Archive for January 2017

Is There an Eternal Hell?

January 30, 2017

2 Corinthians 5:11aKnowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;” 

There are many so-called “Christian” denominations that claim that the Bible is the Word of God, yet they totally ignore all that the Bible declares regarding Judgment Day and the associated punishment from God that will be meted out to everyone of the unsaved of the world on that “great and very terrible day of the LORD” (see Joel 2:11). It has become most unpopular to even mention God’s wrath and punishment for sin, eternal damnation, or the fires of an eternal Hell. Are those just euphemisms, or are they an integral part of God’s magnificent salvation plan?

“Salvation” means being saved from God’s determined just penalty for sins, which requires an eternity in Hell come Judgment Day.  Jesus is the only means of escape, because Jesus, as the “Lamb of God”, Is the ONLY acceptable sacrificial substitute for sin in accordance with God’s Law. As Jesus said (as we read in Matthew 13:7&8), “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

In order for someone to claim that he or she is “saved,” or that Jesus Christ is his or her “Savior,” that person must have a clear idea of what that he or she has been saved from. If that person claims that he or she is escaping the just penalty for sins, that person is correct, for the Bible clearly teaches that “the wages of sin is death.” (see Romans 6:23) However, the Bible doesn’t stop there, because it talks of the “second death” which is the just end that awaits all sinners who remain unsaved; those whose names are not written in the “book of life.” In Revelation 20:14-15 and 21:8 we read that the second death means to be cast into “the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.” In reference to this same fire, Jesus declared three times that the unsaved would “go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (see Mark 9:43-48) In Matthew 3:12, John the Baptist declared that Jesus would “throughly purge his (threshing) floor, and gather his wheat (the believers) into the garner (harvest house); but he will burn up the chaff (the unsaved of the world) with unquenchable fire.” We also know from Revelation 14:11, that “the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night.

The Bible specifically mentions hell 54 times (see below) of which Jesus is quoted concerning its reality 15 times, but it is clearly alluded to many more times in other words. As Jesus taught in Matthew 15:14, “when the blind (false prophets and false teachers with their false gospels) lead the blind (the unsaved), they both fall into the ditch” From Psalms 7:15, a ditch is equated to a pit, and from Isaiah 14:15, we know that a pit is equated to hell reserved for Satan and all his dominion (see also Psalm 143:7 and Psalm 9:17). This was determined by comparing scripture with scripture. The Bible is its own interpreter or dictionary. The interpretation is therefore God’s alone and not man’s (i.e. not of our private interpretation). Other times God refers to hell as outer darkness as in Matthew 26:30, where Jesus in a parable declared, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” More explicitly, in Matthew 10:28, Jesus warned: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him (God) which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.”

It should also be remembered that Jesus not only gave his life as “a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28), but He had to endure the wrath of God on behalf of all who would believe on Him because God’s justice demands that the penalty for the sins of the believers had to be paid in order to make their salvation possible. Jesus not only died for those whom He came to seek and to save, but He had to endure the equivalent of an eternity in hell for them (something which is humanly incomprehensible). For proof that this is the case, please see the study on Jonah: https://bereansearching.com/tag/jonah/

2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust alsoare made manifest in your consciences.” 

And for more on the subject of Hell please also see: https://truthingrace.com/2013/12/02/fire-fire/

The Bible verses that discuss “Hell”:

Deuteronomy 32:22 For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

2 Samuel 22:6 The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;(Compare with Jonah 2:2-6)

Job 11:8 It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?

Job 26:6 Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.

Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Psalm 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Psalm 18:5 The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented (went before) me.

Psalm 55:15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

Psalm 86:13 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.

Psalm 116:3 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.

Psalm 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

Proverbs 5:5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.

Proverbs 7:27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

Proverbs 9:18 But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

Proverbs 15:11 Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?

Proverbs 15:24 The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.

Proverbs 23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Proverbs 27:20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

Isaiah 5:14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

Isaiah 14:9 Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.

Isaiah 14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Isaiah 28:15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:

Isaiah 28:18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.

Isaiah 57:9 And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell.

Ezekiel 31:16 I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth.

Ezekiel 31:17 They also went down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen.

Ezekiel 32:21 The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.

Ezekiel 32:27 And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.

Amos 9:2 Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:

Jonah 2:2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

Habakkuk 2:5 Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:

Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Matthew 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matthew 5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

Matthew 16:18 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 18:9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Matthew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Matthew 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Mark 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Mark 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Mark 9:47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:

Luke 10:15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.

Luke 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.(this is from a parable, but speaks the truth about Hell as being a place of eternal torment)

Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Acts 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Revelation 6:8 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 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

For a more complete understanding of the reality of Hell, and to understand how, in order to save a people for Himself (so that they would not have to go to Hell for eternity), Jesus had to not only die, but He had to endure Hell (the wrath of God) for them for an equivalent of eternity compressed into the temporal space of three days and three nights… please see the study of Jonah available in this blog: https://bereansearching.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/a-christian-study-of-the-book-of-jonah/

Please also see this useful reference:

https://truthingrace.com/2013/12/02/fire-fire/

Who can find a virtuous woman? Proverbs 31:10-31

January 24, 2017

imageThis study is a bit different…so it is somewhat of a work in progress…but please think about what Proverbs 31:10 might mean from a spiritual perspective… “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” (and beyond it through to the end of the chapter).  Feel free to offer comments.  Look carefully at the key words throughout the text to the end of Proverbs and think about what they mean when viewed in the context of the whole Bible.

