Monday, June 25, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - June 25, 2018

Today's Reading:

Mark 7:14-37

2 Samuel 18

Daniel 11:21-45

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading 

Today, I find an interesting connection between the reading in 2 Samuel and in Daniel. In 2 Samuel 18, we find that one of the duties of a watchman is to announce what is coming, keeping the city informed. Since we are all called to be watchmen, in a spiritual sense, I found this biblical account to be more than historically interesting. It is also spiritually compelling.

The battle rages today between the forces of good and evil. What tidings (news) of its advancements do we know? As the prophet Ezekiel queried, "Watchman! What of the night?" How late is the hour?

Currently, as we are reading through the book of Daniel, we are covering a great deal of prophetic information, which is specifically meant for God's Watchmen. The Book of Daniel is interesting, indeed. Each chapter adds dimension to the story of the powers and kingdoms which play a role at the end of the world. So, as read through Daniel 11, we find details which build upon the structure already established in the vision of the Image from Daniel 2, in the beasts of Daniel 7, in the prophetic timelines found throughout the book, and in the final 2300 Day prophecy from Daniel 8.

There are several key events to which God's Watchmen are to be alert. Certainly, it is vital to understand and rightly identify the Abomination of Desolation! This is the key event which starts the final 2300 Day timeline.

Daniel 8:13-14, 17 & 23 “How long shall be the vision concerning... the Transgression of Desolation... And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days... Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.”

The 2300 Day prophecy is an End-Time vision. It tells us that the final Time of Trouble will be longer than most have thought. The 2300 days is also the framework, within the Sabbatical and Jubilee cycle, into which all other timelines fit, as is shown in the diagram below:

There will be trouble for God’s people for 2300 days, for the Bible says that this is how long the Sanctuary (God’s House) and the host (God’s people) will be trodden under foot (persecuted). Within the 2300 day timeline lay all the other timelines.

In our April-June, 2016 News Magazine we showed that the final Abomination of Desolation will be the soon-coming 3rd Temple in Jerusalem, which will be the Seat of the Beast (Daniel 11:15-16, 45). The article is called Jerusalem’s Ultimate Temple Deception, available online at When this temple is set up, the final 2300 Day timeline will begin.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that Day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that Man of Sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 

When we are facing a trial or time of difficulty, it is only human to ask how long we must endure it. In the day-to-day struggles of life, we usually aren’t given a clear time-frame of “this-trial-will-continue-this-long-and-not-a-minute-more”. But the final Time of Trouble does have measurable length, prophetically given by our merciful Heavenly Father in Bible Prophecy.

Many Christians are aware that the final Time of Trouble will be 3 1/2 years, or 1260 days. This is the best-known time prophecy of Daniel. But while the portion of the Time of Trouble which is the worst—worse than any prior difficulty in all past ages (Daniel 12:1)—trouble doesn’t start with the Final 1260 days. The Final 1260 days is merely the end of the Time of Trouble, being the most intense period of all.

In the End of Time, Bible Prophecy gives several timelines, all of which play out in the Last Days. Timelines layer upon timelines, each representing an “uptick” in the intensity-level of the tribulation, just as do labor pains for a birthing woman (1 Thessalonians 5:3). 

Each timeline, within the final 2300 Days, contains key events. Each timeline starts and ends with important prophecies. And as the timelines progress, they each represent an increase in the intensity of the level of trouble and persecution until it all culminates in the final 1260 day timeline overlaid with the final 490 days.

This period will be the incomparable Time of Trouble, lasting 1260 days, or 3.5 years. During this period which the demonic Beast will reign, which is likely the reason this period of persecution will be worse than any prior persecution. (But we are to trust God and not fear!)

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the Book.”
Daniel 12:1

Before we take a serious look at the final 2300 days, examining how it starts, how it ends, and what events take place within it, we must first address it’s length. When the Bible says 2300 days, what does it mean? This concept has come into question over the reference to “evenings” and “mornings”. Some have interpreted the 2300 Day Prophecy to be a timeline of only 1150 literal days (or about 3 years). This is because it is believed that the “evening” and “morning” reference (Daniel 8:26) cuts the 2300 Days in half. Certainly 1150 days of trouble is more palatable than 2300 days (which is nearly 6.5 years).

