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Bible Lessons and Devotionals For Easter Week…

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Easter Week Devotion: The Sufferings Of Christ

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Easter Week Devotion: The Importance Of The Resurrection

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Easter Week Devotion: The Resurrection Of Christ

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Easter Week Devotion: The Sayings Of Christ On The Cross

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Video http://youtu.be/4o7gisGPQPI

Share Christ With Others This St. Patrick’s Day!

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“The Color Green: A Picture of Divine Blessings”

(St. Patrick’s Day Devotional/Lesson  from Psalm 52:8-9)

“But I [am] like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.  I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done [it]: and I will wait on thy name; for [it is] good before thy saints.”
Share with others the importance of God’s hand of blessing on our lives and the way of salvation… the greatest blessing we can ever receive from Him!

Click here for immediate access to this devotional/lesson.

The Seven Seals Compared To Matthew 24:

The visions of the seven seals given to John in Revelation, and the teachings of Christ concerning the signs of His second coming found in the gospels correspond perfectly with one another.  In order to emphasize the meaning of the seven seals of Revelation, I would like us to come to an understanding of the perfect alignment that is found in these two Scripture texts.   

 

THE SCRIPTURES:

Matthew 24:1-51

Mark 13:1-37

Luke 21:5-36

Revelation 6:1-17, 8:1-9:21, 11:15-19, 16:1-21

 

THE STUDY:

First, the lesson taught by Christ concerning the signs of His coming can be found in three of the gospels. Each account is parallel in nature, the Bible is recording this one lesson from three different perspectives. Keep in mind, these three texts record a SINGULAR LESSON that is taught by Christ Himself…

 

Segment of Teaching Matthew 24: Mark 13: Luke 21:
The Question 24:1-3 13:1-4 21:5-7
(1)  And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.(2)  And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.(3)  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (1)  And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!(2)  And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.(3)  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,(4)  Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? (5)  And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,(6)  As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.(7)  And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?
Trials Faced By Lost and Saved Alike 24:4-8 13:5-8 21:8-11
(4)  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.(5)  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.(6)  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.(7)  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.(8)  All these are the beginning of sorrows. (5)  And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:(6)  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.(7)  And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.(8)  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. (8)  And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.(9)  But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.(10)  Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:(11)  And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
Trials Faced By All Christians 24:9-14 13:9-13 21:12-19
(9)  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.(10)  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.(11)  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.(12)  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.(13)  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.(14)  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (9)  But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.(10)  And the gospel must first be published among all nations.(11)  But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.(12)  Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.(13)  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (12)  But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.(13)  And it shall turn to you for a testimony.(14)  Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:(15)  For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.(16)  And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.(17)  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.(18)  But there shall not an hair of your head perish.(19)  In your patience possess ye your souls.
Trials Faced By The Jewish Nation 24:15-29 13:14-25 21:20-26
(15)  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whosoreadeth, let him understand:)(16)  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:(17)  Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:(18)  Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.(19)  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!(20)  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:(21)  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.(22)  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.(23)  Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.(24)  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.(25)  Behold, I have told you before.

(26)  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

(27)  For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

(28)  For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

(29)  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

 

(14)  But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him thatreadeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:(15)  And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:(16)  And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.(17)  But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!(18)  And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.(19)  For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.(20)  And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.(21)  And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or,lo, he is there; believe him not:(22)  For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.(23)  But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.24)  But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,

(25)  And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

 

(20)  And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.(21)  Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.(22)  For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.(23)  But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.(24)  And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.(25)  And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;(26)  Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
The 2nd Coming Of Christ 24:30-31 13:26-27 21:27-28
(30)  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.(31)  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (26)  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.(27)  And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.  (27)  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.(28)  And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Parable Of Fig Tree 24:32-36 13:28-33 21:29-33
(32)  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:(33)  So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.(34)  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.(35)  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.(36)  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. (28)  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:(29)  So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.(30)  Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.(31)  Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.(32)  But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.(33)  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. (29)  And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;(30)  When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(31)  So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.(32)  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.(33)  Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
3 Examples Of Unreadiness 24:37-44
(37)  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.(38)  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,(39)  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.(40)  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.(41)  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.(42)  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.(43)  But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.(44)  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Exhortation To be Ready 24:45—51 13:34-37 21:34-36
(45)  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?(46)  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.(47)  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.(48)  But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;(49)  And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;(50)  The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,(51)  And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (34)  For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.(35)  Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:(36)  Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.(37)  And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. (34)  And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.(35)  For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.(36)  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

 

 

From this table, it is very easy to see the parallel nature of the accounts of this event found in Matt, Mark and Luke.  Matthew’s seems to be the most detailed.  This makes sense because Matthew is the only author of the three that personally accompanied Christ during His earthly ministry.  Both Mark and Luke wrote their accounts from second hand sources.

