Archive for the ‘Shared Thoughts’ Category

The Cost

Posted: May 23, 2020 in Shared Thoughts

(Note: this is a chapter from John C Ryles’ book “Holiness”)

“Which of you, intending to build a house, does not sit down first and count the cost?” – Luke xiv. 28.

The text which heads this page is one of great importance. Few are the people who are not often obliged to ask themselves – “What does it cost?”

In buying property, in building houses, in furnishing rooms, in forming plans, in changing dwellings, in educating children, it is wise and prudent to look forward and consider. Many would save themselves much sorrow and trouble if they would only remember the question – “What does it cost?”

But there is one subject on which it is especially important to “count the cost.” That subject is the salvation of our souls. What does it cost to be a true Christian? What does it cost to be a really holy man? This, after all, is the grand question. For want of thought about this, thousands, after seeming to begin well, turn away from the road to heaven, and are lost forever in hell. Let me try to say a few words which may throw light on the subject.

I.     I will show, firstly, what it costs to be a true Christian.

II.   I will explain, secondly, why it is of such great importance to count the cost.

III.  I will give, in the last place, some hints which may help men to count the cost rightly.

We are living in strange times. Events are hurrying on with singular rapidity. We never know “what a day may bring forth”; how much less do we know what may happen in a year! – We live in a day of great religious profession. Scores of professing Christians in every part of the land are expressing a desire for more holiness and a higher degree of spiritual life. Yet nothing is more common than to see people receiving the Word with joy, and then after two or three years falling away, and going back to their sins. They had not considered “what it costs” to be a really consistent believer and holy Christian. Surely these are times when we ought often to sit down and “count the cost,” and to consider the state of our souls. We must mind what we are about. If we desire to be truly holy, it is a good sign. We may thank God for putting the desire into our hearts. But still the cost ought to be counted. No doubt Christ’s way to eternal life is a way of pleasantness. But it is folly to shut our eyes to the fact that His way is narrow, and the cross comes before the crown.

I. I have, first, to show what it costs to be a true Christian.

Let there be no mistake about my meaning. I am not examining what it costs to save a Christian’s soul. I know well that it costs nothing less than the blood of the Son of God to provide an atonement, and to redeem man from hell. The price paid for our redemption was nothing less than the death of Jesus Christ on Calvary. We “are bought with a price.” “Christ gave Himself a ransom for all.” (1 Corinthians vi. 20; 1 Timothy ii. 6.)

But all this is wide of the question. The point I want to consider is another one altogether. It is what a man must be ready to give up if he wishes to be saved. It is the amount of sacrifice a man must submit to if he intends to serve Christ. It is in this sense that I raise the question, “What does it cost?” And I believe firmly that it is a most important one.

I grant freely that it costs little to be a mere outward Christian. A man has only got to attend a place of worship twice on Sunday, and to be tolerably moral during the week, and he has gone as far as thousands around him ever go in religion. All this is cheap and easy work: it entails no self-denial or self-sacrifice. If this is saving Christianity, and will take us to heaven when we die, we must alter the description of the way of life, and write, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to heaven!”

But it does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are enemies to be overcome, battles to be fought, sacrifices to be made, an Egypt to be forsaken, a wilderness to be passed through, a cross to be carried, a race to be run. Conversion is not putting a man in an arm-chair and taking him easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory. Hence arises the unspeakable importance of “counting the cost.”

Let me try to show precisely and particularly what it costs to be a true Christian. Let us suppose that a man is disposed to take service with Christ, and feels drawn and inclined to follow Him. Let us suppose that some affliction, or some sudden death, or an awakening sermon, has stirred his conscience, and made him feel the value of his soul and desire to be a true Christian. No doubt there is everything to encourage him. His sins may be freely forgiven, however many and great. His heart may be completely changed, however cold and hard. Christ and the Holy Spirit, mercy and grace, are all ready for him. But still he should count the cost. Let us see particularly, one by one, the things that his religion will cost him.

(1)         For one thing, it will cost him his self-righteousness. He must cast away all pride and high thoughts, and conceit of his own goodness. He must be content to go to heaven as a poor sinner saved only by free grace, and owing all to the merit and righteousness of another. He must really feel as well as say the Prayer-book words – that he has “erred and gone astray like a lost sheep,” that he has “left undone the things he ought to have done, and done the things he ought not to have done, and that there is no health in him.” He must be willing to give up all trust in his own morality, respectability, praying, Bible-reading, church-going, and sacrament-receiving, and to trust in nothing but Jesus Christ.

Now this sounds hard to some. I do not wonder. “Sir,” said a godly ploughman to the well-known James Hervey, of Weston Favell, “it is harder to deny proud self than sinful self. But it is absolutely necessary.” Let us set down this item first and foremost in our account. To be a true Christian it will cost a man his self-righteousness.

(2)         For another thing, it will cost a man his sins. He must be willing to give up every habit and practice which is wrong in God’s sight. He must set his face against it, quarrel with it, break off from it, fight with it, crucify it, and labor to keep it under, whatever the world around him may say or think. He must do this honestly and fairly. There must be no separate truce with any special sin which he loves. He must count all sins as his deadly enemies, and hate every false way. Whether little or great, whether open or secret, all his sins must be thoroughly renounced. They may struggle hard with him every day, and sometimes almost get the mastery over him. But he must never give way to them. He must keep up a perpetual war with his sins. It is written – “Cast away from you all your transgressions.” – “Break off thy sins and iniquities.” – “Cease to do evil.” – (Ezekiel xviii. 31; Daniel iv. 27; Isaiah i. 16.)

This also sounds hard. I do not wonder. Our sins are often as dear to us as our children: we love them, hug them, cleave to them, and delight in them. To part with them is as hard as cutting off a right hand, or plucking out a right eye. But it must be done. The parting must come. “Though wickedness be sweet in the sinner’s mouth, though he hides it under his tongue; though he spares it, and forsake it not,” yet it must be given up, if he wishes to be saved. (Job xx. 12, 13.) He and sin must quarrel, if he and God are to be friends. Christ is willing to receive any sinners. But He will not receive them if they will stick to their sins. Let us set down that item second in our account. To be a Christian it will cost a man his sins.

(3)         For another thing, it will cost a man his love of ease. He must take pains and trouble, if he means to run a successful race towards heaven. He must daily watch and stand on his guard, like a soldier on enemy’s ground. He must take heed to his behavior every hour of the day, in every company, and in every place, in public as well as in private, among strangers as well as at home. He must be careful over his time, his tongue, his temper, his thoughts, his imagination, his motives, his conduct in every relation of life. He must be diligent about his prayers, his Bible-reading, and his use of Sundays, with all their means of grace. In attending to these things, he may come far short of perfection; but there is none of them that he can safely neglect. “The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” (Proverbs xiii. 4.)

This also sounds hard. There is nothing we naturally dislike so much as “trouble” about our religion. We hate trouble. We secretly wish we could have a “vicarious” Christianity, and could be good by proxy, and have everything done for us. Anything that requires exertion and labor is entirely against the grain of our hearts. But the soul can have “no gains without pains.” Let us set down that item third in our account. To be a Christian it will cost a man his love of ease.

(4)         In the last place, it will cost a man the favor of the world. He must be content to be thought ill of by man if he pleases God. He must count it no strange thing to be mocked, ridiculed, slandered, persecuted, and even hated. He must not be surprised to find his opinions and practices in religion despised and held up to scorn. He must submit to be thought by many a fool, an enthusiast, and a fanatic – to have his words perverted and his actions misrepresented. In fact, he must not marvel if some call him mad. The Master says – “Remember the word that I said unto you, ‘The servant is not greater than his lord.’ If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.” (John xv. 20.)

I dare say this also sounds hard. We naturally dislike unjust dealing and false charges, and think it very hard to be accused without cause. We should not be flesh and blood if we did not wish to have the good opinion of our neighbors. It is always unpleasant to be spoken against, and forsaken, and lied about, and to stand alone. But there is no help for it. The cup which our Master drank must also be drunk by His disciples; they too must be “despised and rejected of men.” (Isaiah liii. 3.) Let us set down that item last in our account. To be a Christian it will cost a man the favor of the world.

Such is the account of what it costs to be a true Christian. I grant the list is a heavy one. But where is the item that could be removed? Bold indeed must that man be who would dare to say that we may keep our self-righteousness, our sins, our laziness, and our love of the world, and yet be saved!

I grant it costs much to be a true Christian. But who in his sound senses can doubt that it is worth any cost to have the soul saved? When the ship is in danger of sinking, the crew think nothing of casting overboard the precious cargo. When a limb is mortified, a man will submit to any severe operation, and even to amputation, to save life. Surely a Christian should be willing to give up anything which stands between him and heaven. A religion that costs nothing is worth nothing! A cheap Christianity, without a cross, will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown.

II. I have now, in the second place, to explain why “counting the cost” is of such great importance to man’s soul.

I might easily settle this question by laying down the principle, that no duty instructed by Christ can ever be neglected without damage. I might show how many shut their eyes throughout life to the nature of saving religion, and refuse to consider what it really costs to be a Christian. I might describe how at last, when life is ebbing away, they wake up, and make a few spasmodic efforts to turn to God. I might tell you how they find to their amazement that repentance and conversion are no such easy matters as they had supposed, and that it costs “a great sum” to be a true Christian. They discover that habits of pride and sinful indulgence, and love of ease, and worldliness, are not so easily laid aside as they had dreamed. And so, after a faint struggle, they give up in despair, and leave the world hopeless, graceless, and unfit to meet God! They had flattered themselves all their days that religion would be easy work when they once took it up seriously. But they open their eyes too late, and discover for the first time that they are ruined because they never “counted the cost.”

But there is one class of persons to whom especially I wish to address myself in handling this part of my subject. It is a large class – an increasing class – and a class which in these days is in peculiar danger. Let me in a few plain words try to describe this class. It deserves our best attention.

The persons I speak of are not thoughtless about religion: they think a good deal about it. They are not ignorant of religion: they know the outlines of it pretty well. But their great defect is that they are not “rooted and grounded” in their faith. Too often they have picked up their knowledge second hand, from being in religious families, or from being trained in religious ways, but have never worked it out by their own inward experience. Too often they have hastily taken up a profession of religion under the pressure of circumstances, from sentimental feelings, from animal excitement, or from a vague desire to do like others around them, but without any solid work of grace in their hearts. Persons like these are in a position of immense danger. They are precisely those, if Bible examples are worth anything, who need to be exhorted “to count the cost.”

For want of “counting the cost” myriads of the children of Israel perished miserably in the wilderness between Egypt and Canaan. They left Egypt full of zeal and fervor, as if nothing could stop them. But when they found dangers and difficulties in the way, their courage soon cooled down. They had never reckoned on trouble. They had thought the promised land would be all before them in a few days. And so, when enemies, privations, hunger, and thirst began to try them, they murmured against Moses and God, and would fain have gone back to Egypt. In a word, they had “not counted the cost,” and so lost everything, and died in their sins.

For want of “counting the cost,” many of our Lord Jesus Christ’s hearers went back after a time, and “walked no more with Him.” (John vi. 66.) When they first saw His miracles, and heard His preaching, they thought “the kingdom of God would immediately appear.” They cast in their lot with His Apostles, and followed Him without thinking of the consequences. But when they found that there were hard doctrines to be believed, and hard work to be done, and hard treatment to be borne, their faith gave way entirely, and proved to be nothing at all. In a word, they had not “counted the cost,” and so made shipwreck of their profession.

For want of “counting the cost,” King Herod returned to his old sins, and destroyed his soul. He liked to hear John the Baptist preach. He “observed” and honored him as a just and holy man. He even “did many things” which were right and good. But when he found that he must give up his darling Herodias, his religion entirely broke down. He had not reckoned on this. He had not “counted the cost.” (Mark vi. 20.)

For want of “counting the cost,” Demas forsook the company of St. Paul, forsook the Gospel, forsook Christ, forsook heaven. For a long time, he journeyed with the great Apostle of the Gentiles, and was actually a “fellow-laborer.” But when he found he could not have the friendship of this world as well as the friendship of God, he gave up his Christianity and clave to the world. “Demas hath forsaken me,” says St. Paul, “having loved this present world.” (2 Timothy iv. 10.) He had not “counted the cost.”

For want of “counting the cost,” the hearers of powerful Evangelical preachers often come to miserable ends. They are stirred and excited into professing what they have not really experienced. They receive the Word with a “joy” so extravagant that it almost startles old Christians. They run for a time with such zeal and fervor that they seem likely to outstrip all others. They talk and work for spiritual objects with such enthusiasm that they make older believers feel ashamed. But when the novelty and freshness of their feelings is gone, a change comes over them. They prove to have been nothing more than stony-ground hearers. The description the great Master gives in the Parable of the Sower is exactly exemplified. “Temptation or persecution arises because of the Word, and they are offended.” (Matthew xiii. 21.) Little by little their zeal melts away, and their love becomes cold. By and by their seats are empty in the assembly of God’s people, and they are heard of no more among Christians. And why? They had “never counted the cost.”

For want of “counting the cost,” hundreds of professed converts, under religious revivals, go back to the world after a time, and bring disgrace on religion. They begin with a sadly mistaken notion of what is true Christianity. They fancy it consists in nothing more than a so-called “coming to Christ,” and having strong inward feelings of joy and peace. And so, when they find, after a time, that there is a cross to be carried, that our hearts are deceitful, and that there is a busy devil always near us, they cool down in disgust, and return to their old sins. And why? Because they had really never known what Bible Christianity is. They had never learned that we must “count the cost.” [*9]

For want of “counting the cost,” the children of religious parents often turn out ill, and bring disgrace on Christianity. Familiar from their earliest years with the form and theory of the Gospel – taught even from infancy to repeat great leading texts – accustomed every week to be instructed in the Gospel, or to instruct others in Sunday schools – they often grow up professing a religion without knowing why, or without ever having thought seriously about it. And then when the realities of grown-up life begin to press upon them, they often astound every one by dropping all their religion, and plunging right into the world. And why? They had never thoroughly understood the sacrifices which Christianity entails. They had never been taught to “count the cost.”

These are solemn and painful truths. But they are truths. They all help to show the immense importance of the subject I am now considering. They all point out the absolute necessity of pressing the subject of this paper on all who profess a desire for holiness, and of crying aloud in all the churches – “Count the Cost.”

I am bold to say that it would be well if the duty of “counting the cost” were more frequently taught than it is. Impatient hurry is the order of the day with many religionists. Instantaneous conversions, and immediate sensible peace, are the only results they seem to care for from the Gospel. Compared with these all other things are thrown into the shade. To produce them is the grand end and object, apparently, of all their labors. I say without hesitation that such a naked, one-sided mode of teaching Christianity is mischievous in the extreme.

Let no one mistake my meaning. I thoroughly approve of offering men a full, free, present, immediate salvation in Christ Jesus. I thoroughly approve of urging on man the possibility and the duty of immediate instantaneous conversion. In these matters I give place to no one. But I do say that these truths ought not to be set before men nakedly, singly, and alone. They ought to be told honestly what it is they are taking up, if they profess a desire to come out from the world and serve Christ. They ought not to be pressed into the ranks of Christ’s army without being told what the warfare entails. In a word, they should be told honestly to “count the cost.”

Does any one ask what our Lord Jesus Christ’s practice was in this matter? Let him read what St. Luke records. He tells us that on a certain occasion “There went great multitudes with Him: and He turned and said unto them, If any come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whosoever does not bear his cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.” (Luke xiv. 25-27.) I must plainly say, that I cannot reconcile this passage with the proceedings of many modern religious teachers. And yet, to my mind, the doctrine of it is as clear as the sun at noon-day. It shows us that we ought not to hurry men into professing discipleship, without warning them plainly to “count the cost.”

Does any one ask what the practice of the eminent and best preachers of the Gospel has been in days gone by? I am bold to say that they have all with one mouth borne testimony to the wisdom of our Lord’s dealing with the multitudes to which I have just referred. Luther, and Latimer, and Baxter, and Wesley, and Whitfield, and Berridge, and Rowland Hill, were all keenly alive to the deceitfulness of man’s heart. They knew full well that all is not gold that glitters, that conviction is not conversion, that feeling is not faith, that sentiment is not grace, that all blossoms do not come to fruit. “Be not deceived,” was their constant cry. “Consider well what you do. Do not run before you are called. Count the cost.”

If we desire to do good, let us never be ashamed of walking in the steps of our Lord Jesus Christ. Work hard if you will, and have the opportunity, for the souls of others. Press them to consider their ways. Compel them with holy violence to come in, to lay down their arms, and to yield themselves to God. Offer them salvation, ready, free, full, immediate salvation. Press Christ and all His benefits on their acceptance. But in all your work tell the truth, and the whole truth. Be ashamed to use the vulgar arts of a recruiting sergeant. Do not speak only of the uniform, the pay, and the glory; speak also of the enemies, the battle, the armor, the watching, the marching, and the drill. Do not present only one side of Christianity. Do not keep back “the cross” of self-denial that must be carried, when you speak of the cross on which Christ died for our redemption. Explain fully what Christianity entails. Entreat men to repent and come to Christ; but bid them at the same time to “count the cost.”

