Archive for the ‘Bible Studies’ category

Is There an Eternal Hell?

January 30, 2017

Is There an Eternal Hell?

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 talk of God’s wrath and punishment for sin, eternal damnation, or the fires of an eternal hell. Are these just euphemisms, or are they an integral part of God’s magnificent salvation plan?

In order for someone to claim that he is “saved,” or that Jesus Christ is their “Savior,” he must have a clear idea of what he has been saved from. If he claims that he is escaping the just penalty for his sins, he 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).

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

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.

 

 

 

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

January 24, 2017

This will be the next study to be undertaken…so it is just a work in progress…but please think about what this verse (and the rest of it through to the end of the chapter) means from a spiritual perspective.  Feel free to offer comments before we begin. Look carefully at the key words and think about what they mean when viewed in the context of the whole Bible. But here is one hint as to what we must consider to understand these verses correctly…The virtuous women (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.

Anna the Prophetess

January 22, 2017

Anna the Prophetess

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 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 2:3-3: “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’s look together.

We read in Luke 2:36, “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; 37 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. 38 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 time in Psalm 80:3, 7 and 19 the following, 3 “Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” 7 “Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” 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, then 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 (2Corinthians 2:16) as they bring judgment to us…one way or another there is judgment to be encountered. Iron relates to bondage to sin and brass represents the judgment (Revelation 1:15) and together they relate to hell and punishment from which the believers will escape (because Jesus paid the price) 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. 2Corinthians 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 (2Samuel 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 1Timothy 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 58:6, “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?” Anna was prophesying the Word of God and hence the true gospel and serving God in the process.

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 2Corinthians 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 2Peter 3:12, “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?

Redemption is the Greek word that is use on three times in the Bible, but in 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 the completion of the believers’ salvation with 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 and 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 Reveleation 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 2Timothy 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 search things out.  In this case, it seems clear that Anna is a prefigurement of all believers, as 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 about Jesus Christ. 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.

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!

Mephibosheth and the Covenant of Grace

January 17, 2017

Introduction

The story of Mephibosheth is another Biblical example of God’s Grace bestowed on the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Mephibosheth is an allegorical representation of all believers who by nature should die (eternally) for their sins, but, by the Grace of God through the Covenant of Grace wrought through the Person and Work of the LORD Jesus Christ, 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 see the whole picture.

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. 12 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; 13 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. 14 And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not: 15 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. 17 And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.”

Mephibosheth is a son of Jonathan, the son of King Saul, to whom that “forever” covenant applies, but he is lame

In 2 Samuel 4:4 we read, “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.” (It is not entirely clear what that means, but we do know that Saul was not a man who God loved, and because Miphibosheth was the only one of Saul’s line who found grace, he would have thereby have been viewed as having dispelled that shame.)

We also know now that he was lame in his feet (both feet, as the Bible later explains). 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. We know this because it is specifically mentioned in God’s Law as a reason for which a person approach God’s holy temple or an animal cannot be used as a sacrifice for sin. Here are the key examples (please read the 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.”

To be lame is treated in the Bible much like all such ailments /infirmities /blemishes /sicknesses that 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 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.”

With specific regard to being lame, we see other accounts of someone who is lame and then is 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 21:14 “And 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 Chapter 3 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. 7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9 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.”

David comes to power 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 and would in general be quite fearful of being killed by the king for that sole reason (we later read that the male heirs considered themselves “dead men”). In fact, all but one of king Saul’s male heirs were slain, one way or another (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 several grandsons of Saul did live on for a time, that included Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul.

 In 2 Samuel chapter 9 we read the account where David remembers his covenant with Jonathan, “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? 2 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. 3 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. 4 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. 5 Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. 6 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! 7 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. 8 And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am? 9 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. 10 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. 11 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. 12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth. 13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.

 However, the account of Mephibosheth does not stop there…for in 2 Samuel 16:1-4 we later read where Mephibostheth is falsely accused of treason and his possessions are taken from him and given to the accuser,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 this, and Ziba must have evidently coveted Mephibosheth’s inheritance from king Saul.

