Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mark 12:2-4 comments: faithless caretakers

2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.

The husbandmen, while the rulers and priests of Israel here, in type could also be likened to modern day preachers. They are making a mess of the vineyard. The servant would be the prophets sent to ancient Israel to give them God’s word and warn them of His correction.

3 And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. 4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.

This is a history of the nation of Israel literally and doctrinally and all the prophets you can read about in the Old Testament as they tried to keep Israel straight and turn it back on the path that God had set. Trying to line up which prophets were stoned and which were beaten might be a problem, though, as there were probably many prophets that didn’t write books that God preserved for us nor were mentioned. Not knowing who Antipas was in Revelation 2:13 is an example of the fact that God has not chosen to reveal everything to us and we do err when we demand that His Book must satisfy our every curiosity.

Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

The Bible represents God’s revelation of Himself to mankind in writing. It is, in type, Jesus Christ, the visible image of God, in written form. Notice the importance that God gives the Scriptures as being in His place in the following verses.

Romans 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

Now, look what that verse was a reference to and see where the Scripture replaces God.

Exodus 9:16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

Note this placement of the word, scripture.

Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

And the verse that the verse in Galatians alluded to;

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

See Genesis 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; & 27:9. God has elevated His Bible on a par with Himself. Note how God views His words.

Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

If you can wrap your mind around this, or “attain unto it” as the Bible says, you will not want to mess with the Bible. Do not view God’s book like a textbook, demanding a detailed explanation of all you desire to know. View it as a conversation with God speaking to your heart and making His will for your life and for the history of humanity, both in yours and humanity’s relationship to Him.

Don’t be too concerned about what God doesn’t tell you, as you are not believing and following what He does tell you. Questions like where do the heathen go who have never heard of Christ or “been given a chance?” are meaningless questions. One might just say, “well, they go to Walmart and Starbucks.”

Read God’s word with an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out. Read it with a mind open to His leading and His understanding and His wisdom. Read it over and over asking the Holy Spirit for guidance. God speaks to you through it. Don’t make it a rationale for your fears, bigotry, and paranoia.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mark 12:1 comment: God's vineyard

1 ¶ And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.

Matthew 13:13 and Luke 8:10 and Mark 4:11,12 show why Jesus used parables. Those who desired understanding and had willing hearts would know the mysteries while those who did not wouldn’t see what He was saying. As it is, those who read the Bible wanting to be taught by the Holy Spirit will learn and those who don’t will be confused by what they read. The Bible is a closed book only to those who will not hear and refuse to see its truths.

It’s interesting how the Holy Spirit speaking through the understanding and wisdom he gave the Bible writers uses the anonymous “a certain man” to accomplish a purpose whether it be to tell Joseph where his brothers were or to shoot King Ahab with an arrow in the heat of battle. “A certain man” here clearly represents God the Father, the soul of God, the seat and origin of divine self-identity and will.

The vineyard is the nation of Israel to which He is referring. The husbandmen are Israel’s rulers.

Isaiah 5:1 ¶ Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: 2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. 4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? 5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: 6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.

God expects fruit when He plants something. Here the church is speaking in type.

Song of Solomon 4:16 Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

Song of Solomon 6:11 I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded.

Song of Solomon 7:12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.

Song of Solomon 8:11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baalhamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver. 12 My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.

It’s easy to knock ancient Israel for not producing fruit. What fruit have you produced?

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Your works will mean nothing without the fruit of the Spirit.

John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

Notice that the fruit of the Spirit do not include self-righteousness, a psychopathic hunger for control, hatred, paranoia, fear, a lust for violence, and the spirit of revenge even though many conservative Christians seem to think those things are part of the list, at least by their actions.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mark 11:11-33 comments: by what authority?

11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.

I would suspect that Jesus is seeing Titus and the Romans destroying the temple years later.

Luke 19:41 ¶ And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

Christ knows what could have been had the Jews received Him.

According to most commentators this would be Sunday night, the evening of Palm Sunday. We are going to count from the first day of the week, our Sunday, to when He rises from the dead.

12 ¶ And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:

This is our Monday if the commentators are correct.

Here is Jesus, the man, hungry.

13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

The fig tree is a type of the nation of Israel at that time;

Hosea 9:10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.

