, many are called, but few are chosen.

Knowing the fear of the Lord, do you determine to believe by faith that He is also the God that can save you by His power? The idea in your gut is one thing; choosing Christ, making Jesus your Saviour and holy Father God your one and only God, is what awaits. Do it this day if ye will hear his call, harden not your heart.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:12

And we testify that the love of God is sweet beyond measure; your sins can be hidden from His face and from the wrath to come. People may look upon your outward parts, and you seem the same. They may remember what you once did and were, but Holy God declares of all who trust in His Son; their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. And not only so, but your transgressions can be removed, gone, as though they never existed. You will change, released from chains of fear and regret. This is the forgiveness of Christ, who loves you and, in mercy, expended His life for you.

The human conscience is an alarm to return to God. Whether you’ve ever known God or not, all must return to Him for judgment. The conscience gives you an inkling to be prepared for that day, and it’s not wrong, for God has made us thus, that we might seek Him.

The only saving trial is forgiveness from sin and salvation from hell in the person of Jesus Christ. Return to God in contrite spirit. In Christ Jesus, those who understand they are dead already find forgiveness and life everlasting.

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:3

Though you hid your sins from men and tried to conceal them from the Almighty, God will hide them as far as the east is from the west, seeing them no more. In Christ is a home unending, free with God. Call upon His holy name. Nothing can separate us from the Love of God. No man can pluck you out of Christ’s hand. No more fear in your conscience nor price upon your head; hallelujah, commending your spirit to the Father, your eternal soul can now be hid with Christ in God.

Cosmic Treason! 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Status

BY PGF
1 month, 2 weeks ago

“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” – Matthew 16:16

This surely is the place to start. Jesus answering Peter says: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Matthew 16:18. Upon the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God is the Church built. Jesus is the Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4), and the chief (first) cornerstone (Ephesians 2:19-21) being the Christ of God Almighty.

“22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” – Ephesians 1:22-23

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” – Colossians 1:18

Jesus Christ is the head over all things to the Church, which is the body. Seems fairly simple.

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:20.

We learn that where two or more believers are gathered, there is Jesus with them. This is an assembly (Hebrews 10:24-25) of followers of Christ.

Excerpt from Essential Christian Instruction Part Four:

“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” – Romans 12:4-5. “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” – 1 Corinthians 12:27 See also: 1 Corinthians 12:12

A local church is a body of believers. All followers of Jesus are His Church, sometimes referred to in Scripture as the body of Christ. The church of Jesus Christ is not a church building. When the members refuse to serve, they make the body lame and dysfunctional retarding the growth of His church by slowing the spreading of the Gospel to every tongue. God has a job for you to do that the body may be whole. That’s what the early Church did everywhere they went, including this example from Acts at Antioch.

“And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” – Acts 11:26

Prior to this, Christians were referred to as those [serving] “in the way” [of Christ].

Scripture also refers to a church when discussing one particular group of believers that assemble together, such as those at Antioch, Corinth, or Ephesus.

As best we can reckon, “house of God” appears 88 times in the KJV, a few of those times are in the New Testament, but only one of those is not a reference to an Old Testament instance:

“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 3:15

According to the Holy Bible, the house of God is the church of the living God, a fact we’ve already rightly established; this is the Church, the body of Christ. It’s not a building. Paul, to Timothy, and by application to Pastors, Deacons, Bishops, and Preachers today, and by extension, all of us saints must behave ourselves fittingly of men and women that are in Christ Jesus as a member of the body of Christ. 1 Timothy 3:15 is not about a building; it’s about a temple not made with hands (Acts 7:47-5o): “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16. We are Christ’s house: see Hebrews 3:6. The same penman who, inspired of God, wrote 1 Timothy 3:15 also wrote Ephesians 1:21-22. There are no contradictions in the word of God.

The temple was specifically destroyed by Christ so that you might NOT build an altar to him anywhere but in your heart, the true altar being in Heaven (Revelation 5:9-14). Worship in a building ended in 70AD, ushering in a new and better covenant (Hebrews 8:13). I personally don’t begrudge folks that gather in a building, and we don’t think God does either; it’s out of the elements and away from distractions, after all.  But there is no more temple, no more house of God, and the wicked term used by the government and others that seek control by denoting all religious establishments as “houses of worship;” that term is repugnant to the clear word of God. There’s only one God and one Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5)! In those ‘houses of worship,” they worship what, they know not, and more likely they worship the devil himself.

See: The Preeminence Of The New Covenant And Abolishment Of The Old Covenant

Ye are the temple of the living God. The American Church is at the point where they have rejected the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. To be sure, nothing good will come of that.

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Disclaimer number one: The owner of this Blog has never expressed to me an opinion about church incorporation. The below are not the views of this Blog or its owner. Nor do I endorse any of the linked organizations.

Disclaimer number two: I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the internet. Do your own research about the laws of men. I can, however, tell you that beyond the shadow of a doubt, the body of Christ seeking government to usurp in any way the form or functions of God or His authority, or that of Christ over His Church, is a violation of God’s Law-word in the First Commandment (Exodus 20:3).

Here’s the Wikipedia about the Johnson Amendment.

The amendment is named for then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, who introduced it in a preliminary draft of the law in July 1954.

Key graph (Wikipedia quoting the code. Bold in the original):

(3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.

And that is the crux of the law. As further background, a very popular pastor disgusted with Johnson’s Texas politics was railing against him from the pulpit. Johnson didn’t like it, of course, as it might have cost him his true aspirations of the White House, so he introduced this law. No more railing against the government from the pulpit was allowed.

Importantly, a group of believers in no way must register or take tax status. Under the First Amendment, the Church of Jesus Christ, that is, the body of Christ is immune to taxation.

The first amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Obviously, the Johnson Amendment violates the establishment clause. Congress made a law narrowing the scope of religious activity to something that can have zero effect on morality and the good order of civilization. This puts the Johnson Amendment in direct conflict with Jesus Christ under the mission of the Great Commission.

Three bodies are ordained in God’s created order: Church, Family, and State. The Church of Jesus Christ is to be the foremost moral authority and influence upon civilization. Government can no more be the moral authority than pigs can fly. Nor can the State raise children to be productive and moral citizens; that’s the function of God’s ordained Family. A quote from God’s Church, Family, State:

“The Church (body of Christ) is restorative. Only God can change a man’s heart, filling him with the fruit of the Spirit to make him a minister and servant of the good. The family, not the State, is preventive in the proper training and raising of the generations.”

