Don’t be Blue- It’s Revelation Twenty-two!

It is amazing to me how much comfort is found in this book of Revelation.  I have used passages from this book for  every funeral I have officiated.  And I find comfort and guidance in this book when I face my own personal challenges.  For the saved believer in Jesus Christ it is a book of promise and hope for the future. For the non-believer it is a book of the horrors of the coming judgment. I would like to make a point here, for the believer judgment has to do with reward, for the non believer it has to do with the wrath of God and His perfect justice. As we come to the sixth verse of this final chapter of the final book of the Holy Scriptures – bear in mind this whole book is a promise of great blessings for the believer and a very strong warning to those who refuse to come to Christ with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. 

6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy[a] prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.
7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
8 Now I, John, saw and heard[b] these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For[c] I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. 11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous[d] still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”

The visions of this book are meant it inform believers of what COULD take place very soon. “Blessed” begins the sixth of the seven beatitudes found in this book.  

This is the second time John makes the mistake of worshiping an angel.  The angel reminds John that he is a fellow servant of God and kind of scolds him that only God is to be worshiped.  

Earlier John was told to seal up and not reveal what the words were of  seven thunders.  Just as Daniel had been instructed not reveal certain things  this is found in Daniel 12:4,9.  

At first glance Verse 11 seems to predict that believers and non believers will live out their lives true to their nature until the final judgment.  But we look down to verse 17 and back to 14:6,7 there is an implied and indirect evangelistic appeal based on the continuing offer of the gospel found in those verses. 

The judgment seat of Christ can either render a time of great joy or it can be a time of the greatest regret.  The rewards that Christ offers are very strong incentives to live an obedient life to Him. Once Christ comes again, He will reward His own- We can count on this because He is in control of all of history and all of eternity.

 

 

Have a blessed and happy new year! Stay safe and stay in the word throughout the year!  

There is a daily bible reading plan on Empty Cross Ministries facebook page that will take you through the OT once and the NT twice in a years time.  Just click <like> and you are welcome to leave comments on the page.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Empty-Cross-Ministries/17193 0279510531

And listen in on ULC Radio for great contemporary and traditional music and a variety of talk shows with subjects ranging from News to devotionals to Bible studies. 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/universallifechurch

 

Is the End or the Beginning? Rev22!!

It has been a long while since we touched on the book of Revelation. As we approach the end of the year,, it is fitting that we finish this, the last book of the entire canon of the Holy Bible. We started this study several weeks ago and got side tracked with Christmas.And I was reading through Malachi in my own devotional time and though it would be appropriate and  and quick study since it is such a short book and addresses the same issues that the world and especially the Unites States is facing right now.   We approach the new year with hopes and dreams and high expectations that this next year will be much better than the one we bid farewell to, and  for some of us, a good riddance.  As I mentioned previously 2010 did end well for my family and I and once again 2011 we face another loss of a loved one. As I come to grips with those things I realize just how much promise and hope the book of Revelation offers the saved believer in Jesus Christ. For the lost, it is a book of horrors, but for the Christian it is a book of hope and assurance of that hope. As death for the believer is actually life eternal in paradise with the Lord and with  those that have passed onto glory , it  is not the end, but the beginning of something new and absolutely astounding, to be  present with the Lord.  And that is what the last chapter of the book is all about- it is about life and opens with John describing a river with the water of life- so lets get to it!

Revelation 22

 1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever

The river with the water of life reminds us of the water coming from the temple in Ezekiel 47 and Jesus expression “rivers of living water” in John 7:38 which represents the New Testament ministry of the Holy Spirit.  The tree of life in the original creation ( remember this is after the all things being made new- a new heaven a new earth) was in the middle of the garden of Eden.  All of humanity was banned from the tree after sin entered into the world. This implies that a better and new everlasting Eden has come.  Now we come to verse 3 – NO MORE CURSE- the affliction of sin on humans and all of creation will be erased. PRAISE THE LORD!!  Once again we will fellowship with God as Adam and Eve did before the fall. The Lord will be with His people eternally and we will worshipfully serve Him. And this brings us to verse four – The hope of the Christian today is to see the Lord face to face. No one, not even Moses was allowed to do this before.  “His name shall be on their foreheads” This is a fulfillment of the promise to the believers of the church of Philadelphia and also stands in stark contrast to the mark of the beast. Now we come to verse five, the final verse that we will look at tonight. “There shall be no night there” It is a fulfillment of Christ’s proclamation that He is “the Light of the world”  There is no need for a lamp- it is His glory that shines bright enough to overpower any and all darkness.  “And they shall reign forever and ever” with the Lord- there is implication to this in Chapter 1 verse six of this book. Also this can be found in Daniel 7:18 and 27.  

Don’t forget to listen to ULC Radio on Wednesday’s from 9:00- 10:00 PM EST.  

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And “like” the Universal Life Church Headquarters Facebook Page as well as my Empty Cross Ministries Facebook Page

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Psalm 51:10

 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,

         And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

 

 

Biblical Prophecy

A prophet in the Bible is a spokesman for God and is given insight into the mind of God and declares what he has “seen”  as a message to the people. This insight could be through visions or other means. It is the deliverance of the message that is emphasized rather than the mysterious mode of reception of the prophetic revelation. The biblical prophets uttered the actual words that God had given them with no modification or interpretation on their part. Though some would disagree with me, the prophets did not predict the future but were forth telling the truth.  The messages the delivered were mostly warnings to repent of national or individual sins and the outcome depended on if the warning was heeded or not. There were three tests to determine if a prophet was a true prophet or a false prophet.  First there was the Theological Test (Duet 13).The second test was the Practical Test( Duet 18:20) Note that this is a negative test.  The third test was the Moral Test ( Jer 23:9) This test was to be applied first the how the prophets lived their lives and then to the tendency of the message they preached. The message they preached would have to turn people away from doing evil and to the Lord.  All of the prophets spoke of a a future deliverance to be accomplished by the Messiah. These prophecies are called Messianic Prophecies. The word Messiah is not frequently used the Old Testament. Just to review briefly there are four major prophets and twelve minor prophets. The major prophets are called such because of the length of the books – the major prophets being the longer and the minor being the shorter, this distinction has noting to do with the importance of the messages that each delivered. To further complicate this the prophets are also classed as the former prophets and the latter prophets. The former prophets would include the books of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. The latter prophets are also called the Writing Prophets. These are Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the twelve minor prophets, are all considered the Writing Prophets.  The terms former and latter do not reflect the historical chronology of when the prophets preached their messages. The study of biblical prophecy must include the prophecies of the New Testament as well as the Old Testament. Jesus was a prophet, priest and king. Jesus gave many prophecies and we will look at them too. We have covered a great deal of Revelation, the only book in prophetic book in the New Testament, that does not mean that the other books do not contain prophecies, bu they best  fit in the category of historical books, I am referring to the four Gospels, and they do contain prophecy throughout.  Once again a brief review – the four major prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel, the twelve minor prophets are Hosea, Joel, Amos,Obadiah,Jonah,Micah,Nahum,Habakkuk,Zephaniah,Haggai,

Zechariah, and Malachi. Jeremiah wrote the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations.  

Isaiah is called the Messianic prophet and Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet.  

We will now pick up our study of Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament and the last book of the minor prophets.  We pick up in Malachi Chapter three:

Malachi 3 (New King James Version)

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Malachi 3

New King James Version (NKJV)

 

Malachi 3

The Coming Messenger
 1 “Behold, I send My messenger,
      And he will prepare the way before Me. 
      And the Lord, whom you seek, 
      Will suddenly come to His temple, 
      Even the Messenger of the covenant, 
      In whom you delight. 
      Behold, He is coming,” 
      Says the LORD of hosts. 
       2 “ But who can endure the day of His coming? 
      And who can stand when He appears? 
      For He is like a refiner’s fire 
      And like launderers’ soap. 
       3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; 
      He will purify the sons of Levi, 
      And purge them as gold and silver, 
      That they may offer to the LORD 
      An offering in righteousness. 
 1 “Behold, I send My messenger,
      And he will prepare the way before Me. 
      And the Lord, whom you seek, 
      Will suddenly come to His temple, 
      Even the Messenger of the covenant, 
      In whom you delight. 
      Behold, He is coming,” 
      Says the LORD of hosts. 
We see in this verse two messengers, the first is John the Baptist and the second is Jesus, the Messiah.  Both John the Baptist and Malachi prepared the way for Jesus.  There are three persons in view in this verse, The Father(the Lord) speaks of sending a messenger( a prophet- John the Baptist) who will prepare the way for the coming of the Lord(Jesus)
Will suddenly come to His temple- Surprise! Both the wicked and the righteous will be surprised when the Messiah arrives. 
 Messenger of the covenant-This is a Messianic title referring to the one who will initiate the New Covenant.
He is coming-It would be 400 years before this would be fulfilled , however the wording indicates that something dramatic was about to occur. Remember, God’s timetable is not the same as ours!

 2 “ But who can endure the day of His coming? 
      And who can stand when He appears? 
      For He is like a refiner’s fire 
      And like launderers’ soap. 

Here Malachi is referring to the second appearing of the Messiah, and that will be a time of judgment and purification.
       3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; 
      He will purify the sons of Levi, 
      And purge them as gold and silver, 
      That they may offer to the LORD 
      An offering in righteousness. 

He will purify the sons of Levi- The priests had come under some harsh words in this book, and since Malachi, himself, was a priest, these words would hold some special significance for him.

May God richly bless you till next time!

 

Onward with Malachi

Treachery of Infidelity

10 Have we not all one Father?
Has not one God created us?
Why do we deal treacherously with one another
By profaning the covenant of the fathers?
11 Judah has dealt treacherously,
And an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem,
For Judah has profaned
The LORD’s holy institution which He loves:
He has married the daughter of a foreign god.
12 May the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob
The man who does this, being awake and aware,[b]
Yet who brings an offering to the LORD of hosts!
13 And this is the second thing you do:
You cover the altar of the LORD with tears,
With weeping and crying;
So He does not regard the offering anymore,
Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands.
14 Yet you say, “For what reason?”
Because the LORD has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.
15 But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
16 “ For the LORD God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the LORD of hosts.

“ Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”
17 You have wearied the LORD with your words;
Yet you say,

“ In what way have we wearied Him?
In that you say,

“ Everyone who does evil
Is good in the sight of the LORD,
And He delights in them,”
Or, “Where is the God of justice?”

This section could be considered a dispute over the peoples unfaithfulness.

 10 Have we not all one Father? 
      Has not one God created us? 
      Why do we deal treacherously with one another 
      By profaning the covenant of the fathers? 

Has not one God created us? – This brings to mind the creation text of Gen 1:26-28-

Genesis 1:26-28

New King James Version (NKJV)

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[a] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 

 Why do we deal treacherously with one another – God requires that we, humans treat each other equitably as He is the creator of all humanity and we are all made in His image. 

11 Judah has dealt treacherously,
And an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem,
For Judah has profaned
The LORD’s holy institution which He loves:
He has married the daughter of a foreign god.

The term abomination is a strong word indicating that the people had done something awful as to make one  sick to the stomach. The text here presents the ideas of affection and revulsion which we usually think of in terms of the verbs to love and to hate.  Marriage is something God loves, divorce is something that God hates.  The Lord’s people had polluted something in which God takes great pleasure. The question of intermarriage in ancient Israel was not ethnic nor racial but spiritual.  A lack of faithfulness in God Himself.  We can see in Joshua 6:25 that Rahab the Canaanite prostitute became part of the Israelite community and Matthew 1:5 shows that she was a part of the genealogy of Jesus. The problem was not the intermarrying of foreign women but that the foreign women worshiped idols and led their husbands away from the worship of the Lord, the the only true and living God. 

 

12 May the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob 
      The man who does this, being awake and aware,[b]
      Yet who brings an offering to the LORD of hosts! 

cut off-This phrase may may refer to either banishment or even death. 

being awake and aware- This is a difficult phrase but may mean a deliberate offense against the Lord. (see Lev 10:1-3).

 Many men of Israel has married foreign wives and tolerated their idolatry, yet they continued to bring offerings to the Lord, as if there was nothing wrong in their families. But God said their hypocritical offerings did not make them holy in His sight.  Do we have areas in our lives where we are ignoring God’s clear command?  Do we suppose the going to church, giving an offering, and saying a prayer will smooth over our actions? God calls us to give ourselves completely over to Him, to make Him the Lord over our entire lives and not to hold back in any area. 

 

13 And this is the second thing you do:
You cover the altar of the LORD with tears,
With weeping and crying;
So He does not regard the offering anymore,
Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands.

the second thing – Prophets often spoke of the compounding of the people’s sins. 

tears-here seem to be judged as hypocritical acts of insincere repentance.  Crocodile tears do not fool God. 

So He does not regard the offering anymore- When the right things are done for the wrong reasons or with the wrong attitudes God does not accept them.

 

 goodwill -The Hebrew suggests God’s pleasure is in sacrifices offered with humility, faithfulness, and joy. 

14 Yet you say, “For what reason?” 
      Because the LORD has been witness 
      Between you and the wife of your youth, 
      With whom you have dealt treacherously; 
      Yet she is your companion 
      And your wife by covenant. 

For what reason?- The feigned surprise of the people fooled no one, certainly not the Lord!  

witness – There are some whose witness can be challenged but not the Lord’s!

wife of your youth- These men had not only married pagan wives but had divorced their first wives to make room for their new ones.  

companion- this describes a permanent partnership.

by covenant- The union of a marriage is formal,public,legal, and sacred, a binding contract. 

 

15 But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.

 

make them one- Here the prophet recalls the words of from Gen 2:24- “one flesh”.  

a remnant of the Spirit- This somewhat difficult phrase likely indicates the work of God’s Holy Spirit in the life of a married couple. God has joined them, and by His spirit He has worked on their behalf to strengthen them.

 godly offspring- God seeks godly children as He seeks true worshipers.  

Therefore take heed to your spirit- We must control our attitudes so that they will be in line with those of  God’s Spirit.

treacherously- To the Lord, attitudes of indifference to marriage vows and duties are the actions of a traitor. 

The above verses are God reaffirming what marriage is- a man and a woman becoming one.  God hates divorce. When we marry, we are to remain faithful to our spouse and are only released from our covenant in cases of sexual immorality( Matt 19:9) or abandonment (1 Cor 7:15).

16 “ For the LORD God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the LORD of hosts.

Disobedience to God leads to broken relationships. For the Israelites, it lead to broken relationships with each other( marital divorce) and with God (spiritual divorce).  Ephesians 5:21-23 indicates that marriage is a picture of our relationship with God.  Good relationships must be guarded and nurtured with time, effort, and most of all, love.  

 

17 You have wearied the LORD with your words;
Yet you say,

“ In what way have we wearied Him?
In that you say,

“ Everyone who does evil
Is good in the sight of the LORD,
And He delights in them,”
Or, “Where is the God of justice?”

 

God is wearied by people who do not submit to Him but who argue their points against His revelations.  When justice comes they will be sorry. 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections

Well, Christmas Eve is over. We had our big family dinner and gift exchange to night and attended a candlelight service and heard a really good message about Joseph, and how he was a carpenter and used the proper tools not only in his trade but in his life. As I consider the preachers words, I realize that we do not know that much about Joseph other than what is recorded in the scriptures, but that we can learn a lot from how he was open to God’ leading and was willing to do what God asked of him, no matter what the consequences might be. As currently I am home alone, my son and his girlfriend are out visiting other friends, I contemplate the coming year, and pray that it is not as challenging as the last  two years have been. Yet, it is through those challenges that my faith has been tested and tried and ultimately has grown stronger. I look forward to new opportunities, meeting new people, and growing my ministry to the point that it will have an impact on the community.  There are still gifts under the tree that my son and I will exchange in the morning(or afternoon, depending on what  time he decides to come home).   The last few years that has been a special time for us. But as he grows older I see some traditions fading away opening the door for new ones to develop.  I have come to accept change, I do not like change because it has been my experience that when things change I lose something in the process that has become valuable to me. I will now share one thing that happened to my family last year on Dec 22. My daughter was expecting a child to be born in January, on Dec 22 we lost that child. A beautiful baby girl. The autopsy was inconclusive and there was no apparent medical reason for the child not to have survived. My daughter was in the hospital last Christmas Eve, well she has never missed a Christmas Eve service in her life- the hospital was kind enough to let us use the chapel and I conducted a communion service.  Now,, before anyone gets downhearted with this sad story, let me tell you what I think my departed grad daughter is doing this Christmas. She is listening to the angel choirs singing the carols and hearing about the birth of Christ from Jesus Himself, and Joseph and Mary, and the shepherds and Simeon and Anna.  And even hearing the Wise Men tell of their adventures of the journey that they  undertook to come and worship the Anointed One.  No celebration, no worship service here on earth could ever compare to that Christmas Celebration!  I noticed a medallion on  shelf in my daughters living room, that had the words I used when I officiated my departed grand daughters  celebration of life, the words on the medallion are” She is safe in Jesus arms”.  There is no more secure place in all of creation than that.  Now to the rest of the story, this gave someone the opportunity to minster to us, it was my brother was a Christmas surprise that we knew nothing about. I do not know how or where he got the money, but we all have been on tight budgets, and he had purchased a head stone for the baby. Now my daughter and I had discussed this just a few weeks ago, and she was absolutely thrilled!  As was I.  I usually do not share what I pray for, but this situation I had prayed for, with seemingly no answers forthcoming. And here is a gift, very unique, and a need met.  This shows that God always has a surprise for us, just around the corner!  In conclusion I would like to challenge everyone and myself , to be the beacon of light for Christ to a world that is walking in darkness. 

Isaiah 9:2

2The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

 

Christ Mass

Merry Christmas!

One of the things that make this celebration of the birth of Jesus complete is going to a worship service. I would urge everyone to go to the church of your choice tonight. Many churches offer a candlelight service, many Catholic churches have Midnight Masses.  If you are not able to attend a worship service here is a link to one that is one line:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/universallifechurch/2011/12/24/ulc-radio-network–friday-night-schedule?fb_comment_id=fbc_10151065491950032_28485616_10151074759495032#f213a5c7d4

Luke 2

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Matthew 1&2

18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

24Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Matthew 2

1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

3When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

5And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

6And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

7Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

8And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

9When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

12And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

13And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

14When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

15And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

16Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,

18In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

19But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

20Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.

21And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.

22But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:

23And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

And that is what Christmas is all about- the arrival of the Messiah as the Savior and Redeemer King.   Today we are in advent of the second arrival of Jesus as the Conquering King and Judge of the nations. 

Rev 22

 20He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

21The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Here is wishing you and yours a joyous and blessed celebration of Christ!  

Mean Old Malachi

I wasn’t going to post anything tonight, but it seems I am being called to. Last week started out rough and this week is not much better. Seems I am being attacked on all sides. I will spare you the details of all this other than to say I am having several problems all at once converge on me and I know from past experience it is an attack from the enemy and his cohorts. I will let the Lord do battle with them as they have no legal grounds to be attacking me, but I do think I know why they are choosing this time to try to wreak havoc. More about that later.   There is a very difficult date just a couple of days ahead, for now I will just say that Dec 22, 2010 was not a very good day nor a good ending to year that presented more challenges than blessings, at least that is from my weak and mostly inaccurate human understanding of God and His ways. One thing I have learned though, the Psalmist said that “God is near the broken-hearted” and that is so true. Jesus did say that”in this world you will have trouble” but He does keep His promise and comfort and guide us through the difficulties , and that He would never leave us nor forsake us. He is in the battle with us, and He is the conquering King. So we do come out victorious, one way or another. Which bring me to the book of Malachi once again- as we come to the second chapter and here Malachi is dealing with the corruption of the Priests, the spiritual leaders of Israel and with what Malachi calls treachery.  First we will look at the corruption of the  spiritual leaders:

1 “And now, O priests, this commandment is for you.
2 If you will not hear,
And if you will not take it to heart,
To give glory to My name,”
Says the LORD of hosts,

“ I will send a curse upon you,
And I will curse your blessings.
Yes, I have cursed them already,
Because you do not take it to heart.

V1- shows this rebuke which started in 1:8 continues on in this chapter.

v2  The behavior of the priests was defiling the name of God.

“ I will send a curse”- The priests were not obeying the Law they were supposed to uphold.  They would therefore, receive the curses. More can be found about the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience in Duet 27 and 28.  

3 “ Behold, I will rebuke your descendants
And spread refuse on your faces,
The refuse of your solemn feasts;
And one will take you away with it.

Refuse was the dung in the sacrificed animal that should have been removed when the animal was prepared for sacrifice to the Lord. 

4 Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you,
That My covenant with Levi may continue,”
Says the LORD of hosts.

My covenant with Levi – The Levites had the privilege of serving tabernacle. (Duet 33:8-11)

5 “ My covenant was with him, one of life and peace,
And I gave them to him that he might fear Me;
So he feared Me
And was reverent before My name.

v5 The word peace means fullness, completeness, things as the really ought to be.  

  that he might fear Me;- The context here means holding God in reverential awe, responding properly to His wonder, and worshiping Him in spirit and in truth. 

6 The law of truth[a] was in his mouth,
And injustice was not found on his lips.
He walked with Me in peace and equity,
And turned many away from iniquity.

v6- The law of truth- The priests were to represent the people in holy worship before the Living God, and they were to teach and apply God’s law to the people. 

 in peace and equity- This refers to  complete moral virtue in all things before the Lord.

7 “ For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge,
And people should seek the law from his mouth;
For he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

v7- This is the only time in OT that priests are called messengers of the Lord. It was common for the prophets to be referred to as such though. 

8 But you have departed from the way;
You have caused many to stumble at the law.
You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,”
Says the LORD of hosts.

v8- The judgment on the departed religious leader would be more strict because of the ripple effect of that one person’s sin.  

9 “ Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base
Before all the people,
Because you have not kept My ways
But have shown partiality in the law.

v9- The priests had the truth but had not kept it or practiced it. When they acted as judges , they showed partiality, making their sin even worse. 

 

Have a blessed and joy filled Christ Mass!! 

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