In the other portion of our lesson, I would like us to examine the seven seals presented by John in Revelation with the above accounts of Christ’s teaching on the same subject… the signs that will take place before His second coming to the earth.

Because the account of Christ’s teaching in Matthew is the most detailed, we will use the Matthew text in this comparison.  However, it would be possible to use any (or all) of the three gospel accounts in comparison with the seven seals of Revelation…

 

Seal # Descript Revelation TextRev 6:1-17 Affects WorldMatt 24:4-8Matt 24:29-31 Affects ChristiansMatt 24:9-14 Affects Jewish NationMatt 24:15-28
1 Anti-Christs& False Teachers 6:1-2 24:4-5 24:11-13 24:23-28
(1)  And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.(2)  And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. (4)  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.(5)  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (11)  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.(12)  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.(13)  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.  (23)  Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.(24)  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.(25)  Behold, I have told you before.(26)  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.(27)  For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.(28)  For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
2 Wars & Rumours Of Wars 6:3-4 24:6-7a 24:15-21
(3)  And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.(4)  And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. (6)  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.(7)  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (15)  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)(16)  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:(17)  Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:(18)  Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.(19)  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!(20)  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:(21)  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
3 Famines & Shortage 6:5-6 24:7b
(5)  And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.(6)  And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. (7)  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
4 Horrific Deaths 6:7-8 24:7c-8 24:22a
(7)  And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.(8)  And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. (7)  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.(8)  All these are the beginning of sorrows. (22)  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
5 Persecution  Christians 6:9-11 24:9-10 24:22b
(9)  And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:(10)  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?(11)  And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (9)  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.(10)  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. (22)  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
Six Darkness In Heavens 6:12-17 24:29
(12)  And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;(13)  And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.(14)  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.(15)  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;(16)  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:(17)  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? 29) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
InterLude Protecting God’s People /Prelude To His Coming Revelation 7:1-17 Matthew 24:30-31
Text Omitted Due To Length(Please refer to Bible for these passages) (30)  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.(31)  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
7 God’s Wrath At The 2nd Coming 8:1-13; 16:1-21; 19:11-21
Text Omitted Due To Length(Please refer to Bible for these passages)

 

 

As you can see from the above, chart the very same events that are described in Christ’s teachings on the signs of His coming are identical to the seven seals of the scroll of Revelation.

This is important for us to understand, because it is another proof that the seven six represent the events that must take place before Christ’s 2nd coming.   The seventh seal reveals the wrath of God that falls at His 2nd coming.

 

May the Lord bless you as you 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.”

Micah 5:2 – “Bethlehem”

SIH STSTA ICON“Micah 5:2 – Bethlehem”

(Christmas Lesson 2014)

 

One of the most well-known of all the Old Testament prophecies touching upon the birth of Christ is found in Micah 5:2…

 

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

 

By taking a moment to study this passage, we can learn much about our Wonderful Savior who was born in this small and greatly celebrated town of Judah.

 

 

THE SCRIPTURES:

 

Mic 5:2 KJV – But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Luk 2:4-7 KJV – And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)  To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

 

THE STUDY:

Before we begin to take a detailed look at Micah 5:2, we need to recognize that this prophecy was given to Micah approximately 700 years before the birth of Christ.

Stop and think about this amazing truth.  Our sovereign God perfectly revealed to man a detailed description of the birthplace of Messiah 700 years in advance.  The historical record of this prophecy’s fulfillment can be found in Luke 2:4-7…

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) … And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

He then took things a step further by giving to Micah a specific description of the Lordship and the Divinity of the Messiah that was to be born.  Although the giving of this prophecy is a great miracle, it is greatly overshadowed by its miraculous fulfillment, the

birth of the Messiah…

 

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,

  1. The “house” of Jesus, in other words the place of His birth, was “Bethlehem” which means “house of bread”. This helps us to understand the importance of the Messiah… the Messiah is the “bread of life”, the source of spiritual life for sinful mankind (John 6:32-59).