I contend that at the root of the problem is property. A local body cannot buy a property without collateral (the body) and a property tax stamp which requires them to become an organization. The body of Christ, at this point, ceases to function under the Law of God, has taken a new master in the Government, and usually does so in order to take yet another master; a Banker, by seeking debt slavery to tend property forsaking the Great Commission given by Jesus Christ to go into all the world teaching and preaching the Gospel.

I further contend that the Church was nationalized by Constantine in the early 300s, “granting” the Church property. This wrecked the true Church. It was the first attempt to take over the Church by changing its mission from conquering the world in the name of Jesus Christ to settling down and tending to property, becoming a passive fraud with many government strings attached to the “free” property.

Some still see Constantine as acquiescing to the Church and consider what happened then to be a good thing. I strongly disagree, for unless the Church takes up arms and rules by force of Law over the Government, the converse will always happen, and I in no way endorse a Church ruling over men at the point of a sword because we are all sinners. I do, however, fully endorse the Church taking over the government under the Great Commission: by converting its people and otherwise populating every government position and seat with true believers that have the Holy Spirit of God in them. That’s the Bible way! Not only is “our” government incapable of ruling in the righteousness of Christ without a moral and religious people but neither can any government.

Once the Church comes under Government purview, as it did then and now again under the Johnson Amendment, it ceases in every way, shape, form, and manner to be the Church of Jesus Christ. It has become a creature of the State. Jesus is the King and shall have no co-equals; no man will ever rule Him! The Johnson Amendment, cleverly but by a different approach, has done the same here in the United States that wrecked the early Church in the 300s. Many consider what happened to the early Church as having later brought the dark ages by allowing paganism and all manner of depravity into the body; with this, I agree. The devil isn’t stupid, evil, yes; dumb, no! Many figure that a new dark age is on the horizon; how could they be wrong?

An interesting take is presented here about IRS 501(c)3 incorporation. Excerpt:

Organism or Organization?

Is the body of Christ an Organism or an Organization? An organism is a living thing. I am living, and I am part of the body of Christ. The body of Christ is the church. An incorporated Church is not an organism, but an organization. An organization is a creature of the State, and as such must hold allegiance to the creator of their organization.

All those who join with an organization that is under corporation status accept the debt of that organization, and become subject to that debt of another. I do not need to tell you what scripture tells us about this debt. Borrowing money, for expansion, from the ungodly bankers, is not a biblical principle and, as such, cannot be blessed by God.

Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Edition, defines ‘organization’ as a “corporation or government subdivision or agency, business trust, partnership or association…or any other legal or commercial entity”. This definition shows that an organization (even if it functions as a church) is recognized as commercial and public; an incorporated Church is legally interpreted as a commercial entity. But didn’t Christ say “make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” (John 2:16)?

The real benefit the 501(c)(3) Church looks for with incorporation is the ability to borrow large amounts of debt capital [debt is not capital, fyi]. This enslaves every man, woman, and child whose name appears on the membership roles of the Church. How can this be? Because every officer and member of the Church pledges themselves as surety for the commercial debts of the Church, whether they know it or not. Why is this? Because the member’s name that appears on the Church rolls is a beneficiary of the Church ‘services’, which are also construed as commercial by the government (the term ‘service’ is a commercial term, and means either to get paid for an occupation, or it means an act giving assistance or advantage to another, which results in a benefit). Additionally, the ‘tax-deductible contributions’ are further evidence of the commercial connection to the corporation.

A maxim of law states: “He who accepts the benefit must also bear the burden,” meaning if one accepts any benefit of the incorporated Church one is liable for the debts and acts of the church leadership. If the Church is sued and a cash settlement is ordered by the court, there is virtually no limit as to how far the court can extend its power to collect from the members, even if they are not the officers responsible for committing the civil crime. “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mat.11:30).

“Although it was once said that ‘a corporation is not indictable, but the particular members are‘ [Anon., 12 Mod. 559], it is now well settled that a corporation may be indicted for omission to perform a public duty imposed upon it by law.” Reg. V. Birmingham & G. Ry. Co., 3 Q.B. 233; New York & G.L.R. Co. v. State, 50 N.J.Law 303, 13 Atl. 1, affirmed in 53 N.J.Law, 244, 23 Atl. 168.

In Jesus’ day, the chief priests bound themselves to Caesar (John 19:14-15). Who were they a priest of? Caesar. Who did they minister for? Caesar. Who does the 501(c)(3) Church now minister for? “We have no king but Caesar.” They have a United States flag in every one of their Churches. “We don’t make political statements from the pulpit anymore, we don’t ever preach against the one for whom we minister. We don’t want to lose our tax-exempt status!” So, we had fascism in Christ’s day, the same fascism we have today.

A local church I briefly attended was working toward planting another church in the same county. A prayer request sent to me and hundreds of others by the pastor spoke of finding a location under God’s calling and creating a “pioneer” team for that job, and the letter included this:

We spent much of last week finalizing the papers necessary to file for incorporation and 501(c)(3) status. This is tedious but very important work. These papers begin to establish the DNA of the church, and they are crucial prerequisites that set us up for the next set of milestones. Please pray that the filing process will go smoothly and quickly.”

Read that again carefully, and let it sink in. The very DNA of that church was not established in the deity of Christ; God’s only begotten Son by His perfect DNA spilled on the earth in His blood sacrifice for the salvation of His people and soon coming restoration of all things in the new heaven and the new earth. That church is not wed to Christ in the New Covenant. Nope… not at all. It says the DNA of that church is government organizational incorporation under tax-exempt status. That is disgusting! As far as I know, those people never objected, and they soon planted their church. I, needless to say, left. Who is Jesus Christ if He isn’t the DNA of His own Church!?! Even the use of the word DNA denotes a body in creation!!!

An interesting take is on this video (skip to 22:45 – 38:30).

A better one is here: Pastor John Weaver, The Bible and Treason. If you love the word of God, watch the whole thing. It’s a rich and interesting study. If not, you can skip ahead to about the 40:00 minute mark and watch to the end. Also, he cites a legal case, Hollis(sp?) v Marshall(sp?), 1981, about State Street Baptist Church in Kentucky, but we couldn’t find the decision using a simple web search. Perhaps someone enterprising or a lawyer can find it for us.

