Saturday, December 30, 2017


Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. (Proverbs 3:16)

There is  a reason for leaving the final installment of the 3:16 verses of the Old Testament for last. In the preceding expository and meaningful studies of the 3:16 verses of the Great Prophets, we were deeply immersed in some very intense teachings. These Words which came directly from the Throne of God, via both the minor and major Old Testament prophets proclaim not just the current condition of humankind, but are pregnant with precise details of events which are either occurring right now, or will come when the gig is up (the End of Days).

Do not let this distinction between the so-called “Major and Minor” Prophets be an impediment. They are only called major because of the sheer volume of their work. Isaiah is a major prophet with an amazing work packed with 66 chapters! The so-called “minor” prophet Malachi only had four short chapters.  But an entire overview of God’s Rule, Sovereignty, Final Judgment and more can be found in two of those four chapters which Malachi wrote.  Isaiah is both historical and prophetic of events at the end of days. They all work together, for the Glory of God.

The key in comprehending; allowing the Holy Spirit to stir and convict our souls, and then applying God’s instructions so we may in complete alignment with Him, is Wisdom.

This is what Proverbs 3:16 teaches us at the end of all that has preceded in the 25 part-series on the Old Testament.  True Godly wisdom is the caveat for the woman or man of God to not just hear and know what He is saying, in these last days, but to track with His thinking. Wisdom from God is a completely different entity than the wisdom of the world. The twain shall never meet.

What the World calls “Wisdom” is actually secular knowledge. Acquiring more and more degrees, diplomas and certification – from  the IT fields to business to whatever, will bring prosperity and good living in the temporal (this life). But the true Wisdom of the Lord brings so much more.

The wisdom of the world seeks after self-fulfillment. 
The Wisdom of God seeks after God.
The wisdom of the world  looks after one’s own self-interest. 
The Wisdom of God furthers the Kingdom of God by understanding what He requires and thus, becoming “other-focused”. 
The wisdom of the world is what brought sin into the world.

Adam and Eve bought the lies of the serpent and saw the Forbidden Tree, which God had specifically put off limits, as Eve noted in Genesis 3:6 (“….when the woman saw that the tree was good for food…..and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took the fruit and ate”.  Eating the forbidden fruit of this corrupt world, without the accompanying Godly wisdom and discernment is the final recipe for Spiritual Death and disaster.

Proverbs 3:16 is a statement of fact perfectly placed in the very center of instruction from the Lord, on being wise by His standards.  To know what this verse means, we look at Scripture explaining Scripture. 

James 1:5 says that "if ANYONE lacks wisdom, let him ASK of God” (Emphasis mine). However, listen to what the leader of the first ever Church in Jerusalem, and half brother of the Lord Jesus also said in the very next verse (6a): "But he must ask in faith without any doubting".  The Lord said through James- ASK IN FAITH.

We know from John 9:31 that ""We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him"

Therefore, from the Word of God, we know this fixed equation: to ask God for wisdom, we MUST have Faith in Him. This Faith only comes from knowing God, through Jesus Christ as Lord and Master of our lives. So knowing this, we can understand what Proverbs 3:16 is leading us to comprehend:

A. Long life is in her right hand.  In the Bible, the right hand is the more important or significant hand as it denotes power and favor. Jesus is said to be seated (in glory) on the "Right Hand" of God. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 22:44 about Himself, the following: "'THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET "'? (which He quoted from Psalm 110:1). 

So whether it is at the Right Hand of God, where Jesus the Messiah sits (so to speak) or the shot-gun rider on a western stage-coach, or the co-pilot on an airplane, or meet “so and so….my right-hand man” – we are talking important stuff! Here in Proverbs 3:16, Wisdom is the “her”, as in “her right hand”. For the first 15 verses, God instructs not just on the knowledge and benefits of being spiritually wise, but He implicitly tells us to be not “wise in our own eyes” (Proverbs 3:7).

There is danger for one who is wise in his/her own eyes. Bad choices based on self-created “wisdom” can lead to a horrible life, and one that is even shortened if illegal conduct like addictions, tax evasion or worse are involved. But the wisdom of God leads to a long productive life.