To complicate matters, the Hebrew word for day  (which is “yom”) can refer to 24 hours or 12 hours. In Genesis chapter 1, we find the reference to the evenings and the mornings. In this case, each day (24 hours) is defined by the combined hours of the evening and the morning.

“...And the evening and the morning were the first day (yom).” Genesis 1:5

Clearly, in the Creation Week, the evening and morning portions of the day were added together to make a full 24 hour day (yom). Thus, in this instance the day (yom) is 24 hours.

But how can we be clear regarding whether the 2300 Day Prophecy is refering to 2300 24 hour days or just 2300 half hour (12 hours)? Which is intended in Daniel 8:26?

“And the (2300 Day) vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.”
Daniel 8:26

This is a situation where the other End-time Timelines lend an interpreting hand. (See the timeline graphic on the bottom of page 5.) If the 2300 Day prophecy were only going to last for 1150 literal days, we cannot account for the length of the other timelines, which clearly overlay it. For example, the 1290 Day timeline starts with same event, which begins the 2300 day timeline. Both timelines start with the setting up of the Abomination of Desolation.
The 2300 Day Timeline begins with the Abomination of Desolation:

Daniel 8:13-14 “...How long shall be the vision concerning... the Transgression of Desolation (Abomination of Desolation), to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?  And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days...”

The 1290 Day Timeline also begins with the Abomination of Desolation:

Daniel 12:11 “And from the time that ...the Abomination that maketh Desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”

If there were only 1150 literal days in the fulfillment of the 2300 day prophecy, layering it over the now-longer timeline of the 1290 days doesn’t work. This is especially true since the 1260 day timeline also ends with the same event which ends the 2300 Day timeline. Thus, the presence of these additional timelines, containing the same events as the 2300 days, makes it plain that Daniel 8:26 must be referencing 2300, 24-hour days, a period of about 6.3 years.

In the Last Days, every prophetic timeline will come into play, including the timelines from the life of Joseph. In the story of Joseph, a prophetic dream was given to pharaoh. In the dream he saw seven fat and healthy cows, which were devoured by seven emaciated and sickly cows. He then saw seven healthy ears of grain devoured by seven blasted ears of grain. Joseph, under divine inspiration, interpreted pharaoh’s dream explaining that  it represented seven good years (a time of preparation) which would be followed by seven years of trouble, famine, and dearth (Genesis 41:26-27). It is no accident that these two sets of seven years fit the timeline of God’s Sabbatical year cycle (Leviticus 25:8-9).

Because Christ will return on the Final Jubilee (since the land - earth - will return to its original possession in that year - Leviticus 25:10), we may be certain that the Sabbatical year cycle is still in effect. Thus, the Last Days will be set within the framework of the final Seven years, the last of which will be the last Sabbatical year, followed by the ultimate Jubilee. Needless to say, 2300 Days amply fits with a seven-year framework. 

Considering all these valid reference points, we may plainly see that there is no reason to interpret Daniel 8:26 as half days. This prophecy of the 2300 Days really will be 2300 literal days, as evidenced by the surrounding timelines which overlay and support it. Having addressed the length of this timeline, let us now turn our attention to the key events which define this sobering timeline.

Bible prophecy plainly warns that the final Beast will reign from a temple, which is proclaimed to be Yahweh’s holy Temple. Of course since the final Anti-christ will be enthroned within its “Most Holy Place”, in reality it will be the most unholy place of all!

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that Day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that Man of Sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 

Daniel 11:15-16 & 45 “So the king of the north shall come...  And none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the Glorious Land, which by his hand shall be consumed. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain...”

Thankfully, we read the latter part of Daniel 11:45, where we find the Promise that this final Anti-christ will come to his end, after consuming the former holy Land, and placing his unholy tabernacle in what once was the glorious holy Mountain.

