Settled In Heaven Blog

Category Archives: Leviticus

Leviticus 23:44 – “And Moses Declared”

 

(2015 SIH Thanksgiving 12-Part Devotional Series)

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

Leviticus 23:33-44 gives us a condensed version of God’s instructions about the Jewish “Feast of Booths” (also referred to as “The Feast Of Tabernacles”). This wonderful Jewish feast will be the subject for this Thanksgiving devotional series.

You might be wondering why this feast is a good subject for a Thanksgiving series. It is because the two main goals of this feast are the exact same goals that every Christian should strive to attain during their Thanksgiving Day celebration…

1. To cause a remembrance of the Lord’s gracious workings.

2. To develop an attitude of appreciation in these workings.

By our Lord’s grace, during the course of this study our hearts will be pointed towards accomplishing both of these goals during this Thanksgiving holiday series.

(Please note: If you are interested in a fuller study of this feast, refer to Numbers 29:12-38 for more details. For this devotional series, due to its length, we will only be looking at the shorter text on this subject found in Leviticus 23:33-44)

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Leviticus 23:44 (KJV) – “And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.”

 

Leviticus 23:44 (ESV) – “Thus Moses declared to the people of Israel the appointed feasts of the LORD.”

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD

 

Following Moses sharing with the Jews the regulations concerning the Feast of Tabernacles, he then continued by sharing the other feasts with them as well.

Please keep in mind, at this point in time, none of the complied OT or NT scriptures were in existence. The Jews had to rely upon men who were called of God to deliver God’s message to them. Oh, how important were these prophets to the people of Israel.

Although in today’s time, we have the full, completed, perfect, Word of God, there are still great responsibilities that fall upon the shoulders of mankind. Men are still called of God to proclaim the Word of God that has already been revealed in the Scriptures. This would include those who translate the Scriptures, print the Scriptures, proclaim the Scriptures, explain the Scriptures and live the Scriptures in the sight of all who are around them.

Folks, do we take the time to be thankful for these men of God?

 

 

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Based upon our appreciation of the Lord, His manifold blessings to us, and His messengers that have shared His Word with us…

1. Do we recognize our responsibility to take the message of the Bible to a lost and dying world?

2. Do we recognize the need to lead our families, churches and government according to the dictates of the Word of God?

3. Do we recognize the great opportunities we have been given to display our thankfulness by simply taking the Word and sharing it with others?

This is what really appreciating the Lord and His workings are all about…. Allowing our appreciation of Him motivate us to be more faithful servants for Christ.

May we all use this holiday season to grow in grace and knowledge of His goodness to us and then mature in our faith and become more faithful to our Lord, Jesus Christ…

Psalms 40:1-3 KJV – “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.”

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Leviticus 23:43 – “That Your Generations May Know”

 

(2015 SIH Thanksgiving 12-Part Devotional Series)

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

Leviticus 23:33-44 gives us a condensed version of God’s instructions about the Jewish “Feast of Booths” (also referred to as “The Feast Of Tabernacles”). This wonderful Jewish feast will be the subject for this Thanksgiving devotional series.

You might be wondering why this feast is a good subject for a Thanksgiving series. It is because the two main goals of this feast are the exact same goals that every Christian should strive to attain during their Thanksgiving Day celebration…

1. To cause a remembrance of the Lord’s gracious workings.

2. To develop an attitude of appreciation in these workings.

By our Lord’s grace, during the course of this study our hearts will be pointed towards accomplishing both of these goals during this Thanksgiving holiday series.

(Please note: If you are interested in a fuller study of this feast, refer to Numbers 29:12-38 for more details. For this devotional series, due to its length, we will only be looking at the shorter text on this subject found in Leviticus 23:33-44)

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Leviticus 23:43 (KJV) – “That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I [am] the LORD your God.”

 

Leviticus 23:43 (ESV) – “that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.””

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt:

 

Why were the Jews commanded to live in booths (vs 42) during this festival? Or, from a wider view, why were the Jews commended to keep the Feast of Tabernacles?

It was so that, from generation to generation, the Jews would remember their heritage which included:

1. their ancestors being released from Egyptian captivity,

2. dwelling in booths as they journeyed through the wilderness,

3. leading them to entrance into the Promised Land they had been given by their God.

 

Keep in mind, all these historical events not only taught the Jews (and us as well) WHAT the Lord had done for them, but it also taught them (and us) truths about WHO the Lord is.

This is the context of the Lord’s very next statement, when He emphasizes, to Jew and Gentile alike, what these great events teach us about His person…

 

 

I [am] the LORD your God.

 

The account of the Jews release from the Egyptian captivity, the events of their wilderness wanderings, and their receipt of the Promised Land, all point to these attributes of the God of the Jews…

1. The Hebrew title “LORD” is the word “Jehovah” which means “the Eternally Existing One”

2. The Hebrew title “God” is the word “Elohim” which carries with it the ideas of “supremacy”, “strength”, and “authority to judge and rule”.

 

In other words, our Lord describes Himself as “the eternally existing, supreme, One that possesses strength and the authority to judge and rule.”

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, as we take time to remember WHAT the Lord has done for us this holiday season, do we also reflect on His greatness and glory?

Every blessing the Lord gives to us not only displays His love, grace and mercy on our behalf, but it also displays His greatness… His strength, His authority, and His supremacy over all things.

Do we share His greatness and glory with those in the preceding and following generations to us?   Do we hand down the Lord’s workings in our personal life as a means of perpetuating our faith to our younger generations?

By God’s grace, may we remember His greatness and share those truths with other generations!

 

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Leviticus 23:42 – “Ye Shall Dwell In Booths”

 

 

(2015 SIH Thanksgiving 12-Part Devotional Series)

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

Leviticus 23:33-44 gives us a condensed version of God’s instructions about the Jewish “Feast of Booths” (also referred to as “The Feast Of Tabernacles”). This wonderful Jewish feast will be the subject for this Thanksgiving devotional series.

You might be wondering why this feast is a good subject for a Thanksgiving series. It is because the two main goals of this feast are the exact same goals that every Christian should strive to attain during their Thanksgiving Day celebration…

1. To cause a remembrance of the Lord’s gracious workings.

2. To develop an attitude of appreciation in these workings.

By our Lord’s grace, during the course of this study our hearts will be pointed towards accomplishing both of these goals during this Thanksgiving holiday series.

(Please note: If you are interested in a fuller study of this feast, refer to Numbers 29:12-38 for more details. For this devotional series, due to its length, we will only be looking at the shorter text on this subject found in Leviticus 23:33-44)

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Leviticus 23:42 (KJV) – “Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:”

 

Leviticus 23:42 (ESV) – “You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths,”

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

 

“Ye shall dwell in booths seven days;

During all seven days of this feast, the Jews were to sit down and abide under the booths they had made from the boughs, branches and willows (vs 40). They were to do this to remind them of their ancestors dwelling in booths during the wilderness wanderings (vs 43).

 

 

 

all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:”

 

Only the Jews were to dwell in booths. This was because it was their ancestors that dwelled in booths during their wanderings. It was their heritage, the Lord was reminding them of blessings upon their nation.

Folks, when we are blessed of the Lord it is our personal responsibility to recognize, appreciate and praise Him for these blessings. It was the Jews responsibility to observe this Feast of Tabernacles because their nation was the recipient of the blessings that led to possession of the Promised Land.

Psalms 107:1-3 KJV – “O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.”

 

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Although the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles was reserved for the physical Jewish nation, as Gentiles we can use this celebration to help us appreciate very important blessings that the Lord has given to all of His saints (both Jew and Gentile).

The Jews dwelling in booths reminds us that, as God’s people, we are strangers, pilgrims and wanderers in this earth. We have been delivered from this sinful world and given entrance into the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are now as pilgrims, traveling in this world awaiting our final deliverance and entrance into the heavenly country God has prepared for us…

Hebrews 11:13-16 KJV – “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”

May we all, as recipients of God’s gracious blessing of salvation, appreciate and honor Him through dedicated service to Him!

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Leviticus 23:41 – “A Statute Forever”

(2015 SIH Thanksgiving 12-Part Devotional Series)

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

Leviticus 23:33-44 gives us a condensed version of God’s instructions about the Jewish “Feast of Booths” (also referred to as “The Feast Of Tabernacles”). This wonderful Jewish feast will be the subject for this Thanksgiving devotional series.

You might be wondering why this feast is a good subject for a Thanksgiving series. It is because the two main goals of this feast are the exact same goals that every Christian should strive to attain during their Thanksgiving Day celebration…

1. To cause a remembrance of the Lord’s gracious workings.

2. To develop an attitude of appreciation in these workings.

By our Lord’s grace, during the course of this study our hearts will be pointed towards accomplishing both of these goals during this Thanksgiving holiday series.

(Please note: If you are interested in a fuller study of this feast, refer to Numbers 29:12-38 for more details. For this devotional series, due to its length, we will only be looking at the shorter text on this subject found in Leviticus 23:33-44)

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Leviticus 23:41 (KJV) – “And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. [It shall be] a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.”

 

Leviticus 23:41 (ESV) – “You shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month.”

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year.

This feast of Tabernacles would be a seven-day celebration.

 

[It shall be] a statute for ever in your generations:

God had appointed that the Jews will continue to observe this feast “forever in your generations”.

In other words, each new generation of physical Jews was to observe this feast. The celebration of this feast was only to come to an end when there were no more new Jewish generations produced. This will only take place following the Lord’s second coming and the beginning of eternity when all human reproduction will cease.

 

 

ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

 

This feast was set to be observed the seventh month of every year.

 

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, our appreciation of all the Lord has done for us should extend far beyond the Thanksgiving holiday season. May we always take time out to remember His past, and present, blessings and then share His wonderful works with others.

Psalms 77:11-12 KJV – “I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”

 

Psalms 103:17-18 KJV – “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.”

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Leviticus 23:40 – “Take You Boughs and Branches”

 

 

(2015 SIH Thanksgiving 12-Part Devotional Series)

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

Leviticus 23:33-44 gives us a condensed version of God’s instructions about the Jewish “Feast of Booths” (also referred to as “The Feast Of Tabernacles”). This wonderful Jewish feast will be the subject for this Thanksgiving devotional series.

