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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE - Page 15 Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin on Wed 15 Jan 2020, 8:24 pm

John 1:17
(17) For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
New King James Version   

What did Jesus Christ establish to be taught in the churches? What He brought - in what we consider to be the New Testament era - is not at all contradictory or fundamentally different from what the Old Testament teaches. His message is complementary, completing the teaching of the Old Testament, rounding out and finishing God's revelation to mankind.

The word "but" in verse 17 has been inserted by the translators. In those Bibles that use the convention, it is in italics, which shows that it is a word added by the translators to clarify what they believe is the sense. Why did they choose "but"? The translators' fundamental belief is that Jesus came to change what was taught by Moses. However, if they had put together what the rest of the New Testament says, Jesus came and added to and completed what Moses and the other prophets preached. There is a better word to insert there: "and." Thus, "For the law was given through Moses and grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." They are complementary, not contradictory. Perhaps the word "supplementary" would better explain it, thought what Jesus brought is both complementary and supplementary.

"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17). Consider a candy jar, which is filled only an inch. That represents what Moses taught, the law. But Jesus filled the rest of the candy jar full! Jesus brought the spirit of the law. He filled to the full the revelation of God.

What Moses taught in the law is the law of the Kingdom of God. It cannot be separated from the gospel of the Kingdom of God that Jesus brought because the Kingdom of God needs law to function. God's Kingdom is a real entity. It is designed to function, and it will only function through law and, of course, grace, as they work together.

— Richard T. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Tue 14 Jan 2020, 3:56 pm

Romans 7:14-25
(14) For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. (15) For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. (16) If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. (17) But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. (18) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. (19) For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. (20) Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. (21) I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. (22) For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. (23) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (24) O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (25) I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
New King James Version   

Paul is not confessing that he continually practiced sin in his daily life, but that the threat of practicing it was always with him. He always had to be on guard against it to keep it from breaking out. And, at times, it did indeed break out, reminding him not only of its presence, but also its strength. There is no doubt Paul was a mature Christian. Therefore, this serves as a reminder to us that, no matter how spiritually mature we become, human nature will still always be with us.

Paul died spiritually and was buried in the waters of baptism. Therefore, baptism and the receipt of a new nature by which we are to conduct life do not take human nature away. We, like him, sincerely desire to do the right thing. We believe God's Word. We love God and aspire to glorify Him. Nevertheless, because human nature is always present, we do not always follow through. Instead, human nature overpowers us; we are taken captive, as it were, and revert to following its drives instead. This can be very disturbing, piling guilt upon us and making us fearful of separation from God.

Thus, because we are similar to Paul, and despite the wretchedness we may feel, we have assurance, knowing we will be delivered from this peculiar situation, one that is somewhat akin to having a dual personality. Our deliverance is through Jesus Christ; there indeed is an end. However, unlike many Protestant groups that proclaim that we do not have to keep the law because all is done for us, we know that we must strive to walk even as Christ walked—and He never sinned. I John 2:3-6 emphatically states:

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

Though we are under no condemnation, we still must yield to the Spirit of God to our utmost abilities. We are to "go on to perfection" (Hebrews 6:1), endeavoring to grow "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). Paul says, "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14). Despite the difficulties involved, any failures that occur, and any feelings of guilt that arise, we are still required to strive to keep God's laws as Jesus did.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Mon 13 Jan 2020, 1:50 pm

Jeremiah 15:10-11
(10) Woe is me, my mother,
That you have borne me,
A man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth!
I have neither lent for interest,
Nor have men lent to me for interest.
Every one of them curses me. (11) The LORD said:
“ Surely it will be well with your remnant;
Surely I will cause the enemy to intercede with you
In the time of adversity and in the time of affliction.

New King James Version   

The intensity of rhetoric in the preceding verses, the horrific images it evokes, brings Jeremiah to experience profound depression, as verse 10 indicates. Jeremiah is not even a banker, yet people all around him condemn him!

Consider that, to this point, God has as yet done nothing more than what He told Amos He would always do: He would do nothing until he has revealed His secret to His servants the prophets (see Amos 3:7). Yet, the information He has provided Jeremiah has overwhelmed him. The prophet mouths the same formula Baruch would later utter, “Woe is me.” Is there anyone on “the whole earth” who understands what Jeremiah has gone through and who appreciates the work he is doing for God? Is he, like that mariner of old, alone in the wide, wide sea?

God's response contains three elements:

1. A message of hope, assuring the prophet that he is not alone (verse 11).

2. A powerful rebuke, complete with a threat (Jeremiah 15:19).

3. A reminder of the grace He has afforded Jeremiah from the start (Jeremiah 15:20-21).

God starts out with a message of hope, promising Jeremiah that He will provide a remnant, a group of people who will survive the siege and the destruction of Judah. Jeremiah is not alone and will never be alone. By His use of the term “your remnant,” God indicates that Jeremiah will “own” this group; he will be its leader. “Surely it will be well with your remnant; surely I will cause the enemy to intercede with you in the time of adversity and in the time of affliction” (verse 11).

— Charles Whitaker
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Post  Admin on Sun 12 Jan 2020, 2:00 pm

Jude 1:8-10
(8) Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. (9) Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" (10) But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.
New King James Version   

Dignitaries (New King James) or dignities (King James) literally means "glorious ones," and it refers to the apostles. However, the indignity does not end there because to disrespect them is to also disrespect the One who sent them, as Jesus reveals in Matthew 10:40.

This evil is covered in Exodus 22:28: "You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people." II Peter 3:3 alerts us "that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts." Today, the disrespect is boldly, openly, and directly aimed at God. These vile people not only disrespect God verbally, but they also do so in their public, influential conduct. Never has there been such a universal irreverence for our Creator since the period before the Flood. The worst offenders in this nation are those who are younger and who have been thoroughly schooled in liberalism's concepts.

On the surface, God's sovereignty appears to have been eclipsed, but we must not think this. God is in absolute and complete control. Though it may appear that Satan and his evil influences are in control, it is not the reality. We can be deceived if we allow this line of thinking to continue.

