3/26/2023 0 Comments
First Covenant: Stage Two
The first 2,000 years or two great Days in God’s timetable are distinguished by: (1) the cutting of the covenant with Abraham to ensure a godly line from which the Seed would come forth; and (2) the establishment of the Israelites as a nation under God. Now it’s time for stage two of the early Days.
God’s people have gathered at the foot of Mt. Sinai to hear from God. The awesome display of His holiness frightens them. Perhaps they are remembering how they have fallen short during the Exodus from Egypt. They would rather God talk with Moses and let their leader relay God’s messages to them. Apparently, they still do not grasp God’s love for them. They reject a personal relationship with Him. God responds with the Ten Commandments, the foundation of what shall become known as the Law.
When we think of the Old Testament, most Christians think of the Law. Yet the Law did not come until 2,000 years later, two great Days after creation and the establishment of the covenant relationship with Adam and Eve. The ceremonial elements of the Law were added after God’s people entered the Promised Land.
So what purpose did the Law serve? Once again Paul tells us: “It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made” (Gal. 3:19). Now assured of what God requires of them, the people are convinced that “all that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient” (Ex. 24:7). The rest of the Old Testament shall prove them wrong.
The Law set the standard for living God’s ways. Even then, the standard was beyond what fallen, corrupted, imperfect human beings could fulfill. The purpose of the Law was to show mankind that we fall short and that no matter how strong we think we are, we can’t live righteously through our own efforts. The Law also served as a sort of boundary line, keeping the Israelites from totally following after the immoral, heathen nations around them.
When Jesus came, He took it even further. He explained that it’s not just the letter of the Law but also the spirit of the Law that matters. It is not enough to not murder someone—that’s the letter of the law. But what matters is the spirit of the law—don’t hate a fellow human being.
The Chronos Lesson: We can trust the entire plan from beginning to end. Jesus told us that He did not come to destroy or dislodge the Law or the Prophets (Matt. 5:17). The standard still remains—we still fall short. Jesus went on to say—and this is the crucial part—that He came to fulfill the Law. He was the only human who perfectly kept the Law. And that’s not all.
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the Law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe” (Rom. 3:21-22). In other words, Jesus kept the Law on behalf of all humanity. His perfectness and right-standing (righteousness) before God is attributed to us by God’s grace.
The theological term is propitiation. It means to satisfy the person who has been wronged in order to make reconciliation possible. In this case, Adam and Eve wronged God through their disobedience that brought sin and death into God’s perfect creation. Jesus’ willing sacrifice on behalf of all mankind made reconciliation possible with God. The catch? This reconciliation is a gift that has to received and opened.
Romans 3 goes on to say that there is no difference between Jew or Gentile, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Thankfully, the sentence doesn’t end there. It goes on to say that anyone can be justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. All that is required is for the person to: (1) admit that he or she has fallen short and are therefore in need of a Savior; and (2) accept Jesus’ finished work on his or her behalf as the only way to be reconciled to God.
The giving of the Law was a momentous moment in the Old Covenant. The giving of the Son on the cross would be a momentous moment in the New Covenant. Jesus knew He was the Son of God, yet He would always refer to Himself as the Son of Man. He would forever identify with us. There’s no greater love than this that a Man would lay down His life for us!
The Apostle John describes this as receiving grace upon grace. “For the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:16-18). The truth is that we fall short of the Standard. The grace is that we can still have the gift of righteousness, forgiveness, and justification through Jesus. The Law came to show us God’s standard. The Standard came to show us God. He came to show us how to be light in a darkened world. We can only do that when we walk in His Light.
3/22/2023 0 Comments
Day Code Shadows - Part 1
On the third month after leaving Egypt, the Israelites come to the Wilderness of Sinai and camp at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Moses heads up the mountain to have some alone time in prayer. God meets him with these words: “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
Moses relays the message to the people waiting below. They respond that they are ready to obey. So God arranges another meeting. This third-day encounter of the God-kind casts another shadow of things to come. “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever. Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people’ ” (Ex. 19:9-11).