There is disaster for the person who “despises the chastening of the Lord” (Proverbs 3:11) because that means this person, (now in the majority these days) is telling God – “I don’t need You, I can do this myself”….or worse language than this.  The result of this is Romans 1:28  - God lets them go their own way. Even if they don’t drive off a literal cliff in this life, they already have gone off the edge and the pit of eternal destruction awaits them when they take their last breath. But the wisdom of God, allowing His discipline and guidance to correct our conduct and thinking, leads to a better life here and resting in His Shalom for an eternity.

This is the true meaning of the first part of Proverbs 3:16. Spiritual wisdom directs us to to trust and full obedience through His Written Word. This is the explicit guidance of the Holy Spirit which then leads to long life here and most importantly – Eternal life in the very Presence of God, where there are an infinite length of days!

B. In her (Wisdom) left hand riches and honor – When we think of a person of honor, from the Bible we have men like the Prophet Daniel. In modern Christian history, we have people like George Mueller who on his own, took care of 10,024 children at his orphanages during his lifetime. The 117 schools he started taught Christian education to 112, 000 children. Yet he only took a salary of the modern day equivalent of $10,291 (in today dollars) for his entire family and himself. He never fund-raised or begged for money like come churches and television preachers.  Still, none of the thousands in his care went cold, hungry or without clothes. Muller gave everything up and all he did was pray, and let God provide. In God’s Eyes, Muller’s example and his legacy are riches which will never fill an earthly treasury, but more important – matter tremendously in Heaven!

The incredible Prophet Daniel is well known for being thrown into a lion’s den by the Babylonian king who had not yet become a follower of the God of Daniel. The prophet received that unjust sentence because he refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s wishes and eat meat that was sacrificed to pagan idols. What is amazing about Daniel, is not just his prophesies or his faithfulness and prayers to Almighty God. What stands out to us is the following statement by the Angel, who had come DIRECTLY from the Throne Room of God to declare the following personal commendation to a mortal man. 

Here is the DIRECT Message sent by God and personally delivered to Daniel (CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL CHAPTER 10)
11 He said to me, “O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12 Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. (Daniel 10:11-12)

So here is what Godly wisdom, fueled by obedience and strong faith leads to (from Daniel 10:11-12):
Daniel got the highest honor ANYONE in the Bible could have DIRECTLY. God spoke to Moses, Abraham, Job and many others. But there was never a message like this. Daniel was held in high esteem in heaven, in both eternal riches and honor because his Godly Discernment and Wisdom resulted from actively pursuing God in prayer and no compromise with the pagan world.These are all gleaned from Daniel 10:12:
- Daniel set his heart on understanding (seeking God and His Wisdom through the Scriptures and prayer).
- Daniel was such a peaceful, humble man that he knew from whence cometh his strength. It came from God. He bowed at the Feet of the Throne where the Master abideth.
- Daniel prayed constantly. Because he sought wisdom. Because he, Daniel, was humble. When the words of Daniel, via his power prayers, reach heaven - God responded immediately and sent in the Cavalry!

Daniel's "left hand" ...joined with his right hand in prayer wisely prayed. God responded with eternal riches of high esteem in heaven and honor from the Throne. George Mueller sold all this possessions and lived on 300 British pounds (1800's) per year for his entire family. Mueller live his entire decades long life in ministry to countless thousands of children. Mueller's prayers were almost always immediately answered and thousands of orphans were clothed, fed, kept warm and instructed in the Lord.

These are all pure living examples of wise and humble heroes of the Christian faith. Today, these two recorded historical figures - Daniel and George Mueller - remain the highest of standards. But God is doing the same thing in places across His entire planet, which we will never hear of, until that Great Day of the Lord in Heaven, when all...and I mean ALL - will be revealed.

Long life and the love and respect of God Himself....these are the hallmarks of the truly spiritually wise man or woman who follows Jesus Christ. This is the cherry on top of an amazing walk through all "3:16" verses of the Old Testament.  

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


"Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name". (Malachi 3:16)
After some of the Jews returned from their exile (538 BC) to Babylon, for disobeying the Laws of God, they were a powerful and devout bunch under Ezra the Scribe and Nehemiah. But in very short order, once these great Godly men had gone home to be with the Lord, the remaining residents of Jerusalem turned rogue. Even the Levite priests went over to the dark side and began to serve two masters. While mouthing The Almighty and preaching the Law of God from the Torah (first Five Books of the Bible), they lived like the devil and the rest of the sinful world, following after the lusts of their dark hearts and even the strange gods of the surrounding nations.