Here is one hint that should be at least considered to understand these verses correctly…The virtuous woman (from the spiritual perspective) is the eternal Church, the Bride of Christ, as God views her, and the husband (from the spiritual perspective) is the Lord Jesus Christ.  When we search out where all the descriptive words are found everywhere else in the Bible, this exegesis will be more clearly borne out.

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Please bear in mind that there are only two other verses in the whole Bible that use the phrase “virtuous woman.

And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.
A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as
rottenness in his bones.
House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Anna the Prophetess

January 22, 2017

Herods-Temple

In Luke 2:36-38 we read about Anna, a prophetess, and in those three short verses there is a lot of information to be gleaned by any believer willing to take the time to humbly and prayerfully search the scriptures for the wisdom to be found there, as if they were filled with hidden treasure…because that is exactly what the scriptures are…just as we are exhorted to do in Proverbs 2:3-4: “Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.

So what exactly are the hid treasures to be found in the three verses which discuss Anna the prophetess? Please let us look together.

We read in Luke 2:36-38, “And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;  And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”

Anna

To begin, let us start with the very name, Anna, and search out its meaning. Anna is a Latin form of the Greek name Ἅννα and the Hebrew name Hannah (Hebrew: חַנָּה Ḥannāh‎‎, meaning “favor” or “grace”)! Grace! What a perfect name for a true believer! Anna is in fact an allegorical representation of all true believers who are blessed to come under the Grace of God through the Person and Redemptive Work of the Lord Jesus Christ! We know that this is true because we read in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Prophetess

We read that she was a “prophetess.” This means that she was qualified by God to declare the scriptures, the Word of God! She was preceded by other prophetesses in the Old Testament like Meriam in Exodus 15:20; Deborah in Judges 4:4; Huldah in 2Kings 22:14; and succeeded in the New Testament by the four daughters of Phillip, the evangelist, who was one of the seven deacons, as we read in Acts 21:8-9. It is clear that as a “prophetess”, Anna is being used to spiritually typify the “Church” which is the spiritual “Bride of Jesus Christ.” She spiritually represents all of the believers in the world who are mandated to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ as declared in the scriptures. (Please note that there are many cases in the Bible where God uses women to spiritually  represent the church. For more on this, please also see the attached commentaries found on this website which address key women in the Bible like Esther, Ruth, and Deborah.)

Phanuel

We read that Anna was the daughter of Phanuel. Phanuel means “Face of God”. By naming Anna as his daughter, we gain additional insight to the fact that the Face of God had looked upon her and she was a saved individual, for we read three times in Psalm 80:3, 7 and 19 the following,

Verse 3 “Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

Verse 7 “Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

Verse 19 “Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

The Original Greek word for Phanuel actually comes from Peniel as we see in Genesis 32:30, “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Just as Jacob/Israel had seen the Face of God and had his life preserved (he was saved), so too is Anna’s (eternal) life preserved…she too is saved. She can also be likened as a friend of God even as Moses in Exodus 33:11 where we read, “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.

Aser (Asher)

Asher means “Happy and blessed” as we read in Genesis 30:13 “And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.” Asher was the 8th son of Jacob. The number 8 reminds us of the circumcision because all males were to be circumcised on the 8th day as we read in Luke 2:21:“and when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”

Anna received the circumcision of the heart and was a “true Jew”.   God makes this clear in both the Old and New Testaments by comparing and contrasting the earthly outward physical circumcision with the inward spiritual circumcision. In Deuteronomy 30:6, we read, “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” And in Romans 2:29, “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

The blessings of Asher by Jacob in Genesis 49:20 apply directly to Anna (“Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.”) because she is being richly fed by the Word of God Who is Jesus, as we know from John 1:14: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” And then in John 6:35 we read “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” and Isaiah 55:10-11, 10 “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Moreover, Anna is provided with food suitable for royalty (the dainties) as all believers are considered to be kings and part of the royal priesthood (1Peter 2:9). Anna is also like Martha’s sister Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus and was fed directly from the Master (Luke 10:39), in being able to behold the Christ child, she saw God, face to face.

The blessings of Asher as prophesied by Moses in Deuteronomy 33:24-25 also apply to Anna. There we read, “And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.” As a typological portrait of the church, Anna represents all true believers who are blessed with spiritual children (the elect) who are brought into the church through the preaching and hearing of the Word. Anna, like all believers, also receives spiritual blessings as we read in Ephesians 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” As a believer she was accepted, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” The oil represents the Holy Spirit (this is made clear in other studies) and He is in control of her paths (Proverbs3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

With the further blessing of Asher by Moses, hence Anna, described as having “shoes”, meant that she was not naked spiritually (barefoot, see Isaiah 20:2-3), but rather she was shod with the preparation of the gospel as we read in Ephesians 6:15, “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” Anna’s shoes being “iron and brass” meant that as she prophesied, the words were the savour of life unto life to the elect, and death unto death to the non-elect (2 Corinthians 2:16) as they bring judgment to us…one way or another there is judgment to be encountered. Iron relates to bondage to sin (Egypt is referred to in the Bible as the iron furnace Deuteronomy 4:20 and Jeremiah 11:4 and 1Kings 8:51)  and brass represents God’s fiery judgment (Revelation 1:15) and together they relate to hell and punishment from which the believers will escape (because Jesus paid the full price for them) and the non-believers will not. The gospel is a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). Anna was of great age (as a widow having been married 91 years earlier, she was likely well over 100) so her life of many days reflects the strength of her faith. While Moses prophesy pertaining to Asher, in the first instance, is really speaking of Jesus Christ, it also refers to Anna (and all believers) as she represents the body of Christ.

