Light on the Rock Blogs

The blogs are short articles, almost like a “sermonette” compared to a sermon. They are on a variety of topics, please enjoy.

This coming full solar eclipse April 8, 2024

eclipse

comet
We all know in America that a full solar eclipse is due April 8, 2024.
It will cross from Eagle Pass, Texas heading northwest through Dallas, Cleveland, Erie, Burlington VT – and through Maine. The full eclipse will last almost four minutes, longer than most eclipses. If you are planning to watch it, if you’re in the path, be sure to use true eclipse glasses, not just sunglasses.

As an aside, the darkness at Jesus’ crucifixion was not, and could not have been, an eclipse, as that darkness was very thick and lasted for three hours. It had to be something other than an eclipse, which usually lasts 2-3 minutes.

An eclipse happens when the sun, moon and earth align and the moon blocks the sun. During a full eclipse, it makes it seem twilight, or even darker for those few minutes. At full eclipse, you may be able to see the sun’s corona and flares. Some solar changes are expected and may also affect us here on earth.

Is this April 8 eclipse of any importance? This one has a lot going on: longer than usual, comes with the Devil Comet and the planets align.

There are many eclipses, but the next full solar eclipse over America won’t come until 2044. But since 2017 on the other hand, counting April 8’s eclipse, there will have been now THREE full solar eclipses that will have crossed America in the past seven years. Seven is God’s number of perfect completion.

Why do I write about this April 8 eclipse happening over America?

Because I have always taught that “Israel” in the Middle East is really just the end-time nation of Judah of the Bible, plus Levi (for the Levites and priests) and others mixed in. But we believe the MAIN and TRUE end-time “Israel” is UK and USA, as Ephraim of the Bible. Jacob – whose changed name was Israel – actually put HIS name (Israel) on to the sons of Joseph, especially Ephraim (Gen 48:16). The name “Israel,” in other words, was not put on to Judah, but on Ephraim, Joseph’s stronger younger son (USA today).

When the 12 tribes split into 2 separate nations during the reign of David’s grandson Rehoboam, the northern 10 tribes became known as the House of Israel – headed by Ephraim, the extra-blessed son of Joseph. The Southern tribes then became the House of Judah.

So there are numerous prophecies in the books of the prophets about “Israel” and even about Ephraim. I believe these apply more to UK and USA.

So when God sends significant things to America in these last days, He’s trying to get our attention, as He did before. And of course Jerusalem and Judah in the Middle East are also extremely crucial to keep watching.

There are many links to this total eclipse. Here’s one that’s interesting. https://www.sapphirethroneministries.com/post/alef-tav-eclipses-the-ring-of-fire

When you place the three eclipses over America from Aug 2017 to April 8, 2024, their paths show up as the ancient Hebrew letter Alef and the letter Tav – the equivalent of the Greek Alpha and Omega, which refer to God. Study the links to understand better. Could God be trying to get America’s attention. Alef and Tav the beginning letter and last letter – the beginning and the end?

The last letter Tav looks like a slanted cross.

Yeshua/Jesus is the prince of Peace. The 2017 eclipse started in Salem (peace) Oregon and end up at Salem, South Carolina in the far southeast. But it crossed SEVEN towns named Salem. Is the Prince of Peace trying to get our attention? We won’t panic. But maybe God is trying to get our attention.

Pray we be accounted worth to escape the terrifying end times (Luke 21:36).

The eclipse coming on April 8 will cross seven towns named Nineveh, where God sent a warning through Jonah and they repented. Could this just be coincidence? Maybe. That April 8 eclipse also apparently follows the track exactly of the New Madrid fault line, where in winter of 1811-12 they had three very large earthquakes – including an earthquake of 8.4. Today, such an earthquake in that location would be devastating.

If strange and mysterious events occur with this eclipse, perhaps it’s more than just a routine eclipse. If not, just keep your eyes open. There is a strange comet that may be visible during the full eclipse and it’s called the Devil Comet, of all things. Its official name – Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks. Maybe learn more about it. https://www.digitaltrends.com/space/devil-comet-april/

Plus the planets all align at about the same time as the eclipse. To me, there just seem to be too many “coincidences” lining up with this eclipse to make all of it just be a matter of chance. Is God warning us?

Here’s another link by a friend Linda Watson. I don’t concur with everything she says, but she makes some interesting points. So be alert and watch.

https://youtu.be/alRkm0TjZn4

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Which would you choose? Gold bar or severe trial?

gold bar I remember a sermon in church from when I was maybe 15-16 years old. That’s going back 55 years or more. Some sermons just stick in your memory forever and this was one of them.

The preacher asked us all – “If I could give you your choice, which would you pick? A solid gold bar weighing 1 kilo (2.4 pounds) – or a serious trial God will put you through. Which would you pick?”

The gold bar of course would have been worth many thousands of dollars when the price of gold was already very high for just an ounce of gold. The price today for just one ounce of gold is $2,233. Imagine what a 1 kilo bar of pure gold would cost! That would be about $77,000 for a .999% pure gold bar. Maybe I should go out and buy a truck load, right? In my dreams.

So you’re being offered a $77,000 gold bar – OR you could have – from God - a serious trial He has hand-selected for you, just you -- like a terrible bone cancer or pancreatic cancer or multiple sclerosis that goes on and on and on – which would you pick? The pure gold bar you can keep – or God’s trial He would give you?

If you would pick the gold bar, you made a terrible decision. But this should show us the real VALUE of going through a serious trial from God, with God’s help – a value that would last forever.

1 Peter 1:6-9

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various TRIALS,

7 that the genuineness of your FAITH, being much more precious than GOLD that perishes, though it is TESTED by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love.

Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

9 receiving the end of your faith—The SALVATION of your souls.

Listen to my recent sermon on “When God doesn’t heal the faithful” for much more on this. God has wonderful reasons for letting us suffer. God’s own Son was PERFECTED by the things which He suffered. Suffering does that. Should it be any different for us?

Hebrews 2:10

“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation PERFECT through SUFFERINGS.

Even in Hebrews 11 we read of our spiritual forefathers who were chased out of their homes, had to live in caves, or like Isaiah – were SAWN in two! God certainly wants his people perfected and refined and tested – and suffering builds all those for us.

It’s the same for us. We must have our faith tested and perfected and strengthened. It puts qualities in us for God’s use for eternity.

1 Peter 5:10

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, AFTER you have suffered a while, PERFECT, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”

James 1:2-4

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

So there are definite and strong reasons for the sufferings, for pain, illness and tests and trials we each are going through – all of it worth far, far more than a gold bar that perishes.

I think most of us know that it would be terribly hard to choose being bedridden for year after year in pain and suffering – or paralysis – over the chance to be given a gold bar. And yet, look at what apostle Peter told us. As we read this, think about the trials you’ve had, or know others have, and maybe this can put those trials into perspective. Also, be sure to hear my recent audio sermon “When God doesn’t always heal the faithful.”

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The Humble Centurion

centurion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the greatest examples of humility that we find in the Gospels – and in the entire Bible, other than in the life of Jesus – is seen in the story of the centurion who implored Jesus to heal his servant. Both Matthew and Luke record this story (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10), and the additional details each one gives paint a picture of a leader of men who was remarkably humble – and more.

Humility

The centurion’s humility is certainly one of the most memorable aspects of the story. As the ranking officer in his unit, he was an important soldier who gave orders to many men.  Yet  this same centurion willingly humbled himself in his request to Christ, declaring “I do not deserve to have you come under my roof … I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you” (Luke 7:6–7). This attitude is all the more remarkable as we know that most Romans looked down on the Jewish people, considering them to be a relatively uncivilized nation. 

The story also shows the humility of Jesus in his willingness to go to the sick rather than having them be brought to him, but the centurion’s humility is what is highlighted. For a Roman officer to humble himself to the degree he did before one of the people he was charged to rule over was almost startling.

Strength

But humility is clearly not the only trait this centurion displayed.  As commander of at least 80 men (see our post “Ten Centurions,” here) he said that “I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (Matthew 8:9).    Centurions were often battle-hardened individuals who were not chosen for weakness of any kind – rather their strength was often deeply respected by the men they led.  This is an important fact because it shows that the biblical quality of humility so clearly demonstrated by this man is not in any way an expression of weakness. The centurion’s humility was all the more noticeable because of his strength.

Compassion

There is also another quality of this soldier that we should not overlook, and that is his compassion. Clearly, he was concerned for his servant’s welfare, but the sick man was  apparently not an indispensable or key person in his household. Luke tells us, in fact, that the sick man for whom the centurion asked Christ’s help was not an important servant, but simply a lowly slave (doulos). This centurion was obviously concerned for even the least members of his household staff.  

Faith

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the story of the humble centurion, however, is the man’s faith.  On hearing the centurion’s request that Jesus simply command that his servant be made well, Jesus responded “Let it be done just as you believed it would” (Matthew 8:13) and Luke adds the further detail that “Jesus … was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel’” (Luke 7:9).  As a result of the soldier’s great faith, his servant was healed at that exact moment (Matthew 8:13). 

The level of detail given in both Matthew and Luke’s accounts of this healing shows how important the story is from a New Testament perspective. While the Gospels could simply have recorded that Jesus healed the servant of a Gentile centurion, they stress that the soldier was a man of strength and compassion and of outstanding humility and faith. These are fitting goals for every soldier of Christ.

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Time for a Phinehas to appear?

All scriptures are NKJV unless noted otherwise. 

Whose belief or action was said to be so strong that it was accounted to him for righteousness? If you instinctively answered, “Abraham, of course” (Genesis 15:6), you’d be correct -- but not complete. 

That statement was also made of a strong young leader in Israel of Moses’ day who stood up for the right, took decisive action, and stopped a plague continuing from God. 

Psalms 106:28-31 

“They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor, 

And ate sacrifices made to the dead. 

Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds, 

And the plague broke out among them. 

30 Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, 

And the plague was stopped

31 And that was accounted to him for righteousness 

To all generations forevermore.” 

One of the priests at the coming third temple we believe will be built in Jerusalem in our lifetime, will be a descendant of Phinehas, due to the action of Phinehas that really moved God. When Phinehas acted, God was in the middle of exacting a plague in which 24,000 Israelites died. Phinehas’ action stopped the plague and saved thousands of more lives. 

In times of crisis in the Church – the Body of Christ today – do we have a modern-day Phinehas willing to stand up, take action and speak up for what’s right? I pray we do. YOU and I may be called upon to be a Phinehas at some point, maybe sooner than you think. Let’s read the story in Numbers 25. 

In the Exodus wilderness wanderings, Israel had been seduced into religious sex by Moabite and Midianite women. Israel started worshiping their pagan gods and committing harlotry with the foreign women. God was furious. Many of those involved were hanged. This takes us through the first five verses of Numbers 25. Now verse 6. What a Simeonite leader did was so “in-your-face” that even Moses seemed stunned. But here’s where our hero Phinehas gets involved. 

Numbers 25:6:15 

And indeed, one of the children of Israel came and presented to his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 

7 Now when Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose from among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand; 

8 and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body. So the plague was stopped among the children of Israel. 

9 And those who died in the plague were twenty-four thousand. 

10 Then YHVH spoke to Moses, saying: 11 "Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. 12 Therefore say, 'Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; 13 and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.'" 

14 Now the name of the Israelite who was killed, who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, a leader of a father's house among the Simeonites. 15 And the name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi the daughter of Zur; he was head of the people of a father's house in Midian.” 

Phinehas “was zealous for his God” and stood up against a LEADER of a tribe who was leading in a sin. Verse 11 quotes GOD himself saying Phinehas’ action may have stopped God from wiping out most of Israel in God’s zeal. 

The sin wasn’t just adultery – but was rebellion against God’s laws, against Moses as their leader, and that rebel – Zimri by name – was intent on doing what he felt he wanted to do. 

Numbers 25:6 says he did this in the sight of all the brethren. This was a taunt, an “In your face’ moment. He basically dared the brethren. “Nobody can stop me from doing what I want to do” – as he blatantly paraded the Midianite woman for all to see – right into his tent. 

Phinehas didn’t worry if what he was about to do was polite or not. He didn’t ask for any permission to go into the man’s private tent or “knocked on the door” first.] No, he grabbed a javelin and thrust it through both their bodies right in the midst of their act of sexual sin. 

A bit extreme? GOD didn’t think so. God commended him. I think it’s very possible that most of Israel would have been killed by God had Phinehas not stepped in. As it was – 24,000 died from God’s plague. 

YOU may be called upon to take decisive action and lead the way back to God in various times and places. 

Critical point: to be an effective Phinehas, know your God really well. Know his Word, His scriptures. Be studying and meditating on them night and day. Pray for courage and decisiveness – but also pray for wisdom so you do the right thing at the right time in the right way. Know when to do it boldly in front of everybody – and when to do it privately with just the one or two involved. But either way, don’t just sit back and do nothing. And remember there was a plague going on when Phinehas stood up. Twenty-four thousand had already died. He had no time to waste in that case. 

There are crises happening in the world and in the church right now. If you see a problem in the church, speak up. Do something. Say something. Talk to the ministers. Talk to others who need to hear you speak up. Voice your concerns. Take action. Realize you yourself may not have all the facts straight, so be sure of your facts before your Phinehas moment. But the couple’s actions in Numbers 25 were for all to see, done in the “sight of all the congregation.” 

If someone is openly causing division and slandering other pastors or sowing discord in your church body, speak up. It’s not a time to quietly sit back and do nothing. Remember that the name “Devil” means “Slanderer”. A slanderer has literally become a “devil” himself. Paul said “there must be no divisions among you” – 1 Cor. 1:10-11. Tell the divider – no, he’s not welcome to speak to your group. And be willing to tell him he needs to repent and seek God’s mercy. Be a Phinehas to him. 