So the Lord gave them one final prophet - Malachi (who proclaimed during and after the passing of Nehemiah). In all chapters of the final prophet of that Age, Malachi hit the wide-ranging sins of the people in Jerusalem and hit them hard. But, as God always does for His Remnant - He left Good News for those who love and follow Him, as we see in Malachi 3:16. However this is a small oasis in a desert of destruction and despair! To get to this cool, eternally-satisfying supernatural "water", we MUST educate ourselves why we even need an oasis, when everything around us seems to be going well.

Today, most people are well-off - in Europe, South America, the UK, Asia and across North America. Most do not even see a need for God in their lives, far less allowing Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Master of their lives. To them, Jesus is the cute baby in the manger at Christmas time. They even know the words to Silent Night or Joy to the World. To them Easter is about a man on a Cross and then Easter Eggs and ham dinners. But do not bother them with what the 33 years of the Life of Christ means to their eternal souls.  They recoil at the thought.

Whether billions of people believe it or not, from when Jesus lived on Earth and preached the Gospel to the present and the final act at the End of the Age, the Truth remains the Truth and God will continue with His Work. Malachi was the last the Jews heard from God for over 400 years! Yes, FOUR HUNDRED years. God did not speak for those four centuries but He told them exactly what was going to happen here - from Malachi Chapter 3:
   -  He is sending His messenger before Him (verse 1). Four hundred years later, the final prophet of the Old Testament - JOHN THE BAPTIST - appeared preaching Repentance and the Coming Messiah, who actually was his cousin, Jesus! John was sent by God, as a voice crying in the wilderness, literally saying He was preparing the Way for the Lord. Promise Kept.

   -  Prepared to be stunned in the very NEXT verse- Malachi 3:2a! What God is foretelling here is not the baby Jesus in the Bethlehem manger, but the Second Coming of Jesus! It is generally agreed to and gleaned from Scripture that Jesus will land in Jerusalem when He returns in fire and glory to first wipe out the heathens of this world, and then reclaim His Property on the Jerusalem Temple Mount. Everything in those Hills of Jerusalem belong to Him NOW - He is only coming back to reclaim. God says, and other Bible passages confirm - no one will stand. That means - no one on the earth. The followers of Jesus will already have been removed before this, so that the Armies of Heaven will have one final 100% house-cleaning to do.

   -   What confirms that what verse 2a is talking about is not the baby Jesus is this statement from verses 2b-3. The returning and conquering King Jesus is going to destroy and clean house by fire. Fire also refines and removes impurities and this is what is going to occur on that fearsome day of the Lord's return. The fullers' soap signifies and washing of the clothes of the saints or the redeemed believers in Jesus. But what the Lord is concentrating here is the Refiner's Fire.

There is no such thing, in this current world, as 100% pure gold or silver. If you go to a precious metals dealer, they will always inform you that the silver is 99% pure. So it is with Gold. It just proves that the only perfect entity in this entire universe is God. On His Return, His Fire will be both literal and figurative. His fire will separate the pure from impure and the dross that rises to the top will be skimmed off and thrown away. Judgement is coming, declares the Lord.

God does not just make wild statements and let them stand. Over and over, in both the Old and New Testaments, He tells exactly what the indictments and charges are, from the Grand Jury Room of Heaven. In Malachi Chapter 2 and in all previous pleadings with people to get right with Him, God teaches about sins in family life (from adultery to divorce and more). He talks about how to raise children many times. He talks about how to live within our communities and on and on. He then talks about how they were not paying their temple tax duties and tithes which they were supposed to under the Law. They robbed God. This particular teaching is used by some churches to teach a certain version of tithing which was actually only meant for the Jews. We still recommend Christians take 10% off the gross income (or more) when paid, and give it towards the Lord's work. But, as an aside, there is no tithing formula set by Jesus and Paul in the New Testament, except that God loves a cheerful giver. It is better to be wise and deduct your 10% when paid, and watch the other 90% bless your family.