You might be wondering why this feast is a good subject for a Thanksgiving series. It is because the two main goals of this feast are the exact same goals that every Christian should strive to attain during their Thanksgiving Day celebration…

1. To cause a remembrance of the Lord’s gracious workings.

2. To develop an attitude of appreciation in these workings.

By our Lord’s grace, during the course of this study our hearts will be pointed towards accomplishing both of these goals during this Thanksgiving holiday series.

(Please note: If you are interested in a fuller study of this feast, refer to Numbers 29:12-38 for more details. For this devotional series, due to its length, we will only be looking at the shorter text on this subject found in Leviticus 23:33-44)

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Leviticus 23:40 (KJV) – “And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.”

 

Leviticus 23:40 (ESV) – “And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.”

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

And ye shall take you on the first day

 

During this feast the Jews were to build booths (cottage or hut). These booths were to remind them of the temporary dwellings that the Jews used during the wilderness wanderings.

These booths were to be made of the following types of branches…

 

 

the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook;

 

Type of branch Role of branch Lord’s care during wanderings
Boughs of goodly trees (with fruit still on them?) Fruit trees supply food and juice Lord meeting their nutritional needs
Branches of palm /Boughs of thick trees Trees to supply shade Lord giving peace, rest, and protection
Willows of brook Ties branches together Lord’s unity and strength given to Jews

 

The Jews would see these branches each and every day of the feast, as they would dwell in the booths. These would be a constant reminder of the many blessings the Lord gave to the them during their wanderings… from the meeting of their physical needs (food, water, protection from weather and victory over enemies), to the meeting of their emotional / spiritual needs (peace, spiritual rest, protection, unity and strength to continue on).

 

and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.

With these daily reminders, the Jews would be rejoicing with their thoughts placed upon the past and current blessings of the Lord in their lives.

 

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Do we consistently keep our thoughts upon the Lord and His wonderful blessings He has bestowed upon us? It should be a part of our daily processes to, on purpose, dwell on the wonderful physical and spiritual blessings He gives to us every day.

Ephesians 5:20-21 KJV – “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

Colossians 3:17 KJV – “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Psalms 34:1 KJV – “…I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

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Leviticus 23:39 – “Following The Fall Harvest”

 

(2015 SIH Thanksgiving 12-Part Devotional Series)

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

Leviticus 23:33-44 gives us a condensed version of God’s instructions about the Jewish “Feast of Booths” (also referred to as “The Feast Of Tabernacles”). This wonderful Jewish feast will be the subject for this Thanksgiving devotional series.

You might be wondering why this feast is a good subject for a Thanksgiving series. It is because the two main goals of this feast are the exact same goals that every Christian should strive to attain during their Thanksgiving Day celebration…

1. To cause a remembrance of the Lord’s gracious workings.

2. To develop an attitude of appreciation in these workings.

By our Lord’s grace, during the course of this study our hearts will be pointed towards accomplishing both of these goals during this Thanksgiving holiday series.

(Please note: If you are interested in a fuller study of this feast, refer to Numbers 29:12-38 for more details. For this devotional series, due to its length, we will only be looking at the shorter text on this subject found in Leviticus 23:33-44)

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Leviticus 23:39 (KJV) – “Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day [shall be] a sabbath, and on the eighth day [shall be] a sabbath.”

 

Leviticus 23:39 (ESV) – “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD seven days. On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest.”

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

 

“Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month,

 

At the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths)…

 

when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days:

 

The feast of Tabernacles was to be observed immediately following the fall harvest. This too, was another blessing of which the Feast of Tabernacles reminded the Jews.

In the next verse (Lev 23:40), we are told that they were to use “the boughs of the goodly trees”, along with other types of branches, to finish the booths. These were the boughs of fruit trees that would be a reminder to them of the Lord meeting their physical needs while wandering in the wilderness and also in the harvest they had just finished.

on the first day [shall be] a sabbath, and on the eighth day [shall be] a sabbath.”

The feast of Tabernacles began with a Sabbath observance and, then, immediately after the feast concluded another Sabbath was to be observed.

Perhaps, the first Sabbath observance was to remind them of the rest from their Egyptian captivity…

Deuteronomy 5:12-15 KJV – “Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

While the last Sabbath reminded them of their rest from the wilderness wanderings as they entered the Promised Land…

Hebrews 4:4-6 KJV – For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:…

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, the blessings of the Lord that come upon us are varied and many. In today’s lesson we saw that the Lord used this feast to remind the Jews of both the temporal and eternal blessings that they have received of Him.

The physical blessings of God of which the Jews were reminded included…

1. the past material needs supplied during their wilderness wanderings

2. the current yearly harvest of their crops in their fields

3. their physical deliverance from Egypt

4. and physical entrance in the Promised Land.

However the symbolism of the feast goes much farther as it pictures the Lord’s spiritual blessings to us and applies to all Christians…

1. the past material needs supplied during their wilderness wanderings ….

pictures the blessings of God given to us during the course of our lives in this sinful world.

2. the current yearly harvest of their crops in their fields ….

pictures the Lord’s many rewards promised to who labor for Him by sowing the seeds of His truth into the fields of this world that are white unto harvest.

3. their physical deliverance from Egypt pictures ….

removal of the Christian from the bonds of sin.

4. and physical entrance in the Promised Land pictures ….

the Christian’s deliverance from this sinful world and our entrance into eternity with our Lord.

During this Thanksgiving season, let’s be sure to give thought to all the Lord has done to us which includes our:

1. material blessings while here on earth

2. promised rewards for faithfulness in eternity

3. deliverance from sin

4. deliverance from this sinful world as being taken into the very presence of our Lord.

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After All The Lord Has Done For Us… Do We Give Him Our Best?

SIH TOTT ICONLeviticus 23:38 (KJV) – “Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD.”

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-4mq

Leviticus 23:38 – “Your Gifts”

 

(2015 SIH Thanksgiving 12-Part Devotional Series)

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

Leviticus 23:33-44 gives us a condensed version of God’s instructions about the Jewish “Feast of Booths” (also referred to as “The Feast Of Tabernacles”). This wonderful Jewish feast will be the subject for this Thanksgiving devotional series.

You might be wondering why this feast is a good subject for a Thanksgiving series. It is because the two main goals of this feast are the exact same goals that every Christian should strive to attain during their Thanksgiving Day celebration…

1. To cause a remembrance of the Lord’s gracious workings.

2. To develop an attitude of appreciation in these workings.

By our Lord’s grace, during the course of this study our hearts will be pointed towards accomplishing both of these goals during this Thanksgiving holiday series.

 

(Please note: If you are interested in a fuller study of this feast, refer to Numbers 29:12-38 for more details. For this devotional series, due to its length, we will only be looking at the shorter text on this subject found in Leviticus 23:33-44)

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Leviticus 23:38 (KJV) – “Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD.”

 

Leviticus 23:38 (ESV) – “besides the LORD’s Sabbaths and besides your gifts and besides all your vow offerings and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD.”

 

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

 

“Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD.”

 

The offerings that were to be given to the Lord during the Feast of Tabernacles celebration was to be in addition to the other acts of self-sacrifice that were done by the people of Israel during the course of their year.

Here, we are given a very basic list of the differing ways that the Israelites gave of themselves to the Lord. Each of these represents different areas of sacrifice that we can give to the Lord as well…

OT Gift Description Type of Self-Sacrifice Involved
Sabbaths Of The LORD Intermission from worldly labors/concerns dedicated to Godly worship/communion Dedicating time and efforts exclusively for Lord and His service
Gifts A present given in obedience to command Fulfilling God’s desires for our lives
Vows Fulfillment of a promise Faithful to our promises to the Lord
Freewill Offerings A gift given out of choice not constraint Cheerfully desiring to serve the Lord

The above list are differing ways we can hand over (“give”) our lives to the Lord…

1 Peter 2:4-5 KJV – “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, a part of showing our love and appreciation to the Lord for all He has done for us is the giving of ourselves in the Lord’s service. In this text, we saw several ways that we can be living sacrifices for our Lord….

1. Do we dedicate EXCLUSIVELY our time, talents and gifts to the Lord and His glory?

2. Do we seek to fulfill our Lord’s desire for our lives?

3. Do we keep our promises to the Lord?

4. Do we serve our Lord with a willing happy attitude?

These are all signs that we do appreciate our Lord and we are living lives that bring honor and glory to Him exclusively.

May we all think on the Lord’s wonderful blessings to us, appreciate them, and make certain our appreciation is seen in our lives by others who are watching us.

Hebrews 13:15-16 KJV – “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

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Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Leviticus 23:37 – “Offer An Offering”

 

(2015 SIH Thanksgiving 12-Part Devotional Series)

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

Leviticus 23:33-44 gives us a condensed version of God’s instructions about the Jewish “Feast of Booths” (also referred to as “The Feast Of Tabernacles”). This wonderful Jewish feast will be the subject for this Thanksgiving devotional series.

You might be wondering why this feast is a good subject for a Thanksgiving series. It is because the two main goals of this feast are the exact same goals that every Christian should strive to attain during their Thanksgiving Day celebration…

1. To cause a remembrance of the Lord’s gracious workings.

2. To develop an attitude of appreciation in these workings.

By our Lord’s grace, during the course of this study our hearts will be pointed towards accomplishing both of these goals during this Thanksgiving holiday series.

 

(Please note: If you are interested in a fuller study of this feast, refer to Numbers 29:12-38 for more details. For this devotional series, due to its length, we will only be looking at the shorter text on this subject found in Leviticus 23:33-44)

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Leviticus 23:37 (KJV) – “These [are] the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim [to be] holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day:”

 

Leviticus 23:37 (ESV) – “These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the LORD food offerings, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day,”

 

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

 

“These [are] the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim [to be] holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day:”

 

 

 

Each offering during the Feast of Tabernacles was to be performed on a specific day (see Num 29 for details). The four types of offerings include:

Type of Offering (Num 29) Christ Pictured As: Christ’s Example For Saints:
Burnt Offerings Total Surrender and Sacrifice Of Christ On Cross Total Surrender To Lord
Meat (Grain) A Living Sacrifice To His Father (In Life and Death) Sacrifice Of The Work Of Our Hands
Peace (Sacrifice) Christ Made Peace With God For His People Need Of Fellowship and Communion with God
Drink Christ Anointed Of God To Do His Bidding Need To Separate Ourselves To God

 

Please note not all of these above offerings are literally “made by fire”. This phrase could be speaking of the Burnt and Meat Offerings only. These were the ones that were placed upon an altar and consumed by fire.