What does the Bible say to the mind of faith? I Timothy 6:15-16 proclaims who is God and who is in control! "[W]hich He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power." This is He about whom they speak evil and at whom they scoff. His time is coming, and we appear to be on its cusp.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Sat 11 Jan 2020, 10:56 pm

Matthew 24:28
(28) For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.

  Luke 17:34-37
(34) I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. (35) Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. (36) Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left." (37) And they answered and said to Him, "Where, Lord?" So He said to them, "Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together."
New King James Version  

In addition to a wake of vultures being a symbol of God's judgment of shame, a gathering of vultures also indicates a diseased spiritual condition. In Revelation 18:2, Babylon the Great is described as being “a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird.”

Vultures are undoubtedly at the top of the list of unclean and hated birds! End-time Babylon is the focal point of demonic spirits, which are likened to unclean birds. Both of them prey on the sick and the injured, and they gather where death is.

Even so, our greatest threat is not the Tribulation at the end! As bad as it will be, far worse is being spiritually unprepared when Christ returns and being judged as unworthy to enter the Kingdom. This is what the Parable of the Ten Virgins and the Parable of the Wedding Feast describe. This is the substance of the warnings about Christ's return being like a thief in the night—coming when He is completely unexpected. This is why He warns us against neglecting so great a salvation and against being led astray by the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the pleasures of life. Jesus warns us to keep us on the path of life, so that we do not fall to the birds of prey that stalk the spiritually dying.

We are given the charge to come out of Babylon, so we do not share in her sins or in her judgment (Revelation 18:4). If we have a discerning heart, we should have a good idea of what will attract the vultures, as it will be giving off the smell of spiritual death. God gives us that discerning heart, so we can make good choices.

Do we really believe the scriptures about the swiftness of Christ's return? It is easy to look at world events and compare them to our understanding of prophecy; we know that things are bad and getting worse—but the end still seems to be just over the horizon. Because it is not here yet, it is easy to conclude, even subconsciously, that there is no need to become serious just yet.

However, this conclusion is filled with assumptions. One is that our understanding of end-time events is correct! A second assumption is that, even if we do have correct understanding, we will never lose it through deception. A third is that our faith will remain constant until the end. A fourth is that, when we do decide to get serious, that we will have ample time to build character, take on the image of God, and complete our sanctification. A fifth is that our Creator will go along with our agenda of pushing Him off until the last minute.

These are a lot of assumptions! If we are misjudging these things, we may hear those terrible words, “I never knew you; depart from Me” (Matthew 7:23)!

If we are delaying the time to start seeking God, the vultures may be eyeing us as ones who may not spiritually survive what lies ahead. Perhaps all of us have seen this happen to people we care about. If we are spiritually sick or injured, there is no time like the present to seek our Healer and Protector to beat off the hated birds!

In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the foolish ones thought they had more time. They were probably aware that their reserves of oil were not as full as they could be, but they may have assumed that they could always attend to that later. They did not count on falling asleep. They did not count on life happening, that something would prohibit them from taking care of preparations they had put off.

A lesson we can draw is that, if we are not putting everything we have into our calling right now, how much time is left does not matter. If that is the case, we may find ourselves, like the foolish virgins, suddenly awake and realizing we cannot get ready in time. What we claimed we wanted will have slipped through our grasp, one day at a time.

Judgment is coming on the world, but it is on the house of God right now (I Peter 4:17). A gathering of eagles—a wake of vultures—is a symbol of God's judgment on those who stubbornly resist coming into alignment with Him. Vultures will literally gather for those who rebel against God in the final battle (Revelation 19:17-21), and they are metaphorically already circling those who cannot tear themselves away from Babylon—those who are on such good terms with the world that they are giving off the scent of spiritual death.

The multitude of warnings and prophecies means that it is a possibility for us, because it is a certainty for some. Yet, with all that God makes available, there is no good reason for that judgment to fall on us.

— David C. Grabbe
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Post  Admin on Fri 10 Jan 2020, 6:36 pm

 Proverbs 3:5-6
(5) Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
(6) In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

New King James Version  

"Lean on" is used here in the sense of relying upon or trusting someone or something for help or protection. The object of our secure trust is the Lord, a most reliable object of confidence!

When we lean against a wall or on a cane, we trust it to support us. If it should fail to do its job, we will fall to the ground and perhaps be hurt. In a figurative sense, in times of distress we lean on members of our families or friends; we rely upon them for encouragement, support, help, or protection. In this verse, "lean on" functions figuratively. Relying on our own understanding is compared to leaning on a cane that cannot bear our weight; it is unreliable for support. It is dangerous for a person to rely upon mere human wisdom or understanding because it is likely to fail him.

Acknowledging the Lord in all our ways means keeping Him in mind in every event of our lives. Godly living is not to be confined to the Sabbath, for God is involved in each moment of each day. His instruction covers our lives from waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night. He wants us to remember Him all the time and to trust and obey Him to guide our conduct in everything we do.

That "He shall direct your paths" suggests that God will "smooth" or "make straight" the road of our lives. This is a promise that God will go before us and remove many of the obstacles from our path. He wants us to be successful, so if we trust Him and follow His instructions, He will lead us forward, sweeping many of our potential problems to the side. How encouraging!

— Clyde Finklea
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Post  Admin on Thu 09 Jan 2020, 11:03 pm

John 8:34
                               (34) Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever                                 commits sin is a slave of sin.
                                New King James Version 

Instead of freedom, habitual sin brings about an enslaved consciousness, and one can gain insight into its nature by comparing it to chemical addiction. Like the chronic use of drugs, habitual sin causes a hardening of the heart (Job 9:4). Just as a junkie needs more of the addictive drug more often, habitual sin lowers the barriers of our conscience to more sin. As Jesus Christ says, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you” (John 5:14).

Our religion—our connection to God—provides us with the moral compass necessary to define both sin and the standards we need to walk worthy of our calling. This same connection also provides us with the ultimate solution for our addiction to sin—His love.