III. The third and last thing which I propose to do, is to give some hints which may help men to “count the cost” rightly.

Sorry indeed should I be if I did not say something on this branch of my subject. I have no wish to discourage any one, or to keep any one back from Christ’s service. It is my heart’s desire to encourage every one to go forward and take up the cross. Let us “count the cost” by all means, and count it carefully. But let us remember, that if we count rightly, and look on all sides, there is nothing that need make us afraid.

Let us mention some things which should always enter into our calculations in counting the cost of true Christianity. Set down honestly and fairly what you will have to give up and go through, if you become Christ’s disciple. Leave nothing out. Put it all down. But then set down side by side the following sums which I am going to give you. Do this fairly and correctly, and I am not afraid for the result.

(a)  Count up and compare, for one thing, the profit and the loss, if you are a true-hearted and holy Christian. You may possibly lose something in this world, but you will gain the salvation of your immortal soul. It is written – “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark viii. 36.)

(b)  Count up and compare, for another thing, the praise and the blame, if you are a true-hearted and holy Christian. You may possibly be blamed by man, but you will have the praise of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Your blame will come from the lips of a few erring, blind, fallible men and women. Your praise will come from the King of kings and Judge of all the earth. It is only those whom He blesses who are really blessed. It is written – “Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.” (Matthew v. 11, 12.)

(c)  Count up and compare, for another thing, the friends and the enemies, if you are a true-hearted and holy Christian. On the one side of you is the enmity of the devil and the wicked. On the other, you have the favor and friendship of the Lord Jesus Christ. Your enemies, at most, can only bruise your heel. They may rage loudly, and compass sea and land to work your ruin; but they cannot destroy you. Your Friend is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by Him. None shall ever pluck His sheep out of His hand. It is written – “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: Fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, fear Him.” (Luke xii. 5.)

(d)  Count up and compare, for another thing, the life that now is and the life to come, if you are a true-hearted and holy Christian. The time present, no doubt, is not a time of ease. It is a time of watching and praying, fighting and struggling, believing and working. But it is only for a few years. The time future is the season of rest and refreshing. Sin shall be cast out. Satan shall be bound. And, best of all, it shall be a rest for ever. It is written – “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians iv. 17, 18.)

(e)  Count up and compare, for another thing, the pleasures of sin and the happiness of God’s service, if you are a true-hearted and holy Christian, for the pleasures that the worldly man gets by his ways are hollow, unreal, and unsatisfying. They are like the fire of thorns, flashing and crackling for a few minutes, and then quenched forever. The happiness that Christ gives to His people is something solid, lasting, and substantial. It is not dependent on health or circumstances. It never leaves a man, even in death. It ends in a crown of glory that fadeth not away. It is written – “The joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment.” – “As the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool.” (Job xx. 5; Eccl. vii. 6.) But it is also written – “Peace I leave with you, my peace give I unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John xiv. 27.)

(f)   Count up and compare, for another thing, the trouble that true Christianity entails, and the troubles that are in store for the wicked beyond the grave. Grant for a moment that Bible-reading, and praying, and repenting, and believing, and holy living, require pains and self-denial. It is all nothing compared to that “wrath to come” which is stored up for the impenitent and unbelieving. A single day in hell will be worse than a whole life spent in carrying the cross. The “worm that never dies, and the fire that is not quenched,” are things which it passes man’s power to conceive fully or describe. It is written – “Son, remember that thou in thy life-time received thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and thou art tormented.” (Luke xvi. 25.)

(g)  Count up and compare, in the last place, the number of those who turn from sin and the world and serve Christ, and the number of those who forsake Christ and return to the world. On the one side you will find thousands – on the other you will find none. Multitudes are every year turning out of the broad way and entering the narrow. None who really enter the narrow way grow tired of it and return to the broad. The footsteps in the downward road are often to be seen turning out of it. The footsteps in the road to heaven are all one way. It is written – “The way of the wicked is darkness” – “The way of transgressors is hard.” (Proverbs iv. 19; xiii. 15.) But it is also written – “The path of the just is as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Proverbs iv. 8.)

Such sums as these, no doubt, are often not done correctly. Not a few, I am well aware, are ever “halting between two opinions.” They cannot make up their minds that it is worthwhile to serve Christ. The losses and gains, the advantages and disadvantages, the sorrows and the joys, the helps and the hindrances with that faith we shall set things down at their true value. Filled with that faith we shall neither add to the cross nor subtract from the crown. Our conclusions will be all correct. Our sum total will be without error.

(1)  In conclusion, let every reader of this paper think seriously, whether his religion costs him anything at present. Very likely it costs you nothing. Very probably it neither costs you trouble, nor time, nor thought, nor care, nor pains, nor reading, nor praying, nor self-denial, nor conflict, nor working, nor labor of any kind. Now mark what I say. Such a religion as this will never save your soul. It will never give you peace while you live, nor hope while you die. It will not support you in the day of affliction, nor cheer you in the hour of death. A religion which costs nothing is worth nothing. Awake before it is too late. Awake and repent. Awake and be converted. Awake and believe. Awake and pray. Rest not till you can give a satisfactory answer to my question, “What does it cost?”

(2)  Think, if you want stirring motives for serving God, what it cost to provide a salvation for your soul.

Think how the Son of God left heaven and became Man, suffered on the cross, and lay in the grave, to pay your debt to God, and work out for you a complete redemption. Think of all this and learn that it is no light matter to possess an immortal soul. It is worthwhile to take some trouble about one’s soul.

Ah, lazy man or woman, is it really come to this, that you will miss heaven for lack of trouble? Are you really determined to make shipwreck forever, from mere dislike to exertion? Away with the cowardly, unworthy thought. Arise and play the man. Say to yourself, “Whatever it may cost, I will, at any rate, strive to enter in at the strait gate.” Look at the cross of Christ, and take fresh courage. Look forward to death, judgment, and eternity, and be in earnest. It may cost much to be a Christian, but you may be sure it pays.

(3)  If any reader of this paper really feels that he has counted the cost, and taken up the cross, I bid him persevere and press on. I dare say you often feel your heart faint, and are sorely tempted to give up in despair. Your enemies seem so many, your besetting sins so strong, your friends so few, the way so steep and narrow, you hardly know what to do. But still I say, persevere and press on.

The time is very short. A few more years of watching and praying, a few more tossings on the sea of this world, a few more deaths and changes, a few more winters and summers, and all will be over. We shall have fought our last battle, and shall need to fight no more.

The presence and company of Christ will make amends for all we suffer here below. When we see as we have been seen, and look back on the journey of life, we shall wonder at our own faintness of heart. We shall marvel that we made so much of our cross, and thought so little of our crown. We shall marvel that in “counting the cost” we could ever doubt on which side the balance of profit lay. Let us take courage. We are not far from home. It may cost much to be a true Christian and a consistent believer; but it pays.

[*9] I should be very sorry indeed if the language I have used above about revivals was misunderstood. To prevent this I will offer a few remarks by way of explanation. For true revivals of religion no one can be more deeply thankful than I am. Wherever they may take place, and by whatever agents they may be effected, I desire to bless God for them, with all my heart. “If Christ is preached,” I rejoice, whoever may be the preacher. If souls are saved, I rejoice, by whatever section of the Church the word of life has been ministered. But it is a melancholy fact that, in a world like this, you cannot have good without evil. I have no hesitation in saying, that one consequence of the revival movement has been the rise of a theological system which I feel obliged to call defective and mischievous in the extreme. The leading feature of the theological system I refer to, is this: an extravagant and disproportionate magnifying of three points in religion, – viz., instantaneous conversion – the invitation of unconverted sinners to come to Christ, – and the possession of inward joy and peace as a test of conversion. I repeat that these three grand truths (for truths they are) are so incessantly and exclusively brought forward, in some quarters, that great harm is done. Instantaneous conversion, no doubt, ought to be pressed on people. But surely they ought not to be led to suppose that there is no other sort of conversion, and that unless they are suddenly and powerfully converted to God, they are not converted at all. The duty of coming to Christ at once, “just as we are,” should be pressed on all hearers. It is the very corner-stone of Gospel preaching. But surely men ought to be told to repent as well as to believe. They should be told why they are to come to Christ, and what they are to come for, and whence their need arises. The nearness of peace and comfort in Christ should be proclaimed to men. But surely they should be taught that the possession of strong inward joys and high frames of mind is not essential to justification, and that there may be true faith and true peace without such very triumphant feelings. Joy alone is no certain evidence of grace. The defects of the theological system I have in view appear to me to be these: (1) The work of the Holy Ghost in converting sinners is far too much narrowed and confined to one single way. Not all true converts are converted instantaneously, like Saul and the Philippian jailor. (2) Sinners are not sufficiently instructed about the holiness of God’s law, the depth of their sinfulness, and the real guilt of sin. To be incessantly telling a sinner to “come to Christ” is of little use, unless you tell him why he needs to come, and show him fully his sins. (3) Faith is not properly explained. In some cases people are taught that mere feeling is faith. In others they are taught that if they believe that Christ died for sinners they have faith! At this rate the very devils are believers! (4) The possession of inward joy and assurance is made essential to believing. Yet assurance is certainly not of the essence of saving faith. There may be faith when there is no assurance. To insist on all believers at once “rejoicing,” as soon as they believe, is most unsafe. Some, I am quite sure, will rejoice without believing, while others will believe who cannot at once rejoice. (5) Last, but not least, the sovereignty of God in saving sinners, and the absolute necessity of preventing grace, are far too much overlooked. Many talk as if conversions could be manufactured at man’s pleasure, and as if there were no such text as this, “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.” (Romans ix. 16.) The mischief done by the theological system I refer to is, I am persuaded, very great. On the one hand, many humble-minded Christians are totally discouraged and daunted. They fancy they have no grace because they cannot reach up to the high frames and feelings which are pressed on their attention. On the other side, many graceless people are deluded into thinking they are “converted,” because under the pressure or animal excitement and temporary feelings they arc led to profess themselves Christians. And all this time the thoughtless and ungodly look on with contempt, and rind fresh reasons for neglecting religion altogether. The antidotes to the state of things I deplore are plain and few. (1) Let “all the counsel of God be taught” in Scriptural proportion; and let not two or three precious doctrines of the Gospel be allowed to overshadow all other truths. (2) Let repentance be taught fully as well as faith, and not thrust completely into the background. Our Lord Jesus Christ and St. Paul always taught both. (3) Let the variety of the Holy Ghost’s works be honestly stated and admitted; and while instantaneous conversion is pressed on men, let it not be taught as a necessity. (4) Let those who profess to have found immediate sensible peace be plainly warned to try themselves well, and to remember that feeling is not faith, and that “patient continuance in well-doing” is the great proof that faith is true. (John viii. 31.) (5) Let the great duty of “counting the cost” be constantly urged on all who are disposed to make a religious profession, and let them be honestly and fairly told that there is warfare as well as peace, a cross as well as a crown, in Christ’s service. I am sure that unhealthy excitement is above all things to be dreaded in religion, because it often ends in fatal, soul-ruining reaction and utter deadness. And when multitudes are suddenly brought under the power of religious impressions, unhealthy excitement is almost sure to follow. I have not much faith in the soundness of conversions when they are said to take places in masses and wholesale. It does not seem to me in harmony with God’s general dealings in this dispensation. To my eyes it appears that God’s ordinary plan is to call in individuals one by one. Therefore, when I hear of large numbers being suddenly converted all at one time, I hear of it with less hope than some. The healthiest and most enduring success in mission fields is certainly not where natives have come over to Christianity in a mass. The most satisfactory and firmest work at home does not always appear to me to be the work done in revivals. There are two passages of Scripture which I should like to have frequently and fully expounded in the present day by all who preach the Gospel, and specially by those who have anything to do with revivals. One passage is the parable of the sower, that parable is not recorded three times over without good reason and a deep meaning. – The other passage is our Lord’s teaching about “counting the cost,” and the words which He spoke to the “great multitudes” whom He saw following Him. It is very noteworthy that He did not on that occasion say anything to flatter these volunteers or encourage them to follow Him. No: He saw what their case needed. He told them to stand still and “count the cost.” (Luke xiv. 25, etc.) I am not sure that some modern preachers would have adopted this course of treatment.

More than forgiven…

Posted: May 8, 2020 in Shared Thoughts

People need to understand that Jesus did not die merely to forgive them their sins; He died and rose again in order to save them from their sins. Otherwise, it would be little more than forgiving someone for crimes committed out of ignorance or poverty, yet allowing them to stay in jail. Nor does saving them from their sins only mean they receive a “get out of jail free card.” No, He saves people from their ignorance and corrupt nature, which causes them to sin, in an endeavor to make them partakers of His very own divine nature.

Jesus came, died, rose again, and is willing to send His spirit to all that ask, that He might restore any and all to the very essence God originally intended for them to be, holy, temples suitable for His own Spirit to dwell with in. He faithfully guides and enables His followers to be more than mere animals that live only mindful of the appetites of their lowly fleshly bodies; for He causes them to become spiritually alive by placing His own Spirit with in them. He “saves us from our sins” because He BOTH forgives AND leads them out of their prisons and into the glorious liberty of His light and truth and into communion with Himself.

For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. For the carnal mind is constantly at war against God; because it is not subject to the law of God, nor can it be. Such is why they who think and live and focus only in the flesh cannot please God. But, if you have truly been “saved,” you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit; if in truth the Spirit of God dwells in you. For if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.

This truth is as obvious to the true believer in Jesus Christ as is a developing fetus in the womb of a pregnant woman. There is no doubt in her mind something is radically different and new in her body and life, because the evidence of a conception of life continues to grow daily in her.

Is this new life of Christ so growing in you?

If so, then continue to faithfully purify your souls in the obedience of the truth, through the Spirit of Christ within you, unto an unfeigned love of the brothers. We must love one another fervently out of a pure heart, for we have been born again, not mere semen, but by an incorruptible seed, through the living Word of God in us; which abides true and faithful forever.

See Romans 8:6-9 and 1st Peter 1:22, 23

Originally posted Posted: October 6, 2015

Back in 2015 I was asked  to share with a local fellowship after the pastor had received and read about America’s imminent destruction in my book The Eighth Beast. The following is the recorded message from that meeting. May it minister to you.

Live for the King!

God’s Breech of Promise

Posted: April 3, 2020 in Shared Thoughts

Numbers 14:34 – After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know My breach of promise.

Few “believers” give the necessary consideration to the words spoken by God here to His people when He states, “and now you shall know My breech of promise.”

A “Breach of Promise” is most commonly connected with marriage, and is often called “Breach of Promise to Marry.” (Don’t get confused with the different spellings, “breech” is simply the archaic KJV spelling, “breach” the modern.) There is also the term “Breach of Contract,” which refers to one party of a contract failing to uphold their end the contract. Such failure legally allows the other party to “breach” the contract as well.

Therefore, God’s people should give serious heed to these words spoken by God to His people. For He had surely swore unto them that He would give them the “Promise Land,” yet here He states He is going breach, or break His promise unto them. Yet not with out cause, for God had longsuffered with their complaining and disbelief while continuing to provide miraculously their food and water and being a constant visible presence of defense for them; a cloud by day and a cloud of fire by night that they would be protected from the heat of day and the cold of night.

Yet here upon getting His people to the threshold of The Promised Land, except for those who had grievously rebelled against Him and thereby perished in their sins prior hereto, God was now ready to fulfill His word to them. Even so, after all God had done and showed Himself both capable and faith to keep His word, they failed to believe Him when the time of their inheritance was at hand.

Do not think this is just some Old Testament accounting of an angry God before the “dispensation of grace.” No, for we see volumes of grace and mercy with God hearing the cries of His people and bringing them out of their captivity with a mighty hand. Those who fail to see it are surely spiritually blind. For we the Church of God today, believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the very members of His Body, are given a very stern warning in the New Testament in the Book of Hebrews to which we must give heed.

4:1 – Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, AS WELL AS UNTO THEM: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

Faith is a necessity on their part of the Covenant God has with His people; for with out faith it is impossible to please God. Faith is not mere belief, for one can believe and fail to respond or trust; but true God-pleasing-faith works by love and trust. Faith must have equal parts of belief, trust, and love, if it is to please God and compel Him to open wide the provisions of heaven and shower His blessings upon His people.

