Friday, September 4, 2015

Kim Davis Needs to Submit or Quit?

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Romans 13:1

It seems there are many Christians who either do not understand the battle in the heavens that is occurring around them or who do not hold a true biblical worldview.  Reading comments on social media sites often bears this out.  For instance, there are those that hold the opinion that Kim Davis should have simply done her job so that she could be in line with the verse above calling for believers to submit to governmental authority.  Others feel that she should just tolerate what others are doing "behind closed doors" and just try to get along in love.  One quote said, “No one’s being jailed for practicing their religion.  Someone’s being jailed for using the government to force others to practice their religion."  So are these points really valid. 

Is this true?  Does the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 2:13-14 also bear this out when he writes, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme or to governors…”  There seem to be some pastors who think her proper course of action would be to have just quit and step aside rather than try to be "a hero"  (A Case in Point—Not a Hero).  What would happen to society if every Christian suddenly left their job every time godlessness was displayed in public?  Is that the right thing to do?  What if every teacher who will soon be forced to teach homosexual behavior as normal just walked out of their classroom rather than take a stand?  Should Christian doctors be forced to murder infants just because the government has deemed abortion legal to the point of even funding it?  Should they just leave their practice?  Maybe all Christians should leave politics because everyone knows that politics is filled with unscrupulous men and women?  After all, even the apostles told us to follow the government and fear their sword. 

Well then it is apparent the both Paul and Peter were hypocrites, or were they giving us a greater example to follow when government goes astray?  Paul was ordered to stop preaching in the name of Jesus by government officials countless times.  What about both John and Peter being called to stop preaching in Jesus name by an official board of inquiry?  Look at their answer, “Peter and John answered them, “Decide for yourselves whether God wants people to listen to you rather than to him. We cannot stop talking about what we’ve seen and heard.”  They did not stop and were considered criminals because of it.  Really, how many times do we see them in jail for their stand for righteousness in the pages of scripture?  To use Romans 13:1 or 1 Peter 2:13 to justify siding against God on moral issues He alone has the authority to define is just plain bad hermeneutics.

So, should a care giver at a nursing home stop offering assistance to a person because they are gay?  Should a cashier at a grocery store not sell something to someone because they are clearly a crack addict?  Should a pastor meet folks at the door and usher out every prostitute that tries to enter the church?  Of course not!  These are person to person responses where one might be given the ability to be the hands and feet of Christ to minister healing or salvation.  God always has redemption in mind, and that is the key to the situation that this Kentucky clerk finds herself in.  To permit a marriage license that is a direct affront to God from an unjust government is paramount to sending a message that God has changed His mind about what is right and wrong at a national level.  Here we have much biblical precendent.

Was not Daniel a government official?  He held one of the top positions in the government of Babylon.  For the sake of tolerance and unity in the nation (actually, it was to make the Jews stand out in order to prepare them for persecution—sound familiar to recent government actions?) several bureaucrats came up with the plan that would make all prayer to the king alone.  Since individual spiritual beliefs were so powerful and they often revolved around national themes, it seemed to make sense to the king to stop all disobedience to His power and to issue an edict that created the worship of the king (This was also an issue the early church faced in Rome, and we know that these folks died in their official positions and their lives rather than desecrate the name of Jesus by worshiping a mere man).  However, Daniel REFUSED to follow the law which was a violation of his governmental established authority as a public official.  To Daniel, serving God was more important than a man-made law that defied the Commandments of God.  He didn't quit!  He stood firm to see the LORD's salvation.  How many souls may have been lost had Daniel just faked a prayer for the sake of unity, “love” and tolerance? 

Were not Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah also bureaucrats with a sworn duty of allegiance?  Not bowing to a statue in public after a royal edict was tantamount to treason.  Yet, they saw that serving God was much more important than following a godless law that would have destroyed their beliefs and biblical values.  Would we have even heard of any of these men above had they “Just quit” as some have suggested that Kim Davis should do?  Neither did they quit.  My friend, you will not see the 4th man until you are in the fire!

Would we know of the midwives of Egypt who rebelled against Pharaoh’s command to kill the Jews had they just ran from their official capacities rather than defile conscience?  What about Samuel the Judge?  He withstood a king to his face. Consider the many prophets who told the truth to erring kings. Were they wrong to “withstand the powers that be”?  Friends, we are in a spiritual battle for the soul of a nation.  To abandon your post in the middle of the war does not make one a hero but a coward. 