Later, in 2 Samuel 19 we read the following where Mephibosheth 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. 25 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? 26 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. 27 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. 28 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? 29 And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land. 30 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 is a faithful servant who loves David and places his relationship with David above all worldly material possessions. But with Ziba it is not so.

King David continued to show grace to Mephibosheth as we later read in 2 Samuel 21. There we find the account where seven of Saul’s grandsons were turned over by king David to Gibeonites to appease them, and the Gibeonites killed (actually “hanged”*) those seven men (including a cousin of Mephibosheth who was also named Mephibosheth). However, most notably we read in verse 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.”

The Message

Just like David, God remembers his Covenants…God’s Covenant of Grace and Mercy is sealed by the precisous blood of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and will endure forever. 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.

* 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 cousin Mepibosheth born of the woman Rizpah).  Hence, to at least some degree, “Mephibosheth”, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, “dispelled the shame” of his grandfather, Saul.

Seeing the Person and Work of Jesus Christ in Nehemiah Chapter 2

December 28, 2015

This is a work in progress…but it is posted now as a means to stimulate thought and discussion.

When we read Nehemiah, Chapter 2, there are some very clear parallels between the activities of Nehemiah during his 3 day and 3 night journey to Jerusalem and that of the final days of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry.

Like Nehemiah, who was the only other person Who went to Jerusalem for three days and three nights?

Who else, like Nehemiah, went with no man with him? (where no one else could go?)

Who else, like Nehemiah, did not inform anyone of his business before hand?

Who else, like Nehemiah, “viewed” the walls (the Hebrew word for “viewed” can also be interpreted as “purchase” as in purchasing wheat…remembering that the believers,  who are purchased by the shed blood of Jesus, are the “lively stones”that are built into the walls of the spiritual house of God…see 1 Peter 2:5, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” See also Ephesians 2: 20-22).

Who went out by a spiritual “dung port” as presaged by Nehemiah?

Who crossed over the brook, Kidron, presaged by Nehemiah? (the Garden of Gethsemane is on the other side of the brook, Kidron from Jerusalem). Spiritually, the Brook Kidron at least suggests the eternal fires of hell, as this is where all the refuse was dumped and continually burned from the ancient city of Jerusalem.

What other analogies can be found?  Please search for yourselves.

I will try to get back to this study myself in the future…the Lord willing, as there are many, many analogies to be found.

 

NEW POST ADDITION: July 10, 2016

Let’s take a closer look at another interesting analogy that refers to the enemies of Nehemiah (Nehemiah, by extension, clearly represents Jesus Christ in Nehemiah Chapter 2…in case that was not clear enough in the above):

Nehemiah 2:10

When SANBALLAT the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard [of it], it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.

Isn’t it interesting that two persons (along with representatives from many nearby nations in the world at that time, see Nehemiah 4:7 below) sought to hinder the work of Nehemiah that he had set out to accomplish…that of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and thereby seeking “the welfare of the children of Israel.”

Those two persons were named Sanballat and Tobiah. Who might those two persons represent?

IF the analogy presented above equating the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah following his solo journey to view (“purchase”) the walls during three days and nights with that laying the ground work for the building of the walls of the eternal Jerusalem, the Church, by Jesus Christ (Himself being the Chief Corner Stone), then those two persons ought to have counterparts in the New Testament who sought to defeat the efforts of Jesus in that work. Hmmmm?

Is it only pure coincidence that Sanballat means “hatred (or thorn) in secret.”?

You be the judge.

And the Bible tells us that Sanballat was also a “Horonite”  A Horonite is someone who lives in a cave, and one reference declares such a person to be a “trogolodite”. (see A Dictionary of Scriptural Proper Names, by J.B. Jackson). At a minimum, we have been given some insight that Sanballat is likely to not be a very nice person. So once again, who might Sanballat represent? Who sought to defeat Jesus at the cross of Calvary to keep Jesus from completing His mission? And who was filled with hatred of Jesus and those who followed Jesus and are considered his kinsman (the True Jews)?

Altogether, there at ten verses in the Book of Nehemiah that mention Sanballat, but in Chapter 4 there are a number of references:

1 “But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.

2  And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?

3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite [was] by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.