In fact, in physical manifestation, the erection of this false temple of the Beast is the final Abomination of Desolation!

Daniel 11:31 “...And they shall pollute the Sanctuary of strength... And they shall place the Abomination that maketh Desolate.”

It is vitally important that Yahweh’s people not only avoid falling for this temple deception, but also we need to recognize it for what it really is—prophetically speaking. This temple is the Abomination of Desolation, which marks the beginning of the 2300 Day timeline and is also the sign for God’s true followers to flee to the mountains. 

Mark 13:14 “But when ye shall see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains.”

Daily Bible Reading - June 24, 2018

Today's Reading:

Mark 7:1-13

2 Samuel 17

Daniel 11:1-19

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading 

There are so many important concepts going on in the Book of Daniel, prophecies being unfolded before our very eyes - and in the near future - that we could just spend every single devotional focusing on Daniel and its prophecies. However, since I looked at Daniel, chapter by chapter, in my DVD series (11 DVD's) called Daniel's Timelines for the End Times, I am not going to focus on Daniel, rather I'd like to turn my attention to Mark 7. However, if you have an interest in the prophecies of Daniel, please feel free to request this DVD series. I will be very glad to send it to you.

Returning to my point of focus for today, I'd like to point out some key concepts from Mark 7. In Mark 7, we read about the Pharisees attacking Christ because He did not follow their traditions - specifically the teachings of the Talmud. 

The Talmud is Judaism's holiest book (actually it's a collection of books). In Judaism, its authority takes precedence over the Torah (which is the Hebrew name for the Law of Yahweh, recorded in the Bible in Genesis-Deuteronomy). Evidence of this may be found in the Talmud itself, Erubin 21b (Soncino edition)

"My son, be more careful in the observance of the words of the Scribes than in the words of the Torah."

The famous warning of Messiah about the tradition of men that voids Scripture (Mark 7:6-9), is in fact, a direct reference to the Talmud, or more specifically, the forerunner of the first part of it, the Mishnah, which existed in oral form during Christ's lifetime, before being committed to writing. Mark chapter 7, from verse one through thirteen, represents Messiah's pointed condemnation of the Talmud.

Unfortunately, due to the abysmal ignorance of our day, the widespread "Judeo-Christian" notion is that the Old Testament is the supreme book of Judaism. But this is not so. The Pharisees teach for doctrine the Commandments of rabbis, not God. And the story found in Mark 7 is a classic example:
One such commandment of the rabbis was the required ceremonial washing of the hands before eating bread. 
In Temple times there were elaborate rules in connection with ritual impurity. If a person had been rendered impure through having come into contact, say, with a dead rodent, he contaminated sacred food such as the tithe given to the priests, which must then not be eaten. The way in which contamination of this kind could be removed was through immersion in a ritual bath.

But the sages imposed in certain circumstances the minor form of contamination known as “hand contamination” in which only the hands, not the whole body, was contaminated and for this to be removed total immersion was not required, only the ritual washing of the hands. Since there was a good deal of priests’ tithe in ancient Palestine which could easily come into contact with the hands, the sages eventually ordained that the hands of every Jew, not only the hands of a priest, must be washed ritually before meals.
It has to be appreciated that this ritual washing of the hands has nothing to do with physical cleanliness. On hygienic grounds, the hands are obviously to be clean of dirt before food is eaten. Even when the hands are physically clean they are still required to be ritually washed.

Although the original reason for washing the hands no longer applies, since there is no sacred food to be eaten, the ritual was continued on the grounds that the ideal of holiness demands a special, ritualistic washing of the hands. The act of washing the hands in this sense is seen as the introduction of the holiness ideal into the mundane life of the Jew. This ritual washing is only required before a meal at which bread  is eaten. ("Hand Washing", My Jewish Learning, by Rabbi Louis Jacobs) 
Why was this Talmudic hand-washing principle such a big deal in Mark 7? When Yahshua fed the 5000 with bread, which was eaten without the Talmudic hand-washing, the Pharisees saw a challenge to their unrighteous establishment of Talmudic authority. They attacked Yahshua because a miracle of turning a few loaves and fish into enough food for the multitude would be the front-page news of the day. And having experienced the miracle without the Talmud's required hand-washing, would have undermined the authority of the Talmud, in the people's eyes. This was something the prideful Pharisees would not tolerate.