God not only had the indictment of the people and their priests robbing Him of the 23% of income which supported His Temple and the poor, but He added the following charges from Malachi 3:5 -
1. He is going to punish them for witchcraft. Today, we have more dark arts and witchcraft than ever. They too will fall under this Judgment.
2. He is going to punish adultery and sexual immorality outside of biblical marriage, which He ordained in Genesis 2:24
3. He is going to punish them for perjury (lying under oaths made before God).
4. He is going to punish all who exploit the poor, widows, orphans and today, all who persecute Christians and promote abortion and other decadent lifestyles.
5. He is going to punish those seeking legitimate refuge.
6. He is going to punish them - MOST OF ALL - for the sin of Unbelief and refusing to recognize, honor and respect God because every previous sin listed and unlisted, stem from the act of unbelief. Too many do not fear or believe their own eternal peril.

When the Lord sent Malachi to tell these people the coming divine charges and felonies they committed, they reacted with fake outrage. In fact, they act just like the Lost do today who say to each other and the evangelist "I'm a good person....I never robbed a convenience store....or killed....or stole another man's wife....or....or...." and on and on, we hear the list of why a person without Christ, thinks he/she is going to heaven, based on nothing else but "i am good enough...and not as bad as Hitler or Stalin or Mao and Castro....or that guy down the street". We recognize these people as hopelessly lost in their self-deception because those people used to be us, before we were brought face to face with our sin and eternal future and had to make a choice, a decision.

Malachi 3:13-15 describe the modern lost soccer mom, librarian, IT manager, stockbroker, construction worker or local official perfectly. These next three verses tell the state of man, during the time of The 400 Year Godly Silence before John the Baptist, as it does in the 21st Century. Here is what God says: "13 “Your words have been arrogant against Me,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before the Lord of hosts? 15 So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up but they also test God and escape.’”

Many will complain on Judgment Day because they lived their lives with this lie. Some of them know it is a lie, (that we are "okay" and "everything will work out in the end") but they foolishly go along anyway. When Malachi prophesied this, in essence, from verses 13-15, EVERYONE got scared! This included God's Faithful Servants. Today, that would be the same as the Saved and True Christians being really scared that they too are under condemnation when we hear of the coming destruction of those who hate Christ. This is only natural and attributed to human nature.

But, God - in His love, grace and long-suffering, reminded His faithful and loving followers this we read in Malachi 3:16 that He has their names written down in His Book. In the New Testament, this Book of Remembrance is called the Book of Life, meaning all whose names are written in stone to get into heaven! Please take note of this portion of Malachi 3:16 here "Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name."

You and I have this blessed assurance, that when we are faithful and true and forgiven and redeemed and have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior....HE PAYS ATTENTION to our cares and fears!He really and truly cares for those who love Him! Our names are in His Book of Remembrance/Life. He "has our backs", so to speak. He is for us - NO ONE is against us! Glory to His Name!

But not just this one promise about names in a God's Book but here is the rest of the Promise from Malachi 3:17: “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” 

Here are some major promises from God the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. They are to be trusted, believed and acted upon by serving Him. While the fate of the wicked is as sure as the Second Coming of The King, God has this loving promise for those who love, honor, obey, trust, serve and proclaim Him....from Malachi 3:18: “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” 

Sunday, December 24, 2017


There is a huge industry today for anyone who wishes to discover our family roots. For years, was the most popular outfit for tracing one's family tree. Several have gone all the way back in their ancestry roots to Revolutionary Times. I have friends who can trace family roots way back to the famous Emperor Charlemagne.  Another friend's family fought in North Carolina during the War of Independence. I have held a rifle belonging to Private Cox who crossed the Delaware with General George Washington and the Continental Army and my wife's family can be traced back to their Protestant roots in Ireland. They had to flee to the USA for religious freedom, landing in the Carolinas.

These days, a company called has become the predominant one for tracing ancestral roots using DNA. Anyone who has used this, including myself, submits a sample of DNA, answers a lot of deeply personal questions, then submits the DNA sample in a secure container where it is analyzed in California and next thing you know, a huge report is emailed to you with stunning facts. That DNA sample we submit tells a person not just about his/her health traits and things to look out for, but you are then matched up with 2nd, 3rd, 4th and/or 5th cousins from all over the world. One thing you will immediately notice is there is no pure race out there and it proves one thing - we all came from the descendants of Noah who survived the Great Flood. They descended from Adam and Eve. We all share the DNA of our original parents!