Matthew 24:32 ¶ Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

I read that the fig tree produces fruit before it produces leaves so that if leaves appear the time of fruit is past. Israel has not borne the fruit that was required of it. Jesus Christ has condemned that Israel, that it will produce no fruit forever. But, now God has put Jewish people into the land and has made a new Israel. This Israel will bear fruit in the end time.

Zechariah 8:23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.

This is the second time that Jesus has run opportunists out of the temple. He performed this feat at the beginning of His ministry, as well, reported in John 2.

Here is an underscoring of the fact that the Jews are still under the Law given to Moses in this passage. For, after the Holy Spirit had come the individual Christian was God’s temple and is so today.

1Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Have the tables of the moneychangers and those who hold God’s temple in contempt been swept from your heart?

17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Psalm 93:5 Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.

Isaiah 56:7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

Jeremiah 7:11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.

18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. 19 And when even was come, he went out of the city.

Note that the emphasis is on Jesus although the disciples would have followed Him. It is petty and misleading for modern Bible versions to say “they” instead of “he” in verse 19 when the Byzantine Text agrees with the King James Bible. It is these little changes that lead to great error as they build up over and over in the Bible.

Notice in verse 18 that the scribes and chief priests are afraid of Jesus because the people are drawn to Him. They are envious.

Even Pilate will know later that Christ was delivered up because of this envy over the people’s attention.

Mark 15:10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.

This is our Monday night.

20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

This is our Tuesday morning.

21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. 22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

The Israel of that day had been given chance after chance to be a light to the world and had refused.

23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Verse 26 is removed from modern versions based on the authority of Westcott and Hort’s Greek text. Removing that verse makes way for so-called Christians persecuting and murdering other Christians all through history.

As this section is linked together it is clear that he is talking about Israel and this dispensational truth is given to the Jewish Apostles. This is not a statement that can be claimed by any priest or pastor today. It is so clearly embedded in the doctrinal application apparent here to the Jewish apostles who are sent forth into all the world then and in the Tribulation to come which would have come then had the Jewish leaders accepted Christ but we’ll save that for Acts. It is real simple. You must learn how to separate doctrinal truth from spiritual or practical truth. The Bible is written mostly to the Jews doctrinally. The Old Testament under the Law and before, the Gospels still under the Old but in transition, as is Acts a transitional book. Then, the church age begins with Romans and ends in slavery with Philemon, with Hebrews being a transition to the Tribulation, then the Tribulation letters, or General or Catholic Epistles as they are called, and then finally Revelation.

You can apply any verse to the Christian doctrinally from the Church Age letters and any verse from any book doctrinally to you that doesn’t contradict the doctrine in those letters. Any verse anywhere can be applied to you practically or spiritually and it is important to find out how a verse may apply to you today. It’s important to read the entire Bible over and over to see this clear division. It’s not rocket science but quite simple.

Doctrinally, specifically, the Church Age letters apply to me. Doctrinally, specifically, any other verses may apply that don’t contradict the doctrine in the Church Age letters. Every verse in the Bible applies to me in some way, usually in a practical way that helps me draw close to God if I can pray to the Holy Spirit to teach me. However, I am not called to kill Canaanites and just because I forgive someone doesn’t mean that they are right with God and I am never going to make Mount Rainier slide into the Pacific Ocean with prayer.

Literally, and doctrinally, the Mount of Olives will move when Jesus comes back.

Zechariah 14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Literally, and doctrinally, a mountain falls into the sea during the end time struggle.

Revelation 8:8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;

You can make all kinds of spiritual applications to a Christian, making the mountain an obstacle in your life, but doctrinally you need to face facts and quit this accusing sick people of not having enough faith to be healed. This is nonsense and wickedness.

Look at verse 24 and dispensationally and doctrinally link it with another verse written for the same dispensation.

James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Here’s another doctrinal “Tribulation” verse that qualifies this verse.

1Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

And another.

1 John 5:14 ¶ And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

And another.

1John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

And another.

Proverbs 28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

False preachers and confused “Christian” denominations who wrench these verses out of the Tribulation doctrinally and apply them now destroy the faith of many. The spiritual application for a Christian in the church age is you must live in obedience to the truth that Christ has given you to have that sweet communion with God and to have any consistent answer to prayer. However, you will not physically move any physical mountains of dirt and stone with your faith.