Great Age

As mentioned above, Anna was of great age. This is considered a blessing if one is a believer according to the Bible as we read in Psalms 92:12-14,“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;” Anna flourished in prophesying, please see Matthew 21:43 “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” And Psalms 126:6, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Finally, Anna being in the Way of Righteousness (in Christ), her old age was a crown of glory as we read in Proverbs 16:31, “The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

Husband

Anna, as a typological portrait of the church, is a wife which in the spiritual sense means she is the bride of Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:2 says, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” And in Revelation 21:2, we read: “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Virginity

Anna was a virgin at the time of her marriage. This means she was chaste in her life walk. Spiritually speaking, true virgins are qualified to marry the High Priest (Jesus Christ). Anna was also typifying the daughters of The King (God) who were virgins (2 Samuel 13:18, “And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.”) Anna represented the five wise virgins in the parable of Jesus in Matthew 25:1-13 who had sufficient oil (The Holy Spirit) in their lamps (The Holy Spirit breathed Word of God… Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”) who went into the bridal chamber.

Widow

Widows are addressed in depth in the study of Ruth (both Ruth and Naomi were “widows indeed” like Anna). Anna was married for seven years, but at the time of Jesus’s first coming she was a widow for her earthly husband was dead and evidently had no other family. While being a true widow, and hence desolate, she trusted in God and continued in “fastings and prayers night and day” just as we read in 1 Timothy 5: 3 and 5, “Honour widows that are widows indeed. Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.”

Departed not from the Temple

The true Temple of God, in the spiritual sense, is the body of believers. She did not depart from that assembly. The Greek word for “departed” is “aphistemi” is translated “fall away” in Luke 8:13 in reference to those who are not steadfast in faith because they had no root (Jesus is the Root of David, Revelation 5:5) as we read,“They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” Anna was steadfast and was well rooted in her faith and did not depart the temple or fall away.

Served God with Fasting and Prayers Night and Day

True fasting has to do with declaring the gospel to loose us from the bondage to sin and the devil…this is clear when we read Isaiah 58:5-7, “Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? [is it] to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes [under him]? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? [Is] not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? [Is it] not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” While Anna could have been abstaining from eating in the normal sense of the word for fasting, she was also prophesying the Word of God, and hence the true gospel according to Isaiah 58, and thereby serving God in the process to provide spiritual bread to the hungry and set the spiritual captives free.

Anna was also praying night and day, just as we are instructed to do by Jesus in Luke 18:1, “And he spake a parable unto them [to this end], that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;”  Also, in Luke 21:36 e read where Jesus said, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Finally, one verse sums it up in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

Spake of Him

Anna was speaking of Jesus! The Greek word that was translated “spake” is also translated “preach” six times elsewhere in the Bible. (in Mark 2.3, Acts 8:35, 11:19, 13:42, 14:25, and 16:6). This means that Anna was “preaching” about Jesus, just as we read in 2 Corinthians 4:5, “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”) Moreover, Anna had been expecting Jesus’ first coming just as believers are expecting and preaching/declaring His second coming soon.

To All Them Who Looked For Redemption in Jerusalem

Everyone who is a believer is looking forward to the day of redemption by that Great Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.   The word translated “Look for” is “prosdechomai” which is used in Titus 2:13 where we read that the believers are, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Anna is a typological prefigure of all believers who are as in 2 Peter 3:11-13, “[Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Redemption is the Greek word λύτρωσις (lytrōsis) G3085, which is used only three times in the New Testament. The word means a ransoming, redemption, or deliverance. In addition to Luke 2:38, we find it in Luke 1:68, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,”

Hebrews 9:12, we read, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” That eternal redemption is coming with the completion of the believers’ salvation upon the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Finally, there are only two Jerusalems, the one on earth that is located today in national Israel, which remains in bondage to the law, and the heavenly one that is above that is free from the law, as we read in Galations 4:25-26, “For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” Those with whom Anna spoke were in the literal physical Jerusalem, in the literal physical temple, and who were expecting the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as their Redeemer, but as believers they would also be looking for that eternal redemption, as they also knew that there was a better place ahead, the spiritual new Jerusalem of which they would all be part as we read in Revelation 21:2.

The message

This study, like all others on this website, is meant to share insights on the magnificent crafting of the Bible by God, which He provides us to gain insights on Who He Is and how He has controlled time and space for His Glory and for the enlightenment of His church. As we read in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Sometimes this is easier to see in some places in the Bible than in others, but in each case, it requires at least a bit of time and effort in the scriptures, to humbly and prayerfully search things out by comparing scripture with scripture (“which the Holy Ghost (the Holy Spirit, the Comforter) teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.“see: 1 Corinthians 2:13).  In this case, it seems clear that Anna is a prefigurement of all believers (as a widow standing in for those on the Old Testament side). She was a faithful witness, and she typified the believers with all of her attributes as expounded in the above. She was a prophetess who faithfully witnessed (spake) about Jesus Christ and His Redemption of His people. Anna is one more role model that God has set forth in His Word for our exhortation, and to strengthen our faith in Him and our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is coming again soon.  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Hallelujah!

The Earth as Described by God

January 17, 2017

The Old Testament provides us with unusual information about the earth and the universe at a time when that information was not scientifically discernible.  The Old Testament provides us with some amazing insights that are accepted fact today, but they were compiled thousands of years before Galileo, Copernicus, and Isaac Newton were able to scientifically derive them.

We can read that the earth is round in Isaiah 40:22 where it says, “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

In Proverbs 8:27, “When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:

In Job 22:14, “Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.”