So it is obvious that genealogy is a very useful exercise for us, scientifically and otherwise. So was it for the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The first Gospel ever written was the Book of Mark in 45 AD, just over 12 years after the Resurrection of Jesus. It was dictated to Mark by the Apostle Peter. However the former Jewish Tax Collector Matthew recorded the Family Tree of Jesus Christ, not long after Mark, so that the early Jewish believers would have proof of the Lineage of Christ, not just from Adam and Eve, but from the House of King David. This is significant, since the Prophets spoke directly from God about the coming Messiah Who will come from the House of David. Matthew, under inspiration from God Himself, wrote down the Lord's "family tree", for the early believers could follow and see how the prophetic and historic merged into one fluid narrative of fact. This was accomplished perfectly in the Gospel of Matthew.

The portion of Scripture which has the Genealogy of Jesus contains some very important things for us to note. It is not just be Faith we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and the "Son of David". How can this be when Jesus was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit? Well, there is the answer - both Mary (and Joseph) were descendants of King David! So Matthew showed the line from Adam and Eve to Mary. The ancient Jews were excellent at keeping historic records so these were readily available to him, until the Temple and Jerusalem were completely destroyed by the Roman General Titus in 70 AD. These pertinent records survived!

Therefore, below, we have the relevant part of Matthew Chapter 1 which traces the lineage of King David down to Mary, "by whom Jesus was born"!

In essence, the Family Tree of Jesus the Messiah is what we observe at Christmas time with the Christmas Tree, among other things! The Christmas Tree, as part of the birth of Christ observance, did not come on to the scene until the late 16th Century AD in Germany, but it is a great illustration of how we got here!  It gives us a point of reference to celebrate the King and point those who are yet to believe, to the Messiah, by sharing the knowledge of His earthly Family Tree! What a privilege it is to do so! Joy to the World, the Lord has come....and is coming again! Hallelujah!

Matthew 1: 
5 Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. 6 Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah. 7 Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa. 8 Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah. 9 Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah. 11 Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. 

12 After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor. 14 Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud. 15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob. 16 Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

Saturday, December 23, 2017


"And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him" Luke 2:25
When we think of the word “consolation”, immediately the thoughts go to “consolation prize – a gift to someone who has not won the actual prize or reward that is offered in any particular thing. It is not like one of those participation trophies that give children, so their feelings are not hurt, but a sympathy premium for one who has failed to place in a certain contest.

In the Bible however, the word “Consolation” (in this verse) has a completely different meaning. In God’s Kingdom, the word translated “Consolation” does not mean some pity party or back up prize or anything like that. The Word God used here by the Holy Spirit Who inspired the Greek Dr. Luke to write this Gospel is “paraklesis”!

The original word for “consolation” – Paraklesis – adds an incredible dimension to the Christmas story! Contrary to what modern languages treat as an almost throwaway prize to a person who didn’t place in a race or something, God’s Word “Paraklesis” is the main prize!

The Word “Paraklesis” means “a calling to one’s aid” first of all and in essence, it means “a coming to the aid, comfort, encouragement, joy….and consolation” of someone! It is the root word of another word “Paraklete” which is the Bible word for the Holy Spirit! We know the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God Who has done just some of the following:
-      Hovered over the Face of the unformed earth (Genesis 1:1)
-      Caused Moses to write the first five books of the Bible – the Torah – the   Beginnings of mankind and the Law
-      The Same Spirit raised Jesus from the dead, after He was crucified, died   physically and placed in a tomb. On Resurrection morning, Paraklete   raised The Alpha and Omega to visible life on earth.

With this in mind, about this unique man involved in the Christmas story, we return to Simeon and what his “waiting on the consolation really means”.  First, let’s look at Simeon. His actual Jewish name is Shimon and is similar to the man called Simon Peter, the great Apostle of Jesus Christ. He was such a great and devoted follower of Yahweh, that the Lord allowed Him the privilege of being recorded in History as the only person other than the Baby Jesus’ parents to hold the Christ child.