However, it is also possible that the phrase “offering by fire” can also, by implication, refer to all four of the above offerings. In our last devotion we saw that the implications of a burnt offering was three fold, it was an offering to the Lord that:

1. The offering by fire was a picture of their service to the Lord, giving that offering over to the priest was a symbolic representation of their work being dedicated entirely to their Lord.

2. The offering by fire was a picture of their service to the Lord, causing them to suffer loss of the offering (giving up a lamb, bird, harvest first fruits etc) as it was totally consumed in the flames.

3. The offering by fire was a picture of their service to Christ, the smoke ascended into the clouds, representing their earthly service ascending into the heavens to the throne of God.

Although some of the above four offerings are not literally burned up, describing them as “offerings by fire” certainly applied based on all three of the above basic principles.

 

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks in this section of Scripture there is much that can be learned concerning thankfulness for the Lord’s great blessings upon us. Some of these include:

1. Our appreciation to the Lord is not simply an inward attitude and emotion, but it is also to be shown in our lives and actions. One of the best ways to appreciate our God is to live out our appreciation by being living sacrifices for His glory, this includes:

a. total surrender to the Lord

b. separation from the sinful aspects of this world to the Lord

c. placing a premium on a personal relationship of close communion with the Lord

d. giving of our time, talents and labors to the Lord.

Romans 12:1-2 KJV – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

By planning ahead and setting an appointment for quiet time with the Lord and His Word, we can allocate the time necessary to truly be thankful to the Lord this holiday season.

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Leviticus 23:36 – “It Is A Solemn Assembly”

(2015 SIH Thanksgiving 12-Part Devotional Series)

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

Leviticus 23:33-44 gives us a condensed version of God’s instructions about the Jewish “Feast of Booths” (also referred to as “The Feast Of Tabernacles”). This wonderful Jewish feast will be the subject for this Thanksgiving devotional series.

You might be wondering why this feast is a good subject for a Thanksgiving series. It is because the two main goals of this feast are the exact same goals that every Christian should strive to attain during their Thanksgiving Day celebration…

1. To cause a remembrance of the Lord’s gracious workings.

2. To develop an attitude of appreciation in these workings.

By our Lord’s grace, during the course of this study our hearts will be pointed towards accomplishing both of these goals during this Thanksgiving holiday series.

 

(Please note: If you are interested in a fuller study of this feast, refer to Numbers 29:12-38 for more details. For this devotional series, due to its length, we will only be looking at the shorter text on this subject found in Leviticus 23:33-44)

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Leviticus 23:36 (KJV) – “Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it [is] a solemn assembly; [and] ye shall do no servile work [therein].”

 

Leviticus 23:36 (ESV) – “For seven days you shall present food offerings to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the LORD. It is a solemn assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD:

 

During the seven days of the observance offerings “made by fire” were to be made. When many different offerings were given to the Lord, some of them were required to be burnt by fire. These offerings were to be laid upon an altar and totally consumed by the flame. The act of burning the offering illustrated for the Jews three very important truths about their service to the Lord:

1. Their acts of service to the Lord were to be done in a spirit of total submission and dedication to the Lord.

The offering was a picture of their service to the Lord, giving that offering over to the priest was a symbolic representation of their work being dedicated entirely to their Lord. They were to give all to Him and hold back nothing for their own personal use.

2. Their acts of service to the Lord, many times, would result in earthly loss.

They would suffer loss of the offering (giving up a lamb, bird, harvest first fruits etc) as it was totally consumed in the flames.

This pictures our service to Christ which may hold little, or no earthly benefits for us … we may be mocked, ridiculed and shunned for our service to Him.

3. Their acts of service to the Lord, would be accepted in heaven and reap eternal rewards.

As the Jewish offerings were burned, the smoke ascended into the clouds, representing their earthly service ascending into the heavens to the throne of God. Although our acts of service many times suffer earthly loss, they will always receive for us eternal, heavenly, gain!

 

 

on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD:

 

On the day following this 7 day observance, God’s people were to hold another gathering that was dedicated to the Lord. During this holy convocation burnt offerings were to be made reminding them of the need for total surrender of their lives in appreciation for all the Lord has done for them.

 

 

it [is] a solemn assembly; [and] ye shall do no servile work [therein]

 

This eighth day was to be a “solemn assembly”, in other words, a “gathering of restraint” or “a meeting of detention”. In other words, the basic attitude during this assembly was to bring all motives, desires and thoughts into the captivity of the Lord as their hearts and minds entirely dwelled upon Him and His goodness to them.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, in this devotional, we have clearly revealed to us several truths about our acts of service to Christ…

1. Our service to the Lord involves total dedication to the Lord.

2. Our service to the Lord may cause us to suffer earthly loss.

3. Our service to the Lord will reap eternal rewards for us.

4. Our service to the Lord is encouraged when we recognize His blessings and come to a freah appreciation of them.

5. Our service to the Lord (including our times of recognition and appreciation of His blessings) involved putting to death our fleshly desires and motives.

Satan will oppose our every effort to come to a greater appreciation of our Lord and he will use our minds and desires to do just that.  Satan will bring to our thoughts all of the responsibilities that we will face during the Thanksgiving holidays…  our need to prepare meals, traveling to relatives, spend time caring for our children, getting ahead at work to prepare for our time off etc etc.  All of these type of things he will try to place ahead of our quiet time of reflection.

Folks, may we being a new period of dedication and service to our Lord this holiday season by putting our flesh into submission to the Lord’s desires. Take time out to recognize and appreciate His blessings and then using this new-found appreciation to energize us to serve Him in greater ways using our calling, gifts and human talents He has so graciously given to us!

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Leviticus 23:34 – “The Feast Of Tabernacles (Booths)”

 

(2015 SIH Thanksgiving 12-Part Devotional Series)

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

Leviticus 23:33-44 gives us a condensed version of God’s instructions about the Jewish “Feast of Booths” (also referred to as “The Feast Of Tabernacles”). This wonderful Jewish feast will be the subject for this Thanksgiving devotional series.

You might be wondering why this feast is a good subject for a Thanksgiving series. It is because the two main goals of this feast are the exact same goals that every Christian should strive to attain during their Thanksgiving Day celebration…

1. To cause a remembrance of the Lord’s gracious workings.

2. To develop an attitude of appreciation in these workings.

By our Lord’s grace, during the course of this study our hearts will be pointed towards accomplishing both of these goals during this Thanksgiving holiday series.

 

(Please note: If you are interested in a fuller study of this feast, refer to Numbers 29:12-38 for more details. For this devotional series, due to its length, we will only be looking at the shorter text on this subject found in Leviticus 23:33-44)

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Leviticus 23:34 (KJV) – “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month [shall be] the feast of tabernacles [for] seven days unto the LORD.”

 

Leviticus 23:34 (ESV) – “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths to the LORD.”

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

 

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying,

As the Lord delivered His Word to Moses, He directed Moses to share this information with all the physical nation of Israel. This feast only applied to them, as it only referred to a series of past events that their nation had experienced.

This feast was created for them to remember a specific event from their history, recognize it as a blessing from their Lord, and appreciate Him for performing it on their behalf.

The fifteenth day of this seventh month [shall be]

This feast was to begin to be observed on the 15th day of the seventh month (the month of Tishri on the Jewish calendar…. This equates to the end of Sept – beginning of Oct on our calendar). This takes place 5 days after the Day of Atonement which follows the end of the harvest season.

 

 

the feast of tabernacles

 

This feast is called “the Feast of Tabernacles” in the Bible. This title simply means “the Feast of Booths” or “the Feast of Cottages”. This is because during this feast the Jews were to make, and live in booths made of branches…

Nehemiah 8:14 KJV – “And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:”

 

The title of this feast, and the specifics of its observance, reminded the Israelites of one of the most miraculous event that took place in the history of their nation… the wilderness wanderings when the Jews dwelled in booths as they traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land…

Leviticus 23:43 KJV – “That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.”

The remembrance and appreciation of this event was the purpose behind the observance of “the Feast of Tabernacles”. Every time the people observed this feast, it would bring back to their mind three basic miracles that were performed on behalf of the Israelites…

1. Their deliverance and liberation from the Egyptian bondage (the miracle beginning of their wilderness wanderings)

2. Their protection and sustenance during the wilderness wanderings (the miracles during their wilderness wanderings)

3. Their entrance into the Promised Land (the miracle that brought their wilderness wanderings to an end)

 

 

 

[for] seven days unto the LORD.”

This feast was to last one full week and was to be done “unto the Lord”. In other words, it was to be dedicated to the Lord’s glory and honor, and was to be done with His supervision, authority and approval.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, how many times has the Lord worked great blessings into our lives, only to be slowly forgotten over the years?

By giving us a record of the Jewish “Feast of Tabernacles” we are given a Scriptural reminder of the need for each one of us to periodically stop and recall His wondrous workings on our behalf that we have experienced throughout our life on earth.

Folks, the ideal time for us to stop and remember His blessings is during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Although it may be a busy time for all of us, we should always take the time to stop and remember all He has done for us in our personal lives, families, churches and nation. Then we are to allow these acts to enter our hearts and stir within us an attitude of appreciation and acts that praise and honor Him for all He has done.

Following this, we are to share accounts of His blessings with those around us, reminding them of His great grace in their lives.

By doing this, we are making this time of year truly a Thanksgiving experience for us all.

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Leviticus 23:33 – “And The Lord Spake”

(2015 SIH Thanksgiving 12-Part Devotional Series)

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

Leviticus 23:33-44 gives us a condensed version of God’s instructions about the Jewish “Feast of Booths” (also referred to as “The Feast Of Tabernacles”). This wonderful Jewish feast will be the subject for this Thanksgiving devotional series.

You might be wondering why this feast is a good subject for a Thanksgiving series. It is because the two main goals of this feast are the exact same goals that every Christian should strive to attain during their Thanksgiving Day celebration…

1. To cause a remembrance of the Lord’s gracious workings.

2. To develop an attitude of appreciation in these workings.

By our Lord’s grace, during the course of this study our hearts will be pointed towards accomplishing both of these goals during this Thanksgiving holiday series.

