Matthew 14:22-33 – How To Walk On Water

Jesus walks on water - Matthew 14

And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. Matthew 14:28, 29

Very early in that morning, Jesus’ disciples were in their little boat on the sea of Galilee. A strong, contrary wind whipped boisterous waves against them. There was almost something personal about this adverse gale.

A Joyous Multitude

It had been a remarkable day. Thousands had come to hear Jesus. The disciples felt honored to be associated with the wonderful Teacher. The crowds hung on his gracious words. His doctrines and manner of teaching were delightful. There was a thrilling challenge in his message that searched the depths of their hearts.

Every hearer had some notion of the kingdom hope and the part Israel was to play in it. Most were natural, even carnal, concepts, appealing to human pride; were they not the people of God? But Jesus’ kingdom was beautiful—the Lord’s hallowed presence enthroned in every heart.

Blessing Now, Blessing Later

The throng was hungry for His teachings. They forgot their hunger for food. But the disciples became aware of practicalities. They noticed the descending sun, and became uneasy. They interrupted Jesus, whispering that he should dismiss his audience.

Then followed an experience that would make their minds tingle on every future recollection. They became instruments in an amazing demonstration of power: one lad’s supper fed the multitude. What a climax to the day! They witnessed a portrayal of that blessed time when all human needs would be divinely satisfied and they would again be the instruments used of the Lord to convey blessings to mankind. They were learning to live with the power of God.

This is essential to the preparation of the future ministers of the kingdom. Each was a vessel of divine grace, a channel of divine love, an instrument through which the Lord would exhibit the glory of his power to give life abundant to whosoever will.

A Need for Quiet

Finally, the crowds dispersed, and Jesus was left alone with his disciples—but not before another wonderful moment occurred. The people were so elated by the experience that groups gathered, rallying the support of all. The disciples realized that the hopeful congregation wanted to proclaim Jesus their king!

Knowing the people’s intent, Jesus motioned to his disciples, climbing higher up the mountain trail to be alone with God. He longed for that future day when men would respond to divine love in a way more enduring than the fervor of that crowd.

Their Stormy Challenge

He told the apostles to proceed to Bethsaida, leaving him alone with his Father in prayer. The disciples in the midst of the sea, and Jesus on high with the Father, depicted the Gospel age night of weary toil for the Church.

It was hard for them. A hazardous storm had risen. They strained at the oars, their struggles seeming to avail nothing. Their Master’s presence seemed remote. For hours they toiled, the journey taking much longer than they had anticipated. They longed for the sight of dawn and the shoreline.

But Jesus knew. From his vantage point on high, he saw their plight. The watches of the night passed. In the fourth watch, they glimpsed a sight which frightened them. It was Jesus, but a Jesus they had yet to know. He was now demonstrating divine abilities.

Winds and waves threatened their ship;

               yet there was Jesus,

                                                     walking on that troubled water as though it was solid rock.

Consider their fear: Here was a being with superhuman power—power above that of the storm. Even earth’s gravity was impotent beneath his feet.

Our Stormy Challenges

This parallels the mighty power of One whose presence is now recognized by saints on earth. Can we comprehend the vast resources of divine power now available to our returned Lord? He is exercising in this earth’s atmosphere, in the midst of the storms that bring fear into human hearts, the power of the victor over sin, the conqueror of every evil force released on earth.

We do not cry out in fear, but let us shout in worship and praise to our returned King, no longer bound by flesh but glorious in majesty.

“Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously on behalf of truth and meekness and righteousness” (Psalm 45:3, 4).

The disciples feared because they glimpsed a being with powers of another world. This recognition of spirit realm was awesome. Blessed are our eyes that see beyond human sight to celestial glory. In awe we see that One who today stands here amidst the earthly scene.

We Learn from Peter

We were not with him on Galilee. We cannot feel the might of battering waves, the force of gale, the surrounding darkness. But our proxy was there, Peter. How we love his earnest heart!

In Peter we see ourselves. His lessons were enjoyed by saints throughout the age. Yet now, the lessons are for us. When Jesus and the disciples were united in the boat, the storm abated, the wind dropped, the sea became a great calm. Soon they reached the other shore.

The time of trouble will not end, nor the testing of the saints, until the last is gathered to be with the Lord. That is the dispensational message. There is also a personal message for each saint, pertaining to their walk this side of the veil. It has special meaning for us, in this time of the Master’s presence in the very midst of earth’s troubled scenes.

Peter was reassured by the Master’s voice,

Take courage. It is I! Do not be afraid!”

 What comfort we find in recognizing One who stands before us now endowed with wondrous powers. The earth hears and trembles; Zion hears and is glad. In the midst of so much disturbance, so many demonstrations of the powers of darkness, when all human existence on this earth is threatened, what comfort to our hearts to hear the voice of our Beloved saying,

Be not afraid. It is I!”

 Peter was stirred. He saw that Jesus’ powers could overcome all limitations of flesh. He glimpsed a higher realm. A blessed truth confronted him, and dear, impulsive Peter, wanted to taste that power divine.

Water-walking

The Lord created a scenario, teaching us what Peter sought to learn—how to walk on water.

When Jesus walked upon that sea, he was upheld by an invisible force superior to any power on earth. Here was faith in its fulness, faith-fulness that finds the rock on which to walk throughout life.

Peter asked, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”

We should not presume, but meekly ask. The invitation comes from him, “Come. Follow me.”

Peter was not testing God. He was asking for the Master’s power to resist the downward force that gravitates the mind to earth. Peter wanted to experience the power of God.

It was an impulsive request. He had not learned that long-sighted vision which the Spirit would later endow. That Spirit recognizes that a heavenly purpose is working on a grand scale. It is our privilege to co-work with God toward that goal. And the Lord utilized Peter’s impulse to teach us lessons.

First we request the Lord’s help to follow him. He does not ask us to do the impossible. God makes ALL things possible.

We are called to walk in Jesus’ steps. How can we do that? He was holy; we are corrupt. Then Peter had to believe that if Jesus gave the word, Jesus had the power. Believe!

Step out of the rocking boat into the stormy sea.

The power is there. This means more than believing when comfortable, in good health. It means to put ALL our confidence and trust on Someone truly worthyto accept him as our TOTAL means of support.

PSALM 20, 7

Jesus walked on water with no visible support. Our visible support refers to job, home, health, family, friends, position, income, material possessions. We cannot depend on them for our peace of mind.

PSALM 118-8

Our Rocky Boats

Believing meant stepping out of the boat. Even a rocky boat is some means of support. Each human strength is like that rocky boat. Stepping out of the boat requires faith.

HEBREWS-11-1-6

Are we then at the mercy of the waves? No, we are abandoning the things that can be shaken and placing our feet on solid rock. Matthew 14:30 records the situation: “When he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord save me! And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

No one can see what supports the child of faith through tribulation and weakness. But the visible effect of faith can be seenpeace, confidence, joy, at times when the world would expect utter dejection and expect us to sink!

The window of the heart opens to heaven when this body of death is locked in its prison.

PSALM 61, 1-2

The attitude of prayerful praise is the visible evidence of the rock of faith. The confining of the body quickens the spirit of perception that enjoys glorious liberty as God’s sons.

Paul, too, stepped out of a boat and walked on water: “Bonds and afflictions wait for me, but none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto me.” We look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are unseen. No overcomer cowers in the boat. How frightening, when poor Peter found himself sinking!

Our failures teach us deep and permanent lessons.

All saints experience boisterous winds and waves, dark and threatening contradictions to our faith.

Every step of walking on water is a test of faith.

PSALM 73-26

There is no retirement from the life of faith. As the years advance, we become like Enoch: this walk with the Lord becomes so absorbing to our mind that we do not see death, only the victorious Lord at the side of God’s throne, his voice ringing out, “Come!” This is the victory . . . your faith.”

At Golgotha, visible evidence indicated that Jesus had been abandoned. Yet that ultimate contradiction to his faith proved its very reality, faith FULL unto death. Faith is knowing our Father’s abiding faithfulness. We know he is there, he is for us, he knows every detail required to bring us to himself in the bond of perfect trust.

When Peter stepped out, he needed something more sure than the rocking ship made with human hands. He needed the most dependable power that exists. To reach for it, he needed faith that can let go, as surely as it can cling!

Reaching to Jesus

Matthew 14, Mark 6, and John 6, each add some precious detail. We read in Mark 6:48, that as the wonderful Master walked upon those waves, he seemed to be passing them by, proceeding towards the shore. It was this realization that spurred Peter on to request the Lord’s command to follow him.

Peter did not want the Lord to pass him by. He wanted to walk with Jesus. We do not want the Lord to pass us by. We cannot merely watch him from the uncertain safety of our storm-dashed ship.

We are not arm-chair saints.

Our faith is on trial NOW.

THIS is the hour to realize the power of total trust.

Why wait for that hour of tribulation when our ship may break on the rocks? The truth is staring at us today. Jesus defies that which is seen by natural sight. Contradictions are real. This body of humiliation contradicts the high aspirations of the new mind. It humiliates our pure desire for a holy life. Let our clay vessels manifest the miracle of God’s power.