On the third day, the people hear a heavenly trumpet sound, and God comes down to the top of the mountain to meet with them. A thick cloud of smoke engulfs the mountain, as God descends in fire. The mountain quakes with the force of His presence. It marks a new stage in God’s chronos timetable.
The Chronos Lesson: We see these Day Code shadows throughout the Bible. They typically refer to the 7th Day when counting from Adam or the 3rd Day when counting from Christ. A New Testament equivalent is found in John 2. Great care is taken to describe two days of journeying to a wedding on the 3rd day. As with Moses, there are two days of preparation. On the 3rd day ordinary water is miraculously turned into fine wine, just as our ordinary bodies will be miraculously changed on the 3rd Day (the rapture). This first miracle announces that the Christ has come.
Paul tells us that our 3rd Day encounter is likewise marked by a trumpet call that leads to a meeting and a gathering together to celebrate. “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Cor. 15:51-53). The Jews were instructed to wash their clothes to be ready for their 3rd day encounter. The Church is instructed to be cleansed with the washing of water by the Word in order to be ready for our 3rd Day encounter.
Moses had warned the people to stay below, for they could not bear to see God face to face. The fallen nature cannot stand before the Most Holy God without a covering from God. As believers, the blood of Jesus doesn’t just cover our sins, it removes them. We can come boldly before the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16). That is the awesome power of the New Covenant. On the Third Day, the Church shall meet her Bridegroom. The two shall become as One.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
3/19/2023 0 Comments
Refreshed by their watery experience in Rephidim, God’s people come face to face with life “in the real world.” The desert-dwelling Amalekites are looking for a fight. It shouldn’t surprise us that Moses’ battle strategy is not a typical one (Exodus 17:8-16). He instructs Joshua, one of his right-hand men, to “choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” We are told that Joshua did as Moses instructed. Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
“And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.”
The Chronos Lesson: Ironically, Rephidim means “resting place.” While rest eventually come to the Jews, it didn’t come automatically. Under the New Covenant, our Savior and Lord calls us to a new resting place. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). It, too, involves a strange situation. Verses 29-30 fill in the details. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
For you non-farming people, a yoke means work. More specifically, it is a tool that aligns two oxen together to work a field. So Jesus is calling us to a place of rest that involves a manual labor gadget! What was He thinking?
He recognized that because of our fallen nature, we automatically approach the difficulties of life by trying to figure out what we have to do to fix it. Instead, He invites us to hook up with Him and follow His lead as we walk through the problem together. You see, biblical rest doesn’t mean there is no activity on our part. We don’t get to float a lazy current of life on some sort of spiritual inner tube. No, biblical rest involves Spirit-led activity, and because we are linked with Christ, that labor is light because it is based on He who is the Light.
Our Lord also knew the practicality of this hook-up, because He knows our enemy. A common tactic and agenda of the Devil is to disrupt our rest of faith in Christ. He loves to stir up our emotions into a self-defeating eddy that pulls us down. He wants us stressed out, tossing and turning at night, and preoccupied with imagining the worse and how on earth we are going to deal with it. Ironically, the root word for Amalekites in Hebrew means painful toil.
When Jesus was revealing their near future to His disciples, He gave them this same principle. They were still grappling with the idea of Jesus going away, let alone by way of a gruesome cross. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1). Chances are, at that stage, they probably weren’t especially comforted by the fact that He was going away to prepare their heavenly abodes and that He would send the Holy Spirit to finish His teaching lessons. They had finally accepted the idea of the second Person of the Godhead—Jesus as the Son of God. And now they had to deal with this third Person, God’s Spirit, who doesn’t even have a body and inhabits their own instead!
Jesus closes out the mini-lesson on faith with these comforting words: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.”