We do not live or commit sin in a vacuum. Each sin lowers our inhibition to further transgression and often causes collateral damage to those close to us and beyond. More importantly, it separates us from our Father and His love, without which we would be eternally lost. We can be assured, though, that because of our heavenly Father's powerful love for each of us, He has provided the perfect antidote to all of our sinful habits in the life and the blood of Jesus Christ.

— Martin G. Collins
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Post  Admin on Wed 08 Jan 2020, 4:27 pm

Proverbs 28:13
(13) He who covers his sins will not prosper,
But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

New King James Version  

Four words in this verse—"cover," "prosper," "confesses," and "forsakes"—highlight some valuable instruction for us. According to Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, these Hebrew words mean:

» Cover (kacah, #3680): "to cover, to conceal, to hide."

» Prosper (tsalach, #6743): "to advance, to prosper, to make progress, to succeed, to be profitable."

» Confesses (yadah, #3034): "to throw, to shoot, to cast" and by extension, "to confess" or even "to praise."

» Forsakes ('azab, #5800): "to leave, to loose, to forsake, to let go."

In other words, if we try to hide or ignore our faults, our chances for success in life are dim, but if we admit them and put them behind us, we will have favor. In The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck remarks that "it is easier for us to try and forget a problem that we know exists than to deal with it." He states a fundamental truth about our problems. If we do not deal with a problem—in our case, sin—it will never go away. It will fester, and it will always come up later or manifest itself in a different form.

Spiritually, then, if we are not honest with ourselves about our sins and shortcomings, we will not reach our full, God-given potential. God can show us our sins, but He cannot and will not force us to overcome—that decision is ours. We must see ourselves for what we are and have the desire to make the conscious choice to change. Thus, Paul instructs us in Philippians 2:12-13:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

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Post  Admin on Wed 08 Jan 2020, 12:42 am

Psalm 127:1-5
(1) Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
(2) It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep. (3) Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
(4) Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
(5) Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

New King James Version  

We can infer that the psalmist is someone who has been blessed by God. The principle in this psalm, then, is that all human effort is vain unless we have the Lord's blessings. That means that we have to take active steps to involve Him in every aspect of our lives. This lesson is applied here to four areas of life: 1) building a house, 2) guarding a city for security issues, 3) working long hours, and 4) rearing the children.

The psalmist also mentions sleep, which symbolizes and suggests the setting aside of care and forgetting one's need. Those who put their trust in God are delivered from fretting and fuming, and they are supplied rest. They sleep secure. They are not at all worried and overwrought. We can relate to sleepless nights because we have all been in a state of anxiety about something.

This is even mentioned in the New Testament about Jesus, when the disciples were sailing across the Sea of Galilee, and the boat was pitching about wildly in a storm. Jesus, however, was asleep! They were hanging on for dear life to the sides of the boat and were ready to do whatever it took to save themselves. Some were probably bailing furiously. Yet, He was peacefully asleep, and they cried, “Lord, why do you sleep? Save us!”

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Mon 06 Jan 2020, 1:19 pm

Exodus 12:26-27
(26) And it shall be, when your children say to you, "What do you mean by this service?" (27) that you shall say, "It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households."" So the people bowed their heads and worshiped.
New King James Version   

What is the Passover? Right from the start, God knew that young people would ask this very same question: "And it shall be, when your children say to you, 'What do you mean by this service?'" (Exodus 12:26). So He prepared an answer for them: "It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households" (verse 27).

Passover is a memorial day—a very important anniversary day. However, it commemorates three events, not just one. As God said, it commemorates the tenth and last plague upon ancient Egypt in which, after giving them ample warning, God passed over the nation of Egypt and killed all the firstborn in the land. Through this decimating plague, God freed the children of Israel from their captivity and servitude in Egypt.

Secondly, and most importantly, it commemorates the death of Jesus Christ, who was and is the firstborn Son of God the Father. Through Jesus' awful death—which, by God's design, took place on Passover day in AD 31—God freed us, regenerated Christians, from our captivity and slavery to the world, to Satan, and to sin.

Finally, it commemorates the baptism of each Christian, when we formally accepted the death of Jesus Christ, when we asked Him to apply His priceless sacrifice to our sins, when we asked that He would cover and blot out our sins with His blood (Psalm 41:1, 9; Acts 3:19; Romans 4:7).
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Post  Admin on Sun 05 Jan 2020, 5:27 pm

Obadiah 1:3-4
(3) The pride of your heart has deceived you,
You who dwell in the clefts of the rock,
Whose habitation is high;
Youwho say in your heart, "Who will bring me down to the ground?"
(4) Though you ascend as high as the eagle,
And though you set your nest among the stars,
From there I will bring you down," says the LORD.

New King James Version  

Pride deceives one into believing and eventually doing wrongly. What does it deceive a person into believing?

In this context God quotes Edom as saying, "Who will bring me down to the ground?" Edom dwelt in the mountainous country southeast of Judea, and Petra was their stronghold. They thought their combination of military strength and impregnable position made them impossible to defeat. Yet notice what verse 4 adds: "'Though you exalt yourself as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,' says the LORD."

What had pride done? It had deceived them into believing they were secure, self-sufficient, quick-witted, intelligent, and strong enough to withstand anybody. This clearly illustrates that pride's power lies in its ability to deceive us into believing in our self-sufficiency. Even in our everyday relationships with other people, this is a serious deception, but when the deception involves our relationship with God, the level of seriousness reaches alarming proportions.

The Edomites looked at their stronghold and then at themselves and their enemies. They concluded they were stronger than all—they were impregnable! Their evaluation was in error because they left God out of the picture. Therein lies much of the problem concerning pride. Against whom do we evaluate ourselves? Pride usually chooses to evaluate the self against those considered inferior. It must do this so as not to lose its sense of worth. To preserve itself, it will search until it finds a flaw.