2 COR. 4, 16

Everyone, not just the Lord’s people, eventually lose the things on which human security depends—health, strength, partner, friends. All have a coded date-stamp beyond which corruption will set in. How vital to our peace that we learn to walk on water NOW, before that evil day.

Then shall we know the triumph of faith that conquers the fury of every storm. Then shall we say:

Let the chill mists gather round me.
Let the lights of earth grow dim.
Leave me Jesus, only Jesus.
I am Satisfied with him.

*****

HEB. 10, 23

 

Acknowledgment

Br. Donald Holliday — for the above study.

*****

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The Daily Cup

PSALM 116, 13.jpg

“I will take the Cup of Salvation” (Psalm 116:13).

With a tender smile on His loving face,
My Lord stood holding the Cup of Grace

“Wilt thou drink, dear one, today?”

O loving Bridegroom, I am so weak!
My enemies even now do seek
To cause me to shrink away.

Today the Cup seems a bitter draught
That cost Thee Thy life, as once Thou quaffed —

Increase my faith, I pray!

“My Dove, I will show thee the care I take
To guard the Cup for thy dear sake,
That thou mayst drink each day.”

Oh, wondrous vision my Lord revealed!
I saw my soul’s fierce battle-field,
And the enemies dreaded by me.

The World, the Flesh and Satan wise
Were all made plain in their evil guise,
Plotting adversity.

“I will fill the Cup with troubles sore,
Pour them in till they’re brimming o’er—
I’ll make it a Poison draught!

“So bitter ’twill be that its very breath
Will cause her to shrink from such a death!”—
Thus Satan in wickedness laughed.

And the World and the Flesh in blindness lent
Their aid to his wicked, fell intent:
My soul felt their power so dire.

Then I turned and looked at my Bridegroom’s face—
The glory from it filled all the place,
But His eyes were flames of fire.

BEGONE, ye enemies of My Bride!
The Cup is MINE!” He sternly cried;
“I guard this Cup each day.

“And nothing goes in it beyond the power
Of My Bride to bear in her weakest hour,
If she l

Then He turned to me with the tenderest mien–
“My Love, art thou strengthened by what thou hast seen?
Canst thou now the enemy face?”

Dear Lord, forgive me, I humbly cried,
That I should forget that He who died
To redeem my soul, is by my side
And holds the Cup in His hand.

Gladly I take the Loving-Cup,
Gladly I drink as Thou holdest it up;
To share it with Thee is grand!

And if it should be that this is the day
When the flesh, as I drink, shall pass for aye,
Then ’twill be the Cup of Joy.

Oh, wondrous miracle of grace!
The smile on my loving Bridegroom’s face

As I pressed my lips to the Cup,

Filled my soul o’erflowing with peace Divine!
And not alone did this peace I find,
But my heart with Joy welled up.

And so each day as I take the Cup
From my Best Beloved, I meekly look up
And whisper a prayer for grace.

And He gives me grace; and Peace Divine,
And Love and Faith and Joy are mine,
As I gaze upon His face.

My hope is in faith the Cup to drain
That I in His Kingdom with Him may reign;
The Cup of Joy I then will claim,
Triumphant by His Grace!

Lilla S. Ward.

 The above poem is from the “Reprints (No. 5868) of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.”

——-

  • Romans 5:1-5(ESV)

Peace with God Through Faith

(1) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.(2) Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (3) Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, (4) and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (5) 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.

——-

  • Hebrews 13:20-21 (Weymouth New Testament)

“(20) Now may God who gives peace, and brought Jesus, our Lord, up again from among the dead — even Him who, by virtue of the blood of the eternal Covenant, is the great Shepherd of the sheep — (21) fully equip you with every grace that you may need for the doing of His will, producing in us that which will truly please Him through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory to the Ages of the Ages! Amen.

Suggested Further Reading

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

Who Is the World’s Ransom and Why
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/29/who-is-the-worlds-ransom-and-why/

Beautiful Lessons From the Passover Type
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/04/09/beautiful-lessons-from-the-passover-type/

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

 

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https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2018/02/28/the-daily-cup/

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A Little While – Hymns of Dawn No. 7

A Little While – Hymns of Dawn No. 7

Lyrics

“A little while;” now he has come;
The hour draws on apace—
The blessed hour, the glorious morn,
When we shall see his face.
How light our trials then will seem!
How short our pilgrim way!
The life of earth a fitful dream,
Dispelled by dawning day!

Chorus

Then, O Lord Jesus, quickly show
Thy glory and thy light,
And take God’s longing children home,
And end earth’s weary night.

A little while; with patience, Lord,
I fain would ask, “How long?”
For how can I, with such a hope
Of glory and of home,
With such a joy awaiting me,
Not wish the hour were come?
How can I keep the longing back,
And how suppress the groan?

Yet peace, my heart! and hush, my tongue!
Be calm my troubled breast!
Each passing hour prepares thee more
For everlasting rest.
Thou knowest well, the time thy God
Appoints for thee is best.
The morning star already shines;
The glow is in the east.

Bible Scriptures Associated With This Hymn

  • 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (ESV) —

“12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

  • 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 (RVIC) —

“(50) Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (51) Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall all fall asleep, but we shall not all be changed (52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, in the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (54) But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death was swallowed up in victory. (55) O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? (56) But the sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law: (57) but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (58) Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:50-58, RVIC – The American Revised Version Improved and Corrected, 2000).

  • Song of Songs (“Canticles”) 8:14 (NAS) —

“Hurry, my beloved, And be like a gazelle or a young stag On the mountains of spices.”

The comments below, are a direct quote from “Notes on The Song of Solomon” by Anton Frey in the Bible Student Library CD:

Solomon, expecting to be gone from her immediate presence, though within hearing and speaking range, admonishes her to remain in the beautiful and fragrant gardens. It would be from these that she should be able to maintain communications with him, though not able to actually see him. He went to make the final preparations for the taking of her to her new home; there, to make her his bride, his wife! Already, some of her belongings have been transported to the Palace—the treasures, which she wishes to keep with her, forever and a day! As she now waves to him, she says, very earnestly, “Make haste, my dearly beloved, be like the roe, or the young hart upon the mountains of spices”—return speedily for me, for I can scarcely wait!

The words of the “espoused virgin” at this time, are not any different from those she has uttered to her beloved “Solomon,” from the very beginning of the Gospel age; for they do most beautifully express her hopes—“Come quickly, Lord.” She would have Him be swift, like the roe, or the young hart. She has already told him that she would eagerly be awaiting him—his return to take her to her heavenly home, where he will make of her, his bride, the Lamb’s wife! How she does look forward to the day when he shall change her name to his—“Jehovah Tsidkenu”—the Righteousness of Jehovah (Jeremiah 33:16; 23:6). Her bridal garments are all in readiness (Psalm 45:13, 14) and, already, some of her treasures (tokens of his love given to her during their period of courtship) have been transported to the Royal Palace! Is this not also, the significance of the Master’s words, “I go to prepare a place for you”? (John 14:2) “Come quickly, Lord,” she says… He responds, “I (shall indeed) come quickly” (Rev. 3:11, 22:7); and to which, her final salutation is, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

Let us strive to be worthy of a love so great and tender as His [Christ’s]. Let us seek ever and always to glorify Him before others; and, never, no, never, prove ourselves unworthy! Contemplate… the transcendency of His love; think upon what He has declared He thinks of His beloved: then, endeavor, more and more, to grow into the image and likeness—His “Ideal”!

  • Hebrews 10:37 —

“35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”

  • 2 Peter 1:12 —

“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.”

The three “stepping stones” to understanding Christ’s invisible presence and “parousia” which IS (part of) “the present truth” which the Apostle Peter was talking about in 2 Peter 1:12 are: 1260, 1290, and 1335 and these numbers are prophetic markers all found in both the Book of Revelation and the Book of Daniel.

For further reading about Christ’s Presence please go to the following post: “Christ’s Parousia (Second Presence) In 1874” [URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/11/10/christs-parousia-second-presence-in-1874/%5D.

More about CHRIST’s PAROUSIA (presence) can be read about here:

i-will-come-again

Hymn Book Purchase

The Hymns Of Dawn (hymn book) can be purchased at:

Acknowledgment & References

Bro. Charles Taze Russell

Charles-Taze-Russell-Laodicean-Messenger7.jpg

Bro. Charles Russell—the founder of the Bible Students movement, who is the compiler of “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn” which was published in Allegheny, Pa., in 1890. This Bible Students’ devotional originally contained a total of 151 poems and 333 hymns.

Later on, the hymns from this book formed a basis for the hymnal titled ““Hymns of Dawn” which was published by the Dawn Bible Students Association in East Rutherford, New Jersey (USA) and the 1999 edition contains a total of 361 hymns.

Suggested Further Reading

Click on the links below for the specified article/content matter.

1. “Daniel: Conclusion” by Bro. David Rice. Faithbuilders Fellowship — “Journal” section, May-June 2009 edition (at 2043ad.com / button “Journal.”) Here is the direct link to this article:
http://2043ad.com/journal/2009/2009c.pdf

2. “The Prophetic Date – 1874”. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2003 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_5.htm

3. “Coming Blessings” by Bro. David Rice (www2043ad.com). The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Sept-Oct. 2012 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2012/12so_9.htm

4. “An Important Greek Word – Parousia” by Bro. David Rice. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2003 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_8.htm

5. “Every Eye Shall See Him” by Bro. Gilbert Rice. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2003 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_4.htm

6. “The Harvest — The End of the Age” by Bro. Carl Hagensick. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2003 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_2.htm

7. “A Secret Coming – A Thief In the Night.” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2003 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_9.htm

8. “Times and Seasons — The Seventh Trumpet” by Bro. Michael Brann. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2003 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_3.htm

9. “Chronos and Kairos – Times and Seasons.” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2003 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_7.htm

10. Epoch Periods In God’s Plan. BIBLE Students DAILY.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/16/epoch-periods-in-gods-plan/

11. Is the “Sabbath Day” a Saturday, Sunday or any Day of the Week? BIBLE Students DAILY.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/10/19/is-the-sabbath-day-a-saturday-sunday-or-any-day-of-the-week/

12. Only A Little While
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/01/24/only-a-little-while/

13. The Time Is Short
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/08/the-time-is-short-surrender-all/

14. ACTS 23:6 – The Resurrection Process – Part (A), (B), and (C):

(A) https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/03/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-a-what-is-jesus-all-about/

(B) https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/05/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-b-will-mankind-resurrect-with-the-same-mind/

(C) https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/11/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-c-the-order-of-the-resurrection-process/

15. Wait O Thou Weary One A Little Longer https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/19/wait-o-thou-weary-one-a-little-longer/

16. Pastor Russell Blogspot
http://pastorrussell.blogspot.com.au/2009/12/

17. Did Russell Start The JWs?
http://rlctr.blogspot.com.au/2009/04/was-russell-founder-of-jws.html

18. Pastor Russell – Not the Founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses
http://www.dawnbible.com/1940/4008-hl.htm

19. Who We Are. BIBLE Students DAILY.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/category/who-we-are/

20. Links and Bible Resources. BIBLE Students DAILY.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/category/links/

 

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Redeeming the Time

Redemming the time-biblestudentsdaily2.jpg

“15See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,  16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15,16, KJV).

Brethren, we have work to do!

We are living at the end of the age – at a time when knowledge is so widespread and bountiful, that the average person living in a Metropolitan area will be exposed to more knowledge and input in a week than an entire family of 100 years ago would be exposed to in a year.  

Ours is a time when communication is literally instant; we can see and hear someone on the other side of the world and fluently converse with them when 100 years ago that conversation would not even have been possible.     

Ours is a time when travel is so fast and so luxurious that it has made the entire earth navigable by an average individual whereas 100 years ago such travel would have taken months and great risk.

Ours is a time when, for the 1st time in all of human history, leisure time is not only available to the masses, it is expected and it is often considered a human right. Entertainment is no longer an unattainable dream for many; it is now one of the world’s largest and most influential industries!

Thus, we live in a time of distraction, temptation and selfish ambition.  A time when personal discipline only applies when we feel like it and a time when integrity and absolutes have all but gone the way of the dinosaur.

Yet, in such a time as this, we as followers of Christ are bound by the scriptural admonition:

“15Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16making the most of your time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16,NASB).

What does it mean to make the most of our time

One would think that redeeming the time would be easier in this day of technological genius than ever before, but that is not the case, for with knowledge and technology come choices – lots and lots of choices, embedded in various shades of grey, all designed to capture our hearts and imaginations.

So, my task today is clear – it is to suggest to you a practical plan and path to better serve our Lord and Master – at the expense of ourselves.  We will suggest 6 basic principles to focus on and with each, attempt to relay some personal experiences of my own journey as I attempt to do what you are attempting to do – that is, to live selflessly, humbly and sacrificially unto death. This is based on my 14 year journey thus far, with Christian Questions.

The word for redeem is only used 4 times in the New Testament.  Twice it is in the context of our personal responsibility towards managing our time – our theme text and Colossians 4:5 and twice in the context of Jesus redeeming us from the curse of the Law and bringing us into the adoption of sons.

Thus we can easily see the meaning as Christ nailed the Law to the cross and made it of none effect as it was now replaced with son-ship, we also are required to nail the world, the flesh and the devil and all their demands upon us to our cross and replace them with a clean slate of the only thing we have to offer our Lord in sacrificeOUR WILL as expressed through how we spend our time.

VISION

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“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18,KJV).

Remember what we just spoke about? With knowledge and technology come choices – lots and lots of choices, embedded in various shades of grey, all designed to capture our hearts and imaginations.

So how do you find the vision that supersedes all these things?

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Hence, the secret for redeeming the time relating to establishing a clear vision on the MOST IMPORTANT THING which is based on the 1st commandment:

Thou shalt have NO other gods before ME (Exodus 20:1-17).

“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8, KJV).

This 1st commandment is one of internal application—it happens inside you. You decide in your heart and mind who or what your God is, and the result of that decision is played out in several of the other commandments.

Focus hard on this! Be brutally honest with the mirror!  Who is, what is my God.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24, KJV).

Imagine the quality of your thoughts when the Almighty is “true north”!

“2Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. 3For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. 4Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith” (Habakkuk 2:2-4, NRSV).

KNOW YOUR VISION!  You must HAVE Vision!

Here is Jesus’ vision:

“1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,  2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3, NRSV).

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My mission: Honor God… 

Fifteen years ago I came upon a personal crossroad with this, for I knew that I was not using specific talents directly in the Lord’s service. Troubled, I prayed for opportunity – I prayed for months…

Our vision is the big, panoramic picture of our passion and purpose.

Our vision is like the compass that gets us focused in the right direction, and our priorities are what help us determine which roads to take to get us to our “true north.”

PRIORITIES

Priorities are the necessary ordering of the details of our life.

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The secret for redeeming the time relates to establishing precise priorities. Here are some principles:

Husbands, love your wives” (Ephesians 5:25, NASB).

Fathers…   bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4, NASB).

 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8, NASB).

… let us do good to all people” (Galatians 6:10, NASB).

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15, NASB).  

KNOW THE TRUTH!

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you” (Job 15:12, NASB).

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2, NASB).

All of these and more, must, of necessity be melded together into a harmonious recipe for humble and focused service to the Glory of God!

There is always another road to choose and there is always another internal battle to be fought. Armed with vision and priorities, we are able to choose rightly, even if our humanness would rather not.

“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Galatians 5:17, NASB).

Here are Jesus’ priorities:

At the beginning:

“And He said to them, ‘Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?'” (Luke 2:49, NASB)

During:

“Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”…  34Jesus said to them, “My food [my nourishment] is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish (John 4:31,34, NASB).

His work At the End:

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice (John 18:37, KJV).

 KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES – you MUST HAVE Priorities!!

Sometimes we look at those in a particular service and think how naturally suited they are for that experience and this is often true… BUT:

The appearance of effortless service
comes ONLY
as a result of

practice, pain and perseverance,

all of which must result from
the right focus and activity!

Br. Rick Suraci mentioned in his discourse that each radio broadcast hour represents about 8-10 hours of effort… two hours of radio per week… approximately 719 programs per year and counting…  Generally, no weeks off… There is a priority to GET THE JOB DONE because the Lord has GIVEN US this opportunity, [a gift from the Heavenly Father].

We may not always get our priorities right the 1st time, but as long as our vision is strong we can reset!

When we have truly established our priorities based on the big picture, there will naturally develop a deep sense of urgency, for nothing will be more important than following through on that which has proven to be most important!

URGENCY

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The secret for redeeming the time (which really is no secret at all) is to maintain urgency, and it is based on the 10th Commandment: Thou shalt NOT Covet.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17, ESV).

The 10th Commandment like the 1st is an internal commandment – no one can really know if you are living a covetous life because this takes place in the heart and mind.  Coveting is expressed on the outside only when it is firmly rooted on the inside!

Bottom line – if you have a covetous heart for what others have, you do NOT have an urgent heart towards the vision – you can’t have both…

Listen to the urgency in the following Scriptures [as shared earlier]:

2Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. 3For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. 4Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith (Habakkuk 2:2-4, NRSV).

Urgently strain forward towards that which is most valuable!

12NOT that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I PRESS ON so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  13Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,  14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  15Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;  16however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained (Philippians 3:12-16, NASB).

Here we can see the vision and priorities in place and the deep urgency to fulfill them.  Without urgency, vision and priorities are merely theoretical – kind of like New Year’s resolutions…

Here is Jesus’ urgency:

“49I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!  50But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:49-50, NASB).

Success in sacrifice is most often born out of failure. To fail with great intention, over and over again is to live in the hand of God’s mercy – and that is success!

Over years of Christian Questions Radio Program there were (and are) many, many times that the stress and strain of the responsibility are overwhelming – Not knowing what topic to work on next, not having time to develop a topic, Sunday night anxiety when expansion started and the format changed…  What kept it always moving forward was the deadline the urgency that the only thing that mattered was the next broadcast!

What deadline do you have???