But the fact is that, according to the Torah, the very presence of the Talmud, with its added laws, was a violation of the Law of God.
Deuteronomy 4:2  "Ye shall not add unto the Word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the Commandments of Yahweh your God which I command you." 
The Law of God plainly states that the Torah is God's complete Law. Man is not authorized to add to it, nor remove any part of it. 

The Commands of Torah are requirements. Violating any of the Commandments or Statutes of God is a sin:
1 John 3:4  "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the Law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
The problem is that for centuries, people have been trying to either do away with the Torah Statutes, or add to them. When folks add to the Torah, it is common to expect to impose one's own ideas on others. In fact, it is even (wrongly) viewed as "sinful" for anyone to violate our added laws, just as the Pharisees accused Christ of being, when He didn't do the Talmudic hand-washing.

But since sin is transgression of (breaking) the Law (God's holy Torah), any man-made traditions can never be anything more than a preference. And it is not sinful to fail to do them.

For example,  if the Pharisees wanted to wash hands before eating, fine - washing hands is harmless enough. But, when they went so far as to require it for holiness, they had crossed the line. Additional laws were forbidden by God Himself!

Notably, every single one of Messiah's miracles was done in such a way as to expose the "laws" of Talmud as the frauds they were. We must not add to the Law of God, nor diminish anything from it.

Today, there's a whole lot of Talmudic-style thinking going on among Christians. The liberal Christians are often tempted to diminish things from God's Law, while the conservative Christians are often tempted to add to it. Either changing of God's Law is equally wrong and damaging to the Truth.

Maybe you are thinking that it is obvious that liberals do away with parts of the Law. But, it may not be as obvious (at first) for how conservative Christians add to the Law of God. How do conservative Christians commit the sin of the Pharisees, by adding to God's Law? 

The following example may be shocking, but it is prayerfully shared to help expose a wrong way of thinking. We must not add to the Law of God.
  • Some Christians teach that it is a sin to eat any meat (even meats, which Torah calls "clean"). 

Since this teaching cannot be found in the Torah, it is a "law" added by man. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that Christians should eat meat! We may choose to be vegan, for valid health reasons. But when we start requiring vegetarianism or veganism of others, looking down our noses at those who eat "clean" meats as if they aren't as holy we are adding to the Law of God. Eating clean meat isn't sinful! In fact, Yahshua, Who is our Example in all things (1 Peter 2:21) ate meat. And He was sinless!
This is just one example of how conservative Christians commonly make new laws, following the pattern of the Talmud, which Christ taught against. 

So, how can we safeguard ourselves and our families from breaking the Statute of Deuteronomy 4:2? We need to ask a key question, whenever presented with a lifestyle or doctrinal teaching. We need to prayerfully ask, "Where is that found in the Torah?" And if we cannot find it there, it isn't the truth, no matter how "righteous" it appears:
Isaiah 8:20  "To the Law and to the Testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them." 

Daily Bible Reading - June 23, 2018

Today's Reading:

Mark 6:30-56

2 Samuel 16

Daniel 10

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading 

Today, I would like to focus on our reading from Daniel chapter 10. I will be adapting some of the commentary from I. Gordon's, "Book of Daniel Bible Study Chapter 10:
( the veil", as well as adding in my own take on the subject. Daniel chapter 10 is about conflict and warfare, but not the type you are likely to see on the evening news! Daniel 10 speaks of a war that no man reports, for it is one that no man sees. Yet it goes on day after day and has a major impact on the wars that we do see on planet Earth. Daniel 10 lifts the veil that covers the natural and spiritual realms to reveal a battle that goes on in the invisible, spiritual realm.

Daniel 10 is a reminder of the spiritual battle that goes on around us, and one in which we are in despite it not being visible to the natural eye. There are certainly lots of mysteries in this regard and not all answers are given. But this chapter still remains as a fascinating and unique glimpse behind the scenes in the spiritual realm.