To justify the wicked in their sin by committing a sin of omission (running from duty so as to not “offend”) is an act of hatred not love.  It blinds the sinner from their need of salvation and effectively hides the cross.  As AW Tozer once said, “I’d rather stand with God and have the world as my enemy, than to go along with it to destruction.”  I would rather take a hit in the public’s eye while standing true to God than allowing anyone to think that their godless actions are acceptable to a Holy GOD. 

Hopefully you can see that Jesus Christ is Soon2Come.

y the way, Read Psalm 2 today!  When Jesus returns He will use a rod of iron to “use the government to force others to practice their religion.”   Those who use this foolish argument need to study Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome of California? He was the mayor of San Francisco when the citizens of California legally banned gay marriage in the state in 2004. He blatantly ordered his clerks to continue issuing marriage license in spite of the law. No judge sent him to jail nor chastised him, but he was considered a hero. Maybe they should also look at the civil disobedience of Sheriff Sandra Hutchins of Orange County, CA who is refusing to issue concealed carry permits in spite of the law.  Hmmm… sounds like double standards.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Jesus—The Amen

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Revelation 1:8

Amen!  It is the Bible’s last word.  Jesus, Himself, will ultimately get the last word.  With astounding insight Jesus declared that He was the Last Word.  Once the KING of Kings and JUDGE of Judges speaks there will not be anything left for anyone to say.  There will be no appeal.  There will be no rebuttal.  There will be no second chance.  His verdict is final.

This truth was proclaimed to a church that was in a lot of trouble.  It was the infamous church of the Laodiceans found addressed in Revelation 3:14-22.  The first portion of this compound Greek word is laos. Laos simply means people.  The second portion, dike, is Greek for justice.  Put together, the name means the “people’s justice”.  The letter reveals that the one who shed His blood to purchase their salvation had been left out of this human organization bearing His holy name.  The people, not God, were in control.  The devices, strategies, thoughts, ideas, doctrines, and methods of this professional church were men's inventions and not of the Holy Spirit's direction.  Therefore, Jesus immediately introduces Himself as "the Amen."

Jesus’ point was that He alone will get the final say.  While they might think they are in control and they know what is best even to the point of redefining God’s word, will, and way, The Lord wants them to understand the there will come a day when He speaks and all opinions, ideas, philosophies, and godless stratagem will be silenced before His majesty.  Christ went on to acknowledge that He also was the faithful and TRUE witness.  His point is well taken.  God has clearly spoken about righteousness, truth, and His ways.  All attempts to alter or change the truths of God are utterly vain and will be met with Divine justice in time unless one repents at the foot of the old rugged cross.

Truth!  Pilate asked the question, “What is truth (John 13:8)”?  Earlier in John's gospel, Jesus had already revealed what truth is, and like “amen”, He personalized it as well.  “Jesus saith unto him, "I am…the truth (John 14:6).”  Jesus Christ is the truth to the exclusion of all other “truth”.  The word truth has an interesting spelling in Hebrew and it speaks a similar message as the word amen.  It is the word “emet” spelled with the letters aleph, mem, and tav in that order.  The aleph is the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet while tav is the last.  Sandwiched between these two is the letter mem—the central letter in the Hebrew alphabet.  Truth is spelled with the first, middle, and last Hebrew characters. An old Jewish proverb says that truth is the beginning and the end and everything else in between.  Jesus was informing us that truth begins in Himself, ends with Himself and to Him all knowledge will be compared. 

His statement above in Revelation 1:8 is actually a statement of His ultimate power and Godhood.  He is the Alpha and Omega.  Being a Hebrew speaker as Paul mentioned in Acts 26:14, Jesus would have said "I am the Aleph Tav" giving us the framework for the expression of truth being that truth is usually expressed by language.  He is revealing that He is the Omniscient One--the source of all knowledge, wisdom,and understanding.  When He judges it will be with perfect knowledge for there is nothing hidden from His sight.  He then mentions that He is the beginning and the end who was and is and is to come, a time reference.  In other words, He is the Omnipresent One and there will be no place to run and hide from His presence.  Finally, He reveals that He is the Almighty—the Omnipotent One.  He has power to enact His retribution. 

May the entire world hear His voice! America—you need to hear His voice! You may think can redefine marriage and then persecute His people, people like Kim Davis, the brave clerk from Kentucky.  May it be clear to you!  Jesus Christ is the Amen and His Truth will prevail.  Before Him, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess the He is Lord to the glory of God the Father.  Call on Him as Lord and Savior now or bow in utter shame at the foot of His Great White Throne and proclaim it later—but you will bow to HIM that is Soon2Come!