We encourage you to do your own research on the state of the American Church, 501(c)3 status, and to pray to God that He would guide you in this matter.

“1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” – Hebrews 8:1-2

Structural Strands in NT Eschatology

BY PGF
1 month, 3 weeks ago

As He always does when He’s teaching me a complex doctrine, the Lord puts the question(s) on my heart first. Then He begins to provide lessons that fill in the question. I praise His holy name for this; Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit of God, is the Master Instructor. He’s been fulfilling the covenant we made from the start; if only I could be as steadfast as He is faithful.

There are questions on my mind about what verses in the writings of Paul point to which aspect of the Kingdom age(s); the time of the first advent – the intervening 2000 years plus (so far) of the end times – or His coming again. With this piece, the eschatological view of Paul is three-fold, but some verses are a combination adding a distinct aspect. With that, we agree.

There are three distinct strands in the structure of New Testament eschatology: (1) the strand represented by “the last days”; (2) the strand expressed in the contrast between “this age” and “the age to come”; and (3) the strand intimated in such expressions as “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20) and “we have been raised up together and made to sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6; cf. Col. 3:1-3). We might speak of these three strands respectively as anticipated eschatology, prospective eschatology and projective eschatology.

First, some verses or sections of Scripture are clearly about the first advent.

Secondly, some are about the long intervening end times in which we now live. For two thousand years, we believers of each generation are already in Christ and one with Christ by the Holy Spirit in us, longing for the day and always gazing heavenward for His return.

Thirdly, some verses are about the Second Advent, when we shall be fully made one with Christ, the Church consummated, and the end judgment.

And lastly, some verses indicate two conditions simultaneously in anticipation of the final consummate order. Especially verses that show both the spiritual Kingdom of God that now is, as a type and yet a mere shadow of the final consummate kingdom in Christ, as we wait under dutiful service in anticipation of that last day. We exist in two places at once, seated with Christ in heavenly places, yet beset by sin all around us here on earth.

We’ve been trying to get a handle on the Pauline eschatological layout. The linked article is helpful. Perhaps it’s pretty simple to you, but to me, it’s big-brained multithreaded overlapping explanatory complexity. I appreciate that immensely. It makes us work, forcing us to think, bearing in mind the author’s interwoven points while simultaneously challenging their validity.

In contrast, modern Christian writers are dull for their lack of depth, the linked website excluded. I don’t know if contemporary writers are dumbing down their writings because they are trying to keep us dumb. Or perhaps they don’t think we’re smart enough to handle their doctoral prowess, or perhaps, they prefer spoon-feeding us sugar so as not to upset anybody. Well, whatever their reason, all three are offensive. Honestly, though, I am starting to think that they are the dumb ones; bless their hearts; doing the best they can :-) I don’t read any commentary that isn’t 150 to 200 years old or more. We don’t need Gerber mashed peas; ‘open wide, here comes the choo choo twain,’ and neither does anybody in the body of Christ; the Church is falling apart, and we need meat!

But we’re ranting. Read the linked piece.

Religion Tags:

How Long Until the Left Outlaws Being a Christian in America?

BY PGF
1 month, 3 weeks ago

One cannot outlaw Christianity, for to do so would be an attempt to prohibit Christ. Governments can make all the rules they like, but all power in heaven and in earth has been given unto Jesus Christ, who is alive forevermore. Amen. And those rulmakers will die to burn in hell for all eternity.

Source:

If that headlined question above seems a bit of a reach, especially in view of the multiple federal court victories won in the last two years on behalf of religious freedom, then let’s take a closer look.

What we find is a hyper-secularized American public square that is increasingly abusing, penalizing, punishing, and firing Christians. It then tells them, in effect, “So, sue us,” knowing the cost of such litigation all but guarantees there will be no adverse consequences. Consider these current cases:

Georgia Substitute Teacher Fired: Lindsey Barr, now a former substitute teacher in the Savannah, Ga., public schools, lost her job when she expressed concerns about a book shown to elementary students, including her own. As a Christian, Barr objected to kids being shown pictures of same-sex couples parenting children as if that’s normal.

Barr is represented by attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Arizona-based public interest law firm that specializes in First Amendment and religious freedom litigation.

[…]

New York Photographer Forced to Shoot Same-Sex Weddings: Emily Carpenter is a New York photographer who does not wish to be used to glorify same-sex wedding ceremonies.

A federal district court told her she has no such right, so, with the help of ADF attorneys, she is appealing that ruling. If she loses, she faces the prospect of losing her license to do business, fines of as much as $100,000, and a year in jail.

[…]

Airline Invites Employee Comments, Fires Two Christians for Theirs: Now-former Alaska Airlines Flight Attendants Marli Brown and Lacey Smith responded to a company invitation to employees to comment on the operation’s new policy in support of “equality.”

There’s more about each case at the source.

For now, redress is available through litigation, but why should Christians uniquely have to bear the mental and financial burdens that come with going to court to assure their constitutional protections simply because they are Christians?

Listen carefully, dear Brothers and Sisters. What matters, above all else, is that you proclaim Christ and His kingdom. What must be demanded is that a complete recitation of your beliefs be stated in court. We’re not arguing the validity of the beliefs; the Holy Spirit of God does that. All we’re arguing is the right to state these beliefs. If the court does not allow a brief but complete reading of the belief system, then they are also antichrist. Their blood is upon their own head. It’s not about winning the case by the terms of the US legal systems; it’s about glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ before your accuser and the wicked magistrates; in this, He will be well pleased with you.

You may not have understood the full import of what you were getting yourself into when you got converted by Christ, but your life is not your own; it was bought with a price. Anything our Lord demands of you to give, up to and including your very life as a martyr, that you must provide. Welcome to the Kingdom of God; it ain’t for sissies.

I hope and pray that American Christians will not back down from this moment. The enemies of God fear the truth of Christ, do not fear them.

Below is an excerpt from a forthcoming post here at TCJ, but it’s essential and germane. This must be stated clearly and succinctly to the accuser(s) and any judge or jury. This is what a Christian was born again by the Holy Spirit to do, glorify God by your testimony in the face of the enemies of Christ. Never abdicate your beliefs or deny His holy name! Demand that your beliefs be publicly stated and made in the written record of the court.