Daniel 10 is a message of war…
Daniel 10:1-3 "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over."
 The events of this chapter took place in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia. Daniel, who is now in his mid to late 80’s, is given another vision and message. It is a message of great conflict and this has been recorded for us in Daniel chapters 11 and 12. It is a message of war between nations and coming persecution for the Israelites. But, as previously mentioned, it is also a message behind the scenes showing the puppet masters pulling the strings.  

Now we read above that Daniel had been in mourning for three weeks when this prophecy was given to him. We are not told why he was in mourning, but he had been doing a partial fast during that time when the vision and message came.

Daniel 10 is vision of Yahshua, in His Glorified State

Daniel 10:4-6 "On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a Man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around His waist. His Body was like chrysolite, His face like lightning, His eyes like flaming torches, His arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and His voice like the sound of a multitude."

As Daniel looks up he sees one very impressive looking Man. Scholars debate whether this is a vision of Yahshua, Himself, or whether it was an angel; but the weight of evidence seems to favour the former thought. Certainly there are many similarities with the vision John was given in the book of Revelation when he saw Yahshua in glory saying…

Revelation 1:12-16 "And when I turned I saw… Someone “like a Son of Man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to His Feet and with a golden sash around His Chest. His Head and Hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His Eyes were like blazing fire. His Feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His Voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right Hand He held seven stars, and out of His Mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His Face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance."

And you thought you felt small!

Daniel 10:7-9 “I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.”

Anytime in Scripture that a person encounters the majesty of God there is an overwhelming sense of their own inadequacy. Whether it is Moses, Isaiah, Daniel or John the result is the same. There is a convicting sense of your own ‘smallness’ and inadequacy in the light of an Almighty God. Fair enough too. For Daniel, as godly as he was, the vision of this Man left him face to the floor which is probably not a bad thing anyway because his face had turned a grim shade of grey! He then fell into a deep sleep. Scripture doesn’t tell us how long this was for but it may have been sometime.

So who is the Prince of Persia?

Daniel 10:13-14 "But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”
Here we gain a glimpse into the spiritual realm. Daniel is fasting and praying. An angel is dispatched to him in response to his prayers. But the angel's arrival is delayed because a demonic entity, here referred to as the Prince of Persia, wages war with him for 21 days. But Yahweh is the Almighty. Nothing the enemy can unleash is sufficient to prevent His Will from being accomplished. Thus, Michael helps the delayed angel, and does battle with the Prince of Persia. Michael's victory over this unholy prince, releases the first angel to reach Daniel at last.

In Daniel 10, we see that the ultimate warfare still to come…

So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince. And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.)

We see from this passage that it isn’t just Persia that has demonic angelic beings assigned to them. The coming rise of the Grecian Empire under Alexander the Great (still 200 years in the future) will be overseen by the ‘prince of Greece’ as well. Fortunately, as we have previously seen, God's people have angelic protection of the highest order in Michael, the archangel. So we have been given a glimpse of the influence that the angelic realm has into the affairs of men. The ultimate fulfillment of this influence however will occur just prior to the Return of Yahshua as it says in Revelation 16:13-14:
“Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.”

The demonic influence upon earth will reach its climax when the kings of the whole world will be drawn by these spirits to battle against God and His people.

Wow! There is really a whole lot going on in this small chapter of Daniel, which few seem to talk about. Daniel chapter 10 does not give us all the answers about the unseen spiritual realm. We must admit that a lot remains a mystery. But it does give us a glimpse and remind us that we all are in a spiritual battle. The angels are sent by God to render service to those who are His, yet a lot of this service, like the angels themselves, is unseen to the human eye.