May the LORD bless you Kim Davis.  Your judges will bow too!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

24—The King is Coming

The earth is the LORD'S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein…Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come.  Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.
Psalm 24:1, 7-10

If you have been following this series, the relevance of numbers and their biblical symbolism has been considered.  Specifically, we have been looking at 22, 23, and 24. The number 22 pointed to the suffering of Christ for our sins and shadowed His ministry as God’s Great Prophet.  The shadow of death is related to 23, and this number actually points to the service of Jesus as our Great High Priest.  It is certain that the ministry of Jesus has three distinct phases—prophet, priest, and king.  If 22 pointed to the prophet and 23 pointed to the priest, then it follows that 24 will point to Christ the KING of Kings.  This is exactly what is found in scripture. 

The value 24 follows the similar pattern of 22.  Remember that 22 was the product of 2 and 11.  The number 11 points to confusion caused by the sin of humanity and 2 relates the suffering and/or fellowship of Christ with our sin.  In Genesis 22 Isaac was offered as a type of Christ while Psalm 22 was a graphic picture of the crucifixion around 1000 years before that fateful day when Jesus hung between Heaven and earth for our sin.  Correspondingly, 24 is the product of 2 and 12.  Twelve is a well known number signifying the perfection of God’s government.  In short, 24 is the number portending the reign of the 2nd Adam, Jesus Christ.  It is a prophetic picture of the soon coming King who will reign for 1000 years from His throne in Jerusalem fulfilling His role as the Son of David while at the same time having an eternal reign as the Son of God. 

At first glance, Genesis 24 may seem to deviate from the pattern.  It is the wonderful retelling of Abraham sending out an unnamed servant (probably Eliezer of Damascus) to a distant land to find a bride for Isaac.  Isn’t this the same Abraham who was given the promise of a special heir through whom all the world would be blessed?  Genesis 24 is a beautiful shadow of the bride of Christ being drawn by the Holy Spirit to their Savior.  Every King needs a kingdom, does He not?  He also needs a queen at His side (hence a rapture shadow for the next post). More on this passage another day, but let’s suffice it to say that there is much more in this beautiful love story than meets the eye.  “And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them (Genesis 24:60).”

This brings us to one of the most obvious passages of Christ the King in scripture, Psalm 24.  Dovetailing perfectly in the trilogy of Psalms sharing the ministry of Christ, this Psalm foretells the second coming in stunning detail including the triumphal entry of Christ through the currently closed Eastern Gate.  Jesus isn’t returning as the Lamb that was slain nor is He returning for a group hug. No!  He is returning as the Lion of Judah, the Supreme Ruler of all humanity.  He will reign with a rod of iron and all will be done in holiness and righteousness.  Jerusalem will be His capital and to Him all will bow.  Only those with clean hands and a pure heart will enter that glorious reign.  Jesus is coming to straighten out this sinful world once and for all. The other Psalm of the King, Psalm 2, gives even more detail as does Psalm 12 (2x12=24). He arrives at a time when the godly men cease upon the earth even as Psalm 12 mentions.  It is at a time when the ungodliest of all men, the antichrist is usurping the throne of Christ. Jesus' promise of justice comes with Him!  “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him (Psalm 12:5).”

What a beautiful trilogy of Psalms.  Psalm 22 is the Psalm of Christ the Prophet.  Psalm 23 is the Psalm of Christ our Heavenly High Priest.  Psalm 24 is the promise of our Soon2Come

In 22 He is despised and rejected of the people and forsaken due to our sin. In 23 He is seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for the saints leading them through the valley of the shadow of death.  In Psalm 24 He is the glorious King returning with the armies of Heaven in tow. 

In Psalm 22 He died for you!
In Psalm 23 He lives to pray for you!
In Psalm 24 He is coming for you!

We see the cross with its shame in Psalm 22.
We see the crook and staff with their watchful care in Psalm 23.
We see the crown and its resplendent glory in Psalm 24.

His cry is in 22!
His comfort is in 23!
His claim is in 24!

By His death He was left strength less for us in Psalm 22.
By His intercession He is found strengthening us daily in Psalm 23.
By His return He is found to be the strongest of the strong in Psalm 24.

Bless the LORD Jesus Christ--Prophet, Priest, and King!  He is certainly Soon2Come and fulfill His ministry as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  Bless the Lamb of GOD!  Bless the Lion of Judah, mighty to save!