On Earth, From Heaven

Sunday, September 25, 2016

“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20 KJV).

While living in this earthly tabernacle, our actions should reflect our heavenly citizenship!

This past weekend, my high school class, Northwest High School Class of 2006, held its 10-year reunion. (Hopefully, we are 10 years wiser!) While we had kept in contact through social media, most of us had not met in-person for over a decade! We now live in other cities or states. Unfortunately, only one-fourth of our class (20-25 persons out of 96 graduates) was able or willing to come!

It was nice to see them and rekindle old friendships. As we ate together, and flipped through yearbooks, looking at those images from long ago, we reminisced about “the ol’ days”—laughs and cries. We considered our teachers (nearly all have retired, and a few have died). Also, we divulged our careers—pharmacists, restaurant owners, administrative assistants, store-chain supervisors, computer technicians, writer (me!), musicians, et cetera. It was strange meeting their spouses and children. (Could we really be this old?! Yes!) Two classmates are no longer with us—one took his own life many years ago, and the other died in a tragic automobile accident just last month!

When I was asked what I had been up to, I did not hesitate to them! Much has changed since I last saw them. Having entered the ministry shortly after graduation, I told them about “the Lord’s work” being accomplished here these last 10 years. Through my words and actions, I truly hope and pray they saw the light of Jesus Christ those two short days we were together. (Some have been quietly “following” and/or noticing our online posts for years.)

Saints, I know the burdens we have about seeing unsaved family and friends. If we could believe on Jesus Christ for them, we would do it in a heartbeat. We know good and well those who die without Christ go to hell. Let us tell them about Him whenever we can. Even if they refuse our speaking, we can present God’s Word to them without yelling and pointing fingers. We just act differently, letting God’s Word express itself in and through us. Shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15,16)!

The Precious Blood of Christ #8

Saturday, September 24, 2016

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18,19 KJV).

God the Father and God the Holy Ghost think the blood of Jesus Christ is “precious.” And you?

When people tell us the blood of Christ is “slaughterhouse religion” or “too offensive to stress,” what they really mean is God’s purpose and plan for creation means nothing to them! “Without shedding of blood is no remission [forgiveness]” (Hebrews 9:22). Life is in the blood, Leviticus 17:10-14 tells us. Save for the shed blood of the sinless God-Man, we sinners have no life—we would remain dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). The person who rails against the blood of Christ does so in ignorance. He or she has not a clue that just as sin brought us death, so the blood of Christ brings us life (cf. Romans 5:1-21).

By faith in the shed blood of Christ, any person can come to Father God and be justified (declared righteous) because he or she will share Christ’s identity. In today’s Dispensation of Grace, the believer joins the Church the Body of Christ. In time past, it was the nation Israel. In the ages to come, it will be the nation Israel. Regardless of which agency—Israel (Earth) or Body of Christ (Heaven)—both require faith in Christ’s shed blood to join. Now, we see how God will reconcile Heaven and Earth unto Himself. He will toss out Satan and his minions and replace them with His saints!

Romans 3:24-26: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” ’Tis only possible because “the precious blood of Christ” was shed so rich and free… for you and for me!🙂

The Precious Blood of Christ #7

Friday, September 23, 2016

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18,19 KJV).

God the Father and God the Holy Ghost think the blood of Jesus Christ is “precious.” And you?

In Ephesians 2:19-22 (the Church the Body of Christ) and 1 Peter 2:5-10 (the nation Israel), Jesus Christ is the “chief corner stone.” A “corner stone” is absolutely critical, “valuable” and “precious,” to the structure or function of something else. Without the cornerstone, an arch falls, a wall tumbles, and a house collapses. Jesus Christ is “precious” (1 Peter 2:6,7). His blood is also “precious” (today’s Scripture): by it, God’s life is displayed in heaven and earth in the ages to come. Redeemed Israel is God’s “house” and the Body of Christ is God’s “house”—they have His life in them because Jesus’ “precious” blood has redeemed them all from sin!

Colossians 1:16 says: “For by him [Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” Satan and sinful man tainted those offices of government that were to originally glorify Jesus Christ. Verses 20-22 are God’s solution: “[20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. [21] And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled [22] In the body of his flesh through death….”

“Through the blood of [Christ’s] cross,” God will reconcile all the governments of heaven and earth unto Himself. Without that shed blood, God’s life cannot be imparted to sinful man. Although Satan and his angels have corrupted heaven, and sinful mankind has corrupted the earth, God’s original plan for creation will still come to pass. The “precious blood of Christ” is the means whereby God overthrows Satan forever (Colossians 2:13-15), both in heaven and in earth….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did God demand blood sacrifices?

The Precious Blood of Christ #6

Thursday, September 22, 2016

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18,19 KJV).

God the Father and God the Holy Ghost think the blood of Jesus Christ is “precious.” And you?

Remember, God’s original purpose in creating the nation Israel was to form an earthly people whom He would use to glorify His Son in the earth. That was the intention of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3). Israel was to remain separate from the world’s nations and religions (all Satanically-inspired). However, Israel increasingly intermingled with heathenism. By the time we get to Christ’s earthly ministry, 2000 years after Abraham, Israel is far removed from God’s Word. They are in no condition to recognize God’s Son when He shows up and offers to be their king. Pagan idolatry, false religion, has so deceived them that they are under Satan’s control like the rest of the world!

However, the Little Flock of today’s Scripture is reminded that they, as Israel’s believing remnant, have been purchased from that vain manner of living they received by tradition from their fathers. God has taken them out of that apostate nation Israel. Their purchase price was “the precious blood of Christ.” As the Passover lamb’s blood saved Israel from God’s wrath in Egypt, so the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, will save believing Israel from the wrath about to consume the apostate Jews.