[“BIBLE Students DAILY’s” answer: Likewise it is our DEADLINES — the “deadline” of each sharing of Scriptural encouragement to those around us which is like “THE URGENCY METRONOME” of each week with each tick of the “Metronome” marking another sharing of the Gospel message day by day, no matter if hospitalization, household/personal sickness, answering readers’ correspondence, computer/power failures, personal Bible Study or the attacks of the Adversary to have this sharing of God’s Word stopped or through any other 24/7 valleys of experience are encountered, just as our brethren all throughout the world do experience so as to bring—even if it were only one dear reader’s heart and mind as close as possible to GOD through Christ in order to bring the Heavenly Father GLORY, HONOR, PRAISE and JOY—a joy above all joys if only we could, because just to feel GOD’s PERFECT RIGHTEOUS LOVE—IT IS BETTER THAN LIFE ITSELF!!! To feel GOD’s PERFECT (in justice, wisdom and power) LOVE, comes through GREAT PAIN, GREAT REJECTION by those around for righteousness sake, GREAT PERSEVERANCE and MUCH joyful in the Lord WORK in the Heavenly Father’s service as our HOPE IN CHRIST, drives the desire of belonging to no other than Christ and by GOD’s grace, reaching the summit of the mountain—OVERCOMING that which the Heavenly Father desires, and having given up ALL THINGS of the FLESH – to GAIN CHRIST – AND GAIN HIM FOREVER!]

The 1st three steps are the necessary elements we must have in place to truly redeem our time.  These next three things are the “how to” part of the equation.  They represent what must be in place in our hearts and minds to back up and execute the vision, priorities and urgency we have chosen. Next comes inspiration.

INSPIRATION

Inspiration is that which feeds and lifts the heart so that it may overcome.

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The secret for redeeming the time related to living an inspired life is to find those things which inspire your spiritual growth – drink them in!

Inspiration works best when we have someone whose struggle can be observed.

“7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

For when I am weak, then I am strong

(2 Corinthians 12:7-10, ESV).

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of Biblical accounts, promises and prophecies that we are at liberty to make our own, for the sake of inspiring us to redeem the time. And what about the lives of our own brethren? Look at who inspired the Apostle Paul.

For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even YOU, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19, NASB).

The Apostle Paul drew strength from his brethren – Can we not do the same Brethren?!

Here is Jesus’ inspiration:

41So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.  42“I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me” (John 11:41-42, NASB).

Jesus exemplified to everyone there that his strength came from our Heavenly Father!

We can only imagine the depth of Jesus’ inspiration, for he knew the Father, he knew the angels, he knew the prophecies and he knew his mission.

Inspiration is not necessarily delivered in exhilaration and victory.  On the contrary, it is often found in those lonely and desperate times of struggle, doubt and fear and it quietly carries you through your present tempest to where you can again find secure footing.

Over these 14 years, inspiration has come in many ways:

  • Simply proving the Truth through Scripture to others;
  • Effecting someone’s life by talking to and affecting a specific listener on a specific topic;
  • Teaching the Kingdom;
  • Watching the incredible sacrifices of so many other brethren—who sacrifice quietly and tirelessly to do the job for the glory of the Heavenly Father
  • Being touched countless times by God’s grace in the struggle to prepare for the programs, talks, etc…
  • Prayers, support and accountability of the brethren.

In somehow or other GOD BLESSES YOUR EFFORTS after you have prayed and talked to the FATHER asking Him to “PLEASE HELP ME.”

Inspiration provides us with the desire to rekindle our vision, reset our priorities and restart our urgency. But inspiration alone cannot keep us there! For inspiration to truly play its part, it must be accompanied by its lesser known and certainly less attractive “younger brother,” “perspiration.

PERSPIRATION

Perspiration is the result of the continuous exertion that stems from being fully engaged.

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6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you(1 Peter 5:6-7, NASB).

So there is rest in the spirit, yet…

“8Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour9But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world” (1 Peter 5:6-7, NASB).

Nothing replaces hard work.

We hear the adage – work smarter not harder and this is true, yet for the New Creation we are to work smarter that is through the spirit – and therefore be able to work harder and more productively at those things of greatest importance.

Why would we be willing to sweat?

“7But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ9and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death11in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:7-11, NASB).

Now, here is an example of a Jesus’ “perspiration” experience:

“41And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.’ 43Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him44And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. 45When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46and said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation’” (Luke 22:41-46, NASB).

The more fully engaged we are in the work, the more we find that the greatest effort is often not the work itself, rather it is the effort to position and condition ourselves for that work.

One of my greatest personal lessons from the radio work is this:

We all have perceived limits of what we are capable of giving in service.  IF we lay those limits at the feet of the Lord, He may, IF WE ARE WILLING, stretch our perceived capacity a little at a time so we can stretch our perceived limits to be more in line with our actual potential. BE ENGAGED!

With the perspiration of complete engagement in place, there remains but one thing to give a complete picture of redeeming our time.  It is a simple thing, yet often overlooked when we set our minds to a service.  It is consistency.

CONSISTENCY

Consistency is the continual long term application of all those things necessary towards faithfulness.

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Hence another secret for redeeming the time:

 Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never give in!!!

Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10, NASB).

How do we check ourselves to be sure that we are consistently following the right path, the right thoughts, the right attitudes and the right actions?

4Rejoice IN the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!  5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:4-8, NASB).

Now, here is Jesus’ inspiration:

28And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?  29And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:28-31, KJV).

Consistency in an effort, is perhaps the least glamorous of all its elements.  There is no excitement of an idea, no newness of a project, no giddy anticipation of a beginning.  Consistency shines in the quiet times of monotony, in the bruised moments of failure and in the darkness, when the unknown and unsung perseverance of will beckons us to get up one more time and press on by the GRACE [unmerited favor, undeserved kindness] of GOD!

Now see if you can identify your vision, priorities, urgency, inspiration, perspiration and  consistency in the following Scriptures:

Psalms 37:1-8 (NASB):

 “1  Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. 2 For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself IN the LORD; And HE WILL give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and HE WILL do it. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. 7 Rest IN the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. 8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing

Ephesians 5:1-21 (NASB):

1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;  2and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. 3But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;  4and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.  5For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  7Therefore do not be partakers with them;  8for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light  9(for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),  10trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  11Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;  12for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.  13But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” 15Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  17So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,  19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;  20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;  21and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”

Luke 12:31-34(NASB):

“31But seek [PRIORITIES] [“ye first” [URGENCY] – added in Matthew 6:33] His kingdom [VISION], and these things will be added to you.  32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom [INSPIRATION]. 33Sell your possessions and give to charity [PERSPIRATION]; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.  34“For where your treasure is, [CONSISTENCY] there your heart will be also.”

OPPORTUNITY

Opportunity can present themselves to us when we mentally make room for them.

“18But someone may will say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’ 19You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?'” (James 2:18-20, NASB).

“(20) Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. (21) And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it'” (Isaiah 30:20-21, NRSV).

Opportunities can be accepted when we spiritually make room for them.

“4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NASB).

Opportunities can flourish when we prayerfully feed and nurture them.

“16Rejoice always; 17pray without ceasing; 18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  19Do not quench the Spirit; 20do not despise prophetic utterances.  21But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22, NASB).

Reference and Acknowledgment

This post is thanks to the words on the words of great, great inspiration and encouragement IN CHRIST shared by Br. Rick Suraci at the Bible Students’ General Convention in 2012 in his discourse titled “Redeeming the Time” which can be viewed at the following link (and/or YOUTUBE video presentation below) :  https://youtu.be/FWKHN8go1o4

The “CHRISTIAN QUESTIONS” team of Brothers and Sisters IN CHRIST are to be commended for their inspiring work in the Heavenly Father’s service, shining the light of the Gospel message to the world of viewers and listeners who’s faith IN CHRIST can be edified and built up through each program they share, which is jam-packed with questions and Scripturally supported answers to provide aid to each follower of Christ, and bring glory, honor and praise to the Heavenly Father through CHRIST Jesus—the Captain of our Salvation. The Christian Questions website: http://christianquestions.com/

A transcription of the below video from a willing, Beloved IN CHRIST, volunteer contributor (which helped to form this post) is another reason for this post and so may it be said “Thank YOU Beloved Brothers and Sisters IN CHRIST for YOUR labours of LOVE IN CHRIST.” May our Heavenly Father’s bless and keep you HIS, according to HIS perfect WILL, until by GOD’s GRACE, we are with our Heavenly Father, Jehovah, and His Son—our Head, Christ Jesus.

The URL of this post is: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/09/20/redeeming-the-time/

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“Be Thou Faithful Unto Death”

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FAITHFUL when with tears thine eyes are dim,
Faithful when Joy’s cup o’erflows its brim;
Faithful when God seems to veil His face,
Faithful when He crowns thy work with grace.
Faithful, though thy loved ones turn aside,
Lips that praised thee once, in harshness chide;
Faithful, though success enwreathe thy brow,
Faithful, should the world before thee bow.
Faithful till hath fled life’s fleeting breath,
Eager hands lie folded still in death.

“Faithful unto death!” Lord, day by day,
Help me thus to keep the narrow way!
Strengthen me to bear the scorn and shame –
Portion of all those who take Thy name.
“Faithful unto death!” When all is done,
Cross is changed to Crown, the victory won,
Let me hear Thee say, O blessed Lord,
“Child, come enter into thy reward!
Faithful thou hast been, come share with Me
Glory, Honor, Immortality!”

