ZION MINISTRY - BIBLE PROPHECY
WHO IS BEING CALLED?
Called to what? Don't be too sure that you know the answer! Do you really know what God requires of you? Perhaps some of you think you do, but you are in for a big shock! Things are wholly different to all you have imagined!
By Neville V. Stevens
New International Version used throughout unless otherwise stated.
Many people claim to have been called by God. And indeed, many are called - but few are chosen. God's calling is one thing, but how do you know if you have been chosen?
Did God call you to mechanical obedience to the doctrine of men? Is your calling to follow some man somewhere? Are your leaders those who stand in the place of God? Has God empowered them to extract obedience from you? The answer to these questions will surprise you. These are Christ's words: Matt 20:25 "Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. NOT SO WITH YOU. INSTEAD, whoever wants to become great among you MUST BE your SERVANT, and whoever wants to be FIRST MUST BE your SLAVE - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Many of you are aware of the subtle cunning that is employed by those who want to justify elevating themselves over others. Christ's statement came about because the mother of James and John had asked for them to be elevated over the other ten (Matt 20:21). Christ turned to James and John and said: Matt 20:22 "Can you drink the CUP that I am going to drink?" "We can," they answered. Jesus answered them, "YOU WILL INDEED DRINK FROM MY CUP...." And truly they did. The first time was with Christ at the Passover ceremony just before He died. But Christ again spoke of this CUP: Luke 22:42 "Father, if You are willing, take this CUP from Me; yet not My will but Yours be done." Here Christ identifies the true meaning of that CUP. That CUP represents His death. Of this CUP Christ said to His disciples: "YOU WILL INDEED DRINK FROM MY CUP."
Let's state at the outset that you have been called to obedience! Obedience to God and His Word. This is your primary role in life!
In order to obey God and believe His Word you must have wisdom. The Bible speaks of this WISDOM OF GOD in many places. Those who don't have this WISDOM OF GOD can never, never, understand the scriptures. In this, you MUST believe God!
King David and his son, Solomon, spoke extensively about this WISDOM. Does this WISDOM mean an elevated IQ according to the standards of this world? The answer is no! This is the WISDOM that is foolishness to the world that is perishing: 1Cor 1:18 "For the MESSAGE of the CROSS is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the POWER of God. For it is WRITTEN: "I will destroy the WISDOM OF THE WISE; the INTELLIGENCE OF THE INTELLIGENT I will frustrate."" And where is this WRITTEN? Paul quoted from Isaiah, thereby revealing that it speaks of events in our time. Isaiah is of course speaking of the PERIOD of Christ's return: Isa 29:6 "Suddenly in an instant, the LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of devouring fire." A study of this chapter will reveal that this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. It speaks of the time of the end, but this is not a reference to Christ's actual return. But it does refer to the PERIOD preceding this great event. But Paul quoted from V14 "Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the WISDOM OF THE WISE will perish, the INTELLIGENCE OF THE INTELLIGENT will vanish." What Paul speaks of is greatly expanded by Isaiah. Paul speaks of God's WISDOM being the POWER OF GOD and to this WISDOM is linked the MESSAGE of the CROSS - which is a reference to Christ's death - the CUP He had to drink! We must understand these thngs clearly, because they are vitally important to understanding many, many things that relate to our time.
Those who seek to serve God according to their own standards have never understood the WISDOM OF GOD. Nor do they have it. It is a gift from God, yet it's freely available to all who seek it. But there are conditions.
It has to do with 'state of mind.' Those who want to acquire the WISDOM OF GOD must have the MIND OF GOD. No sane human being would store new olive oil in a used garbage bin. Nor would God! Olive oil (a symbol of God's Holy Spirit) must be stored in a clean receptacle. Likewise, many who profess to obey God are not clean; in fact their feet are filthy. Long ago, Christ foreshadowed this when He washed the feet of the disciples (John 13:5). Physically, they were clean - they had all just bathed (V10). So what was the purpose of washing clean feet? Well, Christ told them right at the outset that what He was doing they did not then understand. But later they would (V7). You will notice that no-one washed Christ's feet!
Later, the 12 Apostles did understand. So did the other Apostle - Paul. He identified the feet as the symbolic Gospel of Christ (Eph 6:15). He understood that Christ was speaking of a time when the feet of the Body of Christ would need to be washed. So did Christ. In fact, the first order of priorities after God calls someone to repentance is to wash the whole body in baptism. Christ said that when someone is clean all over, it is only necessary to wash their feet. Do you understand what He was saying? Shortly, you will understand exactly what Christ was saying!
But let's broaden the scope of this theme. It's clear that those in the BODY of Christ must have the MIND of Christ. Clearly, many of them don't! They failed to grow in grace and knowledge; instead they developed the mind of Satan the devil. Some even claim to have the KEY OF DAVID, yet they don't even know what it is. They've invented all kinds of fabrications to 'prove' they have this KEY, and have even based their whole ministry on it. Yet they teach the same worthless and deceptive doctrine that has brought them to spiritual collapse.
So what is the KEY OF DAVID? Let's state at the outset that it's Christ who has this KEY. This is evident from the scripture that mentions it: Rev 3:7 "...These are the words of HIM who is holy and true, who holds the KEY OF DAVID. What HE opens, no-one can shut, and what HE shuts, no-one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open DOOR [Str. 2374] that no-one can shut."
So CHRIST HAS THE KEY and HE IS THE DOOR (John 10:7). To unlock that DOOR to the WISDOM OF GOD, you need the KEY OF DAVID - which Christ has! But why is it called the KEY OF DAVID, and NOT the KEY OF CHRIST? The reason is, all the prophets gave details of prophecy - just the broad brush-strokes; they delivered their prophetic messages with accuracy and clarity. But David, who was a prophet, did not! Some of what he wrote was clear, yet some of it was most unclear. In fact, many of the prophecies of David were written to include himself as the object of the prophecy. Yet Christ quoted many references from the Psalms and showed that they were prophecies concerning Him.
Concerning David, the New Testament reinforces again and again that Christ was of this line. He was the SON OF DAVID - a direct descendant. David, like his Son Christ, spoke almost exclusively in parables. It is not blasphemy to state that Christ was the Son of David. Nor is it blasphemy to state that in many ways Christ emulated this human father. David was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22). The life of David, and all that he wrote, will be emulated by Christ. So vast are these similarities that they will need to be the focus of another article. But you need to be preparing yourselves for the infinite detail that is revealed through the life and writings of David. It is these that hold the KEY that bears his name - the KEY OF DAVID.
So whatever it is, Christ has it's with Him in heaven. Christ also said that He is the DOOR. John 10:7 "Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the [DOOR] (Str. 2374) for the sheep." It's important to understand the context in which Christ spoke here. So just to set the scene, let's go back to John 9:39 "Jesus said, "For JUDGMENT I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." Some Pharisees heard Him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?" Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you CLAIM you can SEE, your GUILT REMAINS." Jesus continues this dialogue in John 10:1 "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the [DOOR], but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the [DOOR] is the Shepherd of His sheep. The WATCHMAN OPENS the [DOOR] for Him, and the SHEEP listen to His VOICE." The word 'WATCHMAN' is from the Greek 'thuroros' (Str. 2377) and does indeed mean a WATCHMAN, but a WATCHMAN of the DOOR. The NKJV renders it 'DOORKEEPER' which is equally correct for the purpose intended. So this WATCHMAN is the one who OPENS THE DOOR for the true SHEPHERD so the sheep can HEAR HIS VOICE! And who is this WATCHMAN (singular) that is referred to here? The prophet Hosea explains: Hos 9:7 "The DAYS OF PUNISHMENT are coming, the DAYS OF RECKONING are at hand. LET ISRAEL KNOW THIS. Because your sins are so many and your HOSTILITY so great, the PROPHET is considered a fool, the INSPIRED MAN a maniac. The PROPHET, along with my God is the WATCHMAN over EPHRAIM, yet snares await him on all his paths and HOSTILITY in the HOUSE OF HIS GOD."
In John 10 Christ continues His dialogue about the DOOR and the SHEEP. The HOUSE OF HIS GOD is described here as the SHEEP PEN. John 10:16 "I have OTHER SHEEP that are NOT of this SHEEP PEN. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my VOICE, and there shall be ONE FLOCK and ONE SHEPHERD." And just to link the CUP to what Christ is saying, notice His final words on the subject: V17 "The reason My Father loves me is that I LAY DOWN MY LIFE - only to take it up again. No-one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from My Father."
Notice now that Christ has appointed a WATCHMAN to open the DOOR of the SHEEP PEN for the true SHEPHERD (which is Christ - V11). This man is also the WATCHMAN over EPHRAIM (the U.S.A) - the home of the Churches of God. And this man is also a PROPHET! But Christ says He has other SHEEP that are NOT of this SHEEP PEN. The WATCHMAN or DOOR KEEPER of the SHEEP PEN must bring them back to ONE FLOCK, and they must listen to the VOICE of the ONE SHEPHERD - CHRIST!
Amid all the HOSTILITY in this HOUSE OF GOD in EPHRAIM there will be a few, that is the REAL SHEEP OF THE FLOCK, who WILL LISTEN to CHRIST'S VOICE. And it is these who will be GATHERED TOGETHER into ONE FLOCK.
God also speaks of His sheep in the sheep pen through the prophets of old: Mic 2:12 "I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely bring together the REMNANT of Israel. I will bring them together like SHEEP IN A PEN, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people. ONE WHO BREAKS OPEN the WAY will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. The KING will pass through before them, the LORD at their head."
The translators made a real pudding of this passage of scripture, yet the basic meaning is retained. It speaks of ONE WHO OPENS THE WAY. Christ is the DOOR and the WAY. The ONE WHO OPENS THE DOOR is the one who prepares the WAY for Christ. This man is the KING that God appoints to build the TEMPLE (Zech 6:11-15). Force is implied in the words 'BREAKS OPEN.' This is the force that will be applied by the KING who leads them out through the gate - just like the Levite Prophet Moses, when he led the children of Israel out of Egypt.
But we don't need to be ignorant of the time period. God identifies it: Mic 1:3 "Look! The LORD is COMING from His DWELLING PLACE; He comes DOWN and TREADS the HIGH PLACES of THE EARTH. The MOUNTAINS MELT BENEATH HIM and the VALLEYS SPLIT APART, LIKE WAX BEFORE THE FIRE, like WATERS RUSHING DOWN A SLOPE. All this because of Jacob's transgression, because of the sins of the house of Israel." Has this happened yet?
God has more to say on this matter. He speaks of the madness of those who are now prophesying in His name: Mic 2:6 "Do not prophesy", their prophets say. "Do not prophesy about these things; disgrace will not overtake us."" V11 "If a LIAR and DECEIVER comes and says, 'I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,' he would be just the prophet for this people!" Do you know any LYING DECEIVERS that fill you with false hope - that no DISGRACE will overtake you? If you believe them, then they are the perfect prophet for you! They will not only get what they deserve, but you also will get what they deserve - just for following them!