(Please note: If you are interested in a fuller study of this feast, refer to Numbers 29:12-38 for more details. For this devotional series, due to its length, we will only be looking at the shorter text on this subject found in Leviticus 23:33-44)

TODAY’S TEXT:

Leviticus 23:33 (KJV) – “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,”

Leviticus 23:33 (ESV) – “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,”

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

In this beginning devotional, we have the source of this feast being clearly revealed to us…

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,”

The LORD (Jehovah God) was the originator of this feast. All of the instructions for this feast were given directly from God to His prophet Moses, to be handed to the physical Jewish people.

Throughout their history, several times, the Jews were told to remember and appreciate all that the Lord had done on their behalf….

1. Prior to the Jews entrance into the promised land, in Deuteronomy 8:, the Lord commands the Israelites to remember their deliverance from Egyptian captivity and the Lord’s care given to them throughout the wilderness wanderings. This was to be done to encourage and strengthen their hearts as they warred against the many nations that inhabited the promised land. This is the very time frame of which the Lord sought to remind the Jews when He handed down the observance of the Feast of Booths to them.

2. This same event is what is being referred to when Asaph said, in Psalm 77:11, “I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.”

3. And also this same event was included by David when he said in Psalm 105:5 “Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth”

Many references to similar instructions given to the Israelites can be found throughout the Old Testament scriptures.

Truly, the Feast of Booths, was given by the Lord and was meant to call to remembrance the Jewish deliverance from Egyptian captivity and the gracious watch care the Jews experienced during their wanderings in the wilderness. These blessings, and many others, are to be remembered and appreciated by the Jewish people throughout time.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

The Lord gives us, as Christians, similar instructions concerning remembering and appreciating all that He has done for us.

1. Delivering us from the bondage of sin.

Ephesians 2:10-13 KJV – “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

2. And graciously watching over us, caring for our every need.

Psalms 103:1-5 KJV – “A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

May we all take time this holiday season to stop and carefully consider the wonderful works that the Lord has performed on our behalf. And then, like David, seek to thank the Lord for all He has done by actively giving of our lives for Him …

Psalms 116:12 KJV – “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?”

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Cremation Or Burial: What Does The Bible Say? (2)

SIH STSTA ICONThe necessity of the death of our body, and its use to honor and glorify the Lord, is an issue for which we all should be prepared.  This would include the testimony that we display during our actual passing, as well as the funeral service and disposal of our body   After all, our physical bodies are a wonderful gift from the Lord of which we are to use for His glory in every way possible…

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

I have said this to simply explain the importance of the issue we will be studying today.  It is the issue of the burial of our body versus the cremation of our body.  Do either of these dishonor our Lord or harm our testimony before Him?

 

THE STUDY:

In my way of thinking, one reason why there is so many questions about cremation versus burial of the body is because there is no “thus saith the Lord”.  To my knowledge the Bible does not clearly address the issue.  It is an issue that will have to be decided based upon a variety of Biblical principles instead of a clear Biblical declaration.

Keeping that in mind, I would like us to look at some Biblical principles that we can prayerfully consider…
1. The Stewardship Principle (see lesson #1)
2. The Example Of Honored Bible Characters
3.  The Symbolism Of Fire And Burial

The Example Of Honored Bible Characters

The most common way the deceased body was cared for throughout the Scriptures is through the act of a burial.  Normally, this “burial” was not underground in today’s time but in tombs, or sepulchers, made from caves covered by a huge rock:  Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah (Gen 49:29-31); Lazarus (Mark 15:45-46); Christ Himself (Mark 15:45-47) to name a few.

However, there is, at least, one cremation of an honored character that took place, and it was for the Lords glory…

And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul;  All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there.  And they took their bones, and buried [them] under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.”   (1 Samuel 31:11-13)

In this case, the bodies of Saul and his sons were burned to make certain the Philistines would not be able to reclaim the bodies and, once again, put them on public display, bringing shame to the land of Israel.  This was not done to dishonor Saul and his sons, who were revered by Israel, it was done to retain the honor of Israel and her God, Jehovah.  In this case, the burning of the bodies was done to preserve respect for the Lord, not take away from it.

Another example of a Godly use of cremation is found in Amos…

Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.  The Lord GOD hath sworn by himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein.  And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die.  And a man’s uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that [is] by the sides of the house, [Is there] yet [any] with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the LORD.  For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.”   (Amos 6:7-11)

In this case, we have cremations taking place to stop a communicable plague from spreading throughout the land.

Also, we have to think about all the other honorable servants of the Lord whose body did not receive a proper burial.  In Hebrews 11: we find listed, in general terms, the types of death, and lack of burial many experienced…

And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and [of] Barak, and [of] Samson, and [of] Jephthae; [of] David also, and Samuel, and [of] the prophets:  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:  And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth.

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:  God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.  (Hebrews 11:32-40)

Throughout the ages, the bodies of the people of God have suffered greatly at the hands of their enemies.  Some of the types of death relevant to our study include…. burning at the stake, being sawn asunder, eaten by wild animals, cast into the sea, torn apart on the rack etc etc etc.   All of these examples help us to understand that, in some instances, the lack of a burial actually glorifies God in great ways depending on the situation in which they occur.  Paul understood this principle when he actually offered for his body to be abused for the resultant glory of the Lord….

And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”  (1 Corinthians 13:3)

Of course, Paul is not referring to a cremation here, but a death by fire (aka being burned to death) which has a secondary result of destruction of the body.

Based upon the examples of the honored Bible characters, it seems as if the norm was definitely a proper burial of a prepared body, but it certain instances, cremation or the lack of a proper burial was used by the Lord for His honor and glory.    This must be determined based upon the motive behind the action and the circumstances surrounding it.

The Symbolism Involved

The final area that we need to look at is the area of symbolism… what does burial symbolize, if anything; and what does cremation of the deceased body symbolize, if anything?  To help us understand this we need to see what these two acts are related to in the Bible….

First let’s look at the symbolism of application of fire ….
Many times, the application of fire is symbolic of the falling of God’s judgment.

How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?   (Psalms 89:46)

And [when] the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard [it]; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed [them that were] in the uttermost parts of the camp.  And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched.  And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.   (Numbers 11:1-3)

 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime:  But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kerioth: and Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, [and] with the sound of the trumpet:  And I will cut off the judge from the midst thereof, and will slay all the princes thereof with him, saith the LORD.  (Amos 2:1-3)

In all the above three texts, which is only a sample of the many times fire is used by God to judge those who were rebellious, we can see that the application of fire was related to God’s anger and wrath being poured out upon the sinful.

However in our last text, Amos 2:1-3, it is interesting for us to notice WHY Moab was being punished by God.  It is described as “because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime”.  Was the Lord calling the act of cremation a sin?  If so, this would make our study much simpler.  There are those who say that is exactly what is being said, and therefore, we can know with certainty that the cremation of a body is an act of sinfulness.

However, from my perspective, I do believe this verse is better understood to be describing the horrible cruelty of Moab that was shown by his burning up the bodies of his enemies until the bones turned to small pieces with which he then plastered his palace.  He was a nice guy huh? (Because this information is based on human historians who were not inspired by God, this information cannot be relied upon with absolute certainty.  Therefore I am just sharing this alternate view with you.)

The reason why I do not think it is speaking of all types of cremation is because, we just saw in a previous examples where the act of cremation was not sinful but done as an act to glorify and honor the Lord.  I do not believe the act of cremation is not sinful in and of itself, but the purpose behind the cremation, and the circumstances surrounding it, must be taken into account as well.

From this standpoint, a usage of fire to cremate a body would be a symbolic picture of the body being used to dishonor the Lord, and as a result the body receiving judgment at the hand of the Lord.

Not only is the application of fire is symbolic of the falling of God’s judgment, but at other times, the application of fire was used by the Lord to accept an offering made to Him…

And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.  And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: [which] when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.   (Leviticus 9:23-24)

And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought [it] out unto him under the oak, and presented [it].  And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay [them] upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.  Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that [was] in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. And when Gideon perceived that he [was] an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.  And the LORD said unto him, Peace [be] unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.  Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it [is] yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.”   (Judges 6:19-24)

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD [be] God, follow him: but if Baal, [then] follow him. And the people answered him not a word.  Then said Elijah unto the people, I, [even] I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets [are] four hundred and fifty men.

Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay [it] on wood, and put no fire [under]: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay [it] on wood, and put no fire [under]:  And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.  And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress [it] first; for ye [are] many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire [under].  And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed [it], and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But [there was] no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.  And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he [is] a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, [or] peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.  And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.  And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the [time] of the offering of the [evening] sacrifice, that [there was] neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.  And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD [that was] broken down.  And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:  And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.  And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid [him] on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour [it] on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.  And he said, Do [it] the second time. And they did [it] the second time. And he said, Do [it] the third time. And they did [it] the third time.  And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.  And it came to pass at [the time of] the offering of the [evening] sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou [art] God in Israel, and [that] I [am] thy servant, and [that] I have done all these things at thy word.  Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou [art] the LORD God, and [that] thou hast turned their heart back again.  Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that [was] in the trench.  And when all the people saw [it], they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he [is] the God; the LORD, he [is] the God.  And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.   (1 Kings 18:21-40)

In the above texts, and in several others, we can see that many times the Lord declared His acceptance of an offering through the use of fire coming down upon the offerings and consuming them.

Under this basic usage, the cremation of a body could be seen as a body being offered for the Lord’s use (during its lifetime on earth) and that offering being found pleasing in the eyes of the Lord.

Now, let’s begin looking at the symbolism involved with the act of burial of a body…

The act of burial pictures the state of the saints dead body as it awaits the final resurrection.

But some [man] will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?  [Thou] fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:  And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other [grain]: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.  All flesh [is] not the same flesh: but [there is] one [kind of] flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, [and] another of birds.  [There are] also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial [is] one, and the [glory] of the terrestrial [is] another.  [There is] one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for [one] star differeth from [another] star in glory.  So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:  It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit.  Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.  The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven.  As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly.  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.  (1 Corinthians 15:35-49)

In the above text, we can see that the body of those who are passed away is pictured by a seed that is sown.  The resurrection of that body is pictured by the seed then sprouting and growing with a new type of life.  Therefore it only makes sense that this seed that is “buried” and the sprout that arises with new life is the perfect illustration of dead body that is buried in the ground and the coming resurrection to a new type of life when the body comes forth from the grave.

