Saturday, August 9, 2014

MEEKNESS IS NOT WEAKNESS BUT GREATNESS – PART II

Now, continuing with this series on MEEKNESS, let us examine other Scriptures before we proceed onto what the New Testament, particularly the words and deeds of the LORD Jesus Christ (the latter half of Part II and then Part III).
Finally, let's go through these seven passages from the Psalms on meekness:
We have three consecutive Psalms here in Psalms 22, 23 and 24: they form a kind of trilogy where Psalm 22 looks back to the Cross and the Lamb of God sacrificed for our sins; Psalm 23 is of our present reality, where the LORD is our [Good] Shepherd (As in John 10:11, 14) and we shall have no want; Psalm 24 speaks of that time yet ahead when Jesus returns as King of Israel. Yet even here in Psalm 22 we have this promise and a hope for the meek:
PSALM 22:26
26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
The meek shall partake of the bread of Life, Jesus, and obtain eternal life (JOHN 6th chapter, esp. vs. 51).
PSALM 29:8-9
8 Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.
9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.

LUKE 18:16-17
16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.



The meek, like little children, have an awareness of their ignorance, of not knowing, and humble enough to receive teaching and assume that others in authority are truthful. Small children are typically not skeptical or unbelieving of adults; they readily believe and trust their word. They are meek in this way and for the seeker who is meeker than the world, God will guide them and teach them.


PSALM 37:9-11
9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace


How fascinating to me that all the rich and powerful of this world, these financial kings that rule across borders and are able to maneuver nations and global events, who always seek after more power to control as much of the world that they can, will be utterly cast down and left with nothing except the condemnation of God in holy judgment and eternal damnation! While the meek and lowly of the Earth, shall inherit the Earth, as they place their faith in the LORD Jesus! And that's all they have to do! The high and exalted are brought down low in judgment and the lowly are exalted (IS. 40:4; 1 PET. 5:6).
PSALM 69:30-31
30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
31 This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
32 The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God


JER. 29:13 states that we shall seek and find God if we do so wholeheartedly; MATT. 5:8 states that the pure in heart will see God. Here again is the promise that the humble (or meek) will live that seek God!


PSALM 76:7-9
7 Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?
8 Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still,
9 When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Selah


The meek have the promise of salvation from the LORD from the coming judgment and the wrath of God that's to be poured out upon all the inhabitants of the Earth!
PSALM 147:5-7
5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
6 The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
7 Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God


Here again the same concept of God casting down the proud and wicked and lifting up the meek and humble.
PSALM 149:
4 For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.
5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.
6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;


Who of us as saints DON'T want to be pleasing to the LORD? The meek are certainly those who are pleasing to Him and He shall beautify them with salvation! “Beautify” here is to glorify, to embellish, to gleam. Same word used in ISAIAH 60:9.

Singing aloud upon their beds, joyful in the glory of God – saints can have a 'spiritual opera' in their bedrooms for the LORD! And the two edged Sword – what is that? The meek, God will teach from His Word and receiving such truth from and learning of Him causes us to rejoice!
Meekness is not something that can be produced by the proud; it is against the nature of sinful man to inherently desire humbleness, humility and meekness. The abasement of self is contrary to the natural inclination for self-exaltation, to acquire power for oneself in fulfillment of the desire to be 'a god'.
It was the very opposite of meekness that led Eve to take of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The serpent claimed God was 'holding out on them' (Eve and her husband Adam), not allowing them greater power. Yet the serpent promised that they would have their eyes opened to this secret knowledge and become as gods.
1 JOHN 2:16
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
When they accepted this satanic invitation to rebellion and sinned against the LORD, the nature of sin became their own. While we as Christians recognize this as the beginning of evil, sin and death in the human race – the quintessential curse of our world there are secret societies as well as religions such as Mormonism and Hinduism that see the serpent and his promise as a blessing!
This is why pride and meekness are in a sense, opposites:
PROVERBS 16:17-19
17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