If it chooses to evaluate the self against a superior, its own quality diminishes because the result of the evaluation changes markedly. In such a case, pride will often drive the person to compete against—and attempt to defeat—the superior one to preserve his status (Proverbs 13:10). Pride's power is in deceit, and the ground it plows to produce evil is in faulty evaluation.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Sat 04 Jan 2020, 8:21 pm

Zechariah 4:10
(10) For who has despised the day of small things?
For these seven rejoice to see
The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
They are the eyes of the LORD,
Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth."
New King James Version   
"For who has despised the day of small things?" No one who understands God and what He is working out looks down on the times when only insignificant things seem to be accomplished. Those who understand what God is doing know that the day of small things must take place before the big things can happen.

This is primarily an encouragement to the Two Witnesses. Their work will appear as nothing to begin with. Nevertheless, they will not despise it because they know that small things must happen before bigger things can take place, the things that will really put them on the map during the final 3½ years. But the small things that happen before that time—in measuring the altar, the Temple, and the worshippers (Revelation 11:1)—will set the stage for their major work.

It is important to realize—from the historical point of view—that even when this Temple was finished, the people moaned about it: "This is nothing like Solomon's Temple!" It seemed a small thing in itself, and it was. It was just a bare representation of the original Temple that David built through Solomon. Nevertheless, it was necessary. The small things that happened back then—the Jews returning from exile with a great many of the Levites and the priests, building the Temple, putting a wall around the city, and eventually colonizing most of the old land of Israel (particularly around the Sea of Galilee)—made the birth and ministry of Jesus Christ possible. He had to have a Temple to come to.

So, all these small things that happened with this tiny number of people who came back from Babylon, and all the work that they did over a hundred years or so, prepared the way for the very "big thing" of the first advent of Jesus Christ (meaning His entire life, His ministry, His death, and His resurrection). Without the small things, that big thing would never have happened.

God was preparing for the big thing through the small things, and He does that all the time. Thus, any faithful person will not despise the times when only small things are happening, because they mean that big things are coming and that they should prepare themselves for them.

— Richard T. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Fri 03 Jan 2020, 6:37 pm

Amos 2:4
(4) Thus says the LORD:
" For three transgressions of Judah, and for four,
I will not turn away its punishment,
Because they have despised the law of the LORD,
And have not kept His commandments.
Their lies lead them astray,
Lies which their fathers followed.

New King James Version

Law in Amos 2:4 refers to instruction, not legislation and its enforcement. From a verb that means "to throw," its root describes casting lots or throwing dice. When lots or dice were cast, God revealed His will in the way they landed (Proverbs 16:33; see Leviticus 16:8-10; Acts 1:26). At times lots were used in making judgments in criminal cases in which God's will needed to be ascertained (Joshua 7:13-25). Thus, by setting a legal precedent, the casting of lots served to give instruction in other cases in which the same basic principles of behavior were involved. God's will—His law—was taught to His people through the casting of lots.

This instruction process implies a teacher-student relationship. When the Israelites rejected God's instruction contained in His law, they rejected the Instructor as well. Their relationship with Him quickly deteriorated.

Commandment means "to engrave or cut into stone," suggesting its permanence and immutability in contrast to temporary and changeable lies. The law comes from an unchangeable, righteous, and pure God in contrast to fickle and iniquitous men.

Judah's despising of God's law and revelation of Himself was internal—from the heart (Psalm 78:37; 81:11-12; Jeremiah 5:23). The personal and social failures Amos records are evidence that the people had rejected the truth. So it is with us: God wants to change our hearts so He can change our actions and turn around our lives.

In every area of life, Israel perverted the truth of God to accommodate the ideas of men. In the final tally, they loved lies rather than the revelation of God (II Thessalonians 2:11-12). Thus Amos says that God's people despised His law. They made the mistake of devaluing their calling and considered it common. Believing they were God's elect, they thought they were irrevocably saved. With this attitude it was only a matter of time before spiritual and moral complacency set in. As the church of God, we cannot allow ourselves to slip into this attitude because we, too, would fall into immorality.

If that occurs, God must pass judgment because His justice is the same for everybody (Colossians 3:25; I Peter 1:17). God's laws govern the people on the outside as well as the people on the inside. No matter what makes Israel or the church distinctly different, His judgment is always righteous. When God could not change Israel's immorality through His prophets, He had to punish them. So will He punish an apostate church.

It is easy to see why this book is written to the end-time church. The people of America and the British Commonwealth are already in the moral and spiritual condition of the people of Israel and Judah in the time of Amos. Members of God's church come out of such a world. Just as Israel's privileged position became a curse, so will it be for the Christian who ultimately rejects his calling (Hebrews 6:4).

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Thu 02 Jan 2020, 6:51 pm

Matthew 25:1-13
(1) "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. (2) Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. (3) Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, (4) but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. (5) But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. (6) "And at midnight a cry was heard: "Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!" (7) Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. (8) And the foolish said to the wise, "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out." (9) But the wise answered, saying, "No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves." (10) And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. (11) "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, "Lord, Lord, open to us!" (12) But he answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you." (13) "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
New King James Version   

The Parable of the Ten Virgins pictures the church waiting for the Bridegroom's return. Because of an unexpectedly long delay, He finds half the virgins unprepared when He finally arrives.

In weddings of that time, the bridegroom traditionally led a procession of bridesmaids from where they waited to his home. Since the procession almost invariably took place at night, each bridesmaid was expected to supply her own torch or lamp. If the bridegroom came later than expected, the bridesmaid needed to be prepared with extra torches or oil for her lamp.

The difference between the wise and the foolish virgins in the parable is not that one group did not have oil, but that one group did not have enough for the unexpectedly long delay. When the cry went out, their lamps were still burning, but they were sputtering and going out. Oil, of course, represents God's Holy Spirit. The wise virgins, like the faithful and wise servant of Matthew 24:45-51, are prepared. They make sure that they remain in contact with the dispenser of oil, as is implied when they say to the foolish virgins, "No, . . . go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves" (verse 9). The wise had been in recent contact with the dispenser of oil, whereas the others apparently had dallied around. Going frequently to the dispenser, the wise, when the bridegroom arrived, had an adequate supply to trim their lamps and go into the marriage supper. The lesson is preparedness through vision and foresight.

Because it is an internal state, preparedness cannot be transferred. That is evident in the reaction of the virgins. It is a matter of the heart, an intangible that accrues by spending long periods of time under many circumstances with the Dispenser of the Holy Spirit. What cannot be transferred to those who are unprepared are matters of attitude, character, skill, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. They are personal attributes that are built and honed over months and years.

When one needs a skill immediately, how much time does it take to learn it? If a man suddenly needed the skill to repair an automobile, and he had never done any work on one, he may as well have no hands at all! It works the same way with spiritual attributes. Preparing for eventualities is the lesson of this parable. The wise virgins prepared for the eventuality that it might take longer for the bridegroom to come—they showed foresight and vision, and they entered the wedding feast. The others did not.

The oil cannot be borrowed either. In no way can it be passed from one person to another. We cannot borrow character or a relationship with God. The parable teaches us that opportunity comes, opportunity knocks, and then opportunity leaves. The foolish failed to face the possibility that the bridegroom would come later than expected, and when they were awakened, they had no time to fetch any oil and fill their lamps.

No one can deliver his brother. Each person determines his own destiny. No matter how close we are, even if we are one in flesh as in marriage, a husband cannot deliver his wife, and a wife cannot deliver her husband. Nor can we deliver our children. Everyone stands on his own in his relationship with God. God makes this clear in Ezekiel 14:14: "'Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,' says the Lord God." Though it is a hard lesson, it should motivate us to discipline ourselves, to exercise self-control, to be alert, and to give our attention to our spiritual priorities. Thus, each person determines his own destiny.

Equating the foolish virgins with their modern counterparts, the Laodiceans, their faith is perfunctory. Their church membership is routine, merely going through the motions. They have enough faith that they at least show up for church services. They have beliefs and character and motivation—but not enough!

The Bridegroom's refusal to admit the five foolish virgins (verse 12) must not be construed as a callous rejection of their lifelong desire to enter the Kingdom. Far from callous, Christ's rejection is entirely justified because these people never make preparations for their marriage to Him. In the analogy, though they realize they have met their future mate and admire Him, they never develop the relationship. In a sense, they have already rejected Him. Thus, an additional lesson in this parable is that our relationship with God must be worked on continually.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Wed 01 Jan 2020, 1:18 pm

Numbers 12:4-9
(4) Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, "Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!" So the three came out. (5) Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. (6) Then He said,
"Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream. (7) Not so with My servant Moses;
He is faithful in all My house. (8) I speak with him face to face,
Even plainly, and not in dark sayings;
And he sees the form of the LORD.
Why then were you not afraid
To speak against My servant Moses?" (9) So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed.

  Hebrews 3:2
(2) who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.
New King James Version   

How would we like to be accused as Moses was, then witness God Himself make a dramatic entrance and hear His voice boom out in poetry in our defense, saying that we are without peer amongst all the people? God says to Moses, "There is no one like you." He was without peer among the holy. That is pretty impressive! It has not happened very often in mankind's history.

But, on the other hand, there has only been one Moses. There were a number of ordinary prophets, who had to be content with visions and dreams, but God spoke to Moses personally. Moses was in a class by himself. Nobody on earth was more intimate with God than Moses, and, as a result, Moses was entrusted with God's estate. And Hebrews 3:2 comments, "Moses also was faithful in all His house."

"All His house" is a figure of speech, indicating that "house" is put for itself (that is, the building) and everything in it. What is normally in a house is a family. Moses, then, was faithful—he was without peer—in all of God's Household, God's Family.

Nobody was faithful like Moses was faithful, therefore he could interpret God's will to Israel with full authority. God backed His prophet up, saying that Miriam and Aaron were completely out of line. This is why He says, "Why were you not afraid to speak against [or, accuse] My servant Moses?"

It is clear what set Moses apart from others: He was faithful. This can be seen when he is contrasted to the rest of Israel, the very people that he was leading, who comprised God's Family at that time. They were anything but faithful! In fact, the reason that the Israelites failed was because of their lack of faith. And without faith, of course, one cannot be faithful.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Wed 01 Jan 2020, 1:15 pm

Numbers 12:4-9
(4) Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, "Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!" So the three came out. (5) Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. (6) Then He said,
"Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream. (7) Not so with My servant Moses;
He is faithful in all My house. (8) I speak with him face to face,
Even plainly, and not in dark sayings;
And he sees the form of the LORD.
Why then were you not afraid
To speak against My servant Moses?" (9) So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed.

  Hebrews 3:2
(2) who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.
New King James Version   Change Bible versions

How would we like to be accused as Moses was, then witness God Himself make a dramatic entrance and hear His voice boom out in poetry in our defense, saying that we are without peer amongst all the people? God says to Moses, "There is no one like you." He was without peer among the holy. That is pretty impressive! It has not happened very often in mankind's history.

But, on the other hand, there has only been one Moses. There were a number of ordinary prophets, who had to be content with visions and dreams, but God spoke to Moses personally. Moses was in a class by himself. Nobody on earth was more intimate with God than Moses, and, as a result, Moses was entrusted with God's estate. And Hebrews 3:2 comments, "Moses also was faithful in all His house."

"All His house" is a figure of speech, indicating that "house" is put for itself (that is, the building) and everything in it. What is normally in a house is a family. Moses, then, was faithful—he was without peer—in all of God's Household, God's Family.

Nobody was faithful like Moses was faithful, therefore he could interpret God's will to Israel with full authority. God backed His prophet up, saying that Miriam and Aaron were completely out of line. This is why He says, "Why were you not afraid to speak against [or, accuse] My servant Moses?"

It is clear what set Moses apart from others: He was faithful. This can be seen when he is contrasted to the rest of Israel, the very people that he was leading, who comprised God's Family at that time. They were anything but faithful! In fact, the reason that the Israelites failed was because of their lack of faith. And without faith, of course, one cannot be faithful.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Tue 31 Dec 2019, 9:55 pm

Luke 4:16-19
(16) So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. (17) And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
(18) "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
(19) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."
New King James Version   

Every one of the actions in verses 18-19 has to do with words. Everything that came out of Him came out of an absolutely pure heart. He said, "I'm going to preach the gospel to the poor." The poor are those deprived or powerless, and the reason for His preaching was to give them vision and hope. Moses gave the enslaved Israelites good news of a similar sort: "God is going to free us and lead us to our own land."

Then Christ says, "I'm going to heal the brokenhearted." He means those whose hearts are broken in repentance. It is as if He says, "I'm going to take care of all your past mistakes. I will heal you and give you comfort so you can start out the journey to the Kingdom of God in good spiritual condition."

After this He says, "I'm going to preach deliverance to the captives." He will inspire enthusiasm and give hope for a bright future. He will recover the sight of the blind. He will provide truth, and therefore direction and clear thinking, to people. He will set them at liberty by forgiving them of their sins—and keep them free. He will preach the acceptable year of the Lord—the time is now—and instill them with urgency. Each of these steps is Him working on our mind.

Hardly any of us have moved an inch, as it were, since our calling. Most of us live in the same general area in which we were called. Even if we did move around the country, we are still under the same human government. Our location does not matter to God. He is after our mind. He wants to change the heart until it is pure like His Son's. In all of these functions, God is working on the mind by means of His word, His truth, empowering us through an educational process, and by the addition of His Spirit to make the best possible use of our free moral agency in our lives.

John 1:12 says—in the chapter where Jesus is identified as the Word of God, the Logos, and as the Light of the world, which is the truth of God that points out the way—that we are given the right to be sons of God. The word "right" is an accurate translation, but the marginal reference is better: "authority." Perhaps an even better word is "empowered," which is the Greek word's real meaning. We are empowered to become part of the Kingdom of God. That empowerment has come by means of God's calling, the revelation of His purpose through His Word, and all the other instruction that is necessary for the accomplishment of the great purpose God is working out.

That Word He has revealed to us is pure and unadulterated. It is the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Mon 30 Dec 2019, 9:30 pm

Isaiah 33:14-19
(14) The sinners in Zion are afraid;
Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites:
“ Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?
Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”
(15) He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
He who despises the gain of oppressions,
Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes,
Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed,
And shuts his eyes from seeing evil:
(16) He will dwell on high;
His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks;
Bread will be given him,
His water will be sure. (17) Your eyes will see the King in His beauty;
They will see the land that is very far off.
(18) Your heart will meditate on terror:
“ Where is the scribe?
Where is he who weighs?
Where is he who counts the towers?”
(19) You will not see a fierce people,
A people of obscure speech, beyond perception,
Of a stammering tongue that you cannot understand.

New King James Version   

This prophecy, beginning in verse 14, falls within a prophecy of judgment against Assyria. The sinners and hypocrites in Zion can be one of two things: The phrase can certainly apply to the land of Israel, Zion being a part of Jerusalem where the Temple was built. The prophet could be alluding to the fact that there are hypocrites among the people of Israel. It can also be dual and refer to the church, because God frequently symbolizes the church by using the name "Zion." There can be, among those who are part of the church of God, sinners and hypocrites.

These people are responding to the harshness of the prophecies aimed at Assyria, and they are wondering, "Who can ever survive this?" God, through the prophet, gives an answer about who will be able to survive what is coming: "He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises the gain of oppression, who gestured with his hands refusing bribes, who stopped his ear from hearing of blood shed and shuts his eyes from seeing evil." If a person does rightly, if he lives righteously, God extends protection to them so that they will not have to go through the terrible times that are coming.

Where will this protection take place? He says at a "fortress of rocks." The stronghold of rock will be a place where it will be necessary for food and water to be provided. It is such a wilderness, so desolate, that sustenance will have to be provided, and the implication is that it will be provided miraculously by God. The place is so desolate, so forsaken, such a wilderness, that it will not support life to any great degree. Certainly, it is dry, maybe getting only two or three inches of rain a year, but that's not enough to grow anything. It will not support life.

The comments regarding the scribe, "Where is he who weighs, where is he who counts the towers?" are indications of military personnel, personalities in an army. One translation says the scribe is "the general who comes," and that has to be tied to verse 19 because the people in this place of protection—those who have lived uprightly—are not going to see the army that is coming against Israel.

Here we begin to see clearly a turn in Scripture, as it begins to provide admonishments and encouragements urging people to make an effort to try to be in this place of safety, to turn their life aright, to produce qualities that God will look for in the people who will receive His protection from what is coming.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Sun 29 Dec 2019, 7:41 pm

 Genesis 3:17-19
(17) Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, "You shall not eat of it":
"Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.

(18) Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.

(19) In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return."
New King James Version  

Some commentators make a great deal out of the fact that God addresses this curse to adam rather than to "the man" (ish in Hebrew), seeing this as proof that this curse was to fall on all mankind. This semantic argument means very little in the end, since both ish, the man named Adam, and adam, mankind, received the effects of the curse, just as both Eve and all other women have suffered from her curse.

English-speaking peoples have a saying that "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach." God, of course, understood this, and thus His curse on Adam centers on eating. In fact, eating is a major theme of the first three chapters of Genesis (see 1:29-30; 2:9, 15-17; 3:1-6, 11-13).

Eating, however, stands for more than simply nourishing the body; it is one small part of mankind's daily struggle to survive his hostile environment, planet earth. The Garden of Eden was a place where man's work "to tend and keep" what God had made was pleasurable, fulfilling, and probably not overly strenuous. The earth worked with the man to produce his needs for food, clothing, shelter, and whatever other need he might have.

Once God pronounced his curse, though, the ground—from which comes all material wealth and produce—turned uncooperative. Instead of man and nature united in productive labor, the situation became man versus nature, a competition for dominance. Now, man would have to use all his physical and mental powers to subdue the earth.

The earth would yield its fruit only after a man forced it through hard labor in plowing, planting, watering, cultivating, and reaping. Animals from insects to deer to wolves, fearful of man, would become pests and destroy his crops, herds, possessions and even his life on occasion. Materials for building homes, crafting tools, making clothing, and manufacturing items would be gathered only by raping the land of minerals, metals, wood, and stone.