The act of burial pictures Christ’s burial

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;  (Hebrews 2:14)

But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept.   For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.  (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.  (Philippians 3:20-21)

Christ went before His people setting the perfect example for us to follow in all aspects of His life. The example He has set for us even extends to the burial and resurrection of His body.  Christ’s body was buried in a tomb and then three days later at His resurrection, He exited that tomb proving to all that He was the true God and Redeemer of His people.   The burial of the believer’s body is one way, among many, that we can follow His great example that was set for us.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

To summarize our completed study…

In the first study…
1.  We have come to recognize the importance of using our physical bodies for the glory and honor of God as stewards of these wonderful dwelling places for the Holy Ghost.  This principle even applies to our bodies following our death.
2.  We saw that the burial of the body was following the example set for us by our Lord, and in and of itself, was an act that brought glory and honor of Him.
3.  In our previous study, we also saw that the Bible gives us a clear recognition that the burial of a body is a very acceptable way to dispose of the body following death. It is through the use of burials that a body is protected for the destructive forces found in nature and shows great respect for the deceased.
4.  In our first study we also saw that the use of cremation to dispose of the dead body, may be considered using a force of nature to destroy it.  If that is the case, then this would be an act of dishonor for the deceased and abuse of the dead body.
5.  Also, in several cases, cremation was used to destroy those who are enemies of the Lord and foreigners from the nation of Israel.  Again, this would seem to teach us the need to refrain from the use of fire to dispose of the dead body.

In this, our final study…
6.  We saw that most of the honored servants of God had their bodies placed in a tomb for their burial.
7.  There were only two types of exceptions to the burial of God’s people…  The martyred servants of the Lord, who then had their dead bodies treated abusively by the enemies of the Lord; and, a few other cases, where cremation was used motivated out of desires to honor the Lord and protect His people from harm and shame.
8.  In this lesson, we also saw that cremation could be looked at as symbolic of the Lord’s rejection and punishment of the body of the deceased.  However, we also saw that this same cremation could picture the Lord’s acceptance of the service that was once performed in the body.  To my way of thinking the symbolism of fire is a wash, since it could be looked at either way.
9.  Based upon the spiritual lesson learned from a burial, we saw that a burial was symbolized by a sown seed waiting to receive new life and sprout.  This being a picture of a saint’s body sleeping awaiting a future resurrection.
10.  We also saw that a burial was also a public declaration of what our Lord has done for us by dying on the cross and experiencing a resurrection with a glorified body.

I believe the overwhelming evidence of the Scriptures is for the burial of the body of the saint who has passed before us.  It is clearly and acceptable way to dispose of the dead body picturing what Christ has done for us (as well as following His example and the example of saints who have gone before us). It is a proper way of protecting the body from abuse by nature, as well as a picture of the saint’s sleeping body.

When it comes to cremation, this is a much more questionable method of disposal of the body.  It could be abusing a body using a force of nature, and is associated with the death of those who are enemies of the Lord and it also is missing an opportunity to picture the Lord’s burial, following the example He has set for us.  Finally, it lacks in it declaring that the saint’s body is “asleep” and awaiting a future resurrection.  When we look at all these issues we can see that the weight of evidence makes cremation a questionable practice.  However, we should never forget that the Bible does give examples of cremation being used in God glorifying ways. Therefore we cannot say that in every case cremation is a sinful act or displeasing to God.

My thoughts are that … Biblically, confidence can be found in the burial of the saint’s body.  It is clearly an acceptable, God honoring way to dispose of the believer’s body.   However, cremation is a much more questionable method of disposal of the body. Therefore, it must be selected with great care, prayer and consideration of the motives behind that decision.

The greatest consideration for us all is not the condition of our bodies following our death, but the condition of our souls now.  Keep in mind, one of the supreme goals of a Christian’s service to the Lord is to see the salvation of those who are lost.  For the Christian, are we certain our hearts are right with the Lord?  Likewise, are we living a life that glorifies and honors Christ?   Furthermore, are we using the opportunities the Lord has given to us to witness to and pray for the lost around us?  All of these things are of utmost importance.

For those who are lost, have you ever experienced the Lord’s saving grace in your life?  Have you ever seen that you have sinned against the Lord and, apart from His gracious intervention in your life, you can do nothing to gain forgiveness from Him?  Have you come before Him humbly, turning form those sins and trusting in Him to save you from those sins?  Have you ever experienced a change within you that results in recognizing Christ as your Lord and seeking to live your life for Him?

These are the marks of genuine salvation and the most important consideration that lies before us…

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.  Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:  Even as I please all [men] in all [things], not seeking mine own profit, but the [profit] of many, that they may be saved.   (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)

May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek His truth.

 

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May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

The Human Conscience Series: “Summary Of Our Study”

SIH TOA ICONThe wicked flee when no man pursueth:

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Prov 28:1)

As our study on the human conscience comes to an end. I would like us to take a few moments to review our study and look at a text from Proverbs 28:1…. The wicked flee when no man pursueth:  but the righteous are bold as a lion.  (Prov 28:1)

 THE SCRIPTURES:

1) The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.   (Proverbs 28:1 – KJV)

1) The lawless, fleeth when no man pursueth, but, the righteous, like a lion, are confident.   (Proverbs 28:1 – EBR)

THE STUDY:

What a grand way to end our study of the human conscience, we will now take a few moments to study our theme verse.  A verse that is a great summary to our entire series…

Here, we see the work of the conscience in the life one who has been unfaithful to the Lord and following a path of sin….

The wicked flee when no man pursueth:

“Those who have broken the commands of the Lord will run to a hiding place when no man is hunting or persecuting them.”  Why will this take place?  Why is one a fugitive when one man is attempting to catch and harm him?  He does this because of the powerful testimony of the conscience at work in his life.

We have all experienced guilt in our lives.  It is a very powerful emotion that changes the way we perceive everything around us…. a perfect example of the power of guilt is found in Leviticus 26:27-37.  Here, the Lord is speaking to those who have willfully rebelled against His desires for the nation of Israel. They had chosen to replace the worship of Jehovah with the worship of false idols.  Look at how He responds to their sinfulness…
27) And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;

Due to their willful rebellion against the Lord and the testimony of their conscience…
28) Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins…

The Lord would intervene in two ways:

First, He would take away many of the blessings that they no longer appreciated…
29) And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.
30) And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.
31) And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.
32) And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.
33) And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
34) Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye [be] in your enemies’ land; [even] then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.
35) As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.

Secondly, He would placed in their hearts a spirit of fear and paranoia, through the continuing testimony of their conscience….
36) And upon them that are left [alive] of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.
37) And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

In comparison, those who are diligent in following the promptings of their conscience, possess an inner spiritual confidence and strength that is founded upon their close relationship with their Lord.  We have that principle shown to us in 1 John 3:19-22 ….
19) And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
By knowing that we have applied the truth of God to our lives, we can have confidence that we are one of His people.
20) For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
If our human fallen fleshly conscience is telling us that we have sin in our lives, how many more sins are seen by the Holy God who knows all things?  If our conscience is telling us we have sin in our life, we can rest assured our sin does not stop there.  There are probably many other sins we commit that are known by God but unknown to us at our current level of spiritual maturity.

21) Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] have we confidence toward God.
22) And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
The blessing of having a clear conscience before God involves:
1.  knowing we have a close relationship with Him, we are saved and putting Him first in our lives.
2.  knowing that the same God that saved us, is the same God that promises to be with us, lead us, protect us and accompany us throughout our walk on earth.  We can no with certainty He will bless us for our faithfulness to Him.
3.  knowing that as we pray in His will, He will grant our requests as He works out what is best for our lives.

All of this becomes a reality to us as we see His gracious intervention exhibited in our lives through a changed life of obedience to Him.  When we see obedience in our lives, we are also viewing His grace at work in our lives.  Our lives of obedience is a great source of confidence that we are truly saved and in a close walk with Him.

Proverb 28:1 is a case study of the results of going against the urgings of our conscience and committing willful, rebellious sin in the life….
1. The Lord takes away material blessings
2. The Lord takes away spiritual blessings of confidence, bravery and reliance upon Him
3. The Lord allows them to become a defeated and powerless people that was bringing shame to the cause of their Lord.

And in comparison the results of following our conscience and living lives of service that glorify and honor Him…
1.  We know the Lord will meet our every need as our loving heavenly Father.
2.  We know the Lord will bless us spiritually granting us confidence, bravery and reliance upon Him.
3.  We know the Lord will enable us to be powerful, victorious servants, glorifying Him in all areas of our lives.

After reading these texts, helping us to understand the benefits of following our conscience, and seeing the harmful results of ignoring the conscience’s testimony in our lives, how can we not strive to follow our conscience every day?   In doing so, we will be glorifying our Lord and living a blessed life of close communion with Him.

THE SUMMARY:

In our study of the human conscience we have seen:

Lesson One and Lesson Four
1.That the conscience is the gracious gift given by God that is a guide for our lives.  The guiding of the conscience is based upon the perceived truth that we have within us. This emphasizes to us the importance of having a well-rounded knowledge of Scripture which can form the foundation of the working of our conscience.
2.  The conviction of the conscience and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, although similar and related are, in actually, two separate types of conviction from the Lord.

We saw that conscience conviction without the Holy Spirit’s workings results in: sorrow without Godly intervention and eternal spiritual death. Compare this to the conscience that is used as a tool by the Holy Spirit to convict and convince results in: sorrow that results in turning from the sin to service to God;  sorrow that is a gift of God’s grace; sorrow that results in repentance and salvation; sorrow for sin that is permanent; and sorrow that results in Godliness as a top priority of life.

Lesson Two
3.  The conscience of man was active within men during the times of the Old Testament and times of the New Testament as well.

Lesson Three
4.    The conscience works in many and varied ways but all its workings are aimed towards bringing us into alignment with the will of God for our lives.

Lesson Five
5.   For the truth of God’s Word to affect our lifestyle, the truth must be received in our mind and conscience and then applied to our will.

Lesson Six
6.  The ministries of the conscience can be pictured by a messenger, an eye, and a rod.  It is through its three ministries that we can come to understand our true spiritual condition and the spiritual needs of our lives

Lesson Seven
7.  The conscience helps us in seven ways to better serve Christ… It guides our conduct; It strengthens us for service; it enhances our fellowship;  it encourages our witnessing; it aids our prayerlife; it teaches us to be Godly citizens; it builds our character.