All three of occurrences of the original Hebrew word (“Chuwg”) Strong’s Number: 02329 in the Bible are used as either circle, compass, or circuit and are shown in the above three verses.  They all refer to something which is a circle or round in shape.

Finally, Job 26:7, “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.”  The earth indeed hangs on nothing in the vast vacuum of space! Only God could know this to be the case at the time of this writing…More proof that the Bible is the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God!

Remember also that God created this Universe: 

Genesis 1:1 “¶ “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Psalm 8:3, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

Psalm 19:1, [[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.]] “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Psalm 97:6, “The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.”

Psalm 50:6, “And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God [is] judge himself. Selah.
 
John 1:1-3,  “¶In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

 Hebrews 1:10 “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

And finally, Romans 1:20, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
 
POSTSCRIPT:  This world, this universe, this creation will be done away with come Judgment Day.
 
Hebrews 1:11, “They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”

2 Peter 3:10-13, “¶ But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

 
 

Mephibosheth and God’s Covenant of Grace

January 17, 2017

Crutches

Introduction and Overview*

The story of Mephibosheth is another Biblical example of God’s Grace and Mercy that is bestowed upon the undeserving believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Mephibosheth was a Benjamite, and a grandson of Israel’s first king, King Saul, and the son of David’s beloved friend, Jonathan. The Biblical account of Mephibosheth is used by God as a typological/allegorical representation of all believers, who, by nature, should die (eternally in Hell) for their sins (as exemplified by Mephibosheth being “lame”).  However, by the Grace and mercy of God, alone, through the Covenant of Grace wrought through the Person and Work of the LORD Jesus Christ, all such as Mephibosheth can have eternal peace and security in Heaven with Jesus Christ. The story is also an interesting one, because it requires a bit of searching to unfold, and to see, a more complete picture. (Note: Mephibosheth is also called “Meribbaal” in 1 Chronicles 8:34  and 1 Chronicles 9:40, which means “Contender with Baal”, and his descendants are also listed to the end of the 1 Chronicles, Chapters 8 & 9).

* This commentary draws heavily from that of this author’s late friend and mentor, Pastor Henry T. Mahan: https://www.grace-ebooks.com/library/Henry%20Mahan/HM_Works%20Vol%201.pdf pp. 107-109. And Audio of his sermon on Mephibosheth can be heard here: https://www.sermonaudio.com/saplayer/playpopup.asp?SID=102906214225

Contents:

PART 1: The Covenant Came First: David’s Covenant with Jonathan (Mephibosheth’s Father)

PART 2: The Recipient of the Covenant: Mephibosheth (“Dispeller of Shame”) 

PART 3: David Comes to Power, and He Remembers and Fulfills the Covenant to Jonathan by Showing Mercy to Mephibosheth

God Remembers His Everlasting Covenant/Oath

A Closer Look at 2 Samuel 9:1-13 (Some Significant Points to Ponder)

PART 4: Ziba (“Plant”), Mephibosheth’s Deceitful Servant 

PART 5: Mephibosheth Was Spared and Did Eat Continually at the King’s Table, as One of the King’s Sons

The Concluding Message: God’s Covenant of Grace With and Through Jesus Christ Continues Forever!                 The Believers Will Eat at Jesus’s Table in Heaven for Eternity as Sons of God!

PART 1: The Covenant Came First: David’s Covenant with Jonathan (Mephibosheth’s Father)

In 1 Samuel 20:11-17 we read, “And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field.  And Jonathan said unto David, O Lord God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and shew it thee;  The Lord do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the Lord be with thee, as he hath been with my father.  And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not:  But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the Lord hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth. 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the Lord even require it at the hand of David’s enemies.  And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.”

(NOTE to the reader, it should also be noted that King Saul later begged David to make a similar promise to King Saul that was also kept by David as we read in 1 Samuel 24:20-22, : And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand. Swear now therefore unto me by the Lord, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father’s houseAnd David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold.“). That oath was also kept by David when David sought out and saved Mephibosheth.

PART 2: The Recipient of the Covenant: Mephibosheth (“Dispeller of Shame”) is a son of Jonathan, the son of King Saul, the Son of Kish, to whom that “forever” covenant applies, but he is “Lame in His Feet”

King Saul was “the people’s king” and he had been rejected by God for his disobedience and rebellion (1 Samuel 15:26); and David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:13 &14), subsequently reigned over all Israel when King Saul died in a battle with the Phillistines (along with three of Saul’s sons, including David’s dear friend, Jonathan 1 Samuel 31:2). Following the death of Saul, another son of Saul (Ishbosheth) was installed by the Captain of King Saul’s army to replace Saul as king in rebellion against David (2 Sa 2:8-10). During this power struggle anyone of the house of Saul was potentially vulnerable to being killed by either David or his supporters (as happened to Ishbosheth’s captain, Abner, who was killed by David’s captain, Joab 2 Samuel 3:26-30).  As a result, “all the Israelites were troubled.” 2 Samuel 4:1.  We also learn in 2 Samuel 4:4, “And Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.” Mephibosheth in Hebrew means “Dispeller of Shame.” (While it is not entirely clear of the meaning behind that name, we do know that Saul was not a man who God loved, and because Miphibosheth was the only one of Saul’s lineage who found grace, Mephibosheth would thereby have to be viewed as having dispelled that shame.)