Draft: “We believe all men are sinners born that way by inheritance of sin from the first man, Adam. We believe that all men are sinners, and because of sin, all men are appointed once to die, then to stand in judgment before God Almighty. We believe that death and wrath abide on all men because of their sin; this wrath is outer darkness, eternal torment, hell, and burning alive. We believe and do know that under our own power, we cannot cease from sin, that the consequences of sin are eternal damnation, that following the Law cannot save anybody’s soul from death and eternal torment, and that no amount of appeasement toward God Almighty or good works on our part could save us. Man is totally depraved, and without God, he is lost forever, having no power on his own to save himself.

But we believe and do know that “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Having been the enemy of the Almighty, Christ made peace between God and us by His literal bodily blood sacrifice on a cross at a place called Golgotha in Israel just outside the city gates of Jerusalem some 2000 years ago. That same Jesus was and is the Christ of God. And He was buried in never before used tomb owned by one Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent man. And we believe that this same Jesus Christ rose from the dead again the third day, and was seen by the apostles and many other eyewitnesses over a 40-day-long period after His resurrection, including being seen and spoken with in the presence of 500 brethren at once, Christ was alive again in power and glory teaching and preparing His men for the birth of the New Covenant by the Holy Spirit that would come into them. Then, also witnessed by many, He ascended into a cloud out of sight and, still, today, is seated in judgment at the right hand of Power in heaven. This same Jesus, the Christ, is the highest Judge and final authority in all things. We believe He is ruling and reigning in heaven and earth in the affairs of men and nations until His literal bodily return, the day of which no man knows, but you must be ready for that final day when He will judge the quick and the dead.

After His resurrection and ascension, He sent the destructive forces of the first century Roman Empire against the temple and Jerusalem in 70AD to show that the Old Covenant temple worship system was completed in Him, ending it once for all.

We know and testify that He has forgiven us our sins and saved us from the wrath of God, death, and hell, having, by His grace, given us eternal life. And we do testify that if any would believe in the power of God to forgive you of your sin and save your immortal soul through faith in Jesus Christ’s atoning death, burial, and resurrection, Holy God is faithful to forgive your sin and save your soul that you too might enter into the New Covenant by Christ’s blood having life everlasting in heaven with Holy God. We further believe and do know by the Holy Spirit in us that the Holy Bible is the perfect, inspired of Word of God, holy and inerrant, the words of God to all men, given by Him that you might know Him and His mind toward you.”

With a heart of love toward you, we contest our right, before God and men, to say these things and any other thing as written or commanded by God in the Holy Bible.

Story via Instapundit.

Money

BY PGF
1 month, 3 weeks ago

Proverbs 13.

It turns out that in preparing this study, the books of Timothy also have quite a bit to say on the subject. The world tells us that what we focus on is what we achieve; the Bible word is diligent.

“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” – Proverbs 13:4

Background to the Law of the Tithe

The Law of the Old Covenant priesthood is completed in Christ. The Law of Moses included a 30 percent tax all in, not only the ten percent for the works of the temple but also the funding of the national needs of the children of Israel through various giving centered around the tabernacle.

As further background, we think it right that a member of the body of Christ gives ten percent to the local body for purposes befitting the Church of the living God. Before the Law, Jacob vowed a tithe in Genesis 28:20-22. But earlier than that, Abram, the father of us all by faith and to whom the Almighty promised the seed, which is Christ, gave a tenth part of the spoils to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20). David (Psalm 110), Paul (Hebrews 7), and those who correctly read the Psalm and Hebrews liken Melchizedek to Jesus Christ, and not just by type. Under the Law given to Moses, the tenth part of all increase was to the Levites for the ministration of the work of God (Leviticus 27).

Nevertheless, we see Abram giving a tenth before the Law of Moses was instituted by God. We say a tenth is still due, for our priest is the great High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek abiding resurrected eternally at the right hand of Power ever making intercession for the saints (Hebrews 7). He was and still is, due the tenth part of all your increase.

The Law was a covenant with the sons of Israel, but we are the children of the promise, which the interceding years of the Law given at Sinai cannot disannul (Galatians 3:16-18). Abram gave ten; we ought to give ten; the Law, being a separate covenant completed in Christ, doesn’t disannul the tithe to Christ.

The laws under Moses always pointed to the need for Christ. Moreover, being patterned after the things in Heaven, they are beautiful shadows and a type of the mercy and grace of God that Christ Jesus would give Himself on the cross to complete. If you want to know more about the law of the tithe of the Hebrews, that is a separate post. It would be best to do your research.

A tithe goes to the body of Christ, not to a puppy rescue pound, for example. There’s nothing wrong with helping dogs, but that’s not tithing.

We are commanded to gather with a body of true believers. It is fitting to give ten percent of all gross receipts. If the work of that body is not proper, do not stay and withhold your tenth; find a group serving God in spirit and in truth. From a pure conscience, there is no monetary profit here either way; we only tell you to be a faithful steward toward Christ in all He has blessed you with in dominion.

If you didn’t get angry and you’re still reading, welcome. Readers here should know that we aren’t conflating a 501(c)3 Corporation with Christ, the body of Christ, or the work of Christ as He has commanded.

When it comes down to it, there are only four things you can do with money; make it, give it, save/invest it, or spend it. Everything we do with our finances comes under one of these headings. We put them in this order on purpose; this is the priority with which we should treat all money. Diligence in all four phases of handling our money produces superior results.

Exodus 20:15 – the Eighth Commandment – “Thou shalt not steal.” We must earn money; this is how we get it.

Next, you should give, yes, give, before spending a dime on anything, even on the overdue light bill. You must give God His tithe first. Remember, we are dealing with the spiritual empire of God Almighty. If you were doing math, you wouldn’t have taken debt in the first place to end up with overdue bills.

Then, you account for saving or investing, which should be at least 15 percent of all gross income and all received monies.

Next, and finally, you spend. Bills are first to spend on; then and only then are things not of bare necessity.

The one proviso is that you must reduce all debt to zero before investing. Settle those obligations first if you have overdue bills or any outstanding debts. There are mathematical reasons and spiritual reasons for this. Some make an exception for a house in which you live as allowed debt while aggressively funding retirement but consider making at least one extra mortgage payment each year.