Lesson Eight through Eleven
8.  There are four types of consciences described in the Bible: Good, Strong, Weak, and Evil.
9.  We looked at the many differing characteristics, marks and keys to properly deal with each type in our life.
10.  We are to strive to obtain a good and strong conscience; while constantly on guard against allowing our conscience to become weak, or evil.
11.  One of the main keys to developing the desired type of conscience lies in our hearing, believing, and applying the truths of God’s Word to our life.  Also, the need to heed the urgings of the conscience and to live our lives according to it’s leadership is an important factor as well.

Lesson Twelve
12. We saw the importance of submitting to the God-given authorities that are over us.  These included (family, church and government)
13.  We saw several examples of those who chose to follow the Lord’s will for their lives and in doing so, they rebelled against sinful desires of the government that was over them.
14. Finally, in the rare event we must disobey the government to make Christ our first priority we must: be sure we have a consistent Godly testimony; disobey only based upon CLEAR Biblical teachings; always be exhibiting love and concern for others during our disobedience; disobey with the goal to be a witness of the glory of God; behave as Christ would behave.

By God’s grace let us all be aware of the importance and condition of our consciences.  In doing so, let us all strive to maintain a good and strong conscience that will a constant companion as we live our lives for Christ.

For a free copy of this series in book form pdf version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscience.pdf

For a free copy of this series in book form docx version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscienceprotected.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

 

 

Abortion: When Does Life Begin In The Womb?

SIH STSTA ICON(Author’s Note: Due to the length of this Bible study, I have explained many of the Scripture verses in a very general, basic way.  If you have any questions concerning this Bible Study please feel free to contact me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I will be answer any emails promptly.)  

With the presidential debates taking place, I thought it would be a good time to review what the Bible teaches about some of the moral societal issues of today.  At the forefront of these issues are abortion and homosexuality (and same sex unions).  In today’s blog, I would like to center our attention on abortion.  In a later blog entry we will look at homosexuality and same sex-marriages.

Let’s begin today’s look at the Scriptural teachings on abortion.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Exod 20:13 (KJV) Thou shalt not kill.

Matt 19:18 (KJV) He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Rom 13:9 (KJV)  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Rev 22:14-15 (KJV) Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.  For without [are] dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Matt 18 (KJV) At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matt 19:13-15 (KJV) Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put [his] hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid [his] hands on them, and departed thence.

Gen 25:22-23 (KJV) And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If [it be] so, why [am] I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations [are] in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and [the one] people shall be stronger than [the other] people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Luke 1:41 (KJV) And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

Luke 2:12-16 (KJV) And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Job 3:3 (KJV) Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night [in which] it was said, There is a man child conceived.

Luke 1:36 (KJV) And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

Num 12:12 (KJV) Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother’s womb.

Luke 1:43 (KJV) And whence [is] this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Ps 51:5 (KJV) Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Job 31:13-15 (KJV)  If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

Ps 139:13 (KJV) For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

Ps 22:9-10 (KJV) But thou [art] he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope [when I was] upon my mother’s breasts.  I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou [art] my God from my mother’s belly.

Gal 1:15 (KJV) But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called [me] by his grace,

Jer 1:4-5 (KJV) Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Isa 49:1 (KJV) Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

Luke 1:15 (KJV) For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.

Psa 139:14-16 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made: marvellous [are] thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, [and] curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all [my members] were written, [which] in continuance were fashioned, when [as yet there was] none of them.

Deut 22:25-27 (KJV) But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; [there is] in the damsel no sin [worthy] of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so [is] this matter: For he found her in the field, [and] the betrothed damsel cried, and [there was] none to save her.

Lev 20:11-17 (KJV) And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them. And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood [shall be] upon them…. And if a man take a wife and her mother, it [is] wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you… And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it [is] a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.

Ezek 18:20 (KJV) The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Rom 12:17-21 (KJV) Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Titus 2:4 (KJV) That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

1Cor 13:4-7 (KJV)  Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

John 15:13 (KJV) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Matt 23:37 (KJV)  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!

Exod 21:22-23 (KJV) If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine]. And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

 

THE STUDY:

I.  The Taking of Innocent Life Is Murder

Most, if not all of us, understand that the taking of innocent life is sinful.  Both in the Old and New Testaments, we find this teaching clearly on display…

“Thou shalt not kill” is not only a part of the Old Testament law (Ex 20:13), but it is also reaffirmed by Christ Himself in the New Testament (Matt 19:18).  Also, we find the Apostle Paul repeating the murder prohibition in Romans 13:9.  Finally, we see clearly that those who are found guilty of the sin of murder will be restricted from heaven and eternally judged for their sin (Rev 22:14-15)  The Bible is clear… murder is a sin in God’s eyes punishable by eternal death.

The Lord Jesus also made it plain that young children were to have special protection, attention and care given to them (Matt 18:1-6, Matt 19:13-15).

In our study of abortion, if we accept that the taking of innocent life is sinful, the question then becomes… does a fetus, in its mother’s womb possess life?  If so, at what point does its life come into existence?   At whatever point the fetus possesses life, the abortion procedure becomes murder.  This is the issue that we are going to examine in this study.

II. A fetus in the womb is considered a child and the pregnant woman is considered the child’s mother.

In Genesis 25:22-23, twins in their mother’s womb are given the title “children”.  The Hebrew word for children is Ben…. It is the common word used to describe children throughout the OT.  In Luke 1:41, John the Baptist while yet in his mother’s womb is described as “babe”.  The Greek word for babe is the word brephos…. This same Grk word is used in Luke 2:12-16 to describe Christ, the babe that was wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger in Bethlehem.

In both of the above examples, we can clearly see that based upon vocabulary usage, the Bible does not differentiate between a babe in its mother’s womb and a babe that has been born into this world.

You can also see this principle in Job 3:3 where we are told that it was a “man child” that was conceived in his mother’s womb.  Luke 1:36 tells us that it was a “son” that was conceived.

In Numbers 12:12 – we find that even in the case of a woman who has given birth to a still born child.  She is still considered a mother, because her child had possessed life while the baby was within her womb.   This same principle is presented in Luke 1:43 when a pregnant Mary is described as the “mother of my Lord”

III. A fetus in the womb is considered a distinct human being with whom the Lord actively intervenes.

In Psa 51:5 the psalmist describes himself, at conception, as “I” and “me”.  Pointing to his personhood beginning with his conception, throughout his mother’s pregnancy and birth and then throughout his life outside the womb.  This can also be seen in Job 31:13-15, where Job describes himself in the womb as “I”, “me” and “us”. In Psa 139:13, the psalmist says “thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb”. Once again, we can see that during his time in his mother’s womb, he was an individual human ( “me”) that was simply “covered” in the womb.

In Psalm 22:9-10 we are told that God was in control of the conception, formation and birth of the child.  This is proof that He was the child’s God even from his mother’s womb.

The Apostle Paul was called by God to his ministry while he was yet in his mother’s womb in Gal 1:15.  The same holds true for Jeremiah (Jer 1:4-5), Isaiah (Isa 49:1), and John The Baptist (Luke 1:15).

IV.  When does life begin in the womb?

In Psa 139:14-16, we find the development of the fetus is in view.  Please notice the 2 stages of development include….

1. the initial formation of genetic material (at conception when the seed meets the egg) “in thy book all were written… when as yet there was none of them.”

2.  the continual forming of the body (based upon the dictates of the genetic material) “in continuance was fashioned” The continual forming and growth of the baby from coneption forward is a sign of the baby possessing life from conception forward.

In other words, the Lord made the Psalmist “in secret” (ie in his mother’s womb – “lowest parts of the earth”) .   When the Lord first made the Psalmist, he was “yet unperfect” (undeveloped) .  However, even though he was undeveloped, all the genetic instructions (“in thy book all my members were written”) were present .   The baby’s body, organs etc, were not physically in existence (“as yet when there was none of them”) although they were in existence in the genetic code.

The baby was in existance and an individual human being from conception.  As the baby grows and develops (following the genetic instructions that are received at conception) the life within the fertilized egg is clearly seen.

Here, we find the answer to the question, “When does the baby receive life while in the womb?”  The Bible makes it plain that the genetic makeup of the child was existing from the very beginning of its formation.  This same genetic code is proof that the child is not simply a part of the mothers’ body.  On a genetic level the baby existed, in it’s entirety from conception.  Add to that the principle of growth and development immediately beginning at conception and we have a clear answer to our question.  The baby’s life began at conception…. the baby existed in it’s entirety at conception and exhibited growth and development from that point forward.

V.  What About Rape or Incest… Is Abortion Allowed In These Cases?

Both Rape and Incest are horrible sins in the eyes of the Lord (Lev 20:11-17, Deut 22:25-27). Any victim of these brutal acts should be treated with the greatest amount of concern, compassion and aid.  As Christians, we have the responsibility to help these victims in any way possible.

In Eze 18:20 we find a basic Biblical principle that I believe applies in these cases…. “the son shall bot bear the iniquity of father”…  Although a pregnancy may have come about due to the heinous sinful act of another, the child should not be punished for the sin of their father.  In other words, taking the child’s life, simply because the child was conceived in a sinful manner (rape, incest) cannot be defended.

Please keep mind, although the child may have been conceived as the result of sin, the murder of the child cannot be justified.  Two wrongs do not make a right, nor is a murder justified by the act of rape or incest.  In Rom 12:17-21… we are reminded that the Biblical method of dealing with wickedness is to “overcome evil with good”.  In other words,  to “recompense” one evil act with another evil act is of no spiritual value.  But by displaying love and kindness to others in the midst of wickedness is glorifying to the Lord who set us

the ultimate example of goodness in the midst of wickedness.

VI.  What About Abortion To Protect The Life of the Mother?

One of the most difficult situations a mother can face is to know that by giving birth to her child may endanger her life.  Anyone in this situation should prayerfully, consider the Biblical teachings on the Mother/Child love relationship.

In Titus 2:4 young mothers are told to” love their children”.   1 Cor 13:4-7 helps us to understand that the basis of a true, Biblical love is self-sacrifice.  Both of these verses, when viewed together, helps us to understand that a mother’s role is one of self-sacrifice… constantly working for the good of the child even at great personal cost.  That great personal cost may even extend to the giving of one’s life.

In John 15:13, our Lord tells us that “greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  This principle applies to a mother and child as illustrated by our Lord in Matthew 23:37… where the Lord speaks of a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings, protecting them from harm at the risk of her own life.

In the rare event that a pregnancy puts at risk the mother’s life… would it not be proper for the mother to be willing to risk her life for the sake of her unborn child?