If there’s drunkenness at church parties, speak up. If there’s womanizing going on or even just inappropriate comments, looks and flirting, speak up. In many cases you should speak privately first. Not every situation is a “grab your javelin and do a Phinehas” occasion. SO wisdom is also required. 

Older ladies, if there’s rampant immodesty (1 Tim. 2:9-10) at church services or anywhere our church ladies are, speak up. You older women, first set the right example – then speak and teach the younger women as Titus 2:3-5 clearly says. We all have a role to play in our church services and among the brethren, but that’s for another day, another topic. But today I’m talking about taking decisive action when it’s called for. 

Titus 2:3-5 

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed”. 

I believe our church members are much too placid in times when leadership and action are required. 

Take a few minutes to ponder if you would have done what Phinehas did – if you could be transported in a time machine to that moment in time. Ponder further to consider times coming in the future when we might have to stand up for what’s right and speak up, or say something. I’ll write a blog or have a sermon before long, with God’s help and blessing, on when we should stand up and speak up – and when we it might be best to remain quiet. Too many of God’s people, though, are real good at the “remain quiet” kind of inaction – and never seem to be a real Phinehas. 

How about being willing to be a Phinehas when the circumstances and time are right? Be a zealous man or woman of action when the time warrants it. Be a Phinehas. 

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Who is “Messiah”?

Who is “Messiah”? Are you sure you know for sure? Did you realize the Bible speaks of MANY messiahs? Many messiahs but only 1 who is “THE Messiah” to come. How can there be many Messiahs? What does the word from Hebrew even mean? 

There’s often a debate - especially involving Jews – if Jesus/Yeshua is the long awaited Messiah mentioned in scripture, especially by the prophet Daniel. Many Jews have long waited for the coming of their messiah and expect him soon. This is one reason why there’s been a lot of talk – much more than usual – for construction of the 3rd Temple in Jerusalem. 

We Christians see in our view of Messiah not just a ruler, but our Savior. The one who takes sin upon himself and becomes our Redeemer and Savior – and not just king. But for Jews, the predominant view was that the true messiah would not have died but would have set up the kingdom with Israel at its center. 

So let’s look into this very word “messiah.” 

Let me get right to the main points: 
The Hebrew word “Mashiach” is where we get the English word “Messiah.” It means anointed one. The equivalent from the Greek language is “Christos– where we get “Christ,” also meaning “anointed one.” 

So “Christ” and “Messiah” mean the same thing: anointed one. I find Messianics and Hebrew Roots brethren prefer “Messiah” and regular Christians prefer “Christ,” but both mean the same. I use both since I’m addressing everyone. 

The Septuagint (LXX) Greek version of the Tanakh (or “Old Testament”) invariably used the Greek form “Christos” in their verses about an anointed one. So it became natural for the New Testament writers to also choose that designation – Christ – over Messiah. So in the New Testament, we don’t much of “Messiah” except in John 1:41 and 4:25 - but we read of “Christ” – and both mean Anointed One. Messiah does not mean “moral one” – as many anointed priests and kings were anything but moral. But “Messiah” does point to someone who was called to be set apart for holy use by God, though no man was ever perfect except THE Messiah. 

  • We have come to identify this term “Messiah” with Jesus Christ – meaning “Savior Anointed one,” so sometimes we read of “the Christ” – the anointed one. Of course you know that “Christ” was not his name or surname. It seems people feel compelled to avoid saying just “Jesus,” his NAME, which in Hebrew is Yeshua. The name Jesus is used many, many times by itself in New Testament scripture. And 56 times it comes with the descriptor “Christ” – as “Jesus Christ” or “Jesus THE Christ” – Jesus or Yeshua, the Anointed one. 
  • But in its first usages, did you realize the word “Messiah” applied to a lot more people than just the Savior. In fact, the idea that the Messiah was also our Savior did not really fully develop until the new covenant times. That concept is not as clear in the Tanakh, or Hebrew Scriptures, commonly called “the Old Testament” by Christians. 
  • So Messiah means “anointed one.” But if Yeshua is the Messiah, who anointed Him? King David was anointed with oil by the prophet Samuel, but when and where do we read of Jesus being anointed with oil? We don’t. So how is he “the anointed one,” the Messiah, the Christ? 

GOD anointed Him, but not with oil, but with what OIL REPRESENTED. God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit from HIM, from God the Father. The Holy Spirit is the power, presence, DNA from either God the Father OR Jesus Christ. So it was the Holy Spirit from God the Father that anointed Jesus the Messiah at his water baptism by John. So Jesus/Yeshua was baptized/immersed both in water and by God’s Holy Spirit, all at the same time. 

Acts 10:38 (after speaking of the beginning of his ministry, Peter says this: 
“how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” 

Acts 4:27-28 also clearly says GOD anointed Yeshua. 

  • In John 4, to the woman at the well in Samaria, Yeshua identified himself for the first time ever as the coming promised Messiah. Look to whom he chose to reveal himself: a disgraced Samaritan woman, married and divorced four times, now living with someone (the 5th), and so disgraced that she went for water at the hottest time of the day so other women wouldn’t be there. The story is in John 4. When she mentioned the coming Messiah, Yeshua basically told her that HE was THE promised Messiah (John 4:25-26). 

John 4:25-26
The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things."  Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He." 

In the Scriptures, there were MANY genuine Messiahs – meaning “anointed ones” who were “A messiah” – but only ONE who was to be “THE Messiah.” All priests were anointed ones (Leviticus 4:3; 8:12; Psalm 105:15). Kings also were anointed ones (1 Samuel 24:7-11; 2 Samuel 23). This made Kings and Priests “messiahs” – anointed ones. It’s the same word. 

Someone anointed with oil by a prophet was considered a very special set-apart person chosen by God himself. This is the very reason David, when fleeing from King Saul, could not strike or kill Saul when given the opportunity. He said he could not strike the LORD’s anointed (1 Samuel 16:6; 24:6-10; 26:9-11, 16, 23). 

When an Amalekite came to David after Saul’s death, claiming to have been the one who killed Saul, David had them executed! It would be well worth your time to read the account in 2 Samuel 1:13-21.

Who else was anointed with oil? God told Elijah to anoint ELISHA to be the prophet to replace Elijah (1 Kings 19:15-16). Many do not commonly realize this. So prophets were also anointed ones, “Messiahs” in the meaning of “anointed one.” 

Jesus Christ was whom all these priests, kings and even prophets depicted. HE was indeed THE Prophet and Royal Priest of God Most High. I’ve been talking about Isaiah 53 recently. We’ll read Daniel 9 soon. If Yeshua was not the promised Messiah, who else fulfilled all those prophecies by the dozens, like HE did? 

  • One more point: Messiahs, anointed ones, included especially Israelite kings and priests, but not just Israelites and Jews

God himself referred to one special Gentile king, CYRUS, as HIS OWN anointed (see Isaiah 45), over 100 years before Cyrus was born. God calls him His own Anointed one! Or we can say, God’s own Messiah. In Isaiah 45:1, the word for “anointed” in Hebrew is “mashiach” or Messiah. 

Isaiah 45:1-4 
"Thus says YHVH to His anointed [“messiah’], 
To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held — 
To subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings, 
To open before him the double doors, 
So that the gates will not be shut: 
2 'I will go before you 
And make the crooked places straight; 
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze 
And cut the bars of iron. 
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness 
And hidden riches of secret places, 
That you may know that I, YHVH, 
Who call you by your name, 
Am the God of Israel. 
4 For Jacob My servant's sake, And Israel My elect, 
I have even called you by your name; 
I have named you, though you have not known Me.” 

God called this messiah – by name – over one hundred years before he was even born. The great living God had purposed this Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem and the second temple, and that is exactly what happened. Here are more amazing words from God: 

Isaiah 44:28
“Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd,
And he shall perform all My pleasure, 
Saying to Jerusalem, "You shall be built," 
And to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid."' 

And this may be a surprise: being a messiah or an anointed one does not mean you are righteous or moral, as Cyrus worshipped pagan gods like Marduk. It just means you have been set apart for special designated purpose, like being a king or priest. 4 

But the majority of kings and priests ended up NOT being righteous. So kings and priests were “messiahs” (anointed ones) but NOT Saviors. 

Let’s end with a few scriptures about anointed one Jesus of Nazareth, or by his Jewish name Yeshua. I explain it this way: yes, there are many who were called “messiahs” in the Bible, but only one who will ever be THE Messiah, and that one is our Savior. 

The CLEAREST scripture that pointed to THE MESSIAH specifically is in Daniel 9 in the famous 70 weeks prophecy. It’s also in this prophecy where the TIE IN TO SIN AND FORGIVENESS is clearly shown – showing the connection THE Messiah was to have with saving his people. Daniel 9:24-27 was fulfilled in Yeshua. 

Daniel 9:24-27 NASB 

"Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place. 25 "So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 

26 "Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 

27 "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate." 

Habakkuk 3:12-13 
12 You marched through the land in indignation; |
ou trampled the nations in anger. 
13 You went forth for the salvation of Your people, 
For salvation with Your Anointed (Messiah) 
You struck the head from the house of the wicked, 
By laying bare from foundation to neck.” 

There’s another prophecy in Daniel 2:34-39, 44-45 you should carefully read. THIs shows Someone is coming who will topple all world governments and set up His kingdom on this earth and rule the earth. A Stone strikes the image depicted here and the stone “became a great mountain that filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:35). 

More can be found in Daniel’s prophecies (Daniel 2:21-27) about THE Messiah saving His saints, his holy ones, in the last days and giving dominion and rulership to them. When scripture speaks of “God’s anointed” – this is speaking of THE Messiah, God’s anointed, anointed by God himself, as Yeshua was. God Most High is with this Anointed one in a singularly unique way. We worship him. He was seen by many hundreds after his death, as God had resurrected Him and He still lives today, just waiting for the command to return to save Israel. His resurrection was so convincing that thousands of believers were willing to die for him, for they either SAW him directly after his resurrection or the evidence was so powerfully demonstrated to them. They also saw that the prophecies of the virgin conceiving and their Son being a descendant of King David, were all fulfilled in him (Isa. 9:6-7; 11:10-11). The prophecies of the peaceful kingdom (Isa 11:6-9) will be fulfilled at his second coming – which is close. 

Habakkuk 3:13 – Holman – “You come out to save Your people, to save Your anointed. You crush the leader of the house of the wicked and strip him from foot to neck.” 

I pray any of you Jews reading this, just pray to the One you call “Hashem” – the Name. Ask him to reveal to you who The Messiah was, or is, or will be. I recommend you read the New Testament on your own. You’ll see that this anointed one by God, THE Messiah, was a Jew, born in Bethlehem, raised and preached in Galilee of the nations and gentiles and was crucified. Then over 500 saw him elevated to heaven after his resurrection. All the apostles were Jews. ALL of the early believers were Jews. Many priests and orthodox Jews (Pharisees) joined with them in worshiping this Yeshua Messiah – Jesus the Christ. Don’t MISS your Messiah! 

My Jewish brothers, we long for you to see this Messiah and see how He can transform your life. He LIVES. He’s coming again. Give Him a chance to show you who He is. 

In Judaism there’s an acronym -- YESHU – that unfortunately means “May his name and memory be obliterated.” The holy man Yeshua has been so maligned in Judaism that it will take a miracle to remove centuries of bile against him and for many to open their hearts to Him. His full name as the mashiach (Messiah) was Yeshua, meaning “Savior, salvation.” And yes, He came once already to die for us all - -and is coming again. This Messiah Yeshua is coming again to finally rule all the nations from Jerusalem. Amen. Zech 14:16-18. Isaiah 60:6-9; 66:18-23. 

NO one should want the full beautiful Jewish name Yeshua to ever be blotted out. It’s by that precious and powerful name that we’re saved from our sins and through Him and his perfect life, we can stand righteous before God. He clothes us with HIS righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). This same Yeshua is coming back to fight for Israel as you can read in Zechariah 14. HE is “the LORD” who is coming to fight as a man does in the day of battle (Zech 14:3-4). Yes, Yeshua is the Word of the Old Testament and is also YHWH. Don’t miss your Messiah! 

Yeshua fulfilled all the prophecies of Messiah regarding the first coming. All the prophecies not yet fulfilled, of a worldwide kingdom, will be fulfilled when he comes again. Amen. If Yeshua is not the promised Messiah, then who is? Don’t miss him! 

Honor him. Love him. Worship him. HE is THE Messiah – the Anointed One of God. He said he will return in glory with all the angels and all the nations will be gathered before him (Matthew 25:31-32). THIS is the ruling Messiah to whom all nations will eventually come to Jerusalem to worship Him, the LORD, as Isaiah 2:1-4 and Micah 4:1-4 so clearly say to us. 

Praise the Holy Name of the One we worship and of his glorious Anointed One. 

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God’s promises to you, Israel

In this blog or article, I just want to post some scriptures of God’s word to Israel, promising to bring them back to their own land He gave to their forefathers. They’re in a tough time right now. But I believe God is with them still, especially if you Israelis will turn to your Maker with all your heart and being. Read 2 Chronicles 7:13-15. I am heartened to have watched many short videos of IDF Israeli soldiers praying and praising God before each battle. As long as they and we put our true GOD first, all will be well. Turn, Israel, turn.

Another VERY exciting thing about you our brothers in Israel:

More and more of you are discovering that “forbidden chapter,” Isaiah 53 – about the Suffering Servant – who gave his life for you. Yes, though it’s never read to you, YOU can read it yourself in your own Tanakh, your Hebrew Scriptures. Don’t let anyone keep a single word of God’s word from you! In fact, I’ll record a video soon where I read it in two translations.

Many in Israel are finding Yeshua and realize the Messiah came as one of you – and he’s coming again. And God promises that He is bringing every Israeli back to the land HE promised them, no matter where they are in the world. Enjoy God’s word on this, from the New King James Version.

