How Can we Handle Our Sufferings in Christ, in a Jesus Way?

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Let us begin with a zap of JOY … that Jesus kind of joy that a child of God can feel from the words of Hebrews 12:11, which provide great reassurance that any painful experience allowed by God (which may include the pain endured from the sufferings in Christ), will actually NOT HARM the New Creature in Christ begotten within us, but rather, it will work out something wonderfully beneficial to the Old Mind (i.e. it will destroy it even more) and to the New Mind it will actually be a stepping stone to maturity and growth in Christ.

So here are the apostle Paul’s edifying words to us from Hebrew 12:11:

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

How positively encouraging!

Do we suffer for preaching about Christ’s Gospel?

Are we ridiculed at work for speaking up for the Truth?

Perhaps we have lost our job because of it?

Do we fear standing up for Jesus?

Do we fear being ridiculed by what others think of our interpretation of Bible Scriptures, hence we remain the quiet ones to keep in a comfort zone?

Are we embarrassed to be seen by all as Christ’s representatives?

Are we laughed at and labelled as “crazy” or “brainwashed” or “unbalanced” when we speak of the Gospel of Christ?

Or perhaps we are labelled by names from our past failures which we later recognized, grew from and changed our course of behaviour?

Do we fear being passionate about the Truth because of feeling we won’t cope when told we are going overboard or that we spend too much time on studying the Bible?

Do we too, not experience attacks from the Adversary? 

Do we not all experience the works of ignorance. Because of our imperfections of the flesh, we are not able to perfectly understand nor perfectly be understood.

Would you all not agree, that if we could read the hearts of each other, much unkind judgment would be prevented.

Since we cannot read the heart, it is good to err on the side of love between our brethren and pray (even more perhaps than use words) about the details which only the Heavenly Father perfectly understand and will never distort.

God is the perfect judge as we are not perfect yet in the full sense of the word “perfect;” only “reckoned” as righteous through Christ’s robe of imputed righteousness (Romans 4:22, 23).

Often the scripture is quoted “you will recognize them by their fruit” (Matthew 7:16), but have you experienced a situation where we in all sincerity of heart, give a testimony about the Gospel of Christ, yet it would seem that one, perhaps in an ecclesia meeting cannot see the fruits of God’s character in us and we are told to stop speaking?

If we prayerfully and patiently endure with a sincere purity of heart intention, in seeking for righteous communication and to share the joys of the gospel, then GOD OPENS A DOOR OF BLESSINGS TOO NUMEROUS TO COUNT, (even if the flesh does experience sufferings for righteousness sake) from which the new mind in Christ rejoices in, thanking the Heavenly Father for each test of our faith, obedience and loyalty to Him.

In Hebrews 5:7-10 we read,

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.”

Let us not think that the comments of others are to intentionally harm us.

It is good to remember that WE HAVE ALL SINNED (Romans 3:23) and to remove first the plank in our own eyes before we try to remove it in our brothers.

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

“Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

If we feel wronged by our brother’s words, let us not retaliate with words of defense, but after taking it to our Heavenly Father in prayer, silently watch our Heavenly Father work things out PERFECTLY, praying for their victory and ours, in Christ—since we each have professed to belong ONLY to Christ, and wish ONLY THE BEST towards all our brethren in Christ, knowing that each of our beloved brethren struggle in their own unique ways to more than overcome the flesh, the world, and the adversary.

GOD is our best defender who can read the hearts of all, and allows each experience to work out perfectly what He so desires, in us.

The apostle Paul encourages our thoughts to be on “whatever is TRUE, whatever is HONORABLE, whatever is JUST, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is COMMENDABLE, on that which is EXCELLENT and on anything WORTHY OF PRAISE” (Philippians 4:8).

The above verse is a wonderfully perfect tool to remember using to clean out our minds from any negative thoughts!

Something about Fault-Finders

Are we fault finders?

In Titus 1:15,16 we are given a description of such.

“Unto the pure all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and unfaithful is nothing pure; but both their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to have known God, but by their works they renounce Him, being abominable and disobedient, and to every good work worthless” (Titus 1:15,16).

The “pure” can see the true, pure hearts of God’s sincere “little ones,” in spite of the weaknesses of the fallen flesh. They can see righteousness in the Divine law and arrangement. While “the defiled” may identify with the cause of God, but whose doctrines and manner of life are in conflict with the gospel because they are fault-finders and unbelieving — “and unfaithful” (Diaglott).

Can we ever fall into a fault-finder category and be labelled as unfaithful too?

We sure can, IF our consciences become perverted, where we end up being unable to see anything or anybody in a proper light. This leads to losing the spirit of love which thinketh no evil!

In Reprint 5746 of “The Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence,” Brother Charles Taze Russell describes these fault-finders in the following words:

They could find fault with everything–nobody could do anything just right, no doctrines were right. We have all met people of this character—people who see nothing pure, nothing good, anywhere, and who are denouncing others all the time and this is how their consciences become defiled. At first the conscience of such would to some extent reprove them. But gradually, if they yield to this wrong heart attitude, their consciences become corrupt and hardened, so that they do not realize that they are prevaricating, misjudging, do not see how unjust, impure and blind they have become. “They profess to have known God,” says the Apostle—knowing something in an intellectual way about His Plan and Word—”but by their works they deny Him.” Their works are contrary to God’s Word, which instructs that all should seek to do all the good they can, to see all the good they can, and to give generous judgment to others.

The Apostle is not saying here that such have necessarily become immoral and vile in that they have become delvers into all kinds of sin and vice. We are not to read into his words anything that is not there. But he does say that so far as any good work is concerned they will defile it, injure it. Better would it be that they keep away from the Lord’s work entirely. They have allowed the bitter spirit to work in them until everything takes on the color of their own minds. They do not recognize to what an extent they are unjust, unrighteous, in their thoughts, their words, their conduct. They are injurious to every good work.

There are lessons of warning here for all of us, lest we should be led astray by the spirit of the Wicked One and become mere fault-finders, accusers of the brethren—not giving our time, our hands, our feet, our tongues, to doing good, to blessing and UPBUILDING the brethren, but rather to tearing down. In proportion as any one does this, he is worthless, yea, worse than worthless, to the Lord and to His Cause!”

The above words by Pastor Charles Russell are truly a GREAT WAKE UP CALL to every true Christian. They are humbling thoughts and truths to apply to each of us as we ALL fall into the trap at one time or another with thoughts that should rather be positive towards all our brethren in Christ, but which the flesh often prefers to ignore.

Here is also a lovely verse about our beloved Elders in Christ :-

“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching(1 Timothy 5:17).

Here are a list of suggestions in preventing and overcoming the evil surrounding fault-finding:

1. Thank our Heavenly Father for the experience as it is the “fiery trials” that test our loyalty to God best and develop AGAPE love most. (See text for “Songs in the Night,” March 12th.)

2. Focus on the Christ-like qualities we see in our brethren, just like we would wish others to focus on the Christ-likeness they see in us (Philippians 2:3; 4:8).

3. ListenJesus also remained silent when Pilate questioned him (Matthew 26:63).

4. Continually ask God for His help (Psalm 121).

5. Wait for God. Trust in God to deliver and bring justice (Exodus 14:14; 2 Chronicles 20:17).

6. If God inspires the conscience to do so, reply using gentle, kind words (Isaiah 30:21).

“Speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:2).

A beneficial reply to criticism:

“Thank you Sister/ Brother. Please pray for me.”

This statement shows not only our appreciation for our fellow brethren in Christ communicating their best interests for our highest spiritual welfare, it also reflects our faith in God’s power through prayer as well our joy and gratefulness in the sacrificial offerings of our fellow yoke-bearers in Christ, keeping them also in our fervent prayer (1 Peter 3:17).

7. Let us ask ourselves what would bring our Heavenly Father grandest JOY? What words and what actions would best represent our Head–the Captain of our Salvation? (Hebrews 12:2).

8. Saturate our mind with spiritually edifying and positive Scriptures, which are filled with the precious promises of God so that we continuously seek the highest welfare of our co-laborers in the Vineyard of our Master and Head, our Lord Jesus. Some wonderfully beneficial Holy Scriptures to meditate upon, include:

  • “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
  • “Think of others as better than yourself” (Philippians 2:3).
  • “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor” (1 Corinthians 10:24).
  • “Pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

9. Consider our Brethren in Christ as are “our joy”, “our crown” and “our hope” as did the apostle Paul (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

10. Realize our own shortcomings (Matthew 7:1-5), and copy the forgiveness that our Lord, Jesus Christ had towards all (Ephesians 4:32).

We “ALL fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

May we rest in the assurance that if we do our very best to keep a pure conscience before God and seek to only do what is righteous and pure and loving and just, GOD will deliver us in due time.

It is far better to boast about one’s own weaknesses (2 Corinthians 11:30) and make the strengths in our brethren shine out gloriously if in their presence.

With kind and gentle words, prayers, patience and even at times silence towards those who may attack us for Truth sake, let our confidence be in our trust in the LORD’s strength which HE DOES gives us, and let us defend the Truth where it warrants this, just like Christ Jesus did.

May we not let our hearts turn bitter or cold.

“A soft [gentle] answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

The fallen angels know if they cannot harm us by using those in the world, they surely will try to plant discord amongst our closest within the Church. Our prayers for each other is so important.

Having agape love towards all our brethren in Christ is necessary to be of the body of Christ. Our Lord Jesus is the best example of this, laying down his life as a ransom for ALL; being crucified by the ignorant actions of his very own (John 1:11).

We all need encouragement from each other.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

By asking God to daily show us His will, we may be lead to glorious faith-building and faith strengthening experiences. Here are some examples of how we may edify each other:

  • Share Scriptures from the Word of God with those in your own home;
  • Send an email or card sharing some of the precious promises of God in it from Scripture;
  • Volunteer your time in the gospel witnessing work;
  • Write a poem and share it at the next Testimony Meeting in your ecclesia to edify those present;
  • Go to the local supermarket and hand out some tracts or booklets sharing the Good News about the Kingdom and God’s divine plan for mankind;
  • Be a Daniel. Dare to stand alone. Dare to start a project and finish it which would be spiritually edifying those who have a listening ear to the Word of God.

All for Jesus! The time is short!

The more tests that are overcome now, the grander the shine! To become the shiniest diamonds in character then the tests of character development in Christ are to be passed in often unfavourable conditions for the flesh. The members of the high calling are in training to be kings and priests who belong to their head—Christ Jesus, and they will help the world of mankind up the highway of holiness so each lesson learned now and each experience that is overcome now, is a lesson that will be most beneficial for the future.

May our presence have a most pleasantly refreshing, calm, soothing effect on all in Christ who would be in our midst so that Jesus’ presence may be what is felt by all.

Suffering – Learning from our Savior

Since Christ suffered for us (1 Peter 2:18-25), the saints are also exhorted to suffer and accept trials with the same spirit as did Jesus. Our Lord, who committed no sin, was in all respects perfectly holy. He was entirely innocent and suffered without having committed any crime. As Jesus suffered unjustly, his body members should regard it as being no strange thing when they too undergo similar sufferings and persecutions.

The scriptures tell us that there was no guile, deceit, hypocrisy or insincerity found in Jesus’ mouth, for he was in all respects what he professed to be. Though he was condemned as an impostor, that charge was wholly untrue. Jesus was reviled and spoken of as a deceiver, charged with being in league with Beelzebub, “the prince of devils,” and accused as a blasphemer against God (Luke 11:15). Although he was falsely accused by his malefactors, Jesus did not revile those who reproached him.

Jesus seldom used harsh language and showed no anger. He calmly stood and bore it all, for he came to endure all kinds of sufferings in order that he might set an example for us and make an atonement for our sins. Such should be our course as well when faced with similar attacks.

The words in 1 Peter 2:25“Ye were as sheep going astray,” alludes us to the words in Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” This thought in a broader sense expresses the condition of the human race before God recovers them through the plan of salvation. A flock wandering without a shepherd or guide is in a pathetic condition, and so was it for the prospective body of Christ before being sought out and brought into the true fold by accepting the value of the shed blood of the Good Shepherd.
In 1 Peter 4:12-17, the apostle warned his readers about the coming of a more intense period of persecution, stressing the importance of patience and mental readiness.

Peter intimates that the Church should not regard it as being strange or unusual for the people of God to suffer as did Christ, because later they will be glorified together with him in God’s coming kingdom. He also admonishes the Church not to become perturbed concerning matters unrelated to Christ, but to rejoice in their afflictions, knowing they will be counted as a blessing.

The people of God should always place their lives completely in God’s hand, believing that because God is their Creator, He will be their preserver.

God withholds no good thing from those who love Him and walk uprightly. He who is employed in God’s service will always have God’s protection.

This post’s URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/05/30/how-do-we-handle-sufferings-in-christ-in-a-jesus-way/

TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS

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VICTORY Over Self

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Let us firstly begin with a poem by Benjamin Barton (1874-1916):

VICTORY

When I am neglected or forgotten, or purposely set at naught, and I smile inwardly, glorying in the insult, that is VICTORY.

When my good is evil spoken of, my wishes are crossed, my taste offended, my advice ridiculed, and I take it all in patient, loving, silence, that is VICTORY.

When I am content with simple raiment, plain food, any climate, any solitude, any interruption, that is VICTORY.

When I can stand face to face with folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, contradiction of sinners, persecution, and endure it as Jesus endured it, that is VICTORY.

When I never care to refer to myself in conversation, nor seek commendation, when I can truly love to be unknown, that is VICTORY.

Now let’s examine 7 points concerning Victory over Self:

POINT 1

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation or to record your own good works or seek commendation; when you can truly love to be unknown … that is victory over self.

POINT 2

When your good is evil spoken of; when your wishes are crossed; your advice disregarded; your opinions ridiculed and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart and you refuse to even defend yourself but take it all in patient loving silence … this is victory over self.

POINT 3

When you are content with any food, any offering, any kind of clothing, any confinement, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of GOD… that is victory over self.

Do we find ourselves wanting: more? … something different? … a better house? a better car? … better experiences?

Some have no running water. Electricity is only available three hours a day. Water has to be warmed up on the stove. Children get to school without any heat there whatsoever. They wear six layers for clothing. Many brethren are not paid for six months of the year and eat only what’s in their own gardens. I’m sure if we saw their living conditions we would learn contentment.

  • Proverbs 37:16 — “Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.”
  • Proverbs 15:15 — “All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.”
  • 1 Tim 6:6 — “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
  • Hebrews 13:5 — “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
  • Philippians 4:11-13 — “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

When you are content with any food, any clothing, any climate—this is victory over self.

Are you content with any climate: snow, cold, sun, heat?

Are you content with any interruption?

How annoyed do you get if things in the day interrupt our plans for the day?

When the day has been done, and you have done your best, WAIT for the results IN PEACE.

Really, all the LORD expects of us, is to do the best that we can each day. When our head touches the pillow at night and if we were not able to accomplish all we wanted—still, BE AT PEACE and leave the results with our heavenly Father.

POINT 4

When you lovingly and patiently bare any disorder, any irregularity,  any impunctuality, or any annoyance… when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility and endure it, as Jesus endured it— that is victory over self.

We realize that often at times we allow ourselves to get overly upset to that which is absolutely insignificant in the light of eternity the event may be next to nothing but the consequences to how we react day by day could literally effect our eternal destiny.

We have many Scriptural admonitions to help us realize the importance that our heavenly Father places on the development of complete patience and acquiescence to whatever the Lord’s providence may permit.

  • 1 Corinthians 13 — Agape love is PATIENT. It endureth ALL things…
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:14 — “Be patient towards all men.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:15 — “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.”
  • Hebrews 10:36 — “For ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise.”
  • James 1:3-4 — “For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

The VERY REASON OF ALL TRIALS, IS TO DEVELOP PATIENCE.

  • Luke 21:19 — “By your endurance you will gain your lives.”
  • Romans 2:7 — “To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.”
  • Romans 5:3-5 — “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

How did we endure in the little annoying disturbances of life? 

How did we endure that which is beyond our control?

God permits it for the crystallization of our characters.
POINT 5

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart—that is victory over self.

Seeing our own weaknesses is very difficult. It’s ten times easier to see everyone else’s! Our flesh can rationalize and feel ourselves thinking, “oh, we’re doing great all the time … and that we’ve got a few shortcomings but, oh, they’re only very minor”… but when someone out of love pulls to our attention an area that would be kind of good to correct or look into, well, at first, it may hurt us! Our flesh may have a tendency to react and think it’s unjustified; it wants to go on the defensive and try to look at the other person and find faults in them thinking who are they that they should be correcting me! Our Heavenly Father knows our flesh has this tendency but how important it is, when someone suggests how to correct us. Our Heavenly Father relies on others in what He wants to correct in us.

  • Proverbs 15:32 — “He who neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.”
  • Psalm 141:5 — “Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.”
  • Proverbs 25: 12 — “Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.”
  • Hebrews 12:6 — “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

May we strive to not go immediately on the defensive but go on our knees and see if it is what is true. If we find it is a valid truth—to pray for God to help us accomplish correction.

POINT 6

When you can see your brother prosper and see his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy nor question God while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances—that is victory over self.

There may be times in our lives, that financially we may be in despair and envy may be in our hearts when we see others prosper by the popularity of others or with their talents or by their position in ecclesias or that they have so few trials, or are able to do what we can not or have what we want but cannot have. Here are some brilliant texts of scripture to rid our hearts of this condition of thinking:

  • 1 Corinthians 13 — “Love does not envy; it does not boast…”
  • Proverbs 14:30 — “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”
  • Romans 13:13 — “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.”
  • 1 Corinthians 3:3 — “for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?”
  • James 3:14 — “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.”
  • Galatians 5:24-26 — “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

If there is envy, then pride enters the picture, and we think we deserve better…”if they have it, then we should have it too.”

  • Proverbs 25:27 — “It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.”
  • Philippians 2:3 — “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
  • 2 Corinthians 12:7 — “even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.”

Apostle Paul realized when he was weakest, that is when he was closest to the Lord and was dependent on him during his loneliness.

Let us gain complete victory over self image!

The sentiments of these verses I am sure we are all striving to accomplish. But knowing the qualities of our fallen human nature we realize that it’s most difficult to achieve perfectly.

They all involve the putting down of the tendencies of being overly concerned with the thoughts of self and our image and how its looked with and perceived by others.

It jars us to look inward and see how each of these phrases applies to ourselves. Is it true of me that I never care to refer to myself in conversation or like to mention my good works.

Our flesh is so successful in calling attention to ourselves in such subtle ways. If we analyse ourselves carefully perhaps we realize we have. Often we do it subconsciously and we may not even be aware of it. E.g. we may be telling of someone’s trials or victories in conversation or perhaps in a testimony meeting and then perhaps just somewhat in passing our flesh weaves in mention of self in the story and leaving our somewhat favourite impression of our involvement it seems that our flesh almost desperately wants to be liked and well thought of by others and feels that it is fulfilling our consecration vows really well.

Do I never have a longing for approval from others?
Who doesn’t like to hear a compliment? I know I do. We all do.

The aim of this discussion is to:

  1. Reflect inward. How much am I concerned about self image and how others view me So many scriptures show us how GOD hates pride.
  1. To decrease our concern of how others think of us but be more concerned how does God think of us and are we bringing praise and honor to our heavenly Father? Our Father has given us Scriptures:
  • Proverbs 16:5 — “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.”
  • Proverbs 19:11 — “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.”
  • Proverbs 15:1 — “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”
  • Psalm 37:8 — “Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.”
  • 1 Corinthians 4:12, 13 — “and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.”
  • 1 Peter 2:20 — “For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.”

View every experience our Father permits to come to us as for our good in gaining victory over self.

POINT 7

When you are forgotten or neglected or purposefully said at nought and you do not sting or hurt with the insult or the oversight but your heart is happy being counted worthy to suffer for CHRIST—that is victory over self.

When we take all of these seven points discussed in all LOVING PATIENT SILENCE and BARE IT ALL and ENDURE LIKE JESUS ENDURED IT, humbly submitting inwardly and outwardly without any anger and rejoice in spirit when other brethren prosper and when we are forgotten, neglected yet we do not sting back but our heart is happy being counted worthy of suffering with Christ, and when we realize we will never do it all perfectly, let us strive more to achieve more perfectly and let us HELP EACH OTHER and NOT BE A HINDERANCE.

Amen.

Acknowledgment: Bro. George Tabac

This post’s URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/05/25/victory-over-self/

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Worthy to Be Praised

Psalm 63,3 -with cross

Let us begin with the words from the Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, reprint 5802, entitled “The Ministry of Sorrow” which reads in part as follows:

“In every experience of sorrow and distress, and when the strain of the jarring discords and the stinging vexations, and wounds that make the heart bleed, threaten to overwhelm the spirit, let the child of God remember that “He knows, and loves, and cares,” and that His ministering angel is ever near us, and that no trial will be permitted to be too severe. The dear Master is standing by the crucible, and the furnace heat will never be permitted to grow so intense that the precious gold of our characters shall be destroyed, or even injured. Ah, no! If by His grace the experiences may not work for our good, they will be turned aside. He loves us too well to permit any needless sorrow, any needless suffering.”

Our Heavenly Father is the God of all comfort and whatever difficulties His children encounter, because we are under His peculiar care, His compassion and watch care are ever present and he is most worthy of our praise.

Psalm 63:3 reads: Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”

What are some of the means God uses to comfort us?

Here are several, including: conventions, the ecclesia arrangement, prayer communication, God’s overruling providence, Hymns and Psalms, Scriptures that provide doctrinal instructions, scriptures that contain precious promises for our meditation, guardian angels that intervene on our behalf when necessary and of course the Holy Spirit which enables us to appreciate and comprehend the Father’s tender mercies.

Ultimately, praise also will be an integral part of the human family’s make up, when they realize in the Kingdom the scope of what the Heavenly Father has done for them through the magnificent sacrifice of Jesus as well as the part we the body of Christ will have to play in helping to restore mankind back into heart harmony with God during that glorious Millennial reign.

We would like to suggest the 24th Chapter of Isaiah speaks of the judgments that will end this present evil order and then comment on what follows in Isaiah 25:1-9 which we feel pictures the expressions of humanity as a result of that glorious Kingdom in operation and mankind progresses up the Highway of holiness. So we will read each of these verses followed by a brief comment as to how we view these matters. 

Isaiah 25:1 — O Lord, thou art my GOD; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.”

Here we would suggest Israel would desire to praise Jehovah especially for bringing them through Jacob’s trouble and ending the oppression they have endured at the hand of others. Similarly, others who fear God and recognize the restraint of evil and the opportunity for blessings will echo heartfelt worship to the Almighty and his Christ as they recognize the reign of righteousness that has commenced.

“2For thou hast made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built.”

The may well refer to the destruction of Mystic Babylon. Those who were once blinded under the influence of the adversary and the dogmas that vilified God’s character will worship the God of love and demonstrate a similar attitude towards their fellow creatures.

“3Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee.”

The iron rule that will be in force.

Every knee must bow and every tongue must confess and accept the gracious provision on their behalf made possible through the redemptive merit of Christ in order to gain everlasting life.

“4For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”

This might refer to the downtrodden in this present life who were insignificant nobodies, but when Christ reigns in equity and justice, when the Spirit and the Bride say “come” all who have been athirst will be able to partake of the water of life freely.

“5Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low.”

“6And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.”

Throughout the reign of sin and death the human family has been starving for blessings and a ray of hope that things might be better for them. What joy they will have as they see the work of restitution in progress. The wine of pure doctrine will bless them abundantly.

“7And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.”

This seems to speak about the eradication of the death sentence and the removal of the blindness that has covered the eyes of the human family, thus preventing them from seeing the glory and goodness of the Father.

“8He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.”

This would be a fulfilment of Revelation 21:4,9 — And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

“9And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

When the kingdom is established the human family will begin to comprehend his attributes and as they prosper under that arrangement how much they too will increase in their ability and desire to praise our Creator.

We have attempted to describe why the church now and the world during the Kingdom reign will have much reason to praise our Heavenly Father.

I would like to conclude with something that appeals to me by sharing the following concerning a well-known hymn — “All The Way My Saviour Leads Me.”

This great hymn was written by Fanny Crosby (1820–1915).

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When Fanny was 6 weeks old, she caught a slight cold & had inflamed eyes. The family physician was away. Another country doctor was called in to treat her. He prescribed hot mustard poultices to be applied to her eyes, which destroyed her sight completely! It was later learned that the man was not even qualified to practice medicine. Fanny never felt any resentment against him, but believed it was permitted by the Lord to fulfill His plan for her life.

This is what Fanny Crosby said to her mother one day:

“Mother, if I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind … for when I die; the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Saviour.”

And another of Ms Crosby’s quotes:

It seemed in­tend­ed by the bless­ed prov­i­dence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dis­pen­sa­tion. If per­fect earth­ly sight were of­fered me to­mor­row I would not ac­cept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been dis­tract­ed by the beau­ti­ful and in­ter­est­ing things about me.

Fanny’s spiritual development came from her grandmother who cared for her while her mother worked as a maid. A landlady, Mrs. Hawley, helped Fanny memorize the Bible. Often she learned 5 chapters a week!  She entered the New York City Institution for the Blind around 1835, completed training, and taught there from 1847 to 1858. In 1858 she married a musician, Alexander Van Alstyne, who was also blind.

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Under her own name, as well as under a curious assortment of initials and pen names, she wrote over 8,000 hymns, including: “I Am Thine, O Lord,” “Praise Him, Praise Him,” “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” “Blessed Assurance,” “Safe In The Arms Of Jesus,” “To God Be the Glory.”

Fanny needed five dollars one day and she just knelt down and told the Lord about it. Soon after a stranger knocked at her door as he just wanted to meet her. As he left, he pressed a five dollar bill into her hand. “I have no way of accounting for this” she said, “except to believe that GOD put it into the heart of this good man to bring the money”. “My first thought was that it is so wonderful the way the Lord leads me, and I immediately wrote the poem”.

In 1874, Fanny Crosby wrote the hymn “All The Way My Savior Leads Me”.

All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

I do not know whether Fanny Crosby was a spirit begotten child of God, but as I reflect upon her life, I can only hope that each of us will be more appreciative of the blessings we have today in Christ and will desire to live a life of praise daily for all our Heavenly Father has done for us. AMEN.

ALL THE WAY MY SAVIOUR LEADS ME

 

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Will ALL Mankind Need To Become “ISRAELITES INDEED”?

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Dear friends, we have produced this post as a reply to a comment received to an earlier post in regards to the term  “Israelite indeed.”

The Bible explains that ALL in the future 1000 year Mediatorial Reign of Christ with His Church (the “Bride of Christ” of 144,000 members, see Revelation 7 & 14) will be required to willingly choose to follow righteous ways of GOD and adhere to GODLY principles or else they will not be permitted to have life, let alone, eternal life which shall be granted to all who choose to walk up the Highway of Holiness. (Isaiah 35:8, Psalm 37:9).

Where does the term “ISRAELITE INDEED” come from?

The answer may be found in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, which is the account of Jesus calling out Philip and Nathanael, as the next of the 12 Apostles:

John 1:43-51 reads (Amplified Bible),

“43 The next day Jesus desired and decided to go into Galilee; and He found Philip and said to him, Join Me as My attendant and follow Me.

44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the same city as Andrew and Peter.

45 Philip sought and found Nathanael and told him, We have found (discovered) the One Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote about—Jesus from Nazareth, the [legal] son of Joseph!

46 Nathanael answered him, [Nazareth!] Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Philip replied, Come and see!

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him and said concerning him, See! Here is an Israelite indeed [a true descendant of Jacob], in whom there is no guile nor deceit nor falsehood nor duplicity!

48 Nathanael said to Jesus, How do You know me? [How is it that You know these things about me?] Jesus answered him, Before [ever] Philip called you, when you were still under the fig tree, I saw you.

49 Nathanael answered, Teacher, You are the Son of GOD! You are the King of Israel!

50 Jesus replied, Because I said to you, I saw you beneath the fig tree, do you believe in and rely on and trust in Me? You shall see greater things than this!

51 Then He said to him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you all, you shall see heaven opened, and the angels of GOD ascending and descending upon the Son of Man!”

VERSE 46 : Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Why did Nathanael seem to think so lowly of Nazareth by asking Philip as if a rhetorical question “can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

The following comment from Reprint 4117 of “The Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence” provides a good explanation:-

“Philip himself had come within the charmed circle of our Lord’s influence, and had realized that it was a blessed privilege to become his disciple and that he must be indeed the long-looked-for Messiah. Full of this confidence he looked for his friend Nathanael, whom he recognized as being of one mind and heart with himself in the desire to serve the Lord and to be ready for Messiah’s Kingdom. Finding him his salutation was, ‘We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets did write – Jesus of Nazareth, [adopted] son of Joseph.’ Nathanael was apparently a man of keen intellectual power. He felt that his friend Philip had accepted something too hastily, and that he was being deceived by a pretender, and his prompt objection was, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” As though he had said, ‘That is a mean city of itself; no great people of any reputation would ever come from thence; no prophecies, so far as we know, make any reference to that city. What you tell me of your Messiah rather tends to prejudice my mind against him.’ “

Additionally, the prophecy concerning the coming Messiah found in Micah 5:2 identifies the Messiah coming from Bethlehem of Judea which is where Jesus was born but since Mary had moved to Nazareth, Nathaniel might not have know that.

In Micah 5:2 we read, 2But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”

Some say that “Nazareth” is derived from one of the Hebrew words for “branch,” namely ne·ṣer, נֵ֫צֶר, and alludes to the prophetic words in the Book of Isaiah 11:1, “from (Jesse’s) roots a Branch (netzer) will bear fruit.” Another opinion is that the name may derive from the verb na·ṣar, נָצַר, “watch, guard, keep” (Strong’s #G3478) and understood either in the sense of “watchtower” or “guard place,” implying the early town was perched on or near the brow of the hill, or, in the passive sense as “preserved”, “protected” in reference to its secluded position.

Nazareth was considered a lowly town away from the main urban centers, so Nathanael may have been surprised that some famous person (let alone the Messiah himself) would have their background there.

Nazareth was an obscure village tucked away in the hills of Galilee. Every country and state and province has a place like Nazareth. It’s a place so remote that nothing ever happens there, no one of distinction lives there, and no one of importance comes from there.

Nathanael thought that it seemed highly unlike that the Messiah would come from a place like that. One might think that if you were looking for the one the prophets talked about, you should rather go to big city like Jerusalem, a capital city, a place of sophistication, where there is a large population.

Here is the irony of it all, both then and now. For every Jerusalem, there are a hundred places like Nazareth. The world is filled with unlikely places where nothing much ever seems to happen, where there is no great university, little towns without much commerce, places off the beaten path, tiny villages where few people live.

Dear brethren and friends, does this “big city” attitude prevail in our heart?

Does GOD call the ones with great worldly education, or only the learned about earthly sciences, or only the rich in earthly possessions, or only the ones with great outward beauty, or the ones with kingly speech or those who did in the eyes of all, what is considered the vilest crimes prior to GOD enlightening then how wrong they were in thinking they are doing right…or who come from a rich ‘Bible Student’ heritage or those who do not daily and perhaps hourly some days fight with inherited sins whether that be mental or physical ones? No.

GOD calls
ANYONE FROM ANY background at all
who’s hearts are humble
and with whom He can work with and use for
His grand and gloriously perfect Divine works.

What a humbling thought and what humbling lessons to each of us who have been CALLED OUT of the world into HIS marvelous light of eternal Truths! It is only because of the GRACE of GOD that HE first called us, and ONLY because of GOD’s Mercy in recognizing our contrite and always repenting hearts and truly changing attitudes and actions, the more you are enlightened into GOD’s Truths as we draw closer to GOD with thanks, praise, repentance and a dependency on Him and his Son Jesus more than on any other human here on earth, that has allowed us any relationship with GOD as His Sons and Daughters.

Let’s look at our KING Jesus’ most humble character – how he was not ashamed to come from such a humble, hidden, quiet little place in Nazareth, in order to fulfil the requirements of his humbling mission on Earth as the Ransom of ALL men (Philippians 2:8).

GOD has mercy on whom He wants to as He sees in the heart who has the right character for His works to reach his desired fulfillment perfectly, which in this Age, is to select a Bride for His beloved firstborn Son Jesus Christ. (Romans 9:14-25)

Dear friends, until the High Calling ends, GOD can call out anyone in whom He recognizes a humble heart, and use them for great and glorious purposes in elevated future glory!

If Stephen from the Book of Acts lived no more than approximately 12 months from the time of his baptism until the day he was martyred as the first Christian martyr, then dear friends, we just don’t know who amongst us may even require a short span of time to fulfill GOD’s requirements to be granted a place in the Spiritual Elect class. You see, according to  historians, the stoning that took place to Stephen as written about in the Book of Acts, chapter 7, took place around 34-35 A.D., thus, only approx. 12 months since Stephen received the holy Spirit – which was only first given 50 days after Jesus’s crucifixion in 33A.D. when the door was first opened to the High Calling.

Many may indeed be surprised who shall attain to the position of the 144,000 as man’s interpretation of the heart is not GOD’s interpretation. GOD looks at the heart as that is where the cleanest and purest of all Truth’s lies, as often the outward conduct may not clearly reflect the purity of intention of the heart to show just how hard one may be fighting against inherited weaknesses of the flesh to fight the good fight of faith and be a MORE than overcomer and most pleasing to GOD, above all.

Thus let us speak evil of NO MAN, especially not of our brethren. This does not mean we should not HATE the sin. We should AGAPE the sinner – the one who has professed the name of JESUS CHRIST as GOD’s firstborn Son who is the RANSOM for all mankind. Jesus taught us in John 17 to pray for such as these.

1 Samuel 16:7 – “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’ ”

What incredibly comforting words dear friends that the most important thing we are to strive for is to BE RIGHT in the eyes of GOD as humans cannot read what is hidden to their eyes, which often reflects the real TRUTH of any matter.

VERSE 47: “Behold, an Israelite indeed”

When Jesus referred to Nathanael as an Israelite indeed we may understand that he meant one who had the spirit of the principles that the Law was intended to inculcate – DEVOTION and LOVE FOR GOD FIRST, and KINDNESS TO OTHERS also. Jesus was commending the faith of Nathanael, and his good spirit.

Jesus’ description of Nathanael indicated that an “Israelite indeed” is one not merely a natural descendant of Jacob, who was later named Israel as indicated by the words of our Lord Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40 – which teach us, that it is not the Old Law that we are to be under, but a New Commandment that is a summary of all the ten Commandments given initially to only the Israelites under the Old Law, and now include ALL, whether Jew or Gentile , to adhere to.

So can the term “Israelite indeed” be used in reference to the world of mankind during the 1000 year Mediatorial reign of Christ with His Bride or does this term only apply to the spiritually begotten classes comprising the Church of the Firstborn (i.e. The Elect, and the Great Company, Heb. 12:23) ?

There is consensus of opinion among brethren we consulted, that this term can be used for mankind in the future because ultimately an Israelite indeed would refer to one whose heart was circumcised (See Romans 2: 28, 29) which all during Christ’s Mediatorial reign, will need to become, symbolically.

Hence, the world when developed, will be “Israelites indeed” in the sense of devotion to the principles of Godliness that will be installed in the world through Spiritual Israel, the Heavenly Jerusalem. (Hebrews 12:22; Rev. 21:1) All the world will need to attain to that condition of faith and good spirit. And we will propose and explain the words from Holy Scriptures that explain this after a little further explanation of the Nathanael account in reference to our topic under consideration.

Under the terms of the New Covenant all mankind who will receive life, will have to develop heart appreciation for GOD’s laws and adhere to His righteous perfect principles, worshiping Jehovah GOD Yahweh in spirit and truth. Any who will not do this will be cut off as Acts 3: 22-23 states:

“For Moses said, ‘The Lord your GOD will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to Him in everything He tells you. Everyone who does not heed His words will be completely cut off from among the people.’

This text concerns the “times of restitution of all things” talked about by Apostle Paul in the previous verses (Acts 3:20-21), which refers to the time where “heavens will retain” THE CHRIST (head and body- the 144,000- complete) until the times of refreshing will come. This “building up” stage of our Lord’s Parousia (invisible, 2nd presence) will begin with Jesus and the completed 144,000 Bride of Christ members when the 1000 year Mediatorial Reign stage of the Kingdom shall soon begin, once the nation of Israel recognizes Jesus as the Messiah. (Zechariah 12:10, John 19:37)

VERSE 47: …In whom there is no guile nor deceit nor falsehood nor duplicity!”

What did our Lord and Master mean through the above words to Nathanael?

We believe these words of Jesus, were in reference to Nathanael’s character, his spirit, his sincerity. We would suggest our Lord’s experiences with the Jewish leaders, especially the Scribes and Pharisees, was that they were largely hypocrites. (See Matthew Chapter 23). Nathaniel was able to declare that Christ was GOD’s Son. (John 1:49) Those who were hypocrites denied this fact, even when Jesus performed miracles to prove that he was the Christ.

It was Nathanael’s honesty and sincerity of heart that made Jesus select him as one of the twelve worthy ones to become one of the twelve pillars of the Church of the Firstborn in Jesus Christ. Of course this was to some extent miraculous—but at least in part by observing Nathanael’s humble prayer under the branches of the fig tree.

Perhaps these words spoken about Nathanael would serve as an encouragement for Nathaniel to follow Christ since Jesus was able to know about the type of individual Nathaniel was even before their encounter.

What lessons can be drawn from Jesus’s comment to Nathanael?

Perhaps it may be entirely right for us today, to also express at proper times, our confidence in the religious character of those with whom we are conversing with, and not doubt the sincerity of any person even if they are not fully with us in every point of faith and doctrine.

Jesus saw in Nathanael a pureness in heart and pureness in motive. And in the same way, our Heavenly Father reads our hearts which man cannot do and so often misinterprets being blinded to the “fruits” of good character which we are to firstly seek out in our brethren, praising our Father and praying over all the LORD’s dear saints to be more than overcomers and for none of them to fall away, as well as pray like Jesus (as documented in John 17) for those who will believe, that they may be ONE as Jesus is now since his ascension  with the Father physically and spiritually together in the Divine Realms.

VERSE 49: Nathanael answered him, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God!’ “

The reason why Nathanael answers Jesus by saying “Rabbi (Teacher), you are the Son of GOD! You are the King of Israel!” is because he knew Jesus had referred to his very prayer, of which not a soul in the world had knowledge, and that Jesus had thus, supervised in the matter and had full knowledge of all his affairs.  Nathanael knew that one who could know about his prayer and could thus answer it and reveal himself must indeed be superhuman—all that he claimed; the Messiah.

VERSE 50:  “I saw you under the fig tree”

We are not told what took place under the fig tree, but we imagine that Nathanael there prayed to the heavenly Father for wisdom, guidance, instruction and protection from deception. Doubtless he went to the fig tree as a closet for prayer, for the fig tree has foliage which hangs low and would constitute quite an arbor or shelter and a very suitable place for privacy and prayer.

In Jesus’ words to Nathanael “I saw you”—we recognize Jesus’ power of discerning spirits, that is, that Jesus was able to read the thoughts and intents of the hearts, which no human can do (as we have said), as Jesus was the only perfect human in whom was no sin (1 Peter 2:22) hence he could perfectly feel and interpret what he saw perfectly, and the ability to work miracles was granted to him from YAHWEH JEHOVAH. Later the same gifts were granted to the apostles, and for the same purposes.

VERSE 51: ” ‘…You will see heaven opened, and the angels of GOD ascending and descending on the Son of Man.’ “

By telling Nathanael that he “will see heaven opened, and the angels of GOD ascending and descending on the Son of Man…” Jesus was explaining that messengers of GOD, the “Princes of the new dispensation, that is, the Ancient Worthies (The “Heros of Faith”—some of whom are mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11) will be the channels of easy and direct Divine communication between the two phases of the Kingdom; between the Heavenly Kingdom (governed by Spiritual Jerusalem) and the terrestrial world (governed by Natural Israel, i.e. the Ancient Worthies working together with the Holy Remnants of Israel).  Jesus’ words, call attention to Jacob and the vision which he had at Bethel of a ladder (Genesis 28:10-12), illustrating the methods of Divine grace. Our Lord himself was the ladder upon which communication between heaven and earth would be re-established.  Jacob’s dream of the ladder between heaven and earth, and the passing to and fro of the messengers was a prophecy as well as a dream, foreshadowing this communication to soon begin, we believe, during the end period of Jacob’s Trouble just as the 1000 year reign of Christ Jesus with His Bride is to begin.

ALL Mankind to Become True “Israelites Indeed”

By the end of the Mediatorial Reign of Christ, all the world of mankind will need to become “Israelites indeed”. Let us consider some Holy Scriptures to explain this :-

(1) Jeremiah 31:31-34 (AMPC)“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law within them, and on their hearts will I write it; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 34 And they will no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they will all know Me [recognize, understand, and be acquainted with Me], from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will [seriously] remember their sin no more.

These glorious verse of Holy Scripture explain the time when the New Covenant will first begin with the Nation of Israel (and anyone else who recognizes Jesus then, as the Ransom and Savior of mankind, and Son of GOD Yahweh JEHOVAH.

(2) Isaiah 11:9 (ESV)“They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

(3) 2 Peter 3:7“But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”

The word “judgment” in the above verse implies, not merely a sentence, but also a trial.

GOD’s justice, indignation, will burn against everyone who is wicked, and this fire will go on all through the Millennial age, which is the age where soon Jesus CHRIST with His Bride (the saints who have passed their tests of loyalty to our Father’s righteous principles living and suffered in CHRIST faithfully with patient, cheerful in the spirit endurance. (Revelation 2:10)

(4) Isaiah 26:9“The judgments of the Lord will be abroad in the earth and the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”

The Millennial-Reign-of-Christ Age, will provide an opportunity to rise out of sinful and fallen conditions, to full harmony with GOD. GOD has elected kings, priests, and judges to rule, bless, instruct and judge mankind in general. (Revelation 20:6)

If the thought be kept in mind that the world’s day of judgment is a thousand years long, the character of the judging then to be done will the more readily be discerned. A sentence upon each individual of the human family would be impossible within a 24-hour day under any imaginable conditions, reasonable or unreasonable.

(5) Proverbs 2:21-22 – “21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. 22 But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.”

(6) Psalm 37:38 – “But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; The posterity of the wicked will be cut off.”

In conclusion, we hope we have clearly explained about how our Heavenly Father’s intention is for all to learn GOD’s principles of righteousness in the Messianic Age, whereas now, during the “High Calling” Age (known as the Gospel Age), “many are called and few are chosen”(Matt. 22:14).

Holy Scripture does so beautifully teach, that all mankind will eventually have a relationship with GOD through the Mediators (Christ Jesus and His Bride) under the New Covenant which Apostle Paul talks about in the Book of Hebrews.

GOD wishes that all humanity on the terrestrial plane eventually will inherit eternal life only because they will have learned to OBEY GOD WHOLEHEARTEDLY and WILLINGLY by learning to surrender their wills to the will of GOD during their judgment period of a thousand years. Then, they will learn to LOVE RIGHTEOUSNESS and ever human heart that beats, will be fully devoted to GOD.

Death will be no more!

This is the ETERNAL GOSPEL, that by the 50,000th year of Creation, known as the Grand Jubilee, GOD SHALL BE ALL IN ALL. (1 Corinthians 15:28, Revelation 14:6)

May GOD’s Name be praised for eternal eternities through Jesus Christ,

Amen.

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Beautiful Lessons from the Passover Type

passoverfinalWhy should we, as consecrated Christians living near the close of the Gospel age, be interested in examining the details behind the Passover ceremony which commemorates the escape of the Israelites from the land of Egypt more than 3500 years ago?

Because we believe the event is also of great significance to the followers of Jesus, particularly in a symbolic manner, and that it relates intimately to our Lord’s death and our walk with him.

As a Jew, Jesus faithfully kept the Passover. In the closing scenes of his earthly ministry he gathered together with his disciples in the upper room for this very purpose. “When the evening had come,” Matthew tells us, “he sat down with the twelve” (Matt. 26:20) and  commenced to eat the Passover meal.

According to Jewish reckoning, it was the start of the fourteenth day of Nisan, the first month of the religious year.

This day was to be a crucial one in the life of Jesus, and a day that was to become a turning point in the history of the world.

“With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you,” Jesus said (Luke 22:15).

WHY might Jesus have expressed such a desire?

Jesus realized it would be the last occasion he would have to be together with his disciples before his death. And Jesus had carefully planned to use the occasion of the Passover to institute an entirely new thing, a ceremony that would become especially precious and dear to the hearts of his followers down through the age.

Hidden in the details of this Passover “type” is a lovely and instructive picture that portrays the method God will use to bring salvation and blessing to the human family. Thus it is really a preview of the grand deliverance God has in store for the whole world of mankind.

When we think of the original Passover, two aspects come to mind:

  1. The escape of the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt across the Red Sea.

Natural Israel — may here represent the whole people of God, who shall ultimately become God’s people;

Egyptians — represent the opponents of God, both men and fallen angels;

Pharaoh — may represent Satan, the prince of evil and the arch enemy of God.

Moses — may here represent Christ, both head and body, the great deliverer;

Red Sea —  represents second death.

  1. The sparing or passing over of the firstborn from the tenth and final phase of plagues, the plague of death. Only the firstborn were subjected to the possibility of death in advance of their brethren. By passing over them and sparing their lives, God reckoned them as his own hallowed possession. Later, during the wilderness wanderings, God exchanged these for the tribe of Levi. They were separated from their brethren, gave up all inheritance in the land, and became priests and teachers. How fittingly they picture the Royal Priesthood class, who are also subject to death in advance of their brethren—during the Gospel age. They are the “church of the first born,” whose names are written in heaven (Hebrews 12:23). These give up their earthly inheritance also, accepting in its place the great prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.

The Lamb

The account of the Passover lamb is described in Exodus 12. Exodus 12:3 explains that “on the tenth day of this month (Nisan) every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household.”

The Gospel of John clearly details the time sequence of Jesus’ last days. Our Lord, six days before the feast of the Passover, came to Bethany and stayed at the home of Mary and Martha (John 12:1). That would have made it the ninth day of Nisan. The next day, Jesus presented himself to the people (John 12:12-14). Thus it was on the tenth day of Nisan that the sacrificial lamb was brought into the Jewish households, and Jesus of Nazareth was hailed “king” by the national Jewish house, symbolized by the people of Jerusalem.

In Exodus 12:5 we are told that the paschal lamb was without blemish and a one-year-old male. The position of the New Testament in regard to the nature of Jesus is that he was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26).

Our Lord Jesus was born into the world as a perfect human being untainted with sin.

How was this possible?

Our Lord’s human life was begotten by Jehovah God, thus bypassing the detrimental hereditary effects of birth to sinful, fallen parents. Only by such miraculous birth was it possible for a human being to appear entirely free from any blemish or evidence of imperfection. Thus we see our Lord, a male of the first year—that is, in the prime of his life—just thirty three and a half years old, brought as a lamb to the slaughter. Yet, as Isaiah tells us, “he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth” (Isaiah 53:9).

In Exodus 12:6 we read that the typical lamb was to be kept until the fourteenth day of Nisan, slaughtered “between the two evenings,” as the margin and literal Hebrew expresses it. (Leeser and the Septuagint version translate this, “toward evening.”)

The New Testament informs us that the heavenly Father so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son to become the ransom (John 3:16). Upon our Lord Jesus was to be laid “the iniquity of us all” and “with his stripes we are [to be] healed.” He would become “the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (Isaiah 53:5, 6; 1 John 2:2).

It was on the fourteenth day of Nisan in the year AD 33 when our Lord was arraigned before the authorities, subjected to a mock and illegal trial, and crucified by Roman soldiers to appease the wrath of the Jewish hierarchy. This was the day of preparation, when the lambs were slain in the temple preparatory to the feast.

It was at around 3 pm of this day, (the 9th hour according to the prevailing time reckoning), between the lesser and the greater of the two so-called evenings of Jewish custom, that our Lord gave his supreme sacrifice. By the grace of God and in accordance with his great plan of the ages, Jesus Christ tasted death for every man.

So primarily, the Passover pictures Jesus Christ as “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world,” and points forward to the costly sacrifice which he would make (John 1:29).

Role of the Household

As soon as the Passover lamb was slain, its blood was used to cover the two side posts and upper post (or lintel) of the doorway of each house. This was done to deter the death angel from entering that household and to cause him to pass over the firstborn ones residing there (Exodus 12:13, 22). What a powerful illustration we have here of the efficacy of Christ’s blood! By exercising faith in the redeeming work of Jesus, all believers during the night time of the present evil world are passed over and rescued from death–from the plague of the Adamic condemnation which rests on all others. Oh, they may appear to die like other men; but their demise is actually a sacrificial offering in God’s sight, which is far different from Adamic death.

“Having a high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience” (Hebrews 10:21, 22).

What an interesting use of language here, suggesting that the door posts of our hearts are to be sprinkled with Christ’s blood. As we are justified in the Father’s sight, we are to do all in our power to lay aside the evil and sinful tendencies that would hinder us.

Note also that the blood was not to be sprinkled on the threshold or entry way into the house. No, that which was represented by the blood was far too precious to be stepped upon. The Apostle Paul speaks in somber terms of those who “tread under foot the Son of God and count the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified an unholy thing.” He says these have “affronted the grace [or unmerited favor] of God’s spirit” (Hebrews 10:29).

Strength for the Journey

The members of the household were to eat the paschal lamb and unleavened bread that night (Exodus 12:8). The strength received from this meal was to carry them through the initial stages of the arduous exodus as they journeyed across the Red Sea and escaped from Egypt. Today, all the footstep followers of the Master ‘feed’ upon the Lamb of God. It is still dark outside. The reign of Satan, sin, sickness, and death still abound.

All through the night, by faith the church class has been feeding upon the anti-typical Lamb, partaking of Jesus’ sacrifice and appropriating it to themselves. It is because we thus feed on Jesus, by faith partake of his sacrifice and wholly trust in him as our Redeemer, that we receive a standing of justification in the Father’s sight. “There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).

We must also eat of the unleavened bread of truth to become strong and fortified for our pilgrim journey. The precious promises of God’s Word and the complete message of present truth now available in the harvest period are all needed. We want to be fully prepared for our deliverance in the morning for the work of blessing to follow.

There was yet another ingredient in that Passover meal. What was it? The bitter herbs!

What true follower of the Master has not tasted of the bitterness of persecution or trial or difficulty; who has not suffered for the cause of righteousness?

“All that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

“Now for a season … ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6, 7).

But these bitter herbs serve only to whet our appetites all the more for the lamb and for the unleavened bread. The Lord is calling us for a high and lofty purpose; we need to be adequately tested for the positions of responsibility and honor that await the overcomers.

Therefore, let us bear with patience and acceptance those experiences that our heavenly Father permits in our lives (Romans 5:3, 4).

Not a Leisurely Meal

Were the Israelites to recline in their chair dressed in carefree clothes, with slippers on their feet while eating their Passover meal? No. All members of this household were to have “no continuing city” (Hebrews 13:14)—no resting place. Their loins were girded, their shoes were on their feet, and their staff was in their hands (Exodus 12:11). They were to eat the meal in haste.

So too, we, as the anti-typical firstborn, are pilgrims and strangers in the world (1 Peter 2:11), and we are working as ambassadors for Christ, witnessing to the world regarding his kingdom and holding forth the Word of life (2 Corinthians 5:20; Philippians 2:15, 16).

We are not to become involved in the affairs of this world, or entangled in seeking pleasure, wealth, and status. We must focus on our goal and be disciplined, knowing that we are enrolled in strict training for a future office as Kings and Priests who desire to be part of the Body of Christ. Nothing must be permitted to allure us from our goal or to detour us from the pathway that we are on. We have girded ourselves for our journey and we look for the heavenly Canaan. By and by, IF faithful, we WILL receive those glorious things God has in reservation for them which love him.

What beautiful lessons we have found in the Passover type! None who recognize Christ as the Passover Lamb could any longer with propriety carry out the typical ceremony. It is the reality of these things in which we are interested and their chief fulfilment in Christ. The Passover connection, is a strong reminder of our heritage, providing the colorful and instructive backdrop to the introduction of the Lord’s supper, with its even more profound understanding. How grateful we can be that our eyes have been opened to grasp these marvelous truths!

 

Who is the World’s RANSOM and Why?

1 Timothy 2, 4-6 - with C & address

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame.
And on that old cross the dearest and best,
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

It is a tragic picture to contemplate. A perfect man, so unjustly convicted, dying in the prime of life. But his greatest defeat was his greatest triumph. That was why he came. That was why he left the heavenly courts to become a man in the first place.

Note how obediently and willingly and humbly Jesus, the firstborn of all creation, the Bright Morning Star answered, when our Heavenly Father asked who should He send down to earth as the Redeemer, “Here am I, send me” (Isaiah 6:8). This is why the Son was the Almighty Heavenly Father’s delight.

Father Adam caused the death penalty to be imposed upon the whole human family, Christ’s willing sacrifice provided the value to redeem all mankind. Only a perfect being who was separate from God could accomplish the task of removing the death penalty upon Adam and his race, thus providing a way for mankind to be redeemed from the power of the grave.

Christ’s sacrifice provided a release from the curse, first for the Church class during the Gospel Age, and later for the World during the Millennial Age.

God loves mankind deeply (John 3:16). We cannot imagine the sorrow and pain that God experienced when Adam fell. We can only get some idea of this feeling when we observe the grief of parents when their children go astray.

God not only provided a mechanism to rescue His precious creation, but authorized His son to execute God’s plan for their redemption.

“By his knowledge the righteous one, my servant, will justify the many, as he will bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11, NAS).

Not only did God provide the mechanism for mankind’s redemption, God also empowered this Righteous One, Jesus, to justify His chosen ones. “Wherefore Jesus, … that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate” (Hebrews 13:12). Jesus was “delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). God has empowered His son to redeem us and justify us.

The death of our Savior, Jesus Christ, provided the price of our release from the curse. The scriptures speak of the life of Jesus, given for us, as a “ransom” for us. Today we think of a ransom as a price for the release of a hostage. The scriptural word “ransom” is from the Greek word “lutron,” which literally means a price of release (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45).

The word “ransom” also appears in 1 Timothy 2:4–6, from the Greek word “antilutron,” which means a corresponding price of release. This refers to the fact that the value of the life of Jesus, given for us corresponds to the price required. From the use of the word “ransom” we see that:

  • God wants to save the whole human race, and
  • Jesus provided the price necessary to release us from the death penalty imposed upon Adam and his race.

The PURPOSE of the Ransom

The object of the ransom was not to afford each individual a release from the original condemnation, in order to give them an opportunity to attain everlasting life. It allows mankind an opportunity to return to harmony and communion with God.

“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes” (Hosea 13:14).

HOSEA-13-14.jpg 
RANSOM STEPS

(1) Determine the Price — The price of release (the lutron or ransom) was the value of a human life. God established that the punishment for sin was death, and this was imposed upon Adam when he sinned. Adam passed his condemned life to all of the human race. In order to release mankind from this penalty, would require an obedient man to accept that punishment upon himself, so that it could be released from Adam and all those who received Adam’s life through procreation. Thus every person who descended from Adam — all humanity — will receive a release from death.

(2) Provide the Price — Jesus, as a perfect human being not subject to death, yielded his life in order to take upon himself, the penalty due us — so that we might be released. “By man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21, 22). Jesus’ life yielded, is the price for Adam’s life to be restored: Jesus for Adam, a perfect life for a perfect life. How beautifully they balance the scales of justice!

(3) Pay the Price — When Jesus died, he said “Father into thy hands I commend [deposit] my spirit” (Luke 23:46). The word “commend” is from the Greek word paratithemi, which means to deposit as a trust. In other words, Jesus committed to God the value of his life for later use, and all of Jesus’ interests for his future work in the Plan of God.

(4) Loosen the Captives The world has been under the penalty of death, but they will be loosed (“luo”) from this captivity in God’s due time, when Christ and his “bride” of 144,000 members rules with him to raise and bless mankind.

RELEASE FROM THE LAW

After Jesus was baptized, he meditated in the wilderness for 40 days. Part of this time he would have meditated on the Law of God, given to Israel through Moses at Mount Sinai. That law was perfect. Therefore, imperfect man could not keep it. As the Apostle Paul says in Romans 7:10, “The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.” For none of Adam’s imperfect race could perfectly keep the Law.

But Jesus did. By keeping a perfect law perfectly he demonstrated that he was a perfect man, and therefore that he could be a corresponding price for the only other perfect man in history, Adam. Like an index finger, the law pointed out the one person who could pay the ransom price.

Adam and Eve had no children until they left the garden of Eden. Therefore, all of their offspring inherited a condemned and imperfect life. Jesus, like Adam before he sinned, had the potential for a perfect human race in his loins. In this sense he was an appropriate value to redeem Adam and his race.

No wonder then we sing with rejoicing:

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering oer the wrecks of time.
So l’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to that old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

As 1 Timothy 2:4-6 reads, God has willed or determined (rather than “desired”) that all mankind will:

  • Be saved from Adamic death, from the destruction of the grave, to be accomplished through the GREATEST MIRACLE the world will EVER experience: THE RESURRECTION!
  • Be saved from ignorance, blindness and deafness.
  • Come under a “new covenant” established by God, during the 1000 year Messianic Kingdom.
  • Be restored to perfection and an opportunity for eternal life.
  • Come to a knowledge of God, and thus secure a relationship with God forever.

The Ransom provides a salvation from the curse of death. It will be UNCONDITIONAL. It depends alone upon the will of God, and the price of release is the value of Jesus’ life, given for us all.

This Scriptural passage, 1 Timothy 2:4-6, speaks of a universal redemption. During the Millennium the curse will be remitted. Then each individual may begin walking up the “highway of holiness” toward everlasting life. Most of mankind will accept this free gift, and progress accordingly. Only a few will use their power of choice differently, and fail to attain everlasting life at the close of the Millennium (Revelation 20:7-9).

God will provide for the enlightenment of every individual when they awaken from the dead, so that everyone will have an accurate knowledge of God, His love, and His standards. The knowledge of Jehovah shall fill the earth (Isaiah 11:9). Mankind will have learned through experience the consequences of sin. During the Millennium, they will learn through experience the blessings of righteousness. All can then choose between the law of God which leads to life, and the law of sin which leads to death. Knowledge of truth is light, and Christ is “the true light, to lighten every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9).

Jesus is an Advocate and helper presently to those who have consecrated their lives to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. They express this commitment by baptism, and rejoice in hope of resurrection glory with Christ in heaven. We suffer with Jesus in the present, by pursuing righteousness in world surrounded by sin. We will reign with Christ in glory, to assist him during the Millennium in drawing mankind back to God (Revelation 20:6).

During the Millennium, when God effects a new covenant for blessing Israel and the world (Jeremiah 31:31), Jesus will serve as Mediator, standing between God and men, in order to reconcile them by bringing mankind back to godliness. The saints who reign with Christ will be with Jesus in this mediatorial work of reclaiming mankind. Thus this work awaits the completion of the “Bride” class to be complete. Mediating for the world will then proceed. The saints will be associated with every feature of this work for the world, assisting them during the Millennium.

The word Mediator from the  Greek is mesite and means middle-man, reconciler, go-between. The Scriptures use the word respecting mediating a covenant between parties who are alienated. A mediator is one who interposes between persons who are at variance, with a view to reconciling them. Moses, as the Mediator of the Law Covenant, was a type of Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant.

At the close of the thousand years the Mediator will have completed its role. Thereafter God will stand before God, and demonstrate, during the “Little Season,” their condition of heart. Those who are obedient and godly, will receive everlasting life. Those who are disobedient and rebellious, will lose this privilege.

In 1 Timothy 2:5 we read about “The man Christ Jesus.” The Greek word for “man” is anthropos — human being. It refers to when Jesus when he was made flesh. Jesus “gave himself” as “the anointed” one (the word Christ signifies “the anointed”), who finished the giving of himself at Calvary. The name Jesus is but another form for Joshua, which signifies Deliverer. The name Christ is the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word Messiah — The Anointed.

Jesus surrendered his perfect human life, that is, all of himself, his human rights and privileges — the full equivalent of Adam’s perfect life. By his willing sacrifice for men he secured the right to purchase Adam and the entire race. He has not applied this human life to Adam and his race. It remains a deposit, for use at the appropriate time to release mankind from the curse.

Christ was both Priest and Sacrifice. As a priest, he offered his sacrifice to God. As a Sacrifice, his human life was yielded up, given, for the benefit of mankind.

THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST PRESENTLY

As mentioned earlier, the ransom Jesus gave constitutes a price of release. Those who have come into Christ in the present time, accepting the value of his sacrifice by faith in him, are granted redemption presently. That is, God counts them as uncondemned, justified, by virtue of the value of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice (Romans 5:9). We then lay down this justified life in service and sacrifice with Jesus, as long as our days remain.

We thus give up our share in the earthly blessings awaiting mankind, in order to secure the higher, heavenly blessings offered during the present time.

The resurrection of Jesus was a testimony from God that Jesus performed his sacrifice correctly, and that all the blessings God has for us now — and the world later — are sure and established (Acts 17:31).

Another evidence of God’s acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice was seen by sending the holy Spirit upon the saints on the day of Pentecost. There God’s anointing, the holy Spirit (symbolized in the Old Testament by the holy anointing oil), came upon the Church. It continues ever since on all the living members of the Church.

Jesus laid down his life as a sin-offering during the 3½ years, and Jesus applied the value of this for the Church class when he appeared in the presence of God for us. Jesus has not yet applied it for the whole world. That awaits the Millennium.

The ransom price that Jesus gave provides a release from condemnation, for us now, and for the world later. That was given on Calvary’s cross.

The sin offering that Jesus gave began at Jordan (when Jesus was 30 years of age), and continued through the 3½ years of Jesus’ ministry (until Jesus was 33 1/2 years old). Jesus was “made perfect,” or complete, in character, “by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8,9). Jesus was not imperfect at any time in the sense of being sinful (2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 3:5, 1 Peter 2:22). He was perfect, undefiled, in His glorious condition as the Logos, before He left the glory which He had with the Father and was made flesh. When born of Mary, the assurance given us is that He was still “holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26).  His sufferings, therefore, did not make Him perfect in the sense of making Him sinless, but rather, to prove his loyalty to the Father’s will, unto death, even the death of the cross. The promise of perfection on the highest plane — the promise of the Divine nature — was Christ’s reward for fulfilling his Covenant of Sacrifice faithfully and loyally. The beginning of that new nature was granted to Jesus at the time of his baptism, when he was begotten of the holy Spirit. But the new nature begotten there needed development, or perfecting; and it was for this purpose that the trials, difficulties and buffetings were permitted to come to Him (R5472). As our High Priest in glory, Christ — our Advocate (our personal “lawyer”), works with us through our experiences, to purge from us the propensity for sin.

The Church is not a part of the ransom price. However, we do have the privilege of suffering with Christ presently, and being raised in glory to be priests for the world during the Kingdom (Revelation 20:6). From that elevated standing, we will be able to assist Jesus in purging from mankind their propensity for sin. In this way we share with Christ in being an offering for sin.

The Church is not a part of the ransom price but does share in the sin-offering through grace. These two doctrines are inseparable. We could call them the TWIN DOCTRINES as they always work together in the process of salvation.

The ransom expresses God’s justice. For it shows that a payment for sin is necessary, in order to release mankind from the curse justly imposed upon our father Adam in Eden. But as steadfast as the penalty has been — so God’s commitment to release mankind from the curse, now that a payment has been made, is equally sure.

Christ has already redeemed mankind in the sense that he has laid down the ransom price. But he has not yet rescued mankind and applied to them the value of the ransom price provided. That awaits the Millennial Kingdom. In the meantime, God is selecting from among mankind people of faith, to be developed in the pattern established by Jesus, in order to assist Jesus in the world of lifting the world from their plight during the Millennium.

Then God will apply the price of release for Israel and the world. Then a New Covenant will be established for blessing of all who come under its blessings. When the Millennial age shall have been finished its work, and all are restored to harmony with God, then our heavenly Father will be ALL in ALL (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Suggested Further Reading

The Ransom. Faithbuilders Fellowship.
http://www.2043ad.com/journal/2007/02_ma_07.pdf

MATTHEW 26:27-29 — Drinking From Christ’s One Cuphttps://biblestudentsdaily.com/2018/03/19/matthew-2627-29-drinking-from-christs-one-cup/

JESUS — The Namehttps://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

 

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The Approaching End of the Harvest

David Rice - End of Harvest - verse- borderDear Bible Student and/or interested Truth Seeker …

Are you even vaguely interested in hearing answers to the following questions?:

When does the Millennial Reign of CHRIST begin? How can we prove this in Scripture?

When does the 6000 years for the permission of evil end?

How long is the GOSPEL AGE meant to go on for— 2000 years? Does this mean from AD 33 since Jesus ascended up to the Divine Realms ? Why ? and why not longer or shorter?

What does “midnight” in the Bible represent? Is it a moment in time or a period of time? Why do we need to know about it?

What is so significant about the year 2043? How does it harmonize with Scriptural texts and events?

What is the significance of certain symmetrical time periods mentioned in the Bible?

When will the Bride (144,000 members) of Christ be complete? When will the “Elect” Bride of Christ inherit glory, honor and immortality? Will the Great Multitude still be on earth during Armageddon? How do we know?

What do I need to know about jubilee cycles and why?

What is significant about the 40 years of the prophet Jeremiah’s reign in comparison to Brother Charles Taze Russell’s 40 years of harvest witnessing of Truth work?

How do these dates help us understand where we are now? :

A Count of Years From Adam

1656 years — Adam to the end of the Flood (Genesis 5, 8:13).

427 years — to God’s Covenant with Abraham (Genesis 11, 12).

430 years — to the Exodus (Galatians 3:17).

479 years — to the Foundation of Solomon’s Temple.
————–
2992 years

If you are interested to:

— read about the beauties of Truth found in God’s marvelous plan through the studying of Bible chronology supported by Scriptural explanations,

— recognize Biblical symmetry in relation to Bible chronology,

— learn about both the typical and antitypical meanings of things within holy Scriptures,

— learn where we are in the stream of time now,

— recognize the awesome harmony of  our Heavenly Father’s wise plan of the Ages and lots more …

Then why not check out the latest study by Bro. David Rice titled ‘The Approaching End of the Harvest’. Here is a direct link to the PDF file for your consideration and study:

http://2043ad.com/6000years/6000years.htm

For the most concise and clearly explained unfolding of these insights, that are so faith building and truly spiritual enlightening to the reader who seeks to understand GOD’s Divine Plan and Words to be better enabled to divide the word of Truth and make it one’s own coming to a clearer understanding of GOD’s character, then please feel free to contact David Rice  at davrice@aol.com for any direct questions regarding his books and studies (several of which are provided in the above link) or any questions pertaining to BIBLICAL CHRONOLOGY AND OUR PART IN IT, as the ‘watchmen’ of unfolding Bible prophecy.

This post’s URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/19/the-approaching-end-of-the-harvest/?share=press-this&nb=1

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What is the Purpose and Intent of Prayer; What are its Privileges and its Limits?

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The following words are from an article in Zion’s Watch Tower titled “The Province of Prayer” (R797). Some subheadings and scriptural citations have been inserted.

The Privilege of Prayer

“The privilege of praying to God, of holding communion with Him, is a great privilege and an evidence of His favor. God permits and arranged to grant us this privilege, not that he might be informed of our desires, for we being imperfect our desires are not perfect, so that “we know not what things to ask for as we ought,” and he does for us better than we know how to ask or think. Nor does God permit us to pray to Him that we may inform Him regarding matters here; for He knoweth the end from the beginning as well as every intervening step. But He has instituted prayer for our benefit and comfort and instruction.

The Object of Prayer

“The OBJECT of prayer is to bring the heart and mind of the child of God, whether in joy or sorrow, into contact with the heart of God, that He may be enabled thus, most fully to realize the fatherhood of God, His love and care and His deep interest in every item of our welfare; that in deep affliction we may unburden our hearts to God and thus have forcibly brought to our attention His love and care and wisdom—for our encouragement, not His; for our strengthening, not His, and for our joy. This opportunity is not for us to instruct Jehovah how to arrange matters for the best, but it is to bring our hearts to realize Him as the centre of wisdom and power, that having unburdened our hearts, we may be prepared to listen for His answer and advice through His word. And he whose knowledge of prayer is confined to the meagre information he has imparted to God with “much speaking,” and who has never learned to listen for the answer to his prayer at the word of God, has as yet measurably failed to appreciate the object of prayer.

“Earnestness in God’s service will bring His children to Him frequently, to realize at His feet His sympathy with them in the difficulties, discouragements and trials of life, as well as to ask His guidance and overruling of every affair of life, through His word, and to hearken to His wisdom, which will enable us to serve Him acceptably.

What To Pray About and What Not To Pray About

“The PROVINCE of prayer is to ask for such, and only such things, as God has already declared himself well pleased to grant. And while we may freely speak to Him as a Father, and tell Him how we understand His word, and the confidence and trust we have in its ultimate fulfilment, yet we must not only avoid telling the Lord of our will and our plan, and what we would like; but we must avoid and put far from us any such spirit, and must recognize and bring ourselves into full accord with His will and His plan of accomplishing it. If this thought were appreciated, it would cut short some of the “long prayers,” “much speaking,” and “vain repetitions” by which some endeavor to instruct the Lord in their wishes regarding every matter under heaven. It would send them speedily to the word of God to search diligently the plan of God that they might labor as well as pray in harmony with it. While assuring us that the Father careth for us, and is well pleased to have us come to him with sincere hearts, the Master informs us of the conditions upon which we may expect an answer. He says: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). These are the conditions for sure answers to our prayers. What is it to abide in Christ? It implies first that our WILL has been wholly consecratedswallowed up in the will of Christ. And more, that the will is in this condition at the time of the prayer, abiding in Christ. And if the suppliant’s own will is gone and he is now controlled entirely by the will of Christ, he surely would consult the words of Christ and there seek information as to what His will is before framing a petition to the Father in Christ’s name. And if this be his case, if the will of Christ is governing him, and the words of Christ are abiding in him, such an one is prepared to ask any and everything he may WILL to ask.

“His requests would probably be as simple as was the Master’s petition when he prayed, “Not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:42). In such a condition prayers are always answered; but in such a condition the prayers would be very modest. Our prayers under such circumstances would be more a thanksgiving for our blessings, an expression of confidence and trust, and the committal of our way unto the Lord, confidently realizing the promise that to us under such conditions, ALL THINGS [even seeming disasters and troubles] shall work together FOR GOOD. Hence whatever came, such an one could realize his prayer answered. He could rejoice evermore because he is prepared to rejoice in tribulation as well as in prosperity, in the path of service.

He has no will to oppose whatever God permits, knowing that it will work out good.

“Such could not pray for anything of their own will, for they have no will except God’s; then abiding in Christ, and his words in them, would prevent any other petition. They could not pray for the immediate conversion of the world, for though they know that “God will have all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth,” they also know that the present age is not in God’s plan devoted to this work, but solely to the selection, under SEVERER trial, of those who shall be God’s instruments for blessing all the families of the earth in God’s arranged time.

“We cannot single out an ungodly friend and request God to work a miracle on him, and bring him into the “Church of the first-born” (Hebrews 12:23), though we may pray for wisdom to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), that if possible the light of the knowledge of the glory of God might thus shine into the understanding of that friend. This would be in harmony with the Word. Jesus said, “Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16), and instructs that “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask [it] of God, who giveth liberally and upbraideth not” (James 1:5).

“We may not ask for riches and honor; nor for fine food and fine clothing. To seek or pray for these is contrary to the Spirit of the Master. But we may ask, “Give us this day our daily BREAD” (Matthew 6:11), assured that the Father knoweth best what kind is best, and what things are needful to us as seen from His standpoint which embraces our interests spiritual as well as temporal, future as well as present.

“We may not pray for the increase in numbers of any of the many sects of today, well knowing that Jesus would not approve of thus fettering with human tradition those whom He calls to liberty; and that He does not approve, but would condemn the sects of today as He did those of eighteen centuries ago, saying, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Mark 8:15), and declaring to them, “Ye do make void [useless and ineffective] the law of God by your traditions” (Mark 7:13).

“We can neither labor nor pray for the advancement and growth in power, wealth, influence and numbers of any of these sects, knowing their very existence to be contrary to God’s Word, and their advancement a hindrance to the light of truth.

“Nor can we today either labor or pray for the perpetuation of the governments of this world, for the word of Christ abides in us, and we are therefore not in darkness, but we know that “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24) are about fulfilled; and the time for the establishment of God’s kingdom is at hand. For that new kingdom we may pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth” (Matthew 6:10) patiently awaiting the fullness of God’s due time. So surely as we are children of the light, not left in darkness that that day should come upon us unawares, we know that the success of the heavenly kingdom for which we pray, means the destruction of all these kingdoms of earth (Daniel 2:44).

“We cannot pray our Father to grant abundant harvests, send rains, prevent famines, drouths, wars and pestilences, for we find no example in the Master of such presumption, and realize from his words (Luke 21:9) that God will permit these things until the reign of Christ is inaugurated. And further, we are informed by the Master that the present day will be one of trouble caused by the new Prince binding the strong ruler of earth and spoiling his house (Matthew 12:29). Hence we pray for none of these things, but with trust and peace look with patience into the future, praying, “Our Father—thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). In all things “Thy will be done,”—and even in the midst of the present necessary unrest and trouble we rejoice in confident hope, knowing that all things are so overruled as to work out the accomplishment of our Father’s grand designs, revealed to us in his Word.

“Instructed by the abiding words of Christ, and realizing the covenant of sacrifice to be even unto death we cannot ask release from pain and trouble and death, but with Jesus we can only ask that if it be possible, the cup of shame and misrepresentation might pass, that we suffer not as evil doers; and yet with him we must say: “Not my will but thine be done!” (Luke 22:42“Father, glorify thy name!” (John 12:28)

“These may pray for the healing of others, but not for themselves. It was truly said of the Master, that he saved others, but he could not save himself and be a sacrifice too. Yet, in requests for the healing of others we must remember that the time for full restitution of life and health to the world has not yet fully come. Jesus did not heal all the blind and impotent in Judea, and what healing he did was merely to show forth the glorious power and blessing of his coming glorious reign which has not yet fully dawned. Hence our prayers for the sick should be with full confidence in God’s ability to heal, yet not demanding it, always letting the words of our Lord abide in us—“Thy will be done.”

“To pray in other than this spirit is to “ask amiss,” to ask for things to be consumed upon our own lusts [desires] (James 4:3). Desires for ease, for earthly prosperity, for a sect and its growth and honor; all these are earthly lusts contrary to the Spirit and Word of Christ. Thus the word lusts is used by the Apostle in the above instance. Most prayers seemingly are of this sort, and therefore amiss.

“Those who abide in Christ, and in whom his word abides, can pray for their enemies and those who despitefully use and persecute them, though they cannot pray God to open their blinded eyes at once, or in their way; but realizing from the indwelling word of God’s promise, that the blinded eyes shall all be opened to the truth, they can abide His time, but going to God in prayer they may express their forgiveness of the persecutor, their interest in him, and their patient waiting for the day when “the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth,” and His will be done on earth (Habakkuk 2:14).

“When in harmony with Paul’s exhortation (1 Timothy 2:1,2) these pray—“For all men; for kings and all that are in authority,” their prayers will not be that those kings may be continued in power and control; for they well know that this would be in direct opposition to God’s expressed plan, which is to break in pieces and consume all these.

“And though these may labor toward it they cannot expect and pray for the conversion of “all men,” “kings,” etc., well remembering the Master’s prayer—“I pray not for the world but for THEM which thou hast given me,…that they all may be one, that [then] the world may believe” in its due season (John 17:9,21). In none of Jesus’ prayers did he ever pray for Caesar, or Pilate, or Herod; nor did he make any special effort to reach these, with the gospel message, remembering how it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the MEEK (Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18). And when he gave the disciples a formula of prayer it contained no prayer for kings and rulers of this age, nor for “all men” except as this is implied in the expressions of forgiveness of debtors, and the prayer for the coming kingdom which will bless all men.

What then could we pray for “as we ought,” and not ask “amiss,” for all men and for kings? Very little, indeed, other than the prayer for the blessing of allimplied, when we pray, “Thy kingdom come.” Our prayer to God for kings, etc., must be merely that he would so overrule and direct by raising up or casting down among the nations, as would be most in harmony with his wise plans, for the blessing and development of the Church now being selected. For though God has given over the world to the rule of the Prince of this world and His faithful agents until the full end of Gentile Times, when He shall come whose right the dominion is and shall take the dominion under the whole heaven, associating with Him His faithful followers according to His many promises (Daniel 7:14,18,22), YET God has not given present rulers unlimited power. He will suffer them to take their course only so far as it does not interfere with His plans—there it must stop. The wrath of man shall not work ruin to the plan of God, for God will cause the wrath of man to work to His praise, and all that will not so work He will restrain (Psalm 76:10). And this is what the Apostle has in view: Pray God’s guidance and direction over all the affairs of life and over rulers TO THE END THAT the piety and sobriety and growth of the Church may be conserved. Verse 2.

“Thus considered, not merely as a begging arrangement, nor yet as an occasion for instructing the Lord as to our wills; but considered as a season of union and communion of heart with our Father in which we may relieve our burdened or perplexed hearts by there realizing divine sympathy, calling to mind divine promises, reviewing divine care, and expressing our confidence in God’s many promises, thus bringing those promises afresh and closely to our hearts, as though God now audibly uttered them in our hearing—thus considered, how proper, yea, how necessary, is prayer to the true child of God. He cannot live without it. To break off this communion would be like stripping a tree of its leaves: it would stunt and hinder its development.

“But to suppose that Christian life depends solely upon prayer without earnest study of God’s word, is like supposing that a tree could flourish from its leaves only, without roots and soil. Both are needful: good soil and roots will produce leaves and fruitage, and, likewise, the promises of God’s word absorbed by us will naturally lead to good works and to communion with God in prayer, without which our fruits would soon wither and disappear.

“No wonder, then, that Jesus both by precept and example said, ‘Watch and pray’ (Matt. 26:41), uniting the two conditions needful in our development. Some pray and neglect to watch; others watch and neglect to pray; both these errors are serious, and it is not possible for us to decide which is the most serious neglect, since either would work disastrous loss of the great prize for which we are running.

Prayer Not a Ceremony

“No where is prayer defined as a duty, though its necessity is stated. The Father desireth such to worship Him as worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23); and it would be contrary to this principle to define prayer as a duty, and stipulate a set time or place or formal manner. The earnestness of the service and the peculiarity of the circumstance, will regulate the frequency and the matter.

“But though “Family Prayer,” “Morning Prayer,” “Evening Prayer,” nor any other stated time of praying is not specified in Scripture, who among God’s children has not experienced the blessedness of communion with the Lord in the morning of each day asking His guidance of its affairs, and realizing and expressing to Him our confidence in and reliance upon His promises. This does not remind the Lord of his obligation contained in these promises, but it does remind us of those promises and thus strengthen and prepare us for the events of the day. Likewise, how impossible it is for a child of God, remembering and impressed by the events of the day, as to the Lord’s wisdom and care and the surety that all things shall work for good—how impossible, we say, for such an one to retire to rest without thankfulness of heart to Him upon whose power and promises they have leaned throughout the day: and how appropriate to bow the knee as well as the heart to render homage as well as thanks.

“Hence no form of prayer is furnished in the Scripture. Even the Master, when asked by the disciples for instruction on this subject, gave them not a form to repeat, but merely an idea or example of how to arrange their prayers to God. He did not say, Pray this prayer; but “after this manner pray ye” (Matthew 6:9). Our prayers, then, should be after this manner—not an assortment of extravagant demands, but the simple expression of the earnest heart.

[1] First acknowledging and paying homage to God as our Father the Almighty and hallowed One.

[2] Secondly, expressing our expectations and trust that His kingdom according to promise is coming, and our eagerness for it, and the time when His will shall be done as in heaven.

[3] Thirdly, our reliance upon Him, for “daily bread,” which He has promised us.

[4] Fourthly our acknowledgment that our ways are not perfect and our reliance upon his favor [granted through Christ Jesus] for forgiveness; and our willingness to exercise forgiveness toward our debtors.

Family Prayer

“Though not enjoined specifically, how appropriate that husband and wife should blend their hearts and bow their knees in divine worship, and in submission to the divine will. How much this must tend to unify those hearts and lives. How blessed must such an example be to the children. How appropriate that the little “olive branches” be trained to look to their Creator in the days of their youth, not with formal and long prayers, but with the evidence before them of parental trust in and love for the giver of every good, as expressed in a simple, earnest, trustful prayer after the MANNER of the Lord’s illustration. As children see their parents recognizing and bowing to the superior will and wisdom of their heavenly Father, they learn from the example the lesson of obedience and submission to parental authority while learning to know and reverence their Creator.

“As soon as children come to reasoning age, their attention to the daily family prayer, whether it be morning or evening, should be placed on the same plane that God places it before us: not of CONSTRAINT, but of a willing mind, out of thankful and loving hearts. Such an influence and example will make home and parents and sacred things dear to children in after life. The true worship of God is profitable both for the present and future life.

Unceasing Prayer

“With the climax of Christian growth, the climax of worship is reached, and the earnest child of God will presently experience the meaning of the Apostle’s words: “Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18). Communion with God and the feeling of continual trust in His goodness and care, will become interwoven with all the affairs of life, so that to thus pray without ceasing, and be continually thankful, will become as natural as breathing. But this continual prayer and thanksgiving can never take the place of the formal recognition of worship of God, either to our own hearts or to our families.

Prayer in the Church

What is true of our families is not less true of God’s family, of which we are members—the body of Christ. To bind us together in love, God has arranged to make the various members more or less dependent on each other for the blessings He is willing and ready to bestow. Thus He would unify the body of Christ in His method of providing spiritual food, as the human body is dependent as a whole upon its various members for the natural “daily bread” which God thus supplies.

This being true, we should not only neglect not the assembling of ourselves with those of like precious faith, personally when we can; and at least through the medium of the printed page, but when assembled how sweet and refreshing, and how appropriate, to ask our Father’s blessing upon the meeting; that the spirit of love may pervade the members of Christ’s body there assembled, and that the truth might be discerned by sincere and truth-hungry souls, so that all might be more and more filled with the self-sacrificing spirit of that truth, and thus be built up in the most holy faith and love, and made meet for the Master’s service both now and hereafter. Can it be doubted that to the extent that such prayer is the expression of the sentiment of all, it will bring an answer at the moment of its utterance, by impressing upon all solemnly the object of the meeting and the blessings to be expected and enjoyed? It is ever thus; as we draw nigh to God in prayer we bring the blessings promised nigh to ourselves by bringing our hearts into a condition of readiness to enjoy the blessings promised the seeker.

While the offered prayer is to God it should not be forgotten that in harmony with the foregoing statement (that the prayer influences of all who join in it) that Jesus and the Apostle indicate that it should be uttered in such a voice and manner as to enable those about to appreciate and intelligently join it. Jesus said, in connection with one of the few of his recorded sayings, “Because of them that stood by I said it” (John 11:42). Paul exhorts those who lead the company in prayer to seek to do so in such a manner that all may be able to hear and acquiesce in it (1 Corinthians 14:14-17). And in all things whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

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What does the Bible mean by “a new heavens and new earth”?

2nd. Peter 3.10.13.jpg

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).

What was the promise to which Peter refers?

Immediately, our minds might leap to the closing of Revelation:

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Revelation 21:1

The restless masses, pictured by the sea (Isaiah 57:20), will no longer find any place by the close of the little season.

These words from Revelation beautifully harmonize and amplify on the new heavens and the new earth. However, the book of Revelation could not have been what Peter had in mind, because Revelation was not yet given to the Apostle John while Peter was alive.

ISAIAH 65, THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH

We find this promise not once, but twice in the closing chapters of Isaiah:

“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)

“For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.” (Isaiah 66:22)

To understand the context we need to start with Isaiah 65:8:

“Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.”

“Wine” is a picture of joyful doctrine. In this case, the cluster has not even been cut from the vine, let alone subjected to the careful process that will transform it into wine. Take firm hold of that picture—the Lord sees the blessing in the cluster still on the vine. All of the hopes for a new heaven and new earth begin with the promise to Abraham long before the promise can become a reality.

“In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.” (Genesis 22:17)

Isaiah’s allusion to a new heavens and a new earth corresponds to “the stars of heaven” and “the sands of the seashore.”

In Isaiah 65:8 there is a command not to destroy the grape cluster, picturing the joyful hopes of Israel. This threat of destruction may correspond to the troubles that befell Israel during the “Times of the Gentiles.”

At that time the typical monarchy through the line of David ceased, and the typical Jubilee system could no longer be observed. These ominous experiences could have marked the end of Israel’s hopes. And yet the experience with Gentile dominion did not extinguish Jewish religious hopes, represented in the grape clusters. “For my servants’ [Israel’s] sakes that I may not destroy them all [i.e. the clusters].” Israel’s hopes remained alive throughout the bitter experiences of the Diaspora.

Isaiah 65:9, “And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.”

There were 70 weeks determined upon the people that would bring them to Messiah, the seed of promise. The specific reference to an “inheritor” is important.

This word “inheritor” is H3423 yaw-rash. It suggests someone who has driven out the previous occupants and now possesses something. This a picture of our Lord taking possession of this world.

“Out of Judah” must surely be a reference to the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5), who is our Lord. Additionally, there is a “mine elect class, the church, as contrasted with “servants,” natural Israel. So now we are in the transition period between the Jewish age and the Gospel Age with the first advent of Jesus. Because of the reference to “servants” in verse 8, this promise must include natural Israel and the Ancient Worthies who shall dwell in these mountains—note the plural. These are the servants who will dwell in the earthly kingdom, the mountains of this world. The elect, who came into the covenant with Messiah, share in the inheritance. This is reminiscent of our Lord’s words when he said, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5).

WARNING OF JUDGMENT

The Lord promises a blessing. Isaiah 65:10, “Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.”

However, in Isaiah 65:11-15, there comes a warning of judgment. This is a reference to the condition of the Jewish people after their time of favor has ended. The servants are those who have been transferred from the house of servants to the house of sons. They are the Jews of the first Advent who came into Christ. This concludes with the promise that the Lord would call his servants by another name. And so it was that they left the house of Moses and entered the house of Christ. During the mishneh, the 1845 years of disfavor for the Jewish polity, have the Lord’s servants been called by the names of “Israel” and “Judah?” No, they have not. As promised they have been called by other names;
“Christians” (Acts 11:26), “the little flock,” “the church of the firstborn,” “the bride of Christ.”

SOMETHING SWORN

“Curse” (H7631), or “something sworn,” seems such an inappropriate word and yet the text is rendered “curse” in both the Soncino and the Jewish Publication Society translations: “And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto Mine elect: ‘So may the Lord GOD slay thee;’ but He shall call His servants by another name.”

We have been called unto Peace, we have not been called to utter oaths, particularly strong oaths such as; “So may the Lord GOD slay thee.”

However, the reference here is not to those who are yet waiting for Messiah hampered by “blindness in part,” but to those in verse 11 “who have prepared a table for the troop.”

This phrase is difficult to understand because it refers to those who forsook the Lord and trusted to the fortune of the stars in their cultic worship of the Babylonian deity of good fortune called “Gad.” In verse 11 of our text the name “Gad” is translated “troop” and the
reference to Babylonian worship was not clear to the King James translators.

So for this unhappy class, their faith rested in other gods who would give them good fortune and serve as their defense. “Troop” does indeed deserve this severe judgment. It is the LORD who delivers the sentence.

THE GOD OF AMEN

Now the favor returns.

“So that he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.” (Isaiah 65:16)

ALL mankind will come into these promises made to father Abraham and be blessed indeed. It would appear that this verse especially applies to Gentiles, for they are not using the name “Jehovah” which has special promise for natural Israel.

In the entire Bible, this phrase, “the God of Truth” is only used here. Some commentaries suggest that leaving it untranslated might give us a better sense, “the God of Amen.” Strong’s defines “amen” as “sure; abstractly faithfulness; adverbially truly.” These definitions convey the sense that He is a God whose promises will surely come to pass, a God who is faithful.

We finally reach the text that the Apostle Peter quotes. “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.” (Isaiah 65:17-18)

This is a special promise of restoration for natural Israel, the seed of Abraham after the flesh.

“And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” (Isaiah 65:19-20)

We are assured that in the New Heavens and the New Earth, we will not see children perishing in infancy, nor even a sinner perishing who has not had an extended and fair trial to reform and set his feet on the “Highway to Holiness” spoken of in Isaiah 35, “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35:10)

HIGHWAY NOT A NARROW WAY

Because God cares, He did not abandon the world of mankind in a hopeless condition. He did not allow death to be the final condition of suffering man. He provided a “ransom,” the basis of the only true hope for a world in despair. I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.” (Hosea 13:14)

But there is an apparent contradiction respecting the Highway of Holiness in Isaiah 35, for how can someone “return” who was never originally “in” Zion?

Isaiah 35:10 cannot be referring to the church of the firstborn, for they are not on this Highway of Holiness although they are intimately associated with it. This is a Highway, it is not a Narrow way. This Highway is for the “weak” (Isaiah 35:3), it is for the “feeble” (Isaiah 35:5), and it is even for the “foolish” (Isaiah 35:8). In spite of all these failings the travelers will not remain “unclean.” Isaiah 35 must refer to a consecration to righteousness for mankind in the kingdom.

We would like to think that the pouring out of the holy Spirit on all flesh would eliminate these problems of weakness, enfeeblement, and foolishness, but in reality that is not the case. How can we say this? It is because the New Creation has the first-fruits of the spirit even now and they have to work with all these problems.

The use of the word “return” becomes clearer when we recognize that sin and alienation from God are an unnatural state. Harmony and At-one-ment with God is the natural state. It is the state that our first parents enjoyed in Eden. This return from the lost and perishing condition is to Zion, the holy city where our Heavenly Father eagerly awaits. The travelers come with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. It is this portion that God has elected to give to the human race, and what a glorious portion!

CREATION TO BE DELIVERED

Our Lord’s shed blood, spilled upon the earth, bought all the lower creation as well as the church and the World of Mankind. In the following passage from Romans, we will consistently use “creation” for the Greek ktisis (G2937).

“The earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption,to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:19-23)

We call to mind that the earth was “made to be inhabited.” The Edenic paradise shall be restored—surely this is part of the “return” mentioned by Isaiah. The Strong’s definition includes the thought of “returning to the starting point.” So, mankind will return to where our race first began — human perfection in a paradise home. “The desert shall blossom as the rose;” and both the plant and animal creation will be restored to their proper balance; nature with all its pleasing variety will call to man from every direction to seek and know the glory and power and love of God; and mind and heart will rejoice in Him.

Though Isaiah 35 promises the New Earth a Highway, walking on this road will still take effort. There will be cheer and encouragement along the route from the New Heavens, for the church has shared mankind’s sorrow. As the goal, Zion, is reached, there will singing and shouts of praise. The Hebrew word for “songs” (H7440) actually suggests that the voices will be a little shrill with a joy that naturally spills over into song. They will have “everlasting joy upon their heads.”

Not only does this suggest joy in the heart but this is a different sort of joy.

This joy is built upon a foundation of UNDERSTANDING. It is a joy that blends with song and with GRATITUDE to God for all His leadings.

PROMISES TO THE NEW EARTH

In this “new earth” Isaiah 65:21-25 promises that resurrected mankind will not only enjoy the soul-satisfying labor of their hands, but a restored fellowship with God.

“It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.”

It will take an eternity to know our Heavenly Father, but the unassailable principle which the Bible enunciates with clear and definite voice is that life goes on; life is endless.

Acknowledgement:

Source content used from Feb. 2016 issue of “The Beauties of the Truth,” http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org

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