VII. Is There Any Example of Someone Being Punished For Harming A Child In The Womb?

In Ex 21:22-23 we find the case of a pregnant woman who is accidently harmed during a fight between two men.  In this case, if she gives birth prematurely due to the injury she received, the party causing her injury was to be “punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him”.  The implication is that the child is prematurely born but does not suffer harm nor death.

However, these verses go on to explain if “mischief” follows.  IE if the child is permanently harmed or dies then “thou shalt give life for life”.  The offender must pay for the mischief that befalls the child due to the premature birth.  If the child dies due to the premature birth then, the offender life was to be taken… “Then thou shalt give life for life”.

This verse clearly tells us that harm to a child within the womb is to be treated just as if any other human being was harmed.  But more importantly, we see that harm to a child in the womb that results in the child’s death is to be punished with death.

What clearer declaration about the sinfulness of abortion could we find anywhere in Scripture?

Exod 21:22-23 (KJV)

22) If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine].

23) And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Currently, since abortions are legal in our country, the abortion decision must be made on an individual basis between the parents of the unborn and their God.  By God’s grace, a proper understanding of the Scriptures will make clear the sinfulness of abortion and the need for the unborn to be brought to full term.

For those who have already aborted their child, or for those doctors who have committed abortions, forgiveness can be found with our God.

Isa 55:7 (KJV)  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Mark 3:28 (KJV)

28) Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:

If you have more questions concerning forgiveness and the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area.  They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”.  On this page you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

———————————————————————–

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Same-Sex Marriage: What does the Bible say?

SIH STSTA ICONOne of the more controversial issues in our country today is the issue of same-sex marriage, civil unions and the role of homosexuality.   With the upcoming Presidential primaries and general election, the subject of same-sex marriages versus civil unions has been receiving more airplay.

I thought it would be a good thing to take a few moments and refresh our memories concerning the biblical teachings on homosexuality, its historical occurrences, and its standing in the eyes of God.

Let’s begin today’s look at the Scriptural teachings on homosexuality.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Lev 18:22-25 (KJV)  Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it [is] confusion.  Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:  And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

Lev 20:13 (KJV)  If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.

Rom 1:24-29 (KJV) Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

1Cor 6:9-11 (KJV) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

1Tim 1:9-10 (KJV)  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Jude 1:7 (KJV) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Gen 19:4-8 (KJV)  But before they lay down, the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:  And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.  And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,  And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.  Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as [is] good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

Deut 23:17 (KJV) There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

2Tim 3:1-5 (KJV) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

 

THE STUDY:

I.  What does the Bible Teach About Homosexuality?

 In the Old Testament the Bible makes it plain that homosexuality is a sinful act:

Lev 18:22-25 (KJV)  Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination…  Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:  And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

Lev 20:13 (KJV)  If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.

Please note an “abomination” – is the Hebrew word “tow ebah” which refers to something that is disgusting or abhorred.

The New Testament affirms, and upholds, the sinfulness of the homosexual act:

Rom 1:24-29 (KJV) Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Please note “vile” is a Greek word referring to “dishonorable”; while the Greek word for  “unseemly” means “indecent or shameful”.  Likewise the Greek word for “error” refers “to stray to wrong path”.

Each of these words, when linked to the last verse of this text “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”  Plainly shows the sinfulness of the homosexual act.

1Cor 6:9-11 (KJV)  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The Greek word for “effeminate” means “to be soft”.  This possibly refers to the tendency of some homosexuals to purposefully display feminine characteristics to attract other males.  Or, perhaps, it refers to taking younger (soft) males as homosexual companions.  In either case, homosexuality is in view.

The phrase “abusers of themselves with mankind” literally means “to have sexual relations with a male”

1Tim 1:9-10 (KJV) Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Please note: to “defile themselves with mankind” is the same Greek phrase as “abusers of themselves with mankind” found in 1 Cor 6:9-11.  This phrase means “to have sexual relations with a male”

Jude 1:7 (KJV) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

The word for “fornication” means uncleanness. What type of unclean activity was Sodom and Gomorrha guilty of committing?… going after “strange flesh”.

Note the phrase “strange flesh” ie foreign, or other body.  In other words, to lust after bodies that are in opposition to the commands of the Lord.  Homosexuality is foreign and goes against the plan of God for sexual unions.

In the above reference, Jude is recalling what took place in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha….  The account of this incident is found in Genesis 19:4-8:

Gen 19:4-8 (KJV) But before they lay down, the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.  And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,  And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.  Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as [is] good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

“we may know them” is a common Hebrew phrase (yada) that is used to describe a sexual relationship… (Gen 4:1, Gen 38:26, etc)  Also, please notice that a homosexual is given the title sodomite in the Bible, and is linked to sexual sins in Deut 23:17…

Deut 23:17 (KJV) There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

When taken in context, it is obvious that the inhabitants of Sodom and Gommorrah did not desire to simply interrogate or become friendly with the angel/men who were visiting Lot…. They desired to have a sexual relationship with them.

II. What about Homosexual Marriage or Same Sex Legal Unions?

Once the sinfulness of the homosexual act is established the question of homosexual marriage or homosexual legal union becomes an easy issue to understand.

To allow the existence of homosexual legal unions is the governmental condoning of sinful acts.  This flies in the face of one of the purposes of human government which is to uphold the Lord’s commands through the punishment of sinful actions (Rom 13:1-5).

To allow the existence of homosexual marriages is not only the condoning of sinful acts, but it is also the perversion of the marriage union which God has ordained to be between one man and one woman… (Matt 19:4-5; 1 Cor 7:1-2)

III. How Are Christians To Relate To Homosexuals?

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” this verse applies to the heterosexual as well as the homosexual.  We are all in the same boat.

As fallen, sinful mankind, we all have the need of salvation through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

As those who have received God’s gracious salvation from our sins… we understand the importance of proclaiming the gospel message to those who are in need of forgiveness…

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

Just as Paul made it plain that homosexuality is a sin… he made it just as plain that the sin of homosexuality can be forgiven, just like any other sin….  We should never treat homosexuality as an unpardonable sin or a sin that is beyond the grace of God.

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

Therefore we should gladly, willingly share the gospel message with the homosexual community as an act of love and responsibility knowing that apart from God’s grace we, too, would be living lives of separation from Him.

If you have any questions concerning the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area.  They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”.  On this page you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

————————————————————————

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

A Christian’s New Years Devotion

SIH STSTA ICONThe Jewish Civil New Year begins on the first day of the month of Tishri on the Jewish calendar.  This month equates to our calendar months of September/October.  It was during this one month time frame that the Jews were instructed to observe three New Year related celebrations:  Feast of Trumpets (1st), Day of Atonement(10th), and the Feast of Tabernacles(15th-21st).

As we study these three celebrations, we can learn much about preparing for our new year as well.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Lev 23:23-44; Nums 29:1-40

THE STUDY:

The Feast of Trumpets (Lev 23:23-25, Nums 29:1-6)

This feast centered upon the ritualistic sounding of trumpets used to call men to assemble before God.   Besides calling men to attention or assembly, in the Bible, the blowing of trumpets emphasizes a new beginning, with new responsibilities, brought about by God’s intervention:

  1. Giving of 10 commandments – Exo 19:16
  2. Day of Atonement – forgiveness of national sin – Lev 25:9
  3. Fall of Wall of Jericho – Josh 6:20
  4. Defeat of Midianties – Judg 7:18
  5. Ark restored to city of David – 2 Sam 6:15
  6. New moon  beginning of new lunar cycle, new time of worship and service – Psa 81:3
  7. Israel’s deliverance from bondage of Assyria and Egypt – Isa 27:13
  8. Taking Of His people to Heaven at Rapture – Matt 24:31, 1 Cor 15:52
  9. The Lord’s judgments during Tribulation period – Rev 8:13

The Feast of Trumpets helps to remind us that:

It is by the Lord’s grace that we are entering into a New Year which can be a new beginning for us all.  This includes putting past failures behind us and looking forward to a new set of opportunities and responsibilities and victories in our service to Him.

The Day of Atonement (Lev 23:26-32, Num 29:7-11)

This was a day set aside for the Jewish people to “afflict” their souls. In other words, it was a time set aside for coming to the Lord in humility asking for forgiveness for sins and a renewal of dedication for His service, putting Him first in their lives.

Just as in the Feast of Trumpets, there was a  series of offerings that were to be made:

  1. Burnt – picturing His death on the cross accepted by God  – Lev 1:1-17
  2. Meat – picturing His blessings given to us  –  Lev 2:1-16
  3. Sin – Picturing forgiveness of our transgressions against Him  – Lev 4:1-35
  4. Drink – Picturing His shed blood on our behalf  –  Nums 15:5-7
  5. Peace – Picturing His work brings about peace (rest, comfort, forgiveness) for us – Lev 3:1-5
  6. Taken together, these represent His death, and shed blood, resulting in our forgiveness, peace and other blessings.

This was perhaps the most important observance for the Jewish celebrations.  If anyone refused to observe this Day of Atonement they were to be cut off from the people, alienated from all areas of worship and service.

The Day of Atonement reminds us that:

We have a great need to deal with our past sins, putting them behind us, and securing our communion with the Lord.  We are to enter into a New Year of service humbly and in submission to the Lord’s will and way for our lives.

The motive for both of these should be His great sacrifice on our behalf.  When we consider what He has done for us shouldn’t we desire a close walk with Him, not hindered by unconfessed sin?  Shouldn’t we desire to be in submissive to His desires for us?  After all, aren’t both of these “our duty to do”?

We cannot over emphasize the absolute importance of communion and submission for the coming year ahead.  To deal with sin in our lives and then be submissive to will for the future is essential to living a victorious life in the coming year.

The Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 23:34-44, Nums 29:12-40)

The Feast of Tabernacles was an eight day observance (beginning on the 15th of the month and concluding on the 22nd day of the month).  During this eight day celebration, the Israelites were to give sacrifices unto the Lord and dwell in booths (tents).  It was observed to remind the Israelites of their dwelling in tents during their wilderness journeys following their release from Egyptian slavery.

The Feast of Tabernacles helps us to remind us that:

We are currently on a pilgrimage here on earth.  This is not our permanent home, like the Israelites who were traveling through the wilderness waiting for the Promised Land.  We are only strangers and pilgrims on this earth, waiting for our permanent, heavenly home.