When a lost man turns from his sin (repents) and trusts in the Messiah as his Lord and Savior, he is partaking of the Messiah much like a person partakes of bread.  Just as bread gives strength and sustains the life to man, so too, when we partake of the Messiah through repentance and belief He secures for us forgiveness, spiritual life, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

 

  1. In this prophecy, Bethlehem is further identified as “Ephratah”. This distinguishes it from another town named “Bethlehem” that existed in the land area of Zebulun.  “Ephratah” signifies “fruitfulness” or productivity.  In this title of the Messiah’s birthplace, we can see the manifold accomplishments of Messiah being referenced (John 21:25).  These accomplishments came about through His teachings, miracles, life-example, and His death and resurrection)

The Messiah successfully accomplished the complete mission upon which the Father had sent Him.  This included: presenting truths concerning His Father to the world through His words and deeds; redeeming His people from their sins; and gaining the victory over sin and death.  His life, that was begun in the insignificant town of Bethlehem Ephratah certainly was perfectly productive and bore manifold fruit for His Father.

 

 

though thou be little among the thousands of Judah,

Bethlehem, which was among the thousands of cities and towns of Judah, was irrelevant in the eyes of men, it was chosen by God to be the birthplace of the Messiah!

This helps us to understand that although man may judge people, places and things as irrelevant, when God chooses to use them for His glory, they are relevant in His sight and hold great significance for His purposes.

Why does God choose that which appears irrelevant to man to hold positions of great importance in His purposes?  By doing this, He rightfully secures all of the honor and glory for Himself by displaying His greatness to all.  (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

 

 

yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel;

When the Messiah came forth from Bethlehem, Bethlehem was giving birth to One that would be the eternal Ruler of Israel.

The Messiah, who came from the line of Jewish Kings, was recognized as the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” and was given the eternal rule over the spiritual nation of Israel (Hebs 1:8) .  This spiritual nation is made up of saved Jews and Gentiles (Roms 9:6-8, Gals 3:26-29, Phils 3:2-3) all of whom will accompany Him at Armageddon and dwell with Him eternally in the New Jerusalem (Rev 17:14, Rev 21: and 22:).

 

 

whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

This same Jesus, who is the Bread of Life, the Flawlessly Fruitful One, and the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, is the Eternal God.

Jesus, who was born as a babe in Bethlehem, was God come in the likeness of sinful flesh (Roms 8:1-4), which allowed Him to experience temptation (Heb 4:14-16) and give His life on the cross to secure the salvation of sinners (Phil 2:5-8).

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION/SUMMARY:

For this small town of Bethlehem came God Himself, born of a woman, born in the likeness of sinful flesh, to become the King of Kings and Savior of His people.  As we enter this time of year may we all keep our minds on these very important truths from God’s Word…

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.  (Isa 9:6-7 KJV)

For the Christian, young and old, our central attention concerning Christmas should not be placed upon Santa Claus, gift giving, or socializing and partying.  We should be placing our attention upon the Lord Jesus Christ, His coming to the earth, His ministry, and most importantly, the miracle of salvation by grace that He has accomplished through His death and resurrection.

 

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

For more Christmas Resources please click on the following links:

 

Miscellaneous Subjects Concerning Christmas:

Christ Or Santa Claus? Man Am I Confused!

Should Christians Participate In The Christmas Celebration?

Tis The Season To Deny The Existence Of God

 

The Biblical Christmas Account:

The Christmas Story In Matthew Part #1

The Christmas Story In Matthew Part #2

The Christmas Story In Luke Part #1

The Christmas Story In Luke Part #2

The Christmas Story In Luke Part #3

The Christmas Story In Luke Part #4

The Christmas Story In Chronological Order

 

Christmas Devotionals:

Think On These Things Devotional Luke 2:10-11 Part #1

Think On These Things Devotional Luke 2:10-11 Part #2

 

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Do We Play With Sin Or Hate It?

SIH HALTAL ICONRev 2:6 KJV   But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3MZ

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

SIH TOTT ICONRev 2:6 KJV   But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

 

Believe it or not, in our text for this morning we find the Lord commending a local church for their feelings of hatred.   But even more amazingly, we also read that the Lord possesses hatred in His heart as well.

 

It might be a new concept to some of us, but it is important to remember that hatred is not always a sinful emotion when it enters our hearts and minds.   There are times when it is not only appropriate to hate, but it is actually a desirable emotion that works righteousness in our lives.

In our text for this morning, we find that the Lord clearly states that He hates “the deeds of the Nicolaitans”.  What were these people doing?  They were trying to lead the local assembly of Ephesus into the false worship of idols.  Their actions were aimed at deceiving and harming God’s people while taking away from God’s glory and the worship that He deserves.

This helps us to understand that hatred doesn’t always displease God, nor does it do us harm.  Depending upon what we hate, there are times when our hatred is pleasing to God and helpful to us.   When we hate sin, its presence in our life angers us; when we are angry at the sin we commit, we will put it out of our lives.

Paul addressed this very principle in Ephesians 4:26, when he said – “Be ye angry and sin not…”

 

King David had much to say about this type of hatred…

Psa 26:5 KJV – “I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.”

Psa 101:2-4 KJV – “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.   I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.  A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.”

Psa 139:21-22 KJV – “Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?  I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”

 

In these verses, David clearly explains that a Godly hatred towards sin will result in him refraining from the commission of sin, and will also disallow relationships with sinful men to influence him to depart from the paths of His God.

To put it very simply, God hates acts of sin and He commended the church at Ephesus for hating the sins of the Nicolaitanes and not allowing them to influence their Christ-like walk.  Folks, we are to be commended for our hatred against sin.  When we see sin appear in our lives, we should hate it and turn from it.

May we all seek to develop a Godly hatred and anger against sin.  In doing so, may we cast known sin from our lives and live lives of glory and honor to Christ.

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3KZ

 

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: He laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not

SIH TOTT ICONRev 1:17b KJV – And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

 

What wonderful words to hear from the Almighty Sovereign of the Universe…  “Fear thou not”.   Keep in mind, John has just experienced a tremendous blessing when he received a vision of Christ in the midst of His churches.  But along with that blessing came a renewed realization of his Lord’s greatness causing him to fall at His feet in humility, sorrow, reverence and fear.

In this last part of the verse, we see the Lord placing his hand upon John and comforting him.  What a wonderful blessing for John to know that, although he was a sinful man undeserving of any blessing from the Lord, there was no need for him to fear.  He did not need to fear the Lord, nor any man, nor any event that might take place in his life.  He was safe and secure in the hands of His Lord.

These same comforting words can be applied to each and every one of His people… folks, although we deserve nothing but an eternity in the Lake of Fire, we have nothing to fear.  Just like the OT saints, we can go forward in service to the Lord knowing He is with us…

“… Fear not, Abram: I [am] thy shield, [and] thy exceeding great reward.  (Genesis 15:1)

Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up [and] possess [it], as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.”   (Deuteronomy 1:21)

And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;  For the LORD your God [is] he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.”  (Deuteronomy 20:3-4)

And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do [it]: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, [even] my God, [will be] with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.”   (1 Chronicles 28:20)

Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.   Say to them [that are] of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come [with] vengeance, [even] God [with] a recompence; he will come and save you.  (Isaiah 35:3-4)

But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called [thee] by thy name; thou [art] mine.  When thou passest through the waters, I [will be] with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
For I [am] the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt [for] thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.  Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.
Fear not: for I [am] with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;  I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;  [Even] every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.  (Isaiah 43:1-7)

 

As we set our minds upon the wonderful promises given to OT believers, let’s also keep in mind these same promises apply to NT saints as well.  As God’s people, we have nothing to fear … He is and will be with us, strengthening, protecting, enabling, and rewarding us.

As we enter our day today, may we all remember we have nothing to fear… the Sovereign Lord of the Universe is with us!

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3KX

Have We Ever Fallen At His Feet?

SIH HALTAL ICONRev 1:17 KJV – And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3LJ

Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 9:24 KJV – For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

 

Christ did not simply entered a human temple to minister for His people, but He has entered into heaven to make eternal intercession before God !

 

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The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: When I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.

SIH TOTT ICONRev 1:17 KJV

(17)  And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

 

When John sees Christ in His greatness, he responds by falling at Christ’s feet as if he were dead.  This was very similar to Ezekiel’s response when he saw the Lord (Ezekiel 1:28) and the disciples reaction at the Mount of Transfiguration when they saw the glorified Lord (Matthew 17:2-6).

 

We can all understand why seeing the Lord in all His glory would bring about such a response.  When we see Him in His greatness we are reminded of our shameful sinful condition, our impotence, our frailty, and our mortality.     Isaiah described it best when he described fallen mankind as “a drop in the bucket”, “the small dust of a balance”, “as nothing”, “less than nothing and vanity”, and “grasshoppers” (Isa 40:15,17,22) in comparison to the greatness of Jehovah, our Creator, Sustainer, Savior and Lord.

 

Although none of us have ever personally seen the risen Christ in all His glory, we certainly can “see” Him with our spiritual eyes.  By looking to the Scriptures and coming to an understanding of His greatness, we too can come to a realistic understanding of our needy condition before God.

 

Why is it so important that we all come to a moment where we fall on our faces before Him?  It is only when we see our true needy condition before Him that will lead to our salvation and will be a constant reminder of our need to rely totally upon Him as we live our lives on earth.

 

The Lord, Himself, reminded us of this same principle in John 15:5, when He said… “…without me ye can do nothing”.

 

Folks, as we go about our day do we ALWAYS have in our minds that we are in constant need of our Lord to intervene in our lives?  The continuing forgiveness of our many sins, our decision making, our physical strength, health and life, our opportunities of service,  and so many more areas of our lives depend entirely on the Lord’s merciful intervention.

 

May we all, as John see the greatness of our Lord anew, recognize our weakness and desperate need of Him every minute of our day, and learn to rely upon Him as our sole source for all our daily needs.    Just as the Apostle Paul had learned during the course of his life…

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3KX

For Whom Did Christ Die?

What have we suffered for the sake of Christ?

SIH HALTAL ICONRev 1:9 KJV  – I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3Lk

Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “… shall the blood of Christ… purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 9:14 KJV – How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

 

It is through the shed blood of Christ, that our conscience can be cleansed for our old acts of sin and made profitable in our service to the Lord.

 

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”   (Titus 2:13-14)

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 9:11-12 KJV – But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;  Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

 

It is through the shed blood of Christ alone, that we can be eternally redeemed!

 

And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”   (Revelation 1:5)

 

 

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The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: John, … a companion in the kingdom of God…

SIH TOTT ICONRev 1:9 KJV  – I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

In our text for this morning, John, as he writes to the members of the seven churches of Asia, describes himself as their “companion in the kingdom”.   Very basically, John was reminding his readers that they are all citizens of the same spiritual kingdom and subjects of the same King, Jesus Christ.  As believers in today’s time, we serve the same King of Kings and Lord of Lords as those of John’s day.  Because of this, we all share the same basic goals, desires, purpose of living and message to share with others.

Knowledge of our spiritual citizenship defines our purpose for living (bringing honor to Him) and motivates us to strive to fulfill that purpose every day of our lives…

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…But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”   (1 Peter 2:5-9)

 

Another very important aspect of our citizenship in the Israel of God is our guaranteed possession of an eternal, sinless, dwelling place prepared by God Himself.  This truth alone should revolutionize our lives and encourage our hearts when the armies of the darkness of this world wage spiritual warfare against our kingdom.

Notice how this great truth affected the lives of the OT believers…

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.”   (Hebrews 11:13-16)

 

This same set of truths should affect us as well.  We should find them to be a constant source of encouragement and strength knowing that we will, someday, be delivered from this sinful world and enter into eternity in the presence of our King.

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3K6

Do We Appreciate and Love Other Members of Our Spiritual Family?

SIH HALTAL ICONRev 1:9 KJV – I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

 

For the SIH devotional On This Subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3KK

 

 

Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 8:6 KJV – “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”

 

The work and eternal accomplishments of Christ far excels the temporal work of the Old Testament Priesthood.

 

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http://www.settledinheaven.org

 

 

Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “who is consecrated for evermore:”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 7:28 KJV –  For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

 Christ has been accepted by God the Father as the only perfect, sinless, High Priest to make intercession for His people forevermore.

And he said unto them, and the third [day] I shall be perfected. (Luke 13:32)

 

 

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Do We Know Our Redeemer Lives?

SIH HALTAL ICON

Job 19:23-27 (KJV)

23) Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
24) That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
25) For I know [that] my redeemer liveth, and [that] he shall stand at the latter [day] upon the earth:
26) And [though] after my skin [worms] destroy this [body], yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27) Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; [though] my reins be consumed within me.

 

For the SIH Bible Study On This Subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-kf

Is Christ King Of Your Heart and Life?

SIH HALTAL ICONRev 1:5 – And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3JJ

 

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