ISAIAH 2:12
For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:
ISAIAH 13:11
And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
PSALM 147:6
The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
LUKE 18:14
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
In the Old Testament, the word used for the most part in the Hebrew for “meek” and “meekness” is anayv and it means “depressed, gentle in mind or in circumstances (needy, esp. saintly); meek, humble, poor, lowly, very meek. This word appearing almost exclusively in the poetical passages describes the intended outcome of affliction from God: that is, humility. In its first instance it referred to the objective condition as well as the subjective stance of Moses (NUM. 12:3).”
In the New Testament, the Greek words most commonly employed are praoites and praetes. Praoites simply means, “gentleness; by impl. humility, meekness.”
Praetes means, “mildness, humility, meekness; it consists not in a person's outward behavior only nor yet in his relationship with his fellow men ... Rather it is an in-wrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good and therefore without disputing or resisting it is closely linked with humility and follows directly upon it. Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:12. It is only the humble heart which is also the meek, and … does not fight against God [nor] struggle and contend with Him.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

JEWELS from the GOSPEL of JOHN - ALL GOD's CHILDREN: JOHN 1:11-13

The following is a series of short exhortations, brief commentary and writings to convey thoughtful meditation on God's Word. I have chosen the Gospel of John as the subject. These articles will not run contiguously on this blog but peppered throughout and in the midst of other articles (though some might be posted consecutively). I pray that these will be a blessing and an edification for the saints.



JOHN 1:11-13
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
If the Old Testament could be likened unto a symphony, each of the books, from the Torah, to the Psalms and the prophets could be presented as thematic movements that incorporated into the whole orchestration a sense of building momentum and expectation. One could sense the oncoming crescendo about to explode at any moment, when suddenly, after the musical movement of Malachi . . . all goes silent.
That silence prophetically speaking lasted about 400 years! No prophet appeared to Israel all during that time until the coming of John the Baptist . . .
And then with a flourish and a glorious cascade of musical wonder, the entire orchestra, conducted by the LORD God Himself erupts in an awe-inspiring piece that reveals the Messiah of Israel! The very One that the Scriptures point to (JOHN 5:39) appeared to "His own" people Israel, keepers of the holy oracles of God (ROM. 3:1-3) and after waiting so long a time for their Messiah King, they rejected Him! They "received Him not"! 
This was a wonder to me when I first read the Bible, but I was also taught that this was already prophesied; such passages as Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 spoke eloquently of the suffering Messiah, just like other passages viewed Him as a conquering Messiah (such as ISAIAH 63:1-3 and PSALM 2). Some rabbincal writings saw the contrast between these two aspects of suffering and conquest so sharply that they concluded that there must be two Messiahs: the Meschiach ben Yosef and the Meschiach ben Dawid. What they hadn't considered is that there is in fact, one Messiah, with a two fold mission: the One Who would come humbly as the sacrificial Lamb of God (JOHN 1:29, 36) and then to return as the glorious and supreme Lion of the Tribe of Judah (REV. 5:5). 
It's when the LORD Jesus Christ returns to this world, defeats the anti-Christ and his armies at Armageddon (refer to the verses in ISAIAH 63; also 2 THESS. 2:8; REV. 19:19-20) and His feet touch down on the Mt. of Olives - the very spot where He ascended into heaven after His resurrection (How poetic of God! See ACTS 1:9-11) that Israel will receive Him as their King, LORD and Savior (and by faith in Him, the Spirit of the LORD will finally indwell His people according to EZEKIEL 36:26-27)!
Yet between the first Advent of Christ and the second, there is this mystery known as the church (EPH. 5:32), composed of Gentiles and Jews together, no longer separated but becoming a whole new spiritual people (EPH. 2:15). These are souls both repentant and redeemed by our blessed Redeemer! These are the "as many as received Him" as referred to in our text from John . . .
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
There are some Christians that seem to disparage this idea of new birth; they look rather to sacrament (baptismal regeneration, a false doctrine) to explain this phenomena or attribute such things as only a matter of believing faith and negate the actual spiritual dynamic of the indwelling of the Spirit (actually we who are the church are inhabited by the Father and the Son as well; COL. 1:27; JOHN 14:23).
Likewise there are many who mistakenly believe that we are all God's children; and yes, we are all God's creation, but we are a fallen creation because sin entered into the human race via Adam and Eve and so our 'family lineage' as it were with God was severed. Sin in general, like iniquity specifically, will always sever us from the LORD (ISAIAH 59:2) in one way or another. In the case of Adam, his sin condition, his fallen nature was passed onto his children - the only humans who ever came into this world without sin was Adam and Eve! There is only one other exception: The Lamb of God Himself, who was without sin or blemish of any sort (1 PET. 1:19; 2 COR. 5:21).
As we receive Christ by faith, accepting His substitutionary death for our sins, He Who is our sin-bearer - we are indwelt by His Spirit, having all of our sins (past, present and future) forgiven by the washing of His blood (REV. 1:5; 7:14) and are authorized and and declared by God as His adopted children, sealed by the Spirit of God (2 COR. 1:22) and enter into a relationship whereby we call God our Abba Father (ROM. 8:15), the LORD Jesus Christ as our LORD, Redeemer, Elder Brother and Supreme Friend of all friends, and the Holy Spirit as our personal Comforter, Helper and Teacher! We who have "believed on His name" inherit this right, NOT by our own good works, but by the grace (EPH. 2:8-9; TITUS 3:5) - the unmerited of favor of God, as provided for by the LORD Jesus Christ and His dying for our sins on the cross! 