When trials enter our lives this coming year we need to always keep in mind, our heavenly home awaits… our greatest need is to rely on our Lord and keep looking for our heavenly home.

Please note in all of these three celebrations, no work was to be done on these days, emphasizing the need to concentrate solely on the things of God.  We should take a break from all the distractions the world has to offer and take time to simply commune with our Lord.  What better way is there to start the New Year?

Also, in all three celebrations we find a command to convene (assemble) was issued, this would allow for a time of worship and also a time of encouragement to be passed from one Israelite to another as they prepared to face their New Year.

We, as well, should learn from this principle.  Take time to worship at a Bible- believing church and try to encourage other Christians to prepare for the coming year.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

To summarize our preparation for the New Year:

  1.  It is by the Lord’s grace that we are entering into a New Year which can be a new beginning for us all.  (Phil 3:13-14)
  2. putting past failures behind us
  3. looking forward to a new set of opportunities and responsibilities and victories in our service to Him.
  4. Entering into a New Year of service humbly and submitting to the Lord’s will and way for our lives.  (James 4:7-8)
  5. Recognize His great sacrifice on our behalf. (Luke 17:10)
    1. When we consider all He has done for us shouldn’t we desire a close walk with Him, not hindered by unconfessed sin?
    2. Shouldn’t we desire to be in submissive to His desires for us?
    3. After all, aren’t both of these “our duty to do”?
  6. Realize we are currently on a pilgrimage here on earth. We are waiting for our permanent, heavenly home. (Heb 11:13-16)
    1. When trials enter our lives this coming year we need to always keep in mind, our heavenly home awaits, our trials will only last for a season.
  7. We should take a break from all the distractions the world has to offer and take time to simply commune with our Lord.  What better way is there to start the New Year?  (Psa 63:1-7)
  8. Take time to attend a Bible- believing church  (Heb 10:24-25)
    1. We can worship the Lord
    2. We can encourage other Christians to prepare for the coming year.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Now is the time for you to put your life of rebellion against God and His Word behind you and begin the New Year as a new creature in Christ (2 Cor 5:14-21).    None of us know what the New Year will bring into our lives, however, the greatest insurance for the future is being a child of God (Gal 4:4-7).  He promises to His children that He will never leave nor forsake His children (Heb 13:5-6) .  If adopted into His family, you can be assured of His love, care, communion and intervention in your life, as well as a glorious eternity awaiting you. (Matt 6:25-24)

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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Halloween Part #4 – The Necromancy Symbols

With the Halloween holiday just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to take time to study the history and characters surrounding the holiday.

As Christians, we have the responsibility to…

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1Th 5:21-22)

So with this as our motive and the desire of our hearts, let’s look at part 4 of our 5 part series on Halloween:

  1. A Study of The Halloween Celebration (All Hallows Eve)
  2. A Study of The Death Symbols – Skeletons, Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Frankenstein, Vampires, and Bats
  3. A Study of The Sorcery Symbols – Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons
  4. A Study of The Necromancy Symbols – Séances and Ouija Boards
  5. A Summary of Our Study On Halloween

May the Lord be glorified in our study….

THE SCRIPTURE:

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.(Isa 8:19-20)

Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God. (Lev 19:31)

And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine. A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them. (Lev 20:26-27)

Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David: Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night. And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me. Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way. But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed. And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof: And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.(1Sa 28:7-25)

THE STUDY:

The History of The Necromancy (to prophesy using the dead) Symbols:

Séances – Attempts to communicate with dead spirits have taken place throughout history.  From rites performed among many ancient religions, to the Biblical account of King Saul consulting the witch at Endor (see below), to the Fix sisters claims of speaking to the dead through the first modern-day use of séances in 1848; the desire to speak to those who have died has been an ongoing pursuit.

The modern Spiritist movement began in 1848 by the Fox sisters of New York.  The sisters began hearing strange noises at night.  It was believed by the sisters that these noises came from a spirit dwelling in the home.  In response to a series of questions posed by the sisters, the spirit began to answer them using a series of knocks.  Interest in this phenomenon grew as word of the event spread.

In 1888, one of the sisters confessed that the entire series of events was staged.  According to her, the sisters had used joint cracking and apples dangling from strings to create the illusion of the sprit’s responses.  Later, the sister recanted her confession, however, most researchers believe that the confession of fraud was truthful.

It was through this series of allegedly fraudulent events that the popular use of modern séances was begun.  http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Séance

Ouija Boards – The first use of Ouija boards was thought to be in China in the 1100 BC.  It is recorded in the Chinese history under the tern “Fuji” or “pointer writing”.  Portions of the Chinese text “the Daozang” is claimed to have been written entirely through the use of the Fuji.

Patents for the modern day lettered board were filed in 1891.  The first board with the name “Ouija” was produced in 1901.  One of the creators claimed the name “Ouija” is Egyptian for “good luck”.  However, the more widely accepted translation for “Ouija” is “Yes”.  This board reached its peak of popularity in the early to mid 1900’s.

In both the Quija board and Séances, we have the attempt to speak to the spirits of dead humans in view.  This easily fits into the Halloween tradition of attempting to commune with, honor and pacify the dead spirits that roam the earth.

Is it possible to communicate with the dead?  Is the Lord pleased with attempts to communicate with the dead?  Let’s see what the Bible says…

In our texts, we have different aspects of communicating with the dead described by two different terms:

“them that have familiar spirits” –  Hebrew phrase “one that speaks in a jar”  “one that mumbles”

“wizards (that peep, and that mutter)” – Hebrew  phrase “a knowing one” “one that conjures”

As followers of the Lord, we are to seek counsel, wisdom and knowledge from our God not the dead:

“should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony:”

“And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.”

We must always judge messangers based upon the Word of God.  If a messenger proclaims anything that does not align itself with God’s Word, they are to be recognized as lost individuals and unreliable messengers of God:

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

Please notice, that the Lord clearly condemns attempts to communicate with the dead:

“Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them”

This is a grave sin punishable by death according to the Old Testament law:

“A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.”

The account of King Saul going into the witch at Endor is a very important event that we need to address in our study of “necromancy” (to prophesy using the dead)

Please read our text … 1 Samuel 28:7-25.

The two questions that we must answer about this account are:

1.  Was the spirit seen by the witch actually the prophet Samuel, or was it a demon masquerading as the prophet?

2.  If it was Samuel, does that mean that the Lord used a forbidden act (necromancy) to deliver His message to King Saul?

To answer these questions we must remember some basic, Biblical principles…

  1. King Saul received God’s punishment (death) due to this horrible sin he had committed (1Ch 10:13-14)
  2. Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us that He spoke to mankind using necromancy.  In times past, He spoke through His prophets and, later, His Son.  His Word is the only reliable record of the messages spoken by His prophets and Christ. (Hebrews 1:1-3).
  3. Nowhere does the Bible say that the Lord used the spirit of a dead man to speak to anyone. Likewise, the Bible does not say that we can speak to those who have died.  Conversely, the Bible indicates it is an impossible. (Luke 16:24-27)
  4. Satan is a very powerful deceiver, who can deceive the minds of men. (2 Thess 2:9-10)
  5. Based on our previous study on death (Halloween Part 2) we said that there is no intermediate dwelling place for dead spirits. They immediately enter into the eternal state, from which they cannot depart (Lk 16:25).
  6. Saints are said to be at rest and in glory with the Lord after their death.  It is hard to believe that they can be yanked out of their state of peace, at the whim of a medium.  (2 Cor 5:, Rev 6:11)
  7. If we say that Samuel actually appeared to Saul and delivered God’s message; in essence, we are saying that God refused to speak to Saul when Saul approached Him.  But, when Saul used an illicit method of communication, the Lord conceded and sent His message to Saul. (1 Sam 28:5-6, 28:15-21)
  8. Satan and his demons can masquerade as messengers of God with the hopes of deceiving the listeners. (2 Cor 11:14-15)
  9. Keep in mind, that Saul had not received any new information from “spirit Samuel”.  This being had only repeated the very same message that Saul had received previously from God. Compare 1 Samuel 15: with the message “spirit Samuel” spoke to him.
  10. The witch claimed that she saw “gods” ascending out of the earth.  This Heb word can speak of angels, or mighty ones.  What she actually saw were demons (fallen angels) who have access to this earth.  They were seen coming up out of the earth, just as the second demonic beast of Revelation came out of the earth as well (Rev 13:11)
  11. What had taken place was, following his breach with the Lord, Saul entered a state of being open to Satanic intervention.  Much like a “reprobate” described in Rom 1:21-32.

To summarize, the story of Saul and the witch of Endor is a story of a man, who, after willfully sinning against the Lord, is separated from God due to his sin.  Once separated from God, He continues on his downward path, falling deeper into sin by seeking counsel from the dead through the use of a medium.  At this point, Satan intervenes, sending a demonic messenger to Saul, in the hopes of deceiving Him into thinking he is communicating with a messenger from God.

Satan’s purpose? To further deceive Saul and mislead him into a further corrupting of the nation of Israel.  This is much like the role that Satan and his demons play in our society today…”Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.” (1Timothy 4:1)

Think of the great deception that has followed due to this sin on the part of Saul… Not only was the witch, and Saul, deceived into thinking this was Samuel, but many people throughout the following generations, have tried to use this account to validate and legitimize necromancy.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

Once again, as before, let me ask each of us the question I asked at the beginning of our series… have we taken the time to prayerfully consider 1 Thess 5:21-22…“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

It is obvious that by participating in the holiday of Halloween in no way makes a Christian guilty of consulting with spirits.  However, is participating in the Halloween festival “abstaining from all appearance of evil”?  This is what each of us should prayerfully consider.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

There has been a recent surge in interest concerning the afterlife.  The entertainment industry has been fueling this flame with a release of many movies and TV series that deal with the subject of consulting with spirits and other issues of the occult.   As we have seen in our study, to get a proper understanding of the afterlife, we should consult the Scriptures alone.

The Bible makes it plain that, through the intervention of Christ into our lives graciously granting to us forgiveness and peace, we can be prepared to enter the afterlife.

Do you know that you are prepared for the afterlife? The Lord gives us clear teaching on the way of salvation:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  (Joh 14:6)

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:10-12)

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Pe 3:18)

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Rom 5:1-2)

Turn from your sins and come before the Lord, and trust only in Him for your salvation.

If you would like further information about salvation please refer to the page on my blog entitled “How to have a relationship with God”.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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