4 Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity:

5 And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked [thee] to anger before the builders.

6 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.

7 But it came to pass, [that] when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, [and] that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth,

8 And conspired all of them together to come [and] to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.”
Nehemiah 13:28

“And [one] of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, [was] son in law to SANBALLAT the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me.”

We can also see from the above verse that the high priest was in league with Sanballat in seeking to defeat Nehemiah’s efforts. Isn’t that interesting? In the New Testament, do we see a high priest who in effect was also in league with someone who was seeking to stop Jesus by having Jesus put to death at the cross? Yes we do, and his name was Caiaphas. Hmmm?

And what about Tobiah? Tobias in Hebrew means “goodness of God” which is a good thing, but Tobiah was also an Ammonite, which is NOT “good” from a Biblical perspective as described below.
Nehemiah 13:1

“On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the AMMONITE and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever;”

Please compare with what we find here:
Deuteronomy 23:3

“An AMMONITE or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:”

Ammon and Moab were the offspring of Lot by his two daughters.

 

There is still more to do regarding this Bible study help concerning Nehemiah, Chapter 2.

 

 

 

 

 

The real “Inconvenient Truth”

December 28, 2015

Introduction 

God is Sovereign and in complete charge of all of His Creation (this Universe) and God alone determines the end from the beginning.

Jesus is the embodiment of that “Inconvenient” Truth

In recent times (2006) there was a documentary film created about a former United States Vice President’s campaign to educate citizens about global warming entitled “An Inconvenient Truth.” Valid or not, that film only had to do with some carnal, materialistic, and temporal issues of this world. The Bible provides us with insights on a far more important “Inconvenient Truth”…one that directly affects every single human being who has ever lived or ever will live. That inconvenient truth is not only real, but it deals with incarnate, supernatural, and eternal issues. That truth is the fact that God is Sovereign over very single facet of all creation and life, and, moreover, that He orchestrates all of the events of the universe solely for His Glory, His Honor, and His Majesty and that it intimately involves the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is “inconvenient” because it is the “Truth” that most of mankind does not want to hear and/or believe.

Oftentimes, when we see evil in the world, many will claim, “How can there be a God who allows such evil and misery to exist? How could a good God allow such evil things?” It is because it all serves God’s purposes. It goes back to the Garden of Eden. Was the devil and his enticement that led to the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden an accident or unexpected event? Was it some kind of an aberration to which God had to quickly develop a plan B? No, it was all ordained of God to provide the means by which God would Glorify Himself through the redemptive action of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who became the means by which mankind could be reconciled to God for that original sin (and all sins that they would commit in their own lives) and despite the adversarial actions of the devil throughout temporal history.

God is Sovereign and in Total Control of Everything

Let’s take a look at a few important verses that reveal how God creates and uses evil, such that He can and has/will overcome it to His own Glory.

In Isaiah 45 (Verses 5-7), God in addressing Cyrus the King of Persia, says, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” We also read in Amos, 3:6, “…shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?” While some may that this is just a matter of interpretation or that these verses are taken out of context. Let’s look as some other scriptural passages to see what God reveals about this point.

Joseph Before His Brothers in Egypt

Before getting to the main points of this study, one other amazing event has come to the mind of this teacher which unfolds in the Biblical account concerning Joseph within the book of Genesis. About ten years or so after Joseph was thrown into a deep pit by ten of his own (half) brothers, from which he was subsequently sold into slavery in Egypt (and forgotten and presumed to be dead by those same brothers), Joseph was raised to the right hand of the Pharaoh of Egypt.  During a time of famine (also orchestrated by God and foretold to Joseph by God providing Joseph with  the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams), Joseph’s father, Jacob (Israel), sent his sons to Egypt to seek for bread. The story unfolds from Genesis Chapters 37-50 (sufficient for an enormous commentary far beyond the purposes of this one), which for the child of God and student of the Bible the allegory of Joseph as a type of Jesus Christ becomes unmistakable.