Mary and Joseph had made the long, probably day long trek from Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, in order that the 8 day old baby could fulfill the Law He (Jesus) wrote, to be dedicated at the Temple! (See Leviticus 12:3).  The same God, via the Paraklete – Holy Spirit, led Simeon (Shimon) into the path of this all-time special couple – Mary and Joseph, so Simeon could encounter the new baby before He was taken to the priests to be circumcised. 

What Simeon prophesied under the Anointing of the Holy Spirit, is not just profound, but forcefully emphatic of the Mission of King Jesus. In this one briefly recorded mini-passage, Simeon accomplished three things – two Kingdom-related and one very personal.
- Item 1:  On a deeply personal level, we see the reward of a faithful, devoted man of God. Here is what Simeon said after God Himself allowed Him to see God as a baby: "Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation" (Luke 2:29-30). The lesson for us today, and for ALL men and women of God, the 10% of us who have/live/promote a Biblical Worldview is this: God knows what who we are PERSONALLY and will shine His Mercy, Grace and Favor on Faithfulness. This is the true meaning of Romans 8:28a “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him".

- Item 2: The Promise of Judgment against the rebellious and enemies of God. Simeon prophesied something we know is coming, from both the very Voice of Jesus and many scripture passages throughout the entire bible.  He said in Luke 2:34-35 "And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed". The lesson for us in this sober Christmas message from Simeon for all time, until the end of time is two-fold. We had better prepare ourselves to leave this planet at a moment’s notice by having our hearts right before God and all our sins forgiven.  Secondly, we duty bound to tell and share the urgency of this message with everyone who will listen – even those who hate God outright. While there is life, there is still hope. It is not over until it’s over, because if these rebels leave this life in their current position of estrangement from their Creator, the sword will pierce their souls” Luke 2:35b). That sword is the Law of God which will use in their conviction and eternal punishment.

- Item 3: The Consolation was the Main Promise. Simeon held the Baby Jesus and said what the Lord wanted him to say: ",
29 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 A Light of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”(Luke 2:29-32) Then Jesus, when told the disciples who wanted Him to stay (John 16:7) "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” That Helper promised by the Savior Jesus was/is the Holy Spirit – the Paraklete, the Consolation of Israel and the Light of the Gentiles (those of us who are not Jewish born). 

The Consolation was The Main Prize…so to speak. It is not some prize we give to someone who does not win first, second or third. The Consolation is the actual Gift of God to ALL humanity and more specifically, available to all whose sins are forgiven and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, for the Salvation of our souls. Amen. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


"In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: Do not be afraid, O Zion; do not let your hands fall limp" (Zephaniah 3:16)
The last several 3:16 verses of the “Old Testament” are full of major End Time coming events which the men who wrote down these divinely inspired words, could not comprehend! One prophet after another described EVERYTHING from the conditions on the Ground during the Second Coming of Christ (Habakkuk Chapter 3) to the Armies of Heaven fighting the Final Battle of History. While they were doing this, they accurately predicted the Fall and Destruction of Jerusalem in the 6th Century BC (Before Christ).

God used His select few prophets, sometimes for decades of prophesying, so as to give people time to repent and be restored to Him. Today, in the 21st Century AD (Anno Domini - in the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ), He is giving modern man the same amount of Grace to turn back from the edge of the cliff. Today, modern man is even more corrupt than ever, and refusing to so do. But the work of the Lord continues.

Another prophet of old, who was prophesying against the corrupt city of Jerusalem at the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian invasion (along with prophets Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Habakkuk and others) was Zephaniah.  Even he (Zephaniah) was speaking of the end times we are currently living in, as well as the pending destruction by the marauding Babylonian army.  Zephaniah was very highly regarded as he was the great, great-grandson of King Hezekiah – the famous king whom God gave 15 extra years to live. Hezekiah was the king whose reign featured the prophet Isaiah and the well-known incident with the Assyrian King Sennacharib, where God Himself destroyed 185,000 of that Assyrian king's army which had laid siege to the Holy City.