ACTS 4:11-12
11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
1 COR. 15:1-4
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Note that phrase: "believe on His name". This entails far more than intellectual assent to the LORD Jesus Christ, in some sort of philosophical adherence to Christianity. This means far, far more than a mere belief in God's existence (JAMES 2:19). This is a saving faith and belief ON the LORD Jesus Christ; that is, a determined and express decision that by faith one will trust that Jesus Christ is the satisfactory sacrifice (That which is called "propitiation" in Scripture; see ROM. 3:25; 1 JOHN 2:2) that God the Father deems sufficient as payment for our sins. This is the GOSPEL (follow this link and see an awesome presentation!) and one must receive by faith the truth of this message, the truth of the New Testament which is sealed by the blood of Christ (MATT. 26:28). 
Repentance (turning away from a life of sin and placing your heart in God's hands in surrender) and believing the Gospel (MARK 1:15) will bring you from a state of spiritual death and deliver you from membership as one of the children of darkness (EPH. 5:8; 1 THESS. 5:5; COL. 1:13) and created in the heart of the believer a blessed state of spiritual life (JOHN 1:4; 14:6) and membership as children of light and the kingdom of God (JOHN 3:3-5).
We are the children of God, born again, directly as a result of God's intentional will (see vs. 13 of our text)! AMAZING! If you have not yet received Him: the LORD Jesus Christ personally, then please don't hesitate to do so! For more on the G.O.S.P.E.L. - Gods Omnipotent Salvation Proclaiming Eternal Love/Life, have a look at this article FROM the MIND of FIRE. If you have any questions about the Gospel or life as a Christian, please email me at the address provided on this blog (About Me and Contact Info located on the right hand bar under the GOT VISION video).

May the LORD truly bless and keep you! The next installment will be based on JOHN 1:14-17, and entitled LAW vs. GRACE. Until then, Keep your eyes on the skies and don't believe the lies! Jesus Christ returns soon in the skies! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

MEEKNESS IS NOT WEAKNESS BUT GREATNESS – PART I of 3



"Late twentieth-century Western culture does not hold meekness to be a virtue, in contrast to the ancient Near East and the Greco-Roman world, which placed a high premium on it. This dramatic shift in values is problematic for contemporary biblical translation. Most modern versions replace the noun 'meekness' by 'gentleness' or 'humility' largely as a result of the pejorative overtones of weakness and effeminacy now associated with meekness. These connotations were not always predominant in the word, for ancient Near-Eastern kings were not reluctant to describe themselves as meek in the same context in which they described themselves as mighty kings. What has prompted the discrepancy between the biblical and contemporary attitudes toward this virtue?
"There are two essential components for this quality to come into play in the Bible: a conflict in which an individual is unable to control or influence circumstances. Typical human responses in such circumstances include frustration, bitterness, or anger, but the one who is guided by God's Spirit accepts God's ability to direct events (Gal 5:23; Eph 4:2; Col 3:12; 1 Tim 6:11; Titus 3:2; James 1:21; 3:13). 
"Meekness is therefore an active and deliberate acceptance of undesirable circumstances that are wisely seen by the individual as only part of a larger picture. Meekness is not a resignation to fate, a passive and reluctant submission to events, for there is little virtue in such a response. Nevertheless, since the two responses, resignation and meekness, are externally often indistinguishable, it is easy to see how what was once perceived as a virtue has become a defect in contemporary society. The patient and hopeful endurance of undesirable circumstances identifies the person as externally vulnerable and weak but inwardly resilient and strong. Meekness does not identify the weak but more precisely the strong who have been placed in a position of weakness where they persevere without giving up. The use of the Greek word when applied to animals makes this clear, for it means "tame" when applied to wild animals. In other words, such animals have not lost their strength but have learned to control the destructive instincts that prevent them from living in harmony with others.
"Therefore, it is quite appropriate for all people, from the poor to ancient Near-Eastern kings, to describe their submission to God by the term "meek" (Moses in Num 12:3). On the other hand, this quality by definition cannot be predicated of God, and therefore constitutes one of the attributes of creatures that they do not share with their Creator. Nevertheless, in the incarnation Jesus is freely described as meek, a concomitant of his submission to suffering and to the will of the Father (Matt 11:29; 21:5; 2 Cor 10:1). The single most frequently attested context in which the meek are mentioned in the Bible is one in which they are vindicated and rewarded for their patient endurance (Psalm 22:26; 25:9; 37: 11;76:9; 147:6; 149:4; Isa 11:4; 29:19; 61:1; Zeph 2:3; Matt 5:5)."
~ Samuel A. Meier
How contrary this conduct is from what we see in the world! This world values assertiveness, even aggression, and boldness. They write books like, “How To Win Through Intimidation”; they have seminars by which participants are trained to believe that “they are winners who will overcome any obstacle by sheer will and power” and climb the ranks of success, trampling on any one who gets in their way! They believe that they are the captain of their own fate and gods of their own worlds. They hold to the ego-centric belief that “Its All About Me!”.
As we have just heard from Samuel Meier, meekness is not weakness, but strength being reined in; its being tame and not wildly out of control. We would see one facet of meekness as being temperance, a nature of steady, consistent mildness that is not given to rashness or outbursts of violent emotions.
We're going to examine this subject of meekness in three parts. First we shall consider what the Old Testament has to say about meekness and then next week we will turn to the New Testament where we shall also focus on the Person of JESUS CHRIST as the paramount example of meekness, itself being a modus operandi of sorts of the King as well as His kingdom.

I believe that in our age and culture of self-gratification and seeking for one's own goals and ambitions, the virtue of meekness is greatly needed. Even among Christians who struggle with this notion of “dying to self” have need of meekness. Even I myself, as a Christian of nearly 34 years now find that I am in need of greater meekness - so, a timely message to be sure!


OLD TESTAMENT EXAMPLES AND REFERENCES TO MEEKNESS -
Where is meekness first mentioned in the Bible? One of the biblical rules of study is something called 'The Law of First Mention' and this refers to the first place in Scripture where something is mentioned and that this first reference is in some way significant.
For example 'love' as a word is first mentioned in connection with Abraham where God commanded him to take his son, Isaac, whom he loves to the place that God would show him and there offer him as a sacrifice (GEN. 22:2). Why is that significant? Because it mirrors perfectly JOHN 3:16 where the LORD GOD offered up His own Son that He loves, for a world that He loves and desires to redeem!
First place where 'meekness' is mentioned is in the book of Numbers, referring to Moses:


NUMBERS 12:1-8
And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
2 And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it.
3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
4 And the Lord spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out.
5 And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.
6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?



The LORD becomes angry with and rebukes Aaron and Miriam for their words, and judges Miriam with leprosy! He defends Moses and declares how he bears the authority of no mere prophet who receives dreams and visions, but one with whom the LORD speaks “mouth to mouth” and one who can actually behold “the similitude of the LORD”! These are some of the aspects of meekness: faithfulness, not defending one's own honor or reputation and allowing the LORD to defend; meekness doesn't get offended or retaliate. Meekness is willing to forgive those that offend us: Moses was asked by Aaron to pray to the LORD on her behalf and he does (NUMBERS 12:13).
** It should be noted that Moses revealed to Israel that the LORD God would raise up a Prophet “like unto himself” (DEUT. 18:15), and this is of course in reference to the LORD Jesus Christ in Whom we have the paramount example of meekness, bar none. We will look into in the upcoming segment of this article . . .



Another couple examples of meekness in the Old Testament: King David of the Psalms and the prophet Jeremiah:



David at this point in time had already assumed the Kingdom of Israel according to the will of God (but was suffering hardships as a result of his sin with Bathsheeba – his own house was in disarray and his son Absalom was challenging him for the throne); King Saul had been slain in battle previously (mortally wounded by the enemy, then slain by his own hand, with a little assistance from his shield bearer) and one of his offspring has come to insult the reigning king:



2 SAM. 16:5-12
5 And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came.
6 And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.
7 And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial:
8 The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.
9 Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head.
10 And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?
11 And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him.
12 It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.



Again, like with Moses, we see no retaliation from David against his enemies. No answer to the false accusation that David murdered his predecessor (though as we know, David was guilty of 'murdering' Uriah, husband of Bathsheeba); only a trust in the LORD that He would “requite me good for his cursing this day.” Such meekness forgives personal wrongs while looking to the LORD Who will judge and to the day of Judgment when all such wrongs will be dealt with.
An interesting side note from the New Testament: Peter asked the LORD how often he should forgive his brother, providing an answer already of “seven times”; probably feeling pretty good about such a generous number and perhaps hoping for commendation from the LORD for it. The LORD's answer no doubt shocked him! Not until 7 times but 70 x 7! (MATT. 18:21-22)
Where have we heard this multiplication before? In Daniel Chapter 9 we read about “the seventy weeks that are determined upon Israel” (verse 24), and at the conclusion of those 70 'weeks' (shabuwahs in the Hebrew, meaning weeks of days, or weeks, or months or years; in this case its years or 70 x 7 = 490 years). It's the last week, or as prophecy experts call it the 70th week of Daniel that the LORD Jesus returns to establish His reign and judge the people.
And then immediately after the LORD's response to Peter, we see Him giving a parable about a returning Lord, who proceeds to judge his stewards.
King David relented then of any revenge upon the Benjamite that cursed him, surrendering justice to the greater King of Israel when He arrives! That is meekness!
Then we have Jeremiah -
JEREMIAH 26:8-15
8 Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die.
9 Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.
10 When the princes of Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king's house unto the house of the Lord, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the Lord's house.
11 Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears.
12 Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard.
13 Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.
14 As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you.
15 But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the Lord hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears.


We see the same attitude, the same heart of meekness in the prophet with no intent of retaliation against their threats. Some might see vs. 15 as a threat, but really its a warning borne out of compassion, the prophet not wanting to see them with more innocent blood on their hands and incurring an even more severe judgment!
Some more about meekness from the Old Testament Scriptures:
ISAIAH 29:18-19
18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.
19 The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.


Again, another passage speaking of the ministry of the LORD in healing during His earthly ministry and healing the sick, but this shall be realized on the grandest scale when once He returns (on “that Day”) to take up the throne of His father David and establishes the kingdom. Here the blind can do nothing to bring sight to themselves nor can the deaf help themselves to hear, neither can the meek do anything to increase their joy or the poor, but their joy shall be increased at the arrival of “the Holy One of Israel”. That is the legacy of the meek – not the proud of this world – the increase of joy when the Messiah returns!
Here's one reference from the book of Zephaniah:
ZEPH. 2:1-3
Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired [Israel];
2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord's anger come upon you.
3 Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger.


The meek will not be judged and condemned by the LORD, but hidden “in the Day of the LORD's anger.” Those who are meek are not prone to a life of sin and rebellion, are not self-willed and obstinate – they are tender towards and obedient to the will of the LORD, seeking to please Him and not concerned with pleasing any one else (GAL. 1:10): even if by refusing to please and obey others, they incur their wrath. Meekness is not weakness but a strong determination to please the LORD regardless of personal endangerment (Consider Stephen's conduct before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7; regardless of their power to hurt and destroy, he remains faithful and pleasing to the LORD).

Here we will end part One of this three part series; we shall continue with Part II next time! In the meanwhile, if you would like to view this video on which this teaching was based you can do so here, courtesy of The HOUSE of TRUTH Fellowship, where I attend service.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

JEWELS from the GOSPEL of JOHN - 1:4-11, 19-23 "The LIGHT and The VOICE"

The following is a series of short exhortations, brief commentary and writings to convey thoughtful meditation on God's Word. I have chosen the Gospel of John as the subject. These articles will not run contiguously on this blog but peppered throughout and in the midst of other articles (though some might be posted consecutively). I pray that these will be a blessing and an edification for the saints.

JOHN 1:4-11
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Scripture declares that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). One characteristic of light is that it manifests things for what they really are. Light brings knowledge while darkness conceals it. Light provides direction. In a darkened room, one has only to turn on a light and the eye is immediately drawn to it. Light, in particular sun light is a requirement for the sustainment of life. Light inhibits the growth of germs and bacteria. A child may be afraid of the dark, but turn on a night light and all is well.

God is light and He reveals truth, knowledge, understanding; He provides guidance, and comfort. In the glorious Light of God, we can see Him for Who He is and any who love the truth are drawn to Him. God is the only true life source and His light dispels spiritual darkness and decay.

It's interesting that light cannot be heard, but it can be seen. God is a glorious Creator and His majesty can be seen in His creation (though fallen it is) as well as in His Word. The words on the pages of our Bibles are silent, but the truth that they reveal can be seen by any who chooses to open that Book, and seek God diligently (Heb. 11:6). 

Just as darkness can never invade a room that is full of light, this present darkness that has invaded our fallen world can never overcome the Light of the LORD, and for those who bear witness of this Holy Light, they shall be heard!

Such was John the Baptist, and his witness of the LORD brought many of the people of Israel to repentance and believing faith. Whereas the LIGHT is silent but readily seen, the Voice is heard, but not seen. In a very real sense, John the Baptist's ministry parallels that of the Holy Spirit. Both never testified of themselves nor sought attention; both were intent and content to simply point to and exalt Jesus; both were unseen in this sense of desiring to remain 'behind the scene' as it were, so that Jesus remained the primary focus.

Yet this world of darkness that has such souls in it, didn't know the Light and didn't receive the Light; thus the darkness that they were in became all the more powerful in ensnaring them and prevented them from approaching that Light.
Light spiritually speaking being truth is a blessing, but it can also have deadly ramifications if rejected. 
This Light has shown on every person in this world to one degree or another (see vs. 9), and being granted, God looks to see what each of us will do with this Light. For those who receive it, they shall be given more light; but those who reject it, will have what little light they have been given, taken away! The god of this world would have it so, who ever seeks to blind souls to this Light (2 Cor. 4:4).

JOHN 1:19-23


19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

Often times when Kings or Generals or dignitaries of various kinds were planning on visiting a particular city, the citizens were notified and began to busily repair the roadways that fell into ruin; removing rocks and debris uprooting any vegetation, filling in holes and leveling out rises in the way - they wanted to bless the visiting dignitary with an easy passage.

This was the ministry of John the Baptist: by making the way straight - not the roads leading to any city, but the roads that led to the hearts of a spiritually dead people, whereupon the LORD of LIFE would approach and bring vitality of the sort that only God can! 

We see many of the religious officials coming and asking about the Baptist, wondering who and what he was; all too often the religious are blind to what the LORD is doing and who He is using to accomplish His purposes. They are so caught up in their own traditions and rituals and dogma that they are actually more blind to spiritual truth than your 'common variety sinner on the street'. The LORD Jesus had some very choice words to say to such religious leaders in Matthew Ch. 25, who for all their religious hypocrisy never even perceived their own spiritual needs and further, imposed their religious convictions on others who would seek for truth, but were instead in bondage to dead religion. This was one of the things that made the LORD very angry! Yet the LORD would accomplish His work through others rather than such "white washed sepulchers" - even those garbed in camels hair and ate bugs and honey!
John the Baptist knew his calling: he was not the Christ, and he was not Elijah ("Elias") or "that Prophet" (Deut. 18:15) but plainly declared that he was "...the voice of one crying in the wilderness..." leading people to the LIGHT of LIFE, away from the darkness of religious deception and ruin!

We also are voices crying in the wilderness of this world, depraved at heart and deprived of spiritual life, seeking and longing (like John the Baptist) to draw people to the LIGHT of the LORD Who is our Salvation (Psalm 27:1).

For more on John the Baptist, the one deemed by the LORD Himself as the greatest prophet, see the following article FROM the MIND of FIRE.

May we likewise not be seen, but heard; allowing the LORD to be seen in and through us so that people may be drawn to Him and the simplicity of His Gospel - and not drawn in by gimmickry or eloquence or intelligentsia or any such thing! May we prepare the WAY of the LORD for those who have yet to know Him!

These JEWELS from the GOSPEL of JOHN will continue with "All God's Children" John 1:12-13.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

JEWELS from the GOSPEL of JOHN - 1:1-2, 14 "WORD"

The following is a series of short exhortations, brief commentary and writings to convey thoughtful meditation on God's Word. I have chosen the Gospel of John as the subject. These articles will not run contiguously on this blog but peppered throughout and in the midst of other articles (though some might be posted consecutively). I pray that these will be a blessing and an edification for the saints.

Websters 1828 Dictionary defines 'word' in its first definition as the following:

"An articulate or vocal sound, or a combination of articulate and vocal sounds, uttered by the human voice, and by custom expressing an idea or ideas; a single component part of human speech or language. Thus a in English is a word; but few words consist of one letter only. Most words consist of tow or more letters, as go, do, shall, called monosyllables, or of two or more syllables, as honor, goodness, amiable."

We have at the very beginning of John's Gospel such an introduction of "the Word" or in the Greek, 'logos'. This is the word, logic, order, thought, mind and declared Word of God.

JOHN 1:1-2, 14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Any word seen by human eye is immediately translated to a related thought. One cannot see the word "house" without then thinking of the corresponding object that this word belongs to, that is, a structure with a roof, walls, floor, and windows and doors.

When we see "the Word" we immediately think of the One that this title belongs to (Rev. 19:13). What strikes me is that "In the beginning was the Word..."
The Word already was when there was a beginning. This tells us that the Word pre-existed everything in creation (John 1:3). 

Just as all words have definition, this One Who is eternal is self-defining (for in eternity there existed no one else but God to define Him). He is the Word, and just as all words have definite meaning and parameters of significance that do not extend beyond those parameters, Jesus Christ the Word is immutable and eternal - beyond being re-defined or re-imagined or re-made according to the proclivities and perogatives of mere (and foolish) mortals.

As He is the Word Incarnate, the Scriptures written by the prophets and apostles are also referred to the Word of God, but as the Inspired (God-breathed) Word of God (2 Peter 1:21). Just as the written Word was communicated to us by God's prophets, so also the Living Word who is God became flesh and communicated with us as well (Heb. 1:1-2); He spoke with clarity, with truth, with confrontational assertions that would brook no neutral position, and with grace.

To understand that the Word was with God means that God had someone else besides Himself dwelling with Him, and yet who could dwell with God as one "with Him" but One who is His equal? 
Thus we the following words: "...and the Word was God." Three Persons in One Godhead is what we know as the Tri-unity of God. Think of Three Persons so exactly identical that its impossible to tell them apart: they are entirely equal in power, authority, character, attributes, abilities, knowledge and wisdom and love. So identical that it would seem that you are seeing One - in triplicate form.

This opening of John is similar to the opening in Genesis:

Genesis 1:1
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

God [Eloheim, a plural form that also reveals to us the tri-une nature of God] created time ("in the beginning") and space ("the heavens") and matter ("the earth"). We understand that time is as much a physical property of this universe as is space and matter (space tells matter how to move, matter tells space how to bend; time tells both how to transpire) - all created by the Almighty. In order to create "all things" He would by necessity be All-mighty (omnipotent) to do so. Since we call such a One "Abba" we as His children have no cause for anxiety or feelings of being overwhelmed by circumstances.

Incidently the Bible is the only Holy Book that proclaims that God exists outside of time (Isaiah 57:15); every other book that claims Divine authorship places God within the time domain of this universe.

His name (that is a defining characteristic which 'names' most often alluded to in biblical times) is Emmanuel - God with us. Indeed He dwelt among us, and so dwelling we were exposed to His wondrous nature, His glorious truth, His insurmountable grace, His indisputable wisdom, His unfailing insights into mankind and we were bound then to confess that He is truly the "only begotten of the Father" - which is to say, God the Son and not just the Son of God.

Not only is the Word God Almighty, but He is the Word made flesh (1 Timothy 3:16); thus He is the Second Person of the Trinity and also 100% God and 100% Man - a profound and deeply awesome truth that is a mystery. Just as His Person was fully Deity and fully Humanity, the Word is also full of grace and truth in perfect and balanced proportion. The Truth made flesh spoke with perfect grace towards all that approached Him.

We can be assured that as we, His children approach Him as He is seated in the heavenlies at the right hand of the Father on His throne, He will address us with blessed and steadfast truth and speak grace to us to sustain and empower us.

For more on "the Word" read the following exposition from StudyLight ministries (www.studylight.org):


For more on the DEITY of JESUS CHRIST, read this article from The TRUTH Under FIRE.

Thus ends this first installment to JEWELS from the GOSPEL of JOHN. Next we will look at John 1:3-11, 19-23 in The LIGHT and the VOICE.