In ancient Bible times merchants and traders used stones to measure weights and create standards. They were called the “avanim” (from Jonathan Cahn Book of Mysteries). These small stones were used as the basis or standard for all measurements and weights. Each of these small stones would be marked clearly with its weight or value so that proper measurements could be calculated. However, there were some that would manipulate the value of those avanim stones by writing false values on them...creating a false measurement and altered weights. This manipulation of weights and standards would corrupt the transaction by introducing a false standard by which things would be measured. In doing so the dishonest merchant had redefined the measure to conform to his will and desire.
This dishonest practice doesn’t just corrupt that particular business transaction...it corrupts the society in which it is allowed to exist. When a society corrupts its values and redefines the way it measures those values it is actually redefining its own morality...which is the measurement for what is right and what is wrong. Correct vs. incorrect measuring. This creates more than a crooked business deal. It creates a culture that believes each person can create their own standards by which they can measure and weigh out right and wrong, God is not neutral on this issue...
Proverbs 11:1 (NLT)
1 The LORD detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights.
The Lord detests the redefining of His absolute standards. The Lord detests the redefining of His clearly defined measures. This is man’s attempt to become God and create our own measuring standards. This subjective altering of God’s standards is a rebellion against the One that has established absolute weights and measures so that we can recreate them to meet our own personal desires in order that we might create our own since of fairness.
Proverbs 16:11 (NLT)
11 The LORD demands accurate scales and balances; he sets the standards for fairness.
This is not just an issue of commerce, but it’s an issue of good and evil. One stone may say “right” while the other stone says “wrong”. One stone says “death” and the other stone says “life”. One stone says “idol” and the other stone says “God”. One stone says “male” and the other stone says “female”. One stone says “sin” and the other stone says “freedom”. Which stone is accurate? Which stone is true? Who has the authority to write on these sacred stones? Which stone will actually measure correctly and accurately? Who is qualified to set these standards and what will happen when everyone feels qualified to do so?
We are watching the erosion of absolutes from our society. Almost everything that was once used to measure has been corrupted by false measures and false standards. What will happen to this culture that altars weights, measures and values?
How do we respond to this culture that is determined to redefine all standards by which things are measured? How should the church respond to this ever changing and redefining culture? Never bend or attempt to redefine the truth, the absolute standard of truth to meet your own will or desires. If others choose to do so...don’t go along with them. We must continue to use God’s standards and God’s weights to measure by. We are not God and we cannot decide our own standards as if we were gods. Never alter or bend the standards of God. The Word of God is clear about the consequences of this corruption.
Isaiah 5:20 (NLT)
20 What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.
Sorrow awaits those who change God’s “avanim”...God’s standards by which He will measure all created things. God has created an ultimate standard called “TRUTH” and no matter how popular it might become to redefine it...TRUTH will remain the TRUTH. And by the way, Truth has a name...JESUS!
John 14:6 (NLT)
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
John 8:31-32 (NLT)
31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen,
I’d like to begin today by asking you to read this verse from the Book of Revelation.
Revelation 13:1 (NLT)
1 Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God.
Does that verse scare you? Think of this verse as a literal event in the future...does this verse scare you? This verse and many like it are from the Book of Revelation. Do you know what the word “Revelation” means? The word “revelation” which is the translation of the Greek word “apokalypsis” or “apocalypse”. When we think of the word “apocalypse” we think of something awful or tragic...a cataclysmic end of the world event or something like that. However, the word simply means...the uncovering, the unveiling.
I’ve heard people use “apocalypse” to describe horrible things, but I’ve never heard anyone use the word “apocalypse” to describe something wonderful. So, let me ask again, does the Book of Revelation, the unveiling of God’s future plan scare you? The Book of Revelation is actually a lifting of the veil, an unveiling. This unveiling is not intended by God to scare people, but to uncover and reveal the truth about the future so that everyone can prepare for it.
I have no idea how many wedding ceremonies I have conducted over the years, but I can tell you the highlight of all of them. The highlight is when the bride walks through the door with a veil over her face and walks toward the groom. It’s at that point that I ask everyone to stand in expectation as the bride prepares to unveil herself before the groom.
The same Book of Revelation that describes the beast rising up out of the sea describes this...
Revelation 19:6-7 (NIV)
6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
The Bible is clear on this point. Jesus is the Bridegroom and the Church is the Bride of Christ. The Apocalypse (the Book of Revelation) reveals the unveiling of the bride as she meets the Bridegroom. There are shouts of “Hallelujah” in this scene, not screams of fear. So, let me ask again...Does this unveiling of the future scare you? It wouldn’t if you were the bride and Jesus was the groom.
The veil separates and for now there is a separation between the Bride and the Bridegroom, but one day, maybe soon, that veil will be forever lifted and we will see Him face to face.
Revelation 22:3-5 (NLT)
3 No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him.
4 And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.
5 And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.
Who would be afraid of this apocalypse...this unveiling? The curse is gone. Death is gone forever and we will stand with Jesus before His glorious throne. We will see Jesus without the veil and the light of His glory will never again be affected by darkness.
Rejoice today...you Bride of Christ because the apocalypse is coming. Yes, the unveiling is coming and the bride has made herself ready for the wedding.
Revelation 19:6-7 (NLT)
“Praise the LORD! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself.
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen!
Have you ever thought about Satan being a “preemptor”? To “preempt” is to prevent something from happening...to put something else in its place. I admit that I haven’t really thought of Satan in that light before today. So, let me give you a few examples of Satan as a preemptor...
Moses in Egypt...God prophesied through Abraham that Israel would spend 400 years in Egyptian bondage. God announced this to Abraham before the nation or people of Israel even existed. When the time was right, God caused Moses to be born in Egypt and what did Satan, the preemptor do? Satan caused Pharaoh to issue a decree to murder all the male Hebrew children so that Moses from growing up to fulfill God’s plan. Yes, the Hebrew boys were killed, but Moses survived to carry out the plan of God. Israel was going to rise up as a holy nation and to take possession of the Promised Land. (Events from Exodus chapters one and two)
Haman and Esther in Persia...100 years later...God had determined to judge the nation of Israel for their sin and to remove them from the very land that Moses had led them to. God scattered the chosen people of Israel into foreign lands when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC. When the time of cleansing had been fulfilled, God revealed His plan to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and have the people return to the land of Israel. Many Jews began their return and the preemptor launched his plan to prevent God from fulfilling His promise of restoring the land and the people. Many Jews were living in Persia at that time and the preemptor initiates his plan to kill the Jews all over the Persian Empire...preventing God from carrying out his plan. Satan used a man named Haman to have all the Jews killed in his attempt to preempt the plan of God. Satan’s plan failed and Haman was killed instead. Instead of all the Jews dying by the plan of the preemptor....a Jewish girl named Esther reigned as Queen of Persia. (Events from Esther chapter nine.)
Jesus born in Bethlehem...The time for the birth of Jesus came, some 500 years after the time of Queen Esther. Satan knew it was time and Satan made his attempt to again stop the plan and purpose of God by having King Herod kill all the male children born in Bethlehem during that same time. Satan’s plan failed and Mary and Joseph escaped with their baby to Egypt before the preemptor could kill them. (Events from Matthew chapter two).
Hitler and the Jewish Holocaust...Do you see it yet? I have one more, but this one is in modern time. God had prophesied that in the last days He would regather His people Israel from the four corners of the earth and return them to the Promised Land. Satan knew of this plan and used Hitler to try to preempt the plan and purpose of God by killing 6 million Jews during the holocaust of World War 2. Satan failed and 3 years after the war, the nation of Israel was reborn in the Promised Land. God used the horrors of the holocaust to regather the Jews back to Israel.
Satan is a preemptor, but he is not God. He has attempted to prevent the plan and purpose of God from taking place but he has been unable to do so in the past and he is unable to do so now. That brings me to my real point today. Satan is trying to preempt the plan of God for the Church but he will fail.
I see much of the American church in a great spiritual struggle. I see the current spiritual war and the preemptor has his sights on the church. Satan is trying to prevent the church from accomplishing the will and purpose of God, but he will fail. The church is not the plan of man and it does not operate under the power or authority of man. The church is the Body of Christ and it is unstoppable. The preemptor is doing today what he has done from the beginning, but he will fail. The church belongs to Jesus and the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. The church will fulfill its mission exactly on time and exactly as God has willed it. The gospel will be preached to all nations and there is nothing the preemptor can do to stop it. The preemptor will fail!
Some will die in this battle as they did in Egypt, as they did in Bethlehem, as they did in Persia and as they did in Hitler’s holocaust, but the plan of God will not die. Do you see it? This is a war, a spiritual battle that is raging in the heavenly realms and on this present earth. I’ve read the Word of God and I have seen the promises of God revealed to the believers of Jesus. The promise of God is this...YOU CANNOT LOSE IF YOU DO NOT QUIT...SO DON’T QUIT!
Hebrews 3:6-15 (NIV)
6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
7 So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert,
9 where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did.
10 That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.'
11 So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'"
12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.
15 As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion."
I’m watching the current struggle inside of our congregation and I see the preemptor trying to stop the plan of God from taking place at the Ninevah Christian Church. He will fail! This is not “our” church. This is the church of Jesus Christ and He is unstoppable. I want each of you to notice something profound in all these battles between the preemptor and God, from Moses to the Holocaust. The preemptor always launched his greatest attack right before God did His greatest work.
I believe God is about to do something marvelous and wonderful in His Church. Satan is working hard to prevent it from happening, but he’s going to fail because we refuse to give up or give in. We will not return to the bondage of Egypt...Jesus has set us free! We will not shrink back and we will not compromise regarding the Word of God. Today I give you this encouragement...You cannot lose if you don’t quit...so don’t quit! Connect yourself to Jesus through faith and hold on to His Word. It might get rough, but hold onto the promises of Christ for they will all be fulfilled in their proper time. Be confident in your faith and remember that these attacks of Satan will never defeat the cause of Christ.
Hebrews 10:35-39 (NIV)
35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
37 For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay.
38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."
39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
Be encouraged today church. Our Deliverer is Coming and there is no power that will stop his plan or His arrival!
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen.
I grew up on a farm and we always had a big garden. I admit that I never liked picking green beans but I always loved eating them, especially when they were cooked the very unhealthy way. The harvest always seemed to make the hard work of planting and chopping weeds worthwhile. Have you ever thought of this as a biblical principle? What about as a mystery? Let me try to explain this harvest mystery with some help from Jonathan Cahn, the author of “The Book of Mysteries”.
The Jewish people were commanded by God to celebrate the harvests in the Promised Land. It wasn’t a suggestion, but a command. They were required by God to throw a big celebration at harvest time. This command was given to Israel before they ever started planting crops in the Promised Land. This command of God was given to Israel while they were still in the wilderness...long before any harvest would be made.
Deuteronomy 16:13-15 (NLT)
13 “You must observe the Festival of Shelters for seven days at the end of the harvest season, after the grain has been threshed and the grapes have been pressed.
14 This festival will be a happy time of celebrating with your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows from your towns.
15 For seven days you must celebrate this festival to honor the LORD your God at the place he chooses, for it is he who blesses you with bountiful harvests and gives you success in all your work. This festival will be a time of great joy for all.
Joshua was the one that was finally able to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land and they did plant crops and yes the bountiful harvests came. The people of Israel obeyed the commands of God to celebrate the harvests (through good times and bad times) each year up until 70 AD. That’s when the Roman emperor gave the final crushing blow to the people of Israel. The land was destroyed and became desolate and the Jewish people were scattered all over the earth. The Promised Land of Israel was lost to foreigners and there were no great harvests and no great celebrations in the land of Israel.
However, a remarkable thing, a mystery was revealed during those years of exile...the scattered Jews celebrated the harvests at the appointed time anyway. They celebrated nonexistent harvests of barley, nonexistent harvests of grapes and new wine. And then something supernatural happened. After nearly 2000 years of celebrating nonexistent harvests from the Promised Land...the nonexistent crops tuned into real crops with real harvests and yes in the Promised Land. It started even before 1948, after World War 2. The Jews began their return to the Promised Land and soon declared it to be a sovereign nation on May 14, 1948. The land that had lain barren and desolate for centuries was about to be turned again into a land that flowed with milk and honey. So, what’s the mystery of the harvest?
What I have just described is the secret to a life of abundance. The children of this world celebrate after they have received their harvest of blessing, but the children of God celebrate before their harvest. Don’t wait until you see the blessed harvest to celebrate the harvest. Celebrate the harvest as you wait for it. Rejoice as you wait and you will see your blessing come. Don’t wait for the blessing and then give thanks...no...give thanks now and wait for the blessing of God. Don’t wait for you circumstances to be right in order to celebrate. Celebrate anyway and then the blessings of God’s promises will come. Don’t wait for the victory to be won before you celebrate...celebrate the victory even as you wait for the victory. Celebrate the blessings as you wait for the harvest. This is the mystery of faith that is based on the eternal promises of God.
I want you to read this Scripture below from the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah lived in the days leading up to the fall of Jerusalem to King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC. Even in this midst of this great and tragic time in Israel God was revealing a future harvest of blessing for the Children of God. Some of this has already been fulfilled, but its final fulfillment will take place at the return of Christ.
Jeremiah 31:1-14 (NLT)
1 “In that day,” says the LORD, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.
2 This is what the LORD says: “Those who survive the coming destruction will find blessings even in the barren land, for I will give rest to the people of Israel.”
3 Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
4 I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel. You will again be happy and dance merrily with your tambourines.
5 Again you will plant your vineyards on the mountains of Samaria and eat from your own gardens there.
6 The day will come when watchmen will shout from the hill country of Ephraim, ‘Come, let us go up to Jerusalem to worship the LORD our God.’”
7 Now this is what the LORD says: “Sing with joy for Israel. Shout for the greatest of nations! Shout out with praise and joy: ‘Save your people, O LORD, the remnant of Israel!’
8 For I will bring them from the north and from the distant corners of the earth. I will not forget the blind and lame, the expectant mothers and women in labor. A great company will return!
9 Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble. For I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my oldest child.
10 “Listen to this message from the LORD, you nations of the world; proclaim it in distant coastlands: The LORD, who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock.
11 For the LORD has redeemed Israel from those too strong for them.
12 They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the LORD’s good gifts— the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds. Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone.
13 The young women will dance for joy, and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.
14 The priests will enjoy abundance, and my people will feast on my good gifts. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
Give thanks today and celebrate today the blessed harvest that is our through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Don’t wait to celebrate the harvest. Celebrate the harvest of blessings and the promises of God today and every day until they are fulfilled in His glorious presence.
Heaven’s coming and Jesus is bringing it!
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen
There is a scene in the Old Testament that I have always found interesting. It’s when Moses was leading Israel through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. God was giving His Law to Israel and explaining how Israel must walk in obedience in order to receive the blessed promises of God in the land of promise. In that context God tells Israel to “Be Careful”. Why does God tell them to be careful? Be careful of what?
Deuteronomy 11:16-17 (NIV)
16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them.
17 Then the LORD's anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you.
God knew that their hearts could be drawn away to follow other gods. God knew that these people could be easily deceived and led away into idolatry and fall victim to Satan’s lies. God gave them a warning of the consequences from allowing their hearts to be turned away from God. So God gave an instruction that would prevent their hearts from being led away from the One True God. This is the verse that I’ve always found amazing...
Deuteronomy 11:18 (NIV)
18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
This is what it looks like to be careful? This is the power that keeps your heart and your mind from being drawn away? Yes it is the remedy! “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds”. Moses had written down the Pentateuch (Torah) and this is a reference to what we know as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy (the first 5 books of the Bible). Wholehearted devotion to the content of these 5 books would keep your heart safe from the idolatry of the deceiver and the judgment of God. But that’s not the part that I’ve always found amazing...it’s the next sentence.
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
I’ve been to Israel and I’ve seen firsthand the Orthodox Jews wearing little black boxes on their foreheads at the Western Wall. It’s called a “tefillin”. Inside that little box are small scrolls of parchment with the Word of God. Those Jews do this as a physical act of observing God’s command through Moses in Deuteronomy chapter eleven. They are placing the Word of God next to their minds so they would not be led away to follow other gods.
Now, let me make it clear that I’m not suggesting that the church should attach leather boxes filled with Bible verses on our foreheads today. No, that’s not my suggestion. But what I am suggesting does apply to this command of God to “Be Careful”. Let me explain.
The human mind is a wonderfully complex thing. The things going on in our mind are amazingly personal and private. Our minds contain our thoughts and secrets, hopes and dreams, things that no one else could know about us. The human mind can be thinking something totally different on the inside than what is actually happening on the outside. Maybe you look like a faithful believer on the outside, but what’s going on inside your mind will determine that which will eventually present itself externally in your life.
When God told Moses to warn the people about idolatry and to place the Word of God on their foreheads He was telling them to bind the Word to their minds and hearts, not just their outward expressions. God is revealing the secret to knowing Him. It’s not on the outside, but on the inside of the mind and the heart. God is telling Moses and us today that even our minds and hearts can be made holy, our thoughts can be made holy by the Word of God. Most people want to focus on the external, but the external is only a reflection of the war that is taking placing inside the mind of all mankind.
We will never overcome on the outside until we are able to overcome on the inside. It begins with what you choose to place in your mind. BE CAREFUL of that which you allow to enter your mind. So how can we win this war, this battle in the mind and heart of man?
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
God’s Word is a mighty weapon! The Word of God can capture those evil thoughts and bring them under the authority of Christ. Idolatry is a stronghold and God’s Word can tear down this stronghold and bring your mind under the control of Christ. Remember, the battle of the mind will eventually manifest itself in the life that is to follow. Reading the Bible and meditating on the Words of God prepare our minds for battle that is coming. Reading the Bible and studying those Words of Truth release the power of Christ in our lives...preparing us for that which to come. That battle in your mind today will in many ways determine the outcome of the war that will rage in your life in future days.
1 Peter 1:13-16 (NIV)
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
Instead of placing a leather box on your forehead today...may I suggest that you turn off all the distractions of your life and read the Bible. Allow the Word of God to transform your mind by the power and holiness of God. Idolatry has no place in the mind of a person who is filled with God’s Word and remember...the Promised Land is Coming!
Blessings upon the Church at Ninevah today...in Jesus name and may the Word of God speak His power and His promises into your mind and heart today.
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen,
Do you know what a cherubim is? Do you know what a cherubim does in the Bible? Have you ever heard of a “guardian cherub”? What if I told you that the answer to those questions reveal a life changing truth of God and the entry into His divine presence?
Cherubim are angelic like creatures that serve as the guardians of paradise. Cherubim stand guard over the very presence of God. If fact it was cherubim that stood guard at the entry gate of the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were forced to leave the presence of God because of sin.
Genesis 3:24 (NLT)
24 After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Adam and Eve had lost their ability to live and walk in the very presence of God. God placed cherubim between man and God. Man could no longer go directly into the presence of God because the cherubim kept guard (with flaming sword) over the holy presence of God. Paradise was lost.
Fast forward to the time of Moses as God has frees Israel form their 400 years of Egyptian bondage. God reveals his glory to Moses and instructs Moses to build a tabernacle, a house for God’s presence to come down into the camp of Israel. God was going to dwell in the midst of the camp of Israel. The glorious presence of God was going to come to dwell among the people and guess what would stand guard between the holiness of God and the un-holiness of Israel...yes...cherubim! Did you know that? There was a veil, a curtain that separated the presence of God, the Most Holy Place from the rest of the tabernacle. I want you to notice what is engraved onto that veil/curtain.
Exodus 26:31 (NLT)
31 “For the inside of the Tabernacle, make a special curtain of finely woven linen. Decorate it with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim.
Adam and Eve couldn’t get past the guardian cherubs...paradise was lost. God’s mercy offered a very limited entry into His holy presence in the time of Moses, behind the veil, behind the guardian cherubs. The Jewish high priest could enter one time per year (Yum Kippur or Day of Atonement) and he must enter with a blood sacrifice or he himself would die when he encountered the absolute holiness of God. For 1500 years (Moses to Jesus) the cherubim stood guard over the presence of God behind the curtain.
Fast forward again some 1500 years to the time of Jesus. Do you know what happened when Jesus died on the cross? The veil of the Jerusalem temple, engraved with cherubim, was torn into from top to bottom.
Mark 15:37-38 (NLT)
37 Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
On that day, when Jesus breathed His final breath His blood poured out as payment for the sins of Adam and all of Adam’s seed. That day our Holy High Priest entered the presence of God, behind the curtain to pay off our sin debt. The cherubim that guarded the very presence of God, the cherubim that guarded paradise we dismissed. The way to God was once again open. The paradise of God was once again available. The curtain was taken down and the cherubim would drop their flaming sword because of the sacrifice of the ultimate High Priest...JESUS CHRIST.
The way to God has been opened. Paradise is once again available for those who will receive this blood offering from our High Priest Jesus. We must receive this offering by faith. We must believe that Jesus’ death on the cross paid the price that was sufficient to remove the cherubim that stood guard with flaming sword between God and man.
Now that we know this amazing truth of God...we have a sword of our own. The Sword of the Spirit, the very Word of God. This Word from God reveals the way back to God, the way to the paradise of God’s presence. How wonderful is this Good News. How wonderful is the future that God has prepared for those who love Him and believe His Word. Please read these verses from Paul’s letter to the Roman Church as God’s Word to each of you today...
Romans 8:31-37 (NLT)
31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. 35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
Overwhelming victory is our through Jesus. The curtain is torn; the cherubim have dropped their swords for those who are covered by the blood of the Lamb. But I must tell you this truth today.
Those cherubim still stand guard over the presence of God for all those who refuse to believe. No one will pass by their flaming sword without the blood of Christ. We, the church bear the responsibility in these last days to not only receive this good news, but we must also share this good news as we await the return of our Lord Jesus.
Rejoice in this great salvation, but never forget that we have been called by God to share this glorious news with those who do not know that the gate to paradise, the gate to God’s glorious presence has been opened by the blood of Jesus Christ, our glorious High Priest.
Heaven’s Coming and Jesus is bringing it.
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen.
Are you one of those that want to know what lies ahead of you, in advance? Do you like walking by sight instead of faith? Let’s face it....this describes all of us to some degree. We want to see clearly that which lies in front of us so we can determine our steps along the way. Is this the way of God or does God want us to depend on Him and trust Him as we take one faith step at a time.
Did you ever read the calling of God to Abram (Abraham)? Would you leave everything to follow a God that doesn’t give much detail, just follow me?
Genesis 12:1 (NLT)
1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.
That’s not much detail...Can’t you show me now Lord? What about Moses at the burning bush? Did God give Him much detail, or just follow me?
Exodus 3:10 (NLT)
10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”
That’s not much detail, is it? Would you leave everything and follow the God that doesn’t give much detail about what lies in front of you? Would you be satisfied with just enough manna (bread from heaven) for each day in the wilderness while you follow this God?
Have you ever considered the Magi, the Wise Men...those that came from the East to see the baby that was born King in Bethlehem? Who were they? We can’t be for sure but many believe they were priests of a pagan religion to the east of Jerusalem (probably from the distant part of Persia). They were star watchers who had followed a particular star in search of this newborn King of the Jews. It’s obvious that they were searching for the truth that was being announced by the heavens. They had no idea where this star would take them. They were following this star step by step and day by day without any specific details about that which would lie before them. Star watchers seeking the light of truth.
How did they know this star would lead them to the newborn King of the Jews? Did God send an angel to tell them? No one knows for sure, but we do know this...they found Him. They found the Jewish Messiah by following the star of heaven. This is where the story gets interesting. These wise men from the east were fulfilling a 700 year old prophesy from Isaiah. Seven centuries before these men were born the prophet Isiah prophesied of the Messiah’s coming to Israel.
Isaiah 60:1-6 (Christian Standard Bible)
1 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD shines over you. 2 For look, darkness will cover the earth, and total darkness the peoples; but the LORD will shine over you, and his glory will appear over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to your shining brightness. Raise your eyes and look around: they all gather and come to you; your sons will come from far away, and your daughters on the hips of nannies. 5 Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will tremble and rejoice, because the riches of the sea will become yours and the wealth of the nations will come to you. Caravans of camels will cover your land?—young camels of Midian and Ephah?—all of them will come from Sheba. They will carry gold and frankincense and proclaim the praises of the LORD.
Gold and frankincense were the gifts of the Magi. These wise men were Gentiles and as far as we can tell they were pagan Gentiles. Pagan Gentiles coming to Israel at the same time that Jesus was appearing in Israel. They came bearing gifts...very specific gifts...fulfilling a prophecy that waited over 700 years to be revealed. And it’s very likely that the Magi had no idea that their star journey was the fulfillment of this 700 year old prophesy of Isaiah.
This is the secret of Abraham, Moses and the Magi (and many others who have decided to walk by faith toward the glorious light of God). You don’t have to know the details of what lies ahead of you...you never will. Our calling is to set our hearts on seeking after Him and doing His will day by day and step by step while we travel on our wilderness journey toward the Light.
On the last day...the details of our journey (good and bad) aren’t going to matter much. What’s going to matter is this...DID YOU FIND HIM!
Acts 17:24-28 (NLT) The Apostle Paul’s sermon to the unbelieving Gentiles in Greece
24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26 From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. 27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
Be strong church...our Deliverer is Coming!
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen
Do you know what the 10th day of Nisan is? The Jewish Passover takes place on the 15th day of Nisan...so what happens 5 days before the Passover? The 10th of Nisan was the day the lamb was chosen and taken to the house that would, on the Passover, be offered as a blood sacrifice.
So, one could say that the 10th of Nisan is “The Day of the Lamb”...The day of the choosing and selecting of the Passover lamb. Does anyone want to guess the date of that first Palm Sunday? Palm Sunday was the day that Jesus walked into Jerusalem with celebrations of Hosanna. It was the 10th of Nisan. Do you think that was a coincidence?
Three years earlier Jesus was walking along the Jordan River and Holy Spirit filled John the Baptist proclaimed these prophetic Words of God...
John 1:29 (NLT)
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Why did that first Palm Sunday fall on the 10th of Nisan? What is the connection between Jesus walking into the city that day and the upcoming Jewish Passover? It was on that same day (2000 years ago) that the people of Jerusalem were leading their Passover lambs to their homes.
Exodus 12:3 (NLT)
3 Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month [Nisan] each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household.
Jesus entered Jerusalem on The Day of the Lamb...the day that the people of Jerusalem would select a lamb to take to their homes as a Passover sacrifice. Jesus was being led by the crowd from the Mount of Olives into the city gates on the 10th of Nisan...The Day of the Lamb.
Matthew 21:1 (NLT)
1 As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives.
Mark 11:9-11 (NLT)
9 Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!
10 Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in highest heaven!”
11 So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple.
Jesus, the Passover Lamb was brought into Jerusalem and then into the House of God (The Temple) on the 10th of Nisan. And just as the lambs of the Tenth of Nisan had to be sacrificed 5 days later on Passover by those who dwelt in the house, so too the Lamb of God would be sacrificed on the Passover by the One who dwelt in the House (The Temple) and by those who dwelt in Jerusalem itself. (Behold/Look, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. John 1:29).
Do you find all this to be coincidental? Do you understand the significance of the Passover and the Passover Lamb? The Passover Lamb represented freedom from slavery and freedom from the bondage of sin and death. The source of this freedom is the Lamb of God, the Passover Lamb.
Have you selected your Passover Lamb? Have you brought the Lamb to your house? Have you placed His precious blood over your life and your house/tabernacle/temple?
One last point for today...On that first Palm Sunday Jesus traveled from the Mount of Olives through the Kidron Valley and entered the city on the east side on the 10th day of Nisan. The Bible also talks about a similar event that is coming...maybe soon!
Zechariah 14:4 (NLT)
4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south.
He will come to fulfill the words that the angel Gabriel gave to Mary...these words are true and these words are unstoppable...
Luke 1:31-33 (NLT)
31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.
32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.
33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
The whole world will shake on that day. Jesus will stand on the Mount of Olives as He did on the 10th of Nisan some 2000 years ago and enter Jerusalem from the East. But this time He will not come as the Passover Lamb. This time He will come as King of kings, and Lord of lords and He will take His seat on David’s throne in Jerusalem establishing an eternal kingdom.
No one knows the day of His return, but you can be sure of this. The day of the Lamb’s return is near. If He is your Passover, you wait for Him with eager expectation. If He is not your Passover...you wait with fear and dread.
Be faithful church! The Day of the Lamb is coming!
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen.
The 9th day of Tamuz...what does that mean to you? Probably nothing. Tamuz is the 4th month in the Jewish calendar and it falls in our June-July each year. Do you know what happened on the 9th of Tamuz in 586 BC? That’s the day the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar finally breached the wall of Jerusalem after more than 2 years of laying siege to the holy city. This breach in the wall of Jerusalem is recorded in the final chapter from the Prophet Jeremiah...notice the date of the breach and the condition of the people inside the city.
Jeremiah 52:6-9 (NIV)
6 By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat. 7 Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled. They left the city at night through the gate between the two walls near the king's garden, though the Babylonians were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah,
8 but the Babylonian army pursued King Zedekiah and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, 9 and he was captured. He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced sentence on him.
It’s at this point that some of you will say...who cares what happened in Jerusalem 2500 years ago. Please stay with me! God had warned the people that judgment was coming. God had sent prophet after prophet telling the people of Judah to repent or perish. They refused to listen to the Word of God through the prophets of God and judgment came...the wall that protected the people from their enemy fell. God’s hedge of protection around Jerusalem fell on the 9th day of Tamuz.
Jeremiah 25:4-11 (NLT)
4 “Again and again the LORD has sent you his servants, the prophets, but you have not listened or even paid attention. 5 Each time the message was this: ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the LORD gave to you and your ancestors forever. 6 Do not provoke my anger by worshiping idols you made with your own hands. Then I will not harm you.’ 7 “But you would not listen to me,” says the LORD. “You made me furious by worshiping idols you made with your own hands, bringing on yourselves all the disasters you now suffer. 8 And now the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Because you have not listened to me, 9 I will gather together all the armies of the north under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whom I have appointed as my deputy. I will bring them all against this land and its people and against the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy you and make you an object of horror and contempt and a ruin forever.
10 I will take away your happy singing and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. Your millstones will fall silent, and the lights in your homes will go out.
11 This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.
The people of Judah would not listen to God or His messengers, the prophets. Judgment came because God removed his hand of protection from around His people. The wall was breached on the 9th of Tamuz. Jerusalem fell. The city and the holy temple were burned to the ground. Most of them died and those few who survived were carried away as slaves to Babylon.
Do you know what happened in America on the 9th of Tamuz 2015? The 9th of Tamuz in 2015 fell on June 26th. Do you know what happened on June 26th 2015? The US Supreme Court issued its ruling on same sex marriage on the 9th of Tamuz. The vote was 5-4 and the wall of truth was breached. Many in our nation cheered and celebrated and then President Obama lit the White House in colors of a rainbow to celebrate the high court’s decision.
I’m convinced that the events of 911 were a warning to America to repent and turn back to God. It worked for a while, but then the temporary repentance turned to even deeper rebellion and idolatry. Finally, this nation mocks God by redefining marriage and then displays a rainbow on the White House. Most of you know that God used a rainbow in the time of Noah as a sign of His covenant not to destroy the earth by water again. But do you know that the rainbow also reveals the glory of His Throne?
Ezekiel 1:28 (NLT)
28 All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the LORD looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me.
Who would be so foolish to mock God, His Throne, His Glory? The wall of truth has been breached and where is the church? Yes, there are many that still stand on the Word of God as truth today, even as the walls of truth crumble around us. But where is the church? Where is the church that Jesus described?
Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT)
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Now they tell us (the church ) to go along, comply, accept this new truth. But Jeremiah didn’t go along and Jeremiah survived the fall of Jerusalem. Do you know that? Yes, it was very hard and he suffered greatly (he was even thrown into a cistern to shut him up), but he survived to write the story. He survived to write Lamentations...a book of weeping for Jerusalem and those few survivors that were carried away as slaves into Babylon.
Lamentations 1:1-3 (NLT)
1 Jerusalem, once so full of people, is now deserted. She who was once great among the nations now sits alone like a widow. Once the queen of all the earth, she is now a slave.
2 She sobs through the night; tears stream down her cheeks. Among all her lovers, there is no one left to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her and become her enemies.
3 Judah has been led away into captivity, oppressed with cruel slavery. She lives among foreign nations and has no place of rest. Her enemies have chased her down, and she has nowhere to turn.
Will you survive this breach in the wall? Jeremiah survived, will you? Jeremiah never went along with idolatry and Jeremiah never abandoned the Word of God. Will you?
Even now, the Jews around the world set aside the 9th of Tamuz as a day of mourning and fasting because they recognize it as the day the wall of protection around Jerusalem was breached. The 9th of Tamuz this year will fall on July 3rd, the day before our nation celebrates its 241st birthday.
The Northern Kingdom of Israel (10 tribes) lasted approx. 208 years...and then they were no more. They were destroyed by the Assyrians.
The Southern Kingdom of Judah (2 tribes) outlasted their northern brothers by 136 years (roughly 344 in total) until the 9th of Tamuz 586 BC and the wall was breached.
How long will America last? How long will you last? I’m not going to pretend today that I have all this stuff figured out, I don’t! But I do know this...THE WORD OF GOD IS TRUE! He will not be mocked and He will not leave the guilty unpunished. God has offered us forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ and we must receive that forgiveness by faith. WE MUST BELIEVE HIM!
Even in the midst of Judah’s fall in the time of Nebuchadnezzar; God was revealing a future plan to save them. It’s one of the most quoted Scriptures from Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 29:10-14 (NIV)
10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."
God did it 70 years after the walls of Jerusalem were breached (regathered them and brought them back home) and He did it again on May 14, 1948. This last one was 69 years ago.
I believe we are watching Biblical prophecy being fulfilled in our generation. Israel is the pattern of God’s truth and Israel is the pattern of God’s mercy. Yes, the walls of truth were breached on the 9th of Tamuz 2015 and the wall of His divine protection will surely be affected by this breach. He will not be mocked! But I still have good news today... God is still gathering believers today. God is still forgiving people today. God is still saving people today. God is still giving people a hope and a future today. The world demands that we go along with their idolatry and rebellion, but we will not worship their worthless idols or exchange the truth of God for a lie. The true church, like Jeremiah of old, will never go along with evil. The true church, like Jeremiah will still be standing after the fall. The gates of hell will not prevail against the true church of Jesus Christ!
I close this letter with these challenging and encouraging words from the Book of Hebrews...
Hebrews 10:35-39 (NLT)
35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. 37 “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. 38 And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” 39 But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen,
The Bible reveals the ways of God and many of them are too wonderful and too complex for our minds to grasp. Today, I would like to take one of those “ways of God” that came to me while I was reading a book written by Jonathan Cahn. One of the foundations of our faith is John 3:16 where it says that God loved us so much that He gave us His One and Only Son. God gave His Son as a sacrifice, an atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind. The Romans didn’t take Jesus’ life. The Jewish leaders didn’t take Jesus’ life. God the Father gave Jesus’ life and the Son agreed to and submitted His life to the Father’s plan, the Father’s will.
John 10:17-18 (NLT)
17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again.
18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
So, here’s my question and comment regarding the unstoppable power of God to complete His divine plan on this earth. If Jesus was the sacrifice that would take away the sins of the world...who would be spiritually qualified to offer up Jesus as that sacrifice? In other words, in the Jewish faith, under the Law of Moses who would be spiritually and rightfully qualified to offer sacrifices to God? The answer to that is found in the Book of Leviticus. God had established a priesthood and a High Priest that were specifically qualified to offer sacrifices to God. No one else could do it, only the High Priest. The first High Priest was Aaron (the brother of Moses) and all priests would then come from the family of Aaron. By the way, this scene takes place in the Tabernacle (later to become the Jerusalem Temple).
Leviticus 16:15-17 (NLT)
15 “Then Aaron must slaughter the first goat as a sin offering for the people and carry its blood behind the inner curtain. There he will sprinkle the goat’s blood over the atonement cover and in front of it, just as he did with the bull’s blood.
16 Through this process, he will purify the Most Holy Place, and he will do the same for the entire Tabernacle, because of the defiling sin and rebellion of the Israelites.
17 No one else is allowed inside the Tabernacle when Aaron enters it for the purification ceremony in the Most Holy Place. No one may enter until he comes out again after purifying himself, his family, and all the congregation of Israel, making them right with the LORD.
This was the law of God regarding the offering of acceptable sacrifices to God. Now, do you know who offered up Jesus, the Lamb of God as a sacrifice in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago?
Matthew 20:17-19 (NLT)
17 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him.
18 “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die.
19 Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”
Not just any priest, but the High Priest of Israel would offer up Jesus as a sacrifice. His name was Caiaphas and I doubt very seriously that he actually realized at the time that God was using him to fulfill God’s holy law regarding legitimate sacrifices before God. God can use evil to produce good. God can use the un-holy to produce holy...by His Unstoppable Power. God even used High Priest Caiaphas to prophecy as he made his plans to kill the very Son of God.
John 11:49-53 (NIV)
49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all!
50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish."
51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation,
52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.
53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
This is my main point today...God uses the evil thoughts, hearts and motives of man to fulfill His divine and perfect plans. His plans are unstoppable. The Jewish Sanhedrin (religious counsel) had evil in their hearts and they despised Jesus as they accused Him of blasphemy, but God was using all their evil for His ultimate good. The plans of God are unstoppable. There was an unstoppable power at work in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago when the High Priest offered up Jesus as a sacrifice before God and that same unstoppable power is at work today. This is the unstoppable power that Paul is describing to the Roman church...
Romans 8:28 (NLT)
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Conclusion...Yesterday was Jerusalem Day in Israel. 50 years ago the ancient and holy city of Jerusalem came under the control of Israel. 50 years ago (1967 Six Day War) Jerusalem was liberated by the Israeli army after being lost for some 1900 years. I proclaim to you today that Jerusalem is the unstoppable power of God. Man may try to stop this unstoppable power of God, but they will all fail. Why? Do you understand why? Jerusalem is the place of GOD’S NAME—FOREVER. Jerusalem is the place of GOD’S THRONE-FOREVER. God announced this to King Solomon as Solomon dedicated the first Jerusalem Temple.
1 Kings 9:3 (NLT)
3 The LORD said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy—this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.
In December 2016 the United Nations voted unanimously to condemn Israel for building houses (expanding settlements) in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. This UN vote was the declaration of 14 world leaders that Israel had no legitimate rights to Jerusalem or the current boundaries of the nation of Israel since the 1967 war. The United States ambassador under then President Obama abstained, thus allowing the UN vote to be unanimous. Was this vote a fulfillment or at least a partial fulfillment of this prophecy of God through Zechariah?
Zechariah 12:1-3 (NLT)
1 This message concerning the fate of Israel came from the LORD: “This message is from the LORD, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundations of the earth, and formed the human spirit.
2 I will make Jerusalem like an intoxicating drink that makes the nearby nations stagger when they send their armies to besiege Jerusalem and Judah.
3 On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves.
I’m not going to pretend like I understand all this, but I do know that the unstoppable power of God is at work in Jerusalem. It is the most contested piece of real estate on earth because God has declared Jerusalem to be His Throne...forever! The prophet Ezekiel announces a future time when Jesus will return to Jerusalem and enter the Jerusalem Temple....the eternal throne of God will belong to Him.
Ezekiel 43:1-9 (NLT)
1 After this, the man brought me back around to the east gateway.
2 Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel appeared from the east. The sound of his coming was like the roar of rushing waters, and the whole landscape shone with his glory.
3 This vision was just like the others I had seen, first by the Kebar River and then when he came to destroy Jerusalem. I fell face down on the ground.
4 And the glory of the LORD came into the Temple through the east gateway.
5 Then the Spirit took me up and brought me into the inner courtyard, and the glory of the LORD filled the Temple.
6 And I heard someone speaking to me from within the Temple, while the man who had been measuring stood beside me.
7 The LORD said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place where I will rest my feet. I will live here forever among the people of Israel. They and their kings will not defile my holy name any longer by their adulterous worship of other gods or by honoring the relics of their kings who have died.
8 They put their idol altars right next to mine with only a wall between them and me. They defiled my holy name by such detestable sin, so I consumed them in my anger.
9 Now let them stop worshiping other gods and honoring the relics of their kings, and I will live among them forever.
The unstoppable power of God re-established the nation of Israel 69 years ago. The unstoppable power of God gave Jerusalem back to Israel 50 years ago. God will use the evil hearts and purposes of men to accomplish His unstoppable will. We, the church are His witnesses and we can see His power at work. Believers in Jesus Christ...we wait for His Kingdom to Come! We wait for His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. And as we wait, as the church waits...let us consider these Words from our Resurrected Lord Jesus...
Luke 24:44-48 (NLT)
44 Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day.
47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’
48 You are witnesses of all these things.
Be encouraged today church...Everything written in God’s Word is going to be fulfilled. There is an unstoppable power at work all around us and inside of those who believe. God will use the holy and the un-holy, the willing and the un-willing to complete His perfect will. We are witnesses of these things...so find strength today in these promises of God.
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen,
I’ve been reading some writings from Jonathan Cahn, who is a Messianic Jew (a believing in Jesus Jew). I would like to share something that I read today regarding the Light of the World.
In the biblical calendar...the moment the sun goes down, the day is over. Everything that happened that day is then in the past, at sunset the events of that day, then become your yesterday. The sun sets and the fading light of the sun marks the end of a biblical day. Have you ever watched the sunset and noticed that it actually looks like the earth is swallowing it. I specifically enjoy watching the sunset at the ocean when it actually appears as if the sun is melting away into the oceans waters each evening.
Jesus came from heaven to our earth and declared in John 8 and 12 that He himself is “The Light of the World”. He even declares the church will be the “Light of the World” ...like a city on a hill that will glow with His glory (His glory/light inside us).
John 8:12 (NLT)
12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
John 9:5 (NLT)
5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Matthew 5:14 (NLT)
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
Have you ever seen the connection between the sun (the light of the world) and Jesus being “The Light of the World”? The Bible clearly describes the death of Jesus occurring in late evening as the sun was getting ready to set. The crucifixion of Jesus was in reality, “The Light of the World” getting ready to set. The Light of the World was dying that day on Calvary’s hill. The Light of the World was preparing to descend into the earth (to be swallowed by the earth). In fact, as Jesus died, the sun was going down. And when they placed Him in the tomb, the sun was descending into the earth. That’s why they were rushing to put Him in the grave before dark, which was the Sabbath Day. The sun and the SON were both disappearing into the earth. Both lights were descending into the earth that evening in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago.
Luke 23:53-54 (NLT)
53 Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock.
54 This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin. [the Sabbath began at sunset]
The light of the Sun and the SON both set on earth that day. The earth had swallowed them both. Darkness sealed the tomb of Jesus, but as the light of the sun rose on Sunday...so did the Light of the World.
Luke 24:1-4 (NLT)
1 But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.
2 They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.
3 So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4 As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.
So, what does all this have to do with us? What does all this really mean? IF you are a believer today, If Jesus is the Light of YOUR world today. The sun has set on your past and the eternal Light of the World has risen inside your heart. In the biblical calendar...the moment the sun goes down, the day is over. Everything that happened that day is then in the past, at sunset the events of that day, then become your yesterday. The Son rose on Sunday morning and He is The Light of the World for all who will walk in His marvelous light by faith. I love how the prophet Malachi ties all this together. Malachi prophesied the coming of Jesus as the Light of the World some 400 years before He was born in Bethlehem.
Malachi 4:1-2 (NLT)
1 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all.
2 “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.
Malachi calls the coming Messiah/Christ “The Sun of Righteousness” truly declaring in advance that Jesus will be The Light of the World. If you walk in His light today...you are free from the sins of your past. If you believe in the promises of God through Christ the Son...you are forgiven and you are a child of God. Walk in the light of this glorious freedom today and never forget. The Light of the World is coming in glory. The SON will again shine His Light on this earth. Wait for it as you wait for true treasure.
Colossians 3:1-4 (NLT)
1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.
3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen,
We talk about “Heaven’s Coming” a lot at NCC. We wear it on t-shirts and we put it on signs, but what does that really mean? We think of Heaven as the throne of God and the place where there will be no more death or pain or suffering. Everyone likes the idea of Heaven. So, how do we get there? Many of the world’s religions teach that a person can get to Heaven by their works, by what they do or what they don’t do. Many religions teach that you must be “good enough” though most are not really sure what “good enough” really looks like. So, how do we get to Heaven?
If Heaven is based on what we do, then the source of our salvation is ourselves. And if we could save ourselves by ourselves, then we wouldn’t need salvation in the first place. How can the answer come from the one in need of the answer? It’s like telling a drowning man that if he would only swim well enough, he could save himself. If he could swim well enough, he wouldn’t be drowning. He’d be the lifeguard...Jonathan Cahn
Then how can we get to Heaven? The answer is that the problem can never answer itself. Only the answer can answer. So the earthly can never attain Heaven on our own, but Heaven can attain the earthly. Salvation can never come from earth to Heaven. Salvation can only come from Heaven to earth. Almost all the world’s religions that offer Heaven do so by reaching out our earthly hands toward Heaven and yes that’s a great place to begin. However, our earthly hands cannot reach Heaven and bring it down to us. God knew that we would never be able to reach His glory, so He made a plan to come down to us. Yes, our hands reach up to Him through faith, but ultimately it was the love of God that brought Heaven down into and within our reach.
Heaven’s Coming is about receiving, not doing. Heaven’s Coming is about believing, not about how high my arm is reaching toward the sky. If we could have reached Heaven on our own we would have never needed John 3:16. But God knew that our greatest effort would fall short of His glory. So God did something that we could never do on our own. God sent Heaven down to earth. God put His glory inside human flesh and came to the earth with the expressed purpose of making a way for man to reach Heaven by Heaven reaching out to us.
John 3:12-18 (NIV)
12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of Heavenly things?
13 No one has ever gone into Heaven except the one who came from Heaven--the Son of Man.
14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
The only way John 3:16 works is based on John 3:13...Heaven came down to us...and the only way John 3:16 keeps us from perishing is that we BELIEVE! Believe what...”Heaven’s Coming”.
Today, I encourage you from the Word of God...Heaven’s Coming because Heaven Came! No one has ever gone into Heaven except the one who came from Heaven...the Son of Man-JESUS!
Believe Him. Believe His Word. Believe His promises. Believing is to have confidence that He is able and willing to keep His Word to anyone who will trust Him to do so. And yes, one last word...”Heaven is Coming”.
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen,
Today, Jews all around the world began their annual seven day celebration of Passover. Do you realize this is perhaps the oldest religious observance of any people on the earth? The first Passover began some 1500 years before the birth of Jesus when God used Moses to lead the Children of Israel out of 400 years of Egyptian bondage. The original Passover was the blood of a lamb placed over the doorways of the Hebrew/Israelite slaves in Egypt. This blood of the lamb over their doorways, that night in Egypt was a sign, a marker for the angel of death to Passover that house. That lambs blood was a sufficient payment to God, a sufficient sacrifice to God to allow death to Passover. If not for the blood of the lamb...death was surely coming that night to Egypt. Death did come that night and all the firstborn males throughout Egypt died...from the son of Pharaoh to the son of the lowest servant in the land. There was only one way to escape death that night in Egypt...the blood of the lamb.
Did you ever wonder why the lambs blood had to be spread over the doorway of their houses in Egypt? God’s Word through Moses was very clear...you must put the blood of the lamb on the sides and top of the door frames of their houses. The beam over the opening through which the people would enter their house must be covered by blood. A piece of wood over the door would have to be covered by the blood of the lamb for death to Passover that house. For Moses and the Israelites that doorway, covered in blood became a portal to the Promised Land. No one would be able to leave the slavery of Egypt and enter the Promised Land unless they passed through this door, a wooden beam covered in the blood of the lamb. Slavery could not be defeated without this blood covered door. Conquering the wilderness and victory in all future battles would all be determined by the blood that would cover the door. They would never get out of Egypt without the blood of the lamb over their doors. That blood covered wooden beam, that blood covered door was the portal, a pathway to their future...a portal opened by God, not Moses. This single event, originated and communicated by God Himself became the future for all those who would hear the Word of God and cover their doors with the blood of the lamb.
Fast forward some 1500 years to the city of Jerusalem and guess what’s happening as Jesus enters on what we call Palm Sunday? People are arriving from all over the world to celebrate the Jewish Passover, to celebrate and to remember how God had delivered His people from Egyptian bondage some 1500 years earlier. Jesus entered the city that day and many bowed before Him as a king as they laid palm branches before Him. Little did they know that this same Jesus who they celebrated on Sunday would be nailed to a cross on Friday. Nailed to what...a wooden beam called a cross. The blood of the Lamb was going to once again set people free, but this time not from Egypt. The blood of the Lamb was once again going to open a way, a portal for people to find victory in the wilderness on their way to a Promised Land. The blood of the Lamb on a wooden beam was going to change the world, forever!
We call it “Good Friday”. Do you know what Good Friday is for Christians? Good Friday is our Passover! Good Friday is the blood of the Lamb placed on a wooden beam, a beam that can be a doorway into the Promised Land for all who will believe God’s Word. Good Friday and Easter are our Passover event. Jesus’ death on that wooden beam and his resurrection from the grave has made a blood covered doorway, a sufficient payment for death...for us to pass through that will guarantee that death will Passover us. Do you realize how big this is? This is why Jesus, not long before He died went to the town of Bethany, just outside of Jerusalem and made a declaration that would change the world...and can you guess the location of His revelation...a graveyard!
John 11:25-26 (NIV)
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Jesus has declared and announced a coming Passover event, not just for Jews but for anyone and everyone. Jesus is announcing a resurrection from the dead (His and ours). There can’t be a resurrection without a death and this death will be our Passover Blood of the Lamb. Well do you believe this? It changes everything! John the Baptist called Jesus the Lamb of God that would take away the sins of the world some three years before Jesus would be nailed to that wooden beam. How did John know? Was the Passover in Egypt only a preview of the coming Christ? This cross of Christ was not an afterthought, but the very plan of God before the foundation of the earth. The Passover in Egypt was revealing the coming of Jesus some 1500 years before his birth. Do you realize how big this is...it changes everything! Do you realize how much it cost to get us out of our Egypt...to get death to Passover our house?
1 Peter 1:18-21 (NIV)
18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,
19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
Today, and this week we join the Jews from around the world in our own version of the Passover. Today, and this week we celebrate our deliverance and our Deliverer. Today we celebrate Jesus, the Perfect Passover Lamb of God! Today we acknowledge with great joy that He has become our Deliverer and portal, our doorway into the Promised Land. Jesus is our guarantee that we will cross through the wilderness safely and death will Passover us...forever! Eternal life, not because of what we have done, but because of whom we have believed...JESUS!
I pray today that the blood of Jesus covers all who will read this email. He alone is the sufficient sacrifice before God. I pray today that this Passover season will not pass you by until you have given praise, glory and honor to the One that is worthy...Jesus, the Lamb of God.
I pray today that our Lord will give each of us the strength to persevere in this wilderness while we wait for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen,
You’ve heard the old question—Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Today, I ask you this new question...Which came first, the day or the night? Do you think it matters? Do you care (this is a way better question than chickens and eggs).
I was reading a book recently by Jonathan Cahn and his writing peaked my interest on this topic. So, what do you think? Which came first, the day or the night?
Most people in the world would say the day is first and the night comes when the day is over. I’m convinced that most people see it that way, but how does God see it? If the day leads to night then everything goes from light to darkness...everything gets darker. Everything is in the process of darkening. And yes, it appears to be that way in our world. We go from day to night. From youth to aging, from strength to weakness and ultimately from life to death. Day to night. It’s the way of the world, but it’s not the way of God. When God created the universe, it was not day and then night....no, it was evening and then morning (night and then day).
Genesis 1:5 (NIV)
5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day.
Have you ever noticed this before? The first day began with night (evening). God began the first day with night. There was night and then there was day...this is the way of God. Do you recognize this way of God?
That’s why every Jewish holiday begins at sunset. Not just Jewish holidays, but every biblical day begins at evening, at sunset. Why? “The world” moves from day to night, but in God it is the opposite. In God, we move from night to day...from darkness to light. This is the awesome truth about being born again. When we are born again we change from the way of the world to the way of God. The “way” is a road all roads go somewhere. We change our course in life from day to night...to night to day. We change our destination, our destiny when we connect our lives to the ways of God.
Today, I give you good news from the Word of God. In Christ, we might find ourselves in the midst of the darkness of night, but we are moving/traveling toward the Light of day. When Jesus calls himself the Light of the World...He really means it. He has become our future, our destiny, our destination. We are right now moving/traveling from dark to light.
The prophecy of the priest Zechariah (John the Baptist’s dad) reveals this glorious good news as his son John was born...
Luke 1:77-79 (NLT) 77 You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. 78 Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
I tell you today, Christ’s Church at Ninevah, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us and that light leads us into the path of peace...no more darkness.
Hold on church. Heaven’s Coming! We are right now traveling from weakness toward strength, from despair into hope, from guilt into innocence, from tears into joy and from death into life. “Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us”.
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen
Wow, I’ve had a bunch of people ask me what I thought about this new movie “The Shack”. The reason I say the word “wow” is that same thing happened to me when the book (The Shack) came out several years ago. I had so many people ask me what I thought of the book that I decided to read it so I could respond. I did read it (several years ago) and I can say I DID NOT LIKE IT! I have not seen the movie, so I can only base my comments on the book, which I do not remember in great detail. This much I do remember. I remember the book (The Shack) did three things that I really struggled with. First, it wants to create God in our image. Secondly, it wants to show Jesus as one of the ways to God, not the only way and thirdly it denies the divine nature of Christ (that Jesus is actually God in the flesh).
I would not normally write or comment on such a movie or book, but I do so today because of the alarming trend I see in modern American Christianity. The trend toward this idea that there are many ways to God. The Shack is just one of many “new age” ideas that all religions are just different paths to the same God. I’m not surprised by this doctrine of darkness, but I am surprised by how many Christians and churches are actually falling for it. Even Pope Francis released a video to the world in January 2016 claiming that we are all children of God and thus illustrating that all the world’s major religions are just different paths to the same God. You can click this link to watch that Pope Francis video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6FfTxwTX34 Yes, we are all created by God, but we are not all children of God. We can become children of God through faith/believing in Jesus Christ and there is no other way to become a child of God, except through the blood of Christ (John 1:11-13).
I ask you 5 questions today.
1. Do you believe Jesus is the only way and the only truth and the only life (John 14:6)?
2. Do you believe that there is no other name under heaven whereby men can be saved (Acts 4:12)?
3. Do you believe Jesus is the only Son of God (John 3:16)?
4. Do you believe Jesus was born of a virgin by the very seed of God and He freely sacrificed His life on the cross to save us from our sins (John 10:17-18)?
5. Do you believe Jesus died a physical death on the cross and then experienced a bodily resurrection of the dead (Acts 2:24)?
How you answer these 5 questions actually reveals how you have responded to the Word of God (The Bible). You believed it or you didn’t. Jesus warned us in His Olivet Discourse that the last days would produce this type of deception:
Matthew 24:4-5 (NLT)
4 Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you,
5 for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many.
John 1:1 says that “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God”. I can tell you that “in the end” it will be the same as it was in the beginning. In the end there will be the Word and the Word will be God. Don’t be deceived by the words of men. The Word of God is clear and true. Don’t let Hollywood tell you what the Bible says. Read it yourself.
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all record this same Word from Jesus...
Matthew 24:35 (NIV)
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Be strong Church. Stay in the Word Church. Do not be deceived by the world Church.
Heaven’s Coming and Jesus is bringing it.
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen.
This was given to the Ninevah Christian Church on Sanctity of Life Sunday, January 22, 2017.
44 years ago today the US Supreme Court issued a ruling called Roe vs. Wade. They told us that the ruling would bring a new freedom and enlightenment to our nation. The ruling opened the door to legal abortions in the United States. Since that day, some 58 million people have died. I didn't say fetuses, I said people. People that would have been your neighbors, you doctors, your school teachers, your brothers and sisters in Christ, maybe your president. They were murdered, sacrificed on the altar of convenience, the altar of self, Satan's altar of death.
18% of the population of the United States has been murdered in the past 44 years. That number is beyond my comprehension. There are seven states that border Kentucky. Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee. The population of these 7 border states including Kentucky is 57 million... that's 1 million short of the number of children killed since 1973.
As a nation we have blood on our hands. The church was too distracted with materialism, idolatry and political correctness to take a stand and innocent blood has been spilled. Many in the church were silent and many Christians in government went along for the sake of their political careers. I will not be silent. This church will not be silent. Today we confess this horrible sin before God and today we repent and ask for God's mercy and forgiveness. I know there are people in this room that have participated in and been affected by this horrible sin against God... and to you God offers forgiveness and restoration through the blood of Christ.
I read this past week that the abortion clinic in Lexington has closed, leaving only one in our state, in Louisville. I pray that it too will close its doorway to death. I ask you today, if the Church of Jesus Christ will not stand up for life, who will?
Some of you might wonder why we would do this at communion time. I can't think of a better time than this. We need the blood of Christ to forgive our sins and purify the church. We need the body of Christ, the bread of life to come and reign in the body of Christ, the Church.
We need the Word of God revealed to the Church in power today... this is that Word from God...
1 John 1:5-10 (NLT)
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
Lead Minister, Terry Cooper
The first picture is of a boy riding his bicycle in Syria this past September. The second picture reveals the hopeless conditions that families live in as the buildings around him have been totally destroyed by the civil war that seems to go un-noticed by much of the world. Peace on Earth...that was the message that the angels gave to the shepherds that first Christmas night outside Bethlehem, not so far from this child’s home in Syria. Does this picture look like peace on earth? I pulled these following statistics from a USA Today article.
· 450,000 Syrians have been killed in this civil war since 2011
· 4.8 million Syrians have fled the country since the war started.
· 6,150 people per day have been displaced from their homes in the first 8 months of 2016 in Syria.
· Over 1 million of those are currently living in makeshift tents and shelters as they try to survive
· It’s estimated that 13 million Syrians will require international humanitarian assistance if they are to survive this war.
There were news reports this week that the Syrian city of Aleppo has fallen. But fallen to whom? The combined forces of the Syrian government, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have taken control of Aleppo from the Syrian rebels. All this death and all this destruction while the world stands by and watches.
Peace on earth. If you live in Lawrenceburg Kentucky right now it sure looks like peace on earth (at least by comparison). No one has bombed any of our buildings and boys and girls can ride their bicycles around their neighborhoods without any gunfire in our town. Peace on earth. Was the angel wrong in saying that to the shepherds that night? What did the angels actually say that night?
Luke 2:13-14 (NIV)
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
But, when you examine this angelic announcement regarding “Peace on Earth-Peace to Men”... it seems to have a specific application. The NASB translation says “Peace among men with whom He is pleased”. What does that mean? How do we receive the favor of God that brings us peace? What could we possibly do to make Him pleased with us and give us peace? Jesus was born that night in Bethlehem, just like the angels announced. He grew up teaching the real truth about peace on earth and peace with men. Jesus would become the dividing line between the peace of God and the wrath of God. Jesus stands alone between peace with God and war with God. In fact, Jesus clearly defines this dividing line of peace below...
Luke 12:51-53 (NIV)
51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.
52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.
53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."
The world is searching for peace. Everyone wants peace. Christmas cries out for peace, not division. But how can there ever be peace on earth between mankind unless we first make peace the God who created all mankind? The Prince of Peace came to this earth (The fullness of God entered human flesh) and died on a sinners cross to make peace available between God and man, between heaven and earth.
Colossians 1:19-20 (NLT)
19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
Today, I encourage the Church at Ninevah to pray for the people in Syria, the suffering church in Syria. Pray for the Coptic Christians in Egypt that are under attack even now. Pray for the believing Church around the world to hold firm to the promise of God through those angels outside Bethlehem so many years ago...There is peace on earth for men on whom His favor rests! This peace with God comes only through the blood of Christ and faith in His Name. This peace with God is not dependent upon circumstances such as war or poverty. This is why believers can rejoice, even in great suffering and trial.
This message (below) is specifically for the church that waits for the return of Jesus our only Prince of Peace...
2 Peter 3:14 (NIV)
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
Your brother in Christ,
Heaven’s Coming and Jesus is bringing it!
Maranatha, Hosanna, Hallelujah and Amen