The earth would protest through natural processes like earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, wildfires, erosion, and infertility. Denuded of trees, the land would become a desert. The weather would turn foul, sending too much or too little rain. Windstorms like hurricanes and tornadoes would devastate vast stretches of territory. The sun would beat down mercilessly or withhold its heat for long stretches.

Such was the situation Adam and Eve faced after God drove them from the Garden of Eden. For six thousand years all their descendants have struggled to survive the harsh conditions of life separated from God and in competition with nature. Surely it has affected their eating, but it has also had an impact on every other endeavor of mankind—from breaking horses for riding to blasting satellites into orbit. Men accomplish nothing except by the toil of hard work and overcoming the obstacles the environment places in their way.

— Richard T. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Sat 28 Dec 2019, 2:50 pm

James 4:4
(4) Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
New King James Version   

To have a warm, familiar attitude with this world is to be on good terms with God's enemy. What does it mean, in more practical terms, to be a friend of the world? It is to adopt the world's set of values and wants, to desire what the world wants instead of choosing according to divine standards or divine truths.

In other words, if a person does that, he has actually made himself subject to Satan because Satan is the god of this world! That is a choice that we want to avoid. The worldly person will almost invariably choose to satisfy himself and take action on his desire, which eventually produces confusion, division, and war. It cannot be otherwise because the spirit of the world is the spirit of Satan, and laws are at work that will produce what they are designed to produce.

That was the problem in the congregation to which James wrote. If another apostle had been writing it, such as the apostle Paul did in I Corinthians 3, he would say, "You are yet carnal." These were converted people but still carnal, and they were showing it through their choices. It was not that they did not have the Spirit of God but that they were still so weak spiritually. They were choosing to fall back on what they had in the way of character, understanding, knowledge, and vision from the world, and by this, they showed that Satan was still dominating their lives.

This is understandable because Satan is a wily and powerful adversary—but he can be overcome and defeated. Christ did it, and we can too because Christ is in us.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Fri 27 Dec 2019, 5:18 pm

Ecclesiastes 6:9
(9) Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire.
This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

New King James Version  

The problem with a divided, unfocused mind is that it is, as we would say today, all over the place, seeking fulfillment in a host of things, pursuing a wide variety of goals, but rarely, if ever, coming to grips with the pursuit of revealed truth.

Many of us have television to thank for having a mind like this as it has played a major role in destroying peoples' attention span. The attention span of Americans is now getting down into the neighborhood of seven minutes: the length of time between advertising on television. We have a hard time focusing for any period of time, and television is constantly pushing its mind-numbing banalities into our minds, making it difficult for us to do what is absolutely necessary for us to do, that is, to spend time in heartfelt prayer and study, seeking God. The chances are very great that we sit down to read the Bible, and our eyes get heavy, and we struggle to fight off sleep. It happens because we have no passion for Jesus Christ.

God is teaching us what defragments our mind: seeking Him with a passionate desire to be like Him. This works to make our minds one with His.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Fri 27 Dec 2019, 2:40 pm

Romans 11:29
To get a proper understanding of the context of that verse, let’s read Romans 11:25-29, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” 

Romans, chapters 9-11deal mainly with the ‘setting aside’ of the nation of Israel as the favored people of God because of their unbelief.  The Lord Jesus lamented the rejection and unbelief of Israel in Matthew 23:37where He said, “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!”  The Lord came to save the Jews as we read in Matthew 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”  The Lord told the Samaritan woman in John 4:22that, “…salvation is of the Jews.”  However, this favored nation refused to accept the Lord Jesus as their Messiah, or Christ.  Because of that, the nation of Israel was cut off as we read in Romans 11:20, which tell us that, “…because of unbelief they were broken off…” 

In the day we now live in, the Lord has opened the way of salvation to all who come to Him by faith.   Romans 10:12-13says, “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  While the Lord’s ‘earthly people’, Israel, has been set aside, His Heavenly people, the church, is being filled with all who believe, Jew or Gentile.  We read in Acts 2:47that, “…the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” 

But what about all those promises the Lord made to the nation of Israel?  Has He now changed Him mind because of their unbelief?  No, He has not!  Romans 11:29tells us, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”  This means that the blessings and promises of the Lord are unchangeable.  What He has promised to Israel, He will perform.  There will come a day, when Israel is taken up once again as the chosen people of God.  During the seven-year Tribulation period, the Lord will once again raise up this nation and will bless them according to His promises.  As we read in Romans 9:26-27, “And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.” 

There is also a wonderful and practical truth to Romans 11:29.  We can rest assured that when the Lord makes a promise to us, there is nothing that can change that promise.  The Apostle Paul wrote in Titus 1:1-2, “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”  While the world is full of broken promises, we can rest assured that the Lord never breaks a promise that He makes to us.  We read in Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised.)”  (133.4)
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE - Page 15 Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin on Thu 26 Dec 2019, 10:10 pm

Amos 5:4-6
(4) For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel:
"Seek Me and live;
(5) But do not seek Bethel,
Nor enter Gilgal,
Nor pass over to Beersheba;
For Gilgal shall surely go into captivity,
And Bethel shall come to nothing.
(6) Seek the LORD and live,
Lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph,
And devour it,
With no one to quench it in Bethel—

New King James Version  

Beersheba played a role in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Though the event for each was a little different, something was said to each that is significant to our lives, especially in light of the Holy Spirit.

Abraham's incident at Beersheba is written in Genesis 21:22-24:

And it came to pass at that time that Abimelech and Phichol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, "God is with you in all that you do. Now therefore swear to me by God that you will not deal falsely with me, with my offspring, or with my posterity; but that according to the kindness that I have done to you, you will do to me and to the land in which you have sojourned." And Abraham said, "I will swear."

In this event, Abimelech utters the words that become central to what Beersheba came to represent to the Israelites: "God is with you in all that you do." A pagan king observed Abraham's life as one that reflected godliness.

In Isaac's incident at Beersheba, recorded in Genesis 26:23-24, God Himself utters the assurance necessary for Isaac to trust Him: "Then He went up from there to Beersheba. And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, 'I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham's sake.'" Like Isaac, we need assurance, we need to believe, that God is with us.