Gertrude W. Seibert

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Here is an excerpt from “Harvest Gleaning II” by Br. Charles T. Russell, page 121-124—

FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH
“Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

It will not be very long, dear fellow soldiers of the cross, until the battle will be over, the victory won; for the “King’s own” are called to victory and not to defeat. Our enlistment is in accord with the great plan of the ages which our Father previously mapped out, and we know that all His purposes shall be accomplished, that His Word which went forth for the calling of this little flock to joint-heirship with Jesus in the kingdom which is promised to be established and to bless all the families of the earth —that word cannot be broken, its fulfillment is sure. Yea, its fulfillment is nigh, even at the door.

Though we are in the world, but not of the world, we, nevertheless, are more or less affected by every matter which affects our neighbors; and hence in the great battle that is now impending between truth and error, between princes and people, between money and labor, and with more or less of right and wrong on both sides of all questions, the “King’s own,” the soldiers of the cross, will have some very trying experiences. It is the present time that the apostle emphasizes as “that evil day” — the period of special trial in the end of this age, saying, “Take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand in that evil day, and, having done all, to stand.” Analyzing these words, we see them to signify that in the end of this age there would be special trials of severe testing; but the apostle’s language also implies that the Lord will make special provision for the protection of His faithful ones, and that this will be an armor of truth, of knowledge, of information granted to them from the great armory, His Word, the Bible. The exhortation that we should take it implies that the Lord will not force it upon any, but to those who are in the right attitude of heart the doors of the armory will be open, and the proper armor supplied in due season, and that they must demonstrate their loyalty and obedience to the Captain by seeking this armor and putting it on. Those who do not thus yield obedience to the Captain’s word will not have the protection necessary for this time, and, as intimated in the text by the apostle, they will not be able to stand in this evil day.

Soldiers of the cross in previous times had not so much of the armor supplied, neither did they need the special armor that is needed now. They did not live in “this evil day.” The head knowledge that our grandfathers had respecting the divine plan will surely prove insufficient in this day of so-called higher criticism of the scriptures, evolution theories, theosophy and Christian Science. Whoever has not the proper armor necessary for the present time will be pretty sure to fall in this evil day, this day of special trial and testing; but he who puts on the armor of God, he who possesses the fruits of the Spirit, the Apostle Paul assures us shall never fall, but so doing an entrance shall be abundantly administered unto him into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Many of the tests of this evil day are already upon us, and, as the prophets have foretold, “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand.” (Psa. 91:7) These are falling away from the faith because in many instances they were not spiritual Israelites indeed, but as the Lord declares through the prophet, “Wherefore, because this people draw nigh to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me.” The Lord wants as members of the “King’s own” those who are at heart loyal to Him, loyal to all who have His Spirit and loyal to righteousness and truth. If we are ashamed of Him, ashamed of His brethren, or ashamed of His Word, we are not of the kind that He is seeking now. Those who are to be with Him, to share His throne and glory and to join with Him in the great work of emancipating the world from the power of sin and death during the millennium, must all be loyal at heart, to the core, and the various trials and testings now permitted will demonstrate the degree of loyalty. Let us, dear brethren, be loyal; and even if the time should come when we shall be misunderstood by our neighbors and friends, the children of this world, let us put our confidence in the Lord; let us fight the good fight of faith against sin and error and selfishness within and without, and thus doing lay hold upon eternal life.

* * * *

There is never a path so hidden,
But God will show us the way,
If we seek for the Spirit’s guidance,
And patiently wait and pray.

 

Suggested Further Reading

The Letter To Smyrna by Br. David Skein. The Beauties of the Truth. February 2007. Volume 18. No. 1. http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTFEB07.PDF

A Special Calling by Br. David Rice. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July /August 2016. https://herald-magazine.com/2016/07/01/the-bride-class/

Old Testament Portrayals of the Church by Br. Homer Montague. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004. http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_2.htm

The Song of Solomon by Br. Frank Shallieu. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004. http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_3.htm

The Bride and the Bridegroom by Br. Carl Hagensick. A Verse-by-verse Study of Psalm 45. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004. http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_4.htm

New Testament Portrayals of the Church by Br. Michael Nekora. A Precious Treasure. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004. http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_5.htm

A Chaste VirginThe Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/chliv_38.htm

 

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“Are You Able?”

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ARE ye able to walk in the narrow, strait way,
With no friend by your side, and no arm for your stay?
Can ye bravely go on through the darkening night?
Can ye patiently wait till the Lord sends the Light? 

Are ye able to crush your soul’s longing for Love,
Will ye seek for no friendship save that from above?
Can ye pass through this world, lone, unnoticed, unknown,
While your faith faintly whispers, “He knoweth His own?” 

Where the feet of the Blessed One stood, can ye stand?
Can ye follow His steps to a wilderness land?
Are ye able to cast aside pleasure and fame?
Can ye live but to glorify His precious name?

Can ye smile as His dear voice says tenderly “No,
When “the field is so white,” and your heart yearns to go?
Can ye rest then in silence, contented and still,
Till your Lord, the Chief Reaper, revealeth His will?

Are ye able to lay on the altar’s pure flame
That most treasured possession, your priceless good name?
Can ye ask of your Father a blessing for those,
Who see naught in your life but to scorn and oppose?

When the conflict twixt Error and Truth fiercer grows,
Can ye wield the strong “Sword” against unnumbered foes?
Can ye lift up the “Standard” e’en higher and higher,
While His praises ye sing in the midst of the fire?

When ye see the Lord’s cause going down to defeat,
Will your courage endure in the seven-fold heat?
Will your faith keep you steadfast, though heart and flesh fail,
As the New Creature passes beneath the last “Veil?”

Ah, if thus ye can drink of the Cup He shall pour,
And if never the Banner of Truth ye would lower,
His Beloved ye are, and His crown ye shall wear,
In His Throne ye shall sit, and His Glory shall share!  – Gertrude W. Seibert

Consecration

Here is an extract from an article titled “Present Truth” by Bro. Carl Hagensick in the Nov. /Dec. 1998 issue of “The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom” Magazine.

The acceptance of Christ as a personal Savior and a dedication to the principles of
righteousness are seen by nearly all Christians as an essential to salvation. For many,
however, this means no more than a simple belief: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:3; 8:3,7). Many Christians connect this with the concept that once one has been saved there is no chance of losing that salvation: “once in grace, always in grace.”

Quite to the contrary, the Bible’s view of belief is not mere passive acceptance. It
includes an active commitment to the service of God, a complete consecration of one’s
life to doing God’s will (Psalm 40:8). Consecration is seen as a voluntary surrender of one’s benefits under the ransom, the prospects of an earthly resurrection; thus one is in “jeopardy” of losing life forever if unfaithful to one’s consecration vows (1 Corinthians 15:30).

Even Paul did not “consider to have made it his own” (Philippians 3:13 RSV), but feared that he himself might become a “castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). It is little wonder that the Christian is admonished to be faithful “unto death” (Revelation 2:10).

The Christian commitment is not only to faithfulness but to learning from each of life’s
experiences those lessons which will be helpful to him in his future work of blessing the
human race. They are assured that they will have no temptation “but such as are common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Commonality of temptation with their fellow men’ will qualify them to work side by side with their Master in his kingdom, for he has become a sympathetic high priest by the experiences he shared with his fellow man (Hebrews 2:17, 18; 4:15, 16).

Suggested Further Reading

Be Strong And of A Good Courage.  The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. Reprinted from February 1961 HERALD, article by Br. John Ensoll, England.
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/chliv_17.htm

Teachableness by Br. Richard Suraci. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. May-June 2002.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2002/02mj_4.htm

The King and His Kingdom. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. Jan-Feb. 2005.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2005/05jf_2.htm

A Christian’s Privilege of Fellowship. “Fellowship with Jesus by being His yoke fellow.” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. August 1931. 
http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1931_8.htm#_Toc23239886

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GOD’S NAME – What Is The Heavenly Father’s Name That We Are To “Hallow” And Why?

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In Psalm 148:13 (KJV) the Psalmist David wrote, “Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.”

But what is God’s actual name?

In this study we discuss the various names mentioned for God in the Old Testament Hebrew. Each of our Heavenly Father’s names describe different shades of His magnificent character, being, and personality, allowing us to know our Father better and learn what God wishes us to develop in our character, in order to bring joy, honor, glory, and praise to the Creator of all.

Almighty God—”El Shaddai”

The basic form for the Hebrew name of God is “El.” The word “El” means “might, strength, power.” The Schofield Reference Bible states that God (El) signifies the “Strong One.”

The word “Shaddai” is formed from the Hebrew words shadthe breast—and shadahto shed, to pour out. Thus, El Shaddai is “the God who pours out blessings, who gives them richly, abundantly, continually” (Adam Clark’s Commentary, Genesis 17:1). God is “Shaddai” because He is the nourisher, the strength‑giver, and thus the satisfier, who pours Himself into believing lives.

The primary translations of this root in the scriptures are “god” (for pagan or false gods), and “God” (for the true God of Israel). However, in Strong’s Concordance “El Shaddai” is not found under the English words “God” or “Lord,” but rather “Almighty” (Strong’s 7706). “All‑sufficient” would express the Almighty God (El Shaddai) for He not only enriches, but also makes fruitful. This is nowhere better illustrated than in the first occurrence of the name “El Shaddai” in the Bible, in Genesis 17:1.

“(1) And it came to pass that, when Abram was ninety and nine years old [being “as good as dead,” Hebrews 11:12] Yahweh appeared unto Abram, and said unto him, I, am GOD Almighty,—Walk, thou before me and become thou blameless: (2) That I may set my covenant betwixt me and thee, And may multiply thee, exceedingly. (3) And Abram fell on his face,—and God spake with him, saying: (4) As for me, lo! my covenant is with thee,—So shalt thou become—father of a multitude of nations; (5) And thy name shall no more be called Abram,—but thy name shall become Abraham, for father of a multitude of nations, have I appointed thee” (Genesis 17:1‑5, Rotherham).

All‑Powerful and All‑Sufficient

We can now best understand God’s character when combining these two named attributes of God’s being: All‑Powerful (“El“) and All‑Sufficient (“El Shaddai“).

Genesis 17:1 is a beautifully clear and direct statement from God of His unlimited, supreme, divine power and this quality of God can be best described in one word as God’s OMNIPOTENCE. Even simply because of God’s omnipotence, we should focus on being “blameless” through Christ. That is, through a firm belief (based on testing/studying the Scriptures, Romans 10:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:21), and thus from a steadfast faith (1 Corinthians 15:58, Hebrews 6:19) in Christ as a ransom for our sins (and for the whole world, 1 Corinthians 15:21), we are redeemed and reckoned as righteous children of God (Romans 8).

Our Heavenly Father is able to meet every need (Philippians 4:19) and protect us from any danger to our spiritual lives (Jude 1:24).

Our faith and trust in El Shaddai can turn any temporal difficulty into a spiritual blessing for our eternal interests (Romans 8:28). Our responsibility is to manifest complete faith and trust in God (Isaiah 40:28‑31, 41:10, Jeremiah 17:5, Exodus 15:2, 1 Chronicles 16:11, Luke 12:8‑10, John 12:37‑43, 2 Kings 5:13‑15, Genesis 15:6‑10). Then we can have perfect peace of mind in His all‑sufficient grace (Isaiah 26:3, 2 Corinthians 12:9).

“We must supply our best effort, which will always be too weak and insufficient to overcome all of our imperfections, but El Shaddai will supply whatever is needed to make up for our shortcomings. God’s name, El Shaddai, describes not only what God is, but also what He does for us. El Shaddai sustains us, nourishes us, comforts us, and provides everything we need. This should make us more grateful, more peaceful; and make us feel our complete dependence upon Him. Knowing God as El Shaddai helps us more readily to praise Jehovah, our Heavenly Father, in all the experiences of life” (Br. Allan Ross, “El Shaddai,” Beauties of the Truth, November 2014).

The Patriarchs were close to El Shaddai, our Heavenly Father. They depended on Him for everything in normal life. They were a pastoral people and depended on their crops and herds for food. If there was a drought, or a disease in their herds, they could starve. They did not have unemployment benefits or retirement plans through difficult times. They had El Shaddai and that was all they needed.

The Name “Jehovah”

Jehovahthe “Self Existing One,” “The Eternal One”—is God’s primary name. It is a translation of what is known as the Tetragrammaton. The Greek word “Tetragrammaton” means “four (tetra) letters (gramma)” because “Jehovah” comes from four Hebrew letters יהוה‎ (yod, he, waw, he)—transliterated into English as “JHWH” sometimes written as “YHWH.” Some Bible translations do render the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah, just as it occurs in the Hebrew Old Testament, such as The American Standard Version 1901 edition (in 6,823 places) and The Emphatic Diaglott (in 18 places.)

“Jehovah” is the name that God gave to himself in Exodus 3:13‑15.

“(13) Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, what is his name? What shall I say unto them? (14) And God [elohiym, Strongs 430] said unto Moses, I AM [hayah, Strongs 1961] THAT I AM [hayah]: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM [Jehovah] hath sent me unto you. (15) And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Jehovah God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”

The RVIC Bible (by Br. Jim Parkinson) has footnotes for Genesis 3:14‑15 which read:

“(14) Or, I AM BECAUSE I AM. or, I AM WHO AM. or, I WILL BE WHAT I WILL TO BE. or, I CONTINUE TO BE THE ONE CONTINUING EVERMORE. (15) Hb. Ehyeh — future tense (all three times). From the same root as Jehovah or Yahweh.”

Similarly Br. Ronald Day explains in his website study titled “The Divine Name” the following: “Yahweh [Jehovah] is the third person singular of the Hebrew verb hayah (to be or become). In Exodus 3:14 Jehovah gives Moses a different variation of his name in the first person: ‘I will be what I will be (Ehyeh’ asher’ ehyeh’).’ (Revised Standard Version – footnote) Many translations render this ‘I AM THAT I AM.’ However, according some authorities, the Hebrew word hayah, as used in this verse, means more than just to exist. It also carries with it the thought of coming into existence, or causing to exist. Thus the third person would mean: ‘He will cause to be,’ or ‘He causes to be.’

In relation to Exodus 3:14, the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, vol. 14, page 1065, states that in this particular verse “a merely folk etymology of the name, based on the qal form of the verb ‘to be,’ is given.” “Grammatically, because of its vocalization, yahweh can only be a … causative form of this verb, with the meaning ‘He causes to be, He brings into being.’ Probably, therefore, Yahweh is an abbreviated form of the longer, yahweh aser yihweh, ‘He brings into being whatever exists.’ The name, therefore, describes the God of Israel as the Creator of the universe.” (Ronald Day, “The Divine Name”.) That this meaning is correct can be seen by observing the indicated meaning of Jehovah in Exodus 6:2,3 – which is discussed further in this study.

Today you will not find the divine name “Jehovah” (English) (nor “Yahweh”) in the New American Standard Bible, not even in the four places that were in the original AKJV (i.e. Exodus 6:3, Psalms 83:18, Isaiah 12:2, Isaiah 26:4).

The name was removed quite simply because there was many thousands of years ago a Usurper to the throne of God, the great liar, the Adversary. His first act of rebellion was to accuse Jehovah of lying to Adam and Eve about the tree of knowledge telling Eve that if she ate of the fruit she would become like God knowing all things and that she would not die. Ever since, Satan has opposed the Most High and His Son as well as all faithful followers of God’s Word. Thus, by having the divine name removed and substituted with “Lord” it made it so much easier to introduce the false doctrine of the Trinity whereas both the Heavenly Father and His firstborn son, Jesus Christ, the Logos, are called “Lord,” and the word is interchangeable to mean that both are coeternal and equal which is not true. The Heavenly Father had no beginning and no end, while Jesus had a beginning, and was God’s firstborn son (Br. Richard Tazzyman, 2017 Discourse: “I Am”).

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, (14) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:13‑15).

This change of removing the name “Jehovah” stems from the 1880s when the council of the church of England recommended to the British Crown that a revision of the AKJV be produced, and at the same time a group of translators from the United States of America were invited to collaborate with the translators of the RV of the AKJV Bible to produce a version of the Bible in American English. Thus, the American Standard Version of 1901 was created. Br. Richard Tazzyman comments in his discourse “I AM” about how the original committee felt towards the importance of the divine name, in the Foreword of the 1901 ASV Bible.

“The change first proposed in the Appendix, that which substitutes JEHOVAH for LORD or GOD, is one which will be unwelcome to many, because of the frequency and familiarity of the terms displaced, but the American Revisers after a careful consideration were brought to the unanimous conviction that a Jewish substitution which regarded the divine name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version of the old Testament.”

Here are two other texts with God’s name as “Jehovah.”

“I am Jehovah; this is my name, and my glory will I not give to another” (Isaiah 42:8).

“That men may know that thou whose name alone is Jehovah, art El Elyon, the Most High over all the earth” (Psalms 83:18).

[Note: the difference between the name “Jehovah” and “Yahweh” is that “Jehovah” is the English word that represents the name of God, just as Jesus is the English word that represents the name of our Savior. When one uses a name in one language, it is often not the same pronunciation or form as the name in the original language. For example, with the name “Joshua” — as there was no “J” in English for some centuries, it is evident that this name that we all know as a familiar English language name today sounded different before, and as to its actual pronunciation in Hebrew, who would recognize it if we tried to simulate Hebrew in the English language. Jesus is surely not the sound his contemporaries used when they called his name. But it is our English name for him. In the same way, we know the name of God as Jehovah. Yahweh is a closer sound alike to the Hebrew, perhaps — at least some seem to think so — but even that presumably is different than a real Hebrew speaker of antiquity would have pronounced the name. There is no necessity to modify the word that English speakers know the name as. It is Jehovah. When we use that name, we are communicating. If we all began to use some other pronunciation, most people may get the point, but there would be some confusion. However, whether one prefers “Yahweh,” or the more familiar “Jehovah,” may the name of God be “hallowed.”]

By What Name Was God Known to the Patriarchs?

The name “Jehovah” appears in Exodus 3:15.

“And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, The Lord [Jehovah] God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me to you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”

Only three chapters onward, we read of “El Shaddai” and “Jehovah” both being mentioned in Exodus 6:2,3.

“God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am Jehovah; And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of El Shaddai [The All Mighty, All Sufficient God], but by my name JEHOVAH [“The Self Existing, Eternal One”] was I not known to them.”

This verse could not mean that up until the time of Exodus 6 no one knew God by the name of “Jehovah.” For even Adam knew God by the name of Jehovah as confirmed in Genesis 4:25,26.

“Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah.” Adam lived 700 years after Seth begat Enos. Thus he would have been one of those that knew Jehovah by name.

In Genesis 15:2, God revealed himself to Abraham by this very name: “And he said unto him, I am JEHOVAH, that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees.”

From the very beginning the Patriarchs knew the name JEHOVAH El‑Shaddai, God All‑sufficient, since they recognized God’s continual provision made for them and the constant protection that God afforded them. However, the name “Jehovah” refers particularly to the accomplishment of promises already made; to giving them a being, and thus bringing them into existence, which could not have been done in the order of His providence sooner than until the deliverance from Egypt and the settlement in the promised land. Then the usage of “El Shaddai” became infrequent after the Law Covenant was established.

Hence in the earlier scripture mentioned — Exodus 6:2,3 — Jehovah had to be referring to the meaning of his name (as the one who causes) rather just to the word used to designate his name. In verse four Jehovah calls attention to the covenant he had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them the land of Canaan. They never saw Jehovah cause the fulfillment of that promise. It is in this respect that Jehovah says that He did not make his name known to them. However, now, Jehovah is saying that he is going to cause a fulfillment of that promise. He will bring the Israelites out of Egypt into the land that he had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 6:6-8).

Thus the name Jehovah signifies the one who accomplishes what he desires and we can fully trust that His magnificent plan for man will be completely accomplished (Isaiah 55:11, 45:21).

El-Shaddai—An All-Sufficient, Covenant-Keeping God

When the patriarchs wanted to give the strongest assurance to those that were going on a dangerous mission, they used the divine name El Shaddai.

Genesis 28:1‑4—Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan‑aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother. And El Shaddai bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.”

“As Abraham had sent Eliezer to find a covenant wife for Isaac, so Isaac sent Jacob to find a covenant wife—not from the Canaanites, but from Abraham’s extended family. The patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were all under the Abrahamic Covenant, a Covenant of Grace. As consecrated Christians, we also are under a Grace Covenant. Like Jacob, who here typified the New Creation, we have been sent on a journey and blessed by the antitypical Isaac, our Lord Jesus. So we can repeat this blessing, transferring the thought from the type to the antitype as coming from our Lord Jesus to us: ‘May El Shaddai bless thee’ (verses 3,4).

“That helps to reinforce the thought that our Savior assures us that El Shaddai, the Almighty, All sufficient One, will be with us all the way in our dangerous journey through life. He is always near, always sufficient for any contingency. In the Promised Land, the Patriarchs had complete trust in El Shaddai. If we can completely trust Him now, then we can rest in full assurance of faith in our spiritual inheritance in the Promised Land.”

“Genesis 35:9‑12—Here God confirmed His Covenant to Jacob and changed Jacob’s name to Israel.

‘God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padan‑aram, and blessed him. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I am El Shaddai: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.’

“After this confirmation, Jacob journeyed to Bethlehem. There his wife, Rachel, died giving birth to Benjamin. Then Jacob travelled to Hebron where his father, Isaac, had died. Thus this revelation to Jacob of El Shaddai as his All Mighty, All Sufficient God was a specially needed blessing. It was a reassurance to Jacob to have the covenant confirmed to him, and to know that El Shaddai would be with him throughout his walk.

“Genesis 37:35—This text speaks of the time Joseph had been sold into Egypt, and Jacob was told that Joseph was dead.

‘All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.’

“Though Rachel, Isaac, and Joseph—the three people that Jacob loved the most—were gone, and no one on earth could comfort him, El Shaddai comforted Jacob. There was nothing that he and El Shaddai could not handle together.

“Genesis 43:14—Later, Judah promised Jacob that he would return to Egypt as surety for Benjamin. But before sending Judah, Jacob asked the blessing of El Shaddai upon him in.

‘And El Shaddai give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.’

“Genesis 48:3,4—Years later, when Jacob was on his death bed, Joseph brought his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to be blessed.

‘Jacob said unto Joseph, El Shaddai appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.’

“Genesis 49:25—Jacob gave a final blessing to each of his sons just before he passed away.

‘Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by El Shaddai, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb.’ ” (Br. Allan Ross, “El Shaddai”).

EL SHADDAI in the Book of Ruth

By considering the usage of El Shaddai in the Book of Ruth and the Book of Job, we understand an additional aspect of what God does for His people, that He permits short‑term pain for long‑term blessings. God’s people do not always understand His Grace when they are in the midst of a painful experience. But we must fully trust our All‑Powerful, All‑Sufficient, God. El Shaddai only allows experiences that bless us, if we take them in the right way.

In the Book of Ruth, Naomi, her husband Elimelech, and their two sons left Bethlehem‑Judah because of a famine and travelled to Moab. Within ten years of entering Moab, Naomi’s husband and two sons died. Naomi was downcast and confused. If God was All‑Mighty, All‑Sufficient, why would he allow her husband and her sons to die so quickly? To answer this, we have to look at the big picture, the long‑term view. El Shaddai takes the long view.

Should Elimelech have taken Naomi and his sons and left Bethlehem to go to Moab in the first place?

No, since El Shaddai is All‑Sufficient, He would have cared for them IN the Promised Land. If Elimelech had a stronger faith, he would have kept his family in Judah and waited for El Shaddai to bless his faithfulness.

Short‑term satisfaction
of fleshly desires
will NOT bring
long‑term happiness.

As in Naomi’s case, God may allow afflictions to come so that we will return to Him. 

God took away what was keeping Naomi from being close to Him!

If Naomi had stayed in Moab we never would have heard of Naomi or Ruth. There would not be a Book of Ruth in the Bible. It was the return to El Shaddai that allowed El Shaddai to abundantly bless both Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth (who chose to return with Naomi to the Promised Land).

One of the guiding principles of this lesson is stated in James 4:8: “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”

Because Naomi and Ruth returned to the Promised Land, Ruth married Boaz. As King David’s great grandmother, Ruth became identified through the lineage of Mary with David’s greatest Son and Lord, our Lord Jesus.

Because Ruth drew near to God in devotion, she received eternal blessings.

EL SHADDAI in the Book of Job

The first use of the word “El Shaddai” in the Book of Job is in Job 5:17,18, where we read the words of Eliphaz to Job.

“Behold, happy is the man whom Eloah [Strongs 433, the Majestic God] correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of El Shaddai [Strongs 7706, the All Sufficient God]: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.”

The last use of “El Shaddai” in the Book of Job appears in Job 40:1,2.

“Moreover Jehovah [Strongs 3068, the Eternal One, the Existing One] answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with El Shaddai [Strongs 7706, the All‑Mighty, All‑Sufficient One] instruct him? He that reproveth El‑oah [the Majestic God], let him answer it.”

New Testament References

In the New Testament, Jesus begins to refer to God as “Our Father” when he gives us the model prayer of Matthew 6:9: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”

Jesus is the first person in Scripture to begin referring to God as my heavenly Father,” and our and your heavenly Father.” Jesus only used these terms in the presence of his disciples; they were not applied to others who were not yet prospective sons. Jesus was the first son of God, who opened up a “new and living way” gives us the opportunity to also become sons of God (John 1:141 John 3:1,2).

Revelation 15:3—refers to Jehovah as Almighty.

“They sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.”

We also have scriptures that declare the almighty power of our Heavenly Father.

Psalm 77:10‑15—“I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High [El Elyon, The Supreme God]. I will remember the works of Jehovah [the Eternal One]: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. Thou hast with thine arm [our Lord Jesus] redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph.”

Psalms 91:1‑3—In these verses David represents our Lord Jesus addressing his Church.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High [El Elyon, The Supreme God] shall abide under the shadow of El Shaddai [the All‑Sufficient One]. I will say of Jehovah [the Self‑Existing One], He is my refuge and my fortress: my [Elohiym] Supreme God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.”

Jesus is telling his Church that we, who abide in the Secret Place of consecration in the antitypical Tabernacle, close to Jehovah, have nothing to fear despite the dangers that surround us because our God will protect us. Thus in the above passage of Scripture, four of God’s names are invoked to emphasize this—El Elyon, El Shaddai, Elohiym and Jehovah.

God Has Many Names

As the various verses shared highlight, God has used many different names to describe Himself indicating to us, that one name is not sufficient to describe the Heavenly Father. If God wanted to have only one descriptive name for Himself, He could have had the Bible written that way. But instead God has been described as “Eternal (Ezekiel 1:24)”, “Majestic,” “All‑Mighty,” and “All‑Sufficient (Ezekiel 10:4,5).”

It would be unfortunate to always read these descriptive names generically as “God” or “Lord.” So when we read Scriptures, let us consider referring to the Rotherham’s version or RVIC for a more exact translation of the original biblical manuscripts. Then there is no confusion between whether the verse refers to our Heavenly Father, or if the verse(s) refer to Jesus, Jehovah’s firstborn creation and the world’s Redeemer.