And just before the mountain of the LORD'S TEMPLE is established, which is described in Mic 4:1, God has this to say: Mic 3:5 "This is what the LORD says: "As for the prophets who lead My people astray, if one feeds them, they proclaim 'peace;' if he does not, they prepare to wage war against him. Therefore NIGHT WILL COME OVER YOU, WITHOUT VISIONS, and DARKNESS, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them. The seers will be ASHAMED and the diviners DISGRACED. They will cover their faces because there is no answer from God." But as for me (the prophet), I am FILLED WITH POWER, with the SPIRIT OF THE LORD, and WITH JUSTICE AND MIGHT, TO DECLARE TO JACOB HIS TRANSGRESSION, TO ISRAEL HIS SIN."
You should have no difficulty understanding who God's prophet is. But if you still can't BELIEVE the very WORDS OF GOD, then rest assured that in a little while you will! God requires the righteous to live by FAITH: Heb 10:37 "For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay. But MY RIGHTEOUS ONE WILL LIVE BY FAITH. AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, I will NOT BE PLEASED WITH HIM". But we are NOT of those who SHRINK BACK and are DESTROYED, but of those who BELIEVE and are SAVED." If you lack the FAITH to BELIEVE God now, but prefer to wait and see if God will do what He has said He will do, then that's your decision. And when that time comes, your FAITH will be WORTHLESS! It requires NO FAITH to BELIEVE God AFTER THE EVENT!
In Heb 10:37 the Apostle Paul quoted from the Book of Habakkuk. What is so interesting about Paul's source in Hab 2:4 is, it speaks of ONE man - and Paul confirms this! He also confirms that those who BELIEVE and are SAVED do NOT SHRINK BACK to face the inevitable DESTRUCTION that this would bring. And again Paul likens the FAITH that God's people are to have, to that of the ONE PERSON of whom the prophet Habakkuk spoke. And what did Habakkuk say? Here it is: Hab 2:2 "Then the LORD replied, "Write down the REVELATION and make it plain on tablets so that a HERALD MAY RUN WITH IT. For the REVELATION AWAITS an APPOINTED TIME; it speaks of THE END and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; IT WILL CERTAINLY COME AND WILL NOT DELAY. See, HE is puffed up; HIS desires are not upright - BUT THE RIGHTEOUS WILL LIVE BY HIS FAITH - indeed, wine betrays him; HE is arrogant and never at rest. Because HE is as greedy as the GRAVE and like DEATH (reference to Rev 6:8) is never satisfied, HE gathers to himself all the nations and takes captive all the peoples."
Habakkuk speaks of a REVELATION at the time of THE END. It just so happens that God named an important book by this name - which also speaks of the TIME OF THE END. The prophet speaks of the LEADER of the LAND OF WICKEDNESS (Hab 3:13) which is identified as the LAND of BABYLON (Hab 1:6). This 'HE' that Habakkuk speaks of, is the LEADER OF THE LAND OF WICKEDNESS who will arise at the TIME OF THE END. And what will he do? The Bible tells us: Hab 1:6 "I am raising up the BABYLONIANS, that RUTHLESS AND IMPETUOUS PEOPLE, who sweep across the WHOLE EARTH to seize dwelling places not their own." This time around, these people from the LAND OF WICKEDNESS will sweep across the WHOLE EARTH.
Nested in the description given by Habakkuk about this LEADER, is a reference to another (which the Apostle Paul identified as ONE person) who 'WILL LIVE BY HIS FAITH.' Habakkuk further identifies this man as the ANOINTED ONE in Hab 3:13. This man comes in the SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH - who also has the POWER OF GOD vested in him. This man, this endtime Elijah, is the OPPOSITE NUMBER of the LEADER OF THE LAND OF WICKEDNESS, and it is this man who firmly resists him and brings destruction to his land - just like Moses did! Not only does this man come with the POWER OF GOD vested in him - just like Christ, but this man is to be killed and is resurrected - just like Christ! At that time, his companion, the prince of Judah will be with him and suffer the same death (Rev 11:7).
Who is this man - the Elijah to come? Of this man, the Apostle Paul said: Heb 10:38 "But my righteous ONE will live by faith. And if HE shrinks back, I will not be pleased with HIM." This man, God's anointed, lives by his faith - his FAITH IN ALMIGHTY GOD!!
Would this man SHRINK BACK and risk God being displeased with him? The truth is he has! Because this man is a soft-hearted weakling when it comes to God's people - he loves them so much that he didn't want to offend them and drive them away. He sought to speak the Word of God without fear or favour - as God requires - but refused to identify himself as the anointed one called of God. He considered this to be a 'kiss of death' to those who are just emerging from the errors of the past. While the conduct of Elijah was clear - and it is the Elijah of old that this endtime Elijah must emulate in human office, this man chose not to do it. Elijah said, "If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven....". Elijah was not shy when it came to declaring his God-given power and position.
For shrinking back, God is not pleased with this man, and has made His displeasure known. This man now realises that he has displeased God by refusing to plainly state his identity. To correct this wrong and to remove the displeasure of the Almighty God, let it now be understood clearly: I, the writer, am that PROPHET - THE PROPHESIED ENDTIME ELIJAH!
If you are offended by this, then you are not one of God's faithful believers - the ones that Paul spoke of in Heb 10:39. If you are offended, then just imagine how offended God will be with this writer - if he is lying!
I, the writer, call on the Almighty God as my witness today, if I am lying to you that He treat me as the human dung that I am - if I am not that prophet! God inspired these words: Heb 10:31 "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God." It just so happens that this verse is found in the very chapter where Paul identifies God's anointed one. Anyone who claims to represent the Almighty God as His prophet on earth faces certain death - if he is lying!
To those who truly love the Great God and desire to understand His precious Word, it would not be right to pass out of Hebrews chapter 10 without examining some of the other pointers embedded here. The whole chapter is a wealth of knowledge, but for the purpose of this article, let's examine V26 "If WE deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, no sacrifice for sins is left, but a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the ENEMIES OF GOD." V30 "For we know Him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge His people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God."
Two important points here! Firstly, if those who have received the KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH keep sinning, they will face the RAGING FIRE as the ENEMIES OF GOD. You can't be half-pregnant! You are either pregnant with God's Holy Spirit or you are not! If you are, then you cannot refuse to ACKNOWLEDGE the TRUTH OF GOD and still be God's people. If you fail to do so, then you are the ENEMY OF GOD! Don't let anyone tell you differently! You cannot claim a unique position with God because of past righteousnesses. You either acknowledge His truth or you are doomed! There is no further sacrifice for you if you fail to do so!
The second point is this: In V30 Paul quotes from scripture. He quotes from Deut 32:35-36. Deuteronomy 32 is the record of the SONG OF MOSES. This is the very song that God's very elect will sing when they are redeemed (Rev 15:3). These are the ones that BELIEVE GOD! As a matter of interest, the prophet David also quoted from Deut 32 in Ps 135:14. This is the Psalm that speaks of SIHON and OG - the subject of a future article.
In ROMANS CHAPTER 11, the Apostle Paul speaks of another time - our time - when the full number of Gentiles has come in (V25). Earlier in the chapter, in what appears to be a mixed metaphor, Paul says this: V16 "If the part of the DOUGH offered as FIRSTFRUITS is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the ROOT is holy, so are the BRANCHES." One of the first rules of a speaker is 'Don't mix your metaphors or you will lack credibility'. Did Paul mix his metaphors? No, he didn't!
NOTE THIS WELL! Paul was speaking of the merging of two entities! Firstly, he speaks of the DOUGH - the material that becomes BREAD (which is Christ: John 6:32-35, 48), and secondly, he speaks of the ROOT (which is also Christ: Rev 22:16, 5:5), and in this instance, the ROOT is further described as that which produces the NOURISHING SAP for the OLIVE TREE (Rom 11:17).
Paul goes on to speak of a 'CULTIVATED OLIVE TREE' in V24 "After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a CULTIVATED OLIVE TREE, how much more readily will these, the NATURAL BRANCHES be grafted into their own OLIVE TREE." The GARDENER CULTIVATES the OLIVE TREE; and who is the GARDENER? It's the FATHER! John 15:1 "I am the true vine and My Father is the GARDENER. He cuts off every BRANCH IN ME that bears NO FRUIT, while every BRANCH that does bear fruit He TRIMS CLEAN so that it will be even more fruitful."
Just as a brief aside, it should be stressed that these that Paul wrote of are of the olive tree and even the wild olive tree; but they are not of the other tree, the OAK TREE which is 'ALLAH' (Heb: oak tree - Str. Conc. 0427). Further studies are found in Isa 6:13, Dan 4:23). These stumps begin to flourish and bear branches. This is covered in other articles.
Christ wants us to know who is in control, and so He said this: John 6:44 "No-one can come to Me unless the FATHER who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. IT IS WRITTEN in the Prophets: 'They will be TAUGHT BY GOD. Everyone who LISTENS TO THE FATHER and LEARNS FROM HIM comes to Me." And where is it WRITTEN? Christ quoted from Isa 54:13. Be sure to read the whole chapter. It speaks of a BARREN WOMAN (V1) which is EPHRAIM (Hos 13:13), it reminds us that our Maker is our FATHER (V5), He speaks of a brief moment when He abandons them (V7), He speaks of a time like the DAYS OF NOAH (V9) which is a reference to the endtime (Matt 24:37), He speaks of MOUNTAINS being SHAKEN and the HILLS BEING REMOVED (V10), and then God reminds us in V13 that all the SONS will be TAUGHT BY HIM. Then finally, God speaks of a BLACKSMITH whom He creates; and it's the BLACKSMITH that God creates - not the man: V16 "See, it is I who created the BLACKSMITH who fans the COALS INTO FLAME and forges a WEAPON fit for its WORK." But God adds more! He also speaks of the adversary: "And it is I who have created the DESTROYER to WORK HAVOC; no WEAPON forged AGAINST YOU will prevail, and YOU WILL REFUTE EVERY TONGUE THAT ACCUSES YOU. This is the HERITAGE of the SERVANTS OF THE LORD, and this is their VINDICATION FROM ME."
God has appointed four mighty beings whom He calls CRAFTSMEN (Zech 1:20). While the BLACKSMITH fans the COALS INTO FLAME and forges a WEAPON fit for its WORK, these CRAFTSMEN are appointed to support him: Zech 1:20 "...These are the horns that scattered Judah so that no-one could raise his head, but the CRAFTSMEN have come to TERRIFY them and THROW DOWN these horns of the NATIONS who lifted up their horns against the LAND OF JUDAH to scatter its people."
Immediately after this, a measuring line is used to measure Jerusalem (Zech 2:1) - just as the Prophet John also stated in Rev 11:1. But in John's description, THE CITY IS THE TEMPLE MOUNT. Zechariah describes Jerusalem like this: Zech 2:4 "'Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of men and livestock in it. And I Myself will be a WALL OF FIRE around it,' declares the LORD, 'and I will be its GLORY WITHIN.'" A further explanation is given in V13 "Be still before the LORD, ALL MANKIND, because He has ROUSED HIMSELF from HIS HOLY DWELLING."