If we listen carefully, we can hear His words echoing into our own time. As the circumstances of life are getting more difficult to deal with because of the mystery of lawlessness—which should no longer be a mystery to us—He reminds us that He is coming back. Therefore, don’t be afraid and don’t be troubled. How is that possible? Because we know the end from the beginning. We see the Day approaching and understanding the chronos times and the kairos signs.
In these trying times, our fearless Leader is seated at the right hand of the Father, having already secured the victory, and now interceding for us. Yoked with Him, we can rest in Him and take comfort.
3/15/2023 0 Comments
It doesn’t take long for the lesson of the manna to be lost on the wandering Israelites. A little further across the wilderness they camp at Rephidim. Unfortunately, there is no water there. Not surprisingly, the people come to Moses to complain (again), despite God’s faithful record of providing for them. “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (Exodus 17:3).
So Moses calls them out for their unbelief. “Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the Lord?” And then he turns to God and cries out, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!” Clearly, Moses is not enjoying his job as God’s representative at this moment.
The merciful and patient God tells Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” Moses does as he is instructed and, of course, water comes forth from the water.
Years later, the same thing happened—the people became thirsty and complain about not having water. “Why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.” (Numbers 20:5).
Once again, the people are solely focused on earthly facts. They give no thought to God’s track record of faithfulness throughout their journey. They ignore the super-natural truth.
And once again, Moses consults with God. This time, however, God gives Moses different instructions. “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” It seems God is not into routines; He prefers being in the moment and providing a “now” Word.
The people are gathered together before the rock. Moses speaks: “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifts his hand and strikes the rock twice with his rod. Water comes out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank (vs. 10-11).
Unfortunately, this is not what God told His representative to do. Moses disobeyed God’s instructions and reacted to the people in anger. The consequence of his choice? “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them” (vs. 12).
Despite all his efforts, when the time comes to enter the Promised Land, Moses will not be allowed to enter. He has misrepresented God’s heart and ways. Aren’t you thankful that, under the New Covenant, our shortfalls are forgiven? Oh, by the way, the rebellious generation that continually provoked Moses to anger also was likewise banned from entering the Promised Land (with two exceptions). In fact, their rebellious ways are what caused the children of Israel to wander for 40 years, until that generation died off. Choice have consequences.
The Chronos Lesson: It’s worth considering the extent to which the Church has misrepresented God’s ways in our own time. For instance, after major tragedies, it’s not unusual for church leaders to announce that it was the judgment of God against evil in the nation. Such a response runs counter to what God’s Word teaches about the future Day of Judgment. This is what happens when people ignore the pre-appointed chronos times set forth in the Scriptures.
It’s also worth considering how often our first reaction to circumstances is to focus solely on the earthly facts. It seems this natural world is still more real to us than Heaven’s super-natural reality. We quickly forget God’s faithfulness.
Psalm 68:19 declares [emphasis added], “Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation!” Perhaps that is why Psalm 103 reminds us to not forget His benefits! [Be sure to check out what those benefits entail.]
John 4:10 calls Jesus our living water, for His selfless sacrifice would nourish believers with life everlasting! In the meantime, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” to sustain us and refresh others with that same benefit (John 7:38) until He returns.
Finally, it’s worth considering that, despite how things look in this time of increasing lawlessness, God provides for us and delivers us. This is one reason why Jesus warned us to watch and be constantly awareness of His presence and His promises during this time of tribulation. One effective way to “watch” is to give thanks for all He has done, for His provision and faithfulness.
3/11/2023 0 Comments
Bread From Heaven
A month into their miraculous deliverance by the shores of the Red Sea, Exodus 16 records a mind-boggling event. The whole congregation of the children of Israel complain against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. Their grievance? “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
How quickly they have forgotten the unbearable oppression and impossible workloads of Egypt! One can only imagine what Moses said to God when he sought advice as to what to do with these insane complainers. Yet God responds with miraculous mercy intended to teach the rebellious people about His faithfulness. Will they respond accordingly? “Behold, I will rain bread from Heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.”
