Devotional – 200 Million Reasons to Believe

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“The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand.” Revelation 9:16a ESV

2 x 10,000 x 10,000 = 200 Million. A 200 million man army?! For centuries it was virtually impossible to envision that a prophesy of an army 200 million strong could ever be fulfilled literally.

It would be silly to think such an army was possible. It would be silly to read this verse literally. It would be silly not to spiritualize this verse and think it means something other than what it clearly says!

Actually it’s never silly to believe what God clearly says. While such an army seemed impossible in the past, such an army isn’t all too difficult to envision today. With a population of 1.4 billion China could field such an army. With 1.28 billion it is also conceivable India could field an army 200 million strong.

Hebrews reminds us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 KJV.

When prior generations read Revelation 9:16 it required faith to believe what God said. Why? because there was no evidence such an army was even possible! One had to have faith to believe it! Today a simple Google search quickly reveals how plausible a 200 million man army is.

Are you struggling to believe certain portions of God’s Word? Are you struggling to believe what God says in His book? If so, it is necessary to have faith. Faith that God always speaks the truth… even when there is no visible evidence of that truth. For without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

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Credit:
Population statistics http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/ Accessed August 15, 2015.

Editorial note:
Originally published August 16, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Eating the Book

 


Editorial Note: This article first appeared in the magazine The Christian’s Friend and Instructor Volume 24, 1897 Edition. I found this little article to be of such a great help in my present study of the book of Ezekiel I decided to reproduce it here in its entirety for your benefit. While the text below is original, I have added formatting for readability and emphasized portions I found of particular importance. The Christian’s Friend and Instructor is available in Kindle format here and at STEM Publishing here.


 

Ezekiel 3
Revelation 10

Both Ezekiel and John were commanded to eat the book which contained the subjects of their future testimonies; and every servant who seeks the grace of bearing testimony for Christ in this world, whether amongst His people, or before the world, will do well to weigh the significance of that which was enjoined. One difference, however, has to be noted. In Ezekiel’s case we are told that when he ate the book, it was in his mouth as honey for sweetness; and also in John’s, but it is added that as soon as he had eaten, his belly was bitter. This difference probably vanishes when the exact language in connection with Ezekiel is considered. He was told to cause his belly to eat, and to fill his bowels with the roll given to him; but he only lets us know the effects of its taste in his mouth. In the combination of the two cases three things are clearly indicated – eating, digesting, and the effect of digesting.

 


Eating the Book



 

By eating, taking the act in its scriptural meaning, we understand that the Word was to be appropriated. These prophets were to make the messages they were commissioned to deliver their own. The Bible – widening the application – is not a book of information to be gleaned, and then to be repeated, but is the voice of God to the soul that reads it, and thus to be heard for oneself before what is heard can be rightly communicated. Thus a well-known servant of the Lord once said that he never read a chapter in the Bible with a view to speaking; and, when he was asked why he read it, he replied that it was for his own profit and edification. In other words, his habit was to eat and to digest the Word before he preached it. We may all learn the lesson, especially when there is such a widespread temptation on every hand to repeat what we have heard before we have appropriated it for ourselves. If, indeed, Ezekiel and John may be taken as examples (and others might be added), we are not qualified to be the living channels of divine truth until we have made it our own.

 


Digesting the Book



 

Even eating or appropriating is not sufficient; there is also to be the digesting of what we have appropriated. There cannot be a doubt that in John 6 eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of man include this, because there is manifestly there the assimilation to the death on which we feed. Most of us know from our own experience that the process of digesting the truth we have really received is often a slow operation; and also that the truth is never effective in us, or through us, until it has been digested. There is a great distinction therefore between the two things mentioned in Ezekiel, having the roll in his mouth and enjoying its sweetness, and eating it with his belly, and filling his bowels with it. For the latter we need to be alone in the presence of God, and to learn there that His Word is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. It is then that the mind of God is really communicated; and, inwardly appropriated, it so molds and controls us, that we are morally fashioned according to the revelation made to our souls.

 


The Effect of Digesting the Book



 

But in connection with this there will be the effect mentioned in the case of John. That which was sweet in his mouth was bitter in his belly. This should be easily understood by every spiritual believer. The opening out of some new truth to the soul, the perception of its character and beauty, is ever a delightful experience; but when it is accepted in the power of the Spirit it gradually brings death in upon all that we are, and then it becomes “bitter” as it discovers to us the real nature of many things which we had hitherto cherished, and, in separating us from them, produces in us a growing conformity to Christ. If it be true, as every Christian knows it is, that Christ Himself had to pass through death to secure the eternal blessing of His people, it is also true that every one of His own must also go through death in order to enjoy what He has secured. This will be acknowledged by all in regard to the future; but the important point is that it is possible for us to anticipate the joys of heaven now if we are willing to die morally, and to enter upon our true place of association with a risen Christ. This, however, must be a “bitter” experience naturally.