Whether you’re Jew or Gentile, I recommend you read these verses of God’s promises of returning Israelis to the land He gave their forefathers.

Jeremiah 23:7-8

"Therefore behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "when they will no longer say, 'As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,' 8 but, 'As the Lord (YHVH) lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.' Then they will live on their own soil."

Ezekiel 34:11-13

11 'For thus says the Lord GOD: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.

13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country.”

Jeremiah 31:16-17

Thus says YHVH:
"Refrain your voice from weeping,
And your eyes from tears;
For your work shall be rewarded, says YHVH,
And they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
17 There is hope in your future, says the Lord,
That your children shall come back to their own border.”

Deuteronomy 30:2-6

“If you return to YHVH your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of you were driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you.

Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.
And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants,
to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”

Isaiah 43:5-6

“Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east,
And gather you from the west;
I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' And to the south, 'Do not keep them back!' Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the ends of the earth —"

Isaiah 56:6 NIV

“The Sovereign Lord declares — he who gathers the exiles of Israel:
"I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered."

Ezekiel 39:27-29

“When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,' says the Lord God."

Jeremiah 32:37-39

“Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39 then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them.”

Isaiah 27:13

“So it shall be in that day:
The great trumpet will be blown;
t
hey will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria,
And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt,
And shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”

Certainly in the past 70 years, hundreds of thousands of Israelis, even millions, have been airlifted to Israel – from Russia, Argentina, Egypt, Yemen, India, Iraq, Morocco, South Africa, Germany, Ukraine, France, the United States and really from all over the world. They went HOME. Praise God. Today we see the nation state of Israel, ancient Judea, thriving and blossoming though surrounded by hostile neighbors and outnumbered 50 to 1 or even greater. Many Arab and Muslim states call for the elimination of Jews and Israel and shout “Death to Israel, death to America.” God is bigger than all that.

God be with you, Israel. God IS with you, and so are so many of us.

Please read your “forbidden chapter” – Isaiah 53 – and discover your Yeshua. Please feel free to copy this to any others you wish, without edits.

Philip W. Shields

www.Lightontherock.org  

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But DO you also pray TO Jesus/Yeshua?

You may believe you can pray to Jesus, but DO you? Have you listened to a recent sermon I gave on praying to Jesus? SO many of us have been taught that Christ’s teaching “when you pray, say ‘Our Father in heaven…” – to be an absolute that we can only pray to our Father. I urge you to study my short sermon on it, because scripturally we must not sideline Jesus as we pray.

Here's the link: https://lightontherock.org/index.php/sermons/message/is-praying-to-jesus-ok   Is Praying to Jesus OK? 41 minutes.

And many of you would probably agree also that you see nothing wrong with prayers to Jesus – but my question is: DO you ever pray to your Savior?

I address especially seventh day sabbath-keeping groups. Most Protestant groups already pray a lot to “the Lord,” to Jesus. On this issue, I have to agree with them, that not only can we pray to Jesus but we should pray often to him.

Don’t misunderstand me. My prayers almost always start by addressing God Most High as my dear Father, my Abba. This way I am acknowledging I am His son, a part of his family and that he looks after us in intricate and intimate detail as a loving Father. So I start by praying to God my Father, but within that prayer I usually include a section of praying directly to the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, who is also God, who is my Savior and to whom I am betrothed (2 Cor. 11:2). How can I not include talking to the One I will marry, God willing? Surely our prayers must include speaking to Yeshua, the Messiah, though most of you use the name “Jesus.” Be sure you hear my audio sermon explaining why we must be talking to Jesus and not sideline him. Then add this blog for more details.

WHY do I feel compelled to say more? Because as my wife Carole said to me: “For too many people, Jesus is just a concept, a doctrine, and not a real person, a real being we need to know well, and talk often to, and to love praising, as the one we’re going to marry!”

She’s so right. Jesus must be totally REAL to us as never before. That won’t happen if we’re not talking with him every day.

So DO you pray to Jesus as well as the Father? I urge you to study my sermon so you start doing it. DON’T sideline your Master!

Many of us were taught NOT to pray to Jesus. That is so strange. One minister called it “strange fire” as in Leviticus 10. So we can’t talk to the One we’re betrothed to marry? Really? (See 2 Cor. 11:2). We’re allowed only to talk to the father of our betrothed? What kind of a betrothal is that?

Who did the prophets and forefathers in the Old Covenant pray to? The evidence is that they prayed to God Most High AND to the Word of God, who was also God. See my sermon.

            ** Abraham was certainly talking to/praying to the One who became Jesus, as he saw him, ate with him and physically interacted with him (Genesis 18). So Abraham prayed to Jesus, but we can't?

            ** Moses pleaded with God – who showed Moses his glorified back – to please not eradicate Israel after the gold calf sin. (Exodus 34:1-9). So Moses many, many times prayed to Jesus but we can’t? He and God – the Word – spoke face to face as a man does to his friend – but we can’t talk to Jesus?

** David and the prophets all prayed to Jesus – the YHVH who appeared or spoke to them. David called “The LORD is my Shepherd.”

Are there any New Covenant scriptures that show the apostles and others praying to Jesus directly? I have several examples in my sermon, that indeed they did! ONE of several was the prayer of Stephen the deacon just as he was dying “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59). If praying to Jesus is wrong, this verse should not be in the Bible. So Stephen was not wrong.

So now let’s add a few more.

My friend and a fellow minister reminded me of John 5:23 that we must honor the SON even as we honor our Father. This was a great comment from him and I wish I had included it in my sermon, but then again, I have many things that make the point in my sermon too. Let me start a few verses before:

John 5:19-23

Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,

23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”

 

Yeshua/Jesus must become so much more REAL to us. We HONOR him by speaking OFTEN to him throughout the day. I urge you to study the sermon also on “Constant Contact.”

 

ALL of Paul’s epistles, my friend added, “Begin with a salutation from the Father AND the Son.”

 

Let’s take Philippians for example. Notice how many times Jesus is mentioned in just two verses:

Philippians 1:1-2 “Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

So many of my friends just say “God” a lot, or “Father” a lot – but rarely do I hear them speak glowingly and lovingly about Jesus, as someone they know intimately. I’m urging you all to grow in this.

My friend also pointed out Rev 15 and how we know this chapter as “the Song of Moses” that is being sung. But scripture actually says it’s also “the SONG of the LAMB.” Yes, Yeshua has a SONG for his Father. How lovely is that? How inspiring!

Revelation 15:1-3

“Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.

2 And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.

3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, AND the song of the Lamb, saying:

"Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty!

Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!”

The Song of the Lamb. Jesus has a SONG for his Father. But notice his prominence. And certainly we surely know that God our Father has elevated Jesus to having a name higher than any other name under heaven except the Father himself.

Also read Revelation 5 and how the angels certainly praise and pray to the Lamb! Somehow they can pray to Jesus but his very betrothed can't? Notice the bowls of incense they present are YOUR PRAYERS – “the prayers of the saints”! Being presented to Yeshua/Jesus.

Revelation 5:8

8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying: [clearly directed at Jesus the Lamb]

"You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals;

For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood

Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;

And we shall reign on the earth."

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice:

"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain

To receive power and riches and wisdom,

And strength and honor and glory and blessing!"

13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

"Blessing and honor and glory and power

Be to Him who sits on the throne,

AND to the Lamb, forever and ever!"

14 Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.”

We should be thanking our betrothed – Jesus -- directly every single day for being our Savior. For dying for us, for living for us, for being the new creation in us what we are supposed to be. Indeed, everyone extended honor and glory as they exclaimed, “worthy is the Lamb!”

Make this your PRACTICE. Make talking with Jesus more than just a doctrine but an intimate relationship.

Please, all of you, as we pray to Father, let’s pause and always include a prayer of worship, praise, gratitude and amazement for and to our wonderful Yeshua, our Savior Jesus, Son of God, worthy of all honor and praise.

Do everything you can to grow in your relationship with Jesus, even as you start your prayers to our Abba, our wonderful heavenly Father. Relationship. It’s all about having a real relationship with a real Being inside of us and who is leading us. Amen.

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Don’t DO it! Have NO part in Halloween.

Light on the Rock

The evening of 31st of October each year is one of my most hated evenings. In 2023, it’s this coming Tuesday night, Oct 31, 2023. Halloween. A night that clearly openly celebrates fear, darkness, evil, Satan, ghosts, goblins, violence, blood. Clearly something not for the children of God, right?

Obviously not, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that even some of you who come to this site will participate in it one way or another, maybe low-keying it. Even a well known televangelist was recently saying “Halloween’s not all that bad. In fact it could be a time we could witness to others”. NOPE.

I have a full-length detailed SERMON about Halloween and why it is SO wrong for any professing Christian or believer to participate in it, in any way. And I mean not letting even your children be involved either, even if they dress in less evil outfits like maybe as a prince, princess, fireman, or something harmless. If it’s for Halloween, they’re still getting involved. And so are you. Don’t do it!

Someone near us has gone all-out to participate in this dark night.

Here's the full sermon on it and how and why our God warns us not to be involved in it at all, in ANY way. Just be aware it’s always 31st of October.

https://lightontherock.org/images/Should_Christians_participate_in_Halloween.pdf

If you’re not 100% clear in your mind why we should not be involved, then check out the sermon.

** If you’ve heard the arguments against participating in Halloween, but are still unconvinced, study my detailed sermon.

** If you’re going to hand out treats at your door, hear my sermon.

** If you’re going to let your children get all dressed up in non-gory safe costumes (and sure, it’s fun for them) and just be mildly involved somehow, hear the sermon.

** If you feel I’m going overboard and I should “lighten up” and let kids have a little fun, study my sermon. Please.

Ephesians 5:11 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”

Study and focus on these kinds of thoughts and activities. Are any of these what you’d find in Halloween?

Philippians 4:8 -- “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.”

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”

Let’s come out of this world, children of God. I imagine that on this subject, 95% of you reading this, already no longer participate in it. Thank God! The rest of you – study that sermon.

https://lightontherock.org/images/Should_Christians_participate_in_Halloween.pdf

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Is Hamas mentioned in Scripture? Joel 3:19; Obadiah 10.

When I first wrote this in 2012 with 2,901 readers, the militant arm of the Islamic Brotherhood was Hamas and they were shooting rockets all over Israel at that time. Well, Oct 7, 2023 – on the 8th Day High day of God’s calendar, almost on the anniversary of the Yom Kippur war of 1973, Hamas is at it again: they’ve shot thousands of rockets, killed over 700 Israelis as of this writing, and taken scores of people captive, including Israeli soldiers. Israel, is once again, at war, defending the land GOD gave to Israel. We need to be concerned and praying.

In today’s blog, I can’t resist pointing out what might simply be a coincidence – or maybe not. There are many examples of “plays on words” in Scripture. To the Arab, the word “Hamas” is taken to mean someone acting bravely in the cause of Allah. In Arabic it means “zeal” and it’s an acronym in Arabic for “Islamic Armed Movement”. ‘

However, in Hebrew, there might also be an interesting play on words. In Hebrew the word “Hamas” means “violence.”  It can also be spelled “chamac” but the “ch” is like an “h” and the c at the end is like an “s”. Is it possible that we were warned thousands of years ago in Scripture that Hamas would become a violent thorn in Jacob’s (Israel’s) side? That word in Hebrew – Hamas- - is used at least 60 times, and sometimes in direct correlation to Israel. Let’s examine a few.

Joel 3:19-21

19 "Egypt shall be a desolation, And Edom [Esau’s descendants] a desolate wilderness,

Because of violence [Hebrew: hamas] against the people of Judah,

For they have shed innocent blood in their land.

20 But Judah shall abide forever, And Jerusalem from generation to generation.

21 For I will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed, whom I had not acquitted;

For YHVH dwells in Zion."

Edom – or Esau – always felt that his twin brother Jacob had stolen what was rightfully his. He made sure his children were firmly indoctrinated from their early childhood to hate their uncle Jacob, renamed Israel. The descendants of Esau included the Amalekites, the most hateful of Israel among Esau’s descendants. I suspect the Palestinians are from the ancient line of Amalek. This hatred for Israel is as intense as ever among the descendants of Israel’s brother Esau/Edom.

Today we find his descendants in much of the Arab and Muslim populations of the middle east. It is ironic that Palestinians and Jews are really from the same overall family. Both are children of Abraham and Isaac. Esau and Jacob were brothers. Palestinians and many Arabs are really brothers or cousins to the Jew. But the bad blood between these brothers has been roiling for millennia.

And it doesn’t help that the Hebrew or Jewish word for “darkness” or “nighttime” is “erev” – which can sound very much like “Arab” when it is spoken, though it doesn’t mean “Arab”.

Next, you simply must read the one-chapter book of Obadiah. It starts out as a prophecy, a vision, concerning Esau/Edom (Obadiah 1:1). We jump ahead to verse 10, but be sure to read all of it:

Obadiah 1:10

10 "For violence (hamas) against your brother Jacob [Israel],

Shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever.

Yehovah does not like it when brothers don’t support or love each other. He hates it when a brother stands back and lets things happen without doing anything to stop it. When we read the first chapter of Obadiah, it is clear that some calamities are going to hit Israel very, very hard and the Jews’ Arab brothers are going to do nothing to stop the cataclysm. For their inaction, Yehovah will strike them very, very hard.

If any of my readers are Jews or Arab, please my brothers: in our Messiah we can come out of the ways of this world. Those of us led by the Holy Spirit can become friends, be brothers and sisters in Messiah, be heirs of the promises given to Abraham through Christ – whether you are Jew or Arab. But first, we each have to come to Him and surrender our lives to Him. Only then can we be one. John 17:20-23 tells us how we become one: IN and THROUGH our Savior, who also happens to be our Creator. Jesus – Yeshua – was the God-being who spoke the words “Let there be light” and HE was the one who created man out of the dust and then built a woman from Adam’s side.