Moses passes along God’s response to the grumblers: “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” Moses makes sure to remind them that when they complain against him as God’s representative, they are really complaining against the Lord. We can only imagine what went through their minds when they heard that rebuke.
As instructed, the next morning they head out of the camp to gather the bread. But it wasn’t like any bread they knew. This bread from Heaven—manna—only stayed fresh for one day. Despite God’s instructions, some of the people gathered more than the specified amount and some left part of what they had gathered until morning. Once again, their disobedience has consequences. The heavenly food breeds worms and stinks. Needless to say, Moses is angry with them. They failed the test.
The Chronos Lesson. God had every right to withdraw His heavenly provision from His people. But by grace He still provided. That same grace would bring forth another miraculous bread from Heaven—the Savior of the world, the Bread of Life. The fallen nature of mankind brings a similar response as that of the children of Israel centuries earlier.
After feeding the 5,000 plus people besides the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the people pursue Jesus, but not for the right reason. They want more miracles. Jesus sees their hearts. “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
Sadly, they are still focused on their works. Jesus responds, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” Instead, they want a sign from Jesus, like the one with Moses and the manna. Seriously? The multiplication of the five loaves and fishes wasn’t enough of a sign? It seems mankind’s insatiable desires and emotional responses still get the better of them.
Jesus responds again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from Heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from Heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from Heaven and gives life to the world.”
Much like the children of Israel in the wilderness, the people cry out for this bread always. They’re still not getting it. Jesus patiently responds again, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”
Jesus is both the Bread of Life and the Word. When we partake of the Word, we are filled with the life-giving truths of Heaven. But like the manna, it needs to be gathered daily to sustain us!
3/8/2023 0 Comments
Exodus 15 ends with a shocking plot twist. Fresh from the sight and sound of victory, the Israelites trudge through the hot desert sands for three days. Finally, they come across water. The place is called Marah because the waters are bitter instead of refreshing.
The name not only fits the condition of the water, but also their hearts. After years of cruel oppression and heavy persecution, it’s not surprising that their broken hearts are encrusted with bitterness. And this is the first place God brings them? “What gives, Lord? How do you expect us to trust you?” Okay, that’s my paraphrase. But they did come to Moses complaining. It’s not what they were expecting.
So Moses cried out to the Lord, seeking an answer. God shows him a tree. A tree? Seriously, Lord? Yes, for it foreshadows another Tree that shall be brought forth to a thirsty world. When Moses casts a branch from the tree into the waters, the waters are made sweet!
The passage describes this as a test from God. The Father didn’t make the water bitter. He simply used the physical conditions to deal with the state of the people’s collective heart. The only way to overcome bitterness is through the Tree of Life. God wants to soften their skeptical, untrusting, and hardened hearts with His love. But the only way He can do that is if they choose to fellowship with Him.
“If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you” (Ex. 15:26). The chapter ends with the faithfulness of God confirming His Word. “Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters.”
The Chronos Lesson: The name Elim in Hebrew is Terebinths, a place in the desert. We may not like the place we are in right now. In these last Days we are surrounded by scoffers and lawlessness. As believers, our earthly place does not define us. Instead, we are defined as being “in Christ.” Jesus repeatedly taught that we shall overcome death when we are resurrected at the rapture at the last Day (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54).
John, the disciple who seemed to have a heightened understanding of how much Jesus loved him, explains that there is more to this overcoming than just that glorious moment. When the Word of God abides in us, we overcome the wicked one (1 John 2:14). In chapter 4 of that same letter, John adds that we overcome the evil spirits, including the spirit of Antichrist, even though they surround us in this world. No problem. Why? Because He—the Holy Spirit who is in us—is greater than this Antichrist spirit at work in the world!
The times we are living in are not for the faint of heart. No, they are for whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, whoever confesses that God abides in within them, and whoever confesses that they are in Christ. The more intimately we come to know Him and grasp the depth and width, and height of His love for us—the full dimension of His great love—the more we overcome the evil around us.
When we are confronted with “bitter waters,” Romans 12:21 reminds us, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Or to put it another way, don’t partake of the same bitter waters that the world spews out. Instead, taste the refreshing waters of the Spirit, let them flow through you and out from you (John 7:38), so that the world can see that God is good (Psalm 34:8). His perfect love enables us to overcome fear (1 John 4:18).
3/5/2023 0 Comments
Two Shadows of the Son
One of Jacob’s sons with his beloved Rachel is named Joseph. Yes, he is the one who will receive the coat of many colors from his father. It’s one of the reasons why his brothers hate Joseph. He is their father’s favorite. It doesn’t help when Joseph has a dream in which his brothers bow down to him (Gen. 37). Not surprisingly, the dream doesn’t go over well with them.
By the way, take note of Joseph’s dream. An element of it appears again in Revelation 12, as the woman with a crown of stars. This is an example of how we use Scripture to interpret Scripture. The Holy Spirit purposely used words and visuals from the Old Testament to connect to scenes in the New Testament. We don’t have to guess the interpretation; God already has provided it via this divine linkage. In the case of Revelation 12, the woman is the nation of Israel that came forth from Jacob’s (Israel’s) sons. In Revelation we see Israel at the end of this age. The male Child born in labor is the Church being raptured. More on that later.
Now, back to our story. The eleven brothers hatch a plan to get rid of Joseph. To make a long story short, they sell him to a caravan of traders who then sell him as a slave to some Egyptians. Joseph must have learned his lesson because he continues to worship God and finds favor in God’s sight. Through many plot twists, he eventually ends up as the second in command under the Pharaoh of Egypt.
When famine hits that part of the world, Joseph is already prepared and Egypt is spared. In another plot twist, his brothers come to buy grain from him. They don’t even recognize him. Who would when the setting is so out of context? Joseph eventually clues them in, and he is reunited with his father and forgives his brothers. And the Jews are delivered in their time of need.
The entire family settles in Egypt and continues to grow and prosper. When Joseph dies, he gives his kinfolk one last instruction. “ ‘I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, ‘God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here’ ” (Gen. 50:24-25).
Exodus 1:6-7 sets the sequel. “And Joseph died, all his brothers, and all that generation. But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.”
Needless to say, the Egyptians are not at all pleased with this multiplication. They are not about to let their empire be contaminated by these prolific immigrants. So they turn them into slaves, idyllic for making all the monuments and statues to their Pharaohs and gods. The oppression becomes unbearable, and the people call out to the God of their fathers for deliverance.
Enter Moses. Let’s fast forward through his story. He is miraculously spared at birth by Pharaoh’s daughter, is raised in the royal household, and yet eventually finds out about his true heritage. He, too, jumps the gun on God’s plan and kills an Egyptian who is beating a Jewish slave. When his countrymen call him out on his impromptu fix, Moses panics and runs into the wilderness of Midian. There he encounters a burning bush. God is in its midst. Moses answers the call, reluctantly, giving God every reason why he is not the one to do what God is asking—to lead His people out of Egypt. Yet whom God calls, He also equips.
Moses goes to Pharaoh to demand the release of his people. Ten plagues later, Pharaoh relents, but only after the death of his first-born son. As with the other plagues, the angel of death did not touch the Jewish households. The blood of the lamb on the doorpost caused the angel to pass over their houses. The feast of Passover honors that miraculous deliverance. Little do the Jews know that it also foreshadows an even greater miraculous deliverance.
Then Pharaoh relents again, and sends his armies after the Jews who are exiting Egypt and are on the banks of the Red Sea. Not surprisingly, they panic in unbelief. Yet God is faithful and miraculously delivers them once again. Because of their unbelief, though, they are forced to wander 40 years in the wilderness before reaching the border of the Promised Land.
The Chronos Lesson: Why ten plagues? For one thing, the number symbolizes order, responsibility, and testimony in the Bible. For another, they offer multiple chances for repentance. Each subsequent plague is a warning. Each subsequent refusal to heed the warning shows the hardness of heart toward God.
We see this again in God’s wrath against evil as the Day of the Lord begins. It will come in the form of seven trumpet and bowl judgments. The number seven represents completion and perfection. And sadly, once again, we will see the same stubborn hardness of heart and lack of repentance.
In Exodus 15, we find the triumphant Song of Moses in praise to their deliverance. You might want to check it out because we will be singing it later as the immortal government of Heaven.
As believers, we put our trust in God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Trust is a matter of the heart. It’s a faith thing. It’s based on God’s Word and His unfolding plan of redemption according to His chronos timetable. When we don’t understand the chronos times, our hearts can be shaken by what we see in the natural, just like the Israelites despite being spared from all the plagues. That is why the chronos message of comfort, hope, and victory is so vital.
Like the wandering Jews, we are not of this land. We are citizens of Heaven. What happens on earth does not change our identity and does not determine our fate. That is, unless we allow it to. This is why Jesus warned us to watch for the signs and guard our hearts against those who would belittle the timely rapture and scoff at our escape to stand before God’s throne as the heavenly court.
By the way, Moses will make an encore appearance during the Wrath of that Day, which happens during the first 3½ years of the 7th Day. As the final world war unfolds in Israel, Moses and Elijah are miraculously sent back to earth to serve as witnesses to God’s undeterred plan. As you may know, Elijah never died; he was taken to Heaven in a chariot of fire—another shadow of things to come for us. The Bible records that Moses died, but it also records a peculiar incident. Satan and the archangel Michael fight over his body. It seems that his body must be preserved for a future assignment!
3/1/2023 0 Comments
God the Father
Since the Old and New Testaments are part of the same Book, we recognize the connections between the Old and New Covenants. We have a shared heritage with the Jews. We generally think we worship the same God. But, in reality, the Jews worship a monotheistic God—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. As Christians, we worship a triune and living God: God the eternal Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit). Three persons in one.
The Trinity is not easy for us to grasp. That’s because it is a super-natural truth. For instance, I can be a daughter, sister, and mother, at the same time, but I am not all three persons to all those relatives at the same time. Likewise, a specific amount of water can take the form of ice, water, or steam, but not at the same time. Every natural analogy we try to use to help us understand the supernatural Trinity eventually falls short. That is why it is a faith thing. The true Israel is always a faith thing and not based on natural lineage.
The Chronos Lesson: In these last Days, this distinction is crucial. When we call upon God the Father, we automatically recognize that He has a Son, Jesus Christ. When a person or religion rejects Jesus as the Son, they automatically reject God the Father.
The Apostle John gave this warning: “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:18, 22-23).
This is why the Jews are still suffering the consequences of missing their visitation at Christ’s first coming. It is why Daniel’s 70 Weeks prophecy that outlined God’s plan for the Jews was paused in the middle of the 70th Week. When Jesus was cut off mid-week, they were cut off in the middle of the 70th Week. The prophecy was put on hold until they fulfill what Jesus declared, “I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” (Matt. 23:39).
Of course, any Jew who accepts Jesus as their Savior during this age (the Church Age) becomes part of the called out ones, the Church. But as for their brethren who do not, they are still considered cut off or fallen away for now. That is why they are often called the Apostate Jews, as in the apostasy (falling away) of this age.
It is also why God will reject the temple that will be rebuilt in Jerusalem before Christ comes. Hebrews 10:1 sets the stage. “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.”
Hebrews 10:8-10 declares the offense. “Previously saying, ‘Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them’ (which are offered according to the law), then He said, Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God’ He takes away the first [Covenant] that He may establish the second [Covenant]. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.’ ”
Hebrews 10:29 presents the verdict: “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” Who needs the blood of goats and sheep and doves when the blood of the Lamb has already laid down His life once and for all in sacrificial love?
This is why, when the Antichrist enters the rebuilt temple in defiance to God—a future event called the Transgression of Desolation—God does not strike the Antichrist dead as would have been the case under the Old Covenant. Not to worry. He is not off the hook. His appointed time is coming.
2/27/2023 0 Comments
Jacob's Wrestling Match
Forced to leave his father’s household, Jacob goes back to his mother’s household (back in the old country) to take a wife. What happens next is a lesson in reaping and sowing.
Just as Jacob tricked Esau out of his first-born birthright, Jacob’s uncle tricks Jacob into marrying Leah instead of his chosen Rachel. Jacob then has to work many years to marry Rachel as well. Eventually, Jacob decides it is time to go back to Canaan. Of course he will have to make amends with Esau, if possible. So he sends a peace offering ahead to smooth the way. And he prays to God to deliver him from Esau.
Close to his destination, Jacob receives an unexpected visitor as night falls. It’s not Esau, but the Man of God, the pre-incarnate Christ. They wrestle through the night. That must have been a sight for the ages! Jacob surprisingly prevails, but in the process his hip is disjointed. At daybreak, the Man asks Jacob his name. The Man responds with a divine declaration. “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed” (Gen. 32:28).
Jacob’s twelve sons become the twelve tribes of Israel. Their offspring become known as the Israelites. They worship the God of their fathers—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Israelites (Jews) are God’s chosen people. Jacob’s disjointed hip symbolizes that they are still out of step with God because of the fallen nature and cycle of disobedience that we see in the rest of the Old Testament.
The Chronos Lesson: That fateful night and subsequent dawn is a shadow of the Jewish nation in our time. For now, Romans 11 explains that the “natural branch” (the Jews) has been cut off because of their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. This cutting off was marked by the Abomination of Desolation, which led to the destruction of the Temple Fortress in 70 AD. They were scattered across the nations (the Diaspora). Choices always have consequences.
Still, Romans 11 reminds us that God is not done with the Jews. Hosea 6:1-2 records that they will be cut off or stricken for two Days (Days 5 and 6 of the Church Age). Note: the passage doesn’t make any sense if we use regular 24-hour days here. It has to be referring to how God counts time in terms of 1,000-year great Days. When Christ returns to gather His Church at the start of the last Day, the Jewish remnant will finally recognize Jesus as the Messiah. The last Day is called the 7th Day when counting from Adam; it is also called the 3rd Day when counting from Christ.
In a sense, Israel is still wrestling with God. But at Daybreak of the last Day, a remnant shall prevail. They shall recognize Jesus as the Messiah. They will not be part of the Church, the Bride, but they shall be part of the redeemed and children of God. They will be part of His household.
When Christ comes again, He will stand on Mt. Zion, and His presence will cause a mighty earthquake that makes a way of escape for the revived Jews from the Antichrist’s armies. Now believers and saints set apart to Christ, the latter rain outpouring of the Spirit will enable them to become mighty men in battle. It’s just in time for the last world war, the Battle of the Great Day of God Almighty (Rev. 16:14).
Revelation 10:7 describes this part of the plan as the mystery of God. “But in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel [the 7th trumpet of the wrath of that Day], when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.”
The mystery declared to the prophets is that when Jesus comes again, He will set in motion the times of the restoration of all things. That includes the restoration of the kingdom to Israel as promised to David. When the Antichrist is crushed and thrown into the Lake of Fire (eternal damnation), God sets up Israel as His godly government on the earth. It’s part of the restoration of His original plan from the beginning.
As promised, all the nations of the world will be blessed as Israel takes its role as God’s natural government on the earth. It will take their directions from the heavenly government comprised of the Heir and His joint-heirs as the One New Man. You probably know it as Christ’s millennial reign. What you may not realize is that we reign from above, from over the earth and not on it. That is Israel’s job. More on that later.
2/22/2023 0 Comments
The Firstborn Blessing
Abraham knows enough to make sure Isaac marries from his own people to maintain the godly lineage. By faith, Rebekah agrees to follow Abraham’s servant back to Canaan to marry Isaac. Not long after, she gives birth to twin boys. Esau is born first, followed by Jacob, who is holding onto Esau’s heel. Jacob is Rebekah’s favorite while Esau is Isaac’s favorite. As you can imagine, that doesn’t bode well for family life.
Isaac is coming to the end of his life and realizes it is time to pass along the first-born blessing to his son. This is to be done in order to establish Esau as the future heir of the household. By then, Isaac is quite old and his eyesight is failing. Rebekah overhears Isaac giving instructions to Esau to prepare the meal. When Esau goes out hunting, Rebekah talks Jacob into tricking his father into giving him the blessing instead. Isaac thought he was speaking the blessing over Esau, when it was actually Jacob instead.
Once Esau and Isaac discovered that they had been deceived, Isaac could not undue the blessing, for it had already been spoken before the Lord. Despite endeavoring to live a godly lifestyle, the fallen nature rises up and deception takes hold. Esau is furious with his brother. It gets so bad that Jacob has to leave the family estate.
The Chronos Lesson: The blessing that Isaac bestows (Gen. 27:27-29) helps us understand the rights that belonged to the firstborn of every family, and more importantly, the mystery of Christ as it relates to the Firstborn of God’s House.
“And he [Isaac] came near and kissed him [Jacob posing as Esau]; and he smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him and said: ‘Surely, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed. Therefore may God give you of the dew of Heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!’ ”
The blessing of the firstborn reveals the distinction that exists in a household, and by extension, in God’s kingdom. There can only be one master. Even though the other members of the household are also legitimate children, they are recognized as being servants, in that they must respect the established authority of the master of the house. Yet as servants in the household, they still share in the abundance and blessings that come upon the entire household.
Nevertheless, they are distinguished from the rightful heir who is the head of the household. In a loving and godly family, the heir always seeks to protect and promote the well-being of each member of the family. As we will see, these same distinctions will be carefully maintained in God’s mountain or kingdom. The kingdom will consist of all of His children or extended family, and they will be lovingly ruled over and served by the Heir.
The truth that this Heir is a Head and a Body, composed of many members, forms the essence of the mystery of Christ. In the mystery, those who have believed on Christ in between His first and second coming are called the Church of the Firstborn (Heb. 12:23). We are one with Him, such that there is no distinction between the Church and the Heir, other than the fact that He is preeminent (1 John 4:17 and Col. 1:18).
We are also referred to by many other titles, including the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the Lamb’s Wife, firstfruits unto God and the Lamb, a spiritual house, a living temple, the holy brethren, the elect, and those who overcome—to name a few!
While believers may be familiar with some of these titles, they are less familiar with the chronos aspect of this mystery. These times and seasons are marked by a defined beginning and end. They do not run on indefinitely, anymore than the summer season lasts the entire year. Instead, the year contains other seasons.
The people of the Old Covenant will always be distinguished from those of the New Covenant. New Covenant believers born again between His first and second coming, will be forever identified with the Heir, for we are part of His Body. As His Bride, the two become one flesh in the mystery of marriage. It is our chronos appointment to be united with Him with the resurrection—the firstfruits. It is a unique, limited-time offer during these last Days, as we partake of His calling as the Heir of God’s Mountain.
By the way, any people who are born again after witnessing the rapture or who are born again during Christ’s millennial reign shall be part of the household and family of God as well. But they will not be part of the Church of the Firstborn because that designation comes by faith alone. They did not accept Christ until they saw Him.