Jeremiah – Chapter 23

Little is new to this chapter of Jeremiah. God once again requests that Jeremiah go to the King of Judah and restate and remind them of God’s promises but only IFif the Judeans and leadership of Judah follow God’s commandments. There is a bit of “new look” in that God refers to the leadership of the Kingdom of Judah, both secular and religious, as shepherds. But according to the claim of in verse one, how have these Judean leaders scattered them and driven them away?

This is a two-fold answer:

lost sheepFirst: By them not being an example unto God, the sheep have followed in the examples set and taught by of their so-called leadership. They even have hired false prophets who claim ‘all is well.’ After all they claim, “we have the Temple” is what they stand behind so we (Kingdom of Judah) are protected even if God isn’t front and center in their individual lives. They saw their northern cousins in the Kingdom of Israel carried away 120 years earlier and nothing has happened to ‘good ol’ God protected Teflon’ Judah for decades.  Conclusion? They must be blessed.

In the short of it, Judean leadership has chased its people away from worshiping and depending on the one true God of Israel.

Second: The religious and ruling sectors of Judah have been cruel to the poor, taken advantage of them for personal gain, lied to them, given them false prophetic hope, and slanted the judicial system to the advantage of the ruling class. Jeremiah 23:2c states, (ESV) “Behold, I (have yet to) will attend to your evil deeds, declares the Lord.” They are going to get their deserved punishment and it comes with God’s promise attached to it.

Jeremiah 23:3 jumps to a prophecy yet to be fulfilled and only will be fulfilled after the Tribulation. God will re-gather his people (sheep) scattered throughout the globe and eventually bring them home to a much larger and totally safe Israel (Zion/Jerusalem). A fascinating little comment in verse 4… “ánd none will be missing.” Any question left with this comment that NONE will be missing? Since verse 6 says the *one that will be raised up to execute a future and prophesied justice, fairness, righteousness, and rule with wisdom is named “The LORD is our righteousness.” There is only one who can fit this bill; i.e. Jesus.

*It is in his day JUDAH and ISRAEL will be saved [23:6a).

In HIS day… This is at the 2nd advent of Christ. NOTE: This verse declares that the divided nation of old Israel; Kingdoms to the north and the south, will be united in Israel (Judah and Israel) when Christ returns to the Mount of Olives and calls or brings them back to their promised land.

Jeremiah 23: 11-15 is another example of “if you (us) ____, then I (God) will _____.” God points out the injustice in Judah and then explains to Jeremiah the consequence of such a life style. Even the false prophets are accused of prophesying in the name of Baal. These prophets are so arrogant they no longer even claim to be prophets of God Jehovah; any god will be fine as a so-called prophet. However, one must still keep going back to the promise to Israel (not the church) in verse 8:

[CEV] “…instead, you will call me the Living God who rescued you from the land in the north and from all the other countries where I had forced you to go. And you will once again live in your own land.”  This verse does suggest that we are talking about an Israel after-the-fact of the Tribulation.

In a very real sense, but cannot be proven with scripture, this is possibly similar to the Promised Land for the church of real believers. We will once again live in a Garden of Eden. This is not the actual promise but it is symbolic enough to put our faith and trust in Jesus so we get to the Promised Land as believers.

Jeremiah 23:17 is very similar to today: False declarations and promises by false ministers within shallow denominations. Today’s church tends to be a mile wide and only 1” deep in the Word of God and understanding. We see banners and signs in churches and billboards that read, “God is Love.” There is nothing wrong with this statement as it is true, but only tells us of half the truth. It is what is left out by these half true statements that we discover in the last sentence of v17. According to their false prophets and many ministers today is the claim that  “The Lord has promised that everything will be fine” (CEV). What is missing is the fact that God is also a JUST GOD; Revelation 20:11-13. So, what was true of false prophesy back then is inadvertently still true today. Yes, God is love, but he is also a just God. If this is not so, then why is there any reason for a final judgment; Bema Seat or Great White Throne? We have false proclamations in the very churches we attend.

Jer 23:20  The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly.

Do you catch the meaning of this verse and the last sentence? In the latter days YOU will understand it clearly. This does suggest a scenario of after the fact of the Tribulation. It also may suggest the gained knowledge is too late and the life God gave us is now on trial.

Verse 22 is very similar to what is going out from shallow preaching of the Word of God. It reads…Jer 23:20  But if *they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.  *Who is the THEY in this verse? This is any who give out false doctrine and promises of anything God has not ordained as solid truth. Sadly and so true, those who wish to tickle the ears of their congregations fall into this same truth. They preach what sounds politically correct and not from what Ephesians 5:13 states; i.e. being a light that reveals evil; i.e. expose it, not to try and learn tolerance.

23:28b is like a summary of the above frustration of God. It asks in part…”What has straw in common with wheat declares the LORD?” Many people if not most can tell the difference between straw, hay and wheat. In a way they look similar but the difference is in its value. Wheat has a nutritional value to all; humans and animals alike. Straw fills the belly but has no food value. One can and will die of starvation even if his or her stomach is full (of straw). The straw here is the false doctrine preached via the prophets and today’s empty message sermons.

Jeremiah 23:30 is another warning too often missed by the reader and sometimes the teacher/preacher. There are two thoughts that come from this verse; the obvious and the more subtle. Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another. The obvious is limited to the prophets. They sing off the same song sheet without regard to its truth. Just like we today sing songs in church declaring our faithfulness, worship and/or faith, but only sing the words without applying or intending to apply what the words say. We quote the Lord’s Prayer but don’t live the words we are reciting. Similar to today’s political battle grounds where so-called reporters say the same thing as if they have, and they have, mutually agreed upon.

The second thought is those who steal God’s words then spin them to fit motives, agendas, and political correctness.Truth Text Red Black Burst

So, in conclusion, what do we do about all of this? The answer is given to us in Jeremiah 23:33.

“When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the burden of the LORD?’ you shall say to them, ‘You are the burden,…”

We may find this appalling; violating every rule of political correctness by being so honest. But then, why do we need to say this exposing evil? Simple, the truth shall set us free – John 8:32.

miniJimDr. JStark

June, 2017

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Jeremiah – Chapter 3

This book tells us not only of the immediate future of Judah, but end time for all including the dispersed ten tribes of the northern kingdom. However, the first verse in Jeremiah 3 has an application per some translations that can send one off with the wrong emphasis. It has a parallel meaning to what Jeremiah is being told by God.