Right now as I write this October 7, 2023 AND as well on Nov 16, 2012, Hamas is firing thousands of rockets indiscriminately into Israel. These are not aimed at military targets, nor are they precision strikes but much improved from before. The rockets could kill Jew or Arab, the aged woman or a baby, man or woman. Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense has kept most of the rockets from landing. It’s like firing a bullet to stop a bullet that has already been fired at you. It is amazing technology but not foolproof. The rockets are landing even around Tel Aviv at this point.

Israel is about the size of New Jersey. Imagine if thousands of rockets every day were being fired from Mexico and hitting Dallas or around Dallas. How would we react? So Israel is striking hundreds of military targets in Gaza, many of which are around population centers, so innocent civilians are also being killed. It’s a terrible scene all around. We must be fervently praying “thy kingdom come” as never before. Let’s also pray for Jerusalem and for Israel. I also pray that our God Most High, our Father, will be merciful on all people -- Arab, Palestinian or Jew-- especially when people turn and come to Him in repentant surrender of their lives.

The Word Study Dictionary of the Old Testament has this to say about Strong’s word # 2555 – Hamas:

“A masculine noun meaning violence, wrong. It implies cruelty, damage, and injustice…..In relation to physical violence, cruelty is implied (Judges 9:24). When coupled with the term instrument or weapon, it becomes an attributive noun describing weapons or instruments of violence (Psalms 58:2 (or verse 3 in Jewish scriptures). When it describes a person, it can mean an oppressor or a violent man (Proverbs 3:31).”

I suggest you read the one chapter of the book of Obadiah, which is a prophecy against the descendants of Edom. Edom was another name for Esau. I suspect many of the Palestinians are descendants of Edom and even Amalek, Esau’s/Edom’s grandson from a concubine.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the return of our King Jesus!

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BECOMING SERVANT Leaders Like Jesus

(Introductory comment from P Shields: I have been very pleased with the hard work of all the pastors in Kenya. George Owato is the appointed coordinator there. The work he and Francis and others have put into serving the brethren there and helping plan for the coming Feast of Tabernacles is so appreciated. I asked him to write a blog on fulfilling our calling to be Servant Leaders like Christ is, as we prepare for the Kingdom of God. And really, we practice for God’s kingdom by being servant leaders now in this life. So here’s George.)

We know Jesus by so many dozens of titles. But how did he get so many titles? I mean titles like, King of kings, Lord of lords, Master, Teacher, Rabbi, High Priest, Savior, mighty prophet, chief apostle, Chief Shepherd and many more like Lion of Judah, our Rock and our High Tower. However, He lived a humble life and He did not go about broadcasting who He was by always using these titles. Have you ever asked yourself why? Because He was a servant leader. He lived, led and taught His disciples many things – Becoming servant leaders being one of them! Let’s focus on what he said about servant leadership.

Jesus was born to be a King but look at what he taught His disciples:

Mark 10:42-45 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall NOT be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Jesus was appointed by God Most High to be the King of Kings but he never acted like one lording it over others, though we call him “Lord”. Isaiah 9:7 says ““For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders…….of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7).

His mother Mary was told her son would be “called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:31-33).

Jesus clarified when that would happen.

Matthew 25:31 – ““When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.” And yet we don’t see him acting in the way so many leaders today act: lording it over others.

MANY people aspire to be leaders at home, in their communities, in companies, in governmental and non-governmental organizations and, even in the Church BUT very FEW really seek to become leaders like Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Son of the Living God, “Who being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself of nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on the cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:6-11).

Are we beginning to see what kind of leadership God wants for Jesus’ followers to have? May God Most High birth in us the desire to become Servant Leaders like Jesus, for His glory! Becoming Servant Leaders like Jesus MEANS we must totally surrender our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and embrace His Servant Leadership model. Frankly we need the same mind that was in Christ Jesus for us to become servant Leaders like he was.

“Let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Our attitude needs to be the same as that of Christ Jesus – humbling ourselves and taking on a servant’s nature (Philippians 2:5-9). Read those verses again. It is this mind and attitude of Jesus that will transform us to become servant leaders like Jesus – “who did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

This mind of Jesus- the SERVANT Mindset will enable us fulfill these scriptures: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, in humility consider others better than ourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

This will be possible only if we have the same mindset Jesus has.

Probably very few of us really think that others are better than ourselves. Or think about others’ needs even above our own. So realize that even as we are training to be leaders, it comes by practicing Servant Leadership all the time and everywhere.

Even when Jesus returns, we will find him serving.

Luke 12:37 “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that He will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.”

We know Christ laid down his life for us when he died on the cross. But do we also think of him laying down his life in daily acts of loving service and helping others? True service is giving up of our time and our life in a daily way, not just in death. For example, after preaching to the multitudes, our model Leader was moved with compassion and so he served them. He prepared a feast for them, as it was late in the day and they were famished and I’m sure Jesus was tired too. But he served their needs ahead of his, anyway. Even on the cross, his thoughts were on being sure his mother would be well provided for by John – though he was racked with pain.

This mind of Christ is a mind filled with and motivated by love- the agape kind of love God has, that will make us also be willing and ready to lay down our lives for others, any others like Christ did, not just our fellow believers. He died for us while we were still sinners. He died for all the world who would accept him. Are we willing to even serve and die for people who are not being so kind to us? Jesus did. He died while we were yet sinners.

But again, laying down our lives is not limited to literally dying, but also in daily acts of service, giving up our time and our lives for others now. Being a true Servant Leader means we’re putting other’s needs ahead of our own. We help - - even when it is so inconvenient to help. This starts at home. Many are willing to go all out for others, but not for our own spouse or family sometimes.

So in becoming Servant Leaders like Jesus we must have his kind of humility. That’s where it starts. We must humble ourselves just as Christ humbled Himself. There’s so much in scripture about humility.

Here are some examples to ponder: when you do a godly act of kind service, do you have to let others know? Our Messiah actually often told people he had just healed to be quiet about it, and not tell everyone (Matthew 8:1-4). But we tend to let others know of what a good person we are and all about our good deeds. When we do that, we are forfeiting our rewards from God! (Matthew 6:1-5). So Servant Leadership starts with our Lord’s humble mindset in whatever capacity we find ourselves – as dad, a mom, boss, pastor, teacher or coach, older brother or sister.

“…humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 15:33). God will raise up the humble eventually, just as Jesus was elevated and honored tremendously after he humbled himself, as we can read in Philippians 2:8-9

“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…”

“A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor” (Proverbs 29:23). “Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 18:12). “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble…all of you clothe yourself with humility toward one another…..Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1Peter 5:5-6.

So before God elevates any of us, He has to see that we will be wonderful leaders, serving those he’s given us to work with – just like our King would.

Remember it was the very son of GOD who got up and did the job of the lowliest servant or slave: He washed all the others’ feet, including Judas’ feet, at the last Passover. Do we ever feel too important to do lowly work? Can we help quietly weed a widow’s garden if she needs help? When we feel like having more coffee or getting seconds after dinner, do we ask someone else to get it, or do we get up and get it ourselves and even ask the others if they want anything while we’re up? Men, are we willing to help with the housework, cleaning and tidying up – or is that the wife’s job?

Yes, the wife was to be the man’s “helper” or “help-meet”; “ezer” in Hebrew. But did you know that the Hebrew word there is exactly the same word used for our Creator who is also our “ezer”- our helper? Eliezer means “GOD is my help”! So men, husbands –we can be the ones helping our wives as well. Let’s become known as a wonderful helper, a leader who serves anyone and everyone.

We should be servant leaders at work, in church, with our families, everywhere! At church we help set up and take down the chairs. We might serve as ushers or singing in the choir or helping with the P.A. system. Those who serve in those capacities spend countless hours serving the rest of us. We really don’t need to be “serving” in the more prominent positions like preaching or giving Bible studies. God is checking our hearts and minds and examining our thoughts as we do everything we do. Those he sees are real servant leaders now will be the ones he will trust with high positions later. When we’re faithful in little, God knows we’ll be faithful in much.

When we finally have the humble mind and heart of our own Leader Jesus Christ, we won’t even think about or focus on being promoted or lifted up and exalted. It will come, in God’s good time, when and how He determines. Our real concern for now is not trying to be “in charge” – but in trying to serve the best way possible. We’ll be more concerned with the well-being of those we are serving, and not having to demonstrate we’re “in charge”. God can’t and won’t lift us up to be leaders in the Kingdom until we first learn to humble ourselves and be helpers and servants in every way we can – without putting on a big show and letting everyone know about our serving or how we are “in charge” here. We don’t need to be in the pictures of serving that are being shown everyone.

So humility is KEY to becoming Servant Leaders like Jesus. We must be humble, we must clothe ourselves with humility. “For this is what the high and lofty One says – he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15).

God, who lives in unbelievable splendor – wants to come live in us too, but only if we are lowly in spirit and humble. He really is not comfortable with prideful people.

“And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

“…the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves” (Luke 22:26).

“Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).

Let’s be humble. Let’s have the mind of Jesus as we find ways to serve – ideally behind the scenes, unnoticed by mankind, but every thought and action is seen by God.

In conclusion, it takes humility and the mind of Jesus – the servant leadership mindset/attitude to become Servant Leaders like Jesus. And it’s something we’re doing all the time. Every day.

God willing, we’ll be able to share more ideas in future on this whole topic of being a Servant Leader like Jesus, wherever we are and wherever we go.

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Power of Group Prayer - Acts 12:1-5, 7-12

Many of you who have been students of God’s word for many years know that our Savior, Jesus the Christ, taught us to pray in private (Matthew 6:5-6). He said to find a private room – and there open our hearts to our heavenly Abba, our father in heaven. Prayer, especially when it can be heard and seen by others, can sometimes become a show otherwise. Or we can become self-conscious.

We also have numerous examples of Yeshua himself rising early and praying in private. Sometimes he would go up a hill in the magnificent creation and there commune with the Almighty (Matthew 14:23). Even in his most agonizing hours in Gethsemane, he moved some distance from his disciples while he went to pray alone (Matthew 26:36-39). Peter prayed in private on a housetop! (Acts 10:14).

Even in times of spectacular healings, though there are many examples of healings taking place in public, there are also examples of the man of God preferring to be private as he prays for the dead or sick person. Elisha closed the door behind him before praying for the lad whom God resurrected (2 Kings 4:33). Peter, when doing the same with Dorcas (also called Tabitha), also put everyone out and then knelt and prayed (Acts 9:40).

So I begin this blog about group prayer by being sure you, my readers, know that I understand that most of our praying time should be in private. I love to pray outside in the beautiful gardens and park-like yard our Father has given us. Other times, I beseech God Most High beside my bed as I speak to – and listen to – dear Abba.

But there’s power when many of God’s people come together in special times of beseeching Him. Scripture is clear on this also. Especially in times of deep trial and pain that affect the whole group.

I know many in the organizations I have been a part of who never come together to pray as a group for someone’s healing or for our dear Abba’s intervention in times of serious trial (with the exception of opening and closing prayer at church services or asking the blessing over the meal). They cling to those verses about praying in private and not to be seen – and so they would never be seen praying in a group, with a group. And yet scripture is clear: there are times we could be experiencing great blessings that come from group prayer… coming together as one body, and together beseeching our dear Abba and our Messiah.

For example in Acts 12, we can read of how Herod – during the days of Unleavened Bread – arrested two top apostles, James and Peter, with the intent of gaining popularity with the majority Jews who hated the apostles, by executing them. Look what’s said:

Acts 12:1-5   “Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover. Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.”

As we’ll find out shortly, in this case, constant prayer wasn’t just offered individually in everyone’s own private room in their own homes. Oh no. The believers came together in someone’s home and prayed together for hours and hours. Verse 12 says “MANY were gathered together praying.” Many! In Mary’s house, the mother of Mark. Read all of Acts 12 yourself. My question: would you and I have been there with them?

Now we don't know if the execution of James was quick and sudden – without warning, or was there prior imprisonment like Peter’s case? We just don’t know. But I’ve often wondered: IF James had also been imprisoned first, there is no statement that the church made constant intercessory prayer for him. Maybe they had no chance to, for its suddenness. I grant that possibility. But IF he had been imprisoned first, could it be that the brethren could have assumed that God surely would protect James, with or without their prayers? I hope I’m wrong in even wondering about that.

But you know the rest of the story, and how Peter was miraculously delivered after the church kept up their praying around-the-clock for Peter. They gathered together, several together in one place, to pray. You know Mark of the gospels? It was in his mom’s home – Mary the mother of John Mark the gospel writer, assistant to Peter – where they gathered.

I have to wonder: would we be reading the inspiring story of Acts 12 if they had not prayed together, as one body? I don’t know. But it’s an intriguing question, isn’t it? Maybe our Abba would have done exactly the same thing if they had all decided to just pray privately, individually, at home. But the story we have is that God stepped in as they prayed together, as a group!  

If you’re uncomfortable with the notion, stretch a bit. Start small. Sometimes, if not all the time, have one prayer with your spouse perhaps at bedtime or when you both get up. Add a child, if available. Now you have a group of three. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I AM THERE in the midst of them”, Jesus taught (Matthew 18:20).

Certainly there are many examples of the power of brethren coming together to pray as on together.

I know, I know, our Master tells us to go into our “closet” or private area when we pray and that we are to avoid praying in a way where we could be seen by others and therefore have them all feel we are a “man or woman of prayer”. Certainly that’s all true for our daily, personal prayer time. But there are just too many examples of awesome deliverance when God’s people got together to pray together, as one.

My wife and I normally pray by ourselves, apart from one another. But when someone is very ill or needs a miracle or answer from heaven, we will bow and kneel before Yahweh our Healer and together raise that person in prayer to the throne of grace and mercy and petition Abba for him or her.