For this study, however, in just one recognition of God’s complete mastery over all time, and space, and even the hearts and minds of men, the key verses, Genesis 45:4-9 and Genesis 50: 19-21 are thus:

“And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not:”

19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

The Exodus Account is Another Allegory, Which Provides Us With Insights on How God Works

We can see something very interesting in the Exodus account of the ten Plagues that God brings upon Egypt in response to the Pharaoh’s repeated refusal to let God’s people go out from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.  Moreover, it is not only interesting, but contrary to most people’s understanding of those events. Hollywood, for example, has, through at least one film effort, created the impression that Pharaoh would not let the people go despite the repeated ten plagues solely as a result of the natural stubbornness or stupidity of Pharaoh. However, in the Exodus account of the Bible (not the Hollywood version) we read where God informed Moses, beforehand, exactly how things would happen and why they would happen that way. God said that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart so that Pharaoh would not let the people go!

Exodus 4:3, “And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.”

Exodus 7:3, “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.”

Exodus 7:13, “And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.”

Exodus 7:14, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh‘s heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.”

Exodus 7:22, “And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the Lord had said.

Exodus 8:15, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.” (If this verse is taken out of context, it might appear that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, but the whole context shows that this was not the case.

Exodus 8:19, “Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.

Exodus 8:32, “And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.” (this again would seem to suggest that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, but from the other verses we see that God was the initiator)

Exodus 9:7, “And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.”

Exodus 9:12, “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken unto Moses.” (This verse, like the majority of the others before it, makes it clear that it was God who hardened the heart of Pharaoh and not Pharaoh)

Exodus 9:34, “And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.” (what is interesting in this case is that it says Pharaoh sinned yet more! How could Pharaoh be responsible for this sin, if his heart was hardened by God and as had God had ordained?…this will be addressed below.)

Exodus 9:35, “And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses.”

Exodus 10:1-2 “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord.

Exodus 10:20, “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.”

Exodus 10:27, “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.”

Exodus 11:10, “And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

Exodus 14:3, “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so.”

Exodus 14:8, “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.”

Exodus 14:17, “And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.”

These verses all clearly reveal that the evil that Pharaoh subsequently does in preventing and trying to prevent Moses from leading national Israel, the representative chosen people of God, out of the land of Egypt…was all planned, ordained, and orchestrated by God. Therefore Pharaoh was no more than a pawn in God’s hand, as Pharaoh was created by God, raised up by God, and used for God’s purposes…which purpose was solely to bring glory and honor to God. He was used of God to fulfill God’s promise to Moses in Exodus 6:6, “Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:”  God goes further in Exodus 9:16 to say in regards to Pharaoh: “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” This statement is repeated in the New Testament in the writings of Paul to the Romans, as in Romans 9: 17-18, “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

God begins the introduction of the Ten Commandments by saying in Exodus 20:2, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” And then in Deuteronomy 5:15, “And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.” Similarly we also read in Deuteronomy 4:33-35, “Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.” And in Deuteronomy 26:8, “And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:” It is also notable that immediately after the verses Exodus 7:5, 1) “That the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD” and after Exodus 14:4, 2) “I will be honored upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host: that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD.”

The whole Exodus account was an allegory to show the power of God to save a people for Himself. God created Satan just like He created Pharaoh and raised them both up to serve his purposes of saving a people for Himself and Glorifying Himself in the process. Pharaoh was a powerful ruler who held God’s people in bondage, he served as an allegorical type for the devil who holds mankind in bondage to sin, death, and ultimately hell (note that God referred to Egypt allegorically as the “iron furnace” in Deuteronomy 4:20, “But the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.” (similarly also see 1 Kings 8:51 and Jeremiah 11:4)   Just as God, by a mighty out stretched arm, working through amazing signs and wonders brought national Israel out of that house bondage, so too God, through the amazing sacrifice of His dear Son, Jesus Christ (as also the Passover Lamb of God) brought out His eternal spiritual Israel from bondage to sin and the devil (and otherwise destined for hell…the eternal “iron furnace”). We can say this confidently, for we read in Revelation 1:18, where Jesus (as the Lamb of God) says, “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.