We cannot express how poorly many have chosen; paying 22 percent on credit card debt while getting an average return over the years in suitable ETFs or Mutual Funds of 8 to 12 percent compound annually. Cut up the cards, grow up, tell your wife no, be a man, pay off your cars, and buy only used ones.

To properly serve the Almighty, you must stop voluntary servitude to debt masters (Proverbs 22:7). This applies to self, family, and church. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24).

If (when) it all falls apart, you need to be debt free. The last thing you want is “collectors” looking for you and your family. There will be enough to account for without looking over your shoulder for the agents of banks or their IRS enforcers.

Making Money

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” – 1 Timothy 5:8

We see that as believers, we are to work, providing for ourselves and those in our household.

Though it should be enough that God has commanded us, it’s always instructive to look for the promise. When we know why He desires a particular thing for us, we find the truth of the blessings He will pour out upon us.

“11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

What we have in these two short verses is an exquisite axiom of Christianity so well adapted to the flourishing of society in good order to promote the pursuit of happiness under the blessings of Christ’s eternal graces.

Everything wrong today points to rejecting this simple life offered by God. Consider our times, how evil desires to know everything you do and to control you in it. The worst busybody of all is the devil by his agents. After all…

God tells us to mind our business, keep to ourselves, and quietly go about doing what’s right. God is obviously a proper southerner. All joking aside, in 1 Thessalonians 4, we are commanded to refuse a busybody, mind ourselves, and work. The twofold promise in verse 12 is that we first appear honest and upright to those without (outside the congregation, i.e., unbelievers) so as not to besmirch the holy name of our Lord. Oh, that Christians would show themselves upright in all things. And the second promise is that we might have a ‘lack of nothing.’ Amen.

These verses from Thessalonians have been on my heart much lately, longing for a simpler time and way. Of course, the context of Timothy and Thessalonians is much different, the early church was under persecution, and 70AD loomed; the apostles had been told it was the end of their epoch (Matthew 24:3, translated in the KJV as “the end of the world”). But perhaps that’s the point; no matter how bad it gets, stay faithful to God and pursue what’s right. The end is always a mere word away whispered in the throneroom of Heaven; it’s the time!

Giving

We put giving before spending, and so should every believer. Give first, before bills of any kind. The first fruits are the Lord’s. If you give first, you will see miracles in how your money spends thereafter.

We are advised under the New Covenant in Christ’s blood to give for the work of God. Christ’s people are always ready to distribute and communicate that which is not only due to Christ, but above, with a cheerful heart of thanksgiving, so the works of God may flourish until the time and times of the end, that we may lay hold on life everlasting. Giving is not only about money, but being rich in good works of your time in serving, provoking the brethren to love and good works, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost.

“17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” – Timothy 6:17-19

Neither are you too poor to give. Lest we be high-minded but instead be reminded, here is the widow with her mite; Mark 12:41-44.

The first and most essential survival preparation is that of a man’s heart toward holy Father God, through Jesus Christ. Verse 17 above tells us not to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God who gives us all things.

Giving to the service of the Lord, like prayer, is another of those activities that cannot be adequately explained to those that have yet to do it. As with becoming earnest about prayer or witnessing, the blessing of the closeness to our heavenly Father in giving cannot be suitably expressed with words; you have to give to see the results and reap the rewards.

Saving and Investing

We are not providing investment advice. But, some general information that can help is to invest in only what you can understand. Don’t trust somebody with investments you cannot correctly explain in simple terms to a nine-year-old. Never invest in exotic or esoteric adventures. “Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.” – Proverbs 13:16

That challenge cuts three ways, do not trust things you don’t understand. Educate yourself by justifying your investment thesis on paper; writing down your conclusions. Then, be able to look your family in the eye and tell them how 20 years hence, the benefits of slow and steady measured progress in prudent patients will be great while the risks remain average.

“Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.” – Proverbs 13:18

Seek good counsel. Everybody in the investment world has an agenda and a product to sell. Finding somebody with the heart of a teacher to help educate yourself and understand the best decisions for your family is a very good option.

In Genesis 41, God has Joseph prepare for the lean years of the coming seven-year famine in Egypt. For this, his family all survived.

“6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” – Proverbs 6:6-8

Years ago, I heard preaching on these Ant verses. It pricked my heart and wrenched my gut. I was mad about it for a couple of weeks. The whole time I was thinking about how stupid an ant is and railing in my head against the message, the ant, and the preacher. How very mature of me, right? I still remember it well. However, it was very effective; being already debt free at the time, soon afterward, I started investing.

In Luke 14, our Lord discusses the cost of discipleship, which may very well be your life, and certainly was for those first-century martyrs and others since. But with many of the examples our Lord used, He chose simple object lessons that any man can understand and applied them to more demanding assignments. By God’s grace, we take the simple object lesson in the parable at face value and employ it for us here: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” – Luke 14:28

Most have to realize they’re on the wrong track before making a change in money habits. It’s easy to cover an odious plan with heaps of debt, but soon it will catch up to you. Count the cost of not managing your finances as a steward of Christ’s blessings. Then make a financial plan to not simply survive but thrive and, more importantly, put yourself in a position to help others when they need it. A man must take care of his own house first, putting himself on a firm footing before he can suitably bless another.

You can allocate for children’s schooling or a down payment on a house, etc., in addition to the 15 percent minimum for retirement. Keeping a serious emergency fund in a checking account, perhaps as much as 5 or 10 percent of annual income, is recommended. The knot in your stomach goes away when you know you can cover with cash, an emergency room visit, or a blown transmission.

Spending

We all know how to spend money, but few know how to spend money wisely.

A zero-based budget leaves no money left over every month. Every dollar earned must be put down on paper before the month starts, then allocated within the areas of giving, saving/investing, and spending according to your plan. Yes, it’s hard, and you will fail for the first several months as you figure out your actual expenses. When starting this, you will be disgusted with yourself for your wasteful behavior but don’t quit!

And that’s the point, getting out of debt and saving/investing for the future are about behavior modification. Every aspect of society is geared toward your perpetual debt farm slavery in pseudo comfort and ease. In Christ, you can break the yoke of debt.

Go get your pay stub, or open your electronic pay stub. Seriously, go get it now. Look at it, what if you didn’t owe a dime of that money? It’s all yours with zero payments? What could you accomplish?