We should however remember the familiar words of the apostle Paul who wrote:

“Finally, be strong in Yahweh and in His mighty Power. Put on the full Armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Take time today to suit up! To do this pray and ask Yahweh to clothe you in His spiritual Armor. Name each piece as you ask for God to suit you up in it (Ephesians 6). Then remember to request this Heavenly covering each and every day. Never can a warrior enter the battle zone without his gear. If a soldier cannot afford to go into battle without his weapons and battle gear, how much less can we? Always be mindful that the greatest realities are beyond human perception - in the spiritual realm. And purpose to never leave home without Yahweh's ARMOR ever again.

Daily Bible Reading - June 22, 2018

Today's Reading:

Mark 6:1-29

2 Samuel 15

Daniel 9

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading 

In 2 Samuel 15, we read of the terrible betrayal of Absalom. It is a sad and tragic tale of a son who betrays his own father.

Betrayal is something we all face, at one time or another. And since it comes to us all, the question is, how would Yahweh have us deal with it?

In more recent history, the story of George Washington comes to mind. Washington was the leader of the Continental  Army, a task which most certainly must have had moments of great frustration, considering that he was leading a group of undisciplined soldiers. George Washington chose only the best and most trustworthy men. He wanted people who were devoted to the cause and would be faithful.

General Washington had one General whom he respected and trusted more than most.  This General's resume included helping to defeat the British at Ridgefield and Dansbury, helping to capture Fort Ticonderoga, leading the invasion of Canada, and single-handedly rallying the troops at the Battle of Saratogo in spite of a crippling leg injury.   

Who was this beloved General and trusted friend to General Washington? General Benedict Arnold!    
The man who General Washington respected and trusted turned out to be the poster child for betrayal.  No other person besides Judas Iscariot is so synonymous with betrayal as Benedict Arnold. 

As Wikipedia reports, In the American Revolutionary War, Benedict Arnold originally fought for the American Continental Army but defected to the British Army. While a general on the American side, he obtained command of the fortifications at West Point, New York (future site of the U.S. Military Academy after 1802) overlooking the cliffs at the Hudson River (upriver from British-occupied New York City), and planned to surrender it to the British forces. The plan was exposed in September 1780, and he was commissioned into the British Army as a brigadier general. Can you imagine General Washington's shock and pain to learn that his trusted friend had so deviously betrayed him?
The sensation of being stabbed in the back must have been horrific!  There is no worse feeling than having a friend, a close, personal friend who you trust stab you in the back.  How do you respond to such betrayal? 

General Washington was betrayed by a trusted friend. But king David was betrayed by his own beloved son. The only thing more painful than the betrayal of a close friend is the betrayal of a loved family member. David summed up the painful experience in Psalms 55 when he wrote,

"My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me…. If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers."

Betrayal is something that Messiah warned us we will have to face at one time or another. And as times get darker, even the betrayal of close family members will be more and more commonplace:
Mark 13:12 "Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death." 
So how should we respond to betrayal? What would God have His people do about it? First, by God's Grace, we must not react in a vengeful or hateful way.  We cannot try and destroy our attacker or pay them back for the evil they did to us. This is the actions of a carnal man, and we are men following God. So as hard as it is, we have to respond in a Christlike manner. 

In Scripture, we find the beautiful Example of Christ, Who was betrayed.  As we examine Yahshua's Example, we will find vital keys for how to respond to betrayal, under the unction of Yahweh's Spirit, instead of reacting in the flesh.

Yahshua was good to His betrayer, loving and dealing kindly with Judas even though He knew beforehand that Judas would betray Him.

John 13:1-5 "Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Yahshua knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him; Yahshua knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded."

Yahshua knew Judas was about to commit the ultimate betrayal against Him, yet He still lovingly ministered to each of His disciples - Judas included.  He did good to Judas, even though he didn't deserve it.

With the Grace of God in our hearts, He will strengthen us to respond to our betrayers with good - not repaying evil with evil. 
1 Peter 3:8-9 "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing." 

Yahshua forgave those who betrayed Him. Not only did Judas betray Christ, but Peter also betrayed Him.