Verse 25 and 26 are more verses that are misused. This is doctrinally applicable to the people in the Tribulation who are waiting for Christ’s immediate return to take over the world. They are now true if you want that fellowship with Christ that fills you with His glory. However, you are already forgiven as a Christian.

You are forgiven and are sealed by the Holy Spirit. Read Ephesians through very carefully. Even if you don’t do one single work because you are a lazy, useless Christian.

Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

If, after being saved, you get conned out of your faith by a charismatic individual or the education your parents have sacrificed you to and/or you become confused about what you believe. Remember, Christ’s Spirit is in you and you are sealed, as you saw in Ephesians.

2Timothy 2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

Many young Christians have been sacrificed through the fire to Molech in a figurative sense by being sent to government schools for brainwashing and propaganda and grow up and out of their faith. Their parents will answer for that at the judgment seat of Christ if they themselves are indeed saved.

One of the greatest sins of modern Christian pastors and teachers and the reason why the greatest impediment to real revival in our churches is usually the pastor himself is their forcing the Bible to contradict itself because they are unable or rather unwilling to rightly divide the word.

2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

27 ¶ And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, 28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?

This is the essential problem of mankind. Modern man does things justified by his own authority. Those worshippers at the feet of humanism, scientism, and naturalism have their final authority as themselves. Jesus is my final authority through His Book, the King James Authorized Version of the Bible. To the fundamentalist who upholds the originals, the Textus Receptus (which one?) and the Second Great Rabbinic Bible aka the Masoretic Text, which he nor anyone he knows has ever seen, he is still his only authority because he would have to translate the Greek or Hebrew original and his translation would have to be the authority.

You can’t get around it. The fumbling fundamentalist comes to I Corinthians 15:55 and;

1Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Now, when the modern fundamentalist comes to this verse he sees that grave is translated from the word, Hades, which he refuses to translate but rather transliterates. In doing that he renders the verse meaningless. What is Hades in context? What about this verse?

Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Once again, our brave scholar will refuse to translate Hades as hell or anything else. He will simply transliterate Hades. Hades, as a word, means nothing unless it is translated. Now, you can’t have it both ways. Either, God had His hand in the AV’s translation and it is His word and you can trust it as your final authority or any one of the other 200 or so versions based on Egyptian manuscripts are equal in authority in which case you have no authority but your own choice “du jour”.

I know the AV is true and the word of God if for no other reason than that reading it over 57 times has changed my heart and even removed specific desires for and enjoyment of specific sins in my heart and mind. If you say to me that the NKJV, the NIV, or the NASB are equal to the KJV in power then I ask you, how many times have you felt compelled to read one of them? In fact, I don’t know anyone who has been drawn into a book so intensely, outside of the KJV, that they have felt a hunger for it like this. But, I know many people who claim that they have read the KJV dozens of times and continue to read it and will read it until they die and that doing so has changed them dramatically. In fact, I know of one old preacher who insists he has read it 175 times + in his many years.

Okay, Christian, you say you believe in the “fundamentals” of the faith? By what authority do you believe these things? By your own heart? By your own reasoning? By some unseen force you think came into you while you prayed? Without the word of God you have no authority other than your own imagination to believe anything. Do you have the word of God? The actual words of God? If you don’t have the actual words of God that He wants you to have, then what do you have? A reliable translation? No, you have your own presumption and self-worship, and worship of someone’s intellect, perhaps other than your own.

You are not a Sudanese Christian who has never seen a Bible and can only stand firm on his faith in Christ and die for it or be enslaved. We are a literate culture with literally hundreds of millions if not billions of Bibles in print. Do you say that none of them are the actual words of God and that God’s actual word is something that is unavailable to us? Then, how do you know anything by faith? By what authority, Christian? By what authority do you believe these things?

29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me. 31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? 32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.

