Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - July 17, 2018

Today's Reading:

1 Corinthians 5

1 Kings 18

Amos 2:1-3:2

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

As we read the story of Elijah the prophet and the time of no rain (which lasted 3.5 years - and is a shadow picture of the 1260 days in the future), there are several prophetic comparisons which warrant our attention.

Before we begin, let me start off by giving a bit of study framework. Prophecy is kind of like a Rubix cube, in that it has three layers of fulfillment or application:

  • Layer 1 - 1st application: there will be a prophetic application in the time of ancient Israel.
  • Layer 2 - 2nd application: there will be a prophetic application in the time of Christ and/or the early Christian church.
  • Layer 3 - 3rd application: there will be a final prophetic fulfillment of the prophecy which takes place at the end of the world.
Here are a few examples, demonstrating how Bible prophecies have three layers of application, being fulfilled in these three different eras:

The Feast of Passover - Passover is a prophecy. It involved events which were fulfilled on the exact day of this feast.
  • Layer 1 - Passover was fulfilled in the time of ancient Israel - the Exodus from Egypt and the Death of the first born all took place on this first fulfillment of Passover.
  • Layer 2 - Passover was fulfilled in the time of Christ - Yahshua, Who was our Passover Lamb, actually died on Passover in the second fulfillment.
  • Layer 3 - Passover also has a final, future fulfillment. For when Yahshua ate the Passover supper (often called the Last Supper) with His disciples, He told them that He would not eat the Passover with them again until it was fulfilled in the Kingdom of God - at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
The 1260 Days of Trouble - Daniel's 1260 day timeline is a prophecy which also has three layers of fulfillment.
  • Layer 1 - The 1260 days of trouble was fulfilled in the time of ancient Israel - Elijah's time of no rain lasted exactly 1260 days, or 3.5 years.
  • Layer 2 - The 1260 days was fulfilled in the middle era also. In this middle layer it took place in figurative time (meaning it happened in a day for a year). Thus there were exactly 1260 years of the Inquisition, which was a terrible time of trouble.
  • Layer 3 - The prophecy of the 1260 day timeline also has a final, future fulfillment. In the future, the 1260 days will be a Time of Trouble such as there never was before.
There are many other examples to demonstrate the fact that Yahweh fulfills His prophecies three times - three being the number which signifies the Covenant. But for today, I'd really like to focus on the three layers of fulfillment of the Elijah Message. The Elijah Message is one of repentance.
  • Layer 1 - The Elijah Message was fulfilled in the time of ancient Israel - Elijah gave this Message himself on the top of Mount Carmel, calling all Israel to repent and turn from their idolatry.
  • Layer 2 - The Elijah Message prophecy was fulfilled a second time in the time of Christ -  in this application, John the Baptist gave the Elijah Message, again calling the people to repentance (Matthew 17:10-13). Scripture tells us that when the people received the Message of John, calling them to repentance, they were receiving the Elijah Message (Matthew 11:13-15).
  • Layer 3 - According to Malachi 4, the final Elijah Message will be given just prior to Messiah's Return (Malachi 4:5).
There are three notable points of comparison in all three layers of the Elijah Message being given. In all three layers of the Elijah Message being given:

The Enemy is Always the Same:

In the time of Elijah, Israel had mixed the worship of Baal in with the worship of Yahweh. Baal was the name of the sun god. But this false god has many names depending on the culture and language. In the picture is shown an altar stone of Baal. Notice the solar wheel, which was the symbol of the sun god from ancient times. Today the sun god is still worshiped. In much the same way Jezebel brought the worship of the sun god, Baal into Israel, papal Rome brought the worship of the sun god into Christianity. Today, Baal's sacred days are kept as sacred in Christianity, as a result. For example, Baal's sacred day of the week was Sunday. Baal's birthday was December 25, and so forth.

Actually sun worship didn't originate in the time of Elijah. Sun worship was founded in ancient Babylon. And the original name of the sun god was Nimrod, of biblical fame (Genesis 10:8-9).
"Rome, from its earliest history has always been the implacable enemy of God's truth... It was that same sun worship system of religion that had been originally concocted in Babylon. Anciently, it had come to Rome in fragments and was known historically as Pagan Rome. But later, as the Imperial Roman Empire collapsed and Papal Rome took its place, Babylonian sun worship manifested itself in an almost pure and radical form," (The Grand Design Exposed, p 30).

The Characters are Always the Same - Ancient Israel:

When Elijah gave the Elijah Message back in the time of ancient Israel, the key characters were:

Ahab - representing the political power who followed the lead of the ungodly woman, queen Jezebel.

Jezebel - the high priestess of sun worship who became the queen of Israel the manipulated and controlled the king.

450 prophets of Baal - these were servants of the queen, who did her bidding.

Apostatizing people - the professed people of God were on the fence about worship. They were accustomed to mixing the sacred with the profane by "worshiping" Yahweh in Baal-honoring ways. And by honoring Baal outright.

