Archive | April 2013

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Mark 13:14

“So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.                    NKJV

The “abomination of desolation” is a Jewish phrase used to describe the defilement of the temple by a Gentile ruler.  There have been two “abominations of desolation” in Jewish history.  The first occurred in 167 A.D. when King Antiochus Epiphanies of Greece ransacked the Jewish temple and slew a pig on the brazen alter.  The second occurred in 70 A.D. when the Roman army led by General Titus invaded Jerusalem and destroyed the temple.  The Jews referred to both of these defilements of the temple as the “abomination of desolation.”

The third and final “abomination of desolation” will occur during the last half of the tribulation, a seven year period in which the judgment of the Lord will be poured out on the earth just prior to Jesus’ return to establish His millennial kingdom.  The antichrist (the man of sin, man of lawlessness, son of perdition) will set up his throne and image in the temple, which will be rebuilt in Jerusalem, and there proclaim himself to be God (II Thess. 2:3-4).  He will receive miraculous powers from Satan and deceive the entire world which will worship him (II Thess. 2:9-12, Rev. 13:4-8).  He will have his sidekick, the False Prophet, make his image and set it up in the holy of holies (Rev. 13:11-15, Dan. 12:11).

According to Daniel 9:26, the antichrist will be of Roman origin; “of the people who would come and destroy the city and the sanctuary” ( a reference to the Roman army’s destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D.).  However, the Jews will never accept a Gentile Messiah.  When the antichrist sets up his throne and image in the temple, the Jews will rebel against his authority and he will call on his armies to destroy them.  Two-thirds of the Jews will be killed, but one third of them will escape (Zech. 13:8-9) and flee to the mountains of Bozrah [Isa. 34:6, 63:1-4; Hab. 3:3 (Mt. Teman and Mt. Paran are in the vicinity of Bozrah); Micah 2:12 (Heb. sheep of Bozrah)].

In Bozrah, God will shelter the Jewish remnant during the last half of the tribulation (Rev. 12:6) and will miraculously provide for them (Isa. 41:17-20).  This will cause the Jews to search the scriptures and they will come to understand that Jesus Christ is their Messiah (Zech. 12:10) and they will all trust Him as their personal Savior (Rom. 11:26).  The Jewish remnant will then proclaim, “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matt. 23:39, Psa. 118:26), and this event will signal Christ’s immediate return to the earth where He will wipe out the armies of the antichrist, lead the redeemed Jewish remnant back to Jerusalem, and set up His millennial throne (Isa. 63:1-7, Rev. 19;11-21).

Based on Zechariah 14:3-4, some have supposed that Christ will come down to the Mount of Olives when He returns to the earth, but the previous verses make it clear that Christ will come to Bozrah, not the Mount of Olives.  Zechariah 14:4 is not referring to the place of His return, but rather to His victory ascent up the Mount of Olives when He destroys the last of the armies of the antichrist.  Some have used the statement of the two angels in Acts 1:11 as an argument that Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives, but the angels are speaking of the “manner” of Christ’s return, not the “place” of His return.

Who is this who comes from Edom, With dyed garments from Bozrah, This One who is glorious in His apparel, Traveling in the greatness of His strength?—“I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”  Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?  “I have trodden the winepress alone, And from the peoples no one was with Me.  For I have trodden them in My anger, And trampled them in My fury; Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, And I have stained all My robes.  For the day of vengeance is in My heart, And the year of My redeemed has come.                  Isaiah 63:1-4

                            

 

Advertisements

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on I Peter 1:18-19

knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.                        NKJV

                    

Have you stood mentally at the foot of the cross and seen the precious blood of Jesus flow from His scourged back, His nail-pierced hands and feet, and His lance-pierced side.  His blood is “precious” because of its redeeming power.  By it, the sins of Christians are covered and cleansed; we are freed from the condemnation of the law; we are reconciled to the perfect Creator of all things, made one with Him, and adopted into His family as His own children.

Jesus’ precious blood has purified out sins which are like scarlet and made them as white as snow (Isa. 1:18).  His blood removes the stains of our iniquity and permits us to stand in the presence of a holy God, accepted in Christ, despite the multitude of ways in which we rebelled against our Creator.

There have been numerous adaptations over the past six centuries of the story of Faust, but the original story tells of an old scholar who rejects the Lord Jesus Christ and dies in his sins.  As his soul departs from his body, he sees the blood of Jesus streaming across the gulf that separates the place of torment from Abraham’s bosom and cries out, “Oh!  If I had but one drop of that precious blood, it would save my soul forever!  But alas, it is too late!”  Then he slips into Hades and is gone.

While the above story may be fictitious, the lesson in it is scriptural.  Jesus shed His precious blood to save us from eternal condemnation.  By His resurrection from the dead, He has conquered sin and death and is able and willing to save all who will truly repent of their sins and by faith receive Him as personal Savior.  Our days on earth, and our opportunities to receive Christ are limited.  Please do not let the opportunity slip by before it is too late.

For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.                             II Corinthians 6:2

Resolution Signing

On Sunday, March 17th, Resolution Signingseven men in the church publicly signed a resolution to fulfill their Biblical responsibilities as  husbands and fathers.  This was following a two-day seminar for the men in the church that was based on the movie, “Courageous.”

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Mark 13:9-11

“But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues.  You will be broughtbefore rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.  And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.  But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditatewhat you will speak.  But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”            NKJV

                    

Some of the most stirring speeches ever uttered for the cause of Christ were given by Christians who were martyrs for Jesus and the gospel.  On May 31, 1559, a group of Bible-believing Christians were worshipping in the home of Doña Isabella.  Their worship service was reported to the Roman Catholic Holy Office and they were all arrested and arrayed before the dreaded inquisition.

Doña Isabella was the cousin of King Phillip II of Spain.  She was at least seven months pregnant at the time.  Not even Doña Isabella’s blood relationship with the king could save her.  She was placed on the rack and tortured in order to get her to implicate others and deny her faith in Christ.  After refusing to recant, her head was locked into clamps to keep it from moving and metal jaws were used to hold her mouth open.  Sharp brittle cloth was shoved down her throat and forced into her stomach by water drops before being yanked out.  This procedure was repeated over and over again.

Doña Isabella remained steadfast to the end, refusing to recant and deny her faith in Christ.  As she addressed the tribunal and jury, she said, “How can I deny my Savior?  How can I deny Him who died on the cross for my sins?  How can I deny the One who gave me life?  How can I deny Him who is my only hope in eternity after you massacre my body, after you destroy my person?  I will not lie, because I learned the truth.  I pray to God that you might know Christ, my Savior, because He is the truth.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by me.”

Afterward, Doña Isabella, in her blood-soaked dress was taken out to be burned at the stake.  As she and her unborn baby, who almost certainly had died in her womb, were given to the flames, she prayed, “Sweet Jesus, take us home!” and then Doña Isabella was ushered into the waiting arms of her Lord and Savior.

What about us?  Are we willing to take up our cross and follow Jesus (Mark 8:34-35)?  It is easy to verbally say, “I’m willing to die for Christ,” but are you living for Him?  How can we truly say we are ready to die for Jesus if we do not even live for Him?

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.                 Tertullian 

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Psalm 33:20-21

Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.  For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name.                    NKJV

                    

The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations” (Psa. 33:11).  But we must be prepared to wait on God’s timing.  His timing is precise, for He does things in the exact and perfect timing that He has decreed (Isa. 46:10).  It is not for us to know His timing, and in fact we cannot know it—we must wait for it.  If God had told Abraham while he was in Haran that he would have to wait 30 years before holding his promised child in his arms, or if he had told Joseph that he would have to wait 22 years before the promise of his dream would be fulfilled, during which time he would be enslaved and imprisoned, the hearts of these two saints might have failed them.  So God, as an act of His gracious love, hid from them the number of weary years they would be required to wait.  God’s promises were at last fulfilled in their appointed times and their sorrow turned into rejoicing that caused them to forget their long and tiring wait.

So take heart, child of God, when your heavenly Father requires you to wait.  He will not disappoint you.  He will never be even a second behind His appointed time.  And soon your grief will turn to joy (John 16:20).  Oh, how joyful the soul that God brings to laughter!  Then sorrow and crying flee as darkness flees before the dawn.

As passengers, it is not for us to interfere with the charts and the compass.   We should leave the masterful Captain alone to do His own work.      Robert Hall