It might seem to some that the words of Jeremiah are in conflict with what has been said. He says, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts.” (Jeremiah 15:16.) The context, however, shows that he looks back to the time when, as John, he ate the book and found it as sweet as honey in his mouth; for the supplicating cry which he raises betrays the exceeding bitterness of his soul arising from the effect of the words which at first had filled him with rejoicing. On the one hand, he was surrounded with persecutors, and he had to suffer rebuke for the sake of Him who had commissioned him to speak to His people; and, on the other, he was made to feel that the Lord’s hand was upon him, as he cried, “Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? Wilt Thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?” Here, therefore, as also in the other instances, we find the same unvarying order – eating, digesting, and bitterness; and we may thus conclude that this will ever be the order in every similar case. If so, there are several important lessons to be learned from the examples cited, which we shall do well to consider.

  • The first is, that we are never qualified to be witnesses until we have gone through the processes indicated. As it was not enough either for Ezekiel or John to hear, or even to understand the divine message they received, so it must not be sufficient for us to be attracted by the beauty of new teachings, and to find them sweeter than honey to our taste; but we must be content to wait until the truth has worked its way into our innermost being, so that, having thus received the testimony, we are enabled from our own experience to set to our seal that God is true. There are two infallible marks of the witness who has eaten, digested, and found the bitterness of the truth in its self-application. The first is humility. Death works in him, while life flows out through his testimony towards others. (2 Corinthians 4:12.) Self, indeed, is practically set aside, as held under the cross; and “the life of Jesus” has then its free and unimpeded course through the vessel.
  • The second is love. In proportion as death (” bitterness”) works in us, the divine nature is in activity; and God is love. Hence the apostle says, after speaking of the gifts which God has set in the assembly, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”

 


The Lip and the Life



 

But there are lessons for all believers, inasmuch as all are witnesses in their own circles, if not in a public way. Let us then all learn that we cannot study the Bible, or writings upon the Scriptures, or printed ministry, in the way that human subjects are studied. Until what we read or hear is made good in and verified by the soul, we do not really possess it. There are only two channels of testimony – the lip and the life, and the lip should be but the expression of what has first been produced in the life. Thus Paul, after speaking of the gospel which he had preached among the Thessalonians, says: “Ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” This, then, is what we should all desire, intense reality, to be possessed and controlled by the truth we profess to hold, and thus to shun the use of phrases and sentences which we have never eaten, digested, and found true in our souls.

 

 

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Jottings – God’s Ways are Behind the Scenes but He Moves All the Scenes Which He is Behind


Speaking of John’s exile on Patmos, Revelation 1:

 

“The persecuting emperor little thought what he was giving to us when he banished the apostle; no more than Augustus, in his political plans as to the census of the empire, knew he was sending a poor carpenter to Bethlehem, with his espoused wife, that Christ might be born there; or the Jews and Pilate’s soldiers, that they were sending the thief to heaven, when they broke his legs in heartless respect for their own superstitions or ordinances. God’s ways are behind the scenes; but He moves all the scenes which He is behind. We have to learn this, and let Him work, and not think much of man’s busy movements: they will accomplish God’s. The rest of them all perish and disappear. We have only peacefully to do His will.”

 

Darby, John N., Synopsis of the Books of the Bible: Colossians to Revelation. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 566.

 

Also available at STEM Publishing here.

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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Jottings – The Full Height of New Testament Christian Worship

Jottings Pencil Red

Commenting on Psalm 28:2 KJV “‘Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto Thee, when I life up my hands toward Thy holy oracle.’ And now we get a suggestion here of the difference between Old Testament worship and New Testament worship. The Old Testament saint knew nothing of what you and I through grace should know and understand. In all of the Old Testament dispensation God was hidden behind a heavy veil. He dwelt in the thick darkness and only the high priest could push that aside and enter once a year, bearing the blood of atonement. But now it is altogether different. The Old Testament saint said, ‘I lift up my hands toward Thy holy oracle.’ But what about the New Testament saint? Look at Hebrews 10:19-22 KJV and see how different our position is, ‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water,’ or with ‘the water of purification,’ referring to the nineteenth chapter of Numbers, undoubtedly. Look at the difference. The Old Testament saint was truly a child of God, truly forgiven, but he knew nothing of immediate access into the holiest because the veil was not yet rent. The precious blood of Christ had not yet been shed, and so these Psalms do not rise to the full height of New Testament worship. That is why we need to be careful when we try to use [the Pslams] as vehicles of Christian praise, testimony, and adoration. The tone of worship never rises to the New Testament heights until we enter into the holiest through the value of the precious blood of Jesus. The Old Testament saint says, ‘I lift up my hands toward Thy holy oracle.’ Suppose I were to try to sing that today. I will not do anything of the kind. The oracle was the holiest of all. I belong in the holiest of all. I enter, in all the infinite value of the precious atoning blood of Christ. On the other hand, a great many of the Psalms are beautiful expressions of praise and worship, but they all reach just a certain height. You get the full height of Christian worship in the Revelation where we read, ‘Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever’ (Rev. 1:5-6 KJV). I wish I could write music. I would like to write an anthem on those words, for that is what we are going to sing in Heaven”

 

Harry Ironside, Psalms. (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers; 1952), pp. 169-170.

 

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A Chart On The Course Of Time From Eternity To Eternity

 

A E Booth - A Chart on the Course of Time from Eternity to Eternity

 

Recently I shared with you Ironside’s helpful chart of The Revelation of Jesus Christ. Another helpful chart regarding prophesy and the larger topic of the Dispensations is A E Booth’s A Chart on the Course Of Time from Eternity to Eternity.

Key To A Chart On The Course Of Time From Eternity To Eternity - A E Booth - Cover PhotoIf you are not familiar with the chart I would encourage you to check it out. At the very least the chart is absolutely fascinating and provides one with motivation to study God’s Holy Word. For example, many are surprised to see the chart as depicting Satan in heavenly places. What’s that all about? See Ephesians 2:2 and 6:11-12.

Brother Booth also authored a companion publication “Key to a Chart” to help one in navigating the chart’s symbolism and to provide the student of God’s Word with some deeper explanations and Scripture references.

The chart and it’s accompanying booklet are available through a handful of retailers including Moments With The Book. A modern computer drawn rendition of the chart is available in three different sizes: 12″ x 31.5″, 18″ x 48″, and 42″ x 114″ as well as Booth’s Key.

A free, scanned copy of A E Booth’s companion booklet The Course of Time From Eternity to Eternity Key to a Chart is available here.

As always, be a good Berean (Acts 17:11) by examining the Scriptures to see if what one is teaching is in fact true.

Joseph was right: interpretations belong to God (Genesis 40:8). While sermons, commentaries, and charts can be helpful to some extent one must never base their faith in such helps– rather our faith must be based on God’s Word alone. Sola scriptura. There are no shortcuts.

 

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Ironside’s Revelation Chart

H A Ironside's Revelation Chart

 

Earlier today I discovered on The Blue Letter Bible H A Ironside’s The Revelation of Jesus Christ Chart. The chart gives a panoramic view of the book of Revelation and is a wonderful tool to help study or teach the book of Revelation.

Personally, I have always enjoyed Ironside’s books– the writing style is simple and straight forward, yet his teaching is deep. If you are not familiar with his writings you can still obtain many of his tomes today. In print from Kregel Publications and digitally form Logos Bible Software.

Jump directly to the chart on The Blue Letter Bible here.

Note: this is a “refurbished” chart– it is not Ironside’s original art work. I believe the depiction of the seven seals on the refurbished chart is incorrect— all seven seals are depicted on the front. This would require the removal of all seven before the scroll could even start to open.

Whereas Ironside’s original Revelation chart depicted only the first seal on front of the scroll and the six remaining seals sequentially along the side edge edge of the scroll. This would allow for the scroll to be opened section by section as each seal is opened. In the book that accompanies the chart, Lectures on The Book of Revelation, Ironside explains the significance of the placement of the seals:

When we read of a “book” we must not think of a volume such as we are familiar with, but rather of a roll of parchment. The ancient books of Israel were generally sheepskin rolls; and when we are told that this book was sealed with seven seals, we are to understand that the book was rolled up to a certain point, and there a seal was put upon the edge, so that it could not be opened until that seal was broken. It was rolled up a little farther and another seal put on, and so on, until there were six seals on the edge of the book and one seal closing the entire scroll. When the first seal was opened a certain portion of the book was exposed to view, and so with each one following.1

Enjoy!

 

1Ironside, Harry A. Lectures on The Book of Revelation. Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1920 & 1987. p. 89.

 

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NT Tuesday: The Lord’s Day Pt. 2

But we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days. On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. Acts 20:6-7 ESV

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet. Revelation 1:10 ESV

Golden Gate BridgeLast week we looked at the nature and characteristics of the Lord’s day from scripture.

I would like to consider some additional thoughts on this subject, however, I suppose it is safe to say that these thoughts will be more musings than commentary on scripture.

Let me be clear, we need to be governed by the truth contained in Colossians 2:16-17 – “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” But I also think we would be wise to take before the Lord how He would want us to live on the Lord’s day– as well as, every other day.

If the Lord’s day is supposed to have a characteristic that reflects that Jesus Christ is Lord, then what does that day look like?