God’s Sovereign Actions are Explained in Romans Chapter 9:“Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

To prove that the above commentary is not simply this teacher’s opinion, and that it is indeed true, we have only to see what is written in Romans, chapter 9, verses 13-26, where Paul, as the scribe who was guided by the Holy Spirit, wrote,

13 “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As he saith also in Osee (Hosea in Greek), I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. (see Hosea 2:23)

26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”

So there we have it!…God explains that He will have compassion on those who He wills and He will harden whom He wills. This is the REAL “Inconvenient Truth”! in John, 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” You see, Jesus is the truth, and whether anyone likes it or not, Jesus is the very substance of that real “Inconvenient Truth.” Moreover, while the Bible also says in Mathew 22:14, that “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (note that it is not the few who “choose” God, but rather those “few” are the ones who are solely “chosen” by God).  This is also in keeping with what we read in Mathew 7:13-14, “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.”

Remember also that in 1 Peter 2:9, we read, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

Finally, let’s look at John 6:44 where Jesus very plainly states: “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.”  God is entirely sovereign, and yes we are mere pieces of clay molded by the potter.  Although we are physically alive, we are all spiritually dead by  nature because we are “dead in our trespasses and sins” by nature and it must be God who makes us alive and capable of responding.  Theses verses make that clear for all believers:

Ephesians 2:1, “And you hath he quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Colossians 2:13, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened (made alive) together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;”

John5:21, “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them (makes them alive); even so the Son quickeneth (makes alive) whom he will.”

Romans 4:17, “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth (makes alive) the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.”

And God also makes clear that this quickening (making alive) is by the Power of God the Holy Spirit for we also read in John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth (makes alive); the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Remember when Lazarus was called by Jesus to “Come forth“? Let’s take a close look at that account: In John 11:39-44, we read were Jesus comes to the grave of Lazarus where Lazarus’s sister (Martha) explained that it was too late to do anything, as her brother, Lazarus, was dead for four days laying in the grave and by now his body was so decayed that it would stink when they rolled back the stone over the grave.  Jesus was honored by God, The Father in Heaven, and then Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth” and Lazarus arose form the dead and came forth.  Did Lazarus exercise his “free will” to respond to Jesus’s call, or did God first draw him, and then enliven and empower him to respond.  How can a dead thing choose life?  You be the judge.

“Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

Yes, this means there is “predestination” (another aspect of the real inconvenient truth).  Does that mean we should throw up our hands in despair as though we have no hope?  God Forbid!

Dealing with the Real “Inconvenient Truth”: Predestination Does not Inhibit Anyone from Crying Out to God for Mercy Through Jesus Christ

Nonetheless, the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that, according to the Bible, if anyone becomes convicted in his or her heart of his or her sins and hence his or her need of a Saviour…Who is, and can only be, Jesus Christ…then it is still possible for anyone to cry out to God for mercy and God will show mercy. In Mathew 7:7, Jesus says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”

If anyone is at all concerned about the above and does not want to be one of those who God destroys, and would rather be a vessel of mercy (and honor), then that is already a great evidence that God is working in that person’s heart!  Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” and as additional comfort, Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Dear reader, if you are not already at peace with God through Jesus Christ, please just cry out to God in prayer and He will hear you and show you that mercy. But when He does show mercy, it will only be because of the inconvenient truth that it had always been God’s intention from the beginning, and even before the Universe was even created.  Ephesians 1:5 says regarding the believers… “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” and Ephesians 1:9 , “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:” Finally, as Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write in 2 Thessalonians 1:11, “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:”

PostScript: God ‘s Sovereignty knows no bounds. God even has the power to send evil spirits to serve His purposes

The following verses are hard to be understood if we fail to understand that God is Sovereign and in control of everything, and that we are continually (every moment) at His mercy alone, and that we should honor and worship Him appropriately. Remember, in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 we read, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Similarly, in Proverbs 21:1, we read how God extends His Sovereignty over the world… even among the kings of the earth, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Judges 9:23, “Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:

1 Samuel 16:14, “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.

1 Samuel 16:15, “And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.

1 Samuel 16:16, “Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.

1 Samuel 16:23, “And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

1 Samuel 18:10, “And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

1 Samuel 19:9, “And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.

1 Kings 22:23, “Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

2 Chronicles 18:22, “Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee.