Anna the Prophetess

Posted January 22, 2017 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

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

Posted January 17, 2017 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

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

Posted January 17, 2017 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

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

Posted December 28, 2015 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

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”

Posted December 28, 2015 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

Introduction 

God is Sovereign and in complete charge of all of His Creation (this Universe) and God alone determines the end from the beginning because God’s Sovereignty knows no bounds.

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 or tragedy 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. Remember how we read in Revelation 13:8 that Jesus Christ is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,”  which clearly indicates that His Sacrifice was not an afterthought. God clearly states His plan and His purposes to us in the Bible, just as we read here in Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.*”   

* Remembering  also Ezekiel 33:11, where God says, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked (הָרָשָׁ֔ע); but that the wicked (רָשָׁ֛ע) turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil (הָרָעִ֛ים, ha-ra-im) ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

God is Sovereign and in Total Control of Everything and Everything Belongs to Him

When we consider earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods, etc., we know that it is God Who is ultimately in control of nature (despite the fact of, or perhaps through the use of, mankind’s influence on climate change).  Alternatively, when we consider the human caused acts of violence like murder, rape, acts of terrorism, or war; we know that such evil is “allowed” by God to fulfill His purposes. While we cannot readily understand all of those purposes, the sin is due to man alone.  Nonetheless, God does “allow” sin to exist, at least for now.  And we also know that God sacrificed (allowed evil to come upon) His Own Son to save sinners, not the righteous (because as we read in Romans 3:10-12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.), and that salvation program undeniably glorifies God in ways that are too marvelous for us to fully comprehend. We should also note that despite the numerous tragedies and acts of violence in the world that we hear about every day…there is still far more peace and comfort to the majority of humankind that is too often taken for granted, and that it is only God’s Divine Providence that protects the vastly greater multitudes from having to endure such tragedies on a daily basis, either the natural ones or those human caused.

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. But before we do that, let this be very, very, clear…God is NOT the author of sin! (Romans 9:14, “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.”) Sin is an inherent trait of man since the fall of Adam and Eve.  However, God has allowed sin to continue to exist and He clearly can and does use the outcomes of sin for His purposes.  The Death of Jesus on the cross was the result of man’s sin…being necessary in order to save sinners due to the fall of Adam, and was effectuated by the sin of mankind who crucified Him…God allowed the crucifixion to occur as it served God’s purposes to bring about mankind’s (the believers) salvation and redemption… which absolutely brings glory to God.

However, nonetheless, we must always bear in mind what Jesus said in John 10:14-17, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.”  Jesus voluntarily went to the cross, eventhough outwardly it appeared otherwise.

We are also informed and admonished in James 1:13-15: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Mankind is responsible for the sin (Not GOD!), despite the circumstances that led to it as ordained by God, Who is totally Sovereign.

And just think for a moment about David lusting after Bathsheba.  In 2 Samuel chapter 11 we read that…”And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman.” We subsequently read how David took Bathsheba and then eventually had her husband, Uriah the Hittite, killed in battle to cover up David’s sin.  Soon thereafter those sins were exposed openly by the Prophet of God, Nathan, in 2 Samuel chapter 12, where God led Nathan to say, “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.” This whole series of events was no incidental accident.  God foreknew, and clearly understood, what David would do when God presented David with that sinful opportunity (God was in no way surprised…But rather, God provided that opportunity…and God allowed it to happen… and He used it for our edification, exactly as it was recorded for us in the Bible!   One reason being that this account ultimately brings Glory to God, because it shows that God not only could, but would, save a sinner as evil as David was for having committed the sins of adultery and murder, to show us that God does not save the righteous, but rather sinners (like all of us), and moreover that despite those grievous sins, God would still have Jesus to be descended from David through Mary.

God also provides some insights on how such orchestration serves His purposes, as God tells us in Proverbs 16: 9, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” or in the case of such as King David (or really anyone) we read in Proverbs 21:1; “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

So let’s now move on to gain other insights on this inconvenient truth….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 (The word for “evil” in Hebrew is the root word “רָע , (or phonetically “ra”) which can also be translated as adversity, calamitydistress, misery, trial, hardship, bad, or injury): I the Lord do all these things.” We also read in Amos, 3:6, “…shall there be evil (רָעָה֙, ra-ah) in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?” In Proverbs 16:4 we find, “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked (רָשָׁע , ra-sa) for the day of evil (רָעָה֙ , ra-ah).” See also: Job 21:30,”That the wicked (רָע , ra) is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.” 

The day of evil or day of wrath(s) would seem to be talking about Judgment Day (see 2 Peter 2:4).  Please remember also that in the book of Esther (please see other commentary on this site), the adversary Haman, who was an allegorical representation of the devil, was also called “the wicked” (הָרָ֛ע, ha-ra).  So, the result is that in the Bible, God is making clear to us that He not only Is completely Sovereign, but He created all things, and formed everything for Himself, even including the wicked (whether  רָע  ra; רָעהָרָ֛ע, ha-ra; רָשָׁ֛ע, ra-sa; or הָרָשָׁ֔ע, ha-ra-sa) who will all be destroyed on Judgment Day.

While some may think that this is just a matter of interpretation, or that these verses are taken out of context, let’s take a look at 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 (ra-ah) 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 from 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 evilspirit (ra-ah) 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.
Isaiah 54: 16 includes this passage where God is speaking and He says, “...I have created the waster to destroy.”  Pretty scary stuff, but it is entirely in keeping with what we read in 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;” and in Hebrews 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
As a final commentary on how Sovereign Almighty God really Is, please ponder these verses:
Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” (and that “day of evil” is Judgment Day)
Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
And always remember that for the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is this hope that we read in Psalm 121:7,8:

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

We may be tormented by evil and perplexed (think back to Joseph and his tribulations), but do not despair, because God will preserve us (the believers) in the end if we trust in Him.

2 Corinthians 4:8-11:

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18, For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Isn’t it interesting that, Matthew 6-13, when Jesus instructed His disciples to pray, He said thus:

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask himAfter this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;…” (2 Corinthians 5:11)

Posted January 22, 2014 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

Bereansearching is simply intended to serve as a vehicle to lead the reader to safety and security from the just wrath of God for sin (one sin is enough to send any of us to Hell). Only through the substitutionary sacrifice for that sin by Jesus Christ , Who as God and Savior served as the supreme sacrificial Lamb of God, can we be free from that punishment. Hence this bereansearching blog is simply seeking to persuade all to put their trust in Jesus.  The detailed expositions of  a few portions of Old Testament scriptures provide the proofs that the Bible is the Word of God and is the vehicle that God uses to bring us to that Truth and the saving faith in that Truth. (Romans10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“)

For more on this singular motivation, please review: https://bereansearching.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/hello-world/

 

Psalm 19 as a Devotional…”Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17)

Posted January 22, 2014 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

Tags: ,

Each and every day, we all need at least a few moments to step back, and take a deep breath, and remember Who God Is, and to meditate on His Word…and to remember that God is Truth, God’s Word is Truth, and that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and also The Word made flesh. That just as Psalm 23 asks God for “our daily bread,”  we also remember that The Daily Bread is Jesus.  The more we read and meditate on God’s Word the Bible, the more and more The Word, Jesus, becomes a Living part of us.

Remember when Jesus broke the bread at the last supper (1 Corinthians 11:24), how Jesus clearly identified the physical bread with Himself.  While that bread was instituted by Jesus as an earthly sacrament of remembrance, we know that Jesus is intimately identified with, and as, the Spiritual Bread, the Word (as found in the Bible).  Therefore when we read the Bible, we are being Spiritually fed by Jesus.

In another post in this bereansearching blog, Psalm 119 is discussed in terms of “Discernment.”  It was mentioned that there are several similarities with Psalm 19.  Please take a moment to read and reflect on this short, but extremely rich and fulfilling morsel of that Bread of Life:

Psalm 19

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 19 can be viewed as a reflection and encapsulation of the whole Bible…much as we can see in Psalm 119

A useful companion study guide can be found at:http://www.shadowmountain.org/content/htmlimages/public/documents/general/smallgroups/2013sermonnotes/sermonnotes_131201.pdf