This is immediately after Satan loses his right to rule and is cast down to the earth, never again to access the heavenly realms. Notice Rev 12:10 "Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "NOW have come the SALVATION and the POWER and the KINGDOM OF GOD and the AUTHORITY OF HIS CHRIST." Notice the time setting! Immediately after Satan is dethroned, the AUTHORITY OF CHRIST and the KINGDOM OF GOD is established with POWER! Going back to Zech 2:13, you will notice that this is the time when God warns ALL MANKIND to be still and to shut up - OR ELSE! This brings to an end Satan's six days; and the SEVENTH DAY - the DAY OF THE LORD - is ushered in, and that time is only a few heartbeats away! It will come suddenly and the whole world will see it, and they will view with abject horror the consequences! Then they will know that the GREAT GOD RULES!!
This writer is well aware that the Mighty Commander Christ appears at the seventh trumpet blast, but from the time of the deposing of Satan, CHRIST WILL ASSUME RULERSHIP. He will be the coronated Ruler of the Universe and everything will be under His feet. The Apostle Paul points out, of course, that 'everything' does not include the Father who will always be over Christ. 1Cor 15:24 "Then the END will come, when HE HANDS OVER THE KINGDOM to GOD THE FATHER after He has DESTROYED all DOMINION, AUTHORITY AND POWER. For He must REIGN until He has put ALL HIS ENEMIES UNDER HIS FEET. The last enemy to be destroyed is DEATH. For he 'HAS PUT EVERYTHING UNDER HIS FEET'. Now when it says that 'EVERYTHING' has been put under Him, it is clear that this DOES NOT INCLUDE GOD HIMSELF, who put everything under Christ. When He has done this, THEN THE SON HIMSELF WILL BE MADE SUBJECT TO HIM WHO PUT EVERYTHING UNDER HIM, so that God may be all in all." Don't dismiss this passage lightly. It contains very important information for our understanding.
In addition to Rev 12:10, the prophets also spoke of the time of Christ's ASCENSION TO POWER. John recorded this: Rev 5:7 "He came and took the scroll from the right hand of HIM WHO SAT ON THE THRONE. And WHEN HE HAD TAKEN IT, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: "YOU ARE WORTHY TO TAKE THE SCROLL AND TO OPEN ITS SEALS, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every TRIBE and LANGUAGE and PEOPLE and NATION. You have made them to be a KINGDOM and PRIESTS to SERVE OUR GOD, and THEY will REIGN ON THE EARTH." While Christ is still the Lamb WHO LOOKED LIKE HE HAD BEEN SLAIN (V6) He receives the scroll from Him who sits on the throne. At this very time, He appoints a KINGDOM and PRIESTS to SERVE OUR GOD, and THEY REIGN ON THE EARTH. Immediately after this, John records this: V11 "Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: "WORTHY IS THE LAMB, WHO WAS SLAIN, to receive POWER and WEALTH and WISDOM and STRENGTH and HONOUR and GLORY and PRAISE!"" No doubt about it, this is speaking of Christ - the Lamb of God! BUT SOMETHING IS WRONG! Is this the time when Christ receives WISDOM? CHRIST IS THE WISDOM OF GOD!! (1Cor 1:24, Pro 8:12, 15, 30). He is the Alpha and Omega - what He was in the beginning He will be in the end. Christ was the WISDOM OF GOD before the world began.
The prophet John made a very strong point in 1John 4:2 "This is how you can recognise the SPIRIT OF GOD. Every spirit that acknowledges that CHRIST HAS COME IN THE FLESH is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus, is not from God. THIS IS THE SPIRIT OF THE ANTICHRIST, which you have heard IS COMING and even now is already in the world." At the time that John wrote this, the antichrist was in the world - he was the sixth king - the one 'THAT IS' (Rev 17:10). But this verse also speaks of another that is yet to come. And this is the one that John said 'IS COMING!' He is now in the world but has not yet made his move. He is empowered immediately after Satan is deposed (Rev 12:9; 13:3-4).
The Apostle Paul makes it plain that Christ DWELLS within those whom He has CALLED. Christ LIVES HIS LIFE in His OWN PEOPLE. These people are Christ's actual BODY! He is the HEAD! We are not only Christ's, we are CHRIST IN HUMAN FORM living right here on earth. The Prophet Isaiah said that Christ would PROLONG HIS DAYS on earth through His OFFSPRING or SEED. We are that SEED! Isa 53:10 "Yet it was the LORD'S will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the LORD makes HIS LIFE A GUILT OFFERING, He will see HIS OFFSPRING and PROLONG HIS DAYS, and the WILL of the LORD will PROSPER in His hands."
Those who scream blasphemy and refuse to believe this are described by the Prophet John as the [offspring or spirit of] antichrist. You must BELIEVE GOD! God has prescribed a WISDOM for His people - the very WISDOM that is Christ! Christ is the WISDOM OF GOD (1Cor 1:24). The Apostle Paul has more to say on this. And if you really want to know, no-one else has this WISDOM! NOT Satan or his henchmen, NOT the rulers of this world and certainly NOT those who TEACH LIES in God's name. This is what Paul wrote: 1Cor 2:6 "We do, however, speak a MESSAGE OF WISDOM among the MATURE, but NOT the WISDOM OF THIS AGE or of the RULERS OF THIS AGE, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak GOD'S SECRET WISDOM, a WISDOM that has been HIDDEN and that God destined for OUR glory BEFORE TIME BEGAN. NONE of the RULERS OF THIS AGE UNDERSTOOD IT, for if they had, they would not have crucified the LORD OF GLORY." And just as they murdered the LORD OF GLORY, so will these beasts with the spirit of the antichrist try to murder you! And just as they accused Christ of blasphemy, so will they accuse you - if you BELIEVE GOD!
Christ has always had WISDOM for He is WISDOM PERSONIFIED! To only those who are truly His and are a part of His BODY will He impart this WISDOM. And only these will understand it!
Paul mentioned the RULERS OF THIS AGE. He further describes them in Eph 6:10-12. It is these who will be deposed when Christ smashes the rebellion of DOMINION, AUTHORITY AND POWER (1Cor 15:24) and hands over the Kingdom to the Father. Christ had to qualify to inherit the kingdoms of this age by being the GUILT OFFERING (Isa 53:10) for the sins of the whole world. Similarly, the saints who serve the Almighty God will be required to be as obedient as Christ - even in the face of death! For their service as Christ's faithful proxy on earth God has made an immense promise: Dan 7:27 "Then the SOVEREIGNTY, POWER AND GREATNESS of the KINGDOMS under the WHOLE HEAVEN will be handed over to the SAINTS, THE PEOPLE OF THE MOST HIGH."
Long before this happens, there will be a kingdom on earth and a king will be coronated (Zech 6:11-12). This man will sit as a king and a priest in the HOUSE OF GOD. And he will build the TEMPLE and many who are far away will come and help build the TEMPLE (V15). These things are thoroughly explained in the other articles already available at the Zion Ministries Website.
But let's step back again to Rev 5:12 and note that we now understand what the WISDOM is that Christ receives at that time. But now notice that it also mentions WEALTH. God already owns the whole earth and all the wealth. What possible use could Christ have for WEALTH? Particularly at the time of the OPENING OF THE SEVEN SEALS which is the time setting for this statement. Once again, we don't have to guess - the Bible always explains!
It should be patently obvious to anyone that actually reads his Bible that God speaks of a TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM. All the prophets spoke of it, and so did Jesus Christ (Matt 24:15). Jeremiah confirmed the exact location (Jer 31:38-40). Zechariah confirms this in Zech 14:10-11. And just to be sure of the time setting, Zechariah states this: V8 "ON THAT DAY LIVING WATER WILL FLOW OUT FROM JERUSALEM, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and winter. The LORD will be KING OVER THE WHOLE EARTH. On that DAY there will be one LORD, and HIS NAME THE ONLY NAME." Here's what is recorded in the next verse: V10 "The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be RAISED UP and REMAIN IN ITS PLACE, from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal wine-presses. It will be inhabited; NEVER AGAIN TO BE DESTROYED. Jerusalem will be secure." The point should also be made about the claims of a certain foolish shepherd who taught that the world will be burnt up at the end of the Millennium and everything destroyed. He succeeded in deluding millions of people with his ill-conceived fantasies. God says at the time when the TEMPLE is built, JERUSALEM will never again BE DESTROYED.
And just so there is no mistaking the time setting and the purpose of the TEMPLE, Zechariah recorded this: V20 "On that DAY, HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the LORD'S HOUSE will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the LORD Almighty, and all who COME TO SACRIFICE will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that DAY there will no longer be a Canaanite in the HOUSE OF THE LORD ALMIGHTY."
There are many pointers in these verses. Firstly, the LIVING WATER is further described in Eze 47:5-12. These verses also include a description of the TREE OF LIFE. Be sure to read them and compare them with Rev 22:1-4. Note also that the whole of chapters 40-48 of Ezekiel deals with the building of the TEMPLE in Jerusalem.
The second point concerns the words "Jerusalem...will REMAIN IN ITS PLACE.." Here we find a suggestion of movement. The only movement will be upward. Jerusalem will be RAISED UP. Jerusalem will be the CENTRE OF THE EARTH'S LANDMASS as it once was. Eze 5:5 states plainly that Jerusalem is the center of the world. Many commentaries confirm the meaning of this verse as the true meaning of the original manuscripts, for example: The New Bible Commentary Revised, pp 669. Eze 38:12 also reaffirms it. And indeed, when Christ returns He will restore everything and Jerusalem will be the centre of the earth's landmass once more. All the other landmasses will be brought back to their original positions. See the articles on Geology.
Reverting again to the meaning of the word 'WEALTH' as described in Rev 5:12, we find the designated time of this verse is at the beginning of the opening of the seven seals. The opening of the seven seals just happens to coincide with the prophecies that focus on Jerusalem (covered in other articles). By the time of the SIXTH SEAL, the continents are already being repositioned, and mountains are being removed, and rocks are cascading down on the heads of those who hate our God. This is what the Bible says: Rev 6:12 "I watched as He opened the SIXTH SEAL.... The sky receded like a scroll rolling up, and every MOUNTAIN and ISLAND [continent] was REMOVED FROM ITS PLACE. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the FACE OF HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE and from the WRATH OF THE LAMB. For the GREAT DAY OF THEIR [plural] WRATH HAS COME."
Do you BELIEVE God? YOU WILL!! Just as all the KINGS OF THE EARTH will also recognise that this is the hand of God at work! This all happens during their murdering rampage against the people of God, which is also described in the FIFTH SEAL (Rev 6:9).
It's obvious that to build the Temple described by Ezekiel will take a lot of WEALTH. God says that those who are far away will come and help build the Temple (Zech 6:15). These people will help to build the Temple with their physical presence. They will be physically in Jerusalem to do this. Will these people provide the WEALTH to build the TEMPLE? These few thousand people could not provide enough wealth. Not nearly enough! But God says this in V15 "This will happen if you DILIGENTLY OBEY the LORD your God." What does God mean?
In the BOOK OF MALACHI God gives great detail about the final endtime ministry of the MESSENGER, the LEVITE PROPHET, the one who is the ELIJAH to come. In association with this man is a group of people whom God refers to as His 'treasured possession.' He records their name in a special book: 'The Scroll of Remembrance' (Mal 3:16). God further states that these are the ones who FEAR Him and HONOUR HIS NAME. These will have the ability to distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not (V18). These are the ones who DILIGENTLY OBEY God. These are the ones who come to build the Temple. These can't provide all the wealth needed to do this, but God makes the distinction between these people and those who won't obey Him.
In the matter of obedience and the returning to God in faithfulness, God says this: Mal 3:7 "Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from My decrees and have not kept them. RETURN TO ME and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. "But you ask, 'How are we to RETURN?' Will a man ROB God? Yet you ROB me. But you ask, 'How do we ROB you?' IN TITHES AND OFFERINGS. You are under a CURSE - THE WHOLE NATION OF YOU - because you are ROBBING Me. Bring the whole tithe into the STOREHOUSE, that there MAY BE FOOD in MY HOUSE. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."
Robbing God is bad enough, but God adds more: V13 "You have said harsh things AGAINST ME," says the LORD. "Yet you say, 'What have we said AGAINST You?' YOU HAVE SAID, 'It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by CARRYING OUT HIS REQUIREMENTS and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? But now we call the ARROGANT blessed. Certainly the EVILDOERS prosper, and even those WHO CHALLENGE GOD escape.'" God describes these people as having two major faults: Firstly they ROB Him, and secondly THEY HAVE SAID HARSH THINGS AGAINST HIM. They no longer have any conscience towards God and believe those who CHALLENGE God escape. In the very next verse, God makes the distinction between these people and another group that He records in the BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE - the ones who will make up His TREASURED POSSESSION: V16 "Then those who FEARED the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD LISTENED and HEARD. A SCROLL OF REMEMBRANCE was written in His presence concerning those who FEARED the LORD and HONOURED His name." These are the people who DON'T ROB God! Nor do they say HARSH THINGS AGAINST GOD. Never would they CHALLENGE God! But these people FEAR God and HONOUR His name.
In V10 God speaks of HIS HOUSE and He also speaks of a STOREHOUSE. Christ also spoke of this: Matt 13:49 "This is how it will be at the END OF THE AGE. The angels will come and separate the WICKED from the RIGHTEOUS and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Have you understood all these things?" Jesus asked. "Yes," they replied. He said to them, "Therefore EVERY TEACHER OF THE LAW who has been INSTRUCTED about the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is LIKE an OWNER OF A HOUSE who brings out of his STOREROOM NEW TREASURES as well as OLD."
Just a few points here. EVERY TEACHER who has been INSTRUCTED brings out of the STOREROOM NEW TREASURES. Since most of you sat in the congregation listening to a few OLD treasures for many years, you probably haven't noticed that there have been NO NEW TREASURES. Perhaps you should have questioned whether your TEACHER had been INSTRUCTED - BY GOD! You will need to become EXTREMELY dedicated if you are to now grasp ALL THE NEW TREASURES that you MUST understand. This is what Christ said: Matt 10:26 "...There is NOTHING CONCEALED THAT WILL NOT BE DISCLOSED, or HIDDEN that will not be made KNOWN. What I tell you in the DARK, speak in the DAYLIGHT; what is WHISPERED in your ear, PROCLAIM FROM THE ROOFTOPS."
God long ago chose whom He would use to bring out the NEW TREASURES. God says he is the MESSENGER of the LORD ALMIGHTY. Mal 2:4 "And you will know that I have sent you this admonition so that My COVENANT WITH LEVI may continue," says the LORD Almighty. MY COVENANT WAS WITH HIM, a COVENANT of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he REVERED ME and STOOD IN AWE OF MY NAME. TRUE INSTRUCTION was in his mouth and NOTHING FALSE was found on his lips. He WALKED with Me in PEACE AND UPRIGHTNESS, and TURNED MANY FROM SIN. For the lips of a priest ought to PRESERVE KNOWLEDGE, and from his mouth MEN SHOULD SEEK INSTRUCTION - because he is the MESSENGER OF THE LORD ALMIGHTY."
The Apostle Paul spoke of LEVI. This is what he said: Heb 7:9 "One might even say that LEVI, WHO COLLECTS THE TITHE, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor." Oh, dear! And all the time we thought that it was Herbert W. Armstrong or one of the other freaks who have set up their own organisations who were supposed to collect the tithe. Perhaps Paul got it wrong. Or perhaps God got it wrong. But then again, perhaps HWA and his henchmen got it wrong!!! THEY KNOW THEY GOT IT WRONG!!
None of them REVERED ALMIGHTY GOD, none of them STOOD IN AWE OF HIS NAME, none of them PRESERVED KNOWLEDGE or gave TRUE INSTRUCTION. Instead they LIED in God's name, and PERVERTED everything to do with His sacred Word. And why? To get their hands on GOD'S TITHE and to squander it as they saw fit. Just like greedy, slavering pigs in a patch of strawberries.
Take a look around you today at the rebels who are left. Do any of them inspire righteousness in you? Is TRUE INSTRUCTION found on their lips? Are they still trying to collect GOD'S TITHE from you EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO DO SO? If you still can't DISTINGUISH between the RIGHTEOUS and the WICKED, between those WHO SERVE GOD and THOSE WHO DON'T (Mal 3:18), then your name will NOT be recorded in the 'BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE.'
Of course, some believe they have found a loophole in the Law. By creative human reasoning, they have concluded that since Abraham paid tithes to Melchisedek (who was Christ), they can circumvent the intent of the Law and entice people to hand over GOD'S TITHE to them. In addition to Paul's words that it's 'Levi who collects the tenth' (Heb 7:9), Christ also made this point to the Scribes and Pharisees: Matt 23:23 "Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a TENTH of your spices - mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the Law - justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have PRACTISED THE LATTER, without NEGLECTING THE FORMER." Clearly, Christ was saying that the FORMER, that is the paying of the TENTH, should not be neglected. And never did Christ suggest that they should pay it to any other but the keepers of the Temple of God - that is, the Levites.
But what of the Church of God? How did God intend them to carry out His Work and to feed the flock? God does not leave us ignorant of His intentions. He raised up the Apostle Paul and recorded much of his life and activities; and it's from Paul's experiences that we learn most about the means by which the teachers were to be supported. Paul stressed that he had the right to support from God's people, but was he speaking of the paying of tithes? This is what he said in this regard: 1Cor 9:7 "Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of its milk? Do I say this merely from the human point of view? Doesn't the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely HE SAYS THIS FOR US, doesn't He? YES, THIS WAS WRITTEN FOR US, because when the ploughman ploughs and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If OTHERS have the RIGHT OF SUPPORT from you, SHOULDN'T WE HAVE IT ALL THE MORE?"
Here was a former Pharisee, AN EXPERT IN THE LAW, who was taught at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), who was one of the greatest of the teachers of the Law - Paul! And he quotes from the Law in support of his contention that a labourer is worthy of his hire. But did you notice what he never quoted? He makes no mention of the LAW OF TITHING! Here was the perfect opportunity to nail it down according to the LAW OF MOSES. And on what basis did he contend? Does the vigneron eat ten percent of the grapes? Or the shepherd ten percent of the milk of the flock? Or does the ox eat ten percent of the grain? Paul suggested no such thing! As a teacher of the Law, Paul was well aware of what the Law says in regard to tithing and never ventured to circumvent that Law. But he did stress that since "OTHERS HAVE THE RIGHT TO SUPPORT" then logically, and according to God's will in regard to labourers in the field, 'SHOULDN'T WE HAVE IT ALL THE MORE?" And in this context, the labourers in the field do have the right to support - but they don't have the right to collect tithes! This right is given to the Levites alone. And more particularly, one man; the one mentioned in Mal 2:4-6. This refers to God's endtime messenger, the promised Elijah, the witness or prophet through whom God will finalise the endtime Work.
But what if you don't believe this man? What if you are fully persuaded that the leaders of the Church group where you are now fellowshipping is teaching the truth according to your knowledge of the Bible; should you support them? The answer is yes! If you believe them to be conducting the Work of God then you have an obligation before God to faithfully support them - WITH YOUR OWN MONEY - but NOT WITH GOD'S TITHE! They DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT to collect GOD'S TITHE.
At a time when there were thousands of converted Christians in Jerusalem, the two pillars of the Church, Peter and John, encountered a man who was crippled from birth. This is what Peter said to him: Acts 3:6 "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." One would expect that with in excess of three thousand converted Christians in and around Jerusalem at the time, Peter and John would have been rolling in money if they were receiving tithes from them all. But they had no silver or gold.
Later some of the faithful sold property and laid the proceeds at the feet of the Apostles (Acts 4:36), but again, no mention of tithes.
Luke, the writer of the Book of Acts, recorded the activities of the early Christians, and this is what he tells us about them: Acts 2:42 "They devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the Apostles. All the believers were together AND HAD EVERYTHING IN COMMON. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave TO ANYONE WHO HAD NEED."
And this whole scenario is to be re-enacted as in days of old in the near future, but it will be in Jerusalem that God's faithful and true servants will be gathered. These few thousand people are the ones described in Mal 3:16. And as Ripley was so fond of saying, 'believe it or not'! What God says will happen - will happen! And at the appropriate time, these people will flee from Judea, to a place prepared for them by God. And just to avert the ambitions of any who decide to lob in Jerusalem beforehand - don't do it! You will be plunged into one of the most horrific massacres imaginable in that city just prior to this time. God Himself will gather His people and transport them to Jerusalem. So don't bother booking your plane tickets. Just as Elijah was lifted up and transported by God, so will he again - and so will all his disciples. And God will know who they are. Where two people may be standing or working together, only one of them will be taken. In other words, God won't be fooled by your contrived righteousness. He will know who you are!
Speaking again about the WISDOM OF GOD (which is Christ), Solomon recorded this: Pro 8:17 "I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me find Me. With Me are riches and honour, ENDURING wealth and prosperity. MY FRUIT IS BETTER THAN FINE GOLD; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing WEALTH on those WHO LOVE ME and MAKING THEIR TREASURIES FULL." Which of the Churches of God have their treasuries full? None of them! They are all broke! They have squandered GOD'S TITHE!
God has made provision to fill the TREASURIES of His people when they are gathered together to build His TEMPLE. In the meantime, you must demonstrate that you are faithful with GOD'S TITHE and pay it to the one whom God has authorised to collect it.
Before moving on, just a few words about Psalms and Proverbs. Shortly there will be a series of articles dealing with the PROPHECIES OF THE PSALMS. These PROPHECIES are the most complex and detailed of all the prophecies of the Bible. These contain all the prophecies 'beaten fine' into very infinite detail. The scriptures have this to say of David: Isa 55:4 "See I have made him a WITNESS to the peoples.."
As a preliminary study of the Psalms, we could examine Peter's comments. Peter was discussing the death of Judas Iscariot, and the need to replace him as one of the twelve. And he gives his reasons in Acts 1:20 "For," said Peter, "it is WRITTEN in the BOOK OF PSALMS, 'MAY HIS PLACE BE DESERTED; LET THERE BE NO-ONE TO DWELL IN IT,' and 'MAY ANOTHER TAKE HIS PLACE OF LEADERSHIP.' Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us." Peter quoted two passages of scripture here - from Ps 69:25 and Ps 109:8. The important thing to note is: not one of those present challenged his 'interpretation' of the scriptures. They KNEW he had gotten it right and they understood it to be true. This was just days or possibly a few weeks after Christ opened the minds of the 11 Apostles to UNDERSTAND SCRIPTURE (Luke 24:45). Gathered together were not only the 11 Apostles, but also a group of around 120 people (Acts 1:15). These also now recognised the truth of Peter's statement.