No amount of silver or gold could provide these Jews spiritual life. It was the valuable blood of Christ. They are “born again… by the word of God” (verse 23)—given new life. Now, they are to behave according to their new identity. They are to be holy practically because God is holy (verse 16). With Israel’s believing remnant coming by faith to God through “the precious blood of Christ,” they have left Satan and become the nation God originally intended them to be! They are His kingdom of priests, His holy nation (1 Peter 2:9), able to reach believing Gentiles in the future Millennium. Israel can finally be that nation to restore God’s authority in the earth….

The Precious Blood of Christ #5

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18,19 KJV).

God the Father and God the Holy Ghost think the blood of Jesus Christ is “precious.” And you?

When Scripture says the blood of Christ is “precious,” it means “valuable” or “esteemed.” That word is rendered “had in reputation” in Acts 5:34 when referring to the respected rabbinical scholar, Gamaliel. Paul confessed that, despite all his afflictions for preaching the Gospel of Grace, he did not count his life “dear” to himself (Acts 20:24). We read about “precious” stones (or gemstones) symbolizing good doctrine at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:12). Marriage is called “honourable” in Hebrews 13:4. God’s promises to Israel are called “precious” (2 Peter 1:4). That word “precious” is also used to describe the immense wealth of the Antichrist’s future religious-political system (Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:12,16). “Precious” is descriptive of the radiant stones that make up New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:11,19).

Chapter 2 of 1 Peter, not far away from today’s Scripture, declares: “[4] To whom [the Lord] coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious… [6] Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture [Isaiah 28:16], Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. [7] Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is become the head of the corner….” This is the cross-reference for the precious blood of Christ” in today’s Scripture.

Father God “laid in Sion” a “chief corner stone” means His Son’s earthly ministry, culminating with His crucifixion. Believing Israel (to whom Peter is writing) embraced Jesus, while the nation’s religious leaders encouraged most Jews to reject Him. To Father God, Jesus Christ is “precious” and His blood is “precious.” Believing Jews agreed. Still, what makes Jesus’ blood so “precious?” It is ever so valuable because it holds together God’s purpose for creation….

The Precious Blood of Christ #4

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18,19 KJV).

God the Father and God the Holy Ghost think the blood of Jesus Christ is “precious.” And you?

The verse immediately following today’s Scripture says: “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you….” The “who” is Jesus Christ; the “you” is Israel. Again, Christ’s death was planned before the foundation of the world. The triune Godhead decreed it before sin had even entered… before man had even been created!

From the establishment of the Mosaic Law all the way up until Christ’s earthly ministry—about 1,500 years—Israel had been trained every year to remember the innocent lamb whose blood was shed at Passover (Exodus 12:4,5). That blood saved Israel from God’s wrath in Egypt. Beloved, innocent Jesus dying at Passover centuries later was no coincidence! When Israel saw Jesus die during their Passover feast, they should have realized it—for all those centuries, that Passover lamb represented Him! Alas, most of Israel was blind. They had no faith in the verses He fulfilled, so they did not recognize who He was. Praise God, however, a small group of Jews believed in Jesus as Messiah! They are “the little flock” (Luke 12:32). Peter is writing to them in the epistle from which today’s Scripture is extracted.

In addition, a similar believing Israeli remnant will live during the future seven-year Tribulation. They will follow that epistle of 1 Peter as well. In verses 6 and 7 (context of today’s Scripture), believing Israel is “in heaviness through manifold temptations” and experiencing “a trial of [their] faith.” Having separated themselves from apostate Israel following Antichrist, they are experiencing severe hardships and horrific persecution. Their families have been torn apart: their relatives are now their enemies. They are waiting for Jesus Christ’s Second Coming to end those awful seven years. Today’s Scripture says they have been purchased, with a heavy price, for His glory….

The Precious Blood of Christ #3

Monday, September 19, 2016

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18,19 KJV).

God the Father and God the Holy Ghost think the blood of Jesus Christ is “precious.” And you?

While God did not reveal the complete meaning of Jesus Christ’s death until the Apostle Paul, we can look back into some of the Bible’s most ancient portions and see God had the death of His Son in mind all along. For example, Acts 2:23 reminds us: “Him [Jesus Christ], being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Before there ever was a creation—one angel, one devil, one human, one star, one tree, or even one atom—the three Members of the triune Godhead conferred. God the Father had a most glorious plan, God the Son would lay down His life to make that plan possible, and God the Holy Spirit would execute all the details.

God arranged it so that, as soon as sin entered the world, He began to teach man that sin meant an innocent life had to be taken, and innocent blood would have to be shed. The precedent was Genesis 3:21 (Adam and Eve); it carried on to the shed blood offered by Abel (Genesis 4:4) and Noah (Genesis 8:20). When we come to Israel in Egyptian bondage, the blood of the innocent Passover lamb saves them from God’s righteous wrath against their idolatry (Exodus 12:3-14). God said Israel is to observe the annual Passover literally “for ever” (verse 14). Throughout the Book of Leviticus, we read about various animal sacrifices and the priests’ daily shedding of animals’ blood to make atonement for sins. Israel’s national forgiveness relied on the annual Day of Atonement, involving more animals’ blood (Leviticus chapter 16).

That intricate religious calendar was God’s way of reinforcing in Israel’s mind the plan He had from before the foundation of the world. The “precious blood of Christ” was going to be shed….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does, ‘All Israel shall be saved,’ mean?