Based on the understandings shared here about the breadth of God’s being and character through an examination of the Heavenly Father’s names, we conclude with these thoughts about our God, “Whose—

  • Memory never fails,
  • Judgment is never inaccurate,
  • Plans for eternity are without any possibility of even the minutest failure,
  • Timing of His Divine plans of eternity are with unerring precision,
  • Grandest, most mighty power and skill can harness even every opposing element, animate or inanimate, making them all work together for the accomplishment of his grand designs,
  • Tireless vigilance never ceases, nor seeks relief from the pressing cares of universal dominion,
  • Eye never sleeps, whose ear is ever open, and who is ever cognizant of all the necessities, and active in all the interests, of his broad domains.”

To answer our opening question—Jehovah occupies the highest position of authority and glory in the universe. We hallow our Heavenly Father’s authority and bow in reverent and humble submission before Him in ALL His glorious attire of royal grandeur.

 

PSALM-31-23-24.jpg

 

References:

Br. Allan Ross, “El Shaddai,” Beauties of the Truth, November 2014.

Br. Charles T. Russell. “Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

Br. Richard Tazzyman, 2017 Discourse: “I Am,” Australia. (Br Tazzyman’s discourse is to be given at the Bible Students Convention in England this year in July 2017.)

Br. Ronald Day. John 10:30 – The Oneness of Jesus and His God
URL: http://jesusnotyhwh.blogspot.com.au/2016/10/john10-30.html

Br. W.J. Siekman. “One Lord and His Name One,” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, May-June 1986

Vines Expository Dictionary of OT and NT Words, page 161.

Br. Jim Parkinson’s RVIC BIBLE – The Revised Version (American Edition) Improved and Corrected from manuscripts discovered and published to A.D. 1999

 

Acknowledgement

The authors of the above references for their content utilized for the above written work.

Br. David Rice, editing.

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The Agony In Gethsemane

Jesus in Gethsemane.jpg

As we consider the solemn scenes of this lesson, let it be with reverence and deep gratitude, remembering it was our load the Master bore, that it was the chastisement of our peace that was upon him, and that with his stripes we are healed.

The narrative, so familiar to every Christian, is one full of precious lessons, especially to those who, by his grace, are endeavoring to follow in the Lord’s footsteps.

We observe:

(1) that when the Master realized that his hour of betrayal and fierce temptation was close at hand, having first comforted, counselled, and prayed for and with his disciples, his next strong impulse was to seek a solitary place for prayer and communion with God, that he might find grace to help in time of need.

(2) We note also his love for his disciples, and his desire for their love and sympathy in return. “Having loved his own, he loved them to the end.” And because he loved them, and knew that they loved him, he permitted them to accompany him to the place of prayer, that they might watch and pray with him.

Leaving all but Peter and James and John at the entrance of the garden, as a sort of outer guard against the sudden intrusion of his betrayer upon his last hour of prayer, he advanced with the three—the three in whose ardent natures he seemed to find the most active and consoling sympathy—and, with an earnest appeal to them to watch and pray, he left them and went about a stone’s throw beyond.

Three times did he rise from prayer and return to them in anguish of soul to feel the touch of human sympathy, saying, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” It was a sorrow, an agony, which, of itself, would have worn him out shortly—an intense mental and nervous strain which caused him to sweat great drops of blood.

It was no sign of weakness in the Master that he thus craved human sympathy. His was no coarse, stoical nature, insensible to pain and shame and loss; nor was it a proud, self-centered nature which stood aloof from human fellowship, although those with whom he associated were so far beneath his glorious perfection. Gracefully he condescended to men of low estate, and esteemed them brethren beloved, of whom he was not ashamed.  His was a refined nature, keenly appreciative of all that is lovely and pure and good, and correspondingly sensitive to pain from everything to the contrary of these.

Human degradation and human woe must continually have borne heavily upon him during all his earthly life. 

But in this awful hour all the griefs and burdens of the whole world were rolled upon his shoulders, and he was to suffer as though he himself were the sinner—to suffer death, extinction of being, trusting alone in the Father’s grace for a resurrection. 

Into this one hour were crowded, not only the mental realization of death and the physical agony and shame, the cruelty and torture of a horrible death, but also the sense of desolation to be experienced when even his beloved disciples, overcome by fear and dismay, should forsake him; and the sorrowful reflections upon the irretrievable loss of Judas, and upon the course of the Jewish nation—”his own” people, who despised him and were about to call down upon their own heads the vengeance of his blood, saying, “His blood be upon us and on our children” (Matthew 27:25). He foresaw the terrible calamities that in consequence must soon overwhelm them. Then the degradation of a whole guilty world, which must continue to groan and travail in pain until by his sacrifice he should gain deliverance for them from sin and death, caused him to feel the burden of responsibility to an extent which we can only approximate, but cannot fully comprehend.

And in addition to all this was his knowledge of the fact that every jot and tittle of the law with reference to the sacrifice must be perfectly fulfilled according to the pattern in the typical sacrifice of the day of atonement.

If he should fail in any part of the work, all would be lost, both for himself and for men.

And yet, though a perfect man, he realized that the flesh, however perfect, was unequal to the task.

How much depended upon our Lord’s fortitude in that awful hour, alone and defenceless in the darkness of overwhelming night, awaiting the certain arrival of his betrayer and the will of his persecutors maddened with hate and full of the energy of Satan!

Oh, how the destinies of the world and of himself seemed to tremble in the balances!

Even the perfect human nature was not equal to such an emergency without divine aid, therefore it was that he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him who was able to save him from death, by a resurrection.

The necessary comfort was provided through the Prophet Isaiah (42:1,6), by whom Jehovah said,

“Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth: …I, the Lord, have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee [from falling or failure], and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles… He shall not fail nor be discouraged.

When the fearful ordeal in Gethsemane strained the powers of endurance almost to their utmost tension his prayer was only, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” Then, though the cup might not pass from him, an angel came and ministered to him.  Just how, we know not, but probably by refreshing his mind with the precious promises and prophetic pictures of the coming glory, which none of his disciples had sufficiently comprehended to thus comfort him in this hour when the gloom of thick darkness settled down upon his soul, crowding out hope and bringing a sorrow exceeding great, “even unto death.”  Ah, it was Jehovah’s hand upholding him, blessed by his holy name! according to his promise, that he might not fail nor be discouraged.

 The result of that blessed ministry was a reinforced courage which commands the deepest admiration.  It was not a courage born of stoical indifference to pain and shame and loss, but a courage born of that faith which is anchored fast within the vail of the divine promises and power. With his eye of faith upon the glorious victory of truth and righteousness, when he should see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied—satisfied with:

  • the eternal joy and blessedness of a redeemed world,
  • with the welcome and wealth of the Father’s blessing, and
  • the love and gratitude of every loyal creature in heaven and in earth—yes, comforted and encouraged thus with a realizing sense of the rewards of faith and faithful endurance to the end, he could now calmly and even courageously, go forth to meet the foe.

Yes, this was the victory by which he overcame, even his faith, and so we also are to overcome.

Now commenced the realization of the dreadful forebodings of Gethsemane.

Mark his calm, dignified fortitude, as he addresses Judas and the Roman soldiers, and its effect upon them. They were so overpowered with the grandeur and nobility of this wonderful man that they could not have taken him had he not voluntarily placed himself in their hand. Notice, too, his kind consideration for the bewildered and weary disciples, and his loving excuse for them, “The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak,” and his request to the Roman soldiers at the time of his arrest that they might be permitted to go their way (John 18:8), that so they might escape sharing in his persecutions.

Through all the trial and mocking, and finally the crucifixion, his courage and solicitude for the welfare of others never failed.

 As we thus view our Lord under a trial so crucial, and mark how the hand of Jehovah upheld him, let it strengthen the faith of all who are endeavoring to walk in his footsteps, to whom he says,

Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world: and this is the victory that overcometh, even your faith (John 16:33; 1 John 5:4).

Has not the Lord, Jehovah, commissioned his angels also to bear up the “feet” of the body of Christ, lest at any time they be dashed against a stone (lest some overwhelming trial should prove too much for them)? (Psalm 91:11,12). Yes, as surely as his hand upheld the Head, our Lord Jesus, so surely will he bear up the feet. “Fear not, little flock: it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom,” though through much tribulation ye shall enter it.

The angels are all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.  Though their ministry is unseen by us, it is not therefore unreal, but potent for good. Our fellow-members, too, in the body of Christ, are all the Lord’s active messengers to each other, thus in turn sharing the privilege of bearing up the feet.

But to have this help in time of need we must invoke it. 

Every day and every hour is indeed a time of need; hence our necessity of living in an atmosphere of prayer—to pray without ceasing. 

And if the Lord needed often to seek retirement from the busy scenes of his active life to be alone with God, to keep the close bond of loving sympathy established, surely we need to do so; and in so doing we shall always find grace to help in time of need.

In seasons of heavy trial the darkness may indeed so deepen upon the soul, as in our dear Lord’s case, as almost to shut out the stars of hope; yet if, like the Lord, we hold on to the omnipotent arm of Jehovah and meekly say,

“Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done,”

His grace will always be sufficient; and with the Psalmist we can say, Though my flesh and my heart fail, yet God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26); and, with the Lord, our hearts will respond—“The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

Acknowledgment and References:

Br. Charles Taze Russell – “The Agony of Gethsemane” —from Reprints (R.1801) of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

JUST AS I AM

Suggested Further Reading:

Gethsemane
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/04/09/gethsemane/

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