But though it is a grand thing to be called such, we are not just “The people of the Living God.” No, for as the Apostle Paul states, we have been “espoused,” or entered into an engagement of marriage with Christ, and are therefore expected to be a “chaste virgin to Christ.” We are not just the people of God; we are those who are to be living with earnest expectation of His coming for His Bride and preparing ourselves for the day of the “Marriage of the Lamb.”

What historically grieved the heart of God over and over? Those, who were called by His name, who lived seeking to satisfy their lust, love the world, and were basically self-centered. For this was the constant gateway for idolatry to creep into their impure hearts. Such is why friendship with the world places us at enmity, or war with God. If we look to, and love, and live in the realm of the flesh and earthly things, we are breaching our part of the Covenant. For God is a Spirit, and He is Holy, and He has commanded us to be holy. For the time has come, and now is, when the true worshipers of God must worship Him in spirit and truth, and not in some vain believe-ism with empty and dead religious traditions.

1 John 3:2 – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.

1 John 4:17 – Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love Him, because He first loved us.

So please, do not be foolish virgins, but purchase now the oil needed for your lamps as we wait for the marriage day at hand. And “Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them this promise of “rest” 40 years later by leading them in the conquest of the Promise Land, then King David many, many years afterward would not have prophesied of yet “another day;” the marriage day.

See then that there still remains “a rest” for the people of God to be entered into. For whoever has entered into his rest, he must also have ceased from his own works, as God did from His; meaning he has COMPLETED THE WORKS given him by God to do, for we all must accomplish “through faith” our own works which are assigned unto us by God. This is what the Apostle Paul referred to as “Working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Therefore, let us labor to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of unbelief and thereby likewise come to experience God’s “breech of promise.”

Consider Paul’s words of confidence in 2 Timothy 4:6-8, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. For I Have Fought A Good Fight, I Have Finished My Course, I Have Kept The Faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.

Such is why Paul prayed for the church, stating, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named; That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. And that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that being rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and fully know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge; That You Might Be Filled With All The Fullness Of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

Trust, Love, and Obey.
Live for the resurrected King of Glory!!

I know I have written several times on grace in the past, but we must be obedient to what we feel the Lord gives us to share. So, whoever you are, maybe this is just for you.

The follow list contains three things that God’s word not only fundamentally teaches about God’s grace, but biblical history affirms over and over again to be true as it records without partiality the triumphs and failures of those who believed in God.

  1. Grace is sufficient.
  2. Grace can be frustrated.
  3. Grace can be received in vain.

First, regarding grace’s sufficiency in the life of the believer, Paul was assure by God that His grace would be adequate to see him through whatever temptations he would endure or the trials and persecutions he must suffer for the cause of Christ.

2 Corinthians 12:9 – And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Paul learned his confidence was only to be in God’s grace, and that he could not depend on his own strength or power. For it was in his weakness where Paul found he was able to experience God’s fullness in a way he couldn’t in those areas where his own strength or wisdom were adequate, such as making and mending tents. But when it came to his salvation, doing the work of the ministry, fighting the fight, or running the race, Paul knew full well he could not do those things apart from the grace of God given unto him.

Furthermore, the fact that God had given such empowering grace unto Paul, he was fully aware he must take full advantage of it so as not to frustrate it, lest he fall short in the calling God had given unto him.

1 Corinthians 9:16 – For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

I often use the following example when speaking of God’s “sufficient” grace. Someone needs to get somewhere but they have no means to get there. They are at an impasse and do not know what they are going to do because they have to get there or the consequences will be severe if they fail to do so. Upon hearing of their plight I offer them the use of my car, to which they say, “Great, but I have no money for gas.” I tell them no worries, I will fill up the tank and that will be more than sufficient to get them there.

Being greatly relieved, they are now confident that they can safely make the trip because they have been given all they need for the journey, but while on their way they get to thinking they have more than enough time and there is “more than sufficient” gas, so they take the liberty to go sightseeing to other places along the way. Getting caught up in their new found liberty with my car and gas, they carelessly are driving around exhausting the gas. Soon they turn around towards their original destination and suddenly to their surprise the car abruptly stops out of gas!

Is this is not like the parable of the ten virgins Jesus gave us? Or the warning in Hebrews 4-

Hebrews 4:1 – Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

There was no more reason for the people to run out of gas than there was for why the promise of God to give “The promise Land” wasn’t realized by those to whom the promise was given. Yet we too today are being warned of like consequences, the possibility of coming short of our destination by tempting the sufficient limitations of God’s grace. For “To day if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” God clearly gave the Israelites a sure promise, and all the promises of God in Jesus are yea, and in Him, Amen, unto the glory of God by us! And so how could it possibly be that they failed to have God’s promise fulfilled?

Numbers 14:34 – After the number of the days in which you searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall you bear your iniquities, even forty years, and you shall know My breach of promise. 35 I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.

What’s this? God told them they would know His “breach of promise?” How could this be? Surely God doesn’t break His word? There is no doubt that He loved them, and God is no respecter of person, right? And yet what did Peter say when God gave him the revelation of His grace being given unto the Gentiles too?

Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted with Him.

Secondly, scriptures clearly say God’s grace can undeniably be frustrated.

Galatians 2:21 – I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Paul makes it clear; God gave unto him a grace that was sufficient to enable him to be and do all which God had called him to. This grace given wasn’t because of any sacrificed animal or any other ordinance given under the Levitical priesthood, or because of Paul’s own keeping of the Law. Rather, this grace was founded upon what God did through Christ so that Paul and men everywhere could be washed and justified of their sins and then filled with the Spirit of Christ in them, the hope of glory. It was this indwelling grace of the Spirit of Christ that enabled Paul to do and be all that God required of him. Likewise God desires His grace to work in men so they too might fulfill that which God requires of every one who names the name of Christ.

Hebrews 7:11 – If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

Romans 8:3 – For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.

It was impossible for the law to save men, as it was weak through the flesh, meaning “it is not possible” for dead, unholy men to make themselves holy and alive, or “that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away [their] sins,” (Hebrews 10:4). Therefore, God sending his own Son in the likeness of man’s own sinful flesh, through Jesus’ shed blood and it alone men can now be justified of their sins, fully forgiven and sanctified so as to render them fit for the fullness of God’s sufficient grace; the indwelling and empowering of the Spirit of Christ.

Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

I Timothy 1:12 – And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.

Colossians 1:27 – To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working, which works in me mightily.

Three, God’s grace can be received in vain.

Grace is so, so much more than just “unmerited favor.” Yes, absolutely God’s offer of grace is unmerited, for it was ordained from the beginning, even before the foundations of the world, long before anyone could have even tried to earn, merit, or deserve it. And when sin did abound, grace did abound all the more in that Christ came and willingly died for the ungodly. But God’s grace doesn’t stop at the offer of forgiveness of sins, for it is the power which quickens dead men and makes them alive and turns sinners into saints.

1 Corinthians 1:24 – But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

God’s grace is the power of God that delivers us from the sinful nature embedded in our hearts and equips us for our unique ministry unto Him and others. It cannot be said enough, grace is the divine indwelling of Christ Himself empowering us, moving us ever towards victory and making us overcomers. It is by this grace and grace alone we are what we are, (or can be as we grow in Christ), or as Paul said, “I am what I am…”

II Corinthians 6:1 – We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

I Corinthians 15:10 – But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Likewise, we all must be sober and recognize that the Kingdom of God suffers violence and they who would take it must take by force as the Jews did the Promise Land. But we need not depend on our own strength, for it is by the force/power which works in us mightily as we exercise our love and faith in Christ that we are empowered to do what He has called us to do.

Like Paul says, faith works through love.

Galatians 5:6 – For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avail anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love.

John 14:23 – Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. 24 He that loves Me not keeps not My sayings: and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.

Faith works because it is the consequence of hearing God’s word whereby we can receive grace to enable us to be faithful. For the Apostle Paul said, “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” So let’s look into this, first faith comes by hearing God’s word, and then grace through faith saves us. However we know without hearing we could have no faith, and yet it is through faith that grace comes whereby we are saved. So what is the gift? Is it grace or faith? What says the word of God?

Romans 12:3 – For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Every man has been dealt the measure of faith, but what is that measure? What does that mean? It means that for all those who would recognize their personal poverty of spirit, and mourn for their sins before a holy God and quit excusing themselves by blaming everyone and everything for what they are and have done, and start to hunger and thirst for righteousness, that God will give them grace for obedience to the faith. That is the beginning of the Be Attitudes of the Sermon on the Mount.

Romans 1:5 – By whom we have received grace… for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name.

But how can men know these things without hearing the word of God or be able to recognize it as true? By that measure of faith God has dealt to every man. Every person has enough faith already dealt to them; it is there in their conscience with the writing of God’s law in their inner man that can enable them to properly respond to hearing the gospel, the only question is will they? Even creation is designed so as to stir up that measure of faith, compelling all men to seek after God and truth.

Romans 1:20 – For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

  Consequently, there is no excuse, even Wisdom is said to be continually “in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she utters her words, saying, “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out My spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” Thus hearing God’s word we are given that increase of faith through which grace can flood our souls and save us, God pouring out His Spirit unto us and changing us from the inside out, from inward virtue to outward godliness.

2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus expects to see these things in us, for by “grace through faith” these things should be in us and abounding. Otherwise we will be proven to have been “barren…[and] unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Surely none of us would be content or pleased with a friend or a spouse as our lover who simply “believes” in us. We would expect and settle for nothing less than faithfulness, and rightly so, because that is the reasonable expectation of a love perfected by grace. True faith will always work towards faithfulness because faith works by love. It really is that simple.

Sadly, many believers continue in sin while rejecting correction with “God loves me unconditionally.” They have minimize amazing grace to nothing more than “unmerited favor.” Foolishly they live out their lives giving way to their flesh, continuing their friendship with the world. They don’t even try to keep His words simply because they don’t love Him, having believed the lie it really doesn’t matter anyway… since God loves them unconditionally. But is that what Jesus said or their pastor?

John 14:21 He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. 24 He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.

Right there in verse 23 is the biggest word in the bible, and often the most overlooked, “If.” Wherever there is an “if” in the scriptures there is also an insinuated “then.” That little word has enormous meaning; for it is a qualifier preceding a condition. That little “if” is a razor sharp edge on the sword of the spirit that cuts through all the pretense and good intentions to the very heart of every man’s faith and belief in God. So much so that the Beloved Apostle John had this to say-

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, [then] we [God and us] have fellowship one with another, and [then] the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

The very first act of grace through faith is the work of repentance, faithfulness to the commandment of Christ to all men.

Acts 17:30 – And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent.

Titus 2:11 – For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.

1 Peter 1:13 – Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as He which hath called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.

Sadly, many professors of faith today will one day find they have exhausted the grace of God, having frustrated it with their persistent unfaithfulness. They neglect that measure of faith dealt to them and thereby limit the effectual working of God’s grace, burying as it were the proverbial “talent” Christ entrusted them with to invest towards for His glory. These are they who will one day find they were actually goats and not sheep they thought they were when the Lord returns to separate those professing to know Him.

Psalm 78:41 – Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. 42 They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.

Dear reader, this is a very serious matter, because God has given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that enable us to be holy and separate from the world, doers of His word and not hearers only, to answer the call to be glorious partakers of His divine nature, having Christ formed in us and escaping the wrath to come.

1 Peter 1:3 – According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

No Excuse

Even though Adam sinned and all are now required to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust, there is no excuse for continuing in sin. For God foresaw sin even before anything was created and though as a mystery hid until the appointed time, the remedy was always there. Therefore it must be recognized as an indisputable fact that God foresaw absolutely everything, in infinitesimal detail, and categorically knew every good and evil thing that would transpire throughout all eternity. Therefore before the creation of man, God fully knew all the circumstances which would occur and every opposing force of evil that would arise with all their intensity, destruction and confusion, and accordingly made all the necessary preparations to assure His own purposes and glory. That regardless of the foe or evil intent, He can absolutely assure those who love Him, that each and every circumstance and event in their lives was foreseen and therefore He can successfully work all things together for their eternal well-being.

No, the foreknowledge of sin didn’t discourage God; He still elected to create humanity in His image, knowing that as lights they could still brilliantly manifest the wonders and glory of God through the sufficiency of His amazing grace available through Jesus Christ the Lord. Each created to be temples for the Spirit of the living God, and called to “serve the LORD with gladness… [for] the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.” Man, every man, is “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” What then will sinners say when they are asked by their Creator why they ignored His calling them?

 It is irrelevant how men may view and dismiss their sin, for what God sees in sin is a willingness of men to trample His Son in order to continue down their own path with a callous indifference for Jesus’ precious blood; devalued to the status of a common product readily available on shelves of the local convenient stores that they assume will always be there whenever they need it. Sadly such people are sitting in churches on Sunday feeling all justified while committing idolatry, worshiping a “Jesus” the modern commercial church system has made just for them and they don’t even know the difference.

2 Corinthians 11:4 – If indeed someone is coming to preach another Jesus, whom I did not preach, or you are receiving a Spirit other than you once received, or another gospel which you did not accept before, you would do well to bear with me.

Dear reader, if Jesus tells us, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? And in Your name have cast out devils? And in Your name done many wonderful works?” Don’t you think we better be sure we know who He was talking about? Before He says to us as well, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who work iniquity.”

It has been said the judgment of God is to let men go their own way when they have frustrated His grace. For this cause God permitted the rise of those empires that took the Jews into captivity twice, and why He allows the rise of the last and final, Eighth Beast, a corrupt government system under the authority of Satan eager to force those created in God’s image to desecrate their bodies (God’s temples) with a “mark” that would forever oblige them to now serve and worship the dragon and the beast.

2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.

It is truly sad that a day of rest can cause so much unrest among believers. I personally believe the lack of understanding what the Sabbath represents to the Church is the reason that it is often surrounded by so much confusion to the point of contention and mutual condemnation by both Sabbatarians and Sunday worshipers. Certainly with a God with whom all things are possible, creation could have been accomplished in one or two days or even drawn out to ten to twelve days.

So why the seven days? Is there some wisdom and knowledge in the answer to that question that is beneficial to believers? I think so; I also think a lot this debate between Sabbatarians and Sunday worshipers is of the flesh and many times out right pride. Having said that I know I too now stand on a slippery slope for electing to put forth the conclusions of my personal studies regarding my views why God created a seven day week, as well as offer a possible meaning and purpose of the seventh day Sabbath. However, my hope is not to make anyone change their day of worship, rather to share my own appreciation for God’s wisdom in all things. Faith is conviction functioning by love and love will always have posture of humility in its service if it is a righteous and godly love.

My first hope is to establish a point of agreement about the Sabbath, that it, like the ceremonies of the Old Testament, represents something specific. If we can all agree on that then we have a mutual point of understanding from which to move forward from. Building on that point, it may be noteworthy to recognize how most believers readily acknowledge that the ceremonies and sacrifices of the Old Testament were actually prophetic actions. Prophetic action is simply a term noting something done to signify a future event. Perhaps a simple New Testament example would be that of a certain prophet, named Agabus in Acts –

Ac 21:11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

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Just a re-post reminder that hell is real. This is actually part 2 of 2  of my series on hell 

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

God’s word is more glorious than even the wonder of birth; for in it He has given us some incredible insights into His own heart’s desire. His word is not merely a bunch of rules and laws made to regulate every aspect of men’s behavior and to oppress their freedom in life. No, God’s word is actually the only true wellspring of life, in addition to the only effectual means for guarding what He gives unto His people. Some may immediately feel compelled to challenge that statement, but I am not speaking about the bible you have on your shelf, I am speaking of that which came by unction of God’s Holy Spirit unto His prophets and apostles, that which is spirit and not merely “letter.”

The bibles we have are but books made of paper and ink, filled with letters that cannot do anything of their own, there is no power in them anymore than a flashlight has the ability to illuminate without batteries being in it. It is only a means, a tool whereby the supremacy of God’s spoken word which is ultimately spirit can be revealed unto us . . . that is if and when our heart is in the right condition.

Through God’s holy word comes first the revelation of His supremacy and preeminence, that “God is,” meaning there is in fact a God to whom all men are accountable. Secondly it teaches us how He has created all things in a state of “good.” God created the realms for life to flourish, the sea, the air and the land and then brought forth all manner of life and gave them not just the command to be “fruitful and multiply,” no much more than that, God gave forth the blessing of life.

He created every “herb bearing seed upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree for food which also has yielding seeds.” God also spoke into existence things that were not and gave them life that they might live and move within God’s very being. After God created man He declared that the result was “very good,” or what the Hebrew would convey as extremely good.

Thirdly, we can see, and learn from God’s holy word, that through it comes both the revelation and foundational teachings of righteousness. We also see creation set into motion with harmonious order, established cycles and rhythms whereby all things would thrive and flourish. It reveals boundaries for man’s protection whereby he could grow, learn and experience the joys and liberties given unto him. What God created was good, not evil; life and not death. This does not mean He failed to make provisions for such, which is far from the truth.