Remember not to love the money, for that is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10), but love the Lord our God, and all things He desires to give will be added unto you.

And finally, that inheritance we talked about: A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.” – Proverbs 13:22

Wisdom Finds a Way

BY PGF
1 month, 4 weeks ago

Reading the title made you think, yes, we can be wise, or even I can be wise; perhaps there is a way under our superior efforts to make things right. “Wisdom finds a way” is one of the most deceptive things we’ve heard this year. It’s indicative of decay into the filth of human self-exaltation in our time. No, wisdom does not find a way. Delusion finds a way. Want to know what the wisdom of men looks like? Three hundred fifty million “free people” accepted the lockdown and put diapers on their faces. Even the Churches did this; God help them.

There is nothing wise about any man. Men are depraved, wicked, sinful, and fallen creatures that lack the capacity for any good thing, including wisdom. The pride of life causes one to become deluded into believing they are good and wise, even all-knowing. No, you’re not God! This idea comes from the devil, that old serpent, for when Eve saw that the fruit would make one wise, how could she resist?

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

So they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and every decision any man has had to make since that day has only been a choice within the structure of the sin curse. No man has been free since that day, for every object of the heart’s desire is tainted by sin. The world looks at freedom as being free to sin. But sin is bondage in this life, and unto death. But, in Christ, a man can be free from sin (Romans 6:6-14).

The New Testament brings out this concept as well.

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” – 1 John 2:16

Where the woman saw the tree was good for food, 1 John 2 calls it the lust of the flesh. The woman saw that it was pleasant to the eyes, and 1 John calls this the lust of the eyes. The woman saw that it was to be desired to make one wise, and 1 John calls this the pride of life.

Any politician saying that “we” can take a wise course is a liar, and the devil is his father. Man only has the choice to accept sin or avoid sin as best he can. The latter is most often a more challenging course, but it’s far and away the right decision that reaps the blessings of the Lord of Heaven.

“And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” – Job 28:28

What is the locus of a just people’s desire to follow the path of wisdom? Fear of the Lord is the reason which leads a nation into understanding. Having come into the knowledge of the Lord, how does a person or a country demonstrate that wisdom? They shun their pride and the evil of their own understanding by relying upon Holy God; they depart from iniquity and their sins thereby. But to the lost sinners of an unrepentant nation coming under the judgment of God as evident in mass delusions, to say that we can be wise of our own accord is the wholesale embrace of the way of sin, evil, and death. Jesus is greater than Solomon (Matthew 12:42).

Our failure of wisdom, being tainted by sin, is the problem that Jesus Christ died to solve; the perfect and sinless, wisest of all, and only begotten Son of God was crucified on the cross to pay for our sin since the fall in the Garden. He died to pay for your sin. Christ rose from the grave again the third day, the resurrected Saviour. Having defeated sin, death, and the tomb, wisdom is found in fear of Him. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:11

“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” – Romans 6:18

Serving sin no more, and pursuing Him that is righteous is the only wise way; but how?

There are a lot of definitions of wisdom. It’s problematic to define because it only comes from God. But God describes it as a fear of Him, departing from evil, entering into His righteousness to work the works of God. When a nation of men fears God and turns from its sins, they become the servants of righteousness. Only a man, having received the grace of God through Jesus Christ unto eternal life, fears God and departs from evil.

“To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” – Jude v25

Repent of your unbelief and call upon the only wise God to save your soul, for He is the one true power in eternity.

Love thy neighbor, unless it’s a defenseless baby in your womb

BY PGF
2 months ago

Newsom announced the launch of his new ad campaign on Twitter.

“Just launched billboards in 7 of the most restrictive anti-abortion states that explain how women can access care–no matter where they live,” Newsom tweeted. “To any woman seeking an abortion in these anti-freedom states: CA will defend your right to make decisions about your own health.”

As sick as it already is that he’s trying to boost his state with abortion tourism, the ads he’s running in Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi quote scripture. Those ads feature this quote from Mark 12:31: “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.”

He clearly has no fear of God and operates in the reality of the shroud of blindness by the devil.

All things will be reckoned unto God, and the times of full restitution will come.

Before going any further, we must note that the Ten Commandments never saved a soul, and following them can’t save yours. All of the ceremonial rules and rituals in the Old Testament are abolished in Christ, the final sacrifice, once for all. There’s no bond or free, no Jew or Gentile, there’s no temple – but the body of Christ which are His Church, the throne of Holy God is in heaven, Jesus is the great High Preist, and the only altar before which to bow is at the feet of the Almighty.

Here’s the full quote from Mark:

“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:29-31

And the rendering in Matthew:

“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 22-35-40

One cannot love his neighbor properly except & unless one loves the Lord God first, above all things. There’s a reason Jesus cites loving God above loving our neighbors. In our own fallen capacity, we cannot properly love our neighbor without first having the love of God.

Jesus is summarizing the Ten Commandments. The first five or so govern our relationship with the Holy One. The second set governs our interactions with each other. “Thou shalt no kill.” falls under the second heading from our Lord, for surely murdering your neighbor, such as a little defenseless baby, falls under the purview of not loving thy neighbor as thy self. All the commands of God are enjoined; with all purposefulness, we are also to defend life from unjust killing! We are not only to tell folks to love thy neighbor, but we are to tell them that God, the supreme ruler of the universe, shall have no equal and must be loved and honored above all things. Newsom has invited the full wrath of the Almighty.

For certain, the ten commandments are a covenant with the Hebrews handed down to Moses. Still, it is clear from the Bible that what would become known and set in tablets as the ten commandments were governing principles for all men before the commandments were given.

There are many good examples within Genesis and Exodus of the Law of God being in force and enforced prior to Exodus 20 at mount Sanai, not the least of which is the murder of Able (Genesis 4:8) in violation of what would be later written as the sixth commandment, “thou shalt not kill.” Murder was always wrong and still is. The sixth commandment preexisted even the very first murder and remains with us today, as do they all. The basis for the Law of Commandments, the Law of God, existed before being written and handed down to Moses.

Within the Law of God, each separate commandment is tightly connected and interwoven with the others. There is no practical way to trace out a violation of Law and not run into an immutable truth of more than one commandment within the Law of God. The murder of Able is but one example. It could be said that Cain violated the First Commandment when he took a life, as God is the creator and sole arbiter of the times, seasons, and number of the days of a man on Earth, and not Gavin Newsom.

So you see, killing a baby in the womb also violates the first commandment. And it’s the theft of God’s authority over life and death, violating God’s commands against stealing. So you see, it’s impossible to violate just one commandment. Now you know why no man can keep the Law; it’s perfect, and we are sinners.

God is the Law Giver. His Law-word is eternal and has real meaning in context. This Bible is not a collection of vaguely knowable spiritual sayings to misapply for our own convenience. Twisting the meaning of Scripture doesn’t change its actual sense.

These commandments are the immutable truth of God. The Law of God still exists for all men on this side of the Cross, restated by Christ in a simple two-part explanation from Mark 12, so that it would go well with us.

Exodus 20:1-17 follows:

1 And God spake all these words, saying,

2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

[ One ] 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

[ Two ] 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

[ Three ] 7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

[ Four ] 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

[ Five ] 12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

[ Six ] 13 Thou shalt not kill.

[ Seven ] 14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

[ Eight ] 15 Thou shalt not steal.

[ Nine ] 16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

[ Ten ] 17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

BY PGF
2 months, 1 week ago

Revelation 6.

We thought to provide a note at TCJ about Revelation 6. We’ll attempt to simplify the complex by providing a gloss to prime the pump for those coming to the proper understanding of the New Covenant during the time the Church was birthed.

Keeping in mind that Job was probably the first book of the Bible written, perhaps the horse’s earliest use was in warfare (Job 39:19-25). The horse is an article of war; it symbolizes boldness and strength in battle. See Proverbs 21:31.

The very purpose of the sword brought to bear is that you might know there is a judgment (Job 19:29).

If you get Revelation 6 wrong, you can’t understand the book, and you miss the entire point of the end of the Old Covenant and the bringing in of the New Covenant in the blood sacrifice of the Lamb.

The New Testament is about the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets in Christ, the bringing in of the New Covenant, the birth of the Church – His body, and the judgment that comes upon that first-century generation for rejecting His Law – the Word made flesh.

Odd is how the Christian and even non-Christian world accept the destruction of Solomon’s temple and the judgment upon God’s people, and Babylonian captivity. But when Messiah was rejected, the Church birthed, and the second temple was destroyed, suddenly everybody has a problem.

Well, the problem is you. Get over it; God is sovereign and does as He pleases, and no amount of eschatological wishful thinking can change the facts. Revelation chapter six is about the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century (70AD), and neither can wild-eyed obfuscatory speculation about the future change that. Is chapter 6 a foreshadowing of a future global judgment, you decide? But, we will not ignore history or the correct interpretation of Scripture.

If you don’t understand Matthew 24, neither will Revelation make much sense among its fantastic imagery, hyperbolic and parabolic language, and prophetic legal decrees. Some background material is provided here, with study resources provided in part ten. Two further short notes on the subject are here and here.

As further background, in chapter 5 of Revelation, a sealed decree of God, a verdict in judgment, is held out in the right hand of He who is, the I Am. No creature in heaven or earth was able to take the scroll and open it. But, having defeated sin, death, hell, the devil, and the grave (the kingdom of death and hell), the sinless, thrice holy, resurrected Lamb of God is worthy (Revelation 5:1-7). Chapter six contains the opening of the first six seals of this multifold decree against those of that generation who rejected Jesus Christ. It’s important to note that Jerusalem also made war on the saints. In the fifth seal, the martyrs cried for vengeance. First, seal one.

Note: The right hand is that of power in Scripture; it’s why Christ is seated at the right of Power, and the position of being seated is that of being seated in judicial judgment (Luke 22:69). Jesus resides in the courts of heaven in judicial power over the affairs of men. Contrast that with Acts 7:55-56, where Steven sees Christ standing at the right side of God. Jesus was standing, to welcome His friend and faithful servant Steven home, and not seated in judgment. Having told the Pharisees that He would henceforth be seated in judgment against them in Luke 22 when they heard Steven say that he saw Jesus standing next to God, it drove them to such madness that they gnawed on him with their teeth.

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

Who or what is the white horse? The white horse we suppose to be the symbol of war, not simply battle, but good victory in just war. Some suggest that it is the opening of Rome’s war against Jerusalem. Ultimately, it’s God’s decree in heaven and carried out on earth among those nations and men in the first century. Jerusalem, greater Judea, all the land area called Israel, and surrounding areas were engulfed in the war. This section of Scripture is about the siege of Jerusalem. We think there is somewhat of a time progression shown in the horsemen as the city’s situation grew increasingly dim. Some say the bow represents the early stages of the war with standoff weapons such as the bow and catapult. But indeed, the first horse is that of standard Roman warfare techniques and tactics employed in the first century against Jerusalem.

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

Jesus opens the second seal, and the horse is red. A symbol of blood and evil. This horse is the setting forth by God of the internal struggle among the “kings” and “rulers” of the “world” or land. History shows that as Rome approached and surrounded Jerusalem, terrible infighting occurred (Matthew 10:34), tribe against tribe, kingdom against kingdom, family against each other; even the Zealots turned on each other (Matthew 24:7, 10), all under the influence of devils as God allowed. See Isaiah 19:1-2 as an example of God turning kinsmen against each other as a proclamation of internal warring under His judicial review. Satanic confederacies always fall to internal strifes. Though we deserve what must be coming today, may God have mercy on Western Civilization.

Though we don’t hold this view, some suggest that this seal also represents the totality of fighting. Though Jerusalem was held by siege, the Jews fought back against Rome viciously and to significant effect in the provinces and especially in what is now North Africa.

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

Black is that color of distress, calamity, and specifically starvation with its attendant health problems (Lamentations 5:10) and moreover death by famine. The rationing of goods is the picture here. The equivalent of a day’s wages (Matthew 20:2, 9) would net a man only a measure to eat. There are varying opinions on what the standard (amount) was, but suffice it to say; that it was not enough to sustain more than one person and barely at that. Hyperinflation in food costs is pictured. Another example of famine is here in Ezekiel 4:16-17. Here is the Law of a Just Balance – Leviticus 19:36, supported in Proverbs 11:1, 16:11. The balance is a common symbol of equity and justice, which comes from the Bible. God is the great provider of all for all; food scarcity is the just reward for the evils of men and nations.