It was the darkest night ever to hit our planet, from that day to this. Yahshua was facing Pilate’s tribunal, His Death mere hours away. The disciples had all forsaken Him, as He stood before the judgment seat beaten, betrayed, and alone. Gathered by a fire in the courtyard, several observers listened to the proceedings while warming themselves and quietly con-versing. Trying hard to blend in, Peter reached his own cold hands towards the flames. He strained to see and hear what was happening in the judgment hall, while carefully masking his interest. 

Suddenly, his worst fears took form, as a young servant girl pointed at Peter, “I recognize you! You were with that Man!”

All eyes turned towards Peter. The red glow of the flames danced upon his face, further etching his momentariliy startled expression. Fellowship with Yahshua would bring him censure, possibly even death!

“I don’t know Him. You’ve mistaken me for someone else.”
Onlookers may have wondered whether the flicker of fear upon his face had been imaginary, a phantom born of firelight. 

Someone else casually commented, “You sure look like one of the guys that was hanging around with Him.” 

Only the very observant could see that his palms glistened with icy sweat. But there seemed no trace of fear in Peter’s vehement reply, “I told you people, I never knew Him!”

The fireside gatherers made a grim company, eyes averted and suspicions aroused. It didn’t take long for the next accusation to come. It was from the servant girl again. Her gaze fixed upon Peter she blurted, “But I know you were with Him. In fact, you’re one of His disciples! You even talk like Him.”

Profanity bubbled forth from Peter’s panicked lips, as he punctuated each word with sailor-style expletives, “I said I never knew Him. Now leave me alone!”

Barely had his profane denial left his mouth, when a rooster crowed, announcing that dawn was streaking the sky. In an instant, Yahshua’s prophecy given just hours before, flashed into Peter’s guilty mind, “Before the cock crows, you will deny Me three times.”

But when Peter's guilty gaze met the Saviour's across that judgment hall, there was no condemnation in His Eyes. And it was the love Peter found in Yahshua's gaze, which broke His spirit and convicted his soul. Yahshua's love was given, even to His betrayers.

Betrayal comes in all forms and sizes.  Most of us have experienced or will experience it at some point in our lives.  We have no control over how out betrayer acts, but by the Grace of God, we need to keep Spirit-filled control over our actions.  God can empower us to respond to those who hurt and betray us in a Christlike way.  We need to follow Yahshua’s Example and love, forgive, and do good to our enemies. 
Matthew 5:44-48 "...Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
 It is not humanly possible to love our enemies. Nothing about this injunction is easy. It is not something a carnal heart can even do. Yahweh does this mighty work in us and it is only by His Power that we may deal in a loving manner with our betrayers. But while such love is a miracle, there is a part we must play in receiving it. The "little boy's lunch" of our effort is then taken by God, blessed, and miraculously made to be enough.

What do I mean about the "little boy's lunch" of our part in dealing with a betrayer? Our part starts with praying for the person who has betrayed us. Love is to be demonstrated towards the person, in spite of what they have done to wound us. Scripture even tells us to "salute" them. This is a term that means to greet that betrayer kindly and graciously if you run into them in town. Act in love, pray in love, demonstrate love towards your offenders. And as you do, while praying for God to empower you to do the impossible, He will give you Heaven's Love for those who hurt and betray you.

This is the greatest expression of Heavenly Love. It is the God-given ability to love someone although they do not deserve it. This is the way God loves you and me also.

Daily Bible Reading - June 21, 2018

Today's Reading:

Mark 5:21-43

2 Samuel 14

Daniel 8

Listen to the Bible







Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading 

This morning, in the Book of Mark, one thing really stands out to me. It is the power of the Master's Touch. How powerfully lives were changed by the Touch of the Master's Hand. And as I pondered this, I thought of the poem about the old violin. I'd like to share it with you this morning.

'Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.

"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"

"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"

But, No,

From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.

"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.

The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters Hand."

"And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and bruised with hardship
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.

He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.

But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.

The Touch of the Master's Hand is a classic poem by Myra 'Brooks' Welch. It speaks of the worth of the soul. Hope you are blessed by this song based on the poem and sung by Wayne Watson.

How about you? Have you experienced the transforming power of the Master's Touch? Why not ask for it today?