The Spiritual Context of Being Lame

We also now know that he was lame in his feet (both feet, as the Bible later explains in 2 Samuel, chapter 9). To be lame is NOT a good thing…it is used in the Bible as being a “blemish” and as an allegory for being in a state of sin sickness that requires healing and which separates us from God. We know this because it is specifically mentioned in God’s Law as a reason for which a man (descended from Aaron) cannot serve as a priest to approach God’s Holy Temple, or any similarly blemished animal cannot be used as a sacrifice to God for sin. Here are the key examples (please read the entire chapters to see the full context).

Leviticus 21:18, “For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,”

Deuteronomy 15:21, “And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the Lord thy God.”

Deuteronomy 23:14  “For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

2 Chronicles 23:19 And he set the porters at the gates of the house of the LORD, that none [which was] unclean in any thing should enter in.”

To be lame is treated in the Bible much like all such ailments /infirmities /blemishes /sicknesses that represent being “unclean” and spiritually signify our natural state of sin, e.g., deafness, dumbness, blindness, broken bones, leprosy, demon possession, and even physical death from which there is a need of a cleansing cure. And the Bible makes clear that Salvation through Jesus Christ is the only eternal cure for our sins. The reality is that we are all by nature, “spiritually lame.”  And spiritually speaking, we cannot remain “lame” to enter into the presence of God, as salvation through Jesus Christ’s intercession is the means whereby we are healed of all such infirmities. Hebrews 12:13, “And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.”

With specific regard to being lame, it is most interesting to note in 2 Samuel 5:6 & 8, “And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither.” And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, [that are] hated of David’s soul, [he shall be chief and captain]. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.”

These points are important for two reasons:

  • 1) While the above two verses make it clear that David’s “soul” hates the lame and the blind, and, moreover, that the blind and the lameshall not come into the house”, it is not inconsistent with the fact that God HATES our sinful nature (typified by all such physical defects/blemishes) and that God will not allow any unclean thing (sin or sinners) to enter into HIS house (Heaven).
  • 2) Nonetheless, because of the loving bond and covenant established between David and Jonathan, we later see that despite being lame (mentioned repeatedly), Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, is not only allowed into David’s house, but also to continually eat bread at King David’s table,as one of the king’s sons” (2 Samuel 9:11).

The “Lame” Are Healed in the New Testament

We can see other accounts in the New Testament where someone is lame and is subsequently miraculously cured by Jesus and his disciples. See for example, Matthew 15:30&31, “And great multitudes came unto him (Jesus), having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel. Also, Matthew 21:14And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. This is reiterated in Jesus testimony to be passed to John the Baptist, “Luke 7:22, “Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.” and later in Acts 3:1-26, we read where Peter healed the lame man seeking alms to whom Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God:” Again in Acts 8:7 we read the account of the disciples healing infirmities that include lameness, “For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.”

PART 3: David Comes to Power, and He Remembers and Fulfills the Covenant to Jonathan by Showing Mercy to Mephibosheth

When David was anointed king of Israel, in theory, any living male heir of King Saul could have tried to challenge David’s throne (just as Ishbosheth did), and would, in general, be quite fearful of being killed by the King David for that sole reason (we later read that the male heirs considered themselves “dead men2 Samuel 19:28). In fact, one way or another, all but one of King Saul’s male heirs were eventually slain (including Ishbosheth, 2 Samuel 4:5-12)…only Mephibosheth was spared as we will see. We read in 1 Samuel 31:2, “And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchishua, Saul’s sons.” But two other of Saul’s sons and five other grandsons did live on (for a time), in addition to Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul.

 In 2 Samuel 9:1-13) we read the account where David remembers his covenant with Jonathan (that covenant was established in 1 Samuel 20:12-17), “And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar. Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant! And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I [am]?  Then the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master’s son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house.  Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in [the fruits], that thy master’s son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master’s son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.  Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons.  And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth.  So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.

God Remembers His Everlasting Covenant/Oath

Psalm 105:7-10, “He [is] the LORD our God: his judgments [are] in all the earth. He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word [which] he commanded to a thousand generations.Which [covenant] he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, [and] to Israel [for] an everlasting covenant:

The last words of King David before his death included what we read in 2 Samuel 23:5Although my house [be] not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all [things], and sure: for [this is] all my salvation, and all [my] desire, although he make [it] not to grow.

God never forgets His covenant with Israel for we read in Leviticus 26:42, “Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.”  This is also repeated in the last four verses in Isaiah 16:1-63, beginning with “Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.”

Luk 1:67-75, The fulfillment of Zacharias’s prophesy (John the Baptist’s father) speaking of Jesus), “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed [be] the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his peopleAnd hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy [promised] to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenantThe oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. To perform the mercy [promised] to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;”

God remembered and performed His covenant to Israel with a new and everlasting covenant in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ (with the spiritual eternal Israel, the true believing Christians, out of all the world saved by grace, and not by the works of the law, through the fulfillment of God’s law by Jesus Christ His Beloved Son).

A Closer Look at 2 Samuel 9:1-13 (Some Significant Points to Ponder)

1. And the king said…’ (v. 3)

Where the word of the king is, there is power, authority, and total sovereignty. There is no council, no conference, and no bargaining here. The king speaks from his sovereign throne, and what he decrees shall be done.