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

That Death and Hell are capitalized here in the KJV is a proper rendering. Verse 8 is the consummation of the fearful ravages of war wrought in the judgments of Holy God. So we also consider pestilence as a manner of judgment along with death by wild animals. The mind goes to the war of northern aggression in which more died from a combination of poor hygiene, lack of nutrition, and inadequate healthcare than by cannon or mini ball. Such is war, real war anyway. As to death by animals, we consider this in Bible terms to be the carcass of the unjust, now discarded, torn by animals (unclean), with no man to attend to a proper burial. It’s the treatment of the dead body of a disgraced man (or nation) in the Bible.

As an aside about verse 8: “his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.” This phrase (with Revelation 20:13) points to why we coined the title: the kingdom of death and hell, which are all, spirit and man, that is opposed to the love and light and truth by Jesus Christ. We that are saved by grace, having the Spirit of God, moving and living, and having our being in Christ, are in the Kingdom of God. There are two kingdoms, and all men serve in one. By abiding in, or accepting, the kingdom of death and hell, sooner or later, it comes for its own, devouring them in their own evil designs on earth as outer darkness and eternal torment awaits, even to good men who do nothing and reject Christ.

Ezekiel 14:21 relates a concise word picture of what we find here in Revelation. The fourfold judgment is that of war, external by Rome in seal one. And seal two, internal fighting under the demonic influence indicated by the phrase “Hell following” in verse 8. This means the devils of hell were allowed by God to torment the people into fighting each other. (Have you noticed the spirit of the people in America lately?) Thirdly, famine and starvation, including uncontrolled inflation, as people sought too few goods. Fourth is the general calamity of war, including disease. The book of Revelation is not some new thing in language or typology. See Jeremiah 14:12, Ezekiel 5:12, 6:11-12 as a few examples of the tools God uses against all who break His covenants.

This section of Scripture is reasonably typical of apocalyptics representing sweeping historical events. The horsemen are not to be viewed in a historicist manner at all. These judgments are a single event in history, i.e., the destruction of Jerusalem. War is terrible; no right man would want it, nor would any right man tolerate it without rebellion for just cause.

The correct interpretation of these first four seals is that which Jesus spoke to His disciples of the desolation of Jerusalem in Matthew 24:6-8, Luke 21:5-6, 10-11.

Note that in Luke 21:12, after the ascension of Jesus but before the war, the persecution predicted by our Lord had already started, which points to the martyrs in the fifth seal; Revelation 6:9-11. The fifth seal is explained well in paragraph (2) here. It should bring great comfort to the saints of God to know that one day, all will be settled in heaven, and in earth, we win and will be vindicated in Christ. That the souls of the martyrs are under the altar indicates that they were a worthy sacrifice unto the Lord God. Are you?

The sixth seal is highly symbolic. We see the power and majesty of our God as He seeks to wreak vengeance for His saints. If you say that all the martyrs of all times are represented as under the alter, it’s not worth fussing over. That those souls in the first century were vindicated is apparent, and that all will be reckoned unto Holy God by the end of history, no believer doubts.

It’s best not to get carried away over-analyzing the symbolism in the prophetic books of Scripture. It’s easy to lose sight of the point of the book of Revelation when examining the red moon, darkened sun, dragon, colors of horses, etc. The book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ and not the revelation of any other thing at all.

Attempting to identify each horseman with any specific character or narrow historic event misses the point in spirit and method of apocalyptic literature in Scripture. If we were to know the particular interpretation of the (persons) horseman, it would be plainly explained in Scripture. God perfectly describes all specific symbolism in His holy word when it represents a particular thing or person we need to know. Revelation 1:20 is a good example, explaining the symbols in that chapter.

In first-century accounts of the siege, there’s evidence that people fled to hide in caves, piling up rocks to block the entrances. The sun was blocked out by fires burning from the Roman flaming catapult attacks, which also turned the moon red (orange). Those are two examples. Verses 13 and 14 are hyperbole bringing us to a sense of wonder at the power of God’s judicial authority over the earth. Other sections of Scripture have similar visual descriptions of the power and wrath of God. Perhaps those things have biblical significance, but it’s not a book of signs, and since they are used elsewhere but not literally, we accept the Revelation of Jesus Christ as being about Him.

Depicted in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are tools Almighty God uses in judgment against all who have forsaken His Law-word. So, by way of warning, one more time, without a national revival and returning to Him, what else could God do to America but the things depicted in both the Old Testament and the New Testament prophetic apocalyptic Scriptures? Europe is even now lining up for war and famine, diseases will follow, and death.

End notes: See Joel 1:4 and Zechariah 1:7-21, 6:1-8 as other examples using symbolism in rapidly successive multi-fold judgments of the Almighty emanating from the throne of His power in glory, each culminating as a single event in history on earth.

Left Behind

BY PGF
2 months, 1 week ago

I remember when the Lord showed me that the wicked are taken away in their iniquity.

“36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” – Mathew 24:36-42

Who was taken away (verse 39) by the flood, the wicked or the righteous? When the Lord returns, who shall be taken away and who shall be left behind (verses 40 and 41)?

Not growing up in a church or under the teaching of the Rapture Theory, although adding great difficulty to navigating life, has been a huge blessing to understanding the truth of God’s word. After being saved by Christ, then seeking out a group of believers with whom to worship, the rapture and dispensational teachings were always troubling. The Spirit of God would not let me be led into that doctrine. As the Lord grew me in the knowledge and understanding of these things, I began thinking at times that a great many who say they are believers are not saved, and some, unknowingly of themselves, even worship the devil, thinking they know the one true and holy God, they do not.

This video with Pastor John Weaver is a lot of information to show in a single sitting, but its far-ranging exposition is excellent and perhaps better for its brevity than a multipart explanation.

We think this section in Matthew relates to the first-century judgment (Most think it’s about His physical bodily return). Still, when viewed parabolically and referenced with 2 Peter, as Pastor Weaver shows in the video, it’s clear that when the Lord returns, the damned are reckoned first, taken away in their iniquity. We who are left behind will admire and worship, in awe, our just King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Though we have a spiritual type of the final kingdom now, this would fit very well with the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1-7) in final form.

While eschatology is interesting, what’s of paramount import is that you know – that you know – the Master’s voice (John 10:27) from among the cacophony of sirens. Are you ready for His return?


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