Elijah the prophet - standing alone Elijah called the people to turn back to Yahweh, stop the Baal-honoring practices, and repent.

Elijah delivers the Message of God, brings upon himself the ire of Jezebel, faces the threat of death and flees into the wilderness.

The Characters are Always the Same - John the Baptist:

When John the Baptist gave the Elijah Message in the time of Christ, the key characters were:

Herod - representing the political power who followed the lead of the ungodly woman, queen Herodias.

Herodias - she was Herod's sister-in-law and his niece. When she became the queen she manipulated and controlled the king, bringing him to ruin.

Salome - daughter of the queen, who did her bidding.

Apostatizing people - the professed people of God who were mixing the sacred with the profane by "worshiping" Yahweh in Rome-honoring ways.

John the Baptist - standing alone John called the people to turn back to Yahweh, stop the idolatrous practices, and repent.

John delivers the Message of God, brings upon himself the ire of queen Herodias, faces the threat of death and is martyred.

The Characters are Always the Same - The Final Elijah:

In the End of Time, all of God's faithful people are called to give the Elijah Message. In other words, we are all on the Elijah Team. Our Message is the same as it has always been. And once again, the key characters are:

Political Leaders (kings of the earth) - the political power who follow the lead of the ungodly woman, the Whore of Babylon, who rides the beast.

Papal Rome - the woman who rides the beast is the false queen who manipulates and controls world leaders, leading the world into "Christianized" sun worship.

Daughters of the Whore - Protestant churches, who do the bidding (follow the doctrines) of Papal Rome.

Apostatizing people - the professed people of God who are mixing the sacred with the profane by "worshiping" Yahweh in Rome-honoring ways.

God's faithful few - the ever unpopular, but highly needed followers of Yahweh call the people to turn back to Yahweh, stop the idolatrous practices, and repent.

The people of Yahweh will deliver the Message of God, bring upon themselves the ire of the Whore (whom Revelation describes as being drunken with the blood of the saints), faces the threat of death and will manifest both outcomes of the prior two Elijahs. In other words, some of God's End-time Elijah's will be miraculously protected from the threat of death - being protected and provided for in the wilderness - just as was the first Elijah. And some of God's End-time Elijah's will be martyred - just as was the second Elijah (John the Baptist).

ThThe Three Elijahs (by Shauna Manfredine)

When first came Elijah, the king of the land,

Had given the priestess of Baal his hand.

He’d broken the altar to the only true God,

Upon all YAH’s precepts he’d blatantly trod.

And Jezebel set up the worship of Baal,

While the people succumbed and just let her prevail.

And profane, idolatrous, sun worship stuff,

Did taint Israel’s worship til YAH had enough!

So YAH sent Elijah to set things to right,

To fearlessly clear up the people’s dimmed sight.

And Elijah spoke out and the false god was fired.

“Yahweh, He is God” were the words he inspired.

But Mount Carmel’s fireworks were too soon forgotten,

As another, like Ahab, arose just as rotten!

King Herod united the church to the state,

With an unholy wedding that brought much debate.

She was a claimed Jewess and he a claimed Jew,

But they worshiped the sun when Sukkot was through.

Once again pagan worship polluted the land,

And the people were tainted with sun-worship’s brand.

So God sent out Elijah disguised as John.

He loudly exposed the Herodias con.

When Elijah spoke out the false god was drowned.

And many beholding the Lamb were then found.

Much time has passed since John preached to men,

But all those same villains are here once again.

The kings of the earth have a worldly alliance,

With the Babylon woman who gives God defiance.

Once again sun-worship from Babylon Rome,

Has tainted the people and defiled the home.

The Nimrod Trees stand at the front of each church,

And Easter egg hunts cast a Estre church smirch.

The state and the church have indeed been united,

The sun-worship filth stands thus far un-righted.

Elijah? Where are you? Stand up, number three!

YAH’s call is resounding, “Reclaim men for Me!”

Daily Bible Reading - July 16, 2018

Today's Reading:

1 Corinthians 4

1 Kings 17

Amos 1

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

In 1 Corinthians 4, we find quite a list of what to expect, when you follow Christ. I was imagining reading a Craigslist advertisement with the list in 1 Corinthians 4. Perhaps the caption might read, "Become a Follower of Christ", and then the description would continue as found in 1 Corinthians 4:9-13:

1 Corinthians 4:9-13 "For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day."

If such an advertisement were placed, encouraging folks to apply to become followers of Christ, just how many responses do you think it would garner? I suspect not too many.

Well here are a few folks who "read the advertisement" and still "signed up". These lost it all for Christ, as Carey Lodge reported in Life:

Jim Elliot 

Jim Elliot was among a group of US missionaries who felt called to share Christ's teaching with the Waodani tribe in Ecuador in the 1950s. At the time, the Waodani were one of the most violent known people groups on earth, who regularly practiced homicide and fiercely defended their territory against those wishing to exploit the rich Amazonian land.