Jeremiah begins with something the Judeans and all of the Israelites already know about Hebrew law therefore comparing it to them as a people chosen of God to be his *special people, like a wife. He IS NOT talking or making an emphasis per marriage between a man and woman but is using it as a platform to help them understand (see the learning pyramid in this website) via their current knowledge of the Law. [Awareness – Knowledge – Understanding…]

*Jesus uses the same analogy with the church of the New Testament; i.e. the church being the bride of Christ. This is addressed in greater detail in previous articles published on this website. Israel, all of the Tribes, is the bride of God.

Gavel Divorce Paper Decree Front
SUPPOSE that a man divorces his wife, then she marries another man. According to the Law of Moses, her first husband cannot return to her without defiling her second marriage. (Paraphrased). The second half of verse 1 states… “People in Israel, you have lived like a prostitute. You have loved many false gods. So do you think that you can return to me now?’ asks the LORD.”

Jeremiah then makes the analogy of Israel (Judah included) living like a prostitute.  They have taken in other gods of wood, stone, religion, all while giving very limited lip service to the monotheistic God of Judaism. Judah, even more so than did the Northern Kingdom of Israel, made alliances with other nations (kingdoms) to protect them or join them in a defense without consulting God as to their decisions to do so. They put their lives in the hands of other men and kingdoms rather than in the hands of God. In verses 4 and 5 Judah calls out to God as if they “really didn’t mean to leave him. Please get over your anger so we can be rescued from these men (other kingdoms) who wish to abuse us.” This has some rather strong resemblances to being a fox-hole Christian.

This was simply a repeated plea from the Israelites after each time of separation from their God and desperate moments (might this sound familiar personally?). If wanting to dig a bit deeper in your studies, go to the Book of Hosea and read it. You will find a brief outline of Hosea in a graphic form on the next page. Hosea actually married a prostitute and was commanded by God to do so. It was an example of things to come regarding Israel. Jeremiah is pointing back to Hosea in his analysis and warnings. Hosea was a prophet in the Northern Kingdom which by the time of Jeremiah, it no longer existed.

What Jeremiah is actually saying in these early verses of chapter 3 is: “oh Israel and Judah. You are my [God’s] wife who lived as a prostitute with other nations instead of depending on me. Do not expect me to simply dismiss your intentional acts of ungodliness. I will forgive in the end as promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but there will be a price to pay for your actions.” The oddity found in verse 11 is that God sees Judah as worse than their kindred northern cousins, long since these 10 tribes being dispersed and ceasing to exist as a kingdom after the Assyrians conquered them.

Judah had some good kings.  The northern ten tribes basically had un-Godly kings. So how might one justify God’s attitude per these cousins but two different kingdoms, that is, Israel being the worse of the 12 divided Tribes of Israel but lasting longer as a kingdom? It is not really that difficult. Judah too had several backslidden kings including child sacrifices. But the real taker is that 100 plus years earlier, the southern kingdom saw what God allowed to happen to the northern kingdom as judgment for their sins and did not learn from it. It is much like attitudes of people today when we think “it won’t happen to me.” Back up to verse 10; “they only pretend to worship or be loyal to me.”

Sunday only Christians… beware and leery of our own thoughts that Sunday attendance and desperation moments are evidence enough so that God thinks we have been loyal to him. Jeremiah 3:12 & 13 is a promise of fascinating reassurance. It reads:

V12 Go. Announce this message to the people who are in the north.

‘Israel, you have not been loyal’, declares the LORD.

‘Return to me.

I will not frown on you any longer.

I am kind and I am willing to forgive’,

declares the LORD.

‘I will not be angry for always.

v13  You must [first] admit that you are guilty.

You have refused to obey the LORD your God.

You have loved false gods everywhere.

You have worshipped them under every green tree.

You have not obeyed me’, declares the LORD.

“Return to me.” Even though the ten tribes in the north are at this time scattered throughout the known world, they can return to God in their hearts. This has still to happen even though Daniel, a student of Jeremiah’s writings, offered a prayer of confession for Israel as a nation from his captivity in Babylon [Daniel 9:1-19]. God says “I am willing to forgive.”

His one-person prayer may or may not be the confession God is seeking. Time will tell. However, in verse 13 of Jeremiah 3 we also read, “You must admit that you are guilty.” Daniel admits it, but what about the other millions of dispersed Israelites who by now have possibly forgotten that they are descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (renamed Israel)? The next line reads, “You have refused to obey the LORD your God.” It is more than confession but it also means a life lived IN GOD, just as the New Testament tells us [2 Corinthians 5:15] that we are to live IN JESUS. That means Christianity is a way of life; not just a religion. Just as true today with the lost ten Tribes of Israel, far too many Sunday Christians don’t get or don’t want this to be a condition of their salvation.

Adam Clark has one of the best commentary explanations for Jeremiah 3:14. He writes: 

“I will take you one of a city, and two of a family” – [Clark] If there should be but one of a city left, or one willing to return, and two only of a whole tribe, yet will I receive these, and bring them back from captivity into their own land.

In other words, a confession of one or two within a given family of Israel is possibly good enough for God to welcome back the entire tribe. This makes Daniel’s prayer in Danial 9 very significant. JIV NOTE: It can be noted that some commentaries simply skip past this verse therefore avoiding comment and commitment to what God is saying through Jeremiah. The answer is actually found in Jeremiah 31… (CEV) “Oh Israel, I [God] promise [to covenant] that someday ALL YOUR TRIBES will again be my people.”

NOTE: We are running out of blog space and reader patience, but Jeremiah 3:19-25 should not be skipped. (CEV; Contemporary English Version)

Jer 3:19  I have always wanted to treat you as my children and give you the best land, the most beautiful on earth. I wanted you to call me “Father” and not turn from me.

Jer 3:20  But instead, you are like a wife who broke her wedding vows. You have been unfaithful to me. I, the LORD, have spoken.

Jer 3:21  Listen to the noise on the hilltops! It’s the people of Israel, weeping and begging me to answer their prayers. They forgot about me and chose the wrong path.

Jer 3:22  I will tell them, “Come back, and I will cure you of your unfaithfulness.” They will answer, “We will come back, because you are the LORD our God.

Jer 3:23  On hilltops, we worshiped idols and made loud noises, but it was all for nothing– only you can save us.

Jer 3:24  Since the days of our ancestors when our nation was young, that shameful god Baal has taken our crops and livestock, our sons and daughters.

Jer 3:25  We have rebelled against you just like our ancestors, and we are ashamed of our sins.”

fulltimeWhat a conclusion for chapter 3; a true confession of guilt and a full-time return to honoring God as the one and only god. This means putting into second place all other things in life. Israel will eventually do just that. Though Israel today is basically populated and established by those few who descend from those who returned (536 B.C.) from captivity in Babylon, a time will come when they will be called from the four corners of the earth and return in mass to a nations with Jesus on the throne. It is verse 22 that is critical. God says, “I will tell them to come back…”

This is very likely to be an event that immediately follows the second advent of Christ when he returns to set up his millennial kingdom. Why? The compelling words are COME BACK, not go back. God and Jesus are already there setting up this Kingdom.miniJim

The Unpardonable Sin

 

  • Unpardonable sin…

    This means once committed it is not pardonable! Not now; not later; not ever. Satan are you listening?

    One of the most often asked questions is what is the unpardonable sin? What is blasphemy? Let’s take a look at what scripture tells us per these questions. However, it must be emphasized that if one is busy following Jesus and worshiping God, there is no chance of committing the unpardonable sin. Here are three synoptic gospel verses to consider.

    Jesus is the one making these statements:

    Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come (Matthew 12:31-32).

    Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation—because they said, “He has an unclean spirit” (Mark 3:28-30).

    And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven (Luke 12:10).

    Now let’s also include from our website Revelation Study the same word… “blasphemy.” Revelation 17:3 states, in part “…and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names…” Wikipedia defines it as Blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence to a deity…” It is a deliberate act on one’s part.

    Insulting; showing contempt; a lack of reverence? There goes the excuse of the one who says s/he is neutral per believing in a saving God and committing to Jesus. The blasphemy is found in the words, “lack of reverence.” Insulting and/or showing contempt are overt and obvious acts. But included in this definition is the simple act of not showing reverence; i.e. trying to be neutral, open minded or politically correct no matter what is the truth.

    Example: One knows that stealing is a crime. When one does not violate the law or simply does not get caught, they are not issued a penalty for their actions. When it comes to God, there is no such thing as “not getting caught” so that one does not fit in this situation. However, stealing is punishable. This is true even if up to this point it is the very first time one steals; i.e. a deliberate act on or one’s part or showing a lack of reverence for the law.

    Including the word “CONTEMPT” per the above definition adds to problem. It means getting caught and still showing contempt for the justice system and the law. A personal choice has been made. God is gracious in telling us in the above scriptures that such is forgivable if done against the son of God, Jesus. However, no such contempt against the Holy Spirit is forgivable. Just as in stealing, one made a choice and did the deed. The same is true of God the Holy Spirit. To reject him or turn ones back on him in a deliberate act is unforgivable. This is precisely why Satan does not have a choice to seek forgiveness and make everything alright between him and God. He showed contempt and there is no turning back or forgiveness.

    I recall a bible study where the instructor asked the question, “If Satan sought forgiveness, would God’s love be extended to him and forgive him.” There was great silence in the room as no one wanted to risk the fact that they believe God Is (only) Love. That statement alone, “God is Love,” is very misleading just as declaring the bible is full of stories. Stories may be true, but also may be just stories. It is very misleading to identify the Bible content as anything but history. Two books I have read include a History of the Civil War in America and “StoriesFrom the Civil War. The latter was qualified as unverified but still interesting as a read.  The author of this second book stated: “inside every story is often found a thread of truth.” A thread of truth????? What about Bible stories???? This is a gross misuse of Bible history when one relegates it to a book full of stories.

    Now back to the unpardonable sin focus of this article. None of the verses in our opening quotes from Matthew, Mark and Luke have a qualification. Satan has already done it. The Harlot (institution) will do it. The world has received the gospel of salvation but to reject it by NOT accepting God’s Provided Salvation (spiritual GPS) is akin to rejecting the civil statute of stealing. Once committed it is a done deal. There is and will be a price to pay.

    Nothing is said per who does the blasphemy or contempt. It remains a very loving and assuring statement to realize we can blaspheme Jesus or the Father God and it will be forgiven us. But rejecting, a deliberate act or not or no longer accepting HIM as holy is blasphemy. Notice in Matthew 12 that Jesus has just declared that a kingdom divided against itself (casting out demons in the name of Beelzebub) cannot stand. Without going into the detail of this history found in Matthew 12, anyone at any time can commit the one unforgivable sin. The only qualifier is one’s vocalization or demonstration of contempt for and/or claiming the Holy Spirit to be an unclean or non-existent spirit.

    So, can one lose his salvation? No! Can one surrender his salvation? Yes!

    Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” [NIV]

    Deuteronomy 31: 6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

    However, three passages in the New Testament say, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Satan is already condemned but was once an angel of light in heaven. God will not forsake us, but we can at any time forsake His Spirit.

    Truth Text Red Black BurstFor the purpose of the series thinker, Let me add an after-thought. John 4:23, 24 states, “…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” [NIV].

    miniJimJstark
    November 1, 2016

 

Revelation Chapter 22

Chapter 22 (“It Is Done” says God)

Having carried his description of Satan’s destiny and the resurrection of unbelievers to miniJimtheir conclusions in chapter 20, John now returns to the beginning of the Millennium to describe the new home of the Church in chapter 21 and the new Heaven and Earth in chapter 22 [Jack Kelly; https://gracethrufaith.com/the-book-of-revelation/revelation-21-22/#more-314].

We should keep in mind that when discussing the harlot, the Great City of Babylon and the dragon [in some senses], we are discussing political, economic, and religious institutions; each distinct. There are three different positions from which to study these three involved factors. Each of the three is connected to one another one way or another but each of these three institutions has their individual destructions; i.e. the kings and rulers; the great wealth and economies through Babylon, the merchants and those made wealthy because of her; the false prophet and false religious institution.

EXAMPLE: In chapter 17 we have the religious aspect of these three institutions: the harlot, Great City of Babylon (by name only) and the multi-horned/headed dragon. In chapter 18 we probably have the political and economic factors. Babylon is not only a false religious system but one of political impact and economies.

Word cloud for Events of RevelationIn a very real sense, chapter 20 sets the stage for the binding of Satan, the thousand year millennial reign of God and His son Jesus, the New Jerusalem and the eventual new heaven and new earth. We also find the Great White Throne judgment of those who have died in the past “since the creation of earth.”

Verse 1-5 in Revelation 22 is distinct as is Ezekiel 47:1-12 but similar in context. Chapter 21 is also a distinct point in time. We can find the WHEN by reading verses within each reference. All are end time issues. The Ezekiel passage is the millennial reign as is Revelation 20 from the binding of Satan to his release and judgment. Revelation 21:1 explains this is the New Earth and New Heaven “for the old [first] heaven and earth are passed away” [Revelation 20:11].

John is instructed to write out what he has seen and heard. Do not keep it a secret [Revelation 21:5b]. Daniel was told to NOT write all that he had seen and heard for it was for another time in history yet to be played out.  This is probably what Daniel also saw in Old Testament time. The Apostle Paul is post crucifixion and New Testament.

It is likely that Revelation 22:2, which talks about twelve manners of fruit cannot be the new Heaven and Earth. Why? Eternity by definition means there is no longer “time.” As one person (originator unknown) put it some time ago… eternity is the total absence of time. There is also no longer a need to heal nations after the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. We don’t know if such will still exist after the white throne judgment.

Revelation 22:5 skips ahead in its own time capsule; “..and there shall be no more night.” This suggests that since there is no distinction between a day time hour and a night time hour; there must no longer be anything called TIME. Although much of Revelation is sequential or “at the same time” reports by John, he sometimes follows a given topic through to its end before returning to the concurrent or chronological events.

A most likely scenario is that twelve manner of fruits [22:2] is during the Millennial Reign itself. We do not understand what is on the other side of the wall dividing current earth and heavens and when eternity, which by default means time does not exist, begins. We do know from chapter 21 that tears are no longer, there is no more death or sorrow, hell and hades are cast into the lake of Fire…

In a simple way, chapter 22 of Revelation is God putting his stamp of finality on his initial plan for man from the creation of earth, that is, the Garden of Eden. John is told a second time, now by an angel in 22:9 & 10 that he is not to keep this information and prophecies to himself. We read in the verses following 9 & 10 that the world will continue to be as it has since the fall of Adam and Eve up to the point of Jesus Christ and God’s “living amongst us” [21:3].

When Christ does return the second time he will bring his rewards with him. This is a point needing clarification. The Greek for the word reward (misthos) can mean a good thing or a bad thing; i.e. everyone’s JUST reward for what s/he has done during his or her life on earth [v12]. God again points out that He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last [v13].

In verse 14 we must go back to the only other times the Tree of Life is mentioned:  Genesis 2:9; 3:22; 3:24 and once again in Revelation 22:14. We begin in the bible with the Tree of Life and no one being able to pick its fruit and eat of it to that restriction being removed in Revelation 22. “Those who do his commandments have right to the tree of life.”  In some way of thinking, God will re-institute the Garden of Eden without the ability of Satan to again interfere of influence whose occupying it.

With verse 16 it is not John talking. It is Jesus himself authenticating the truths and correctness of the Book of Revelation. Jesus is declaring his position as a descendant of King David per his physical birth and right to the throne. He also has another right that is found in John 1…

Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Joh 1:2  He was in the beginning with God.

Joh 1:3  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Joh 1:4  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Joh 1:5  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

jesusJesus is the word; Jesus is God.

 

Can we lose our salvation? This is addressed in a backhanded way in the one of the final verses of the bible; i.e. 22:19…

 

“…if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

 

One can only take away something that the losing individual originally had, right?

 

Jstark (M.M., Th.D. Rev.; ordained unaffiliated)

Revelation 9

(Plus a quick review)

The last book of the Bible - Revelations

In our study of Revelation, chapter nine is about the 5th and 6th angel and what happens when their trumpets sound. We recently completed our discussion of the 4 Apocalyptic Horsemen via the first 4 seals of the scroll being opened. As dangerous and attention getting as they are, things are about to get more difficult for mankind, earth and any of its inhabitation. The pre-event of chapter 9 is what John heard as he recorded in the last verse of chapter 8:

(8:13b) “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded (in chapter 9 & 10) by the other three angels!” (NIV; emphasis mine)

Paul Benware wrote in Understanding End Time…, the first four of the seven seals are known as the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. The first seal introduces the Antichrist (Revelation 6:1-2). The second seal causes great warfare (Revelation 6:3-4). The third of the seven seals causes famine (Revelation 6:5-6). The fourth seal brings about plague, further famine, and further warfare (Revelation 6:7-8) and the dividing of ¼ of the earth to death, famine, reduction, enslavement, . The fifth seal tells us of those who will be martyred for their faith in Christ during the end times (Revelation 6:9-11). When the sixth of the seven seals is broken, a devastating earthquake occurs, causing massive upheaval and terrible devastation—along with unusual astronomical phenomena (Revelation 6:12-14) [emphasis mine]

A series of 7 trumpets begin to call out their judgments at the opening of the 7th seal. Then, “ALL OF HEAVEN FALLS SILENT FOR THE SPACE OF A HALF AN HOUR” (8:1). This silence in heaven sends awesome chills as heaven has never been totally silent per anything mentioned in scripture. It is much like walking into a room or into the woods and everything is suddenly too quiet. We KNOW (YADDA) something is amiss or about to happen; it is not usually a good feeling of confidence on earth but all beings in heaven see God’s judgment will no longer be delayed. Satan’s time has run out and he knows it.

  1. Trumpet #1: (8:7) …hail, fire mingled with blood with a third part of the trees burned and all green grass burned.
  2. Trumpet #2: (8:8) …great volcano and mountain cast into the sea with a third part of the sea turning to blood. This is death to the sea creatures and ships in that part of the seas.
  3. Trumpet #3: (8:10) …’death star’ (possibly a huge meteorite) is cast to earth from the heavens. Now a third part of the rivers and spring water sources become wormwood (apsinthos: in a metaphorical sense, to be made bitter). Many (polos/polus) die due to the bitter or deadly water likely infected or made bitter by the shattering of this meteor into dust.
  4. Trumpet #4: (8:12) … Now the third part of our know universe that is stricken is the sun, moon and stars. This darkness makes night even darker and daylight less illuminant.
  5. Trumpets 5, 6, & 7 are God’s judgments on man.

This takes us to chapter 9 in Revelation; the 5th angel and trumpet. All the damage to this point by the blowing of the first four trumpets is upon physical surroundings. One-third of everything we know of and see is struck. The woe, woe, woe, in 8:13b is a change in venue. It is now mankind that is directly punished for rejecting warnings and pleadings to accept and follow Jesus Christ (New Testament) and God (Elohim) of Israel (Old Testament).

We read in Revelation 9:1, as found in a previous article in this website, about a falling star. The verse reads “…to him was given the key to the bottomless pit.” Since this star (as-stare’ in the Greek) is identified as “him,” we likely have either a fallen or falling angel; suggestion: Satan himself is finally removed from approaching the Throne of God in Heaven. [Revelation 12:10: This verse points to the already given fact that Satan “…has been hurled down” from heaven]. He uses the key he is given to open the bottomless pit. From it belches smoke; locusts emerge from the smoke to cause severe pain to man; to all who “do not have the Seal of God in their foreheads.” They are not *given the power to inflict death even though later in chapter nine we read that mankind call for death and can’t get it.

*given the power: Note that these locusts do not possess the power in or of on their own, but are given it with **limitations. This is God’s hand at work as the final hours of the earth as we know it closes.

**Limited to causing pain on man for 5 months, but not the remaining greenery of earth as is the usual target of locust.

Verse 6 is very clear. “…man shall seek death and shall not find it.” Verses 7-10 describe these creatures of torment. Interestingly, in verse 10 of chapter 9… “they have a king over them.” When Satan rebelled against God and took 1/3 of the angels with him, for he was a mighty angel (angel of the morning light and beautiful), he became the lord and king over the fallen angels. They obey him for he is powerful, persuasive, and dangerous to oppose. One might speculate that the locust might be the hoard of fallen angel-locusts who emerge from the smoke. Satan knows by now that his time of roaming to and fro on and over earth (his kingdom) is over. 1 Peter 5:8; Job 1:7) tell us that Satan has been at work since the creation of earth; seeking who he may… bring joy??? Not a chance. He is seeking who he may devour: inflict pain, sickness, disease, casualty, conflict, stress, confusion, disjointedness, mistrust, the road to destruction! (James 1:17; Acts 10:38; John 9:2-3))

The locust is the first of the three woes that John heard from an angel in heaven (8:13). I must hasten to point out Greek grammar. In 9:1 it is too often concluded that the “bottomless pit” in this particular scenario is hell itself. This does not fit well considering the final judgment, Lake of Fire and the locations of Hades or Sheol. The word used here is Phrear. It is an old word for cistern or well; something with a small mouth; narrow. The path to hell is a wide road. This misunderstanding simply does not fit. It is not Hell that this “fallen angel” opens the gate with a key. It is more closely related to Hades or Sheol; a holding tank of sorts for the dead yet to be judged. Hell and the Lake of Fire come into play after the Great White Throne Judgment. This is found at the end of the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth.

The second woe, beginning at verse 13, comes when the sixth angel blows his trumpet. This releases the four angels assigned and created solely for this purpose (v15); the second woe. One third of mankind is slain; those without the Seal of God in their forehead. It is a massive army of (evil forces) 200,000,000 strong. Fire, smoke (as in choking gases; chemical warfare?), and brimstone are the weapons of death in these few verses. This is not the massive army of mankind who assemble at Har Mageddo (Valley of Jezreel; Armageddon) to battle Jesus in Jerusalem after the 7th Trumpet is sounded.

In the closing two verses of chapter 9, we discover that even after all of this, men do not repent of their selfish and self-seeking gains (idols). In short, their continued rejection of God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit is finally judged. This continual rejection of God/Christ is amazing. The people who continue to reject Christ see that those with the Seal of God are not touched by these plagues. Such being so seems to anger mankind all the more to fully realize their pain is not shared with followers of the Almighty.

Next article begins with…”And I saw another mighty angel…” (Chapter 10 and in my opinion should not have a chapter break for number 11. Of course, these are man-made markers in the Bible as the author of Revelation, John, did not mark out chapter and verse.)

jStark3

The Millennial Reign

What happens during the Millennial Reign of God and Jesus?

I have often wondered what it is going to be like during the Millennial (1,000) Reign following the Tribulation. Let me begin by telling you there are many hints of how we will live during these years, what will happen to us, how long life expectancy will be, if work is still required, will there be families, children, animals? Let’s begin by understanding something that Isaiah 55:8 tells us:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.”

The meaning is too obvious. We need to take God and the Word of God at its word without trying to make God into something that fits our ideals. We need to understand that he makes us into something he wants. After all, if we created god then it/he is useless for eternal or even current needs or events. But God created us. That being so, he is the potter and I (we) are the clay. The clay pot does not tell the potter what we wish to look like; what shelf we want to be on; do we get a window view; or if am I going to be a tall, short, round, skinny or a corpulent pot. We are what we are so let’s get past that. What we need to know is our purpose. That is to worship the Lord God almighty, make Christianity a way of life not a religion, and realize our destiny is determined by our acceptance or neutral or flat out rejection of HIM.

Let’s avoid for now the discussion of the Tribulation (pre-post-or mid), plan of salvation, or any preaching. Let’s simply review the facts as the Bible tells us per what life will be like during the Millennial Reign of King Jesus.

Understand that this will not be a totally inclusive blog per life in the Millennial, but it will be inclusive of enough references to give us a great idea of what it will be like during the Millennial Reign.

Wikipedia defines the Millennial *Reign as:

*Often identified as Kingdom.

Millennialism (from millennium, Latin for “thousand years”), or chiliasm in Greek, is a belief held by some Christian denominations that there will be a Golden Age or Paradise on Earth in which “Christ will reign” for 1000 years prior to the final judgment and future eternal state (the “World to Come” of the New Heavens and New Earth).

Theopedia describes the Millennial Kingdom as: (http://www.theopedia.com/millennial-kingdom)

…the thousand-year reign of Christ specifically mentioned in Revelation 20:1-6. This is usually seen as the same Messianic Kingdom anticipated by the Old Testament prophets.

Let’s first realize the 1,000 years will not be spent on the beach, in churches, standing around the Throne of God in Jerusalem or flying about the universe with a pair of angel wings. All but the last are possible but not the norm for life during the Millennial Kingdom. Recall, or learn for the first time, this reign of Christ in Jerusalem will come out of and at the end of the Great Tribulation. The pre-Tribulation time will be as “the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37). It will be wise for the reader to read through to verse 39. This is the world situation leading up to the beginning of the 7-year tribulation and the Apocalypse, Day of Reckoning, Armageddon or Day of Destruction as so many movies, books and discussions have and continue to be based upon. But this is not a written monologue of pre-tribulation events.

Mankind, along with some strong assistance from Satan, will have all but been eliminated by wars, disease, starvation, murder when Christ returns to the Mount of Olives and proclaims himself King of Kings and ruler of the world. Yes, there is a little thing called Armageddon at this point in history and yet to be played out, but this article is about life for those who survive and enter the Millennial Kingdom.

Skipping past the resurrection of some of the dead, the return of those who were (will be) in the Rapture prior to the Tribulation period, and those Christians and Jews killed during the Tribulation we get to our goal; life during the Millennial Kingdom and reign of Jesus Christ ON EARTH. It is not my intention to explain why some of these prophecies have what is known as plural or dual points in history and that which has yet to happen. We are going to simply look at life during the Millennial Kingdom; ”thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth (millennial kingdom) as it is (already) done in heaven.”

Here is the setting: Christ returns to the Mount of Olives to the east of Jerusalem; an area now known as the West Bank. He declares himself King of the world then must defeat the combined forces of the King of the North (Antichrist: Europe or the resurrected Holy Roman Empire), the king of the South (Islam?: Middle East and Africa) and the forces from the north and east:*China and Russia? These forces will gather together to invade and eliminate Jerusalem/Israel (Joel 3:2; Zechariah 14:2; Matthew 24:29; Revelation 20:8) but only after having fought amongst themselves (Matthew 24:7). Continue reading

Revelation 4 and 5

Revelation

These two chapters in the Book of Revelation are like a corner on the same block in a city. We go from a description of heaven to eventualities; i.e. from what is to what will be. The significance of what is in the throne room of “the one who sits on that throne” (Revelation 4:2b & 3) is a given conclusion if we also read 5:13b… “To him who sits on the throne AND to the Lamb”. This is a plural statement and we know the Lamb of God is Jesus (John 1:29). This means the only other remaining being of throne-worthiness is God the Father. We do not have to speculate much as to what and who John initially describes in verse 3. The real significance is that John is in the presence of the greatest.

What each of the described beings or objects in and around the throne room is subject to someone’s interpretation. The caution? Be careful about assigning a perception to a given or a doctrinal plank. What might be perceived as correct is sometimes taken to extremes or speculation. We see these extremes that may be mentioned but once or twice in scripture becoming dogmatic practices is supposedly Christ-centered churches. The above is my disclaimer for chapter 4 and 5 with full knowledge of Col 2:8.  “Be sure you are not led away by the teaching of those who have nothing worth saying and only plan to deceive you. That teaching is not from Christ. It is only human tradition and comes from the powers that influence this world.” (ERV)Tribulation graph

Chapter 4 begins with John receiving an open invitation to witness what is in the throne room of heaven. Whether this is what we as the redeemed will witness when we get to heaven is speculative. I say this because John does not indicate there is a presence of others who have been redeemed or of seeing any of the Old Testament saints. Significant to John and our studies, it includes an offer to also “see what will be” via the scroll and Seven Seals. We detail this when we get to chapter 6 of Revelation.

To many it is difficult to keep the Seals, Trumpets and Vials (bowls) straight. Dale Carnegie teaches that the best way to commit something to memory is by association. I keep the order straight by connecting these three events to the alphabet; Seals (S), Trumpets (T), then Vials (V); S comes before T and T comes before V. I will repeat this in a later article, but it is the 7th Trumpet that opens the delivery of the Vial (bowls) contents.

The opening verses in chapter 4 set the stage for John’s anticipation or excitement of something he knows is exclusive. A poor but perhaps helpful analogyTeen girl with planet earth. would be like anyone anticipating a long dreamed of trip or vacation (keep this thought in mind as 5:4 refers back to this anticipation). We sent many of our dreams on this trip, just as did John when he was told to “come up here” in 4:1.

The next few verses in chapter 4 are symbolic and great discussion points. However, any dogmatic conclusion would be speculative. 24 elders and who they are or represent; the white clothing and individual crowns; lightning and thunder; the *7 lamps – even though we are told these represent the 7 spirits of God (but what are they?); the rainbow; the crystal sea; **the four living creatures and their being covered with eyes; the representation or reason for the six wings on each creature. The true underlying message in this passage is their continual praising; “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,” who was, and is, and is to come (NIV). This triggers a response by the 24 elders (V9-11). It also defines the eternal existence of the God-head; was, and is, and is to come. It also parallels what will happen to creation upon the 2nd advent of Jesus Christ (“Every eye will see” (NIV; Revelation 1:7).

*The “seven spirits of God” are mentioned in Revelation 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; and 5:6. The seven spirits of God are not specifically identified. It is therefore impossible to be dogmatic. Revelation 1:4 mentions that the seven spirits are before God’s throne. Revelation 3:1 indicates that Jesus Christ “holds” the seven spirits of God. Revelation 4:5 links the seven spirits of God with seven burning lamps that are before God’s throne. Revelation 5:6 identifies the seven spirits with the “seven eyes” of the Lamb and states that they are “sent out into all the earth.”

** The four living creatures: Here we find something that “looks like” a Lion, an ox sometimes described as a calf, a face like a man, a flying eagle. Without speculating too much, go back to the Tribes of Israel and their wandering encampments around the Tabernacle Tent (Numbers 2:2). They had exited Egypt but had not yet entered the Promised lands. As Chuck Missler (khouse.org ) puts it, “…the lion, the man, the ox, and the eagle–are the same as the four faces of the living creatures” found in Revelation 4:6b-7. Each time we encounter a view of the throne of God, we notice these strange living creatures, somehow associated with the protection of His throne, His holiness, etc.

It would seem that the camp of Israel–with the tabernacle in the middle–is a model of the throne of God: His presence in the center, represented by the tabernacle, encircled by the four faces, all surrounded by His (authority).”

Chapter 5 is our turn at and in the corner-of-events as John records them; i.e. the Scroll and seven Seals. The scroll must be extensive as john makes sure to note that it is “with writing on both sides” (5:1; NIV); “inside and outside” as the King James Bible puts it. Each one of the seven seals on the scroll represents an event which unfolds beginning in chapter 6. We get to this discussion in our next article.

The question asked in 5:2b, “who is worthy to break the seals and open he scroll” is straight forward. What follows is sometimes missed in commentaries. It says in 5:3 that John saw that “no one” could open the scroll or even peak inside it yet. The KJV identifies this “no one” as no man, but the ERV, ESV and other translation put it, no one can open it. The verse then explains what is so often missed. “…(no one) in heaven, on earth, or under the earth…” Limiting this statement to man or mankind does not reflect well the Greek word oudeis. Thayer defines and translates oudeis as “NOTHING” can open it. This means angels fallen or still in heaven, Satan himself, man-made devices like computers or super chips, or molten lava under the earth. This is the power in this verse. The only option left standing is identified in v6 & 7; the Lamb (of God).

Why does the Bible identify Jesus as the Lamb of God? It is the sacrificial lamb God gave up (John 3:16) to pay the price of our sin. It isn’t a name as much as it is an action that happened at Calvary. God gave up his son as the sacrifice. Only one “thing” (the antithesis to NO-THING) can take on this role of opening the scroll; one seal at a time. He is the only one who paid the price of redemption; Jesus Christ.

calvary jesus, man bleeding, representation of passion

The Lamb of GOD

Look closely at verse 8; once Jesus (the he/Lamb of v6) took the scroll, the elders AND the four creatures fell (shachah) to the ground in worship of him. In short, everything and anything (see v13) recognized him who took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the heavenly throne. For those who desire a deeper education on this one word, Yochanan Zaqantov notes: “the word translated as Worship in the Tanakh is transliterated as shachah (shah-ghah) which is Shin-Chet-Hey.”

V4; chapter 5: One may wonder why John “.” Go back to my analogy of a highly anticipated vacation (paragraph 5). What a great disappointment it had to be to John to “get there” after being called only to find out that what he anticipated was not going to be revealed. His heart ached for it, but now….?

We too often discuss being politically correct today. Politically correct does not always mean “something is correct.” Well, read v9 and 10. Can we think of anyone left out? Yes! Only those who are purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ will reign. Those who reject this offer of eternal salvation will have eternity but at a different ranch.

Then, much to the relief of John (5:5) his anticipation is reassured by one of the 24 elders. What happens in v11 is nothing short of astounding. John “looked and heard” thousands and thousands of angels as they encircled the throne and gave out praise. It is almost like they now realized the time of the ‘end of time’ as we now know it is at the brink of past tense. They are total encouragement for the “Lamb” to take the scroll and release its contents.

Then it gets even better in v13; everything (ktisma)… “and I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” This means all H: KOL/G: PAS (3605 and 3956 in Strong’s dictionary); of creation; anything that was created. By this time Satan certainly knows it is all over but the reading of the credentials; i.e. God’s, not his. In human terms, it is a moment in Satan’s life that will be similar to that nanosecond one recognizes an eminent-imminent danger; the shock of being one step short of stepping into or onto “it” and leaning forward. This is why and when (my speculation; you decide) Satan now makes his bold moves. He realizes it is over so he attempts to destroy what remains of God’s creation; first by dominance, then by elimination.

V14: “The four living creatures said ‘Amen’.” Speculation on my part… they put their blessing on the seal of Satan, his minion(s), and his influence over earth and its occupants. So be it!

jStark3Drj; August, 2015

Christianity: One’s Reality or Actuality

This is a tough article (blog) to write. It isn’t that I don’t know the answer to my own question, but that theory itself has been so entrenched with partial truth that “the truth, WHOLE TRUTH and nothing other than the truth” has been diluted to one’s reality and politically correct actuality. I fear many will someday stand before a judge and claim to have lived a politically correct social life, but by whose definition are they calling politically correct?

Perception Vs Reality Fact Fiction Proving Truth Versus MythThe hot topic today, but not the purpose of this blog is the bible and homosexuality. A reader recently wrote to me: “I threw out my bible.” I asked why? He stated, “It is full of lies and it doesn’t fit [my] reality.” Wow! Does he even have a clue? Reality is one’s perception; not necessarily actuality. There was a time when then modern science claimed the world was flat. That was their reality until some guy proved actuality… it is round. Let’s leave this paragraph with Adam and Eve (actuality); not Adam and Steve (perceived and preferred reality). You go figure.

The question is, “what is Christianity?” This is such a loosely used word it defies definition and is seen as religions that have multiple versions or guises of being Christian. Giving a single definition to or trying to lump one’s perception of what Christianity is into a finite statement is impossible; that is, as far as the world goes.

Let’s go back to some very basic precepts. In Islam there are two primary documents that define Islam and a Muslim’s way of life; the Koran (Quran) and the Hadith. The first is their written word of rules for life. The second is, as define by Wikipedia, “the collections of the reports purporting to quote what the Islamic prophet Muhammad said [and did in life] verbatim on any matter.” (emphasis mine)

Islam Explained in Layman’s Term

Here is a perspective by Dr. Peter Hammond, a former Muslim. Dr Hammond’s doctorate is in Theology.  He was born in Cape Town in 1960, grew up in Rhodesia and converted to Christianity in 1977.  Adapted from Dr. Peter Hammond’s book: Slavery, Terrorism and Islam:  The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat:  Islam is not a religion, nor is it a cult. In its fullest form, it is a complete, total, 100% system of life. Islam has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. The religious component is a beard for all of the other components.

The synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Holy Word of God (bible) are somewhat similar to what a Muslim calls the Hadith. The Gospels show and record what Jesus did while on earth and what he said. The difference is that the Gospels were written over 600 years before Mohammad was even born. This makes the bible actuality and Islam someone’s new reality; just a perception of what is the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth. True Christianity, per living a life patterned after Jesus in the Gospels is the same thing… a way of life; not a religion or a cult. Anything less than a way of life is one’s preferred definition of a religion s/he wants to call Christianity.

This is why and where some confusion and modern day deception of end time comes in. The first Seal [beginning of End Time or end of time as we now understand it, described in Revelation is “a great deception” of mankind. If the world is allowed to (re) define what Christianity is or for all that matters, what so-called Christian religion is supposed to be is to ignore what Christ said and did as recorded in the Gospels. To ignore what Christ DID in life and what He taught is not an alternative option to actuality, but a position against Christ’s teachings. We are to live a life patterned after that of Christ. Islam claims that Muslims are to do the same thing but pattern it after Mohammed. That being true, he was as much a military man as a preacher of death to infidels (i.e. America in modern day terminology; anyone who is not a Muslim).

Many religions that identify, as often the world tries to re-identify as so-called Christian, (a very generic term in modern days) are anything but. True Christianity is a way of life, not a religion of on-again and off-again practice usually reserved for and limited to any given Sunday and being politically correct according to the rules of man. TV shows, as is in the news reports today are on the increase trying to point out the evils or misguided practices of “Christian churches and ministers; the extremist or inferred lunatic.” To the casual observer, this puts a brand on the Christian that is not actuality; it is their reality though. I taught a marketing principle in my college marketing classes that one’s perception is their reality even when that is not the facts of actuality. Therefore in the mind of someone with limited information, s/he takes it as actuality.” How wrong but s/he will then make a broad judgment based upon partial truth.

Bottom line: Is Christianity one’s perception of reality or one’s actuality in living? One’s answer to this is also the answer to his or her life in Christ and the promised eternity with God and Jesus Christ.

PS; Muslims practice their beliefs 7-days a week. This is precisely why they cannot and never will assimilate to any other way of living even at the cost of his or her life. It is their reality AND their actuality. The world and most religions simply don’t understand this. It is a way of, not an exception to one’s way of life. This is not negotiable. Neither is God’s actuality.

jStark3

Longing For That Day…

Do you love someone so much that you never want to be apart? Do you have a heartheart to heart connection with someone?  Do you long to see their smile or feel their warm embrace? It’s a joy to hear them laugh and see him/her walk through the door!  The times you spend together are the Best moments of your life. When a person completes you and you complete him/her it is like heaven on earth. There is a longing to be with each other.

Can you imagine being with and loving someone for so long that it seems like forever? Then something happens that separates you. Each day you go through the motions, do your duties and even do them with joy but inside there is a longing for that day when you will be together again.

There is another One Who loves you like that and so much and more.

Jesus came to earth to do the will of His Father. He was with His Father since before the beginning of time. Imagine the physical torture, the mental anguish, and the rejection of men during the time He was on the Cross. He changed history and our destiny. For the first time ever, His Father had to turn His back on Him because all the sins of the world were placed on Him as He hung and died on the cross. Jesus, the perfect sacrifice for our sins – had to be separated from His Father. The pain and torture of death on the cross pales in comparison of that of being separated from the One Who loves him. But the Joy of obedience and making a Way for you to be saved was worth it all.

Hebrews 12:2-3 NASB who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus rose again on the 3rd day, redeem us from sin and is ALIVE now. Do you jesushugknow Jesus? Without Christ, you will never experience love like the love of GOD and His Presence. This I know, not just because my Bible tells me so… because I experience His love. When you choose to accept Jesus as your LORD and Savior you will know LOVE for yourself.  And One day we will be absent from our bodies and present with the LORD — no more longings.

http://peacewithgod.net

–McKee

 

Do You Know What You Are Holding?

The Word of God is unparalleled when it comes to the written word. There havePaul Hoffmaster been many gifted writers throughout the ages, but there has never been a writer who can compare with the inspired Biblical scribes.  The Bible is not a collection of editorials but a recording of facts from the One who created all things.  Writing under divine inspiration, men recorded the Words of life that would be read from generation to generation.  The value of these collections of Divine writings is impossible to determine.  First Edition secular writings can bring astronomical numbers from collectors who desire their ownership.  The more popular the personality, the greater the price tags.  The Word of God…. priceless!

I wonder if we really understand what we are holding when we pick up the Holy Book.  To have the Word of God in our hands should bring us to our knees in humble adoration.  To let our fingers thumb through the pages should release all our emotions in praise and worship.  To read the words of the living God should bring rivers of water flowing from our eyes.  To experience the Bible as the personal Word of God should cause us to fall prone before Him in eternal gratitude.  To have the Word revealed to us through the Holy Spirit should lift us to heights unimaginable.

I am convinced that we know about the Bible, but many of us don’t know the Bible.  We seem to treat the Word of God as any other book.  Many Believers have several Bibles around the house, but very few open them on a daily basis.  Bibles become dust catchers, or have been shelved along with other books.  When the Bible is opened, it usually is a pew Bible during our Saturday/Sunday weekly obligation.  If we truly understood what the Bible is, we would have a hard time closing it.  As blood is important to our bodies, so is the Word of God to our spirits and minds.  Many of the problems we face in life are a result of “Biblical Anemia.”  Jesus came that we “might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)  It would have been so exciting to have been alive during Jesus’ earthly ministry, but we have the next best thing – His autobiography!  After reading about His ministry, we are captivated by seeing how the Church had its beginning.  We open the letters from the Apostles which show us how to apply Jesus’ teachings.  Twenty-seven “little books” captivate our interests.  If we can tear ourselves away from the New Testament, there are thirty- nine more volumes that pertain to the history of God’s chosen people.  The Old Testament takes us on journeys that can only be expressed with wonderment.

We cannot run our car without fuel.  We cannot have lights without electricity.  We cannot be the people God wants us to be without His Word.  It is great to hear sermons and teachings by God’s messengers.  It is wonderful to read books that attempt to explain the Bible.  It is exciting to see spiritual filling stations scattered throughout the world.  It is thrilling to have the Internet carry all aspects of the Christian message. But nothing can compare with opening the Word of God ourselves and letting the Holy Spirit lead us through the pages of God’s revealed Truth.

After the two men encountered the resurrected Jesus on the road to Emmaus, they would say, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32)  As we hold our Bibles in our hands, can we also say that our hearts are burning within us?