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Friday, November 30, 2012

Kingdom on Earth


The big cat has been raised by Abdullah, 31, since she was a three-month-old cub. Fearless Abdullah Sholeh poses with his best friend — a 27-stone (378 lbs) Bengal tiger called Mulan.

Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4671159/27-stone-Bengal-tiger-is-my-best-friend-says-fearless-nanny.html#ixzz2DkZedaRz

 
When I read this news, I meditated on God’s promise in Isaiah 65:25;

“The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on My Holy Mountain. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

This verse directly applies to the state of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, in which the effects of the curse on the animals is to be removed. However, from this verse it seems that the curse on snakes is permanent.

If interpreted figuratively, it may mean God here promises to take off the fierceness of the spirits of His people’s enemies (described as wolf, lion, snakes etc.), so that they shall live quietly and peaceably together in His Kingdom on earth. That means the evil dispositions of sinners shall be completely mortified (like lamb and cow etc.), all shall live in harmony in the peaceful Kingdom of God.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Is God Speaking Today?

A 41-year old woman in Florida was chased and stopped by the police for her reckless and over speed driving at 100 miles in the 30 mile speed limit zone in a residential street.

After being arrested, she yelled at the police and saying, it was not her intention but by the voice of God telling her to do that. Out of resentment, the cop who questioned her replied, “It is not my intention but God’s voice to put you under arrest. You got it?”

When I read this story, I became to meditate on the Word of God in Hebrews 1:1-2;



“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed Heir of all things, and through Whom He made the universe.”



He has spoken to us by His Son (ἐλάλησεν ἡμῖν ἐν υἱῷ elaleisen heimin en huioo)

The verb ‘ἐλάλησεν’ used here is the Aorist tense in Koine Greek, which is a class of verb forms that generally portray a situation as simple or undivided, that is, as having perfective aspect that  is a grammatical aspect used to describe a situation viewed as a simple whole, whether that situation occurs in the past, present, or future.

Based on the above, we can believe that God Has Spoken Everything to us By His Son Jesus and His Word is recorded in the Bible.


But the question is: “Is God Speaking Today?”


The final court of appeals determining the identity of the voice of God, if it is such, must be the direct instructions or at least the examples found in Scripture. The Scriptures claim to be the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21). They are inspired, once for all, by the Holy Spirit, enabling prophets and apostles, using their own personalities, to write God’s words as He intended (Hebrews 1:1,2; 2:3,4; Acts 5:12; 2 Corinthians 12:12).

I believe with the closure of Scripture, direct, infallible, authoritative revelation from God has ceased for this age (Revelation 22:18, 19; Ephesians 2:20; 3:5; Jude 3, 4; 2 Peter 3:2). It is instructive to note when Paul wrote his last epistle to pastor/friend Timothy about leading the church of God, he did not encourage Timothy to focus on new revelations, impressions, feelings or hunches. Rather, he continually turned him to the Word of God and the doctrines contained therein (2 Timothy 2:2-14, 15; 3:15-17; 4:2-4).

I find this to be the emphasis of the New Testament. As Donald S. Whitney reminds us,

“The evangelistic method of Jesus and the apostles was not to urge people to seek direct experiences with God; instead they went about preaching and teaching the Scriptures (see, for instance, Mark 1:14-15).  And Jesus did not say that once we have spiritual life we live by direct mystical experience with God; rather, we “live … on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). That includes the “good work” of growing in the knowledge of God and likeness to Christ. So in Scripture the normative method of meeting God is through Scripture.

Partially quoted from http://www.svchapel.org/resources/articles/20-christian-living/66-the-lord-told-me--i-think

Riding on Swift Cloud

We read in, John 4:3-6

Now He had to go through Samaria. So He came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as He was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.”
 

Christ's road from Judea to Galilee lay through Samaria. We have here our Lord Jesus under the common fatigue of travelers. Being tired, he sat down by the well. Therefore we know that He was truly a man. Also, He was a poor man, and went all His journeys on foot.

Our Lord Jesus had no horse or donkey to ride on except when He entered Jerusalem to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet in Zechariah 9:9;

 

“Say to the Daughter of Zion,

‘See, your King comes to you,

gentle and riding on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

 
 

Lord Jesus, You are the Creator of all things in the universe. You will ride on the cloud when You come again to judge the evil world as prophesied in Isaiah 19:1;

 

“This message came to me concerning Egypt: Look! The LORD is advancing against Egypt, riding on a swift cloud. The idols of Egypt tremble. The hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.”