Zephaniah Chapter 3 is very unique. Only the first seven verses pertain to the coming Destruction of Jerusalem and Judah by the rampaging King Nebuchadnezzar. The rest of the chapter (verses 8-20) are all Words about the Age yet to come - the End of Days. What is unique in this entire chapter is that the list of indictments which caused the complete destruction of Jerusalem in order to cleanse it, is the same list - on steroids - against ALL of the world today. The following is the list:

Destruction and Sorrow awaits the City (Jerusalem…and any people today) for the following reasons:

-   Their arrogance have made them smarter than God, in their own minds. So they listen to no one. They will not even think critically to an eye of correcting course where necessary. (Verse 2a)

-   Because of their arrogance and idolatry (then – in Jerusalem and now, where mankind rejects God is fiction), they will not put their Faith and Trust in their Creator God. Because of this rejection, they will not even seek and talk to Him. (Verse 2b)

-   The leaders of 6th Century Jerusalem, namely its kings, princes, legal system,  captains of business and the clergy are all predators….always seeking to satisfy  their own physical needs and lusts of the flesh. They seek to devour more and more. Their consumerism and lusting after power, material goods and more have made them predators against the weak, poor and the followers of Jesus Christ – now AND then. (Verse 3)

-   If you read the prophet Jeremiah, the preponderance of false prophets lying to the political leaders of the country will be immediately obvious. God Himself says that He did NOT send these fakes, that they are lying and He is about to permanently remove them. Today’s false prophets are not just those who are treated with awe and respect, even though all their so-called prophesies have been wrong. But it is the leadership (and by extension, membership) of a vast majority of those calling themselves Christians are proclaiming deadly error by getting involved in everything which has nothing to do with the Gospel or making disciples. In fact, they major in “social gospel” (socialism with bible verses); politics and even cultural transformation. (Verse 4a)

-  Just before Nebuchadnezzar, following God’s instructions, headed straight for the Temple and sacked it to pieces,  the priests of God’s Temple were bowing down to pagan idols in secret INSIDE the Temple, while pretending to worship God and doing His Will as laid out in the Torah. They not only brought these vile practices into the Lord’s House but endangered the souls of an entire population of their nation.  Church and ministry leaders today are doing the same – they have brought the corrupt secular culture and world’s standards to the Altar of Christ and expect Him to bless it. (Verse 4b)

Even with all these indictments,  all 6th century Jerusalem acted just like the world acts today.  He warned them over and over. He warned them with different prophets and circumstance, but they lied to themselves that it will all turn out fine in the end. Sounds familiar? The majority do the same thing today.  When there is a calamity or horrific event like a mass shooting or even 9/11 on September 11, 2001 – churches are filled and the talk of “thoughts and prayers” fill the air like Jingle Bells at Christmas time.

Herein lies the other indictment – there is no Faith or Belief in the God Whose wrath is obvious all the time to those who rebel and reject Him.

In the first eight verses, we see the parallels of Jerusalem’s pending destruction with life in any city or country today, and it is uncanny. In the rest of Zephaniah chapter 3, we see exactly what God is going to do – not just to Jerusalem but the nations around today. He never does anything in secret. Man has created all kinds of secret societies with weird symbols and rings. God has spoken several times, EXACTLY what He will do. Yet people ignore….and at their own peril, may I add!

In quick succession, here is what is coming down, very quickly (from Zephaniah 3:8-11):
  1. God will accuse and indict all nations of the world (then and today).
  2. God’s Courtroom will be packed with EVERY rebel nation (God says ALL nations) and evidence demanding a 100% guilty verdict will be presented without question.
  3. Judgment will be swift and fiery. This is not some American courtroom, but God’s Recording room with every act of rebellion pulled up, with the Book of Moses’ Law as the Plumbline of Truth.  Because none of these nations of the Earth are followers of Jesus Christ – NONE of them – they will be judge righteously by the penalties required by the Ten Commandments. Those are not pretty. Read all the consequences of every of those Laws of God in the books of Leviticus etc. Nothing will be left standing. When it is over – only Jesus Christ and the New City of Jerusalem will be left standing.
  4. The Remnant that remains (God’s people – Christians) will be cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb – in thought, word and deed. The dead in Christ will already be risen by the Rapture. The remnant will be those who were persecuted by the nations but are still alive.  The Lord will prepare them for the Heavenly Kingdom, in order that they will worship properly in Spirit and in Truth.
  5.  However, the majority of mankind, those who are awaiting judgment and those alive now, have a lot of cause to worry. Verse 11 promises complete removal from the eternal life. Oh, they will live in eternity, just not in the way they expect. God has promised again and again, no unholy, unworthy, unrepentant and unredeemed people will live in His Holy Presence.
The amazing thing about the Lord is with the promise of pending punishment is the guarantee of gushing Grace - grace upon Grace....for those who love God. Romans 8:28a promises that ALL things work together for those who LOVE God. Our Heavenly Father does NOT leave those who are born-again and love Jesus to hang out and dry. Read verses 12-20 below. 