Just as certainly as God flawlessly fashioned all creation for life, He knew that giving His creatures the facilities and means to enjoy it, would also mean His perfect creation could be polluted and therefore most certainly would be. God knew from the beginning when He first put into place the harmony of creation that His creatures would eventually fall into disharmony with Him through exercising their ability to choose.

But that does not mean God created sin, for I would ask how could there be sin without first the establishment of righteousness? Disharmony and sin are not God’s creation, nor are they a state or condition that can exist alone; rather they are measured and established only by their contrast with God’s original harmony and righteousness. There can be no disharmony without harmony, nor sin without righteousness. These two things cannot exist by themselves, for they are nothing more than witnesses to the absence of their counterpart, just as darkness is measured by the degree of light present, likewise cold in regards to the presence of heat.

Now when I said God didn’t create “evil” I know many are going to throw the following verse at me,

 Isaiah 45:7 – I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

 One would do well to investigate the intent of this verse; for it is God’s forming of the light that created darkness, just as “the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” meaning without light and void of illumination. Likewise God’s desire and establishment of peace is what creates the possibility for evil. However, the “evil” of this verse is not moral; rather it is the contrast of peace, i.e. war, which cannot exist without willful disharmony to God’s formerly established harmony. Others may want to debate that God Himself does evil and they may seek to prove it by submitting verses similar to the following scriptures –

 Jeremiah 26:3 – If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.

 Jeremiah 42:10 – If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent Me of the evil that I have done unto you.

  What is paramount is to understand is that the “evil” in these verses is not synonymous with sin, wickedness or unrighteousness. This evil is best understood as a required action that is contrary to God’s preferred will. God never wanted to punish, but His holiness and righteousness demands it because God will not forever endure with that which refuses to live and exist in accordance with His word. Yes, God is longsuffering, but there is a limit to God’s willingness to wait for repentance, which when exhausted then obligates God to act contrary to the blessings He desires to give. If we will not comply with the conditions of His blessings, we are only left with the repercussions of His curses. But never, never does God commit wickedness or unrighteousness for He is holy.

  Isaiah 30:18  – And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.

 Lamentations 3:31 – For the Lord will not cast off for ever:  32 But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. 33 For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

 Ezekiel 18:23 – Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? . . . 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

 Ezekiel 33:11 – Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

 Romans 2:2 – But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 4 Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

 1 Timothy 2:4 – Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

 2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

 It has always been the desire of God that what He created as “good,” even “very good,” that it should continue as such forever. However, because sin entered, disharmony was created when His creatures made the fatal willful choice to cast away His word. Nevertheless, He has long sought to make available to all the remedy that was prepared from the foundations of the world to reconcile all things back unto Himself. For more on this plan of reconciliation please see my old post “Justified in the Spirit.

In continuing with the topic of hell, let’s now look at a little discussed passage of scripture –

 Deuteronomy 23:9 – When the army goes forth against your enemies, then keep yourself from every wicked thing. 10 If there is among you any man who is not clean because of an accident at night, then he shall go outside the camp. He shall not come inside the camp. 11 And it shall be as evening turns, he shall wash with water. And when the sun is down, he shall come into the the middle of the camp. 12 You shall also have a place outside the camp where you shall go forth. 13 And you shall have a paddle on your weapon. And it shall be, when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it, and shall turn back and cover that which comes from you. 14 For the LORD your God walks in the middle of your camp, to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you. Therefore your camp shall be holy, so that He may see no unclean thing in you and turn away from you.

This is one of those passages that many Christians just read over and rarely gleam anything from. However, there is much here that we should be giving our focus too, for we are talking about going to battle and having the certainty that the Lord will be with us. What is the underlying principle in these verses is the requirement for us to be holy for He is holy. That is why it is absolutely clear that since everyday we are waking up afresh, we therefore need to be daily putting on the whole armor of God, . . . because every minute, of everyday, our adversary is seeking to devour all he can. Therefore we must keep ourselves “from every wicked thing.” These truths should be clear and evident even to the young in faith.

However, the passage also warns against those who are “not clean by reason of uncleanness that chances him by night.” Now what does this passage mean? These verses in Leviticus help to bring clarity–

Leviticus 15:1  – And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying,  2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean. 3 And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it is his uncleanness. 4 Every bed, whereon he lays that hath the issue, is unclean: and everything, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean.  5 And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.

Leviticus 15:16 – And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the evening. 17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the evening. 18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the evening.

The light shed by these verses clearly indicate that the concern of the Lord is the uncleanliness, associated with either genital disease, or a “copulation,” meaning an ejaculation of semen. Now, some might readily see the problem with disease rendering one unclean, but an ejaculation? How would that defile a man? Whether we understand it or not it is still in God’s Holy Scriptures and is given as an admonition to His people and therefore requires our prayerful consideration. But this is also why I selected to entitle this post with the opening verse –

1 Peter 1:23 – Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

 The “corruptible seed” Peter is alluding to is the seed whereby we were originally born, our father’s semen. Yet in this verse Peter is also stating how we are in fact “born again” by incorruptible seed, even the word of God. Furthermore, the beloved Apostle John tells us that true Christians cannot sin because His seed is in us –

1 John 3:9 = Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.  In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever does not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother.

Now when John says one who is “born of God cannot sin,” he is not saying they are incapable of sinning. He is saying that because God’s “seed remains in him” that he cannot accept the pleasures of sin in the light of the cost of sin. It would be similar to me offering any of you $5.00 for your car or perhaps a gold watch. Certainly you could foolishly accept the $5.00, but if you truly understand the worth of what you have then you “cannot” accept my offer without abandoning what is reasonable. That is why Paul pleads with us to present ourselves as living sacrifices unto God.

Romans 12:1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

How do you know “that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God?” Only by God’s word. That is why John stated that “His seed remains in him,” which may help to shed light on  some other passages of scripture regarding uncleanliness –

Leviticus 15:19 – And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the evening. 20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. 21 And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. 22 And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. 23 And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the evening. 24 And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.

Leviticus 20:18 – And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

Now why would it be inappropriate for a man to lie with a woman while she is menstruating? Apart from the normal responses regarding hygiene, it is because the “seed” placed in her would not remain; her body will naturally cast it forth from her. When a woman’s body is menstruating it is going through the process of expelling her last egg that wasn’t fertilized. Since at this point most eggs are no longer alive, in the normal situation the male sperm will therefore never penetrate a viable egg but it too will only be flushed out as waste.

(Now before I am dismissed because of accuracy regarding the chances of a woman becoming pregnant even though she has had her normal cycle, the chances are very, very rare and could only most likely happen if prior to the menstrual cycle some sperm from an earlier relation managed to enter the fallopian tubes and was not flushed out. This unlikely event would create an opportunity for them if they are still alive to encounter a new egg during the next ovulation if for some reason it was hastened from irregularity in the cycle. But again this is going outside the norm and stretching normal limitations. Please remember that I am not a gynecologist and that I work with wood)

What is important is that we see the correlation the Apostle Peter makes between the “corruptible seed” whereby we were conceived and the “incorruptible” whereby we are born again, even the word of the Lord. This shows us the significance of our design and Why God Created Us Male And Female. Symbolically the male’s semen represents the word of God which is not cast to the ground. To do so is prophetic action showing disrespect for that which has holy symbolism. Think of the anger the Lord had towards Onan who was told by his father Judah to go and “raise up seed” for his dead brother with Tamar –

Genesis 38:6 – And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. 7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him. 8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. 9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. 10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore He slew him also.

 This displeased the Lord on at least two counts, first, a lack of love for his brother and second, the intentional spilling of his semen on the ground. Since we are created in the image of God and are to be His glory, then it is conceivable that our seed, i.e. semen, represents His holy word. Thus it was important to God that Onan’s seed should have remained in Tamar, just as it is important that God’s seed remain in us, and that as children of God, we be able to impart His seed unto others. Perhaps part of this can even be our love of Christ and evangelistic willingness to go and “raise up seed” for our Brother and Savior Jesus Christ by being instant in season and ready to give and answer for the hope that is within us.

Again, these are but prophetic imagery given unto us to teach us greater lessons from our Lord, just as circumcision of the flesh does in regards to circumcision of the heart. But look at the verses in Duet.23 before this –

Deuteronomy 23:1 – He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

It is important to the Lord that we know in whom we believe and are able to procreate with our faith by His seed, i.e. word which remains in us. Those not having seed or unable to impart it “shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.” Also, since Paul tells us we’re to be living sacrifices, we should be able to appreciate that animal sacrifices were not acceptable unto the Lord either if they were born or rendered impotent.

Leviticus 22:24 – Ye shall not offer unto the LORD that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land.

Those who have truly been quickened by God’s word have hidden His word in their hearts and are desirous to share it. That is because God’s word is the only solution for uncleanliness in the heart and lives of His children, now please don’t confuse that with the purpose of Christ’s blood for our atonement and forgiveness. We know that all things were sanctified and consecrated unto the Lord with both water and blood. Consider how the Apostle Paul speaks of husbands loving their wives “even as Christ also loved the church” and the correlation of the water of the word and the blood of atonement and their applications as to why Jesus laid down His life for us. –

Ephesians 5:26 – That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Consider also the words of Peter –

1 Peter 1:13 – Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:  15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

We are to be holy, not just because we have been washed by His blood, but also because we have renewed in our minds. As if the very loins of our minds were girded with the girdle of truth and walking in obedience to our Lord and Savior. That is why we are forgiven by His blood, so we can be freed from sins and indwelt by His Spirit and empowered to walk in His word whereby we are to be changing daily, our old carnal nature decreasing while the nature of Christ is being formed in us.

1 Peter 1:18 – Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;  19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:  20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,  21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.  22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:  23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

We are given the responsibility of purifying our souls by obeying His truth, but thank God for the grace and empowering by His own Spirit within us which enables us and labors with us to perfect our love for Him and each other… if we remain willing. It is this Gospel, this incorruptible seed that causes us to be born again and quicken and changed.

1 Peter 1:24 – For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Let look back now at our text in Deut. 23 –

Deuteronomy 23:12 – Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:  13 And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:  14 For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

After the instructions regarding, “uncleanness that chances him by night,” as it said in Leviticus concerning if “any man’s seed of copulation go out from him,” the Lord now moves to another topic concerning keeping the camp clean because the Lord walks in the midst of the camp. This shows both the responsibility for personal cleanliness, and the individual and corporate responsibility to keep the camp clean as well. Therefore if any man has to “ease” himself he is to go outside the camp and so do. By the words “thou shalt have a place without the camp” it is indicated that this would be a designated place, not just every man running off to wherever, but a specific place known to all.

Therefore, instruction was given that every man should have a “paddle upon they weapon,” whereby they could dig a hole and ease themselves in it, and “turn back and cover that which cometh from thee.” Again, regardless the apparent subject matter, we are actually being given glorious imagery here. Placed upon the weapon was a paddle, designed specifically for digging of a hole to accommodate that which is expelled from the body. Sadly we cannot see these weapons, but one of the weapons of choice which could be so equipped with a small spade is a sword. Again, symbolically the sword represents two things in scripture, God’s word and His judgment. Not just judgment in the sense of determining right and wrong, but in the sense of judgment coming upon a people for their rejection of His holy word, casting it, as it were on the ground.

 Deuteronomy 32:41 – If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me. 42 I will make Mine arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.

Now one thing we must remember, our Lord is a warrior, the ultimate warrior . . . and He is mighty in battle.

Psalm 24:7 – Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

Our God has graciously given us His word and by it quickened us, it is His “seed” whereby we are born again. But be not mistaken, it is also the sword He will whet and take hold of, it is His sword of judgment against the wicked who “will not stand in the congregation of the righteous.” Consider also these verses in Isaiah –

Isaiah 1:16 – Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil;  17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:  20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

But as Jesus said, broad is the path which leads to destruction and many will choose it by casting God’s word behind them. These are wicked men serving their own lusts and not honoring God who gave to them both the blessing of life and the honor of being created in His own image. Instead they defiantly turn away and lived their lives refusing and rebelling, doing so regardless of the Spirit of His Grace. Therefore they are unclean, defiled, sold under sin and foolishly boasting in their own shame.

Isaiah 1:21 – How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.  22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:  23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

God will not always strive with mankind, He will soon avenge Himself of His adversaries.

Isaiah 1:24 – Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease Me of Mine adversaries, and avenge me of Mine enemies.

Yes, as God commanded the host to keep the camp clean, and just as a man who needed to ease himself was to go to the designated place and there with the paddle on his weapon dig a hole. Likewise God has prepared a place in His judgment where He too will ease Himself. Listen to the word of the Lord; listen to His cry, “Ahhhh!” This is the groaning of the pain within His bowels of mercies after continually being frustrated, grace extended in vain to a rebellious, stubborn and stiff-necked people. It is as if God is cramped over in anguish and heartache by the very presence of the wicked within Him; all creation as well is groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God and the removal of the wicked. Mind you though, all the evil men and all the demons and devils which hell currently awaits cannot weaken or abate one iota the strength of God. Still nevertheless He has long-suffered while warning the wicked, endeavoring to rescue the lost and to offer repentance to the broken and contrite ones. His omnipotence cannot be weakened by the sins of men, but His heart is nonetheless pained and vexed by their sins.

All who have rejected God’s word, those from the very beginning who have lived and moved and had their very being within Him, will one day be expelled out from His presence for all eternity as waste out the draught and into the pit. The Gospel makes it evident it is the responsibility of every person to take full advantage of the exceedingly great and precious promises of God’s word, whereby we can be made partakers of His divine nature. Therefore, we are commanded to be what He fully enables us to be. Therefore we must be holy, because He is holy, or be expelled.Only by purifying ourselves by obeying the truth through His spirit, can we perfect this holiness in the fear of God. For He will not be mocked. He will repay who reject what He went through great lengths to provide, a remedy for our sin and sinful nature.

Psalm 62:11 – God has spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Also unto You O Lord belongeth mercy: for You renderest to every man according to his work.

Deuteronomy 7:9 – Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations; And repays them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack to him that hates Him, He will repay him to his face.

Yes, there is a hell, Rob Bell and all the other universalists are wrong. It is the eternal place of torment for all those who would not be assimilated unto God, refusing to be purified, sanctified, consecrated and made holy by yielding to the working of the Spirit of Christ within them with and through the power of His seed/word. All those unclean, rebellious and wicked will not only fail to be able to stand in and with the congregation of the righteous, God will treat them as the filth they are and ease Himself of them in a place He has prepared outside the camp. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Isaiah 66:22 – For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the LORD. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against Me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Psalm 119:11 – Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Yoy.

John 3:17 – For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

 

Peace to those who love the Lord, and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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Is your faith being tried?

Posted: October 10, 2019 in Shared Thoughts

Last week one morning, in my devotions and prayers, I was thinking about the trials God takes us through and a few verses came to mind which caused me to have to stop my prayers and go search them out; and look at them more in depth. It was even because of tonight in my prayers thinking of Psalm 23 that all this came back into mind afresh, of how the Lord works to “restore” our souls, even though the “path of righteousness” seems to be taking us right through “the valley of the shadow of death.” For all this is done both for “His name’s sake” and our well-being; because He is indeed our Shepherd.

Here are the passages –

Psalm 17:1 – Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goes not out of feigned lips. 2 Let my sentence come forth from Your presence; let Your eyes behold the things that are equal. 3 You have proved mine heart; You hast visited me in the night; You have TRIED me and shall find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. 4 Concerning the works of men, by the word of Your lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. 5 Hold up my goings in Your paths, that my footsteps slip not.

Psalm 26:1 – Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity. I have trusted also in the LORD, therefore I shall not slide. 2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; TRY my reins and my heart. 3 For your lovingkindness is before mine eyes and [therefore] I have walked in your truth.

Psalm 66:8 – O bless our God, you people, and make the voice of His praise to be heard: 9 Which holds our soul in life, and suffers our feet not to be moved. 10 For You, O God, have proved us. You have TRIED us, as silver is TRIED. 11 You brought us into the net; You laid affliction upon our loins. 12 You have caused men to ride over our heads and we went through fire and through water. But You brought us out into a wealthy place.

As you can see it is about “proving” and “trying” us, and that often while in the midst of our adversities. The word “prove” in the original Hebrew means as we would naturally conclude, to establish the reality of a thing; that thing being twofold, both our faith and our lives. For it is by His grace working through our faith that we are indeed changed and made to be partakers of His divine nature.

2 Peter 1:2 – Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the [ack-]knowledge[ment] of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue. 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature.

Now, the words “TRY” and “TRIED” in the Psalms above were in caps because that is the thing I was led to look at more closely. In some place in our KJV Bibles, where it says “tried” it means to test, so as to prove. As a matter of fact, the very word translated “proved” in Psalm 66:10 above has been translated as “try” and “tried” more than other ways.