He has put them in a quandary. They realize that either way they answer the question will be politically unacceptable. So, I ask you, where does my faith and trust in the Authorized Version come from? If from Satan, then does Satan call us to cease from drinking “spirits” so we can drink of one Spirit? Does Satan call us to renounce pornography in all of its forms and chasten us when we stumble and sin? Does Satan have us read a Bible, any Bible dozens of times? Does Satan remove our wicked lusts and desires and replace them with a hunger for God’s words as we feel physically ill at our sins? Does Satan impress upon us a strong “No!” when we think of wanting to sin? Would Satan want us to memorize dozens and dozens of verses and recite them every morning on our knees? Does Satan give us a heart for the lost and dying? Do you who believe in any Bible as being valid do these things? If not, where does your authority NOT to do them come from? Who is telling you it’s not important to memorize Bible verses or to read the Bible over and over or to trust its promises or to delight in its words? Who is your final authority? If you say it is Jesus Christ, would He say that His words weren’t important for you to be filled with? Are you sure you are serving the Risen Saviour? Or are you serving your own imagination and reasoning? Your desire to be spiritual? Your longing for transcendence? Is Christianity merely another self help philosophy with the added benefit to you that you’ll “go to a better place” when you die?

33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mark 11:1-10 comment: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord

1 ¶ And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, 2 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.

He is going to fulfill Scripture here.

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

We’ve discussed “and” previously as a word that links synonymous words or phrases in the Bible. Here, in Zechariah, the ass is further defined as a colt, the foal of an ass. Christ is not trying to straddle two animals although if you don't read the account in Matthew 21 with some common sense you might confuse yourself.

This represents the first Advent of Christ. Now in the next verse comes the second Advent;

Zechariah 9:10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.

This creature represents mankind.

Job 11:12 For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass’s colt.

He is now going to make a public statement by His actions. He is in the last week of His life on earth before the crucifixion. Here is the prophecy from Daniel.

Daniel 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

The Messiah will be cut off, which means killed. So, here, five hundred years before Christ we have a prophecy of the death of Jesus, executed by the Romans. Then, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the armies of the future emperor, Titus, under his father, the Emperor Vespasian, in 70AD is foretold.

3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. 4 And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.

Here is a lost man in type, tied up outside at a place where two ways meet, a crossroads.

Luke gives you another perspective on this;

Luke 19:30 Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.

You, unsaved man, are a jackass that needs to be loosed and rode by Christ. No one has ever ruled over you as you are your own god, serving Satan’s purposes by your actions and thoughts, but all the while thinking of yourself as a god.

Other men loose you, giving you the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and Christ takes possession. Otherwise, you are bound for Hell.

5 And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? 6 And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. 8 And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: 10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

Satan would have many Fundamentalists believe “that cometh in the name of the Lord” should be removed from verse 10 in their modern (per)versions.

Jesus Christ is being publicly hailed as a king by the Jews. Of course, later, they also will cry out to crucify Him. But, here they fulfill Scripture mentioned earlier.

Luke 19:38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

If the people didn’t shout as it calls for in Zechariah 9:9 then the stones would shout. The Scripture cannot be broken.

(It’s rather odd how stones are said to be a witness between two parties making a covenant. See Genesis 31:44-49 and Joshua 22:26-34 on the testimony of stones whom one Bible commentator conjectured might record sounds so they would be a testimony in more than a symbolic way. Some rocks do make sounds when struck depending on what they’re made of and I haven’t found a satisfying scientific explanation for it so I don't have a lot of information on it.)

Isaiah 12:6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

Isaiah 40:9 ¶ O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Isaiah 62:11 Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

Zephaniah 3:14 ¶ Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mark 10:46-52: And Jesus stood still

46 ¶ And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

Here is a picture of the sinner getting saved. This is Jesus’ last time in Jericho. This is Bartimaeus’ last chance. Is it yours? He is blind, like we were, sitting by the highway, begging, like us. We want peace, we want healing, we want to have the pain in our soul go away.

47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

Many of our friends and family, particularly those who are nominal Christians, will try to dissuade us from receiving Christ, lest we become, in their mind, fanatics.

49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

Thank God, Jesus stood still when you cried out for salvation. Here is the God of the universe stopping what He was doing for some beggar on the side of the road. When someone we think of as great stops to acknowledge our needs or just to acknowledge us we are amazed. Here is our Creator stopping for one blind man.

50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

Here is a picture of salvation as you cast away your dirty rags of self-righteousness for Christ.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

You cast things away when you come to Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:8 ¶ But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. 52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Salvation is not a process. It’s immediate and performed completely by Christ in response to your belief that He can and will save you. This is why you can’t lose it. You did nothing to earn it but to cry out.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Mark 10: 42-45 comments: His life a ransom for many

42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

The great Pastors suffered much to lead their flocks. Those egotistical saps who become preachers out of a desire for self glory and self righteousness are just so much chaff. The true leader in a church is a servant first. Just as everyone who graduates from college wants to be offered the presidency of a company without working their way up through the ranks, many who join a church figure they are deserving of some post within the church that makes them look good and seem spiritual.

A minister is not to be a Lord over the flock. He is to serve the flock.

1 Peter 5:1 ¶ The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

If any man be contentious about the meaning of an elder referring not to a preacher or pastor then notice that in the first verses of the second and third letter of John, he refers to himself as the elder. See above that Peter calls himself an elder. Any of the senior men of the church are elders, including the Pastor and Deacons.

Be an example, be a servant, but don’t try to be a king over the flock. That is Nicolaitanism, the doctrine of ‘victory over the laity.’

As for the ransom paid, the “fathers” of modern Bible versions, Westcott and Hort, were willing to consider that the ransom was paid to Satan, which is blasphemy. Those reprobates found the Biblical doctrine of the ransom for us paid to God the Father to be repugnant.(1)

Exodus 30:12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.

Jesus’ life is the only ransom sufficient for our sins, for those who have received Him. A man or woman must first realize that they have sinned against God. They are sinners. It’s a genetic thing and a spiritual thing we inherited from Adam and Eve. From the moment a person realizes the difference between good and evil he or she is guilty, just as Adam and Eve were, and he or she is dying in their sins until they are reborn by the risen Saviour.

You say, but it’s not fair. I was born that way. And I say, it is very fair because God has given you a way out of the inevitable fate of all human sinners. You simply receive the Lord Jesus Christ, who was God in the flesh as your Saviour. You trust Him. You believe what He said about Himself. You let Him speak to you through His words in His Book and change you for His own purpose. But, it’s by His righteousness that you will get into Heaven and have eternal life. Your righteousness is and will always be garbage without Him.

(1) Arthur Hort, The Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort (London: MacMillan & Co., 1896), 428.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mark 10:35-41 comments: the nerve o' some people!

35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. 36 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? 37 They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. 38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: 40 But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared. 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.

Here is a classic example of how carnal Christians are today. We want to make an exhibition of ourselves, to receive a reward, to be glorified. We don’t really want to share in Christ’s sufferings or to submit every thought to Christ, but we want to be the big man or woman. America has become a casualty of Christian self-worship. James and John not only have the audacity to demand something of Christ but they respond that they can drink of the cup that He will drink from and be baptized with the baptism He will suffer without even knowing what He’s talking about.

They want to think of themselves as the top dogs and glory over the others which does not make the other apostles happy at all.

With regard to these verses, examine the sufferings of the Jews in history who drank deeply of the cup of Christ’s sufferings without wanting to, many murdered by Christians, and of the Christian martyrs who were murdered by other so-called Christians in the most inhumane ways possible. They did indeed drink of the cup that Christ drank of. The Great Tribulation, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, is coming where past events will be completely overshadowed.

Christ drank the cup of God’s fury for us but….

Psalms 75:8 For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.

Revelation 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

Revelation 16:19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

You think meteorite chunks breaking a few windows are bad? You think an earthquake and tsunami are frightening? Be glad you won’t be here to share in the cup of the fierceness of his wrath.

Be glad you are saved, if you are. If not, then believe on and trust in Christ. Hard times are coming.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mark 10:32-34 comments: he shall rise again.

32 ¶ And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, 33 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: 34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.

Psalm 22:7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 50:6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

Jesus reveals here that He knows where it will happen, who will do it, and what will happen three days later.

Read the context from which the following verses are drawn.

Genesis 22:4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. (Abraham goes to sacrifice the son God promised him at Gods’ command just as God will sacrifice His own Son, who is Himself in the flesh.)

Genesis 40:20 And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. (See Jesus’ and Judas’ fates here; this Pharaoh, a type of God the Father restores the chief butler to his position but hangs the chief baker.)

Genesis 42:18 And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God: (One man’s life is a hostage for many, Jesus takes our place in judgment. Simeon is a type of the Law, providing only a temporary means of salvation until the younger brother, Benjamin, a type of Grace comes, and Joseph, a type of Christ, reveals himself to his brethren and their salvation is made sure. This is typical of a double prophecy, looking forward to the Resurrection and to the Great Tribulation.)

2Kings 20:8 And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the LORD the third day? (A sign is given, time goes backwards, to show Hezekiah he will recover. This miracle defies the laws of Physics and all that science believes. Time does not reverse itself. The sign of the Resurrection is an even more startling miracle, a complete reversal of all we believe about death. Jesus is flayed alive, tortured and executed on a cross, and is 100% dead but comes back from the grave.)

Hosea 6:2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. (What could be a more clear pre-telling of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and of the Jewish people as the Millennial Reign of Christ begins on earth keeping in mind 2 Peter 3:8?)

Much of the Bible is a closed book if you don’t hold to the pre-millennialism of the early church.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mark 10: 23-31: who then can be saved?

23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? 27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

This is so clear that only a scholar could confuse it. The eye of a needle is the eye of a needle. It’s impossible to get through it but with God nothing is impossible. We are NOT talking like so many liberal scholars insist about a small door that a camel has to crawl through after having its burden offloaded. Quit trying to impress people with your brilliance and read what it says. There is no difference between the fundamentalist or the liberal scholar in this. Both love to add to God’s words to elevate their own intellect.

The application here is that you, if you have riches, will trust in those riches, not God.

1 Timothy 6:6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

If you have swallowed the baloney about a “needle gate” then notice that “with men it is impossible”. It is not impossible for the proverbial camel to crawl through the proverbial needle gate after his burdens have been offloaded. It is a miracle for a rich man to get saved.

28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.

Peter’s looking for a return on what he has done for Christ. I can see some fundamentalists now in whatever ministry, either paid or not paid, sitting around chewing the fat with their friends. “I’ve sacrificed my whole life for Christ. I’ve done things He never asked me to do that came from my own self-glorying, vanity, and self-righteousness. I’ve ignored the things He commanded me to do for the poor, the weak, and the helpless. I’ve majored in the minors and minored in the majors. There isn’t any weighty theological problem that I haven’t considered absolutely irrelevant. God sure was lucky to have me on his team. I can’t wait to see my rewards.”

29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

Your ultimate reward for trusting in Christ as your Lord, believing in His resurrection, and trusting in His righteousness is eternal life. ‘Nuff said.

The Christian has thousands upon thousands of houses to worship in, thousands and thousands of older women in Christ he or she can think of as a mother (1st Timothy 5:2), brothers and sisters in Christ innumerable, children he begat in the Lord (1st and 2nd Timothy 1:2), and the entire universe is their possession with Christ. The Christian is also going to have persecutions, though, because the world hates the Christ of the Bible. But, in the world to come he or she will live forever with Christ.

31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

Peter is warned that those who think they are the first and foremost may find themselves the hindermost. And those humble Christians who expected very little but were just glad to have Christ will find themselves in a preeminent position. Way too many are legends in their own mind. Way too many.

We started with a rich man who was a good Jew. He was just like a good American. He always tried to do the right thing. But, he loved his money too much to follow Christ. We get to Peter who is like a good American Christian, giving it all up to follow Christ, he says. What’s he going to get, he wonders? What are his crowns or rewards? Christ reminds him of the abundance he can already claim but ends with a warning. A lot of people who think they are all that and a bag of chips will be carrying the water for humble people who are thankful and ask for no more reward than the bounty they’ve been given.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mark 10:17-22 commentary: giving it all away

17 ¶ And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

Psalm 38:20 They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is.

If you follow Jesus Christ you will have plenty of enemies. God is the only entity, person, in the universe who is good. He is the judge of all good. Human beings alone couldn’t cut it. Because;

Psalm 14:3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Psalm 53:3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Only God is holy and good.

1Samuel 2:2 There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

Psalm 145:8 The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. 9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

Jesus quotes the commandments that have to do with interpersonal relationships. He does not mention the commandments toward God. Defraud refers to coveting, wanting and taking or denying what belongs to someone else by treachery and deceit. See the use of defraud in Leviticus 19:13 as robbing your neighbor by keeping back his wages. 1 Corinthians 6 is about cheating a brother. 1 Corinthians 7 is about a husband and wife cheating each other out of their sexual responsibilities to each other.

20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

He took these rules seriously all his life. But, there are many people who are good, moral people who don’t really see the point of what Jesus has said. Paul told us Christians;

Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

It is not enough as a Christian to simply not do certain things. Many, however, define their Christian life by not drinking, not cussing, not looking at the wrong woman, not taking things that don’t belong to them, but virtually any non-Christian religion teaches that or something like it. There is more to being a Christian than what you don’t do.

21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

Christ tells him to sell ALL of his possessions, give to the poor, and to join in with the apostles, following Christ. He didn’t call him a liar and He loved him. He knew he was sincere and Jesus knew the man’s weak spot.

We are told to work so we can give to those who have not.

Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Notice that the reason for laboring is not to build personal wealth so you can retire at 50 and live in a condo on the Gold Coast of Florida. It is to have for the purpose of giving to those who have not. This isn’t about government extortion in the form of higher taxes. This is you voluntarily giving of the money you’ve earned, that God has given you, to help feed, clothe, and support people who are actually, not willfully, poor.

I know an elderly person who thinks that the greatest good they can do is to enjoy their fine home and be an obedient, law-abiding, and taxpaying citizen. After all, isn’t it good that I can enjoy my stuff?

American Christians tend to hold onto their possessions. They cling to them like a child to his toys. I’ll do good but let me keep my stuff. However we are not to be defined by what we own but by our relationship with Christ.

When a man wanted Jesus to judge over he and his brother’s physical inheritance Jesus refused and gave them a little mini-sermon on covetousness.

Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

If your life is defined by what you own or if you define the importance of other’s lives by what they own you are a pathetic Christian.

We are told not to set our affections on material possessions, things on this earth.

Matthew 6:19 ¶ Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.[mammon is wealth, money, or the economic system personified]

From the end of World War II when all of our future competitors lay prostrate on the ground, America arose to be the dominant economic power in the world. Our middle class, forged by God’s bountiful hand of mercy, by hard work, ingenuity, and productivity, watered by government benefits in the form of the GI Bill for homecoming veterans of World War II and low interest home loans was the envy of the world.

For thirty years, from 1945 to 1975 we were on top of the world, literally, from an economic perspective. Even today, depending on whom you read our economy represents around 25% or more of the world’s total.

But, Americans began to view prosperity as a birthright to being an American. Americans began to regard each generation having a better life than the previous as their due. They weren’t grateful to God and, in fact, began to reject God and engage in self-worship on a grand scale. Bible reading and prayer were summarily tossed out of schools, the unborn were treated like so much diseased tissue to be surgically removed, and we bought and paid for murderous dictators around the world to do our bidding, denying their pitiful subjects the same rights we believed were God-given to us.

The super wealthy and Wall Street began preying on our consumer driven culture, moving production to poorer countries where they could exploit people with less of an expectation for a standard of living than we had come to desire. They manipulated government regulations and the tax system to create a benefit for themselves. All the while regular people who tried to start a business from scratch were facing tougher and tougher obstacles and needed more and more capital to get started.

Government continued the process of taking from the productive part of society, those people who worked and struggled, to give more and more to those who either could not produce or would not produce. More and more the richest and most powerful and the government took more and more of the produce of the sweat of the vast majority. Political parties targeted constituencies and tried to pay them off for votes with everyone else’s money as often as they were in power.

One day, a potent symbol of our financial power, the World Trade Centers in New York, were brought down. We did not get the message. Then, a few short years later our phony baloney economy collapsed. We continued to walk away from the one who created us.

In verses like Psalm 50:10 God says that all wealth and natural resources belong to Him. God says that all you have is His. So, maybe now He’s taking it back. America has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. See Daniel, chapter 5.

22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

What Christians have in America is almost always more important than Christ. Why was this man sad? Was he sad because he had so many possessions that giving them away would be a lot of work? Or was he sad because he loved his possessions more than he loved God?

Whatever a Christian cherishes more than Christ will keep him from following Christ.