Strangely enough, Peter quoted from Ps 69:25 and referred to the one spoken of in the singular. But when we check his quoted source we find it speaks in the plural: Ps 69:25 "May THEIR place be deserted; let there be no-one to dwell in THEIR tents." Surely Peter wouldn't misquote scripture. Never! And neither did he! Peter knew, as did all the other 120 disciples, that the scripture that Peter quoted refers to those who were numbered with Christ and betrayed Him. At that time there was just one - Judas Iscariot. But David spoke of a plurality of these betrayers. This is what he says in the very next verse: V26 "For they persecute those you wound and talk about the pain of those you hurt. CHARGE THEM WITH CRIME UPON CRIME; do not let them SHARE IN YOUR SALVATION May they be BLOTTED OUT of the BOOK OF LIFE and not be LISTED WITH THE RIGHTEOUS. [ref: Mal 3:16]"
But Ps 69 is even more explicit. Notice what is said in V4 "Those WHO HATE ME WITHOUT REASON outnumber the hairs on My head." Christ quoted this verse in John 15:25 "But this is to fulfil what is written in their LAW: 'They HATED ME WITHOUT REASON.'" Christ also added this: V26 "When the COUNSELLOR comes, whom I will send to you from the FATHER, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH who goes out FROM THE FATHER, he will testify about Me; BUT YOU MUST ALSO TESTIFY, for you have been with Me from the beginning." So Christ confirmed that Ps 69:4 referred to Him. V21 also confirms that Christ is spoken of, and He fulfilled this prophecy as well. But David records this in V7: "For I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face. I AM A STRANGER TO MY BROTHERS, AN ALIEN TO MY OWN MOTHER'S SONS; for zeal for YOUR HOUSE consumes me, and the insults of those WHO INSULT YOU fall on me. When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn; WHEN I PUT ON SACKCLOTH, PEOPLE MAKE SPORT OF ME."
Who was David referring to? This man is obviously one in SACKCLOTH whom people MAKE SPORT OF, but he is also a STRANGER TO HIS BROTHERS, an alien to his own mother's sons. His zeal for GOD'S HOUSE consumes him, and ANY INSULT TO GOD is considered a personal insult. He is very jealous for his God. The man David describes here is also described by Moses: Deut 33:9 "He said of his father and mother, 'I have no regard for them.' He did not RECOGNISE HIS BROTHERS or acknowledge his own children, but HE WATCHED OVER YOUR WORD and GUARDED YOUR COVENANT. HE TEACHES YOUR PRECEPTS TO JACOB and YOUR LAW TO ISRAEL. He offers incense before You and whole burnt offerings on Your altar. Bless his skills, O LORD, and be pleased with the WORK OF HIS HANDS. Smite the loins of those WHO RISE UP AGAINST HIM; STRIKE HIS FOES TILL THEY RISE NO MORE." And who was Moses speaking of? It's LEVI! The one whom God says His COVENANT was with, and with whom the COVENANT will continue (Mal 2:4). And adds this in Mal 2:7 "For the lips of a PRIEST ought to PRESERVE KNOWLEDGE, and FROM HIS MOUTH MEN SHOULD SEEK INSTRUCTION - because he is the MESSENGER of the LORD Almighty."
Of course most of you who CLAIM to believe that the Great God doesn't change (Mal 3:6), now believe He has now changed everything. Gone is the Old Covenant that you believe was no good, but which God says will 'CONTINUE WITH LEVI' - a COVENANT OF LIFE AND PEACE (Mal 2:5). You cling to what you believe is the New Covenant which 'did away' with the Old. You're absolutely convinced that animal sacrifices have no part in God's Great Plan. You are also convinced that the Apostle Paul said the Old Covenant would soon pass away. While he did say this, he was speaking of the exclusive covenant with Levi. Soon the Covenant will be with all the tribes of Israel - including Levi! The Covenant will be with God Himself rather than Moses.
Astute Bible students will be aware that the BOOK OF HOSEA deals with two nations. They are identified by name by the leading tribes of these nations. Anciently, the House of Israel was divided into the northern ten tribes, headed by EPHRAIM, and the southern tribes, headed by JUDAH. All the northern ten tribes are lumped together under one name in Bible prophecy and that name is EPHRAIM. Speaking to JUDAH, this is what God says: Jer 7:15 "I will thrust you from My presence, just as I did ALL YOUR BROTHERS, the PEOPLE OF EPHRAIM."
The remnant of the House of Israel that remained in the Holy Land rejected the SHEPHERD. These were the Tribe of Judah, that is, the Jews. But make no mistake, they ARE God's people AND they are also Christ's people. This is what the Apostle Paul wrote: Rom 3:1 "What advantage, then, is there in being a JEW, or what value is there in circumcision? MUCH IN EVERY WAY! First of all, they have been ENTRUSTED WITH THE VERY WORDS OF GOD. What if some of them did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? NOT AT ALL! Let God be true though every man a liar. As it is WRITTEN: "So that You may be PROVED RIGHT IN YOUR WORDS and PREVAIL IN YOUR JUDGING." What Paul says is WRITTEN refers to the JEWS - those he is speaking of. And where is this WRITTEN? Paul is quoting Ps 51:4 "Against You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that You are PROVED RIGHT when You SPEAK and justified when You JUDGE." David spoke in PARABLES just like his famous SON - the SON OF DAVID, that is, CHRIST! And just so we can be sure that David is speaking of the JEWS - just as Paul was, let's now notice V18 "In your good pleasure make ZION prosper; build up the walls of JERUSALEM. Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight You; then bulls will be offered on your altar."
Most of you know that the daily sacrifice in Jerusalem is to be taken away. Before it is taken away, IT MUST FIRST BE ESTABLISHED. You know that this will trigger certain events of prophecy. But somehow, most of you think these sacrifices will be some form of aberration of the 'silly' Jews. Many of you scoff contemptuously of God's OTHER SHEEP. Be aware if you do, God will view you with the same contempt!
Now notice what else David said in this parable: Ps 51:1 "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from sin." This Psalm begins with these words and ends with righteous sacrifices in Jerusalem. The question is, when does this speak of? Both Isaiah and Zechariah identify this period. Isaiah has this to say: Isa 40:1 "COMFORT, COMFORT MY PEOPLE, says your God. SPEAK TENDERLY to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her HARD SERVICE has been COMPLETED, that her SIN HAS BEEN PAID FOR, that she has received from the LORD'S hand DOUBLE FOR ALL HER SINS."
Just a small digression for those who are really interested in God's Word. Notice the words 'COMFORT, COMFORT' and 'SPEAK TENDERLY'. God gives us an absolute time frame for these words: Zech 1:13 "So the LORD spoke KIND AND COMFORTING WORDS to the angel that talked to me. Then the angel who was speaking to me said, "PROCLAIM THIS WORD: This is what the LORD Almighty says: I am very JEALOUS for JERUSALEM and ZION, but I am very angry with THE NATIONS that FEEL SECURE. I was only a little angry, but THEY have added to the CALAMITY.' Therefore, this is what the LORD says, 'I will return to JERUSALEM with MERCY, and there MY HOUSE WILL BE RE-BUILT. And the measuring line will be stretched over JERUSALEM,' declares the LORD Almighty. PROCLAIM FURTHER: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again COMFORT ZION and CHOOSE JERUSALEM.'"
Taking up the theme in Isa 40 we again find an exact time frame. Immediately after God COMFORTS His people and SPEAKS TENDERLY to JERUSALEM a certain man arrives on the scene. He has been in the wilderness all his life, and suddenly appears in JERUSALEM. He speaks a message of utter destruction; of mountains and hills being flattened and rough ground becoming level and rugged places becoming a plain. This is what this PROPHET says: V3 "A voice of one calling in the desert: prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. EVERY valley shall be raised up, EVERY mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the GLORY of the LORD will be REVEALED, and ALL MANKIND TOGETHER WILL SEE IT. For the MOUTH of the LORD has SPOKEN it." Of course, certain madmen have claimed this refers to nuclear weapons. You will note that nuclear weapons do the exact opposite of what is described here. When God re-sculptures the earth ALL MANKIND WILL SEE IT. God describes these things as His GLORY. You will also note that these things have not yet occurred! Are there still mountains on earth today? Notice the words EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL! And EVERY VALLEY! Hard to believe? Then try reading Zech 14:4 and rationalising your way around that! Or present your arguments against the meaning of Rev 6:14. Or else BELIEVE GOD!
And who was the PROPHET that spoke these words in Isa 40:3? It was none other than the LEVITE PROPHET, the ELIJAH, that is, JOHN THE BAPTIST! The words are recorded in Luke 3:3-6. This was the man who prepared the way for Christ's first appearance. The scriptures are clear that ELIJAH must also prepare the way for Christ's SECOND coming: Mal 4:5 "See, I will send you the PROPHET ELIJAH before the GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD comes."
God has revealed the nature of the earth to this ELIJAH. What it was, what it became, and now - yet future - what it will be like when the Kingdom is established. All these things will be a part of the endtime MESSAGE of the endtime ELIJAH - just as it was with JOHN THE BAPTIST. A word of caution to all those who fall prostrate before the 'WISDOM OF THE WISE and the INTELLIGENCE OF THE INTELLIGENT', and who write sicko, pseudo-science articles purporting to show what happened to the earth according to modern-day theories, BEWARE! You will be judged for EVERY word, EVERY utterance of your madness, because you have refused to BELIEVE GOD! What is more, you've set yourselves up as teachers to deceive God's people! You are not teachers and what you teach is lies! You are advised to shut your mouths! Or better still, tie a millstone around your necks and cast yourselves into the sea (Luke 17:2). It will be better for you if you do! So says Christ!!
Many church leaders speak endlessly of restoring truth. But what they do is reinforce lies. The Bible speaks of restoring everything. But to what is it referring? Whatever it is, it won't be done until Christ returns! This is what the Bible says: Acts 3:21 "He must remain in heaven UNTIL THE TIME COMES for GOD TO RESTORE EVERYTHING as He PROMISED LONG AGO through His holy PROPHETS." Notice that Christ will remain in heaven "UNTIL THE TIME COMES..." The time for what? For GOD TO RESTORE EVERYTHING! When THAT time comes, THEN Christ will return - and THEN God will RESTORE EVERYTHING just as He promised long ago through His holy PROPHETS. If the Bible was referring to restoring truth, then there would be no point in trying to understand it until AFTER Christ returns - because that is when GOD IS GOING TO RESTORE IT!