But the words “TRY” and “TRIED” in the Psalms above is translated from a completely different word in Hebrew which has a meaning that is hidden in the English translation; which is more revealed in principle in Peter’s statement that “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold,” and in Psalm 66:10, where we are “…as silver is TRIED.” For the Hebrew word which was translated “TRY” and “TRIED,” is also often translated as “[re-]finer,” “refiner,” “goldsmiths,” and “founder.”

A classic verse is below –

Malachi 3:3 – And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Now remember, we are all called to be were as the “sons of Levi;” for as Christians we are called to be both kings and priests unto the Lord. But the Lord “sits,” or takes a place in our lives, “as a refiner and a purifier of silver”; which silver is often used to represent of our sanctification to the Lord. The “refiner” smelts the silver to purge it of the impurities or dross. The process of smelting requires heating it to its melting point and allowing the lighter weight impurities to come to the surface; the appearance of such is like soot being black. Once the silver is liquefied and the dross surfaces, the refiner carefully scraps it from the top.

Psalm 12:6 – The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver TRIED in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Now, silver when it melts is like aluminum or lead when they melt, in that they all simply liquefy at a lower temperature than other metals, which when heated to their melting point become illuminated with a glow. Silver simply melts with no glow, and pure silver free of dross lays perfectly flat with a glossy sheen causing the surface to be a perfect mirror. Thus, a refiner can look into the smelter and see a perfect reflection of himself therein. Such is the work of Christ as our refiner, it is to make us a partaker of His divine nature; that He might see the perfect completed work of His grace working through our believing-faith, making “the trial of your faith, much more precious than of gold.”

The same is true of the “founder.” For he is the one who takes the purified silver or gold, and then “casts” it in a mold so it can become solid in a fixed form. And for us, that is our coming to “…the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” or as Paul said, “until Christ be formed in you.”

Judges 17:4 – Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to the FOUNDER [same word], who made thereof a graven image and a molten image [of the silver] and they were in the house of Micah.

I just want to encourage you to be strong in the Lord and to remember that in everything we are to give thanks; for in truth He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him.

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The Only Test of Love

Posted: September 12, 2019 in Shared Thoughts
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From the beginning, the only sound scriptural authorized test of love is obedience; and by “love” I mean the biblically righteous love which alone will be acknowledged by God and acceptable to Him.

There is of course, a carnal love, just as there is a divine love. However, the carnal love, though capable of somewhat benefiting others, it is nonetheless self-serving. For the height and benefit of a carnal love’s virtues are limited, and that because its priority is only to profit the hearts, mind (emotions), and the physical well-being of self and others.

Furthermore, the viewpoint of a carnal love is consequently limited, because the birth of such is out of one’s own affections, wishes and cravings. Often, a carnal love barely exceeds that of mere obsession; and that being one’s own gratification. Now, the important thing to acknowledge, is that carnal love is quite capable of being religious and have a profession of faith. For Jesus frequently had to deal with religious men who were lovers of themselves, prideful men who were selective in their obedience to God’s word. These are such who justify themselves, and being deceived think themselves to be superior to others in religious matters. Men who teach one thing, but yet do another.

A heart seeking truth will recognize that a divine love stands in stark contrast with carnal love; for a divine love is birth out of a revelation of God’s holy love and benevolence for humanity. God’s love is undeniable, in that He gave His only begotten Son for our redemption for and from sin. Thus, a divine love will only exist within one who has indeed come to the humbling revelation of God’s great love for them as an individual, and that in spite of the contrariness of their corrupt nature with He who is holy.

The fact that He first loved us is the very foundation and reason why we can love Him with a perfect love, which simply means to love Him with all of our hearts, our minds, and our strength. For in truth, if one truly comes to understand their poverty of spirit, that their sins have left them spiritually bankrupt before a holy God, they will be cast into great agony of heart and mourning before God.

It is then that the promise of entrance into His Kingdom and the gift of repentance is offered to them upon their open acknowledgment that their sins have bankrupt them; for only such who do so are truly contrite and broken before Him. These, at the prospect of His mercy, respond joyfully with obedience and delight at a chance now to do His will, and are in so doing comforted by His unmerited love and consideration.

Truly, such who have been so humbled by the illumination of God’s great love will no longer seek to justify themselves, nor will they blame others for their having fallen into the depravity of sin. For those who seek to justify themselves, especially by blaming others, have no inheritance with God.

But those who are so humbled will find themselves aroused with a holy hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness, which righteousness is now available to us solely because of that great love whereby He sent Jesus Christ to be our only Savior and Deliverer from our sins. It is only because of His death that we can be offered new life, and because of His holiness that sinners can now be made into saints.

Truly, anyone who has partaken of God’s redemptive mercies will themselves be both messengers and vessels of that mercy. This should be evident to others by a true Christian’s public proclamation that forgiveness for sins has been made available through Jesus Christ for all; as well as Christians freely forgiving all who have ever treated them wrongfully. These are such who seek through their obedience to God and His word to purify their hearts even as He is pure; and to be holy, even as He is holy. For if their old nature has truly been crucified with Christ, and they have been born-again and made new creatures desiring to be like their Savior, then they too will find themselves laboring to be peacemakers. For being forgiven, all become ambassadors for God’s Kingdom and messengers of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ that alone can save men from their spiritual depravity and bondage of sin.

But there are some who will not receive a love for the truth of the Gospel. There are those, who being carnal, have had their hearts hardened and have had their minds blinded by the god of this world. Such will naturally hate those, who not only “believe in Jesus Christ,” but purposely walk in His truths that they might sin not, and live their lives seeking foremost His glory that it might be brilliantly revealed to others through their obedience of faith.

Hence, the only sound scriptural authorized test of love is obedience. For only they who love obey, and they who obey overcome both the old nature of sin and the seductive wickedness of the world. Those who have a divine love delight to do God’s will, for the heart of all His precepts is love for Him and others as ourselves. Those who obey the dictates of a divine love have the promise that they will walk with Him for “they are worthy.”

So, do you love Him?

John 14:21 – He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.

Matthew 5:3 – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

1 John 1:5 – This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we [us and God] have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 5:3 – For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.

(To those who might not know, I live in Costa Rica, yet at the present I am visiting in the States. As to why I am living primarily in Costa Rica, you can find an answer here However, when I am in the states, I always endeavor to attend a men’s fellowship, breakfast prayer meeting.The following is an admonition which was impressed upon my heart while in prayer midweek for my brothers.)

The Admonition

Brothers, this men’s breakfast prayer meeting, or for that matter, any corporate prayer meeting, will never be greater than the sum of the secret prayers of the individuals. For prayers, that is, public prayers, have no more merit with God than the ones spoken to Him in secret.

Please know, that I am assuming all the attendees here do in fact have true, personal, secret prayer time with the Lord.

But what I have learned, biblically and experientially, is that secret prayer, or private prayer, is often as James said, fervent prayer; which by definition of the original Greek means fiery prayer.

Thus, if one’s private prayer time is humdrum, passive, or tedious and weak, or little more than a religious duty being performed; from where then should that necessary honest desire and required sincerity come from which is to be the motivation of one’s public prayers?

Or what cause then is there, if our private prayers are not earnest, for any compulsion upon the holy God that He should acknowledge it?

Be not deceived, for the heart which truly desires to know God, and to please Him, will with earnest prayer be in persistent pursuit of God, and will labor to press into the holy of holies, and will then wait upon Him; seeking His face and His glory.

For when Jesus said for us to “Strive to enter in at the strait gate,” the word strive means “as if in agony pursue.” For is indeed a variant of the very same word which testifies to how Jesus prayed, when “being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Is this not an example for us of how we too ought to pray; of how we might rightly strive so as to enter in at the strait gate?

But too often public prayer is done in a spirit of religiosity, and that by people praying what they think might sound good or upright, as what they ought to pray.

But in truth their prayers are not honest ventings from a burdened heart, or true yearnings for God and for His kingdom to come, nor are they true cries from a travailing heart for the lost souls of men.

If one’s private prayer is fervent and holy, then their public prayer will be the same. But if one’s private prayer is weak and lacks the fire of the Lord in their hearts, then their public prayers will be weak as well.

Did not John the Baptist say Jesus would baptize His people with both the Holy Spirit and fire? For it matters not how intensely or well-spoken one’s prayer might be, if the fire of His spirit does not rest within he who prays, such prayer will never move the heart of God, even if other men are thereby moved.

In truth, it would be better for one not to pray at all before men, than to pray in such a manner before God and men. For such prayers are but pharisaical, or hypocritical, spoken more for the ears of men than for the ears of God.

Note; I said all this with no intention to discourage one who might have difficulty praying, but nevertheless truly yearns to know how to pray in harmony with the unction of the Spirit. For prayer, like fasting or studying the word of God, are spiritual disciplines that are only learned and perfected by purposefully exercising oneself in them; which purpose must be to know God and glorify His Son Jesus Christ.

May we all never forget what Jesus said in His day, that the time had come, and now is, when they who would worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth; for such who do are whom the Father truly seeks to worship Him.

Thus, perhaps the worst and most insincere form of prayer is that of prayer-preaching; when one misuses this blessed grace given to us that we might make our requests known before a holy God, as a thing for them to misuse.

For too often, many under the guise of prayer, are in truth preaching in their own wisdom to others around them. Such prayer is in truth nothing more than a gross display of false humility and is in reality an evil and dishonest abuse of the grace of prayer.

That does not mean that a fervent holy prayer would fail to preach volumes to other saints within ear shot, but what is spoken is still being directed to God and not towards men.

It is God’s own testimony that He dwells with those who are contrite and of a humble spirit. It is this sort that seek to pray as Jesus did, and thus in like agony will often cry out to Him with a sacrificial heart in secret prayer. Sincere prayers for the souls of men, that His kingdom would come and that His will be done; first in their own lives as well as in the lives of others, here on earth even as it is done in heaven.

And thus, it is in the strength and glory of His Spirit that they boldly and willingly stand up for Him in public, both in word and deed. For you need to know It is only the prayers of the righteous, the godly, His holy saints, whose prayers truly honor God and can move Him into action.

Brothers, we desperately need the glory of God in our lives. For Jesus prayed, “And the glory,” now get that, “the glory which You [Father] gave unto Me, I have given them…”

So I ask, do you truthfully know, and what I mean by “know” is experientially, do you experientially know that you have received this very glory from Jesus Christ, and are you persistently living in such a way so as to be cherishing and nurturing it by doing all you know you ought to do? Are you purposefully striving to perfect personal holiness in your life in the fear of God?

For if you are not, I must warn you then that I fear that perhaps you have received of His grace in vain, for His grace is given to us to enable us in our obedience to the Gospel and the law of faith.

Brothers, if you have truly received this glory, and are still daily receiving an increasing measure thereof, then indeed there is true holy communion and fellowship being had by you with your God and His Son Jesus Christ, as well as with your fellow saints.

Of course, we know there can be no such holy fellowship between the righteous and the unrighteous, between the obedient and the disobedient, or fellowship between light and darkness.

However, too many self-professing believers nowadays seem to be quite at home with both disobedient believers and worldly associates.

But this “glory” is given only to His own. It is given so that they might be an effectual witness of God to the lost who are hell bound in a corrupt and fallen world; as well as a testimony against those who profess that they know God, but in their works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and reprobate in all their good works.

So, as the Apostle Paul would say, I beseech you brethren to please do yourselves a favor and honestly ask yourselves, or rather, honestly ask God, what is the truth of your standing before God in all of this?

Do you ever ask, like I often do, “God, where is this oneness, this unity of the saints that Jesus earnestly prayed for?”

For I tell you, that Jesus having so prayed, He fully expects there to be a holy unity among His people. A unity which brings them into the same oneness which He shared with the Father. But now a oneness with all His people together, with the Father and Jesus in us, and we in them, dwelling in a blessed state of holy unity.

As the Psalmist said, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity.”

Because, again, it is the very glory which the Father gave Him that He has given to His own.

Too often I look at the churches and too many believers and am compelled to ask, “Where is this “glory” that Jesus Christ has given to His saints; that glory that is supposed to be brilliantly shining within and out from their lives?”

Can you detect it, or recognize its presence? Do you at least perceive its growth within you? For if by Jesus own words we understand that the world is supposed to undeniably see it, certainly then the enlightened children of God should be able to behold it.

For the Apostle Paul said, “But we all, [not some, but all], with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image,” that is Christ’s image, the image of the invisible God, and are being transformed “from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

What evidence then do you see, or might others see that persuades you it is a reality in your life, or in those you fellowship with, or those where you attend church? For Jesus said “By their fruits you will know them.” Not fruits of good deeds, but the fruit of holiness which has its end in eternal life.

This is enormously important, so please do not fail to grasp the gravity of this exhortation I believe the Lord has laid on my heart for you all. For it is this glory given to His saints that alone creates and serves to empower us as we endeavor to maintain a holy unity among the brethren.

I pray you understand the reality and truth of this matter, how the divine purpose of this glory is to enable each of us to mirror the very unity of Jesus Christ and the Father in unbroken and unhindered love; for that was His prayer to the Father.

This glory alone can be the believer’s shining light, and in truth it ought to be shining brightly in and through each of us who are called by His name in this dark and lost world. For once again, this glory is no less than that same glory which the Father gave to His only begotten Son, and His Son to His followers.

This “glory” of the love and holy unity of the Father and Son laboring sacrificially together for the redemption of the lost, this glory, alone can convince the world that God did indeed send His only begotten Son into the world. This is the Gospel and it must both shine in and through us.

Yet many preach the gospel, or perhaps a beggarly version of it, but only they who truly live in this glory can truly witness to and preach the gospel effectually under the power of the Spirit.

Do not fail to realize, that somebody has been, and they still are, actively proselytizing and making converts, many converts, in Jesus’s name. And these, by compromising the Gospel and removing the offense of the cross which all true saints must pick up daily,  they have filled the churches with such who will one day be saying, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? and in Your name have cast out devils? and in Your name done many wonderful works?”

But Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you that worked iniquity.”

Hence, we both need and must have this glory, for this “Glory” reflects and brings into an undeniable light the holy love of God, which He has for His own Son, and reveals this very love through His saints to this lost world.

Without this love you are nothing, and that is a biblical truth and thus a spiritual reality.

Theology alone, even perfect theology, will not save anyone. Christianity without living in the Spirit is a false hope. You need this Glory in your life. Christ in you is the hope of glory. That is why it was the earnest prayer of Jesus Christ, and why it is therefore also the promise of the Father to those who would by faith lay hold of it.

John 17:22,23 – And the glory which You gave Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You did send Me, and has loved them, even as You loved Me.

2 Corinthians 3:18 – But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image [of Jesus Christ] from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Brothers, my prayer and desire for you is that you all would individually be earnest and press into God, and seek His grace whereby you might truly become His living sacrifices, burnt offerings who are indeed a sweet-smelling savor unto God. But remember, you cannot have a burnt sacrifice without fire.

Second, I pray you all would come into a holy fervency of prayer and unity of the spirit, that you might as one man together humble yourselves before God and pray as true watchmen and holy priests over this community and your families and friends.

As the Lord said to His servant Joel, “Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, ‘Have pity on Your people, O LORD, and give not Your inheritance to shame, for a proverb among those of the nations. Why should they say among the people, Where is their God?’ For then the LORD will be jealous for His land and pity His people.”

Moreover, I pray this so that Jesus, the Lamb of God, might receive His full reward, and that His name might be glorified in you all. For they who go forth weeping bearing precious seeds have a precious promise that they shall doubtless come again rejoicing bring in the sheaves with them.

Come forth you men of God. In the name of Jesus Christ, come forth.

(Note: This is Chapter 13 of 21 from my book “The Eighth Beast” about America in Prophecy)

Daniel 9:27 – And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

This is the only “seven year” scriptural reference I know of that is foundationally used for the complete duration of the seven years tribulation with the perceived division being “in the midst of the week” when, according  to popular understanding of the doctrine, the antichrist does away with the animal sacrifices that were reinstated in a rebuilt temple.  There are however, many scriptural references to “seven years”  –

  1. There were the both the seven years which Jacob labored for Rachael and was given Leah instead, then the next seven years for which he indeed received  Rachael.
  2. The seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine with Joseph in Egypt.
  3. The seven years of famine under David and Samuel
  4. The seven years of famine with Elisha
  5. The seven years of burning weapons after the war with Gog and Magog  (which if there is a seven-year tribulation immediately before the return of Christ this war must needs be before it then)

There are also several three and half year periods in scriptures referred to as “time, times, and half of time” or 1260 days even 1290 days even 1335 days. It is astounding the extreme that men have labored to know and define these times for years when scripture clearly states in regards to some of them that these things are sealed until the end. I am personally persuaded that for anyone to assume that each of these times mentioned are referencing to the same time period would be as imprudent as to believe all the previously mentioned seven-year periods were the same, which a simple reading of them all would easily bring a ready dismissal of such nonsense.  Therefore one must take caution when asserting things from scriptures because they can quickly earn the title of “false” teacher or prophet.