Jehovah (Jesus) rides upon clouds when He is about to reveal Himself in His judicial majesty. Amen.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

True Worshiper

We went to a local church last Lord’s Day with two of our four children in Davis, California. Pastor’s sermon on that morning was very touching deep down in my heart.

During praise worship, a man screamed loudly and roamed around the aisle with his arms lifted up high. He did this twice. I thought his act must have come from the joy of the praising God, but my children’s response was a little different. They said the man must have considered so as not disturbing other worshipers present there. After worship, I shook hands with him.

On my way home, I pondered upon why I have no guts to express the joy of worship freely as the man did. I am even reluctant to raise my hands up when others do because I was raised in the church and taught to worship God solemnly and silently.

Being honest with you, any act of worship going beyond this criterion has been viewed as ‘fanatic’ or ‘show off’ act to me. Having said so, I have no intention to judge other people who worship God in a different manner based on my bigotry if I have.

We all need to hear from the Word of God in all aspects of our Christian life.

What does the Bible say about the proper act of worship to God?


Our Lord says, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, Who is unseen. Then your Father, Who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” in Matthew 6:6.

And the Lord says, God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship in Spirit and in Truth In John 4:24.


He didn’t say, ‘worship solemnly and silently’ that I do, rather He said, in “Spirit and Truth.”

Then who is ‘worshiper in Spirit and Truth’?

It can be best interpreted;

“A man worships God in spirit, when, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, he brings all his affections, appetites, and desires to the throne of God; and he worships Him in truth, when every purpose and passion of his heart, and when every act of his religious worship, is guided and regulated by the Word of God both internal and external; with both the bodies and souls of worshipers; and both private and public; in the closet, in the family, and in the Church of God; as prayer, praise, attendance on the word and ordinances.”

We worship God Who wishes us to worship in Spirit and Truth.

Let’s worship Him in His way, neither in my way, nor your way,  nor in Presbyterian way, nor Pentecostal way, nor Methodist way, nor Anglican way, nor Roman Catholic way, nor Baptist way, nor pagan way.

Amen and amen!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving

Tomorrow, Thursday, November 22 is the traditional Thanksgiving Day in the US.  

This year, instead of their coming home we will visit one of our son’s places where two other daughters in the area come to join us to thank God in view of the fact that the final exam week is approaching. The other son’s family is in Los Angeles and they cannot join us unfortunately because of their weekend work schedule.

I meditated on God’s blessing bestowed on me and my family past years and gave thanks to the Lord Jesus for what He has done for me on the Cross, which is the greatest blessing that I have ever received from anyone.


An anonymous writer said;

 “Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.

If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

    Be thankful when you don't know something

 For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

    Be thankful for the difficult times.

 During those times you grow.

    Be thankful for your limitations

 Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

    Be thankful for each new challenge

 Because it will build your strength and character.

    Be thankful for your mistakes

 They will teach you valuable lessons.

    Be thankful when you're tired and weary

 Because it means you've made a difference.

    It is easy to be thankful for the good things.

 A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.”


The theme of Thanksgiving is found throughout the Bible, and perhaps nowhere more so than in the Psalms.  Psalm 103 is a great psalm of thanksgiving.

We read in, Psalm 103:1-5; 

“Praise the Lord, O my soul;

All my inmost being, praise His Holy name.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,

And forget not all His benefits

Who forgives all your sins

And heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit

And crowns you with love and compassion,

Who satisfies your desires with good things

So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”


This psalm, attributed to King David, begins with words of personal thanksgiving, and I think that's where most of us begin too.

If you had to make a list of what you are thankful for, where would you start?  Probably with the ways in which you have personally been blessed. God blesses us with salvation and health and with all the good things we need. The greatest blessings may be the ones we most take for granted.


REASONS TO PRAISE GOD

Very simply, we praise God because He is worthy of our praise (1 Chronicles 16:25; Revelation. 5:11-14). He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is our Creator, Provider, Healer, Redeemer, Judge, Defender and much more.

Another foundational reason to praise God is simple obedience. The Bible says God is a “jealous” God Who demands and desires our praise. “You shall have no other gods before Me,” says the first commandment (Deuteronomy 6:7).

As the psalmist said, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6). As we praise God, we will discover incredible benefits for our lives. That’s because human beings were created by God to praise Him (Isaiah 43:7, Matthew 21:16). Due to man’s original sin, however, this relationship was disrupted.

Praising God helps restore us to that right relationship, for God actually dwells in the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). As we draw near to the Father in praise, He draws near to us (James 4:8). Praising God is also our ultimate destiny. When the Lord Jesus Christ returns again to earth, all creation -- including prideful mankind -- will recognize His glory and praise Him ( Philippians 2:9-11).
 

PRAISE FOR PROTECTION

God also gives us assurances of additional blessings as we praise Him. When we praise God, He honors us as His children, and provides His loving protection (2 Samuel 22:47-51). Failure to praise God, however, leaves us out of fellowship with God and out of His divine protection (1 Samuel 2:27-32).

Our praise can also serve as a powerful witness to those who do not know the Lord (1 Peter 2:9). Also, God can work miraculously through our praises. The ancient walls of Jericho came crashing down, giving victory to God's people, as a result of shouts of praise (Joshua 6:1-21). The prison doors shook open when Paul and Silas praised God (Acts 16:25-26).

Quoted partially from http://www.collinsegbe.com/


We read in, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 saying to us;

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”


One of the unknown quotes well said;

 “If you never thank God after every smile.... Then why do you blame him for every tear...?”


Dear readers, do you wish to obey God’s will?

Let us thank and praise our Heavenly Father and His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior 365 days, not just for the Thanksgiving Day of the year.

Amen.

Father of Spirits


We read in, Hebrews 12:9;

“Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?”


Fathers of our flesh (τοὺς μὲν τῆς σαρκὸς ἡμῶν πατέρας) - Earthly fathers; those from whom we have derived our being here.

To the Father of spirits (τῷ πατρὶ τῶν πνευμάτων) - They are contrasted here with God, who is called “the Father of spirits,” not because the father does not sustain the paternal relation to the soul as well as the body, but to designate the nature of the dominion over us.

The dominion of God is what pertains to a spiritual kingdom, having more direct reference to the discipline of the soul, and being designed to prepare us for the spiritual world; that of the earthly father pertains primarily to our condition here, and the discipline is designed to subdue our unruly passions, to teach us to restrain our appetites, to inculcate maxims of health and prosperity, and to prevent those things which would impede our happiness in the present world.

O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh (אֵ֕ל אֱלֹהֵ֥י הָרוּחֹ֖ת לְכָל־בָּשָׂ֑ר)

In Numbers 16:22, Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out “O God, God of the spirits of all mankind”. God is called “the God of the spirits of all flesh”. The earthly father is parent to the man as mortal; God is the Father of man as immortal. God is himself a spirit. Angels and human souls, therefore, may be represented as especially his offspring.

Jehovah God is the Maker of all men, as of their bodies, which are flesh, so of their souls or spirits, which are immaterial and immortal; therefore He is called “the Father of spirits”. He is our Heavenly Father as taught by our Lord Jesus and we even call Him, “Abba Father” which simply means, “our Daddy” or “our Papa”(I don’t mean the holy man in Vatican City).

 

Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, we praise You for being our Eternal Father, Mighty God! Amen.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Original Man

Adam and Eve were endowed with righteousness and true holiness. They not only knew God, but they loved Him supremely. Every natural desire which they possessed was duly subordinated to this reigning affection. Even their love to each other, pure and unalloyed, was far inferior to that which they both felt to their Creator, Who daily favored them with His visits, and taught them to see His glory in all His works by which they were surrounded.


We read in, Ecclesiastes 7:29 where King Solomon said;

“This only have I found:

God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes.”
 

Hebrew OT: Westminster Leningrad Codex

עָשָׂ֧ה הָאֱלֹהִ֛ים אֶת־הָאָדָ֖ם יָשָׁ֑ר וְהֵ֥מָּה בִקְשׁ֖וּ חִשְּׁבֹנֹ֥ות רַבִּֽים׃

asah haelohim eth haadam yashar vehemhah bikkeshu chishbonoth rabbim.


Word Study

יָשָׁ֑ר yashar  - It means straight’, ‘right.  הַיָּשָׁר בעיני that which is right, pleasing in the eyes of God.

חִשְּׁבֹנֹ֥ות chishbonoth – It means ‘devices’, ‘inventions’, ‘engines’.  In 2 Chronicles 26:15, “ and he made contrivances” (i.e. engines of war for hurling stones and arrows),  the invention of inventive men.







The above quotation is from http://www.pbministries.org/Theology/J.%20L.%20Dagg/Manual%20of%20Theology/bookfourth/chapter1.htm

Do ETs Exist?

Creation of Man

We read in Genesis 1:26-28;

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.””

 

First of all, man was made last of all the creatures: this was both an honor and a favor to him. Yet man was made the same day that the beasts were; his body was made of the same earth with theirs; and while he is in the body, he inhabits the same earth with them.

God forbid that by indulging the body, and the desires of it, we should make ourselves like the beasts that perish! Man was to be a creature different from all that had been made. Flesh and spirit, heaven and earth, must be put together in him.

God said, “Let us make man”. Man, when he was made, was to glorify the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Into that great name we are baptized, for to that great name we owe our being. It is the soul of man that especially bears God's image.

Man was made upright (Ecclesiastes 7:29). His understanding saw Divine things clearly and truly; there were no errors or mistakes in his knowledge; his will consent at once, and in all things, to the will of God. His affections were all regular, and he had no bad appetites or passions. His thoughts were easily brought and fixed to the best subjects.

Thus holy, thus happy, were our first parents in having the image of God upon them. But how is this image of God upon man defaced! May the Lord renew it upon our souls by His grace!

In connection with the meditation above, I read very interesting article and thought it would be helpful to you too.


Did God create life on other planets? Otherwise why is the universe so big?
by Gary Bates



Many people, Christian or otherwise, struggle with the notion that the earth is the only inhabited planet in this enormous universe. In short, is there life on other planets?

Those who believe life evolved on the earth usually see it as virtual ‘fact’ that life has evolved on countless other planets. Discovering life on other planets would in turn be seen as confirming their evolutionary belief.

But even many Christians think, ‘God must have created life elsewhere, otherwise this enormous universe would be an awful waste of space.’ In my experience, this seems to be the major underlying reason why people think that there must be other life 'out there'. However, our thinking should be based on what God said He did (the Bible), and not what we think He would, should or might have done.

Firstly, since God is the One Who made the universe, it can scarcely be ‘big’ to Him. Humans struggle with its vastness because our comprehension is limited to the created time/space dimensions within which we exist, and it is mind-bending to try and comprehend anything beyond our dimensional existence. Size is only relative to us as inhabitants of this universe. And size and time are related somewhat. Because the universe is big to us we consider how long it would take us to travel across it, for example. But, time itself began with the creation of the physical universe, so how can we comprehend what eternity is, or might be? What was ‘before’ the universe? Similarly, how do we imagine how ‘big’ God is? We cannot use a tape measure that is made of the very atoms He made to measure Him. One example of this might be if you were asked to build a small house and you did. Now you are asked to build a large house. In our dimensions, for you to build the larger house it would require more effort and take more time. So, is it harder, or does it take longer for God to build a big universe compared to a smaller one (according to our perspective on what constitutes large or small of course)? Of course not, because He isn't bound by time and space (which He created).  Isaiah 40:28 says; … the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not grow weak nor weary ….

We are impressed that God made billions of galaxies with billions of stars in them and suitably so, because that is one of the reasons for making them. But as mentioned, size is not an issue for God. Stars are relatively simple structures as they are just great big balls of gas. It would take more ‘creative input’, in that sense, for Jesus’ miracle of feeding the five thousand than for the creation of countless quasars (there is immense genetic complexity in the structure of even a dead fish).

The Bible and ETs

It is often asked, ‘Just because the Bible teaches about God creating intelligent life only on Earth, why couldn’t He have done so elsewhere?’ After all, Scripture does not discuss everything, e.g. motorcars. However, the biblical objection to ET is not merely an argument from silence. Motor cars, for example, are not a salvation issue, but we believe that sentient, intelligent, moral-decision-capable beings is, because it would undermine the authority of Scripture. In short, understanding the big picture of the Bible/gospel message allows us to conclude clearly that the reason the Bible doesn’t mention extraterrestrials (ETs) is that there aren’t any.1 Surely, if the earth were to be favored with a visitation by real extraterrestrials from a galaxy far, far away, then one would reasonably expect that the Bible, and God in His sovereignty and foreknowledge, to mention such a momentous occasion, because it would clearly redefine man's place in the universe.

 1. The Bible indicates that the whole creation groans and travails under the weight of sin (Romans 8:18–22). The effect of the Curse following Adam’s Fall was universal. Otherwise what would be the point of God destroying this whole creation to make way for a new heavens and Earth—2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1 ff Therefore, any ETs living elsewhere would have been (unjustly) affected by the Adamic Curse through no fault of their own—they would not have inherited Adam’s sin nature.

2. When Christ (God) appeared in the flesh, He came to Earth not only to redeem mankind but eventually the whole creation back to Himself (Romans 8:21, Colossians 1:20). However, Christ’s atoning death at Calvary cannot save these hypothetical ETs, because one needs to be a physical descendant of Adam for Christ to be our ‘kinsman-redeemer’ (Isaiah 59:20). Jesus was called ‘the last Adam’ because there was a real first man, Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22,45)—not a first Vulcan, Klingon etc. This is so a sinless human Substitute takes on the punishment all humans deserve for sin (Isaiah 53:6,10; Matthew 20:28; 1 John 2:2, 4:10), with no need to atone for any (non-existent) sin of his own (Hebrews 7:27).

3. Since this would mean that any ETs would be lost for eternity when this present creation is destroyed in a fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10, 12), some have wondered whether Christ’s sacrifice might be repeated elsewhere for other beings. However, Christ died once for all (Romans 6:10, 1 Peter 3:18) on the earth. He is not going to be crucified and resurrected again on other planets (Hebrews 9:26). This is confirmed by the fact that the redeemed (earthly) church is known as Christ’s bride (Ephesians 5:22–33; Revelation 19:7–9) in a marriage that will last for eternity.3 Christ is not going to be a polygamist with many other brides from other planets.

4. The Bible makes no provision for God to redeem any other species, any more than to redeem fallen angels (Hebrews 2:16).

 

Subdue the Earth


On May 19, 2005, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this stunning view as the Sun sank below the rim of Gusev crater on Mars. This Panoramic Camera mosaic was taken around 6:07 in the evening of the rover's 489th Martian day, or sol.


This artist concept features NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating Mars' past or present ability to sustain microbial life.


When I saw the images of photos received from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit and Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, I remembered the privilege that Adam and Eve took from the Creator God to subdue the earth to their uses.


We read in, Genesis 1:28;

“God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”


When Adam was created, he was God's representative on earth. The Edenic Covenant, the first of the eight great covenants of Scripture which condition life and salvation has seven elements.

The man and woman in Eden were responsible:


(1) To replenish the earth with a new order-man

(2) to subdue the earth to human uses

(3) to have dominion over the animal creation

(4) to eat herbs and fruits

(5) to till and keep the garden
(6) to abstain from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil

Monday, November 19, 2012

Poorest President

He's a vegetarian, drives a 1987 VW Beetle, and runs a flower farm. Did we mention he's also the ruler of Uruguay? Jose Mujica is known as the world's 'poorest' president. He chooses to give 90% of his monthly salary—about $12,000—to charities supporting the poor and small businesses, reports the BBC. “If you don't have many possessions then you don't need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself,” he explains.

When I read this news article, I thought about the King of the Universe Who gave us His Life and lived a life of poverty. He is Jesus, the Son of God.

We read in, 2 Corinthians 8:9;

“For you know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”

Now He sits at the Right Hand of God (= Power Position) Who has all Authority in Heaven and Earth. He even declares, “The silver is mine and the gold is mine.”  

If you live an affluent life, thank God thinking that “through His poverty you became rich.”  Share what you have with less privileged people around you.

If you undergo a difficult life, think that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Get Up!


A mother in Chile had lived with her son’s coffin for 25 years before a final burial. Her son died in 1987 after having been bitten by a poisonous spider at home when he was 3 years old.

This heartbreaking story brought me to the Word of God in Luke 7:11-17. Here is the story of our Lord Who raised the only son of a widow when He went to a town called Nain on the northern slope of the rugged and barren ridge of Little Hermon, about twelve miles from Capernaum.

If Christ met this woman now, He would have said to the young boy, “I say to you, Get up!” and given him back to this mother. In His providence, Christ did not perform the same miraculous sign He did at Cain 2,000 years ago. But He knows everything that happens to us.


Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son
 

“Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and His disciples and a large crowd went along with Him. As He approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of His mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, Don’t cry.

Then He went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, Young man, I say to you, get up! The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. God has come to help His people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.”


When the Lord saw the poor widow following her son to the grave, he had compassion on her. Christ has the power over death and He Himself is the Resurrection and the Life.

The gospel call to all people, to young people particularly here, is, “Arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light and life” (Ephesians 5:14).

We heard His gentle voice calling us and came to Jesus Christ, the Life Eternal.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Seal of God

What does it mean having "the Seal of the Living God on the forehead?"  And how can we have it?


We read in, Revelation 7:2-3;

‘Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.’


This is a parallel to Mt 24:31, “His angels shall gather together His elect from the four winds.”

God’s love is such, that He cannot do anything in the way of judgment until His people are secured from hurt.  The angel of the Lord said to Lot when he came to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and to save him in Genesis 19:22;

But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)

The design of sealing the persons referred to seems to have been to secure their safety in the impending calamities. Thus, the winds were held back until those who were to be sealed could be designated, and then they were to be allowed to sweep over the earth.


There is also an allusion here to Ezekiel 9:4-6:

“Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.”  As I listened, he said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were in front of the temple.””


This mark is the witness of the Holy Spirit printed in the hearts of believers. And the Lord would not let His people to be afflicted before they were marked. And of those who are sealed by the Holy Spirit, the seal must be on the forehead.

The seal was also a mark of ownership. The seal of God on the forehead would mark those sealed at God’s. The seal mark on the forehead would be visible to everyone; therefore the seal in the forehead has been understood to be the public confession and profession of Christ.

Christ has the Spirit, with His gifts and graces, without measure, by which the saints are sealed unto the day of redemption; and moreover has likewise the seal of the book of life, or of eternal election, in His hands; the elect are chosen in Him, and the Book of Life, in which their names are written to eternal life, is in His keeping, and is therefore called the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Marks of Jesus


This writing is related content wise to the previous posting titled, “Cat Man.”

When the apostle Paul says, “Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” in Galatians 6:17,
What kind of the “marks” does he refer to?

In the Old Testament times, every male of the Israelites were commanded to be circumcised on the eight day after birth. Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin and must have been circumcised according to the Law. Circumcision served to be a mark of God’s chosen people in their body.

We read in, Genesis 17:10-13 where Jehovah God told Abraham to keep the covenant of the circumcision.

“This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner--those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.

 

Obviously Paul did not mean the marks of circumcision on his foreskin when he said, “I bear on my body the marks of the Lord.”

Greek Text

“ἐγὼ γὰρ τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῷ σώματι μου βαστάζω.”

Then what is meant by the marks of the Lord for Paul?


The word here rendered “marks” (στίγματα stigmata), means properly the marks or brands which are pricked or burnt in upon the body. So slaves were sometimes branded by their masters to prevent their escape; and so devotees to an idol god sometimes caused to be impressed on themselves the name or image of the divinity which they adored.

Herodotus (ii. 113) mentions a temple of Hercules in Egypt, in which if any slave took refuge, and had the sacred brands or marks impressed on him (στίγματα stigmata), he thereby devoted himself to the god, and it was not lawful for anyone to injure him.

Many have supposed that Paul here says, in allusion to such a custom, that he had the marks of the Lord Jesus impressed on his body, and that he regarded himself as devoted to him and his cause. It seems to me that by these marks or brands he refers to the marks of stripes and sufferings which he endured in the service of the Lord Jesus.

He had repeatedly been flogged. He bore the marks of that on his body. They were the evidences that he was devoted to the Savior. He had received them in His cause; and they were the proofs that he belonged to the Lord Jesus. He had suffered for Him, and had suffered much. It was indeed the “holy scars” that go with serving Jesus as Lord.