The early believers were terrific about group prayer. There’s another example in Acts 4:23-32. The apostles had been threatened by the council for preaching in the name of Yeshua (Jesus), so they went to their spiritual brothers and sisters and shared their plight.

Acts 4:23-24   “And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them…..”

Now keep reading. After their group prayer as one voice and one accord:

Acts 4:31-32 “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul….”

Our Almighty God clearly gave his blessing on that assembly praying together. Please ponder that. Be willing to follow their example! Be willing to stretch when you need to, to try things in the Bible that you maybe never have. Like praying in a group once in a while. Now I don’t believe in daily group prayers either. But in times of trial and stress, yes, come together and together beseech God in earnest prayer. Stretch a bit. Do it. Try it. Another stretch for you to try new things might be to raise holy hands in prayer (1 Timothy 2:8).

Another case of group prayer so pleasing to God – of many – is found in 2 Chronicles 20, where King Jehoshaphat of Judah prayed with a large crowd of people for God Most High’s intervention and protection. Jerusalem was surrounded by innumerable enemy soldiers.

2 Chronicles 20:3-4 “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek YHVH, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 So Judah gathered together to ask help from YHVH; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek YHVH. Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of YHVH, before the new court…” and prayed with the group. Notice it clearly was a group.

Verse 13 – “Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before YHVH.”

Can you imagine what it must have been like? Have you ever been a part of something like this? And wow! Did their God ever answer! You can read it for yourself in verses 14-19. And the people all bowed their heads as they worshiped Almighty. The next day YHVH worked a great miracle in their behalf.

The power of the group acting as one, together. Putting differences aside. Loving one another and loving the living God as we pray and trust him – together.

There are more examples. Read Esther 4. When Esther heard of Haman’s plans to ethnic-cleanse the Jews, here’s what this great woman said:

Esther 4:15-17 Then Esther told them to tell Mordecai: “Go gather ALL the Jews present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.”

They may or may not have come together in one place during those 3 days of fasting, but it is certain they prayed and fasted at least at the same time, for the same purpose. It does say they were to “GATHER” together and fast.   And did God ever hear that praying and fasting? Indeed!   (And by the way, when was the last time we each fasted?) I believe your brethren in southwest Kenya in Isebania fast monthly for prayer needs and requests. May our God bless them and provide answers. 

Why not try praying together as a group for some urgent requests and also for praise and thanksgiving? For those of you who have been doing this already, terrific. For some of you, this may be a new experience. We can all come together decently and in order, and then one after another can take turns leading in prayer as all the others assent in prayer and their “amen”. We can also come together to someone’s home as they did in Acts 12, perhaps some of the time spent in private prayer in the various rooms of the house—and at times come together as a body of one. Hold hands, bow your heads and pray as one soul, as one body led by His One Spirit. You will sense the anointing of God’s spirit as you do this when you do it to seek HIM – and not for any human show. I know this kind of group praying is not commonplace in some circles, but so what!? It’s Biblical. SO do it! 

It’s exciting when you feel the presence of Holy Spirit in your midst. There IS power when many of God’s children come together to pray to Him as one. Many – as one. Together, unitedly, harmoniously, humbly. Experience this powerful way of coming before God: as a group coming to him as one body.

Yes, most of the time – pray in secret, in private, just you and Abba as His Spirit Jesus Christ intercedes with and for you (Romans 8:26-27, 33-34). But be open to the power of the group prayer too!

I’d love to hear from some of you who will stretch and try this. Please share your stories and experiences with me. May our wonderful Abba and His Son bless each of you mightily.

 

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Gehazi, God’s mercy and you

We all know the story of Naaman the Syrian commander who was told to dip seven times in the muddy Jordan River and his leprosy would be healed. He finally did that, and was healed indeed. See the story in 2 Kings 5.

But do you know the rest of the story? Don’t assume you know or can guess the encouraging end of the story.

Naaman, upon being healed, offered Elisha a lot of silver and expensive garments, but Elisha declined. But Elisha’s assistant – Gehazi – ran off after Naaman and asked and received expensive garments and a lot of precious silver for himself – enough apparently to buy vineyards, more garments and lots of servants or slaves. Elisha was aware of it, and we start now in scripture reading. But don’t assume you know already how it all ends. I hope this will inspire and encourage you. We pick up at the point where the happily healed Naaman has just left Elisha’s home to go back to Syria.

2 Kings 5:20-27   But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, "Look, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian, while not receiving from his hands what he brought; but as the LORD lives, I will run after him and take something from him." 21 So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw him running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him, and said, "Is all well?"

(BUT NOW ELISHA LIES in his covetousness for silver and garments, which were very expensive)

22 And he (Gehazi) said, "All is well. My master has sent me, saying, 'Indeed, just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the mountains of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of garments.'" (No such thing had happened.)

23 So Naaman said, "Please, take two talents." (That’s 150 pounds of silver! Sixty eight kilos! That would be worth over $53,000 in today’s silver, 2023)

And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and handed them to two of his servants; and they carried them on ahead of him. 24 When he came to the citadel, he took them from their hand, and stored them away in the house; then he let the men go, and they departed.

25 Now he went in and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, "Where did you go, Gehazi?" And he said, "Your servant did not go anywhere."  [Another total LIE]

26 Then he said to him, "Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? 27 Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever." And he went out from his presence leprous, as white as snow.

Gehazi had coveted, and had lied and God was not pleased. But leprosy clinging to all his offspring for forever and ever? That’s a very serious and severe punishment. In fact in reading it recently I pleaded with God to be merciful today if there are still any descendants of Gehazi who are leprous because of Gehazi’s sin of so long ago.

It was very shortly after that when I learned of God’s mercy on Gehazi that I somehow had missed before. Maybe you had missed it as well. It was like God was telling me, “ Hey, let me show you something about my mercy that you obviously have missed before.”

I don’t believe there are any children or descendants of Gehazi suffering today because of his sin. But how could that be? That was the curse placed on him. But our God is so merciful, as he was even to Ahab, even to Nineveh, even to king Manasseh and so many others.

In 2 Kings 8, we read this, starting with the widow whom Elisha had been blessed by and he asked God to bless her with a son. She had moved away from Israel for seven years during a famine and now wanted to return and have her land back. Let’s read how Gehazi figures into this:

2 Kings 8:1-6   Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, "Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the Lord has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years." 2 So the woman arose and did according to the saying of the man of God, and she went with her household and dwelt in the land of the Philistines seven years.

3 It came to pass, at the end of seven years, that the woman returned from the land of the Philistines; and she went to make an appeal to the king for her house and for her land.

4 Then the king talked with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, saying, "Tell me, please, all the great things Elisha has done." 5 Now it happened, as he was telling the king how he had restored the dead to life, that there was the woman whose son he had restored to life, appealing to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, "My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life." 6 And when the king asked the woman, she told him.

So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, "Restore all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now."

Here’s what’s easy to miss. Sure, the story goes on to show how the widow received her land and lost income back that she would have had from the land.

But here’s what I hadn’t seen before:

GEHAZI is seen here serving in the King’s court. But I thought he was a leper! He surely had been. And it was totally against the law for a leper in Israel or Judah to come anywhere near other people. They had to stay outside the camp and shout “unclean, unclean” as they walked. You can read this strict law in Leviticus 13:45-46 and Numbers 5:1-4.

There is NO WAY, that a leper in Israel or Judah at least, would be serving in their king’s court!

God’s mercy is perhaps being revealed here. God must have forgiven Gehazi and healed him, or we would not be reading what we do in 2 Kings 8. He would not have been serving openly in the king’s court.

And indeed, I’m confident there are no descendants of Gehazi suffering from leprosy today because of God’s mercy. SO many speak of the harsh “God of the Old Testament”. I see instead in this story and so many others, such kindness, gentleness, mercy and a very forgiving God.  

 

I found this very encouraging that even in my faults and sins, I can count on God’s mercy and forgiveness if I seek him, repent, and turn back to God. So can you. I hope this encourages you, as I know we all still slip up in sin too often. God loves to give his children another chance to live right and be a blessing to others upon forgiving their sin. Praise God our Father and Jesus/Yeshua our Savior/Redeemer for that!

As Paul Harvey used to say on radio, “And that’s the rest of the story.”

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Unlearning but replacing with truth

Most of you who come to Light on the Rock or other sabbath-keeping church groups, came out of a former church that probably was a Sunday-keeping church. Or maybe they taught that we are all in His rest now, and all days are sabbath rests in Christ. I don’t subscribe to that of course. Some of you came out of Judaism and Jewish synagogues. Or perhaps from Messianic groups and Hebrew Roots groups that focus heavily on the Old Testament and read the Torah every sabbath, as the Jews do. Some of you are former Pentecostals or Lutherans or Catholic. And some of you were born into sabbath keeping groups and that is all you were ever exposed to.

We are told to grow in the grace/favor and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). One of the things we have to learn to do when “getting it right” as far as knowledge goes, is being willing to unlearn what we believed before when clear scripture shows us correct doctrine or teaching. We all have to do this. I continue to learn more about God, Christ, the Bible – and continue to have to discard old ideas that I see now were just plain wrong. For example, perhaps some of us have had to learn that God really does love the people of the world, so much so that he sent his only son to die for us – and all of “them” too. And perhaps some of us had been too tough on the people of the world, for whom Christ died. So we unlearn thinking that taught us that God is always angry with people of the world. Yes, sometimes he IS, that’s for sure, but overall God is not willing that any should perish, so He sent His son to perish for them.

And how are we to know who among those not living totally righteously and obediently are ones God is starting to call and plans to have them in His First Fruits? When Paul first arrived at Corinth, God told him to relax a bit and not fear anything bad will happen to him there. Paul had just been stoned in Lystra and left for dead. He had in other places been attacked, mauled, beaten, scourged and ridiculed. But God’s reason to relax a bit: “For I HAVE many people here.” God was speaking of the ending from the beginning. And indeed, Corinth became a huge and energetic congregation.

Acts 18:9-11 “Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I HAVE many people in this city." 11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them”.

So we learn to unlearn some things – and replace them with what’s true. But fully unlearning is really hard sometimes. Sometimes you’ll be excited to understand Biblical truth. But other times it will challenge you, like making you wonder how you’ll tell your family that you can’t be part of their big family Christmas festivities anymore. Sometimes it’s our pride that gets in the way. We don’t want to admit we were wrong. Especially if you are a minister and have to tell your congregation now that you see some things very differently now.

Some people hate having to change or unlearn. But as God reveals himself and his word more to each of us, we will all have areas we have to let go of and replace with truth. We’re seeking “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), learning all the scriptures on a topic. And we learn how alive the Bible is. We keep learning deeper and newer information each time we study it.

Be aware that if you were an active Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Catholic, Muslim or whatever you formerly were, that now you’re learning new understanding about our God Most High – God the Father – and his Son Jesus/Yeshua. And you’re learning more about God’s Spirit and how God lets HIS nature and his power, and really Himself, come into us with that extension of him, his Spirit. But it’s not separate from Him. See my Part 1 of “Who – or what – is God’s Holy Spirit?” Even in Revelation 1 we see that Christ is speaking to the seven churches of Rev 2 and 3, and yet it says, “Hear what the Spirit says to the seven churches”. But Revelation 1 clearly identifies “the Spirit” as Christ himself speaking.

Let me also hasten to add that we don’t need to fight over doctrinal differences, especially when it comes to things like prophecy. I like to ride loosely in the saddle when it comes to prophecy. Don’t be so dogmatic on prophecy unless an angel has explained things perfectly to you. I suspect most of us will have to admit how we got some of it so wrong, when we look back one day. And if a doctrinal matter doesn’t affect your salvation, we can each have an opinion on it and see in the end how it ends up when Christ returns. But we don’t divide over such matters. 

For example, I believe we WILL go to heaven, but after we are resurrected, to be married to Christ, then return to rule with Christ on the earth (Revelation 5:10). Others do not believe this. They are against the idea of ever going to heaven ever, for any reason. Heaven is coming down to earth, they say. So I explain, the first 5-6 verses of Revelation 14 and 15 clearly speaks of 144,000 people, called “first fruits” who are “before the throne, before the 4 living creatures” or “on the sea of Glass” – and these are all descriptions of what are only in heaven. I believe we go to heaven to meet Abba, our dear father and to learn our upcoming assignments, be given our new names, and to marry and be part of the marriage supper of the Son of God (Revelation 19). How thrilling that will be! Others find that hard to accept. So be it. What we believe about that doesn’t affect your or my salvation. But be willing to really look into explanations different from yours and be willing to unlearn and be excited about the truth you’re learning. Be a Berean checking things out to prove what is being taught is true. 

Unlearning and what you’re going through is not that different from what the early brethren experienced. Initially ALL of them were Jews who had been taught in their Synagogues about Torah and their Hebrew scriptures. And key: for several decades, all they had as “the word of God’ was what we now call the Old Testament. The Epistles and other books weren’t even written yet for decades!

They called their Hebrew Scriptures either the Miqra or the TANAKH, which stood for Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim – the Law, prophets and writings. For the first few decades, this is ALL the early church of God had as their “Bible”. They didn’t have the gospels, the epistles of Paul or any others, or the book of Acts and Revelation. ALL they had was what we now call the Old Testament.

And within the synagogues, there were the stricter Pharisees, forefathers of today’s Orthodox Jews – and the Sadducees, many of whom were priests. They had doctrinal differences. Pharisees believed in the resurrection and a spirit world but the Sadducees did not, for example. Sadducees were more interested in material things, power and wealth. But they also believed that we are to live by God’s written word, not the oral traditions that Pharisees loved so much. Karaite Jews may be descendants of the Sadducees. Then there were others like the Essenes, who kept mostly to themselves.

But each one, unwittingly perhaps, brought some of their past and false doctrinal beliefs – or what I call “baggage” -- with them to this new body of believers. Some were ex-Pharisees, some were Ex-Priests from the Sadducees. Some were just sabbath keepers but not part of either sect. Not all of them hid behind their former beliefs, but some did.

Acts 6:7 “Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.”

Many Pharisees also came to be believers (Acts 15:4).

The biggest and immediate new belief was that the man they knew as Yeshua from Nazareth of the Gentiles was truly the son of God, had died for their sins and was resurrected three days later and had gone back to heaven to be with His Father. For many, even the notion that there was a SON of God, the ONE God, was a big hurdle.

So they had to unlearn so much. They thought God is one being only. They believed the Messiah would be a warrior king as he conquered enemies before setting up his kingdom. But this Messiah, Jesus, had come, died, and left. And the hated Romans still remained. So there was a lot of unlearning to do. Could Messiah come twice? The first time as a suffering servant of Isaiah 53, and then return another time as conquering king of kings? And they had to learn that we’re mostly in the “spirit of the law” and in a brand New Covenant, not just a “Renewed Covenant” of the old. (I have sermons on this. Look up New Covenant).

One really big hurdle for many was that “the Chosen people” of God was now no longer limited to just the Jews or Israelites – but to whomever God called from ALL the nations. No more Jew, no more Gentile, but all one in Messiah.

ALL those who answered the call of God and received HIS Spirit, were the new “chosen”, whether Jew or Gentile. This was tough, very tough, for the Jews of Jesus’ day. But they all had to accept Jesus as their Savior, as the Son of God who died and was raised again for their sins and for their new lives in him. This was not easy to accept after millennia of being told they were the exclusive “chosen” and that all Gentiles were so inferior to them. Many Jews still struggle with this notion. SO much to unlearn. And you also will have areas of your belief to unlearn and replace with what Scripture really says.

Paul was a Pharisee of the Pharisees but he fought many ex-Pharisees’ understanding when he was in the Body of Christ. We are also told that some PRIESTS had become believers as well in the early days. The arguments over circumcision and whether they had to make Gentiles wear tassels (Tzit-zit) or not – keeping the letter of the Torah – became so heated they sent their leaders to Jerusalem to discuss it. It was a contentious meeting at first.

Acts 15:4-5   “And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them. 5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who BELIEVED rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, AND to command them to keep the law of Moses."

So these Pharisees who were now part of the body of Christ were discussing TWO issues: circumcision of the Gentiles and keeping the Law of Moses (the Torah). This was a BIG DEAL back then.

One of the hardest things to do is to be willing to UNLEARN what you were once so convinced was solid truth. If all you had was the Old Testament, yes, it would seem clear that every male would have to be circumcised, until some began to realize there were also verses about circumcising the heart. Plus they had their experience with the household of Gentile Cornelius, and how God gave them the Holy Spirit without prior circumcision. To make things worse, Cornelius was a Roman centurion! An occupier. A soldier.

So the early church of believers in Christ was composed of brethren with differing ideas. My point is, we all bring with us what we had learned before and we have to be willing to UNLEARN many things to be in harmony with what the Bible really teaches – AND to be in harmony with one another.

Are you willing to UNLEARN when you’re shown clear scripture of what the Bible actually says? If so, you will start to see more and more of God’s truths from this site and from others too.

With this site you will learn the truth of what happens when you die. Or if God is trying to save the whole world right NOW (if so, He’s losing badly. MY God will never lose!). Was the sabbath day rest done away with? Were the 10 commandments done away with? If so, can I now go lie all I want, bring in an idol and commit all the sex sins I feel like doing? Of course not. It comes down to some groups rejecting the 7th Day Sabbath and God’s holydays. So they’re willing to discard the 4th commandment but pretty much everyone will agree the other nine are good to keep. That’s something you have to resolve.

What doctrines and beliefs will you have to unlearn and replace? What areas of baggage are you bringing in to the ekklesia (Greek translated “church” – but meaning “called out ones”. (The Latin version uses c’s – as in ecclesia. I prefer Greek).

The cure for this? Spend as much time in God’s word as you can and read it with an open mind. Scripture is your base, your starting point. Use this website to help you also. www.Lightontherock.org   Use the Search bar to put in just 1-3 key words of what you’re wondering about and chances are high we have a study or sermon on it.

So be willing to check us out, with your open Bible, and prove for yourself if what I teach is true or not. Don’t believe me; believe the Bible. God bless you as you approach HIM with an open mind, willing to unlearn if and when necessary, and leave old baggage aside. I’d love to hear from you too. May our dear Father and Savior bless you. And I hope someday to meet you.

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REKINDLE your FIRE for God, “Have you lost your first love?”

When we read Christ’s comments to the 7 churches of Revelation 2 and 3, comments he says we all should hear what he says to all seven churches, one theme seems to pop up from our Head of the Church: “GET YOUR FIRE burning for me again”. “You’ve lost your first love”, as he said to the first church. And to the seventh church Laodicea he says, “repent of being lethargic and lukewarm. Get your zeal back”.

I feel those two elements really describe us in 2023. We’ve lost our original first love passion for Christ and God’s kingdom. We’re lukewarm at best. And yes, I preach to myself again as well. I need more zeal, more fire, definitely.

And who is speaking to the seven churches? I ask this, since we’re told to heed what the SPIRIT says to the churches at the end of each message to each church. 

Revelation 2:7 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God."'

WHO is “the SPIRIT”? WHO was actually speaking? Was it the Holy Spirit speaking, or was it Christ, who is called “the Spirit”?

Revelation 1:12-20 12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

7 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. 20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.”

So clearly the One speaking from the midst of the seven lampstands was our Saviour Jesus the Anointed one (Messiah, the Christ). So when Rev.2:7 says to heed what the SPIRIT says to the churches, clearly that “Spirit” is Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 3:17 “for the Lord IS the SPIRIT…”

Revelation 2:1 "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, [Rev. 1:20] who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.”

WHO is this? Clearly it is Jesus Christ, holding the seven stars (Rev. 1:20), who is also the Spirit who is talking to them. Remember 2 Cor. 3:17, “The Lord IS the spirit” as I’ve been explaining in recent sermons. So the one speaking to us is Jesus Christ, who is also “the Spirit”.

Revelation 2:2-3 "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.

In Africa, I’m finding several claiming to be a bishop, a pastor, even an apostle – whom I later find are self-proclaimed, self-ordained. They’ve never been legitimately ordained. These are false apostles and false elders and we must remove those titles until they are officially and properly ordained if they ever qualify for ordination.

Rev. 2:4-6   “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place — unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

Revelation 2:7 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God."'

So hearing the Spirit is the same in this context as hearing Jesus Christ speaking his admonitions when you compare Rev 2:7 with Rev. 1:17-20.

Your first love: Do you remember when God was first calling you into the Body of Christ, and how exciting it was to learn the truth? And how much Bible study you did? How much praying you did? How much repenting you did? Well, that was your “first love”. Go back to that hot fire for God.

I believe God is lighting the fire of his work again in these end times over the next decade. He’s using ordinary people all over the world. Maybe even you. Answer God’s call. Be a part of that. Rekindle the fire in your heart. That means praying more. Study my sermon on “Constant Contact” and be applying that. Find ways to be part of helping getting the work done that needs to be done.

And watch for my sermon on how God uses very ordinary people to do his super-natural work.

I know in East Africa, God’s work is booming. God is causing strong responses to radio broadcasts and to the messages from this Light on the Rock website too. The people need Bibles. Many households don’t have the money to buy even just one Bible for the family, so we’re doing it. Hundreds need a Bible. They’re not asking for money. They’re asking for a Bible. Surely, we in the West can help with this. Will you?

Would you let your new fire cause you to help us buy Bibles for very poor but zealous brethren? We need your help. This is not just money we’re handing out here and there. No, these are actual purchased Bibles in their own language of Swahili, or Ekugusii or Luo so they understand what they read. Few in Tanzania really speak much English. They need a Swahili Bible. Help us help them. I need to buy at least 150 Bibles so eventually every adult can have his own Bible. Let your new FIRE cause you to spring to action in helping get this work done. How can these people grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus if they have no Bible? And thank you, to you who have contributed some for this goal. 

They all also need some hymnals, with songs in their own language. Tanzanians especially do not speak English, so English hymnals are not helpful to them. So we’re buying some hymnals in Swahili/English and then we’ll go back to the publisher who is willing to create our own unique hymnals as we add songs they like and that are biblically appropriate. So we’ll remove the Easter and Christmas songs and maybe a few more, and add some other beautiful songs like “As the Deer” or “10,000 reasons”, which hopefully are available also in Swahili.

Over 500 now meet each sabbath in 12 congregations and many more groups waiting for ministers to teach them the truth of God’s word, so we’ll need a few hundred hymnals for the Feast of Tabernacles.

Let’s help them sing and praise God in their tongue. I need your help to ignite these congregations to have their song service be filled with joy as they sing praises in their own language. Can you help? God may be speaking to your heart right now. Again, your help will go for tangible hymnals and Bibles.

You may not receive much glory, or any glory in this lifetime at least, for helping us buy Bibles and Hymnals. But you can be like the little unnamed boy who had 5 loaves and 2 fish who used what he had to be a part of a huge miracle we still read about today.

Sometimes we have to help those who are in the hospital. One young man was badly burned recently in Mombasa, but the hospital allowed him in but would not treat his burns without payment ahead of time. The local congregation had no money. I found out later. We sent what we could for the hospital stay and extra, but the man died from his burns. I regret we didn’t move faster and have more money. But we did what we could with what we had.

Right now one family has two young girls in treatment. One has malaria of the brain and she’s in the hospital. Cerebral malaria is the most severe neurological complication of infection with Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Will you help me help them by your fervent prayers and help with the medical bill? This girl could die if God doesn’t heal her.

The other daughter broke a leg while doing the long jump at school. The family has no money to pay for the hospitalization. So we do what we can. Will God’s fire in your heart move you to get back your first love you used to have, to help people so poor they can’t afford bus fares, or food, or hospitalization or even a Bible?

To another congregation this time in Revelation 3, the Laodiceans, our Anointed one calls them sickeningly lukewarm and self-assured that they’re OK and even spiritually rich. Jesus warns them (and US!) that they’ll have to be purified in the fire of tribulation if they don’t repent of their lukewarmness. You’re surely aware of this at the end of Revelation 3. This is clearly end time, as Christ is seen knocking at their door already. I’m telling you: Jesus is outside, knocking on YOUR door also. What are you doing about it? Let him in, ask him to come into your life and to BE your life.

To the 3rd and 4th churches – Pergamos and Thyatira – they were allowing sexual immorality in the church. Unmarrieds living together. Some are open about their fornication, I’m told. Adultery. Today we can add porn to that list. Sexual sins are so prevalent so we all have to heed the warnings. The world’s enticements are constant. Also, Thyatira was allowing outside ministers to come in and speak, and we have to put a stop to that immediately.

The fifth church, Sardis in Revelation 3, is dead or dying spiritually. Only a few are worthy, Jesus says. Are you vibrantly alive in Christ, or dead or dying?

I believe God can still do electrifying work around the world when His people get excited to see what He is doing in far-away parts of the earth. When he sees us red hot on fire for him and excited to share what we have come to learn with others – you’ll see growth and excitement come back into the flock of God. But whatever you do, don’t remain lukewarm, self-contented and having lost your first love. 

How? A dying flame needs more fuel and oxygen. DO much more prayer and Bible study to fuel and re-ignite what you have into a hot fire, a flame. Don’t be content with being just “so-so” with God. And yes, help support the work that is feeding you the truth of the complete Gospel (1 Cor. 9:14). I know God is causing such a boom in the last few months that we can’t even get to the dozen congregations who want to have a minister come and teach them. Laborers are few. Pray for that too. Get your heart back into doing God’s work especially where God is clearly working and bringing in spectacular growth.

REKINDLE that flame for God! Be a PART of where the fire of God’s word and his zeal are flowing freely in parts of the world right now. This gospel must be preached in all the world, and it’s really moving in East Africa at the moment with growth I haven’t seen anywhere else for many years. And I don’t mean “growth” that comes from taking sheep from one existing flock and having them come to your congregation. I mean NEW GROWTH. It’s happening. And it excites me to see God so working with the poorest people – but people who are zealous and excited about truth and about God’s promises.

God’s inviting you. I’m inviting you too. Would you join me and be a part of this new fire of God’s zeal to get his word out and to save people – even the “least of these my brethren”.

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A Perfect Human Being?

Note from P Shields, host of LOTR: This blog comes from www.TacticalChristianity.org and was written by a close friend, an ordained minister of God, who goes by his pen name of R. Herbert. I recommend you check out his site as it has SO much more than blogs. This article matches well with my sermons on Perfection as well, except he knows how to cut to the chase better than I. Enjoy his article or blog.

perfect human

In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1).
“…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  

These two scriptures ­­– Job 1:1 and Romans 3:23 – are loved by skeptics as they feel the two verses provide a “perfect” example of biblical contradiction.  How, they ask, could Job be “blameless” (NIV, ESV, etc.) or “perfect” (as translated in the King James Version) –  in other words, sinless –  if, as Paul affirms, all have sinned?

Many Christians realize that when the New Testament uses the word “perfect” (as when Jesus tells his followers to “be perfect” – Matthew 5:48), the Greek word used means “mature” or “complete” (see “Does God Expect You to Be Perfect?” here).  In the Old Testament a similar situation occurs.  The Hebrew word tam translated in Job 1:1 as “blameless” or “perfect” (and again in Job 1:8, 2:3) has several shades of meaning. It comes from a root word meaning to be complete or finished (Genesis 47:18, Deuteronomy 31:24) and in a secondary sense to be morally sound or upright (Job 22:3, Psalm 18:26).  Tam itself can be translated “complete,” “finished,” “blameless,” “innocent,” or “having integrity.” In Proverbs 29:10, for example, the word is used in the phrase “a person of integrity.”

This meaning –  of having moral integrity or “uprightness” –  that lies at the heart of what we are told in Job does not imply perfection as we might think of the word in modern English usage. In fact, the respected Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Abingdon, 1981) states categorically: “the words which are rendered in English by ‘perfect’ and ‘perfection’ [in the Hebrew Bible] denoted originally something other and less than ideal perfection.” 

So although Job 1:1 records that Job was blameless, and in Job 1:8 and 2:3 God is said to have declared Job to be blameless, the Hebrew word translated “blameless” does not have to mean morally perfect and completely sinless.  This can be seen by the fact the book itself shows Job’s failings.   In 7:21 Job states, “Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins?” and in 42:6 Job confirms his own sinfulness when he says: “Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”  

When we take these facts into account, it is clear that being “blameless” or “perfect” before God in Job – and elsewhere in the Old Testament – means being morally upright, but it does not have to refer to some kind of sinless perfection.

Putting the scriptures together, then, there is no contradiction between what the Book of Job tells us and what Paul affirms in Romans.  All humans, including Job, have sinned, as Paul stresses; but Job had attained a level of integrity or moral uprightness that God himself acknowledged as being remarkable – just as the Book of Job states. 

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“TRY ME OUT!”, says the LORD

Not all of you will understand this--but a lot of you will. My husband and I believe (with all of our might) the principle of tithing. Good times, bad times, it doesn't matter. EVERYTHING belongs to God anyway so we are happy to give back to Him the tiny bit He requests. Deuteronomy 10:14--"Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it." So we tithe--and God has ALWAYS taken care of us--even in bad times! 

My story involves my handicapped friend. We met 22 years ago when she was impoverished and living in squalor. She had been away from religion for decades and she asked to start attending church with us. I did not mention tithing to her but she found out through sermons. She WANTED to give to God. Her heart was incredibly generous. She was on government disability so at first she could only afford a dollar or two. As the years passed, her checks grew larger. The more she gave back to God, the more physically blessed she became! Doors opened and she was moved into an incredibly beautiful and caring facility that she is in now.

After a few years of knowing me, she asked me to handle her money. (Become her 'Payee'). Every month, when she knew her check had arrived, she would call me up and tell me how much she wanted to send to her favored church. Part of her handicap is mental so she would often ask me to send MUCH more than she could afford--more than her tithe. We would talk and, usually, meet somewhere in the middle. 

These days, she is too far gone to judge wisely so I ASK HER if she wants to give money to God. I make sure she is honored by sending in a token amount. God loves her and respects her widow's mites. Her expenses have gone up substantially so she is more limited.

Here is the point of this story: EVERY TIME SHE GIVES, our God gives her back more than she gave Him! This time it was a letter stating that her next rent and care payment (for July) is less than it was formerly quoted. She had paid her "tithe" and the differences in the rent cost leaves her with more money than what she gave to God! He paid her back plus some!

I have proven to myself that tithing is a "living principle". God pleads with humanity to test Him In Malachi 3:10 "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there will not be room enough to receive it."

He doesn't say in this verse to "Make a lifetime commitment to do this." He says to TEST Him to see if He's telling the truth!

I love my friend. I'm glad she decided to try God out!

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Is God’s will always done in this world?

I first wrote this in 2015 with 2,585 hits or views but have made a few edits as I repost.

This question may sound almost crazy to many of you at first glance, as probably 80% of people would react with “of course God’s will is always done!  He’s GOD!”

But since YHVH has all power and since He truly is the Supreme Being, does it follow then that He always enforces his will, especially in this world right now? This blog may surprise you. But everything I say will be backed with scripture.

First of all, Yeshua (Jesus) himself says in his sample prayer, that we are to pray for God’s will to be done here on earth, just like His will IS always done in heaven.  “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.”   Hmm.   Why would we be told to pray for something if that “something” is not an issue? Or maybe it is an issue?  Is God into us praying for the obvious?  Is God asking us to waste our time by asking for things that are already a given – that God’s will is always done on earth? 

Or could it be that God’s perfect will for every single person on this planet -- isn’t always done and it’s His will to allow that free moral choice?  Is that even possible?  But then again, if you believe it is, the wording in Yeshua’s sample prayer is intriguing, with implications of Yeshua’s statement as follows:  “Pray God’s will is done here on earth all the time with everyone – just like Father’s will is always done all the time with everyone in heaven.”         

So when will be the time when God’s will is done here on earth?  Notice the sentence in “the Lord’s Prayer” that comes before this statement about God’s will.  It is: “Thy kingdom come.”  That is mentioned first. For sure, when God’s kingdom is established on earth, where God’s rule is established, God’s will is going to be done.  That applies in our individual lives now too. If His rule is established in our lives, his will is being done.  When we are not in the will of God, it’s because we have moved out of his rule and governance. 

Surely, God clearly sets boundaries on what Satan is allowed to do or not do. Surely God’s will is going to be done as far as world-shaking events go. Prophecy will happen according to His will. He declares the end from the beginning. Surely God also will, in specific instances, put thoughts and ideas into leaders and rulers - - so that His will is done.

But there’s so much more. 

And back to my question: can we say everything happening in the life of every human being every minute of time – is God’s will? How about in your own life? Are you sure of your answer?

Let’s look now at some clear verses that might shed more light for us on this topic.

We know that if you are one who loves God and are one of the called-out ones, that God will work everything out for good in your life (Romans 8:28) in the end.  He is so powerful and gracious that he can work even the “bad things” we get involved in to work out to be good in the end, and be according to his divine will and purpose. That should give us great peace and comfort, even when bad things seem to be happening to us.

Joseph said that very thing in Genesis 50:19-21. He admitted that his brothers meant him harm but God used those evil actions to move Joseph into position to save the family eventually. But again, God was working with that family.  Could the same be said about every family everywhere else on the planet? I think not.  God isn’t and wasn’t working with every human being yet.  But he was working with Jacob, Joseph and their families and God’s will was being done, and became so clear at least in the end. 

So let’s look now at some clear examples where Yeshua (Jesus) himself says God’s will wasn’t done in those specific cases.  

Do you know what God's will for the Pharisees was when they came to hear John the Baptist?  And was God’s will done?  Let’s see.

Luke 7:29-30  ”And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.”

I’m hoping to give a sermon real soon on this topic of God’s will. How we are to find God’s will in our lives and do it. What IS God’s will for us?  So be watching for it and in that sermon I will go into far more details to show that God’s will is only being done in the lives of those He is right now calling, working with and who are responding to His call.  Later, when Yeshua is ruling on earth, more will have their hearts and minds opened and the will of God will be done in their lives too.  

But for now, let’s look at a few more examples to show that God does not force His will on us just yet. Not even on you – yet.

Let me be clear of my belief on this: when God decides to act and intervene, HIS will is always done.  But it’s also clear, as you will see, that God allows a lot of space and room for us to make our own decisions right now.

In the broader sense, that is God’s will for now – that we have free moral agency – and in that broader sense, you could say God’s will is being done.  But now let’s get specific.  I hope the rest of this article will make you ponder some things you may not have before. 

***Apparently there are many people who do not do the will of God, and God allows that  --  as only those who do the will of God are the ones Yeshua considers to be his brother, sister or mother.

  

Mark 3:33-35 “But He answered them, saying, "Who is My mother, or My brothers?" And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother."

Not everyone is the brother or sister of Christ, apparently. Not yet, at least. 

1 John 2:17 “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

***Here’s another example.  Yeshua said HIS desire would have been to gather the Jews in Jerusalem under his wing like a mother hen would gather and protect her chicks -- "but ye would not". In other words, “I wanted to protect you, but you wouldn’t submit your will to mine, so it’s not going to happen.” Jesus was allowing their will to be done in that case.

Luke 13:34 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!”

Apparently then, God allows us a lot of latitude. There is such a thing as “free moral agency” and so God lets us make decisions in or out of his will so that we learn the consequences of going our own way.  Look at Romans 10 and Isaiah 1, for example.

Romans 10:21 “But to Israel he says: ‘All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people."

Isaiah 1 is full of God’s heart to offer a better way to His people, but they refused to listen to him. Please read it.

***God clearly tells us that His will is for people to follow his Way and His laws. But are they? Even those of us with God’s Spirit don’t always do that, do we?  Even Paul admitted, that at times, “That which I hate, I do” (Romans 7). 

What follows next is a clear statement of God’s will, that we all be morally and sexually pure. Living in this world makes it difficult to always have a pure mind and heart. Ask yourself as you read it, is this stated will of God being followed around the world by everyone?  Or for that matter, have YOU even always followed this?  So if the answer is “no” – then it should be clear that God’s will is not always done everywhere with everyone. Yet.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7   “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”

Here’s another.  As you read the verse below, ask yourself:  do you always rejoice, do you always pray without ceasing, do you give thanks in everything? In the passage below, God’s will is clearly stated.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies.  Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”

So be looking for the sermon that will come sometime in the future that explores seeking, recognizing and doing God’s will in our lives. Send me your input on this topic and I may include your notes and comments too.

I hope it is clear that our loving God allows us to make many of our own decisions – and allows us to live with the consequences of doing our own will. He wants us to learn what His will is, because He knows best what will work for us.  But right now He isn’t forcing HIS will on you and me or the whole world.  Certainly no one wants to believe that all the evil we see going on in the world today is God’s perfect will being done, do we?  This is not yet His world, not yet His kingdom. When it is His kingdom, things will be far different, as His will is going to be done more and more until the whole world submits to the new King of kings. 

Let’s end this blog with this: we are to learn and then do God's perfect will as we come to complete submission to Him as our King and God. 

1 Peter 4:1-4   “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.”

So it’s clear that God allows us a lot of free moral agency. For example, God’s will was for the Pharisees to be baptized by John, but they rejected the will of God for them (John 7:29-30)! And he let them refuse to be baptized by John. Jesus wanted to protect Jerusalem as a mother hen does its chicks, “but you would not” (Luke 13:34). You and I may be surprised to find someday, how much our lives could have been so different if we would have just sought and followed the will of God for our lives more carefully.

So it’s pretty clear, that for now, God does not always force HIS will, but he loves hearing us pray “thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” And we have to pray that prayer because his will is NOT always done on earth yet, obviously.

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Are you a real “Berean”?

Wherever Paul preached, the cities were engaged, to say the least. Paul was accused of teaching there was another king – King Jesus – and not just Caesar. So in Acts 17, he was ejected from Thessalonica because of that accusation and so he went to the next city – Berea – and this is what we read…

Acts 17:10-11   “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, AND searched the Scriptures DAILY to find out whether these things were so.

The point of this blog is to encourage us all to double-check everything we’re hearing in church services and from the booklets and articles we read. This implies perhaps much more Bible study than some of us now do. Each of us should LOOK UP the scriptures that are being cited in sermons and articles. Be a Berean who ‘searched the scriptures DAILY” to verify that what was preached is truly in the Bible. Notice they didn’t search the scriptures to prove the minister wrong, but to prove the minister right. They “received the word with all readiness”, it says. They were eager to listen. It was a positive investigation. Always read 10 verses before the cited verse and 10 verses after so you’re getting the context.

We have so many Bible tools today that make it easy to verify what scripture says on any topic. Verify MY sermons and blogs too. The Bereans probably had to go to their synagogue and ask permission to look up the large scrolls of the Old Testament. There was no New Testament around yet at this time. Imagine how hard it would be to look up scriptures in large scrolls – one scroll per Bible book, normally. And they didn’t have chapter and verse back then either.

I guess this blog is to encourage us all to get our noses into God’s word more than ever. And I mean into God’s word itself. I know so many people who listen non-stop to sermon after sermon, or read articles and booklets that churches put out. That could be helpful, of course, but keep in mind each fellowship has their own set of beliefs and their booklets and articles and sermons will reflect the verses and scriptures that substantiate their beliefs. I’m saying, dig into the word yourself on various subjects. You will be surprised so many times.

For example: many church groups baptize people into the name of the Father, Son and Holy spirit, because that’s what Matthew 28:19 does say. But dig into that subject more deeply. I do have sermon audio on it (“Into Whom are we baptized?”), but dig into it yourself, even when hearing or reading MY own material here on Light on the Rock. Here’s what I found, when I dug into that: there’s not even ONE example where that’s the wording any of the apostles and deacon Philip used when baptizing.

We are after all baptized into Christ, into his body, and into his name. My sermon explains how Matthew 28:19 was added by Constantine, according to the historians, to back up the trinity doctrine. The original verse was to baptize “in my name” (Jesus speaking) – and that is exactly what those who were baptizing DID! Every single time.

So now when I baptize anyone, it will be in Jesus’ name, into HIS body. Look up these verses and see what Peter, Philip, Paul and others said and did: Acts 2:38; Acts 8:12,16; Acts 10:48 - Cornelius; Acts 19:4-5 - the men of Ephesus; Romans 6:3. Also see Galatians 3:27 - baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 

Not one single time can be found where any of them baptized into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Not one time. If you think I’m wrong, show me. 

By being a Berean who digs into the word, you’ll find that a lot of the traditions of various groups cannot be backed up by scripture. 

Here’s another. Some groups let only ordained elders baptize (immerse) people. Is that scriptural? The disciples baptized for Jesus (John 4:1-2), and they weren’t ordained yet and didn’t even have God’s Holy Spirit yet. Philip the DEACON, not an ordained elder yet, baptized many in Samaria and the Ethiopian eunuch. When I baptize, if a brother or father wants to “assist” in the baptism of his daughter, I’m delighted to let him participate. So I say if you want to be baptized, and especially if there are no ordained men near you who teach the truth of God’s word – find a leading member of the church or deacon to baptize you. But beware: your church organization may not approve! But also remember, we’re not baptizing you into any corporate group or church organization, but into the body of Christ.

It does appear that only ordained ministers did the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit.  After Philip baptized those in Samaria, Jerusalem sent out Peter and John to lay hands on them (Acts 8:14-17) so they could receive the Holy Spirit. But what do you do if, again, there are no ordained true ministers around? Study that and ponder that. Let me know what you find. The “elders” – as best as I can see in the New Testament – weren’t just older men but were the ordained teachers, bishops, overseers, pastors of the areas. I’m praying for direction on this too, for indeed, the Holy Spirit CAN be given without laying on of hands, as the case of Cornelius shows us, though that was a strong exception possibly. Peter was being clearly shown that God was now also calling Gentiles to repentance and conversion. See Acts 10 for the story of Cornelius. Note verses 44-46.

And who among the apostles and believers in Acts 2 Pentecost had hands laid on them to receive God’s spirit before Peter preached his sermon? We’re not told of any! But they certainly received the Holy Spirit. Again, without any laying on of hands from elders. So we can’t be so rigid as I myself had been to insist that only through an ordained minister can someone receive God’s spirit. I think that’s the ideal when there are ordained true elders available. We read of Peter and John laying on of hands for baptized Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17). But remember the Holy Spirit actually comes from God the Father  (1 Cor. 6:19) – through Jesus – through the elder laying on his hands. But the Spirit comes from God. Let’s not box God in to our limitations.

Just recently a man told me that he heard a rabbi say that King David never really sinned. My immediate reaction was “What Bible is HE reading?”. And he explained there were five, supposedly, who never sinned. OK, let me ask you. What scriptures or concepts would immediately flood into your mind to refute that? For me it was “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And “there’s none righteous, no not one” {by God’s perfect righteousness at least) – Romans 3:10-12. PLUS the prophet Nathan told David he had sinned and David admitted it in Psa 51:4 and 2 Sam 12:13.

Don’t confine your searches to verses being preached at you or just from the scriptures in an article or blog, including this one – because obviously the preacher will pick scriptures that seem to substantiate his view. Do some extra digging yourself. Bereans didn’t have everything handed to them. No, they had to go do some digging into the scriptures themselves. Be doing so much Bible study that now when something is preached, you can either nod in agreement or make a note to check up something that seems obviously wrong. 

Beware: ministers are still human. If someone constantly finds them teaching what's false, you won’t be popular with that minister for long. In that case it’s probably time to find a different teacher anyway.

Use the tools available. I do a lot of intensive Bible studies at my desk with all the tools I have, but also will listen to the Bible audios as I weed, do dishes, or feed my birds outside. I listen to each chapter several times so I don’t miss anything.

We’ve all been given so much, and we’ll be partly judged by what we’ve been given. We have free apps like Bible Hub, Bible Gateway, E-Sword, and many more apps. BE SURE TO LOAD up your laptop and cell phone with these apps. You can even listen to the Bible audio in numerous translations and in scores of languages. One I bought some years ago is so comprehensive, called PC Biblesoft version 5. There are so many free study apps that let us dig into the original Hebrew or Greek, or even find loads of cross-references. They have “topics” – so you can do topical studies and look up any word you like – like Berea for example – and learn all about that topic. Plus Commentaries galore. Bible maps. Bible photos. My PC Biblesoft does all that and much more. Of course these tools also have dozens of Bible translations you can check.

By playing the audio Bibles, what the Bible says will come more readily to you. I have made a practice to listen to each chapter at least twice in a row, often three times. Often on the 2nd and third go, I change to a different translation, as I find that rings different bells for me. So now, when I hear something being preached that is obviously wrong, I usually can instantly think of some scriptures that say it’s wrong.

A Berean not only searches the scriptures – which for them would have been quite a chore – but they would come to KNOW the scriptures better. And better yet, we’d want to come to know the AUTHOR of the scriptures, the Son of God who is known as The Word of God.

John 5:39-40 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to ME that you may have life.

So be a Berean who knows the scriptures, but better, is coming to know the Author too.

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DO NOT speak evil of dignitaries

When President Trump was in power, all the anti-Trump folks spoke evil against him continually. Now that President Biden is president, it’s the other side’s turn and they sure mock his dementia and what he tries to say and do. Our presidents may or may not have wrecked the country, but the point of this blog will still stand. Governors, senators and mayors also are routinely mocked. But I hope and pray, not by or from the people of God.

Scripture totally backs me up in saying that, as you’ll see. I hope you will read the scriptures below, slowly and carefully. It’s going to get harder and harder for believers to respect government offices and authority, as their persecution of us will grow intensely in the coming years. We must still respect their office.

We should not mock them, make fun of their names, despise them, or ridicule their policies – no matter how tempting that is sometimes.

We are not of the elephant party (Republicans). We are not of the donkey party (Democrats). We are of the Lamb of God. And let’s act like children of God. Even in Moses’ day, this is what was taught:

EXODUS 22:28    "You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.”

What we’re about to read was all penned by Paul, Peter, and Jude – ALL three of whom were wrongly beheaded by the governing authorities. God delivered them several times. Paul was left for dead in Lystra after being stoned but he rose up again and went straight back into the city.

Peter was captured during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Acts 12) and guarded by 16 Roman soldiers who even chained him up. Angels miraculously delivered him and the innocent 16 Roman soldiers were killed instead. I say innocent because how do you battle with the unseen supernatural deliverance Peter received?

My point is, in spite of all this, these apostles command us to be respectful and never curse our leaders or ridicule them. Some of you good friends of mine do that. We should not. That must stop. We must RESPECT government and authority, whether we agree with them or like them or not.

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

1 Peter 2:13-17   “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men — 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor ALL people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. HONOR the king”. 

2 Peter 2:9-11   “the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous and self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.” 

You can read all through verse 7 in Romans 13. Some brethren don’t pay taxes and feel they don’t have to. Romans 13:6-7 is very clear on taxes. Read it in your own Bible.

Romans 13:1-2   “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.”

So I know it’s tempting to ridicule, mock, name-call, and despise our government leaders – of either party – but I hope we can take the admonition of scripture and honor them instead. At least for their office’s sake.

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On Eagles’ Wings (Ex. 19:4)? - NEW

Many of you know that God describes how he bore, or carried, Israel out of Egypt “on eagles’ wings”. Have you wondered what that could mean?

Exodus 19:3-4 “And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself.”

I’m convinced that from where they left Goshen to arriving at the Red Sea crossing, our great YHVH did some supernatural miracles to allow them to travel 272 miles in perhaps as short as 5-6 days.

WE will have our own Red Sea moments, especially in the years ahead, when only the supernatural will deliver us, so that’s why I’m focusing on this. But we humans like to be over-factual. Things to us have to make sense. But when we’re dealing with the spirit world of God and his abilities, He can go way beyond what makes sense to us. If you over analyze what “must” happen, you might miss some miracles, LIKE flying out on our own eagle’s wings. I’ll explain.

I also believe the evidence that God hurried them along, beyond the normal possible human limits as you will see, leads me to believe He wanted them to be at a certain spot by the Last day, a holy day, of Unleavened Bread. There would be no need to hurry them along if they didn’t have to arrive someplace – the real crossing of the real Red Sea – within a certain time frame. Yes, I believe they crossed on the Last day of Unleavened Bread.

I urge you to listen to the audio sermon on how WE will also increasingly have our own “Red Sea moments” in these last days and see powerful miracles if we believe.

God made sure they were all strong and healthy when they left. Nobody was feeble according to Psalm 105:37. Did you realize God even arranged things so they could travel day or night?

Exodus 13:21-22 NIV   “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could TRAVEL BY DAY OR NIGHT. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”

They camped only three times but that’s all (Numbers 33:3-8) – at Succoth, Etham and near Migdol. It’s all clearly explained in my audio sermon. So the other days they were apparently traveling day and night. We would say “IMPOSSIBLE” to expect 2-3 million people and their herds and flocks to travel day and night. That’s where our miracle-working God comes in though. 

Psalms 105:36-40 NKJV   “He also destroyed all the firstborn in their land,

The first of all their strength. 37 He also brought them out with silver and gold, And there was none feeble among His tribes. 38 Egypt was glad when they departed, For the fear of them had fallen upon them. 39 He spread a cloud for a covering, And fire to give light in the night.”

Then again remember, in Ex 19:4 God says HE brought Israel out “on eagles’ wings”. Here’s what one of the commentaries had to say. 

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) I bare you on eagles' wings.--Comp. Deuteronomy 32:11, “When its young are first fledged, the eagle is said to assist them in their flight by flying beneath them, so that they may settle upon its wings or back, if necessary. God means that He has bestowed upon His people the same tender and powerful care, has borne them up mightily when they might have fallen, supported their first flight as fledglings, and so saved them from disaster”.

This theme from God of carrying or bearing Israel up continues in many other scriptures. Notice a bunch more scriptures that gives clues as to what God may have been doing. (I go into many more possibilities in the sermon.)  In Deut 32, focus especially on verse 11. 

Deuteronomy 32:9-12 NKJV   “For the LORD’s portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance. 10 "He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.

11 As an EAGLE stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, 12 So the LORD alone led him, And there was no foreign god with him.”  

WOW, did you read all that carefully? Here are 2 more translations of verse 11.

Deut 32:11 NIV “like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft”. 

Deut 32:11 Legacy  “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, That hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them; He carried them on His pinions.”

Deut 32:11 – Aramaic Bible in Plain English   “As the eagle that flies over his nest and broods over his chicks, he spreads his wings and takes them and picks them up on the strength of his wings:”

Deut 32:11 Brenton Septuagint Translation “As an eagle would watch over his brood, and yearns over his young, receives them having spread his wings, and takes them up on his back,

There’s more going on here than just walking fast, with children, old people and flocks, etc.

Other Scriptures verify that whatever God did, He equated it to carrying them.

Deuteronomy 1:29-33 NKJV   "Then I said to you, 'Do not be terrified, or afraid of them. 30 The LORD your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, 31 and in the wilderness where you saw how YHVH your God CARRIED YOU as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.'

32 Yet, for all that, you did not believe the Lord your God, 33 who went in the way before you to search out a place for you to pitch your tents, to show you the WAY You SHOULD GO, in the fire by night and in the cloud by day.” (Ex 13:21)

Isaiah 46:3-4   "Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, Who have been upheld by Me from birth,

Who have been carried from the womb: 4 Even to your old age, I am He,

And even to gray hairs I will CARRY you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you”.

Isaiah 40:31 NKJV   “But those who wait on YHVH shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like EAGLES, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint”.

Isaiah 63:9   “In all their affliction HE was afflicted, And the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; And He bore them and CARRIED them all the days of old.”

Surely something supernatural had to be going on. They could travel up to 272 miles total, when needed, day and night. They were not tired or feeble. Scripture quotes God saying He CARRIED them. Many more possibilities are in my sermon on this. It will make you think.

And remember, things don’t have to “make sense” when it comes to what God is capable of.

Manna made no human sense. Walking on water –including Peter walking on water – makes no human sense. Resurrecting a man dead 4 days already (Lazarus) makes no sense either. Supernatural events were going on even before the crossing of the Red Sea.

You know about the walls of water above the Israelites as they crossed 8-9 miles to Midian, to Arabia – where the real Mt Sinai is (Galatians 4:25). The so-called “Sinai Peninsula” was never part of Arabia or ever in Midian!

Galatians 4:25 “for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children”

I also mentioned in the sermon that they walked the entire route not on soft sand, but on a highway. They could travel much faster this way. 

Isaiah 11:16 Holman Apologetics    “There will be a highway for the remnant of His people who will survive from Assyria, AS THERE WAS for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt.”

Moses and Miriam led Israel in a song and dance of celebration after God’s victory over Egypt in the Red Sea. Now notice part of their song in Ex. 15:8 

Exodus 15:8   “And with the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together; The floods stood upright like a heap; The depths CONGEALED in the heart of the sea.”

The Hebrew word translated “congealed” means “congealed”. The ground became rock hard. That made it easier to hurry across and possible for chariots and horses to cross easily as well – that is, until God took their chariot wheels OFF!

Most translations on Exodus 15:8 also say “congealed”. But look at these. NIV also says congealed. New Living translation says, “the deep waters became HARD.”

Good News translation says, “the deepest part of the sea became SOLID.”

Just thinking out loud now as Dr E Martin and others have also wondered: Is it possible that with God’s storm-like winds against the Red Sea that the walls and bottom of the sea became frozen, rock hard, like walking across a deeply frozen lake in Canada? Some have floated that possibility. All I know is that the Bible says the deeps became rock hard solid dry surface. To Israel, it was like walking across on a concrete-like surface.

The deepest part of the Gulf of Aqaba Red Sea by the way is 6,070 feet deep (1,850 meters). If they crossed at the shallower underwater land bridge from Nuweiba Beach to Midian, even there, the walls could have easily been hundreds of feet high – say 20-50 stories high or higher, and not even touch the real possible heights.

And yet God says in the very last days, when he brings his people back from around the world where they will have been sold as slaves, those events of bringing them back to the land of Israel will be so spectacular that nobody will even remember the Red Sea story. So some VERY exciting miracles are yet ahead of us.

Be getting closer to God than ever before. Spend more time in constant contact prayer with God and in his word. BELIEVE, and you will see and experience some amazing things in the years ahead.

We’re told that God’s children of the Philadelphian type will be protected from the Great Tribulation, coming soon to test those on the earth (Revelation 3:10). Those of the Laodicea type will not be protected but may have to give up their lives to show God they are in earnest, as they “buy from me gold refined in the fire” (Rev. 3:18).

How will God’s people be protected? Revelation 12 says God will fly them to their place, singular, in the wilderness – are you ready for this? “ON EAGLES” WINGS”.

Revelation 12:13-14 “ Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great EAGLE, that she might FLY into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.”

Once again, being borne on the wings of a great eagle. Keep your eyes open.

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