Nonetheless, in regards to Daniels seventieth week, one can certainly prayerfully consider the text in search of understanding by the Holy Spirit’s illumination. Perhaps reaping the greatest reward of avoiding being carried away by the flood of false doctrines brought forth by both demons and ignorant men thinking themselves to be something they are not.

True understanding is given by commandment of God. It is never the product of clever men being able to calculate their way through hidden codes in scripture; Harold Camping’s date setting errors should be a sufficient warning to any aspiring date setter. But that doesn’t mean we cannot know the times in which we are living. For I am persuaded that Peter understood full well the duration of time left for fulfillment before the Lord’s return

Jesus affirmed that for those true disciples who would keep His words that to them it would be given to know the truth, and the truth would set them free. Those true disciples who are truly seeking to know Him and not just gain knowledge, that to them it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven.

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed;  32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Mt 11:25 At that time, Jesus answered, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you hid these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to infants.

Mt 13:11 He answered them, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them.  12 For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he has.

Mt 16:17 Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

1Co 2:10 But to us, God revealed them through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.  11 For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God, except God’s Spirit.  12 But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God.  13 Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things.  14 Now the natural man doesn’t receive the things of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, and he can’t know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Heb 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

I must re-emphasize that it was a consequence of Daniel’s supplications that the angel Gabriel was sent forth at the beginning of when confessing his sins and the sins of Israel. This fact establishes an unbreakable connection between the “matter . . . and the vision” Gabriel was sent to help Daniel understand and his prayer for his people in captivity.

To help keep this seventieth week in proper context, let’s look again from the beginning of the chapter –

Dan 9:1 In the first year of Darius . . . of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans 2 . . . I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.

This is by far one of my favorite passages, for the reason that Daniel clearly states he “understood” that the duration of the Jewish Babylonian captivity was coming to an end “by the books” of Jeremiah the prophet. Some things are not hidden, and therefore they can both bless and establish accountability on all who read or hear it.

Jer 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.  12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.

 Jer 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.

Knowing the 70 years was about to conclude, Daniel therefore “set” his “face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes” God’s grace and mercy for the sins of Israel that they may find His favor to be restored. Oh, if only every believer in America so sought God’s face like Daniel did using every means of petitioning God’s mercies through “prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.” Have we truly forgotten Jesus’ words concerning “Blessed are they that mourn?”

But nowadays too many churches have taken the shame out of sin by presenting the amazing grace of God as something so cheap and conveniently affordable like a common commodity on the shelf of a nearby convenient store, leaving professors of Christ’s name to carelessly commit sin the way the government spends never worrying about the consequences because they have “grace.” What else can this be but the “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ?”

What is amazing is Daniel’s faith and how it is evident in his prayer to God . . .

Dan 9:10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. 11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed Thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey Thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against Him. 12 And He hath confirmed His words, which He spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. 13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand Thy truth. 

There are two parts in Daniel’s prayer for God’s people to embrace. First, how he believed God proved the certainty of His words by judging Israel according to His law as written by Moses. Second, having witnessed the certainty of God’s word . . . Daniel turns to prayer to remind God of the purpose of His judgments,” that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand Thy truth.”

Dan 9:18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

Daniel’s was a faith pleasing unto God and because it was true faith which came by means of a heart open to hearing the word of the Lord as he read Jeremiah’s writings. Humbled by God’s righteous judgments, Daniel sought further understanding of the future events concerning his people and their fate. Therefore God sent Gabriel to reveal unto Daniel the future events which would unfold . . .

Dan 9:20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

It is evident that the angel was there to give Daniel a clear understanding of this vision. Yes, there are other visions which were given to Daniel which when he sought understanding and was told, “Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” But that is not the case here. This time the angel is there to explain these specific things to Daniel, things specifically concerning the Jewish nation, Jerusalem, the temple and the Messiah. In verse 24, the angel clarifies what Daniel’s vision is all about . . . and the duration of time to be given to it.

Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Again for convenience, here are the seven specific things the angel Gabriel is there to give Daniel “understanding” of the vision regarding –

  1. It was a period of time1 regarding his people and the holy city2
    1. Seventy weeks
    2. Jerusalem
  2. It was to “finish the transgression”
  3. It was to “make an end of sins”
  4. It was to “make reconciliation for iniquity”
  5. It was to “bring in everlasting righteousness”
  6. It was to “seal up the vision and the prophesy”
  7. It was to “to anoint the most Holy”

The first thing is the time element; “Seventy weeks are determined . . .” These “seventy weeks” represent a total duration of 490 years. The most difficult part of this vision deals with determining the exact time from which the time frame starts . . . and there are multiple views upon that point. I will submit my perspective a little later to you.

Daniel was praying in regards to when the 70 years of Babylonian captivity was to be finished when the angel comes to tell him about when another captivity will be over as well, the captivity of sin. Gabriel shows him “seventy weeks determined” relative to this captivity of sin, its solution and Redeemer, Messiah the Prince. These 70 weeks, representing a total of 490 years is said to begin with the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Apart from the fact that Daniel’s weeks represent a seven-year period is recognized by most commentators, biblical confirmation can be supported by God’s commandment to give the land a Sabbath every seventh year.

Lev 25:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a Sabbath unto the LORD. 3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; 4 But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest unto the land, a Sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. 8 And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.

The 490 years appears to be divided into three segments of time, two of which are mention there in verse 25. The first is a 7 week period representing a period of 49 years. During these 49 years “the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times” in Jerusalem. The second is a 62 week period representing a period of 454 years which concludes with the coming of “Messiah the Prince.” The total time here is 483 years.

Dan 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

While it may be difficult for men to agree on when the commencement of these periods begin, “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem,” the angel Gabriel tells specifically what event concludes at their end, “unto the Messiah the Prince.” This clearly means that the coming of the Messiah would be 483 years after the commandment was issued. Jesus gives us the best indication of the time’s conclusion –

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

If the time fulfilled wasn’t the time mentioned by Gabriel to Daniel, then students of the word are obligated to affix another prophetic time to Jesus words, of which no other do I know of. Consider also these other verses by the Apostle Paul –

Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.

There were students of God’s word at the time of Christ who, like Daniel, knew the meaning and purpose of these verses and were therefore in anticipation of their fulfillment during the days of Jesus birth.

Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the law, 28 Then took he Him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, 31 Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people . . . 36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Certainly the scriptural justification for these people to be looking for the redemption of Israel in their days was because they, just like Daniel who “understood by the books,” also understood the time in which they were privileged to live because of the book of Daniel and his vision concerning the 70 weeks. They knew the 484 years till the coming of Messiah was not far off and were eagerly looking for Him.

However, perhaps the greatest proof of Jesus’ ministry being the fulfillment of Daniel’s 69 weeks comes from His admonition of the people of Israel.

Lu 19:41 When he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it,  42 saying, “If you, even you, had known today the things which belong to your peace! But now, they are hidden from your eyes.  43 For the days will come on you, when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, surround you, hem you in on every side,  44 and will dash you and your children within you to the ground. They will not leave in you one stone on another, because you didn’t know the time of your visitation.

Now, in Daniel 9:24 there are six specific events mentioned which would be the consequences of the incarnation of our Lord –

  1. To finish (bring restraint to) the transgression. This was placed in effect by the preaching of the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, and pouring out of the Holy Ghost among men.
  2. To make an end of sins <chatta’ah>. This does not mean an end to sin itself, rather “to make an end of sin-offerings” This Jesus our Lord did when He offered his spotless soul and body on the cross once for all. The lawful offering of sacrifices unto God ended with the self-sacrifice of Jesus.

<chatta’ah>– an offence (sometimes habitual sinfulness), and its penalty, occasion, sacrifice, or expiation; also (concretely) an offender:–punishment (of sin), purifying (-fication for sin), sin(-ner, offering).

A few examples of where the same Hebrew word in 9:24 translated “sin” was translated “sin offering” (Translated such 199 times in O.T.) –

Ex 29:14 But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it [is] a sin offering <chatta’ah>.

Ex 29:36 And thou shalt offer every day a bullock [for] a sin offering <chatta’ah> for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.

Ex 30:10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering<chatta’ah> of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it [is] most holy unto the LORD.

Le 4:3 If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering <chatta’ah>.

Le 4:8 And he shall take off from it all the fat of the bullock for the sin offering <chatta’ah>; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that [is] upon the inwards,

Le 4:20 And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering <chatta’ah>, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. 21 And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it [is] a sin offering<chatta’ah> for the congregation. 24 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it [is] a sin offering <chatta’ah>25 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering <chatta’ah> with his finger, and put [it] upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering.29 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, and slay the sin offering <chatta’ah> in the place of the burnt offering. 32 And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering <chatta’ah>, he shall bring it a female without blemish.

3. To make reconciliation, or “to make atonement” for iniquity; which Jesus did by the once offering up of Himself upon the cross. Therefore the sacrifices, or sin offerings <chatta’ah> had become totally unnecessary, and to offer them would be to “sacrifice Christ afresh.”

4. To bring in everlasting righteousness, that is, “the righteousness, or righteous ONE, of ages.” That person who had been the object of the faith of mankind, and the subject of the predictions of the prophets through all the ages of the world, beginning with the promise God made to Eve that she ultimately would bring forth “seed” that would avenge her and bruise the head of the serpent.

5. To seal up, or “finish or complete” the vision and prophecy. That is, to put an end to the necessity of any farther revelations, by completing the canon of Scriptures then given by Jesus fulfilling the prophecies which related to His person, sacrifice, and the glory that should follow.

6. And to anoint the Most Holy, which signifies the consecration or appointment of our blessed Lord, the Holy One of Israel, to be the Prophet, Priest, and King of mankind.

Again, Daniel’s seventy weeks, or 490 years, are divided into three distinct periods, to each of which particular events are assigned.

Seven weeks, that is, 49 years.
Sixty-two weeks, that is, 434 years
One week, that is, 7 years

The first seven weeks period was for the restoration and repairing of the wall and streets of Jerusalem, where we see Ezra and Nehemiah also employed in restoring both the sacred constitutions and civil establishments of the Jews. This work lasted forty-nine years after the commission was given by Artaxerxes.  Including the second period of 62 weeks brings us to 434 years, at the end of which the prophecy says “Messiah the Prince” would come. This conclusion of both these periods must take in the ministry of John the Baptist for Jesus our Lord says, “The law was until John.”

Mt 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

Many feel this means “the prophets and the law” were only up until John, but not including John. However, the Greek word <heos> is the same word used in the genealogies of Mt 1:1,7 “So all the generations from Abraham to <heos> David are fourteen generations; and from David until <heos> the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto <heos> Christ are fourteen generations.” It is evident that the first period “from Abraham to <heos> David” is defined by the inclusion of David. Therefore it is not appropriate to exclude John the Baptist from “all the prophets and the law” which were to “prophesied until” <heos> the coming of our Lord . . . which begins the third period, or the seventieth week of Daniel. It is during this time that someone would “confirm the covenant with many for one week.”

It is this seventieth week of Daniel which has become known as “the great tribulation” or simply “The Tribulation.” Yet nowhere has the angel Gabriel mentioned any such thing taking place. However, Gabriel does mention an “overspreading of abomination” and the destruction of the temple.

Dan 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

This is where “7 year tribulation” theology takes off with the antichrist interpretation, seeing the “prince” as the antichrist which “shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” They say that he, the antichrist, will make a treaty with the Jews resulting in a peaceful solution to the Middle East crisis. Sometime during or before all this the Temple is expected to be rebuilt, which then depending on who you may asked, either the Jews or the antichrist then re-institutes animal sacrifices in the temple. (To address all that now would be too much of a side track.)

But, then according to come seven-year tribulation theology the antichrist will “in the midst of the week,” or after 3 ½ years, break his covenant with the Jews and “cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” thus issuing in the later 3 ½ years and worst part of “The Seven Year Tribulation.”

However, as it should be clear to all reading, I am not fully persuaded that this interpretation is the truth. The “vision” of Daniel is about the Jewish people, Israel, Jerusalem and their Messiah, Jesus Christ; God manifested in the flesh.

My conviction is that this last seven-year period, or the “seventieth week of Daniel,” that this is the period of time in which God tabernacles with man as Jesus Christ “confirm[s] the covenant with many.” However, I do believe this seventieth week is divided by a specific event –

“. . . and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease . . .”

What divides the 70th week is “the sacrifice and the oblation” are caused to cease. But how? By the antichrist breaking an alleged covenant with the Jews? Or by Jesus fulfilling God’s covenant to them?

Remember what was stated above? What the angel said would be accomplished within the 70 weeks? Six distinct things would be accomplished. Listed again below are numbers 2 and 3 previously mentioned above.

2. To make an end of sins. This does not mean an end to sin itself, rather “to make an end of sin-offerings” This Jesus our Lord did when He offered his spotless soul and body on the cross once for all. Therefore the lawful offering of sacrifices unto God ended with the self-sacrifice of Jesus.

3. To make reconciliation, or “to make atonement” for iniquity; which Jesus did by the once offering up of Himself upon the cross. Therefore sacrifices were totally unnecessary, and to offer one would be to “sacrifice Christ afresh.”

Therefore for the Jews to reject the true Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, and continue to offer animal sacrifices instead would be an abomination in the eyes of God. For them to continue to offer animal sacrifices would truly be an “overspreading of abominations.” Yet that is exactly what happened. They rejected Jesus Christ and continued in their now dead and empty rituals “crucifying Christ afresh.”

Heb 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh:  14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Heb 10:4 For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.  5 Therefore when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You didn’t desire, but You prepared a body for Me; 6 You had no pleasure in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin.  7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God.'”  8 Previously saying, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You didn’t desire, neither had pleasure in them” (those which are offered according to the law), 9 then He has said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first, that Ye may establish the second, 10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, (see all Hebrews 9 & 10).

That which was once commanded by God to be done as holy prophetic action to proclaim that which was planned from the foundation of the world, the death and passion of our blessed Lord and Savior would then become a continual testimony of the Jews’ rejection of God’s provision for their reconciliation and these very sacrifices would then become an “overspreading of abominations” for which “He,” that is God, “shall make it [the Temple] desolate, even until the consummation [the end], and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

What does all that mean? Remember the words of Jesus?

Matt 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house [temple] is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

(For saving of time and space and avoid being “prohibitively long” here I would refer you to my “Matthew 24” post for the possible fulfillment of these words.)

However, if these things are possibly true, then there is more to Daniel 9:27 which is profitable to reason and address. Such as (1) what is the covenant Jesus was confirming? And (2) how did He confirm it? And if the seventieth week is for the “confirming the covenant” for the duration of 7 years was divided by His death, causing the ceasing of the sacrifices and oblations to be accepted by God, (3) then what about the remaining 3 ½ years?

Let me submit some possible answers to these questions for further prayerful consideration of you, the readers.

First, what is the covenant He/Jesus was confirming? What is the covenant that Jesus confirms to Israel and to the entire world? It is the promise of certainty to which righteous Job wrote the following –

Job 19:25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

The covenant is the promise of the resurrection. Not just Jesus’ resurrection, but ours as well. Jesus confirmed the truth of the resurrection to His disciples –

Matt 5: 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; 27 And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

John 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 11: 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

John 14: 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.

Here are also some Old Testament verses which proclaimed the covenant / promise from which Jesus would have preached and confirmed by His resurrection

Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

Isaiah 26:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

Eze 37:12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

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

Job 14:12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. 13 O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. 15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.

Psm 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 
10 For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psm 17: 15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.

In light of all these scriptures from which Paul would have preached it is easy to see  is why he would have continued with the confirmation of the covenant while declaring the certainty of the Gospel.

Rom 6: 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.

 I Cor 6: 14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by His own power.

I Cor 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 

I Cor 15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.

II Cor 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

II Cor 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him. 

Phil 3:10 That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

The Apostle John was not silent, for he too confirmed the certainty of God’s covenant –

I John 2: Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.

Now, exactly how did Jesus confirm the covenant/promise of a resurrection? He confirmed the covenant with His own bodily resurrection. He proved He had the power to not only raise Himself from the dead, but others as well . . .

Matt 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

John 20: 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.

Roman 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

Now if Jesus confirmed the covenant with the Jews, both by His preaching and ultimately His bodily resurrection, just where are the remaining 3 ½ years of the 70th week???

I have come to believe that the final 3 ½ years will be fulfilled by the ministry of the two witness in Jerusalem ministering to the Jewish people the last days mentioned in Revelation chapter 11. These two witnesses will be again confirming the covenant of God to the descendants of Abraham testifying that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah the Prince. “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them,” meaning that as the devil as stirred up wicked men throughout the history of humanity to murder the righteous, these two will killed and left unburied in an attempt to discredit the “myth” of Christianity.

Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

These two witnesses will know exactly who they are, and like Jesus they too will testify in their last days that they also will be martyred . . . but they too, like Jesus was, will be raised from the dead. This testimony will infuriate the Jewish people, but a remnant will listen and watch, for they will be pierced in their hearts and convicted by the Sword of Truth. These are the ones who will give glory unto God after the resurrection of the two witnesses.

Rev 11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The only way any man can give glory unto God is to honor the Son as the Father . . .

John 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them [the covenant]; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. 22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son 23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him.

This remnant giving glory unto the Son as their Redeemer will be the in-grafting back in of the Jews resulting in the fulfillment of the Vision of Daniel ushering the resurrection of the dead.

Ro 11:15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

Lu 13:35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Lastly, one more reason why I believe that Daniel 9:27 “in the midst of the week” is referring to Jesus causing “the sacrifice and oblations to cease” is because Jesus also died in the midst/middle of the week, on a Wednesday. For clarification of that please see my Trip to the Tomb thread.

(excerpt from post)

. . . in Mark’s account we see that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where and how the body of Jesus was buried (Mark 5:47). Then, “when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome” purchased sweet spices that when they came to the tomb they might anoint the body of Jesus for a proper burial because His body was prepared and buried in haste “before” sunset prior to a High Sabbath. This is a point that most fail to discern, that the week of Jesus’ crucifixion there were actually two Sabbaths. This “Sabbath” mentioned by Mark is not the seventh day weekly Sabbath, or Saturday, mention earlier in Matthew’s account. This “Sabbath” was day one of seven consecutive days of observance of the Feast of the Unleaven Bread, a “high holy day” and was therefore observed as a Sabbath since no servile work was to be done, see John 19:31.

. . . that Passover was on a Wednesday, which would have (regardless of our assumption) been the fourteenth day of the first month, (Lev 23:2). Then the Fifteenth day would have been Thursday, day one the Feast of the Unleaven Bread, declared by God to be a holy convocation and a High Sabbath. Therefore after the fifteenth day “was past” Friday came, they went out and “bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him” (Mark 16:1) and then, “prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the [fourth] commandment,” (Luke 23:56).

Summary

If these things have plausible credibility, then the whole seven-year tribulation message that has been taught and widely promoted by such fables as the “Left Behind” series, then we as believers have need to been diligent in our seeking to rightly discern the times and the seasons in which we are living and to pray that we may be found worthy to escape the wrath to come have posted before all the New Testament verses on tribulation in my post But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you . . .

Therefore we should give earnest heed to the words of our Savior and His apostle –

Lu 21:34 “So be careful, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly. 35 For it will come like a snare on all those who dwell on the surface of all the earth. 36 Therefore be watchful all the time, praying that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

2Th 1:5 This is an obvious sign of the righteous judgment of God, to the end that you may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.  6 Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay affliction to those who afflict you,  7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted ~!-++giving vengeance to those who don’t know God, and to those who don’t obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus,  9 who will pay the penalty: eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might,  10 when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all those who have believed (because our testimony to you was believed) in that day.  11 To this end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire of goodness and work of faith, with power; 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Continued below)

The Sum of the Prophecy

Posted: June 28, 2019 in Shared Thoughts

(Note: This is Chapter 14 of my book “The Eighth Beast” dealing with America in prophecy)

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, 1to finish the transgression, and 2to make an end of sins, and 3to make reconciliation for iniquity, and 4to bring in everlasting righteousness, and 5to seal up the vision and prophecy, and 6to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24)

In Daniel’s vision it is revealed in verse 9:24 that six specific things would transpire after “God was manifested in the flesh” by way of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus.

  1. To finish the transgression. “Finish” signifying bringing in an effective restraint against the power of sin, that it need not have dominion over the people of God anymore. This was brought into effect by the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross for the remission of sins and is made available unto all men through the preaching of the power of God unto salvation, i.e. the Gospel. Whereupon believing and repenting by acknowledging Jesus Christ as their Lord, believers are sanctified by the Spirit and forgiven through the blood that they might be empower through the out-pouring of the Holy Ghost upon them to walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:1 – What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

  1. To make an end of sins <Hebrew word, chatta’ah>. This does not mean an end to “sin” itself. For if that were the case, it would have been accomplished with the first, “finish the transgression.” For all sin is the transgression of God’s law.

I John 3:4 – Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Rather this “end of sins” means an end of the sin-offerings. This our Lord Jesus did when He offered His spotless soul and body on the cross, once and for all, as a sin-offering sacrificed unto God upon behalf of all mankind. Thereby, Jesus caused the authority and mandate requiring the animal “sacrifice and oblation to cease” with His own self-sacrifice upon the cross.

<chatta’ah> – an offence (sometimes habitual sinfulness), and its penalty, occasion, sacrifice, or expiation; also (concretely) an offender:–punishment (of sin), purifying(-fication for sin), sin(-ner, offering).

A few examples of where the same Hebrew word in Daniel 9:24 translated “sin” was translated “sin offering.” (Translated such 199 times in O.T.) –

Exodus 29:14 – But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering <chatta’ah>.

Exodus 29:36 – And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering <chatta’ah> for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.

Exodus 30:10 – And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.

Leviticus 4:3 – If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering <chatta’ah>.

Leviticus 4:8 – And he shall lift up from it all the fat of the young bull for the sin offering <chatta’ah>; the fat that covers the inward parts, and all the fat on the inward parts

Leviticus 4:20 – And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering <chatta’ah>, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. 21 And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin offering <chatta’ah>, for the congregation… 24 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it is a sin offering <chatta’ah>.  25 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering… 29 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, and slay the sin offering <chatta’ah>, in the place of the burnt offering. 30 And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar. 31 And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour unto the LORD; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him. 32 And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering <chatta’ah>, he shall bring it a female without blemish.

  1. To make reconciliation, or “to make atonement” for iniquity; which Jesus did once and for all, by offering up Himself upon the cross and shedding His blood. As a result, the sacrifices, or the sin offerings <chatta’ah>, had become wholly unnecessary. Subsequently, to continue offering them would cause one to prophetically “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and to put Him to an open shame,” (Hebrews 6:6).

It is very important to understand that Gabriel was speaking here of that event, the work of the cross, which would bring to an end the necessity of the ceremonial sin-offerings as defined under the law and not an end to the commission of sin itself by humanity. For some having misunderstood and failing to make this distinction have made two grave errors thereby. One, some say this prophecy cannot be fulfilled until men no longer sin, and two, they completely misinterpret the Apostle Paul’s words below which were written to the believers in Corinth.

II Corinthians 5:21 – For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

I know some will draw back at this statement, but the Lord Jesus Christ never became sin; rather He became a sin-offering “for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Consider Young’s Translation of Isaiah below –

Isaiah 53:4 – Surely our sicknesses He hath borne, And our pains–He hath carried them, And we–we have esteemed Him plagued, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 And He is pierced for our transgressions, Bruised for our iniquities, The chastisement of our peace is on Him, And by His bruise there is healing to us. 6 All of us like sheep have wandered, Each to his own way we have turned, And Jehovah hath caused to meet on Him, The punishment of us all.

Dear reader, Jesus never became sin. He was never anything but holy, “a lamb without spot or blemish.” For even under the Ceremonial Law we see that the sins were imparted to the scapegoat and not to the sacrificial lamb.

Leviticus 16:8 – And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9 And Aaron shall bring the [first] goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10 But the [second] goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness… 15 Then shall he kill the [first] goat of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: 16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. 18 And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the [first] goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. 19 And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. 20 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the [second] live goat:  21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the [second] live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the [second] goat, and shall send him [the second goat] away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: 22 And the [second] goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the [second] goat in the wilderness.

  1. To bring in everlasting righteousness, or as Commentator Adam Clarke would say, “the righteousness, or righteous ONE, of ages.” As a reference to that person who had been the expectation of faith and the subject of the prophets’ predictions throughout all the ages of the world; beginning with the promise God made to Eve, that she ultimately would bring forth “seed,” and that He would avenge her and with “His” heel would bruise the head of the serpent.

Genesis 3:15 – And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.

  1. To seal up the vision and prophecy. Meaning to “close up” or “complete” the vision and prophecy, to put “an end” to the necessity of any further revelations apart from those given to us by the prophets and apostles, completing the canon of Scriptures. For the same Hebrew word which was translated “end,” as in “make an end of sins,” is the same word which was translated “to seal up.” This too points to Jesus who fulfilled all the prophecies which related to His coming, person, sacrifice, and the glory that should follow.

Ephesians 2:18 – For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Hebrews 1:1 – God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

II Peter 1:21 – For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

I Peter 1:10 – Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

The “prophets” through which “God… spake,” (Hebrews 1:1, 2), spoke as they “were moved by the Holy Ghost,” (II Peter 1:21). These “prophets… who prophesied” did so by “the Spirit of Christ which was in them.” Peter says this good news continues “by them [the apostles] that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.”

  1. And to anoint the Most Holy, signifies the consecration or appointment of our blessed Lord Jesus, the Holy One of Israel, to be the Prophet, Priest, and King of all mankind.

Hebrews 7:18 – For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God. 20 And inasmuch as not without an oath He was made priest: 21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by Him that said unto Him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec:) 22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Hence we see by the scriptures that “there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God.” These are the six things which the 490 years of Daniel’s seventy weeks point to as going to be fulfilled. However, remember these 490 years were divided into three distinct periods, of which to each particular events were assigned.

  • Seven weeks, or 49 years
  • Sixty-two weeks, or 434 years
  • One week, or 7 years

The first seven weeks’ period spoke to the restoration and repairing of the wall and streets of Jerusalem, where we see Ezra and Nehemiah employed in restoring both the sacred constitutions and civil establishments of Israel. This work lasted forty-nine years after the commission was given by Artaxerxes king of Persia.

Ezra 7:21 – And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily, 22 Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. 23 Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons? 24 Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them. 25 And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not. 26 And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.

By including the second time period of 62 weeks it brings the total to 483 years, at which end thereof the prophecy states “Messiah the Prince” would come. Howbeit, it should be understood that the conclusion of both these periods must take in the ministry of John the Baptist, for Jesus our Lord stated, “The law was until John.”

Matthew 11:13 – For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

Many believe “the prophets and the law” were only up until John, but did not include John. However, the Greek word <heos> translated “until” is the same word used in the genealogies of Matthew 1:17, “So all the generations from Abraham to <heos> David are fourteen generations; and from David until <heos> the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto <heos> Christ are fourteen generations.”

Matthew 1:2-6 – 1Abraham begat 2Isaac; and Isaac begat 3Jacob; and Jacob begat 4Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat 5Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat 6Esrom; and Esrom begat 7Aram; And Aram begat 8Aminadab; and Aminadab begat 9Naasson; and Naasson begat 10Salmon; And Salmon begat 11Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat 12Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat 13Jesse; And Jesse begat 14David…

It is evident that the first period “from Abraham to <heos> David” is defined by the inclusion of David. Therefore, it is inappropriate to exclude John the Baptist from “all the prophets and the law” which “prophesied until <heos>” the coming of our Lord which marks the beginning of the third period, or the seventieth week of Daniel. It is during this time, that last week or seven year period, that someone would “confirm the covenant with many for one week.”

However, it is this very last seventieth week which has become known as “the Seven Year Tribulation,” or “the Great Tribulation,” or simply “The Tribulation.” Yet nowhere in regards to this vision does the Angel Gabriel mentioned anything that remotely resembles what has become widely accepted as a world-wide event taking place for a seven year period or even a three and a half year period, such as the theme is in the popular “Left Behind” series. However, Gabriel does mention an “overspreading of abomination” and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Daniel 9:25 – Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Verses 26 and 27 are where the popular “Seven Year Tribulation” theology takes off by the insertion of an antichrist world leader. This is done by interpreting the “prince” which “shall come [and] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” as the antichrist. By doing so it has become widely accepted that the antichrist is the same “he” in verse 27 who “shall confirm the covenant.” However, those holding to this interpretation are obligated to contort the phrase “confirming the covenant” into “making a peace treaty” with Israel.

This “peace treaty” will supposedly introduce a temporary solution which brings an end to Israel’s Middle East crisis. There are two problems with this interpretation. First, “make a treaty” and “confirm the covenant” do not mean the same thing. For to “make a treaty” means one is being introduced; while “confirming the covenant” implies reinforcing what has already been established. Second, there are many more Arabs killing Arabs than there are Arabs and Jews killing each other. Grant it, Israel without a doubt is in the heart of the Middle East Crisis, but Israel’s existence is not the sole cause of the instability in the Middle East; sin is.

However, sometime before all this can happen, according to this popular theology it is asserted that a third Jewish temple MUST be rebuilt, and depending on whom you asked, either the Jews or the antichrist will then reinstitute animal sacrifices in it. Then, continuing with this theology, “in the midst of the week,” or after three and a half years into “The Seven Year Tribulation,” the antichrist breaks this theoretical treaty with the Israel and will then “cause the [reinstated] sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” This supposedly marks the beginning of the last three and a half years which will then usher in the worst part of “The Seven Year Tribulation.”

However, let it be clear to all reading that I do not embrace this interpretation as the truth, for Gabriel clearly states the “vision” is about the Jewish people, Israel, Jerusalem and their Messiah Jesus Christ; God manifested in the flesh. I do however recognize that “the prince that shall come [and] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” after Messiah the Prince has been “cut off” will be an altogether different prince than Messiah. For historically it cannot be denied that the Roman General Titus, son of the newly appointed Caesar Vespasian and thus truly a prince, came with his army and did exactly as the Angel Gabriel said. Why then Titus is so widely disregarded in the present day interpretation of these verses completely eludes me.

(Continued below)

(Note: this is Chapter 16 of 21 from my book “The Eighth Beast” about America in Prophecy.)

What divides the 70th week is an event that causes the Temple sacrifice and oblation to cease. But how does this division happen? The popular theology teaches it occurs when the antichrist breaks the alleged treaty he supposedly will make with the Jews; he then forces them to cease their reinstated practice of animal sacrifices.

So once again I am asking you to please place all your theological persuasions safely upon the altar of God that you might be able to examine these things afresh. For what if all this is actually referencing to Jesus being “cut off,” pointing to His death and resurrection as something designed before the foundation of the world to be a confirmation of the surety and power of God’s covenant to His people?

Remember the angel stated six distinct things would be accomplished within the 70 weeks, listed again below for a quick review are numbers 2 and 3.

  1. To make an end of sins <Hebrew word, chatta’ah>. This does not mean an end to “sin” itself. For if that were the case, it would have been accomplished with the first, “finish the transgression.” For all sin is the transgression of God.

 I John 3:4 – Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Rather this “end of sins” means an end of the sin-offerings. This our Lord Jesus did when He offered His spotless soul and body on the cross, once and for all, as a sin-offering sacrificed unto God upon behalf of all mankind. Thereby, Jesus caused the authority and mandate requiring the animal “sacrifice and oblation to cease” with His own self-sacrifice upon the cross.

  1. To make reconciliation, or “to make atonement” for iniquity; which Jesus did once and for all, by offering up Himself upon the cross and shedding His blood. As a result, the sacrifices, or the sin offerings <chatta’ah>, had become totally unnecessary. Subsequently, to continue offering them would cause one to prophetically “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and to put Him to an open shame,” (Hebrews 6:6).

By rejecting the atoning work of the true Lamb of God sacrifice and clinging to mere animal sacrifices, the Jews were now committing a grievous sin in the eyes of God. Though before Christ’s death these animal sacrifices were indeed lawful mandates, afterwards they became dead works by having already fulfilled their prophetic purpose. Therefore, by these sacrifices continuing to be offered, they literally became an “overspreading of abominations” which now served only to testify against the Jews for their rejection of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, as stated above, by defiantly offering these sacrifices the Jews were now guilty of prophetically “crucifying the Son of God afresh” and with each animal sacrifice they put “Him to an open shame.”

Hebrews 9:13 – For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 10:4 – For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin Thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, (see all of Hebrews chapters 9 & 10).

Those sin-offerings commanded by God were holy prophetic actions, magnificently designed so as to proclaim that “mystery” which was planned from the foundation of the world, even the sacrificial death and resurrection of our blessed Lord and Savior.

Romans 16:25 – Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.

Galatians 3:23 – But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Colossians 1:26 – Even the mystery which hath been Hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints.

However, those sin-offerings could only proclaim the “mystery” while the Ceremonial Law was alive, but once it died, these sin-offerings became a witness of their condemnation by proving the Jews’ complete rejection of God’s only provision for their reconciliation.

Romans 7:1 – Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?  2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.  5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Hebrews 6:1 – Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit.