At the time that Luke wrote the Book of Acts, he spoke of a promise that was made LONG AGO to the holy PROPHETS. That is, long before Christ appeared on earth. Through Christ, truth was restored, and through Him a Church was established. In addition to these things, Christ also made certain changes to the Law (Heb 7:12), but what He DIDN'T do was to abolish the Law. In fact, He made it more binding! He greatly magnified the Law! But ONLY to His followers. For instance, on the question of adultery, to those who HEAR HIS VOICE, He said, "But I SAY TO YOU, if anyone looks upon a woman in lust, he commits adultery."
Putting it all together now, all the content of Psalm 51, Isa 40, and Zech 1:13, we find yet another reference to God's mercy towards Jerusalem and the Jews. This is found in Zech 12:8 "On that day the LORD will shield those who live in JERUSALEM, so that the feeblest among them will be like DAVID, and the HOUSE OF DAVID WILL BE LIKE GOD, like the Angel of the LORD going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack JERUSALEM. And I will pour out on the HOUSE OF DAVID and the INHABITANTS of JERUSALEM a SPIRIT OF GRACE AND SUPPLICATION. They will look on me, the One they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son."
This is real repentance! Notice the words of David's parable: Ps 51:7 "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; WASH me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; LET THE BONES YOU HAVE CRUSHED REJOICE. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and RENEW A STEADFAST SPIRIT (Heb: Ruwach Str. 07307) within me. Do not CAST ME FROM YOUR PRESENCE or TAKE YOUR HOLY SPIRIT (Heb: Ruwach Str. 07307) FROM ME. Restore me to the JOY OF SALVATION and grant me a willing spirit (Heb: Ruwach Str. 07307), to sustain me. Then I will TEACH TRANSGRESSORS YOUR WAYS, and SINNERS WILL TURN BACK TO YOU."
Most people believe the SACRIFICE of the FIRSTBORN always represents Christ. By jaded reasoning they have written volumes of material designed to show that in every instance these things point to the ultimate sacrifice - that of the CROSS. In so doing, they have violated the very principles outlined in the Bible.
Let's be clear on God's intended meaning. This is what God says: Ex 13:14 "In days to come when your son asks you, 'What does this mean?' say to him, 'With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. When PHAROAH stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD KILLED EVERY FIRSTBORN IN EGYPT, both man and animal. THIS IS WHY I sacrifice to the LORD the FIRST MALE OFFSPRING of every womb and redeem each of my FIRSTBORN sons.' And it will be like a SIGN ON YOUR HAND and a SYMBOL ON YOUR FOREHEAD that the LORD brought us out of Egypt with His mighty hand."
Right at the outset, Moses told Pharaoh that if they were to sacrifice to God while in Egypt the people would stone them. This is what he said: Ex 8:26 "But Moses said, "That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer the LORD our God would be detestable to the Egyptians. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, will they not stone us? We must take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, as He commands us." That would seem to be the end of the matter. They could not sacrifice in Egypt because the people would stone them. Such sacrifices would be detestable to Egyptians. But the fact is, the Israelites DID sacrifice in Egypt! What is more, the people had a change of heart immediately after this sacrifice: Ex 11:3 "(The LORD made the the Egyptians favourably disposed towards the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh's officials and by the people)". So it wasn't Pharaoh's officials that opposed Moses, nor was it the Egyptian people. It was PHARAOH! So who did Paul refer to with the names 'JANNES' and 'JAMBRES' in 2Tim 3:8 "Just as JANNES and JAMBRES opposed Moses"? Was it the officials - the magicians and the wisemen? No! They didn't oppose Moses even though they duplicated some of the miracles of Moses. In fact, they admitted they were powerless against God: Ex 8:18 "But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not. And the gnats were on men and animals. The magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But PHARAOH WOULDN'T LISTEN, just as the LORD had said."
Who was this PHARAOH? Was he JANNES or JAMBRES? Perhaps there were two pharaohs - could this be true? NO! The Bible speaks of only one PHARAOH with whom Moses dealt.
Why then did Paul refer to him by two different names? The Greek word for JANNES is 'IANNES'. The anglicised translation renders it 'JANNES.' The original Greek preserves the name from the Paul's SOURCE - the JEWISH TALMUDISTS. Similarly, the name 'JAMBRES' is rendered from 'IAMBRES'. Again, this is a faithful translation from the original Hebrew and the first syllable contains the name that all Israel was to remember God by: 'I AM'. This is what God says: Ex 3:14 "God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has send me to you.'" The name 'JANNES' is derived from the Hebrew name 'YANAH' (Str: 3238) and means: 'to rage or be violent, to suppress, to maltreat; to destroy (thrust out by), oppress, proud, vex, do violence.' Paul was referring to PHARAOH by the TWO NAMES by which he is KNOWN BY GOD. In fact, this PHARAOH was two separate beings - just as Nebuchadnezzar was at the height of his power. Nebuchadnezzar the man, was finally restored to SANITY when the beast was cast out of him: Dan 4:34 "At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes towards heaven, and MY SANITY WAS RESTORED. Then I praised the Most High; I honoured and glorified Him who lives for ever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. HE DOES AS HE PLEASES with the POWERS OF HEAVEN and the PEOPLES OF THE EARTH. No-one can hold back His hand or say to Him: "What have you done?"
It's interesting to note what happened when his sanity was restored. Suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar was able to see clearly the reality of the POWER of God. Firstly, he was able to acknowledge his former insanity. He recognised that God controls the POWERS OF HEAVEN and the PEOPLES OF THE EARTH - and he made the distinction between the two. In doing this, Nebuchadnezzar was clearly telling us that he had been the victim of the POWERS OF HEAVEN.
The Apostle Paul confirms this in Eph 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but AGAINST the POWERS OF THE DARK WORLD, and AGAINST the SPIRITUAL FORCES OF THE HEAVENLY REALMS."
PHARAOH, who was both JANNES and JAMBRES, saw all the FIRSTBORN OF HIS REALM destroyed by God, and his nation left in ruins. Finally he allowed the 12 tribes of Israel to leave Egypt. No sooner had they left, Pharaoh had a change of heart. He now knew that he was fighting God. Knowing this, he pursued the Israelites TO KILL THEM ALL. The Israelites knew that he planned to kill them and said this: Ex 14:10 "As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians marching against them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to DIE?""
It was in Pharaoh's heart to completely wipe out all the children of Israel - God's children. But God had another plan in mind. He would raise His children to life in the WATERS OF BAPTISM: 1Cor 10:2 "They were all BAPTISED INTO MOSES in the CLOUD and in the SEA. They all ate the same SPIRITUAL FOOD and drank the same SPIRITUAL DRINK; for they drank from the SPIRITUAL ROCK that accompanied them, and that ROCK WAS CHRIST."
The same WATER that RAISED TO LIFE the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL brought DEATH to the rest of the CHILDREN OF JAMBRES. This was the second stage of God's plan. The first was when God slaughtered the FIRSTBORN OF PHARAOH, including all the FIRSTBORN OF HIS ANIMALS, and spared the FIRSTBORN OF GOD'S CHILDREN - the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. (See Ex 4:22).
This raises the question of the reason for sacrificing. Do all sacrifices point to the sacrifice of Christ? You may be surprised to know that they don't! The whole reason for, and the purpose of sacrifices will be covered in another article. Those who acknowledge the importance of Christ's sacrifice, should acknowledge the importance of all sacrifices. The reasons for them and the meaning of them will make it all clear.
As a brief prelude, we need only to understand the meaning of the serpent on the pole that Moses made. Christ emulated that serpent when He was crucified. And who was this serpent on the pole? Most Bible students know that all references to a serpent in the Bible refers to Satan the devil. This serpent on the pole was called Nehushtan which means 'bronze serpent.' When the people of Israel were bitten by vipers, Moses formed this serpent and mounted it on a pole, according to God's instructions. Those who looked upon this serpent were healed. The question is: Why?
God wanted them to know who was responsible for the vipers that were among them. By looking upon this serpent, and recognising that this was the source of their rebellious spirit, the people were healed of the snake bites (Num 21:8). The sin that brought about this plague was they despised the MANNA FROM HEAVEN and rebelled against God and Moses (V5). And this MANNA which they so despised symbolised CHRIST (John 6:30-35). Immediately after they uttered these words against the MANNA FROM HEAVEN, vipers came among them and bit them, and killed them.
Why then, did Christ utter these words: John 3:14 "JUST AS MOSES LIFTED UP THE SNAKE IN THE DESERT, SO THE SON OF MAN MUST BE LIFTED UP, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life." Christ went to His death in place of the one who deserves to die - the Nehushtan, which Moses lifted up in the wilderness. In paying the penalty, Christ qualified to replace him as the ruler of this earth. If God didn't spare His own Son from death, will He spare those who go on sinning wilfully? The answer is no! The penalty for sin is death, and Satan will face that penalty. Just as the Son of God was made human to face His death, so will Satan the devil. God has predicted that Satan will rally his dragon-worshiping clan in a massive rebellion against God. All of these things will be covered in the up-coming article on the reason for sacrifices.
This is not the time for a discussion on names. But in the future it will be. Much prophecy hinges on names and their intended meaning. It should however, be pointed out the appalling blasphemy of referring to God by the name 'JEHOVAH.' This name was fabricated from two words 'JE' meaning God, and 'HOVAH' (Str. Heb: 1943) meaning 'ruinous mischief, calamitous mischief, perversity, naughty.' Some people refer to God every day of their lives using this abominable name, and actually claim virtue for doing it. Interestingly enough, the translators of the King James Version translated YHWH as LORD around 5517 times. Then for reasons known only to themselves, they translated it JEHOVAH in four instances (Ex 6:3, Ps 83:18, Isa 12:2, Isa 26:4).
Then along came James Strong in 1890. It was his avowed intention to concord every word in the KJV. It must have been with some trepidation that he decided to preserve the word 'JEHOVAH' as the source of the name LORD, and duly did so in Str. no. 03068 which he varied to 'YEHOVAH'. In doing so, he preserved a blasphemous lie to which even he conceded. He recorded Str. 03069 [YEHOVIH] as being a variant of 03068 and conceded that it was known of the Jews as ELOHIYM (Elohim Str. 0430). So he recorded all 5517 occurrences of the name YHWH (not just the 4 occurrences by the KJV translators) as YEHOVAH which he anglicised to JEHOVAH.
Perhaps the KJV translators and James Strong recognised the revealing of another being and decided to conjure up a suitable name. Isaiah certainly made this clear that another Being apart from the Father was being spoken of! This is found in one of the above verses. God is speaking: Isa 12:2 ""Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my SONG (ref: Rev 15:3); He has BECOME my salvation." With joy You will DRAW WATER FROM THE WELLS OF SALVATION." This foreshadows a special event in the life of Jesus. He was at JACOB'S WELL when He made this statement: John 4:13 "Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but WHOEVER DRINKS THE WATER I GIVE HIM will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him A SPRING OF WATER WELLING UP TO ETERNAL LIFE."
Notice the repetition in Isa 12:2 "The LORD, the LORD". This is also repeated in Isa 26:4 "Trust in the LORD for ever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the ROCK eternal." Christ also made a habit of using this repetition (Matt 7:21-22, 25:11; Luke 6:46, 13:25). This is what He said in Matt 7:22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'LORD, LORD, did we not PROPHECY IN YOUR NAME, and in YOUR NAME drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers.'"
Why the double use of this name? The key to this mystery is found in Ex 3:14 "God said to Moses, "I AM who I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'""
God did not reveal Himself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by the name 'I AM', but He revealed Himself by this name only to the LEVITE PROPHET MOSES. This is what God says: Ex 6:2 "God also said to Moses, "I AM the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as LORD Almighty [El Shaddai], but by My name the LORD [I AM] I did not make Myself known to them."
In the original Hebrew, the name 'I AM' is phonetically identical to the name 'LORD'. Hence the English equivilent of these names would be 'LORD, LORD.' A term Christ frequently applied to Himself. But on one important occasion, He also used this duality of name in reference to the Father.
Did Christ and the Apostles always use the original Hebrew names? The answer is no! One typical example concerns Christ's question to the Father: "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani" (Matt 27:46, Mark 15:34). We are fortunate here that both Matthew and Mark translated the meaning for us as 'My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.' In fact those present believed that Christ had called for Elijah to deliver Him (Matt 27:47- 49). The reason for the confusion stems from the fact that Christ used a mix of Hebrew and Aramaic in this question.
The word 'ELOI' or 'ELOHI' is a variant of the Hebrew 'ELOHIM'. ELOHIM is used around 2630 times in the Bible in reference to God, and is used in 60% of all occurrences. The Apostles translated it as 'GOD.' Those who were present at the crucifixion believed that Christ was calling to ELIJAH. The name ELIJAH comprises two syllables, both of which reference God. They are 'ELI' and 'JAH' A variant of 'JAH' is used to describe the City of God, JERU-salem, which by translation means 'God's peace.'
This raises the question of why the Jewish leaders believed that ELIJAH would rescue Him. This stems from the use of 'lama sabachthani' which in Aramaic means 'why forsaken?' But in Hebrew it closely resembles the extended meaning of 'deliverer' with verbal overtones: e.g. Str. 3467 - YASHA (yawshah). The fact is, these Jewish leaders DID believe that He spoke of ELIJAH delivering Him, and they stood there to 'see if ELIJAH would come' (Mark 15:36).
The important point to remember here is: Christ said and did everything necessary to fulfill all that was written about Him (Luke 24:45-46). And this occasion was no different. Christ quoted directly from Ps 22:1; this was confirmed by Matthew and Mark. Now the whole of Ps 22 appears somewhat cryptic, yet we are told that Christ spoke these very words, howbeit in a different language (see Isa 28:11). Significantly, THE DISCIPLES UNDERSTOOD THE TRUE MEANING; the OTHERS DID NOT; yet the Apostles saw fit to record their understanding. So what did the Prophet David have to say? Here it is: Ps 22:1 "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" There can be no doubt about it; this is exactly what the Apostles recorded in reference to what Christ said. If this verse were taken in isolation, then it would be relatively meaningless. But since we can have confidence that it was a reference to Christ, we need to understand what else this chapter has to say. As we skip down to V16 we find that it's still describing Christ's suffering: "DOGS have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have PIERCED MY HANDS AND MY FEET. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They DIVIDE MY GARMENTS among them and CAST LOTS FOR MY CLOTHING." So clearly, the whole theme of this chapter refers to Christ, but starting in V20 we see a departure from the description of the crucifixion. Three animals are mentioned - dogs, lions, and oxen. These are described as the oppressors of the one referred to. Yet we know that in a practical sense, this was not fulfilled at the time of the crucifixion.
As we read through the rest of the chapter we find that it concludes with the resurrection of the dead: V27 "All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the FAMILIES OF THE NATIONS will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and HE RULES OVER THE NATIONS. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the DUST [grave] will kneel before Him - those WHO CANNOT KEEP THEMSELVES ALIVE. Posterity will serve Him; FUTURE GENERATIONS will be told about the LORD."
Dealing again now with the subject of names, it's significant that Christ used the word 'ELOI' in relation to God. Since it was His custom to address God as the 'Father', it seems strange that He departed from this custom on this occasion. In fact, Christ had to, in order to fulfill the prophecy concerning Him in Ps 22. But here we receive another bonus. Christ demonstrates that it's right and proper to refer to God as ELOI, or the full Hebrew version of ELOHIM. The word ELOHIM has a unique characteristic. It's a uni-plural word just like the word 'family' or 'nation.' It's a single unit, but consists of multiple members who make up that unit. So it is with ELOHIM. In fact, the word implies a family of beings. The singular variation of this name is ELOWAHH [Str. 433]. At the time when Christ was on earth, God plainly stated that Christ was God's only begotten Son (John 3:16). The word 'begotten' refers to His human birth when He was begotten by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the blessed Mary. Peter confirmed that He was the Son of God (Matt 16:16), and the Apostle Thomas confirmed that He was also God (John 20:28). In saying this, Thomas was referencing ELOHIM, the uni-plural dimension of the FATHER.
By a SPECIAL COVENANT, God planned for Christ to continue to live on earth. Not personally, but in BODY. His OFFSPRING (Isa 53:10) are the BODY OF CHRIST. So Christ lives on - right here on earth. This is one of the hidden mysteries of God, that those who are indeed Christ's, are also gods (Ps 86:6, John 10:34). This same word 'GODS' is 'THEOS' in the Greek (Str: 2316) and frequently references the Father. In confirmation of these things we are told that the redeemed will bear God's name on their foreheads (Rev 14:1, 22:4, see also Ex 13:16) and will be confirmed as His SONS.
Concerning the word 'YAHWEH', it's perfectly acceptable in the eyes of God to reference Him by this title. Similarly with 'EL SHADDAI' which means 'GOD ALMIGHTY.' Or by 'ELOHIM' which Christ Himself favoured. We must always HONOUR God, and God makes the point that this honour is not always forthcoming (Mal 1:6). It is certainly not honourable to refer to God by man-made fabrications; and this is evident in the name 'JEHOVAH', which is, in fact, SHOCKING BLASPHEMY!
Those who have written in, and argued that the geology of the earth has nothing to do with the Gospel, would be well advised to consider one of the identifying signs of the endtime Elijah. John the Baptist preceded the FIRST coming of Christ, the endtime Elijah will precede the SECOND coming. Yet John spoke of events that would precede Christ's SECOND coming. He spoke of things that were almost impossible to comprehend at that time. He spoke of mountains being levelled and valleys being uplifted. Some of the prophets spoke of the removal of inland seas, others said the whole earth would be divided by rivers. God Himself tells us that He would renew the face of the earth. Yet it's only today that we can comprehend the vastness of the earth. And only in this 20th century has the knowledge emerged that the continents have moved from their original locations. While foolish, stupid human beings have offered explanations for this in the form of 'tectonic plate theory', the truth is, the geology of the earth reveals evidence of far greater violence in the geological record, than is proposed by this theory of gradual change.
Satan the devil has a system of brainwashing that is firmly established in the academic world. The 'WISDOM OF THE WISE, and the INTELLIGENCE OF THE INTELLIGENT' runs counter to the sound reasoning of God's Word. God long ago planned to call a man to His service, who would come in the SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH - just like John the Baptist. This man, like John the Baptist, would speak of these things and counteract the error of those who believe themselves to be wise. God planned, in advance, to reveal His GREAT POWER to this man, and to imbue in him the knowledge and history of the geological structure of the earth. No other human being has ever understood these things, because God never revealed His secret to them. But God reveals His secrets to HIS SERVANTS THE PROPHETS (Amos 3:7).
God also knew that some who profess to serve Him would attempt to spiritualize away the meaning of the words of John the Baptist. He knew they would attempt to relate the meaning of mountains and valleys to some sort of human emotion like troubles and woes. To offset such errors, God gave us a demonstration of His great power at the death of His Son. This is what the Bible says: Matt 27:51 "At that moment the curtain of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The EARTH SHOOK and the ROCKS SPLIT. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died WERE RAISED TO LIFE. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the Holy City and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw THE EARTHQUAKE and all that happened, they were terrified and exclaimed, "Surely He was the Son of God."" You will notice that in addition to the earthquake and the rocks splitting, there was also a mini-resurrection of the dead. You will also notice that none of these things are on the scale of what is prophesied for the endtime - even though they were fulfilled to a minor degree.
It is God's way to ensure that no doubts exist concerning His great power. God wants everyone to know that what He says He will do, HE WILL DO!
God shook the earth and split the rocks to let everyone know that the murder of His Son will be visited on the generation from the beginning. This generation is the progeny of the firstborn of Adam and Eve - Cain! The progeny of Cain survived the flood through the wives of Noah's sons. God plans to assemble all of this generation and deal with them together in the sight of the Holy City Jerusalem.
As regards calling, what is your calling? You may be surprised to know that many have been called - millions in fact! Even from the time of Abraham, God planned to call many people. Those whom He planned to call would eventually be numbered like the sand of the sea and the stars in the sky. These were the descendants of Abraham. At that time, God chose His NATION. He had previously established 12 nations on earth by dividing the people of the earth into 12 groups (Deut 32:8, Gen 10:32). From ONE of these He called Abraham and promised that Abraham and His descendants would be a special nation, God's chosen people, and these only would He call of all the nations on the earth (Deut 7:6; Amos 3:1-2). Through Abraham's grandson Jacob, God established the fathers of 12 tribes who would be established as individual nations. God confirmed His promise to Abraham through Jacob, and changed his name to Israel. And if you have ears to hear, Israel is the name of God's Son.
No sooner had God established these 12 tribes, than He sent them to Egypt to become slaves, to be ruled by a demonic despot. What is more, God told Abraham of His plan many years before, even before the fathers of these 12 tribes were born. Let it be clearly understood! God did not send these tribes into slavery for anything they had done!
God specifically said that He would call them out of slavery in the fourth generation (Gen 15:16). God had a plan and a timetable. God called a man from birth to lead them out. Even as Moses floated down the Nile in the little ark, God watched over him. Eighty years later, Moses entered the realm of Satan the devil - Egypt - to redeem God's people. This very scenario is to be repeated again.
It's not surprising that the Worldwide Church of God jokingly claimed to be a non-PROPHET organisation. They were certainly not a non-PROFIT organisation as implied by the joke. There were no prophets in this organisation. And if there were, they would not have been called from the ranks of the ministry, which happily taught whatever they were directed to - by men! A real prophet is taught by, and directed by God. A real prophet doesn't need some man to tell him he's a prophet. And neither is a prophet anointed to this position by men. The Prophet David was anointed by Samuel - not as a prophet, but as a king. God personally calls a prophet to duty and personally anoints him. This anointing is the cascading of the holy oil, that is, the Holy Spirit of God. The illusion that the ministry of the Churches of God would anoint the two endtime prophets and send them into the world is just that - an illusion! In fact, a stupid, arrogant delusion fabricated in the minds of those who have never BELIEVED GOD!
But now that the Church of God has fragmented into many different organizations, we find a strange protocol emerging. This protocol was evident when Dr. Herman Hoeh stood up before the congregation and stated that Herbert Armstrong was an apostle. After duly considering the up-side of this proposal, Armstrong accepted it. And so began a long-held acceptance that he was an apostle. He was no apostle!
But this outrageous claim and its acceptance then opened the door to other more extravagant claims. Some other 'scholar' then proposed that Armstrong was also 'Elijah.' Later, on learning that only LEVI has the right to collect tithes, the claim was made that Armstrong was also LEVI THE MESSENGER. Not content with that, and to cover all loopholes, it was then claimed that ALL of those in the ministry were LEVITES. The multi-cultural nature of the ministry (they couldnt all be Levites, now could they?) didn't phase them on this assumption. And nor did the evidence of the Bible that shows that many of those ministering in the Body of Christ at the time of the Apostle Paul were indeed Gentiles - not Levites! Truth means nothing to these people.
But Herbert Armstrong was adamant about one thing! There would be no ELISHA! How wrong (as usual) he was! His statement was not based on knowledge, but an arrogant disregard for the Word of God. As usual, his statement was widely quoted and no-one sought evidence from the Bible in support of this assumption. In fact, every time someone stood up and proclaimed himself to be some great one, the people followed him like mindless automatons. Some of the most appalling rubbish has been written by these individuals - and their followers have believed every word. One man, who fashioned himself after Herbert Armstrong wrote a book. It was the centerpiece of his whole ministry. It was the most UNbelievable work of fiction imaginable. And when the object of his great 'revelation' - a man - died without fulfilling any of his predictions, still the people believed him!
What happened to the love of God and the faith that was once delivered through the Apostles? What has caused so many people to degenerate into mindless cretins? All this at a time when the Word of God - the Bible - is found in virtually every home! What has happened to their first love - the love of God? In the days of Moses, the people rejected the heavenly BREAD, the MANNA that God lovingly provided. They wanted meat! God said that He would give them meat until it was coming out of their nostrils!! (Num 11:20).
You people of the Body of Christ have rejected the heavenly BREAD (which is Christ). You have prostituted yourselves to follow every perverted lunatic imaginable. Now you will have meat! God will supply it until it's coming out of your nostrils!! And you will vomit on it, and with failing hearts you will face all that you have dreaded - because you refused to SERVE God and BELIEVE Him! Then you will know that a prophet has been among you!
Perhaps you think, 'Who is this man who claims to be a prophet of God.? He preaches against anyone in the Church having dominion over another, yet he seems to be exercising dominion over us! Who gives him this right?'
Well, let it be known to you, little children, mere babes in Christ, who have never understood anything because you have never sought God's advice on anything; God has appointed a prophet with power, to warn you. Yes, and if necessary, to crush you - just as His own Son was crushed (Isa 53:10), and then you will begin to believe that the Great God rules in heaven and you will be forced to acknowledge that God has spoken to you through His prophet. THEN YOU WILL BELIEVE GOD!! And all that God has said, will befall you - UNLESS YOU REPENT!
While some of you are mere babes in Christ, there are some among you who are bastards and not sons (Heb 12:4-13). And it is these bastards that you have listened to! Paul quoted from Pro 3:11-12 and in these verses Solomon added this: V13 "Blessed is the man who FINDS WISDOM, the man who GAINS UNDERSTANDING.." Most of you have not sought wisdom, nor have you gained understanding. Your 'spiritual' arrogance is a stench to Almighty God!
So you believed Herbert Armstrong when he said there would be no Elisha! Well there will be an Elisha! In fact, Elisha has been plowing for years but has never sown any seed. While he has been diligent towards God, his teachings are not based on knowledge. He's an Ephraimite and he lives in the land of Ephraim. He will die in the land of Ephraim.
This writer knows who you are, Elisha. And he knows that you are busily plugging holes in your worthless doctrine to which you still cling. Come to your senses and you will receive the double portion of the Spirit that God intends to give you. It's time for you to burn your plow and offer a reasonable sacrifice to God. Then you will receive instruction from God's servant to equip you for the very great job ahead of you. The hand of God is against you now, and is poised to strike you down. Don't delay!
In days of old, Elisha saw his teacher taken up in the chariot of God. He said: 2Kings 2:12 "...My father! My father! the chariots and horsemen of Israel!" Later, when Elisha was dying in his own bed, the prince of Israel came to him and said: 2Kings 13:14 "...My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel."
God intended to reveal the meaning to His servants, and so He inspired the Prophet Ezekiel to explain. Soon you will also understand the meaning. And all you aspiring 'spiritual' intellectuals who think you know everything, try explaining the meaning to your congregation! You make the claim to being the servants of God, but you know very well that you are not! Instead you are 'spiritual' morons, and you despise the one who tells you so!
You will also note that Paul had to constantly affirm that he was an Apostle. He knew that he was an Apostle - some others didn't believe him. Many who were STUDENTS of the truth and later became TEACHERS, began to believe they had eclipsed Paul in stature in the eyes of God. They began to elevate themselves over those whom God Himself had appointed. What is more, many began to accelerate their 'learning' process by augmenting their teachings with lies. They claimed an unfettered license to inject their own ideas and to fabricate additions to the Gospel.
Paul also noticed a trend among those who were hostile to God's truth. This trend is also evident today. Those who have hidden agendas NEVER ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRUTH! The TRUTH OF GOD should be evident to all of those whom God is calling. After understanding truth, the true Christian is bound to cling to that truth - and ACKNOWLEDGE IT! And this brings us back to the point - of whether someone is truly exercising the MIND OF CHRIST, or indeed, whether they actually have the MIND OF CHRIST.
We do indeed live in perilous times. Everything that is written in prophecy is about to descend on this world. The human imagination is inadequate to fully comprehend the magnitude of, as yet, unfulfilled prophecy. While the vast majority of Christianity today believe that most of the Bible is redundant to our time - the exact opposite is the case!
You are no doubt aware that very little is being done to illuminate vital prophetic events that relate to our time. God knew in advance that this situation would exist in the endtime among the Churches. For this reason He promised to send prophets to complete the Work designated to be done by His followers.
John the Baptist was one of these. His job was to prepare the way for the arrival of the Messiah. John was that Elijah. But God also spoke of another Elijah that would prepare the way for Christ's second coming. This is described in Mal 4:5 "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah BEFORE the GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD." John the Baptist spoke of large-scale destruction of the earth's features; that is, the levelling of mountains and the elevation of valleys. He quoted from Isa 40:3. His words are found in Luke 3:4. The ELIJAH that PRECEDES CHRIST'S SECOND COMING will do the same thing. The world cannot accept these things because they don't BELIEVE God. But those who must do God's Work must believe Him. If the world cannot accept what is evident from what is CLEARLY SEEN, how will they ever understand prophecy? The point is they won't! But they will hear! Yet, they won't believe! God says this: Rom 1:20 "For since the CREATION of the world God's invisible qualities - HIS ETERNAL POWER and DIVINE NATURE - have been CLEARLY SEEN, BEING UNDERSTOOD FROM WHAT HAS BEEN MADE, so that men are WITHOUT EXCUSE."
Those who deny the power of God and offer stupid theories that counter the truth of God are not deceived - they are evil! God's creation, and all that He has made, can be seen and understood clearly just by examining God's handiwork. Those who fail to acknowledge these things are without excuse! So says Almighty God!
God plans to get their attention, and God's true servants will ensure that they hear the Word of God. It's not what they want to hear, but rather what God wants them to. God's message is one of destruction. When they are all saying, 'PEACE, PEACE' then SUDDEN DESTRUCTION will descend on them all. Those who speak of 'peace and safety' are deluding their followers.
God doesn't offer safety, but He does offer peace. This is the peace that Christ had when He went to His death, and this is the peace that He imparted to His disciples. You are being told these things in advance so you will have no illusions about what lies ahead. Things will get tough and you will need to be strong in order to serve our Almighty Father faithfully.
What your eyes will see in your own lifetime will so shock you that many will have fatal heart attacks. These things will culminate when the WRATH OF GOD is revealed from heaven. Many passages in the Bible refer to this period. The Apostle Paul also spoke of this period: Rom 1:18 "The WRATH OF GOD is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men WHO SUPPRESS THE TRUTH by their wickedness."
The WRATH OF GOD is dealt on two fronts. Firstly, when He PUNISHES His CHOSEN PEOPLE for their sins. These are the Body of Christ. God is going to see that they come into international focus because they will be the object of the rage of Satan (Rev 12:17). But long before this, while Satan is still approaching God in heaven and accusing the faithful, many of these die in martyrdom: Rev 12:11 "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of His TESTIMONY; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death."
Luke foreshadowed this persecution in Luke 21:12 "BUT BEFORE ALL THIS, they will lay hands on you and persecute you." V16 "You will be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death."
Satan has already begun to flood the nations of Israel with his degenerate seed. The times of the Gentiles has now begun. These evil beasts are now poised to strike, and to create chaos and mayhem among God's other CHOSEN people (Amos 3:1-2, Deut 7:6). These evil beasts will worship the OAK TREE (Heb: Str. Conc. 0427) which is ALLAH.
Amid the chaos and destruction of calamities, disasters, disease epidemics and widespread destruction, these vipers will plunder and kill, and will fulfill their role towards their father the devil.
God WILL punish His people for their sins!
Many people turn away because God's message is so strong. They want to hear smooth and pleasant things that make them feel good. Instead of being outraged at the evil that is being done among the tribes of Israel, and what is being taught in the name of God, they want to perpetuate the myths of their own beliefs.
Well, the party's over. God speaks these words in Jer 23:29 "Is not My Word like FIRE," declares the LORD, "and like a HAMMER THAT BREAKS A ROCK IN PIECES?" The days of sanctimonious platitudes are gone. This is the message of God.
God has called those who will do as they are told - by God. They speak the Word of God without fear or favour. If the whole world turns away and everyone on earth is baying for their blood, they will not keep quiet until they are killed. They must serve the Great God and nothing else is important. Of course their service to God involves loving and caring for His people, and they must love all of them - even those who hate them. Many of those who now hate the messenger will come to the realization later, that he was only speaking the truth. Most of them recognize the truth, but object to the messenger who speaks it.
God welcomes all who come to the knowledge of God and devote themselves in a whole-hearted manner. This small group will be gathered in Jerusalem by God at the appropriate time. The faithful and true believers - the true servants of God - will know in advance. It will be a miraculous event, but it will not be the rapture that accords with the beliefs of some. There are many things to be fulfilled before this event.
If you are whole-hearted in your devotion to God, then He will open your mind to understand many things - and no man will be able to deceive you. This is God's promise to you. In return, you must be a part of the BRANCH, and do the Work that God requires of you. Every man that God calls to this endtime, prophetic Work is a teacher. This requires a great deal of knowledge of your Bible. It is hoped you will diligently devote yourself to Bible study and expand your knowledge by following the pointers and markers that God has placed throughout its pages. Many more articles will be produced on the Zion Ministries Website that will assist you in your studies.
There is a great deal to be done and very little time in which to do it. All these articles are primarily aimed at the Churches of God. In the second stage, they will be aimed at the House of Israel that is primarily the English-speaking peoples of the world. And finally, from Jerusalem, the message will go out to the world. These things are foreshadowed in many prophecies.
The content of this article will be greatly expanded in future articles. Rededicate yourselves to the love of God's Word - make it your whole life - you don't have much time left!
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Neville V. Stevens
P.O. Box 2551