I think it is fair to say that we ought not to be indifferent towards the Lord’s day. If the Lord required obedience to the Sabbath based on Law, then out of love, in response to grace, we ought to look upon the Lord’s day in a serious way. Do we use the Lord’s day for spiritually profitable things or for a “day off”, recreation, amusement, errands, work, etc? If there was value for the people of the former dispensations to set aside one day, would there not be value in the people of God in this dispensation to also set aside a day – out of love, not law?

Of course, we won’t find real rest even by voluntarily, in response to love, setting aside a day for the Lord and unto the Lord. We will only find real rest in the person of the Lord of the Sabbath.

I am not trying to be legalistic, just contemplative, even purposeful. I think we would do well if we seriously considered our use of the the Lord’s day and whether it reflects the Lord and His priorities or whether it reflects our own selfish desires and priorities.

Until next week, press on and enter into the rest that comes only from Jesus Christ.

 

[photo credit]

 

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NT Tuesday: The Lord’s Day

But we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days. On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. Acts 20:6-7 ESV

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet. Rev. 1:10 ESV

Wheat and SkyWe’ve been considering what the Scriptures say as it pertains to the Sabbath and the Christian’s response to it (part 1 here, part 2 here). We rightly understood that the Sabbath is no longer a day, but rather it is now found in Jesus Christ.

Now we are going to consider what the Scriptures say about the Lord’s day which is the first day of the week (not to be confused with the ‘Day of the Lord’ which is an entirely different teaching found in the Scriptures). Interestingly, many early Christian manuscripts, written prior to AD 170, refer frequently to the first day of the week as the Lord’s day.

The Lord’s day is not the day that was sanctified by creation rest, nor is it the day of law which the law commanded Israel to keep.

From a grammatical standpoint, the term “Lord’s day” does not involve the possessive tense. Rather, the word “Lord’s” is actually an adjective and it describes the nature and purpose of the day.

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Entry Level Theological Truth [42]

“Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’” Revelation 21:5

In our studies of the first three chapters of Genesis we have learned much about the person and works of the One True God.

This book of beginnings shows Him to be an all-powerful, all-wise, omnipresent Creator who works all things after the counsel of His own will. In contrast to modern thinking, Genesis also reveals the tremendous value of human beings who were purposefully created in the image and likeness of God for His good pleasure. They were invested with tremendous dignity and authority and put over other works of God’s hand.

Accordingly, their fall brought tragic and devastating consequences upon planet Earth. The momentous purposes of God that begin in these early chapters of the Bible run throughout the pages of holy writ. Therefore, it is not surprising that when we come to the last book of the Bible, Revelation, we meet old familiar things and issues.

 


Paradise Lost, And Found



 

Genesis 3 ends with the sad tale of Adam and Eve’s banishment from Eden. Their loss is most poignantly seen in the fact that the tree of life is now closed to them. The cherubim and flaming sword bar their way to the enjoyment of eternal life.

Yet the chapter itself also contains assurance of the saving goodness of God to be manifested in a future day through the “seed of the woman” (Gen 3:15). Happily, Revelation promises fresh access to the tree of life (Rev. 2:7).

This access is brought about through a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ who died on a cursed tree to open the way to this blessed tree.

 


Glorious Dominion Over The Earth



 

The first Adam failed miserably in having dominion over the earth for the glory of God. All of the earth’s potential lay dormant and unfulfilled. What is more, man’s sin ushered in a new epoch of groaning for planet earth (Rom. 8:21-22). In the wisdom and power of God, the last Adam – as the New Testament calls the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 15:45) – will accomplish what the first could not. As King of kings and Lord of lords, He will reign until every enemy is vanquished beneath His feet (1 Cor. 15:24-28). After ruling over the earth for 1,000 years of blissful prosperity, He will crush the last vestiges of wicked rebellion and usher in new heavens and new earth “in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet. 3:13).

Indeed it is no exaggeration to say, as many have before, that the last Adam gains far more than the first ever lost. That is because the redeemed and glorified church along with the tribes of Israel will share in the glories of this eternal kingdom. All the purposes and plans of God will find their culmination in His unparalleled work.

 

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Editorial Note: This post concludes brother Keith Keyser’s Entry Level series. I would like to express my personal gratitude for Keith’s faithfulness in writing this helpful series on the first three chapters of Genesis. Thank you brother Keith. ~~Scott

Jump back to the first article in this series.

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Entry Level Theological Truth [25]

Graveyard

“…Lest you die.” Genesis 3:3

“There’s nothing certain except death and taxes” says the familiar adage, but why is that so? People of every race, nationality, socioeconomic and educational level die. One out of every one dies in our world today; these are easy statistics for the mathematically challenged (like this author.) How does one account for the ubiquity of death in our world? Genesis 3 gives the answer.

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