So the witness of scripture confirms that because Jesus Christ died and had risen again, He had “caused the sacrifice and oblations to cease,” as they were no longer required.  Yet by the Jews continuing to offer these “dead works,” these sacrifices became an “overspreading of abominations” for which “He,” that is God, “shall make it [the Temple] desolate, even until the consummation [the end] and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

Desolations are Determined

Matthew 23:36 – Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Matthew 24:2 – And Jesus said to them, Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, There shall not be left here one stone on another that shall not be thrown down.

Clearly it was the Lord’s earnest desire to gather His people unto Himself, but they “would not.” Therefore, it was inevitable that His judgment would fall upon them. Below are other accounts in the Gospels pertaining to the fate of Jerusalem and the Temple.

Matthew 24:15 – When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Mark 13:14 – But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

Luke 21:20 – And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

It is common knowledge that Rome did indeed destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, as well as eradicated the whole geographical and sovereign nation of Israel with its physical boundaries. However, most Christians nowadays have no comprehensive historical knowledge of those events which occurred within Jerusalem and the Temple just prior this desolation. The fact that God was the author of this destruction can be witnessed to in that the author of Hebrews warned the Jewish believers before Jerusalem and the Temple was laid waste and burned that it was in fact getting “ready to vanish away.” Nevertheless, the Apostle Paul also warned that the Jews would enjoy a deceptive time of “peace and safety” just prior to this destruction.

Hebrews 8:13 – In that He saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. 9:1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

I Thessalonians 3 – For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

In confirmation to the surety of Paul’s prophetic words, the Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus recorded that it was a time of “peace and prosperity” in Jerusalem just “four years” prior to it being encompassed by the Roman army. Mind you that the Jews would often count part of a day, month or year as a numerical whole in their reckoning and thus it may have actually been around three and a half years “before the war began.”  Furthermore, there was a man, a prophet of sorts who also was named Jesus that entered Jerusalem in those days and began to wail and cry out persistently of its imminent destruction.

Josephus WARS Book 6 – Chap 5 – para 3

Jesus, the son of Ananus, a plebeian and a husbandman, who, four years before the war began, and at a time when the city was in very great peace and prosperity, came to that feast whereon it is our custom for everyone to make tabernacles to God in the temple, began on a sudden to cry aloud, “A voice from the east, a voice from the west, A VOICE FROM THE FOUR WINDS, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!” This was his cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all the lanes of the city.

 However, certain of the most eminent among the populace had great indignation at this dire cry of his, and took up the man, and gave him a great number of severe stripes; yet did not he either say any thing for himself, or any thing peculiar to those that chastised him, but still went on with the same words which he cried before. Hereupon our rulers, supposing, as the case proved to be, that this was a sort of divine fury in the man, brought him to the Roman procurator, where he was whipped till his bones were laid bare; yet he did not make any supplication for himself, nor shed any tears, but turning his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, at every stroke of the whip his answer was, “Woe, woe to Jerusalem!”

And when Albinus (for he was then our procurator) asked him, Who he was? and whence he came? and why he uttered such words? he made no manner of reply to what he said, but still did not leave off his melancholy ditty, till Albinus took him to be a madman, and dismissed him. Now, during all the time that passed before the war began, this man did not go near any of the citizens, nor was seen by them while he said so; but he every day uttered these lamentable words, as if it were his premeditated vow, “Woe, woe to Jerusalem!” Nor did he give ill words to any of those that beat him every day, nor good words to those that gave him food; but this was his reply to all men, and indeed no other than a melancholy presage of what was to come. This cry of his was the loudest at the festivals; and he continued this ditty for seven years and five months, without growing hoarse, or being tired therewith, until the very time that he saw his presage in earnest fulfilled in our siege, when it ceased; for as he was going round upon the wall, he cried out with his utmost force, “Woe, woe to the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house!” And just as he added at the last, “Woe, woe to myself also!” there came a stone out of one of the engines, and smote him, and killed him immediately; and as he was uttering the very same presages he gave up the ghost.

Jerusalem, having been encompassed by the Romans, fell into the greatest turmoil within her walls. For the Jews were divided as to what should be done to remedy their desperate condition being under Roman siege. For though they had rejected the Lord Jesus as the Christ, they knew it was a truth when He stated that should a house be divided against itself, it would not stand. Yet within Jerusalem’s walls three factions were warring viciously against each other, killing far more of each other than did the Romans.

Josephus – Wars Book 5 – Chap.1 – para. 1

THE SEDITIONS AT JERUSALEM AND WHAT TERRIBLE MISERIES AFFLICTED THE CITY BY THEIR MEANS;

    1. WHEN therefore Titus had marched over that desert which lies between Egypt and Syria, in the manner forementioned, he came to Cesarea, having resolved to set his forces in order at that place, before he began the war. Nay, indeed, while he was assisting his father at Alexandria, in settling that government which had been newly conferred upon them by God, it so happened that the sedition at Jerusalem was revived, and parted into three factions, and that one faction fought against the other; which partition in such evil cases may be said to be a good thing, and the effect of Divine justice. Now as to the attack the zealots made upon the people, and which I esteem the beginning of the city’s destruction, it hath been already explained after an accurate manner; as also whence it arose, and to how great a mischief it was increased. But for the present sedition, one should not mistake if he called it a sedition begotten by another sedition, and to be like a wild beast grown mad, which, for want of food from abroad, fell now upon eating its own flesh.
    2. For Eleazar, the son of Simon [leader of one fraction], who made the first separation of the zealots from the people, and made them retire into the temple, appeared very angry at John’s insolent attempts, which he made everyday upon the people; for this man [John, a leader of another fraction, son of a certain man whose name was Levi, that drew them into this rebellion, and encouraged them in it] never left off murdering; but the truth was, that he could not bear to submit to a tyrant who set up after him. So he being desirous of gaining the entire power and dominion to himself, revolted from John, and took to his assistance Judas the son of Chelcias, and Simon the son of Ezron [a leader of the remaining fraction], who were among the men of greatest power. There was also with him Hezekiah, the son of Chobar, a person of eminence. Each of these were followed by a great many of the zealots; these seized upon the inner court of the temple and laid their arms upon the holy gates, and over the holy fronts of that court. And because they had plenty of provisions, they were of good courage, for there was a great abundance of what was consecrated to sacred uses, and they scrupled not the making use of them; yet were they afraid, on account of their small number; and when they had laid up their arms there, they did not stir from the place they were in. Now as to John, what advantage he had above Eleazar in the multitude of his followers, the like disadvantage he had in the situation he was in, since he had his enemies over his head; and as he could not make any assault upon them without some terror, so was his anger too great to let them be at rest; nay, although he suffered more mischief from Eleazar and his party than he could inflict upon them, yet would he not leave off assaulting them, insomuch that there were continual sallies made one against another, as well as darts thrown at one another, and the temple was defiled everywhere with murders.

With these three fractions fighting against each other, and Eleazar and his party using the Temple as a strategic base of operations, these events caused many of the pious citizens and strangers who were still desirous to make sacrifices and offerings unto God to fall victims to Jerusalem’s internal strife. Therefore, when one carefully examines these horrors which occurred during the siege of Jerusalem, the following words of Jesus begin to ring piercingly loud with prophetic clarity.

Luke 13:1 – There were present at that season some that told Him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Josephus’ record of the fall of Israel with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple is worthy of a thorough read by all professing believers. For in it they might learn to truly fear God and fervently pray His grace be not frustrated in their lives lest He remove His protective presence and forbearing mercies. For these rebellious murderers who were now polluting His house were the very people to whom He had committed His oracles, that they might be faithful stewards and lights unto a world that knew not God. A people He had called by His name to be shining witnesses that their God was the true and Living One, “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.”

However, to present the whole of Josephus’ record of these things is not practical. Therefore, I will share only a few more brief parts to convey the severity of men’s plight when God abandons them for their persistent rebellion against Him. For God had forewarned them that if they forsook Him and continued rejecting His pleas that He would turn against them and drive them out of His land.

Deuteronomy 28:63 – And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.

Matthew 21:42 – Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Josephus – Wars Book 5 – Chap.1 – para. 3

  1. But now the tyrant Simon, the son of Gioras, whom the people had invited in, out of the hopes they had of his assistance in the great distresses they were in, having in his power the upper city, and a great part of the lower, did now make more vehement assaults upon John and his party, because they were fought against from above also; yet was he beneath their situation when he attacked them, as they were beneath the attacks of the others above them. Whereby it came to pass that John did both receive and inflict great damage, and that easily, as he was fought against on both sides; and the same advantage that Eleazar and his party had over him, since he was beneath them, the same advantage had he, by his higher situation, over Simon. On which account he easily repelled the attacks that were made from beneath, by the weapons thrown from their hands only; but was obliged to repel those that threw their darts from the temple above him, by his engines of war; for he had such engines as threw darts, and javelins, and stones, and that in no small number, by which he did not only defend himself from such as fought against him, slew moreover many of the priests, as they were about their sacred ministrations. For notwithstanding these men were mad with all sorts of impiety, yet did they still admit those that desired to offer their sacrifices, although they took care to search the people of their own country beforehand, and both suspected and watched them; while they were not so much afraid of strangers, who, although they had gotten leave of them, how cruel soever they were, to come into that court, were yet often destroyed by this sedition; for those darts that were thrown by the engines came with that force, that they went over all the buildings, and reached as far as the altar, and the temple itself, and fell upon the priests, and those that were about the sacred offices; insomuch that many persons who came thither with great zeal from the ends of the earth, to offer sacrifices at this celebrated place, which was esteemed holy by all mankind, fell down before their own sacrifices themselves, and sprinkled that altar which was venerable among all men, both Greeks and Barbarians, with their own blood; till the dead bodies of strangers were mingled together with those of their own country, and those of profane persons with those of the priests, and the blood of all sorts of dead carcasses stood in lakes in the holy courts themselves. And now, “O must wretched city, what misery so great as this didst thou suffer from the Romans, when they came to purify thee from thy intestine hatred! ‘For thou couldst be no longer a place fit for God, nor couldst thou long continue in being, after thou hadst been a sepulcher for the bodies of thy own people, and hadst made the holy house itself a burying-place in this civil war of thine. Yet mayst thou again grow better, if perchance thou wilt hereafter appease the anger of that God who is the author of thy destruction.

Josephus – Wars Book 5 – Chap.1 – para. 5

  1. They agreed in nothing but this, to kill those that were innocent. The noise also of those that were fighting was incessant, both by day and by night; but the lamentations of those that mourned exceeded the other; nor was there ever any occasion for them to leave off their lamentations, because their calamities came perpetually one upon another, although the deep consternation they were in prevented their outward wailing; but being constrained by their fear to conceal their inward passions, they were inwardly tormented, without daring to open their lips in groans. Nor was any regard paid to those that were still alive, by their relations; nor was there any care taken of burial for those that were dead; the occasion of both which was this, that every one despaired of himself; for those that were not among the seditious had no great desires of any thing, as expecting for certain that they should very soon be destroyed; but for the seditious themselves, they fought against each other, while they trod upon the dead bodies as they lay heaped one upon another, and taking up a mad rage from those dead bodies that were under their feet, became the fiercer thereupon. They, moreover, were still inventing somewhat or other that was pernicious against themselves; and when they had resolved upon any thing, they executed it without mercy, and omitted no method of torment or of barbarity.

It is hard to believe those who God had called by His name had fallen into such horrid conditions and madness; engaging in constant fighting, but not against the Romans, but against their own countrymen. All this while a flood of abominations was being committed within the polluted Temple; this is the historic setting against which all Christians in America should prayerfully consider Josephus’ following words as he desperately pleads with his countrymen.

Josephus – Wars Book 6 – Chap.2 – para. 1

HOW TITUS PERSUADED JOSEPHUS TO EXHORT THE JEWS AGAIN [TO A SURRENDER]

“…I dare venture to promise that the Romans shall still forgive thee. And take notice that I, who make this exhortation to thee, am one of thine own nation; I, who am a Jew, do make this promise to thee. And it will become thee to consider who I am that give thee this counsel, and whence I am derived; for while I am alive I shall never be in such slavery, as to forego my own kindred, or forget the laws of our forefathers. Thou hast indignation at me again, and makest a clamor at me, and reproachest me; indeed I cannot deny but I am worthy of worse treatment than all this amounts to, because, in opposition to fate, I make this kind invitation to thee, and endeavor to force deliverance upon those whom God hath condemned. And who is there that does not know what the writings of the ancient prophets contain in them, – and particularly that oracle which is just now going to be fulfilled upon this miserable city? For they foretold that this city should be then taken when somebody shall begin the slaughter of his own countrymen. And are not both the city and the entire temple now full of the dead bodies of your countrymen? It is God, therefore, it is God himself who is bringing on this fire, to purge that city and temple by means of the Romans, and is going to pluck up this city, which is full of your pollutions.

Here we see the depths of sin into which a nation can fall when its people persistently frustrate God’s grace. Once noble men now reduced to brute beasts, behaving like savages towards their own countrymen. And yet, all that actually pales away in comparison to what else Josephus recorded. But first, be reminded of what Jesus said to these rebellious and stiff-necked Jews.

Matthew 24:19 – And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

Josephus – Wars Book 6 – Chap.3 – para. 3 & 4

ANOTHER DESCRIPTION OF THE

TERRIBLE FAMINE THAT WAS IN THE CITY

    1. Now of those that perished by famine in the city, the number was prodigious, and the miseries they underwent were unspeakable; for if so much as the shadow of any kind of food did any where appear, a war was commenced presently, and the dearest friends fell a fighting one with another about it, snatching from each other the most miserable supports of life. Nor would men believe that those who were dying had no food, but the robbers would search them when they were expiring, lest any one should have concealed food in their bosoms, and counterfeited dying; nay, these robbers gaped for want, and ran about stumbling and staggering along like mad dogs, and reeling against the doors of the houses like drunken men; they would also, in the great distress they were in, rush into the very same houses two or three times in one and the same day. Moreover, their hunger was so intolerable, that it obliged them to chew every thing, while they gathered such things as the most sordid animals would not touch, and endured to eat them; nor did they at length abstain from girdles and shoes; and the very leather which belonged to their shields they pulled off and gnawed: the very wisps of old hay became food to some; and some gathered up fibres, and sold a very small weight of them for four Attic [drachmae]. But why do I describe the shameless impudence that the famine brought on men in their eating inanimate things, while I am going to relate a matter of fact, the like to which no history relates, either among the Greeks or Barbarians . . .
    2. There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan, her name was Mary; her father was Eleazar, of the village Bethezob, which signifies the house of Hyssop. She was eminent for her family and her wealth, and had fled away to Jerusalem with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time. The other effects of this woman had been already seized upon, such I mean as she had brought with her out of Perea, and removed to the city. What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose. This put the poor woman into a very great passion, and by the frequent reproaches and imprecations she east at these rapacious villains, she had provoked them to anger against her; but none of them, either out of the indignation she had raised against herself, or out of commiseration of her case, would take away her life; and if she found any food, she perceived her labors were for others, and not for herself; and it was now become impossible for her any way to find any more food, while the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow, when also her passion was fired to a degree beyond the famine itself; nor did she consult with anything but with her passion and the necessity she was in. She then attempted a most unnatural thing; and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said, “O thou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve thee in this war, this famine, and this sedition? As to the war with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves. This famine also will destroy us, even before that slavery comes upon us. Yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world, which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews.” As soon as she had said this, she slew her son, and then roasted him, and eat the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed. Upon this the seditious came in presently, and smelling the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her that they would cut her throat immediately if she did not show them what food she had gotten ready. She replied that she had saved a very fine portion of it for them, and withal uncovered what was left of her son. Hereupon they were seized with a horror and amazement of mind, and stood astonished at the sight, when she said to them, “This is mine own son, and what hath been done was mine own doing! Come, eat of this food; for I have eaten of it myself! Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother; but if you be so scrupulous, and do abominate this my sacrifice, as I have eaten the one half, let the rest be reserved for me also.” After which those men went out trembling, being never so much aftrighted at any thing as they were at this, and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while every body laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheard of action had been done by themselves. So those that were thus distressed by the famine were very desirous to die, and those already dead were esteemed happy, because they had not lived long enough either to hear or to see such miseries.

Even before the Jews entered the Promise Land, God had warned them of these horrors into which sin would take them, but they would not listen.

Deuteronomy 28:53 – And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee: 54 So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave: 55 So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. 56 The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, 57 And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.

All this happened because they refused to listen to God whose only desire was to do wondrous things for His people. Instead, history records how these abominations worked to bring the Temple to its full and utter end. These things were foretold by the Angel Gabriel and bear witness to the sure word of prophecy. Let’s end this chapter with another strong admonition delivered against the Jews of those very days, written in the New Testament before these things came to past.

Hebrews 2:1 – Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him.

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