The hope promised in Zephaniah 3:16 is fleshed out, big time in the rest of this chapter. Still, this is not even the half of it. But for those who fear, for those who care, for those who are waiting for answers to appear, the Lord says this:
-  Hold on a little longer.  Don't give up now. Keep holding on to Him even stronger and don't let your grip "go limp" (3:16). The stronger you and I hold on to Yahweh, the easier it is for Him to hold us up.

-  God will be in our midst. This promises our future residence in the Millennial Kingdom where the enemies will not even be around. Only those who love God will be allowed in this Kingdom. He has the following in store for us: love, joy, peace, a purpose, a plan and the Son of Man - Jesus, in Jerusalem, the Capitol of Peace.

-  Here is what the Lord says is the coming reward if we hang, with strong hands and stronger faith (verses 19-20): And gather the outcast, and I will turn their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. “At that time I will bring you in, even at the time when I gather you together; indeed, I will give you renown and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” says the Lord.

Do not let go. Stay by His side. Hang on to Him. God is good.

Zephaniah 3: Woe to Jerusalem and the Nations
1Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled,
The tyrannical city!
2She heeded no voice,
She accepted no instruction.
She did not trust in the Lord,
She did not draw near to her God.
3Her princes within her are roaring lions,
Her judges are wolves at evening;
They leave nothing for the morning.
4Her prophets are reckless, treacherous men;
Her priests have profaned the sanctuary.
They have done violence to the law.
5The Lord is righteous within her;
He will do no injustice.
Every morning He brings His justice to light;
He does not fail.
But the unjust knows no shame.
6"I have cut off nations;
Their corner towers are in ruins.
I have made their streets desolate,
With no one passing by;
Their cities are laid waste,
Without a man, without an inhabitant.
7"I said, 'Surely you will revere Me,
Accept instruction.'
So her dwelling will not be cut off
According to all that I have appointed concerning her.
But they were eager to corrupt all their deeds.
8"Therefore wait for Me," declares the Lord,
"For the day when I rise up as a witness.
Indeed, My decision is to gather nations,
To assemble kingdoms,
To pour out on them My indignation,
All My burning anger;
For all the earth will be devoured
By the fire of My zeal.
9"For then I will give to the peoples purified lips,
That all of them may call on the name of the Lord,
To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.
10"From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
My worshipers, My dispersed ones,
Will bring My offerings.
11"In that day you will feel no shame
Because of all your deeds
By which you have rebelled against Me;
For then I will remove from your midst
Your proud, exulting ones,
And you will never again be haughty
On My holy mountain.
A Remnant of Israel
12"But I will leave among you
A humble and lowly people,
And they will take refuge in the name of the Lord.
13"The remnant of Israel will do no wrong
And tell no lies,
Nor will a deceitful tongue
Be found in their mouths;
For they will feed and lie down
With no one to make them tremble."
14Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
15The Lord has taken away His judgments against you,
He has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
You will fear disaster no more.
16In that day it will be said to Jerusalem:
"Do not be afraid, O Zion;
Do not let your hands fall limp.
17"The Lord your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
18"I will gather those who grieve about the appointed feasts-
They came from you, O Zion;
The reproach of exile is a burden on them.
19"Behold, I am going to deal at that time
With all your oppressors,
I will save the lame
And gather the outcast,
And I will turn their shame into praise and renown
In all the earth.
20"At that time I will bring you in,
Even at the time when I gather you together;
Indeed, I will give you renown and praise
Among all the peoples of the earth,
When I restore your fortunes before your eyes,"
Says the Lord.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation