Monthly Archives: June 2015

When God’s Judgment Falls

Many instances are given in Scripture of God’s judgment falling upon people and nations in times past because of their wickedness. When God’s judgment falls it is usually swift and sufficient. God’s Word tells us, For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries… It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,(Hebrews 10:26-27, 31).

When God’s judgment falls nations are destroyed – Deuteronomy 9:5

When God’s judgment falls rivers are turned to blood – Exodus 7:20

When God’s judgment falls the ground opens up to swallow people – Numbers 16:1-34

When God’s judgment falls cities are destroyed with fire and brimstone – Genesis 19:24-25

When God’s judgment falls kings are dethroned – I Samuel 15:11,26; 16:1

When God’s judgment falls the sun is darkened – Matthew 27:45-46

When God’s judgment falls the ground is cursed – Genesis 3:17-19

When God’s judgment falls people collapse in death – Acts 5:1-11

When God’s judgment falls only eight people are saved in a worldwide flood – Genesis 7:7

“Jesus answering said… Except ye repent,

ye shall all likewise perish.”

(Luke 13:2-3)

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False Christs

In Jesus’ final message delivered to His disciples on the Mount of Olives before Judas’ betrayal of Him two days later, He told the disciples in answer to their question of when shall these things be that He was telling them and what will be the sign of His coming, “If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets.” False christs and false prophets are in our world today. There are those who are placing their faith in another Jesus, not the Jesus of the Bible (Matthew 24).

Throughout the world there are those who are believing in a Jesus whom they say is the spirit brother of the devil. They believe in a Jesus who supposedly contended with Satan for the privilege of taking on human form, coming to earth and becoming the redeemer of the world. They do not believe their Jesus is the eternal Word of God or God Himself as the Bible clearly teaches He is (John 1:1-14).

There are millions of others throughout the world who believe in a Jesus who was merely a prophet, not the Son of God. They believe their Jesus appeared to be crucified but did not die on the cross bearing the sins of the world, but ascended to Heaven having never died. They are worshipping a false christ, not the Christ of the Scriptures (I Corinthians 15:1-4).

There are millions more believing in a Jesus whom they believe to be a co-redeemer with his mother. They believe in a Jesus whose mother remained a virgin throughout her life contrary to Scripture (Matthew 13:55-56). They believe in a Jesus whose body and blood mystically appears in the transformation of the bread and wine of the communion table. They believe it is upon Peter the church is built, not Christ.

In His introductory words of Matthew 24, Jesus admonished His disciples, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” In further mentioning the coming of false christs into the world midway through the chapter, He warned “If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” But it is not possible to deceive true believers in the One True God, His Only Begotten Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit of Scripture, for it is written of Jesus in John 10:3-5, “To Him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear His voice: and He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him:  for they know not the voice of strangers.” They will not follow another Jesus.

Husband of One Wife

It was Abraham who was first recorded in Scripture as having more than one wife. God had appeared to him in a dream and told him his heirs would number the stars in heaven. With his wife, Sarah, having been unable to bear him any children, in their haste to help God along Sarah offered Abraham her handmaiden, Hagar, to be his wife. It was then jealousy set in, as Sarah told Abraham, “…when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes.” As a result, Sarah dealt harshly with her, causing Hagar to “flee from the face of her mistress.” Hagar was told by the angel of the LORD to “Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands,” which she did until she was cast out again when Ishmael was older and Isaac was born (Genesis 15-16, 21).

Over 700 years later Elkanah’s wife was also barren, having been unable to have children. Elkanah, having two wives, was the father to his wife Peninnah’s children, but Hannah had no children by him. Hannah’s adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.” When the family made their yearly trek to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice unto the LORD, Elkanah “gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.” As Elkanah did so year by year, Peninnah continued to provoke Hannah, “therefore she wept, and did not eat.” It was there Hannah cried out to God “to look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid,” and asked God to give her a son, promising to give the child back to the LORD in service to Him. God answered her desperate prayer, and Hannah gave birth to the prophet Samuel (I Samuel 1).

It is Solomon who is remembered for having numerous wives and concubines; 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines to be exact. Many of these were daughters given to him as gifts from surrounding idol-worshipping kings and dignitaries seeking his good favor. In First Kings 11 it is written that “when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God.” It also is recorded that “Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD as did David his father.” Further in the chapter we read, “And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel.” In the closing chapter of the Book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah warned the Jews of marrying daughters of idol worshippers and said, “Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things?… even him did outlandish women cause to sin.

Having multiple wives in Old Testament times was not a practice to be emulated; it was a sin to be avoided. God, through His infinite wisdom, included in His written Word the disastrous results men and women in time past endured because of their disobedience to Him in not being the husband of one wife.

Planted for the Resurrection

It is recorded in Scripture Abraham, his wife Sarah, their son Isaac with his wife Rebekah, their grandson Jacob and his wife Leah, were all buried in a cave in the field of Machpelah (Genesis 49:30-33). Moses’ sister, Miriam, was buried in Kadesh and his brother, Aaron, was buried in Mosera during the 40 years of wilderness wandering (Numbers 20:1; Deuteronomy 10:6). Moses was buried by God in a valley in the land of Moab (Deuteronomy 34:6), while Joshua was buried at Timnath-seral in Mount Ephraim (Joshua 24:30). Joseph was buried in Shechem (Joshua 24:32) and Samson between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of his father, Manoah (Judges 16:31).

There is significance to the mode of burying those who have died, for the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15 tells of how a seed that is planted in the ground springs forth to bear a new and much more vibrant life. “And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body.” Just as a small kernel of seed corn is planted in the ground resulting in a flourishing plant full of life, so a body is sown for the resurrection that is to come. “It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body… As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”

Upon Jesus’ death He was laid in a borrowed tomb only to rise again from the dead on the third day. Christ became the Firstfruit of the resurrection that is to come. More will follow on that Great Resurrection Day when the dead in Christ shall rise first and the corruptible, mortal bodies that have been planted will put on incorruption and immortality. It is then so shall all those who have trusted Christ as Savior will ever be with the Lord in their new, glorified bodies “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (I Peter 1:4).

                     “Blessed be the God and Father                          of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope

By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

I Peter 1:3

The Much Mores

As Jesus was teaching His disciples the Beatitudes during His Sermon on the Mount, telling them they were the salt of the earth and the light of the world and to guard against losing their saltiness or hiding their light under a bushel, He told them, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” It was then He gave them the much mores of following Christ (Matthew 5).

Jesus began, Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:” (Exodus 20:13) …But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”

He then tells them, Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14) …“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Jesus continues, It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:” (Deuteronomy 24:1) …”But I say unto you, That whosever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery.”

He tells His disciples, “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:” (Leviticus 19:12) … But I say unto you, Swear not at all… But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”

Jesus continues to instruct them, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:” (Exodus 21:24) …”But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man… take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.”

And finally Jesus tells them, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, (Leviticus 19:18) and hate thine enemy.” (Deuteronomy 23:3-6)  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

“For I say unto you,

That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees,

Ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:20