  • Our God is infinitely Sovereign Over All of His Creation.  God reigns in total authority in Heaven and Earth (Psalm 115:1-3; Daniel 4:34-35).    NOTE: It is also interesting that immediately following in Psalm 115:48 we are given a description of the idols of the heathen as including: “eyes have they, but they see not:” (they are blind) and “feet have they, but they walk not:” (they are lame).  Moreover, it is also interesting that Jesus’s only healings in Jerusalem were of a blind man (John 9:1-41) and a lame man (John 5:1-17).
  • Our God is Sovereign in Providence (1 Samuel 2:6-8; Isaiah 45:5-7; Isaiah 46:9-11). There may be second and third causes, but God is the first cause of all things (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:1-11).
  • Our God is Sovereign in Salvation (Exodus 33:18&19;Romans 9:15-18; Jonah 2:9).

Please see: https://bereansearching.com/2015/12/28/the-real-inconvenient-truth-god-is-in-sovereign-and-in-charge-of-all-of-his-creation-this-universe-and-god-alone-determines-the-end-from-the-beginning-and-jesus-is-the-embodiment/ )

2. ‘That I might show the kindness of God to him.’ (v. 3)

The Hebrew word that is translated as “kindness” (חֶסֶד (ḥeseḏ H2617) is also translated 149x in the King James Bible as “mercy“.  David, the king, was a man of mercy. The house of Saul was David’s enemy and deserved no mercy nor pity, but David found it in his heart to show mercy to some.

Our God Is Holy, Righteous, and Just; but He Is also Merciful. He delights to show mercy (Psalm 130:3-7). Adam’s race is a fallen, rebellious race and deserves no mercy. God is not indebted to sinners, but he has determined to show mercy to some (Exodus 33:18&19). The language of religion is merit, rewards, and service; but the language of true redemption is mercy. Just as Paul was inspired to write “I obtained mercy” (1Ti 1:13-16), and as the Publican who cried, “Lord, be merciful to me, the sinner” (Luk 18:13)… so too is it true for all believers saved from their sins by God’s mercy alone (Ephesians 2:4-9).

3. ‘Which is lame on his feet.’ (v. 3,4)

Ziba, the servant of the house of Saul, reported to David that Jonathan had a son called Mephibosheth, “…Beholdhe is in the house of Machir (“Sold” מָכִיר (māḵîr) H4353 ), the son of Ammiel (“Of the family of God” עַמִּיאֵל (ʿammî’ēl)H5988), in Lodebar (“Without Pasture” לֹא דְבָר (lō’ ḏᵊḇār)H3810).” and who was now a poor cripple because of a tragic fall when he was five years old (2 Samuel 4:4).

The word lame through a “fall” not only describes Mephibosheth, but it is our spiritual condition since the Fall of our father, Adam (Romans 5:12, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22; Ephesians 2:1-3). All of our faculties were affected by this Fall into sin, and in our flesh dwelleth no good (Romans 3:9-19).

We should also take note of the state that Mephibosheth was in when David asks of his condition. We learn that Mephibosheth is with those who are “Sold” (as into bondage?) and is considered to be among the “Family of God” and is currently in a place “without pasture” (like a lost sheep needing a shepherd).  Jesus gathers His lost sheep (foreordained by God the Father as the kinfolk of Jesus), who Jesus saves from the house of bondage (death and Hell), and Jesus provides His sheep (the believers) with green pasture (Psalm 23:1-6)…eternal life in Heaven (Hebrews 13:20-21).

4. ‘Then David sent and fetched him.’ (v. 5)

King David purposed to show mercy to someone of Saul’s house. When he heard that Jonathan had a crippled son in Lodebar, David sent his servant to where Mephibosheth was and “fetched” him (the Hebrew word for fetched is translated 747x in the King James Bible as “take” לָקַח (lāqaḥ)H3947); that is, the servant called and brought him to David.  It should be noted that the word was first used in the Bible in Genesis 2:15And the LORD God tookH3947 the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”  It is also the very word used in Genesis 5:24 when God “took” Enoch to Heaven!  “And Enoch walked with God: and he [was] not; for God tookH3947 him.” God Is The One Who initiates the action to take and to save, not the man being saved, for Jesus said in John 6:44 (and John 6:65), “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

The Lord of Glory is Love, and love must be expressed. The Lord of Glory in His sovereign mercy determined to show mercy to a fallen race. He set His love and affection on lame sinners and sent His only begotten Son into the world to be our Saviour (John 3:16-17; Galatians 4:4-5; Romans 5:6– 10). Christ came where we were, became what we are, and by His obedience and death honored the law, satisfied justice, and enabled God to be just and justifier of all who believe (Romans 3:19-26; 1 Peter 3:18). He then sent His Holy Spirit to take us, call us, and make us willing to come to Him (Galatians 1:15; Ephesians 1:13-14; Psalm 110:3).

5. ‘Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant! (v. 6).

We all must “revere” our LORD, Jesus Christ (Who sits on the eternal throne of David), for whom all believers are “servants”.

6. ‘And David said fear not. (v. 7)

Mephibosheth was afraid in the presence of the king because Mephibosheth was born of the house of the King David’s enemy (King Saul); therefore, he fell on his face before the king and did reverence. However David said in effect, ‘You have no cause to be afraid; 1 will show you kindness.’

Men and women who know something of God’s holiness, their own nature and sin, and what the law and justice of the King demand have every reason to be afraid in His presence (Luke 18:13). God will punish sin, ‘The soul that sinneth, it shall die’ (Ezekiel 18:20), ‘The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.’ (Proverbs 9:10 and Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 19:23, Proverbs 16:6). Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

7. ‘I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan’s thy father’s sake. (v. 7)

David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.” David was in effect saying to Mephibosheth, “I have not fetched you to destroy you; so you need not be afraid. I will surely (certainly) show you mercy for the sake of Jonathan, your father, whom I love.” Before Mephibosheth was born, David made a covenant with Jonathan, promising to show mercy to Jonathan’s sons because of his love for him (1 Samuel 20:11-17).

Before the foundation of the world, God the Father entered into an everlasting covenant of mercy with the Lord Jesus Christ, giving him a people out of Adam’s race and making Christ the surety and redeemer of those people (John 6:37-45; John 10:24-30; John 17:1-3, 9; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 13:20-21). The mercy and kindness God shows to sinners is because of his love for Christ (Romans 8:33-39). It is for Christ’s sake (Colossians 1:14-18).

8. ‘And he bowed himself, and said, What [is] thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I [am]?(v. 8)

Apart from God’s Grace, all of mankind is nothing but a “dead dog”.

9. ‘thou shalt eat bread at my table continually’, ‘As for Mephibosheth, [said the king}, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons.’, ‘For he did eat continually at the king’s table.’ (v. 7, 11, 13)

David fulfilled every promise that he had made to Jonathan to Mephibosheth, as God will fulfill every promise to His Son, Jesus Christ regarding the elect; for none shall ever perish, but shall all be made like Christ and enjoy his presence forever (Romans 8:26-39). And all the believers are considered to be “sons of God” (John 1:12 and 1John 3:1&2) and “heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).

Finally, please, dear reader, think about this…What did Jesus say to His disciples at the Last Supper?

In Luke 22:29&30 we read that Jesus (The “King of kings, and Lord of lords“! see:1Timothy 6:15&Revelation 19:16) said, “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

This will be true for all believers in Heaven! Hallelujah!

PART 4: Ziba (“Plant”), Mephibosheth’s Deceitful Servant 

However, the account of Mephibosheth does not stop there…In 2 Samuel 15:13, we read of the flight of David from Jerusalem arising from the insurrection by David’s son, Absalom against David, and David’s fearing that Absalom was going to slaughter David and his household, “make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.”  Mephibosheth (as we later read in Chapter 19) evidently intended to go with David out of Jerusalem, or at least support him in his flight, because Mephibosheth’s servant, Ziba, loaded up pack animals with provisions and chased after David.  Ziba left Mephibosheth behind caught up with David. Then in 2 Samuel 16:1-4, we read where Mephibosheth is falsely accused of treason/rebellion and his possessions are taken from him and given to his accuser, Mephibosheth’s servant, Ziba, And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine. And the king said unto Ziba, What meanest thou by these? And Ziba said, The asses be for the king’s household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink.  And the king said, And where is thy master’s son? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he abideth at Jerusalem: for he said, To day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father. Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, thine are all that pertained unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I humbly beseech thee that I may find grace in thy sight, my lord, O king.” Ziba, originally the servant of Saul (and hence also Jonathan), falsely accused Mephibosheth to King David, for Mephibosheth never said what was accused of him, and therefore Ziba must have evidently coveted Mephibosheth’s inheritance from king Saul.

However, later, in 2 Samuel 19:24-30, we read the following where Mephibosheth, upon meeting King David coming back across the River Jordan after Absalom was dead, has the opportunity to explain himself to King David: “And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace. And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth? And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king; because thy servant is lame. And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in thine eyes.  For all of my father’s house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king?  And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land.  And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house.

Here we (and King David) can plainly see that Mephibosheth remained a faithful servant who loves David, had an unfaithful servant (Ziba), who lied about him, and that Mephibosheth placed his relationship with David above all his worldly material possessions.  Mephibosheth humbled himself before his King and was happy only to again be in the King’s presence and He left his fate in the hand of the King. David again spared Mephibosheth, and the king said that the earthly possessions granted to Ziba earlier would be divided between Mephibosheth and Ziba. However, Mephibosheth said that Ziba could take it all!

Mephibosheth was clearly a child of God, 1 John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Remember also that Jesus’s disciples, Peter, James, and John, when Jesus called them to be fishers of men, according to Luke 5:11, “And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.”  James 2:5, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?  We can only wonder about the ultimate fate of Ziba, but we do know from Mark 8:36,For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” 

PART 5:  Mephibosheth Was Spared and Did Eat Continually at the King’s Table, as One of the King’s Sons

King David continued to show grace to Mephibosheth, as we later read in 2 Samuel 21. In 2 Samuel 21:1, we read this, “Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites*. And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them (see Joshua 9:3-27): and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.) Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the LordAnd they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whom the Lord did choose. And the king said, I will give them.” Then we are given the account in 2 Samuel 21:8&9, where two of Saul’s sons (of his concubine Rizpah) and five grandsons (of his daughter Michal) were turned over by king David to Gibeonites to appease them and were hanged, “And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell [all] seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first [days], in the beginning of barley harvest.” The Gibeonites killed (actually “hanged”**) those seven men (including an uncle of Mephibosheth, who was also named Mephibosheth, one of two sons of Saul via his concubine, Rizpah, 2 Samuel 21:8). However, most notably, we read in 2 Samuel 21:7 , “But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD’S oath that [was] between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.Mephibosheth was spared because of the LORD’s oath (covenant)!  Amazing!   And even more amazing is the fact that the eternal Covenant of Grace established before Creation by God the Father with His Son, Jesus Christ, spares wicked sinners from spending an eternity in Hell and God’s Covenant of Grace is eternal.

*There is no unequivocal account in the Bible of Saul’s having “slew the Gibeonites“.  However, we do know that the Gibeonites were living in the area that was allotted to the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 21:17), and Saul, being a Benjamite, would have been familiar with them, and at some point could have taken offense by their presence among his tribe and Israel. We also know that King Saul ordered the slaughter of 85 priests in Nob (a priestly city in Benjamin, not far from Jerusalem) for having helped fleeing David (providing him with food and Goliath’s sword).  Many others in that town were killed as well, which could have included Gibeonites who inhabited the surrounding area. In 1Samuel 22:17-19, we read the following: “And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD; because their hand also [is] with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD. And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod. And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

NOTE: It is not insignificant that both Esther and her elder cousin, Mordechai, whom we read about in the the book of Esther are also Benjamites, as we read in Esther 2:5, “Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;” The details of the familial relationship between Mordecai (and hence Esther) and King Saul/Jonathan/Mephibosheth are unclear, but at the least we can see that they are all part of the tribe of Benjamin, and that they are all descended from someone having the name Kish (“bow” “snare” (like the river Kishon) or “power”).  And the Kish who was the father of King Saul was described as a “mighty man of power” (or substance) according to 1 Samuel 9:1&2.

Please also see: https://bereansearching.com/2009/09/19/an-exposition-of-the-book-of-esther/

The Concluding Message: God’s Covenant of Grace With and Through Jesus Christ Continues Forever! The Believers Will Eat at Jesus’s Table in Heaven for Eternity as Sons of God!

The Mephibosheth account provides a number of insights for us regarding God’s Magnificent Plan of Salvation.  King Saul as the first king of Israel can at times be either an allegorical “Type” of Adam, or after the Fall, of the devil. King David, a man after God’s own heart, oftentimes represents the “second” Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.  However, King David, in his relationship with Jonathan, is more of a picture of God the Father who loves Jesus, the beloved Savior with Whom the Covenant of Grace was established before all of creation.  When it was said that David’s love for Jonathan was greater than anywhere else we read in the Bible as we read in 1 Samuel 18:1 (and 1 Samuel 18:3 and 1 Samuel 20:17) that “the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul,” which can only represent the perfect love between God The Father and God The Son.  Jonathan was never described as blemished, just as Jesus was without blemish.  So many of the Psalms have the historical conflict of David with Saul, but the language clearly points to and teaches us of that conflict with God/believers and the devil/his followers.  Mephibosheth represents the elect of God, all those who are believers throughout time.  Mephibosheth represents all those whom God seeks and saves, of the lineage of Adam (who, because of the Fall of Adam and their own sins, would otherwise be condemned to eternal death and Hell), but because of the sacrifice of Christ (“the Lamb slain from the foundation of the worldRevelation 13:8), become the partakers of new birth, and are viewed by God as the seed of Christ and “heirs according to the promise” Galatians 3:29.

Moreover, just like David, God remembers his Covenant…God’s Covenant of Grace and Mercy is sealed by the Precious Blood of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and will endure forever. In 2 Timothy 1:8-9, we read, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of GodWho hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” God remembers His covenant, and He will seek and save those who are His sheep…the sheep of His calling.  In 1 Peter 2:25 we read, “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” And this brings us to Hebrews 13:20, “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.

Finally, this account of Mephibosheth points us to the loving bond between God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and God’s Covenant of Grace as established through Jesus (before the foundation of the world, 1Peter 1:18-21) to show us how despicable and loathsome sinners can nonetheless enter the kingdom of God through Grace because of the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. God sees the covenant and bond that He has established with His Son! As a result, all those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord God and Savior, are viewed as co-heirs with Christ. God does not see the believer’s defects anymore, only Christ’s righteousness (they will be clothed in the robes of His righteousness Isaiah 61:10 and Revelation 7:9).  So the believers are invited into God’s Heavenly House to sit and eat with HIM for eternity “as one of the king’s sons”!  The account of Mephibosheth is therefore a beautiful picture of God’s Gospel of Grace through His Son, Jesus Christ, which we must preach to the world

May we all be blessed as Mephibosheth and learn from his example to be humble servants willing to forsake all to serve our Lord, King, and Savior, Jesus Christ.  May we all, like Mephibosheth, eat “Bread” continually (forever) at the King’s Table in the King’s House as “sons of God” (John 1:12 and 1John 3:1&2) and “heirs according to the promise“(Galatians 3:29).

POSTSCRIPT

(Please note how much this is reminiscent of the forgiveness shown by Joseph (another “Type” for Jesus Christ) to his brothers who threw him into a pit and left him for dead where, instead of punishing them, he gave them bread to eat in his house during the great seven year famine in Genesis 43-45). Remembering also, in particular, when, after Joseph revealed himself to his brothers in Egypt, we read in Genesis 47:12 And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father’s household, with bread, according to their families.

*1 Samuel 20:12-17, And Jonathan said unto David, O Lord God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and shew it thee; The Lord do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the Lord be with thee, as he hath been with my father.  And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not: But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the Lord hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth. So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the Lord even require it at the hand of David’s enemies. And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.

** The Bible teaches that anyone who is hanged is cursed by God. Galatians 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” The Old Testament specified that in Deuteronomy 21:23, “His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God; ) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.”  What this would seem to teach us is that all of Saul’s grandsons were cursed by God (except for Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, and not his uncle “Mephibosheth” born of the woman Rizpah as we read in 2 Samuel 21:8).  Hence, to at least some degree, as was mentioned earlier, the “Mephibosheth”, who was the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, “dispelled the shame” of his grandfather, King Saul.

Other relevant verses to ponder:

Psalms 51:5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

Psalms 58:3  “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Jonah 2:9   “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.

John 10:27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Matthew 15:27 “And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

Mark 7:28And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.

Ecclesiastes  9:4For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.