Elliot and his fellow missionaries initiated contact with the tribe after being taught some of their language; first by dropping gifts down from a plane and later establishing a camp not far from the Waodani settlement.

In January 1956, however, the five men were killed by members of the tribe as they approached them in person for the first time with the hopes of sharing the gospel.

The story generated worldwide news coverage, and Elliot's wife, Elisabeth, has since written a bestselling book entitled 'Through the Gates of Splendor' about her husband's journey. Jim's journal, which famously features the quote "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose", has also been read by thousands of believers around the world.

Amazingly, Elisabeth and the sister of another of the missionaries, Rachel, were introduced to the Waodani just two years after their murder, and were invited to live among the tribe. Many of them came to faith.

William Carey

Trained as a shoemaker, William Carey became known as the 'father of modern missions' for his missionary work in India. 

In 1787, he suggested that all Christians had a duty to share the gospel around the world, after which he was told: "Young man, sit down. When God pleases to convert the heathen, he will do it without your aid and mine."

Undeterred, however, he founded the Baptist Missionary Society five years later in 1792, preaching a message during which he said one of his most famous quotes: "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God".

The next year, he travelled to India with his family, but his struggles continued. He saw no conversions for seven years, his son Peter died of dysentery and his wife's mental health deteriorated rapidly. "This is indeed the valley of the shadow of death to me," Carey wrote at the time. "But I rejoice that I am here notwithstanding; and God is here."

But in 1800, he baptized his first convert to Christianity, and over more than 20 years went on to translate the Bible into dozens of major Indian languages and dialects. He also founded Serampore College to train local ministers.

Mary Slessor

Born in Aberdeen in 1848, Mary Slessor became missionary to Nigeria under the United Presbyterian Church's Foreign Mission Board. Aged just 28, she sailed to West Africa in August 1876 and was assigned to the Calabar region.

This was where the Efik people lived; a community that believed in traditional West African religions and had particular superstition of twins, who were often killed or abandoned.

Slessor saved hundreds of children during her time in Nigeria; even adopting one young girl as her own daughter. She also travelled to dangerous regions where previous male missionaries had been killed, and was known for her pragmatism and sense of humour. 

She championed women's rights, and set up a mission hospital for the local people.
Slessor suffered from serious bouts of malaria and other tropical diseases, and was forced on more than one occasion to return to Scotland to recover.

She died in Calabar in 1915, aged 67.

Gladys Aylward

Gladys Aylward was a British evangelical Christian missionary to China in the 20th century. Having been raised in North London in a working class family, she initially worked as a housemaid, but had a long-harboured dream of becoming a missionary, and was convinced of her calling to China.

She was rejected by the China Inland Mission after failing to pass the necessary exams, but agreed to work for a 73-year-old missionary, Jeannie Lawson, who was looking for a young woman to carry on her work in the country. When Lawson died, Aylward ran the mission alone.

She went on to serve in the Chinese government as a 'foot inspector' – visiting women all over the country to make sure they were following the new law against foot-binding – which she saw as part of her missionary work. She also adopted a number of orphans, leading around 100 to safety during the Japanese occupation, and became known as 'Ài Wěi Dé', meaning 'Virtuous One'. She died aged 67 in 1970, and her story was made into a film – 'The Inn of the Sixth Happiness'.

CT Studd

Charles Thomas Studd was a famous English cricketer who went on to be a missionary to China, Africa and India. The youngest of the 'Studd Brothers', who were known for their cricket skills at Eton and Cambridge, Charles played in the first Test match between England vs Australia where the Ashes were named.

He was converted to Christianity along with his brothers while at Eton. Of the moment he met God for the first time, he said: "right then and there joy and peace came into my soul. I knew then what it was to be 'born again,' and the Bible which had been so dry to me before, became everything."
When he decided to give up sport to pursue a career as a missionary, he said: "I know that cricket would not last, and honour would not last, and nothing in this world would last, but it was worthwhile living for the world to come."

In his twenties, he served in the China Inland Mission, where he married missionary Priscilla Livingstone Stewart. They lived in China for 10 years, but moved back to the UK due to ill health, before serving in India at a church in Ootacamund.
Later, Prisilla and the couple's four daughter stayed in England, while Charles worked in Central Africa until his death in 1931.

According to his biography by Norman Grubb, in one of his last letters home, Studd wrote: "As I believe I am now nearing my departure from this world, I have but a few things to rejoice in; they are these:

1. That God called me to China and I went in spite of utmost opposition from all my loved ones.

2. That I joyfully acted as Christ told that rich young man to act.

3. That I deliberately at the call of God, when alone on the Bibby liner in 1910, gave up my life for this work, which was to be henceforth not for the Sudan only, but for the whole unevangelized World.

My only joys therefore are that when God has given me a work to do, I have not refused it."