In Jacob's case, he is on his way to Egypt to meet with Joseph, filled with a stressful mixture of joy and fear, when the event of Genesis 46:1-4 occurs:

So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob!" And he said, "Here I am." And He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes."

Thus, at Beersheba, each of the three patriarchs receives assurance of the companionship of God. What might have been the reaction of the Israelites when Amos said, "Don't pass over to Beersheba"?

It is a pastor's responsibility, not only to help to build peoples' trust in God, but also from time to time to sow doubt about their condition or standing before God. This is necessary because we often assume that all is well in our relationship with God. Amos filled not only the role of prophet but also of pastor of these wayward people, who were falsely confident in their standing with God.

An analysis of Paul's writings shows that his tactics at meeting church problems varied. At times, he energetically battered the opposition's position, and at others, he merely asked questions accompanied by some well-placed, incisive, solid, logical reasoning. In Amos 5:5, the prophet uses some strong imperatives, then turns to a recitation of matters the Israelites would have immediately recognized as accurate, even though they might not have accepted the truth of his statements.

Could these people have assumed - because of the general prosperity in Israel - that God was with them in all they did, despite all the evidence of their sinfulness Amos observed during their festival in Beersheba? Were they blind to the fact that prosperity is no guarantee that one is righteous before God?

The essence of the "God is with you" promise is that all is well and peace exists between God and a person; there is no barrier or constraint between them, and harmony reigns. Thus, the two can walk together because they have an understanding (Amos 3:3) - in fact, they may even have a covenant.

Amos had many reasons to believe that their assumption that God was with them was on shaky ground. First, in Amos 5:6, he briefly warns them of the fire of God's judgment, an allusion to the Day of the Lord, soon to fall upon them. He knows they are not seeking God to walk in His steps, so he proceeds to list a number of their sins. Finally, in verses 18-20, he shows them that they had no fear of the consequences of their way of life.

They truly assumed that everything was okay between them and God despite the sorry record of their sins that Amos laid before them! They completely ignored the fact that they, in reality, lived their lives apart from God. They really did not know the God they claimed to be walking with!

Consider the seriousness of verses 14-16:

Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the LORD God of hosts will be with you, as you have spoken. Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate. It may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. Therefore the LORD God of hosts, the Lord, says this. . . .

Nowhere else in the Bible do three successive verses feature the awesome name, "the LORD God of hosts," underscoring His leading the armies of heaven! Amos is making a very strong point by drawing their attention to the sovereign, omnipotent God of Armies, who is so far above us He is out of sight. These complacent people might choose to believe they were walking with Him, but it begs the question, did this great God want to walk with them as they were?

Adam would have happily remained in the Garden, provided he could hide, but God knew He could not allow such a condition to continue. What good would it do Adam? The Israelites' complacency had been telling them that, when the Day of the Lord arrived, God would side with His people, making it a day of great glory for them. Instead, Amos informs them that it would be just the opposite! It is a time of wailing and disaster (verses 16-17). They had been feeding themselves on false hopes. God says, "I will pass through you"!

In saying, "Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the LORD God of hosts will be with you, as you have spoken" (verse 14), Amos admonishes them to seek holiness. He is urging them to see that it is not just a way or rule of life, but a means of life. Hebrews 12:14 confirms its importance, ". . . without holiness no one will see the Lord." When the people of God follow the way that accords with God's will, they come into possession of life. We must never presume God's grace or take it for granted. We must always fervently seek and submit to the will of God in order to be in His Kingdom.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Tue 24 Dec 2019, 4:45 pm

  Deuteronomy 6:4
(4) "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!

  Malachi 3:6
(6) "For I am the LORD, I do not change;
Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
  Romans 11:29
(29) For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

  Hebrews 1:12
(12) Like a cloak You will fold them up,
And they will be changed.
But You are the same,
And Your years will not fail."
  Hebrews 13:8
(8) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
New King James Version   

God's mind is absolutely undivided. In practical application, this means that His sovereignty can never be separated from His love; His grace cannot be separated from His omniscience; His judgment cannot be separated from either His mercy or His wrath. God is absolutely constant because His faithful providence cannot be separated from any other of His attributes. God is whole and complete. Under every circumstance, He is never confused or uncertain about what to do. He is always headed in the same direction, which is to complete His purpose.

It is absolutely impossible for Him to do anything that is not wise and at the same time loving. It is He who tells us how to live and how to be like Him. What God is has awesome ramifications for us because we are so different, and He wants us to be like Him, to be one with Him, to be whole, to be complete, to be undivided in mind like Him.

There are problems here because becoming this way requires a measure of cooperation from us. Compared to God, our mind is all over the place, and thus we are so easily distracted from our focus.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin on Mon 23 Dec 2019, 1:23 pm

Romans 7:22-25
(22) For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. (23) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (24) O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (25) I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
New King James Version   

Was Paul a novice in the faith when he wrote the book of Romans? God would hardly allow a novice to write Scripture. The apostle Paul was one of the most mature Christians who ever walked the face of the earth. But he saw himself being torn—the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. Paul was in the middle, having to make the choice. If he had not grown spiritually, he would never have seen the conflict; his mind would have passed right over it. Thus, on the one hand, Paul delighted in his understanding of the purpose and perfection of God's law, yet on the other, that insight produced much dismay in him because he could see how far short he fell, from time to time, of its perfection.

The existence of this inward conflict is not a sign that the
 person is not sanctified. As long as we are in the flesh, we will never be entirely free of this struggle. Human nature does not go down without a fight. It must be overcome! In a way, this evil entity within us actually becomes part of the means of our perfection.

Overcoming is a long process, and it requires diligent and humbling effort to subdue our human nature. However, we must never allow ourselves to fall into the attitude that all of our effort is somehow justifying us before God—even though it pleases God and gratifies us. The holiest of our actions, the holiest of the actions of the holiest saints, are still full of imperfections and defects. Even some of these are done from the wrong motive. They could even qualify as being nothing more than a splendid sin in God's sight. Nevertheless, we are saved by grace through faith. Even with that, God requires that we make an effort to do what we can on our part.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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