LORD, LORD

Lord, Lord before the throne“Not everyone who says to ME

“Lord, Lord”

Will enter the kingdom of heaven

But he who does the will of My Father

WHO is in heaven will enter

Matthew 7:21

On this 26th day of April 2020, the news headlines for just the last week, are filled with many prophetic events from Ezekiel, Matthew and Revelation. And though not included in the illustration below, the current global headlines also included earthquakes, wars and raging fires:

  • Ezekiel 14:21 speaks of four severe, catastrophic, or dreadful judgments (war, famine, wild beasts and plague) to cut off men and animals because of sin.
  • Matthew 24:3-9 speaks of events (war, famines, earthquakes, persecution) that will signal HIS return. Matthew 24:8 identifies these events as birth pangs, indicating things will get more severe as HIS return draws nearer.
  • Revelation 6:1-9 gives more detail concerning the events spoken of in Matthew 24:3-9, and tells us the birth pangs being experienced on earth are actually seals being opened in heaven.

Global Current Headlines

On March 29, 2020 our Beloved LORD GOD sent me with the message “Take Heed.” The time of sleeping is over, it is time to be sober and alert, to the events happening all around us, events which signal HIS imminent return. Today, almost a month later, HE has sent me with the same message, HE first sent through HIS apostle Peter more than 2000 years ago.

May GOD give you more and more grace and peace

As you grow in your knowledge of GOD and JESUS our LORD

By HIS divine power, GOD has given us everything we need for living a godly life

We have received all of this by coming to know HIM

The ONE who called us to HIMSELF, by means of HIS marvelous glory and excellence

And because of HIS glory and excellence, HE has given us great and precious promises

These are the promises that enable you to share HIS divine nature

And escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to GOD’s promises

Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence

And moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control

And self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness

And godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone

The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be

In your knowledge of our LORD JESUS CHRIST

But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind

Forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins

So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove

That you really are among those GOD has called and chosen

Do these things, and you will never fall away

Then GOD will give you a grand entrance

Into the eternal Kingdom of our LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST

2 Peter 1:2-11 (New Living Translation)

As a result of this message it is imperative that we examine ourselves to see if we are still in the faith (2 Cor 13:5). We should start by honestly analyzing who is Lord of our lives.

How many of you know that salvation of our souls came not just with believing that both JESUS CHRIST is The only Begotten SON of GOD (Jhn 3:16), and GOD raised HIM from the dead as proof of WHO HE is (Rom 10:9-10, Act 17:31), but also that we must fully surrender our lives to HIM (Rom 10:9)? We are no longer the boss of our lives HE is!

Our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST tells us on judgment day (Mat 7:21), many will come before HIM saying “Lord, Lord” hoping to be given entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. But sadly HE will turn them away, because HE is not their LORD, and HE doesn’t know them because they continually lived a life of disobedience (Mat 7:22-23). This is a powerful lesson for all of us, doing things you think are pleasing to GOD, means nothing if you are not living a life obedient to GOD (1 Cor 13:1-3, 1 Jhn 4:16, Jhn 14:23).

There are two devastating statements not one of us would ever want to hear from our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST:

  • “I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS” (Matt 7:23)
  • “Why do you call ME, ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do what I say?” (Luk 6:46)

Regrettably, many professing Christians do not know that JESUS HIMSELF will be The One WHO we will stand before to be judged for everything we did in our physical bodies (Act 17:30-31). Many have been quoted two passages from John (Jhn 3:17, Jhn 12:47), as the basis why JESUS does not judge. But if they had been good Bereans, or studied GOD’s WORD for themselves they would know HIS first coming was for salvation only, but HIS second coming will be for judgment (2 Cor 5:10). Each one of us will give an account of ourselves to GOD (Rom 14:12, Mat 16:27) for our:

  • Words (Mat 12:34-37, Eph 4:29, Jam 3:9-10)
  • Obedience (Mat 7:21-23, Luk 6:46)
  • Relationship with HIM (Luk 13:22-30, Tit 1:16)
  • Love for others (Mat 25:31-46, 1 Jhn 3:16-18)
  • Readiness (Mat 25:1-13, Luk 12:35-38, Heb 9:28)

This message is not to bring fear and uncertainty about your relationship with our Beloved LORD GOD and Precious LORD JESUS CHRIST, instead in HIS great mercy and compassion, we are each being given an opportunity to examine ourselves.

And these words of comfort from HIM, for HIS faithful followers:

But if anyone loves GOD

He is known by HIM

1 Corinthians 8:3

No one who abides in HIM sins

No one who sins

Has seen HIM

Or knows HIM

1 John 3:6

According to 1 John 3:6, no one who sins, knows HIM. How can one not sin? If you carefully re-read 1 John 3:6, you will see the very first statement is “No one who abides in HIM sins.” That means if you abide in our Beloved LORD GOD and HE abides in you, you will not continually live a life of sin (practice – 1 Jhn 3:4-10).

If after examining your lifestyle through Scripture, and you feel convicted about something you are continually doing, knowing it is not pleasing to GOD. Seek HIS forgiveness (1 Jhn 1:9) and seek HIS help (Psa 51:6-13). HE promises not to cast out those who come to HIM (Jhn 6:37-40).

Now may the GOD of peace HIMSELF sanctify you entirely

And may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete

Without blame at the coming of our LORD JESUS CHRIST

Faithful is HE who calls you, and HE also will bring it to pass

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

The LORD is our KEEPER – 2 Kings 4:1-44

A Study in 2 KingsI will lift up my eyes to the mountains;

From where shall my help come?

My help comes from The LORD,

WHO made heaven and earth.

HE will not allow your foot to slip;

HE who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, HE who keeps Israel

Will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your Keeper;

The LORD is your shade on your right hand.

The sun will not smite you by day,

Nor the moon by night.

The LORD will protect you from all evil;

HE will keep your soul.

The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in

From this time forth and forever.

Psalm 121:1-8

In this BIBLE study of 2 Kings Chapter 4, our Beloved LORD GOD will comfort and encourage us through several truths, as HE makes HIMSELF known as The True SHEPHERD through a widow, a Shunammite woman, and a company of prophets.

Why is the foundational Scripture Psalm 121:1-8, and not from a Scripture(s) in 2 Kings Chapter 4? When I studied 2 Kings Chapter 4, I asked our Beloved LORD GOD what was HIS message for this passage. HE said “The LORD is our KEEPER.” HE then led me to Psalm 121:1-8, and by examining the English word “Keeper” in the Hebrew language of origin, HE gave me the following understanding:

In the NASB translation, of Psalm 121:1-8, there are five English words (keep, keeps, keeper, protect and guard) that are all transliterated from the same Hebrew word “shamar” (OT: 8104); it is a primitive root word, that means to:

  • hedge about (as with thorns) ― to place a boundary or barrier around for protection (Job 1:10)
  • guard ― to keep safe, protect (Psa 121:8, Act 20:28)
  • protect ― defend, or guard from loss (1 Sam 17:34-37, Amo 3:12, Jhn 10:11-13, Jhn 10:28-29)
  • watch-over ― stay awake, be alert, observe carefully, look after, guard, protect (Job 36:7, Pro 15:3, Heb 4:13)
  • preserve ― keep from harm, danger, damage, evil (Psa 32:7)
  • tend ― to take care of, to watch-over (Isa 40:11, Mrk 6:34-44, Jhn 21:15-17)
  • take care of ― to look after, to provide for (Gen 50:24-25, Psa 55:22, Mat 11:28-30, 1 Pet 5:7)

In Romans 15:4 our Beloved LORD GOD tells us “whatever was written in earlier times, was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” As a result, whenever I read The BIBLE, I ask our Beloved “what instructions should I personally receive from the passage I am reading?” While I pondered the definition of a Keeper, in Psalm 121:1-8, our Precious JESUS CHRIST revealed that I was looking at the conduct of a true shepherd. And it is how HE, our SHEPHERD (Psa 23:1, Jhn 10:11, 1 Pet 2:25) takes care of us, HIS people, the sheep of HIS pasture (Psa 95:7, Psa 100:3, Eze 34:11-16).

As our Beloved SHEPHERD, HE is our Keeper, our Constant Companion, our Guardian, our Protector, our Preserver, our Defender…

  • HE continually keeps us safe from harm (Psa 121:7, Jhn 10:27-30). This doesn’t mean we will not suffer, it means that what pain HE allows will not destroy us (2 Cor 4:7-9, Luk 21:12-19, Jhn 3:16).
  • HE never ceases to be watchful over us (Psa 121:3-4, Isa 27:3, 2 Chr 16:9, Psa 33:18). HE never grows tired or fatigued (Isa 40:28).
  • HE is very attentive to us (Psa 121:8, Deu 28:6, Jhn 10:1-10). HE knows the condition of HIS flock (Pro 27:23). HE is completely aware of every part of us (Psa 139:1-5). HE continually knows what we are doing, and where we are doing it (Pro 5:21, Jer 16:17). And everything we say and do is recorded in books in heaven (Jer 17:13, Mal 3:16-18, Mat 12:36-37, Rev 20:12). HE knows the desires of our hearts (Psa 10:17, Psa 38:9), and every need we have (Mat 6:8).

 Background:

  • Israel was divided into two kingdoms after Solomon’s reign (1 Kin 11:11-13, 1 Kin 11:31-32). The first kingdom located in the north continued to be called Israel, and its capital was Samaria (2 Kin 17:6). The second kingdom located in the south became known as Judah, and its capital is Jerusalem (1 Kin 14:21).
  • Elisha’s prophetic ministry like Elijah before him, was in the northern kingdom (2 Kin 1:17). And like Elijah, he traveled between cities in Israel. The map at the end of the study reflects the places Elijah and Elisha traveled to/from during their ministries. 2 Kings Chapter 4, records Elisha’s travels between Mount Carmel, Shunem and Gilgal (underlined in red on the map ― 2 Kin 4:8, 2 Kin 4:25, 2 Kin 4:38).
  • Mount Carmel is located by the Mediterranean Sea (Jer 46:18). Several significant activities are recorded at this mountain:
    • King Saul set up a monument for himself at this mountain (1 Sam 15:12), after his partial obedience in the battle with the Amalekites (1 Sam 15:1 -23)
    • GOD used Elijah to reveal the true GOD in Israel through fire from heaven (1 Kin 18:17-41)
    • Elijah went to the top of Mount Carmel to watch for a cloud forming on the horizon of the sea– the sign that The LORD GOD had ended the famine in Israel (1 Kin 18:42-46)
    • Elisha and his servant Gehazi resided at the mountain’s base
  • Shunem was one of the cities in Israel belonging to the tribe of Issachar (Jos 19:17-23). It was located between Gilgal and Mount Carmel (as shown on the map at the end of the study). Shunem is known as the place where the Philistines encamped for their final battle against King Saul and the Israelites (1 Sam 28:4). It was during this battle, King Saul and three of his sons died (1 Sam 31:1-10).

As we examine 1 Kings Chapter 4, we are first introduced to a widow (2 Kin 4:1-7):             

  1. Filled with fear, because her husband, one of the prophets died leaving a bill she could not pay. The creditor of the bill came to take her two sons away, to work as his slaves (2 Kin 4:1, 2 Kin 4:7). The creditor’s heart was not right before GOD, because he ignored our Beloved LORD GOD’s instructions to treat the poor in Israel as a hired man and not as a slave in order to pay off debt (Lev 25:39-41, Neh 5:1-5).
  2. She knew if the creditor took her two sons, her means of support would be taken with them. According to our Beloved ABBA’S WORD, adult children and adult grandchildren should take care of their elderly parents when they can no longer provide for themselves (Mrk 7:10-13, Luk 7:11-15, 1 Tim 5:3-5). Our Precious JESUS CHRIST demonstrated the importance of this; HIS final accomplishment before laying down HIS life on the cross for each one of us, was to make sure HIS mother was taken care of (Jhn 19:25-30).
  3. Who felt she had nothing in her house to satisfy her debt. But our Beloved LORD GOD reminded her, she had a jar of oil. The prophet Elisha gives her instructions concerning the jar of oil (2 Kin 4:3-4). Through faith and obedience, our Beloved LORD GOD miraculously provided oil in abundance, so the debt was paid off, and money was left over to live on (2 Kin 4:5-7).

Throughout The BIBLE our Beloved LORD GOD has given us examples of HIM working with what we have (2 Cor 8:12) to provide for our needs (1 Kin 17:1-16) and the needs of others (2 Kin 4:42-44, Mrk 8:4-7, Jhn 6:9). Our Great SHEPHERD will not only deliver us from all our fears (Psa 34:4), but HE also provides for us (Gen 22:14, Neh 9:21, Psa 136:25, Psa 145:15-16, Jhn 21:12-13). When HE is our SHEPHERD, we will not want (Psa 23:1), which means we will not be without, have a lack of, or have a need not provided for (Psa 37:25-26, Mat 6:25-34, 2 Cor 9:8-11, Php 4:19).

We are next introduced to a Shunammite woman (2 Kin 4:8-37):

She is identified by our Beloved LORD GOD as a prominent (or great) woman living in the village of Shunem (2 Kin 4:8). The English word “prominent” in 2 Kings 4:8 was transliterated from the Hebrew word “gadol” (OT 1419) and means great of power, nobility or wealth; distinguished; very much above the ordinary.

Whose actions demonstrate she was indeed great in:

  1. Hospitality (Heb 13:1-2, 1 Pet 4:9). To truly be hospitable, one must be welcoming, warm and generous. This woman from Shunem wasn’t selfish (Pro 23:6-8). She was very generous, persuading Elisha and his servant Gehazi, to share their food not once but continually (2 Kin 4:8).
  2. Her love for GOD (1 Jhn 3:17-18, 1 Jhn 4:20-21). She could not have compassion for Elisha and Gehazi, if she did not have the love of GOD within herself (1 Jhn 4:19). She welcomed Elisha instead of mocking him (2 Kin 2:23), perceiving (or knowing by experience and recognition) that Elisha was a man of GOD (2 Kin 4:9). The Shunammite showed love for GOD’s NAME by ministering to HIS servant (Heb 6:10, Mrk 9:41) by providing for all he and his servant’s needs (2 Kin 4:9-11).
  3. Contentment (Php 4:11, 1 Tim 6:6-8, Heb 13:5). Though questioned, she requested nothing from the man of GOD (2 Kin 4:12-13). And she did not linger after her questioning, hoping to receive something. In fact Elisha had to call her back (2 Kin 4:14-15). Which testifies to her generous heart once again, she was not expecting anything in return for her kindness and generosity.
  4. Faith (Luk 1:37, Heb 11:6). The Shunammite woman knew nothing was impossible with GOD, and through HIS servant, she and her husband would not experience the loss of their only child. Our Beloved LORD GOD reveals her faith by her response three different times. First, when her husband asked why was she going to see the man of GOD, she simply answered “It will be well” (2 Kings 4:23). Second, when Elisha sent Gehazi to inquire if all was well with her husband, herself and their child, she answered “It is well” (2 Kings 4:26). And finally, she refused to return to her dead son if the man of GOD did not go with her (2 Kings 4:30).

 Our Great SHEPHERD is a Restorer. HE brings us back to a former condition (Gen 5:1, Eph 4:22-24, Rom 12:2), and HE gives back what was lost (Joe 2:25-27). As HE did with:

  • The Shunammite woman who lost her child through death (2 Kin 4:31-37), and later her house and field through famine (2 Kin 8:1-6)
  • Each one of us who trusts in JESUS (Jhn 3:16) and faithfully obeys HIM (Jhn 3:36), are restored to grace (Rom 5:15-21), reconciled to GOD (Rom 5:8-11), given eternal life (Gen 2:17, Jhn 6:40), and access to the tree of life (Gen 3:21-24, Rev 22:1-5).

We are finally introduced to a company of prophets living in Gilgal (2 Kin 4:38-44). This company of prophets faced death twice, first because of the scarcity of food during the famine (2 Kin 4:38), and second when one of the prophets gathered poisonous gourds (or a plant called a “squirting cucumber” which has a very bitter taste and is poisonous) cut them up, and put them into the pot (2 Kin 4:39). When the prophets began to eat the stew they cried out to Elisha for help (2 Kings 4:40). Our Great SHEPHERD and Keeper protected the prophets from death (Psa 68:20), by using HIS servant Elisha to throw meal into the pot which miraculously made the stew edible.

Our Beloved LORD GOD protected the prophets from death (2 Kings 4:41), and later provided for them by blessing what was not near enough for 100 men to eat, into more than enough (2 Kin 4:42-44). HE not only protected and provided for the company of prophets, HE protected and provided for the nation of Israel at Marah (Exd 15:22-25), and for all HIS creation (Psa 136:25, Luk 6:35, Mat 5:45). But for those who trust in HIM (Psa 28:7, Pro 16:20, Jer 17:7, Jhn 5:24, Jhn 12:44-45), HE also provides spiritual (Jhn 14:16, Jhn 14:26-27) and eternal support (Jhn 14:1-3, 1 Jhn 2:25).

Those who trust in The LORD

Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever

As the mountains surround Jerusalem

So The LORD surrounds HIS people

From this time forth and forever

Psalm 125:1-2

Map of Mount Carmel, Shunem and Gilgal

Take HEED

Take Heed frog in boiling potThe Revelation of JESUS CHRIST

Which GOD gave HIM to show to HIS bond-servants

The things which must soon take place

And HE sent and communicated it by HIS angel to HIS bond-servant John

Who testified to THE WORD of GOD and to the testimony of JESUS CHRIST

Even to all that he saw

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy

And heed the things which are written in it

For the time is near

Revelation 1:1-3

We open up this message to “take Heed” looking at a very distressed frog in a boiling pot of water. This picture is based on a metaphor conveying the thought “If the frog in the boiling pot, had been heeding the gradual change of the temperature in the pot, he would have been saved from injury or even death.”

Many of GOD’s people today, is that frog in the boiling pot. The LORD has continually sent messengers like me to tell HIS people they need to spend time with HIM, in prayer and study of HIS WORD. But they are too busy. Even now, the entire world has been shut down due to the coronavirus. People all over the globe have been forced by their governing authorities to remain in their places of residence, except for outings absolutely necessary for health, safety or welfare. But instead of taking this time to seek HIS face through prayer and study as individuals and families, social networking, television watching, online streaming, and video gaming has increased.

Because they don’t know GOD’s WORD, they are not taking heed to the things written. Nor are they aware that the things happening all around the world, are prophecies being fulfilled, signaling that the second coming of JESUS CHRIST is near (Rev 1:3, Rev 22:7-12).

For the last couple of months the news has daily reported on the coronavirus. Informing us that because of it, millions of people around the world have lost their jobs, hundreds of thousands have been infected, and thousands have died. But just three months ago the local, national and global news was filled with reports of fires burning down homes, entire neighborhoods, and 92 million acres of woodland, grassland and rainforest around the world. And before that, the world’s focus was on catastrophic weather events due to global warming. Along with all this, there has continually been reports of wars being fought around the world, continual gun violence, and escalating forms of crime. All spoken of in The BIBLE. And if GOD’s people would read HIS WORD they would understand why there is no reason for them to fear like the rest of the world (Isa 41:10).

What does it mean to take heed? It means to pay close attention to, to take careful notice of. Using the Message translation (a personal paraphrase of the Bible in English by Eugene Peterson from the original languages), we see Romans 13:11-14 says:

But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to GOD. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what GOD is doing! GOD is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in CHRIST, and be up and about!

In Hebrews 9:28 our Beloved LORD GOD tells us that our Precious JESUS CHRIST first came to this earth to save us from our sins, and that HE will come a second time to save those who eagerly await HIM from the wrath of GOD. Please don’t miss that only those who eagerly await HIM, are the ones who will be saved from GOD’s wrath.

What does it mean to “eagerly await” JESUS CHRIST? It means to be:

  • expecting HIS return, like someone who stays on alert because news of a thief in the neighborhood (Mat 24:42-44, 2 Pet 3:10, 1 The 5:2-8, Rev 3:1-3)
  • waiting for HIS return, like the ten virgins waiting for the bridegroom (Mat 25:1), or creation anxiously longing for the revelation of GOD’s true children (Rom 8:18-19, 1 Jhn 3:2)
  • ready for HIS return, like the Israelites were the night death passed over every household in Egypt (Exd 12:11), or the five wise virgins who took along extra oil for their lamps (Mat 25:4, Luk 12:35-38, Ecc 9:8)

Many know the Gospel concerning JESUS CHRIST and why HE came to earth the first time (Mat 1:21, Jhn 1:29, Act 13:38-39), but not many know HE returns for HIS faithful saints to save them from GOD’s wrath (Zep 1:14-18, Rom 5:8-9, 1 The 1:10, 1 The 5:9) that will be revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18).

GOD is merciful to those who will forsake their sins and return to HIM (Isa 55:7), but out of love HE will discipline those who refuse to obey, though that discipline may grow more and more severe (Lev 26:14-39) until they turn from their evil ways (Lev 26:39-42). As it is not HIS desire for anyone to perish.

“And behold

I am coming quickly

Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things

And when I heard and saw

I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things

But he said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours

And of your brethren the prophets

And of those who heed the words of this book

Worship GOD”

And he said to me

Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book

For the time is near

Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong

And the one who is filthy, still be filthy

And let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness

And the one who is holy, still keep himself holy

Behold, I am coming quickly

And MY reward is with ME

To render to every man according to what he has done

Revelation 22:7-12

Knowing How to Battle – 2 Kings 3:1-27

A Study in 2 KingsThen he went and sent word to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying

“The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?”

And he said, “I will go up; I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”

He said, “Which way shall we go up?”

And he answered, “The way of the wilderness of Edom.”

2 Kings 3:7-8

 

In this BIBLE study, we will not only be looking at how king Jehoram went about his battle against the king of Moab, but we will also examine the lessons to be learned.

Background:

  • Jehoram (aka Joram) was a son of king Ahab of Israel (2 Kin 3:1), and became king when his older brother Ahaziah died, because Ahaziah had no sons (2 Kin 1:17).
  • Jehoram like his father and brother before him, was an evil king in Israel. He too served idols instead of GOD. Though he did not serve Baal as his father, mother, and brother had. He had the pillar of Baal removed when he became king (2 Kin 3:2). However, he still served the two golden calves that Jeroboam the fifth king of Israel created, causing the whole nation of Israel to sin (2 Kin 3:3).
  • History of the golden calves. Most people know about the golden calf Aaron made for the idolatrous Israelites while Moses was still meeting with GOD on the mountain (Exd 32:1-8). But many do not know about the two golden calves, that Jeroboam created. Though GOD had given Jeroboam the ten tribes living in the northern kingdom of Israel, and promised to make his kingdom endure if he walked upright before HIM (1 Kin 11:26-38). Jeroboam did not trust GOD’s WORDs, and out of fear, sinned as Aaron had, by making two golden calves (1 Kin 12:25-33). After the two golden calves had been created and set up, Jeroboam like Aaron declared the same blasphemous words “behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt” (Exd 32:2-4, 1 Kin 12:28-29).
  • Jehoshaphat the king of Judah was a man who did what was right in the sight of The LORD, like his father Asa and David (1 Kin 15:9-15, 1 Kin 22:41-44). He often inquired of The LORD, and called a nationwide fast, when seeking help from The LORD from Judah’s enemies who were too many and too powerful (2 Chr 20:1-30).

In order to be victorious in the battles we face, we must know how to battle. Which means:

  • Be experienced in warfare → Experience only comes with doing (Before David was a man of war-1 Chr 28:3, he was a protector of sheep-1 Sam 17:33-37). You must practice in order to become experienced (Heb 5:14, Eph 4:13-15, Psa 119:100-102)
  • Have an understanding of the battle you face → Our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Eph 6:11)
  • Be aware of, or be familiar with the tactics of the enemy → Satan is a tempter (Gen 3:1-3, Mat 4:3-11); an accuser (Gen 3:5, Rev 12:10, Zec 3:1-5); a liar (Gen 3:3-4, Jhn 8:44); a deceiver (Rev 12:9, Rev 13:14, 1 Tim 2:14, Gen 3:13); a destroyer (1 Pet 5:8, Jhn 10:10, Jhn 8:44, Luk 22:31)…
  • Know how to win → Do not fight alone (Ecc 4:9-12, Mat 18:19-20, Mrk 6:7-13, Luk 10:1-12); fight with a champion (Isa 42:13, Isa 19:20, Jer 20:11, Jer 15:20-21, Zep 3:17, Rom 8:31)

Lessons Learned in 2 Kings Chapter 3:

  • Choose your Allies wisely (2 Kin 3:7, Psa 46:1-3, Psa 146:3-5, Jer 17:5-8).
  • Do not assume your decision is GOD’s decision (2 Kin 3:8-9, Pro 3:5-6), your thoughts are not HIS thoughts (Isa 55:8-9, 1 Cor 1:27-29). Remember our Beloved LORD GOD gave victory to:
    • Gideon―with trumpets, pitchers and torches (Jug 7:16-23)
    • David―with a slingshot and a single stone (1 Sam 17:40-50)
    • Jehoram―with trenches (2 Kin 3:16-23)
    • Kingdom of Judah―by praise and worship (2 Chr 20:14-22)
  • Do not blame GOD for your circumstances (2 Kin 3:10, 2 Kin 3:13, Num 11:1, Job 1:20-22, Job 2:7-10).
  • Always inquire of GOD first (2 Kin 3:11-13, 1 Sam 9:9, Heb 4:14-16), then you will know when to fight and when to stand (1 Sam 17:46-47, 2 Sam 5:17-25, 2 Chr 20:15); only those with a clean heart can inquire of HIM (1 Sam 28:6, Eze 20:1-3, Isa 59:1-3, Mat 5:23-24↔1 Pet 2:5, Rom 12:1, Heb 13:15-16, Jhn 9:31).
  • Seek GOD’s presence through prayer, praise and worship (2 Kin 3:14-15, 1 Sam 10:5, Psa 100:1-5, Psa 95:2, Php 4:6).
  • Obey HIS WORD (2 Kin 3:24-25) without going too far (Deu 4:2, Deu 12:32, Pro 30:6, 2 Jhn 1:9-11, Rev 22:18-19). The armies led by Israel slaughtered the Moabites (2 Kin 3:24), causing GOD’s wrath to rise against Israel (2 Kin 3:27, Zec 1:15).
  • Know your weakness, and your enemy’s strength (2 Kin 3:26), a hard lesson learned by the seven sons of Sceva (Act 19:11-16), who did not know GOD is our strength (Psa 81:1, Psa 62:7-8, Luk 11:20-22).
  • Do not forget the reason for the battle (2 Kin 3:4-7, 2 Kin 3:27) and do not rejoice over your enemy’s downfall (Pro 24:17-18).

Transformed

butterfly transformation2And do not be conformed to this world

But be transformed by the renewing of your mind

So that you may prove what the will of GOD is

That which is good and acceptable and perfect

Romans 12:2

Most of you know that a caterpillar is an insect that physically changes into a butterfly through complex metamorphosis.

But few know, the first thing that happens during this process is that most of the caterpillar’s old body dies. It is attacked by the same sort of juices the caterpillar used in its earlier life to digest its food. Literally, the caterpillar digests itself from the inside out. This process which destroys the majority of the caterpillar’s old body is called “histolysis.” What remains of the insect’s old body after “histolysis” is tissue that was hidden within a number of special formative cells. These special formative cells played no part in the caterpillar’s life, and stayed hidden or protected during the caterpillar’s partial death. 

Once the caterpillar’s partial death “histolysis” is completed (or appears to become soup), the hidden tissue known as “imaginal-disk” will be used to rebuild the caterpillar into a butterfly.  The “imaginal-disk” will reproduce rapidly to build a new body; developing into wings, legs, hairs, antennae, etc. out of the soup or insect’s digestive juices from the old larval body.

This complex metamorphosis of a caterpillar is such a powerful visual of what happens spiritually to a person who is truly “born again.” Once a person surrenders their life to our Precious JESUS CHRIST by acknowledging that HE and not they hold the power, authority, and final decisions in their life (Rom 10:9-10); and believe that our Beloved LORD GOD raised HIM from the dead, thus declaring that JESUS CHRIST is indeed The SON of GOD (Rom 1:4, 1 Ths 1:9-10), the transformation (metamorphosis) begins.

That part of the spiritually reborn person that was hostile toward GOD, also known as ‘flesh’ (Rom 8:7-8); their human nature which is prone to sin (Rom 8:5, Gal 5:19-21), is eventually destroyed, just like the caterpillar’s body. And the spiritual “imaginal-disk” or the hidden/innermost part or the mind of man (that invisible part of man that thinks, feels, remembers, judges, perceives, understands and determines) is transformed into a new creature (2 Cor 5:17) by GOD’s SPIRIT (2 Cor 3:18, Tit 3:5) and HIS WORD (Rom 12:2).

What is the outcome of this transformation? The thoughts, desires and behavior of one who is spiritually reborn will change. This person will no longer be conformed to this world (living the same lifestyle as the ungodly in this present evil age―1 Pet 1:14, 2 Tim 3:1-5), but will be conformed to the image of JESUS (Rom 8:29, 1 Pet 1:15).

 

Therefore

If anyone is in CHRIST

He is a new creature

The old things passed away

Behold, new things have come

2 Corinthians 5:17

One Taken One Doubly Anointed – 2 Kin 2:1-25

A Study in 2 KingsWhen they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha

“Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.”

And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”

He said, “You have asked a hard thing.

Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you,

It shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.”

2 Kings 2:9-10

In this study of 2 Kings Chapter 2, we will examine two major events which occur, Elijah is taken alive up to heaven and Elisha receives a double anointing of our Beloved LORD GOD’s Holy SPIRIT as his successor. We will also carefully consider several events surrounding the two aforementioned events. But let’s first look at some historical background, to provide more understanding of details that might be missed.  

Background:

Circuit of SamuelSamuel was both a prophet of GOD, and a Judge of Israel (1 Sam 3:19-20, 1 Sam 7:15). He presided over companies of prophets (1 Sam 19:20) who lived in Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah (the towns which were part of his annual circuit as a Judge―1 Sam 7:16-17) as seen in the attached map.

Elijah who now presided over the prophets in these towns, knew our Beloved LORD GOD was going to answer his prayer to end his physical life (1 Kin 19:4). He was traveling from Gilgal to the other side of the Jordan River (2 Kin 2:1-9), perhaps traveling home to Gilead on the other side of the Jordan to die (1 Kin 17:1, Jug 12:4, Num 26:28-29).

Elisha who had been anointed by GOD to replace Elijah as HIS prophet (1 Kin 19:16), was traveling with Elijah. Elijah became Elisha’s master (boss), at the moment he threw his mantle on Elisha, symbolizing the transference of the power and authority of his ministry to Elisha (1 Kin 19:19).

Points to Consider:

  • Though Elijah tried to talk Elisha out of following him to his death, Elisha refused to leave his master’s side. Elisha, like Ruth who refused to leave Naomi (Rut 1:15-16), and Ittai who refused to leave King David (2 Sam 15:19-22), declared that only death would separate him from Elijah (2 Kin 2:2-6). Each one of us should be this determined to follow our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST. We should cling to HIM and HIS WORD the way a belt clings to a waist (Jer 13:11, Psa 119:31, Rom 12:9). As faithful servants we should follow our Beloved MASTER wherever HE goes (Jhn 10:1-9, Jhn 10:27); including death, for HIS NAMESAKE (Rev 12:11, Php 3:7-8, Act 21:13, Mat 16:24-27, Mat 10:37-39).
  • Our LORD makes known HIS plans to HIS prophets (Amo 3:7) and to those who do HIS will (Jhn 15:14-15, Pro 3:32, Psa 25:14, Gen 18:17-19). That is why in 2 Kings 2:1-6, Elijah, Elisha and the prophets who lived in the places they traveled to, knew our GOD was going to take Elijah.
  • When Elijah used his mantle to strike the waters of the Jordan river (2 Kin 2:8), it was the third recorded time our Beloved LORD GOD parted the waters for HIS anointed to walk miraculous through them on dry ground (Exd 14:15-30, Jos 3:5-17, Jos 4:1-24). This powerful work of our Beloved LORD GOD occurred for three reasons. First, it confirmed GOD’s choice of the individual for service (Exd 14:31, Jos 3:7, 2 Kin 2:13-14). Second, it demonstrated that our Beloved GOD is The Almighty to those who didn’t know them (Jos 4:23-24). And third, those who knew HIM, would honor and revere HIM (Psa 76:7, Jer 10:6-7). Just like, HIS people who came before us, HE will not let the waters overflow us (Isa 43:2), take a moment and reflect on and thank HIM for the situation(s) in your life, HE prevented from overtaking you (Psa 18:1-19).
  • When Elisha requested a double portion of the Spirit that was on Elijah be upon him (2 Kin 2:9), he was not asking for twice as much of GOD’s Holy SPIRIT that dwelt on Elijah. He recognized the magnitude of Elijah’s ministry, and was seeking to be qualified to continue Elijah’s ministry with the help of GOD. Remember Elisha was not among the prophets, he was a farmer, out plowing in the field, when his divine call came (1 Kin 19:20-21). Two things, we should consider. First our Precious Savior and LORD JESUS CHRIST can use anyone, as demonstrated by HIS call of Elisha. And two, HE has promised, that each one who trusts in HIM, will carry out HIS mission of preaching The Gospel; not just in Israel but throughout the world (Jhn 14:12-14). Do you trust HIM to go forth in all the world, doing what HE has called you to do? (Mrk 16:15-18).
  • Elijah knew that Elisha’s request to have a double portion of GOD’s Holy SPIRIT was something only GOD could give (Num 11:16-17). And only if GOD allowed Elisha to see Elijah be taken up to heaven, would Elisha’s request for a double portion be granted (2 Kin 2:10). As it was in 2 Kings 2:12.
  • Elijah like Enoch was take to heaven without dying (2 Kin 2:11, Gen 5:21-24, Heb 11:5). Being translated (changed in the twinkling of the eye) will also be experienced by the living faithful at the time of our Precious LORD JESUS CHRIST’s second coming (1 Cor 15:51-52, 1 Ths 4:15-17).
  • GOD gave both witness and confirmation to Elisha. HE gave witness that HE was with Elisha, just as HE had with Moses, Joshua and Elijah before him, by parting the waters of the Jordan River (2 Kin 2:13-15). HE also confirmed Elisha’s new ministry when the leaders of Jericho came to him for help (2 Kin 2:19). Our GOD confirmed Elisha’s ministry through two symbols and a miracle (2 Kin 2:20-22). A new jar containing salt. The new jar symbolized, the new ministry bestowed on Elisha; the salt symbolized a binding and eternal union between our Beloved LORD GOD and HIS prophet (Lev 2:13, Num 18:19-20, 2 Chr 13:5↔2 Sam 7:12-16). Furthermore, The WORD of GOD in the prophet’s mouth purified the waters, symbolizing the salt in the new bowl. Is your faith united to HIS WORDS bringing you eternal life (Heb 4:2), or does unbelief keep you in darkness, destined for death?
  • Elisha’s new ministry was challenged by both the godly, and the ungodly:
    • The godly (the prophets) challenged Elisha’s ministry, questioning his insight (2 Kin 2:16). Elisha saw Elijah taken up to heaven, so he knew the prophets would not find him. But instead of standing firm on what our Beloved LORD had made known to him, he allowed them to shame him into giving approval to go and seek for Elijah (2 Kin 17-18). Has our Beloved LORD GOD revealed something to you, that instead of standing firm and trusting HIS WORD, you gave in to the crowd?
    • The ungodly (a large number of young men) mocked Elisha as he was leaving Jericho (2 Kin 2:23). Our Beloved LORD GOD confirmed Elisha’s ministry twice, yet, this ungodly group followed him with mocking and harsh words. When Elisha turned and cursed the ungodly men (2 Kin 2:24), it was not because of his pride, but their disrespect of our GOD and HIS WORD (Jud 1:14-16). Those who persist in mocking GOD’s WORD and HIS messengers will eventually suffer GOD’s wrath and death (2 Chr 36:15-16). Those who speak harsh things against GOD in ignorance are forgiven (Heb 5:2, Heb 9:7, Act 17:30-31, 1 Tim 1:13), but when it is done with knowledge of WHO GOD is; it is blasphemy and brings death (Eze 20:27, Eze 18:24, Mrk 3:28-29↔Jhn 4:24, 1 Cor 3:16, Rom 8:9-10, Jhn 14:23).

 

Then we who are alive and remain

Will be caught up together with them in the clouds

To meet The LORD in the air

And so we shall always be with The LORD

1 Thessalonians 4:17

Seeking Others Instead of GOD – 2 Kin 1:1-18

A Study in 2 KingsAnd Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber which was in Samaria
And became ill, so he sent messengers and said to them
“Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron whether I will recover from this sickness”
But the angel of The LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite
“Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and say to them
‘Is it because there is no GOD in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?’
“Now therefore thus says The LORD, ‘you shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up
But you shall surely die'” Then Elijah departed
2 Kings 1:2-4

In this BIBLE study we will look at the consequences of seeking others instead of GOD, both in the Scriptures and today.

At first glance, 2 Kings 1:1, appears to be a random thought when compared to verses in the rest of the chapter. But for those of us who know our Beloved LORD GOD, we also know, HE does nothing nor says anything random. Our GOD is Spirit (Jhn 4:24), and HE gives us spiritual instruction for our daily lives (Rom 15:4, 2 Tim 3:16-17). This instruction comes through HIS WORD (The BIBLE). Since HIS WORD is spiritual, it cannot be fully understood with human reasoning. Only by HIS Holy SPIRIT, combining spiritual words with spiritual thoughts (1 Cor 2:9-16, Jhn 14:26) can we fully comprehend what HE is telling us. Prayerful examination of 2 Kings 1:1 reveals:
 The name Moab is used interchangeably with Moabites (Gen 19:37). The Moabites are Lot’s direct descendants (Gen 19:30-38). Lot’s firstborn daughter sought counsel within herself and did not trust GOD. Based on her own understanding, she feared she and her younger sister would die childless, ending their family line. So they acted in an unthinkable manner, reasoning incest was the only way to protect their lineage. Their behavior is a lesson for us today, proving why we must trust in our Beloved LORD GOD and not ourselves (Pro 3:5). Our understanding is limited. It is based on what we see, or what we think we know. Trusting in self instead of GOD is foolish (Pro 12:15), and leads to death (Pro 14:12).
 Since Moab is Lot’s direct descendant, he is a cousin to Israel, as demonstrated in the following chart.
cousins2
Moab’s great fear of Israel’s vast numbers depleting their resources (Num 22:1-4), also caused them to seek counsel within themselves, instead of trusting GOD. And in doing this, they not only disregarded family ties, but sought out Balaam (a diviner from Mesopotamia) to curse Israel (Num 22:5-7, Deu 23:3-6, Jos 13:22). Moab’s unfounded fear caused them to become enemies of Israel, continually at war with them (Jos 24:9-10) until King David. King David fulfilled prophecy spoken through Balaam (Num 24:17), when he defeated Moab, killed two thirds of their army, made servants of one third, and collected tribute from their King (2 Sam 8:2). Moab remained servants to Israel, paying tribute until after King Ahab’s death and the injury of his son King Ahaziah (2 Kin 3:4-5). Moab’s rebellion against Israel and its consequences will be discussed more fully in 2 Kings, chapter 3. Through Moab we are given another lesson, if Moab had trusted GOD and HIS counsel, they would have learned their fear would not happen. GOD had already protected them (Deu 2:9, 2 Chr 20:10-12). So instead of remaining under HIS protection, they ended up digging and eventually falling into the very pit they had planned for Israel (Pro 26:27, Pro 28:10, Est 7:10, Zep 2:8-9).

In 2 Kings 1:2-4 we read King Ahaziah has injured himself by falling through the lattice of a window in his upper story room. He sends out messengers to get a prognosis from a false god of the Philistines in their city of Ekron (2 Kin 1:2). In doing this, he adds sin to his sin (Isa 30:1-5). Ahaziah lived a very sinful life, he not only worshiped Baal and Asherah like his wicked parents King Ahab and Queen Jezebel (1 Kin 22:51-53), he also worshiped the golden calves Jeroboam had made (1 Kin 12:26-32). Ahaziah’s wicked heart kept him from seeking the true GOD in Israel, which led to his death (2 Kin 1:3-4). Could you be facing hard times and disappointment, because you do not trust in, or seek our Beloved LORD GOD (Jer 13:22-25, Jer 16:10-13, Jam 1:6-8)?

In 2 Kings 1:5-6 the prophet Elijah intercepts the messengers before they reach Ekron, and gives them the message from our Beloved LORD GOD (2 Kin 1:3-4). The messengers immediately return to the King. When Ahaziah inquires why the messengers returned, they give him the message from Elijah, “you shall surely die” (2 Kin 1:4). This is a warning to all who refuse to seek or even acknowledge the GIVER of both physical and eternal life (Isa 31:1-3, Rom 1:28-32).

In 2 Kings 1:7-8 when Ahaziah questioned the messengers about who had given them the message, they described what Elijah was wearing. Ahaziah knew it was him immediately, and sent to take him by force. Just a final observation before moving on, describing what Elijah was wearing in verse 8, not only helped Ahaziah recognize it was the prophet Elijah. But it also confirms our Precious JESUS CHRIST words about the identity of John the Baptist (Mat 11:14, Mat 17:11-13, Mrk 9:11-13), as prophesied by Malachi (Mal 4:5-6), confirmed by Gabriel (Luk 1:11-19), and demonstrated by John’s choice of clothing (Mat 3:4, Mrk 1:6).

In 2 Kings 1:9-12 Elijah’s response to the 51 men sent the first two times, might seem harsh, as he called fire down from heaven, killing them. But you must consider the following:
 Ahaziah like his deceased father King Ahab and mother Queen Jezebel, were enemies of Elijah, as he had prophesied all their deaths (1 Kin 21:1-29). Ahaziah’s contempt for Elijah and The GOD he served was reflected in his behavior. Instead of being moved to repentance of his sins and seeking The LORD, he sent a group of 51 soldiers to bring him by force (notice a command not an invitation was given in 2 Kin 1:9).
 The second group of 51 soldiers who came to take him by force, demanded Elijah “come down quickly” (1 Kin 1:11). Showing that Ahaziah like pharaoh refused to recognize Elijah as the servant of the true GOD in Israel; even though fire from heaven attested to it (1 Kin 18:21-24, 2 Kin 1:10). This second time when fire fell from heaven and consumed 51, it emphasized GOD’s sovereignty and HIS protection of HIS servants (1 Chr 16:21-22).
 When Kings didn’t like the messages of true prophets, they sought to silence them through imprisonment (1 Kin 22:26-28, Jer 37:15-21) or death (2 Chr 24:21-22, Neh 9:26, Jer 26:23). In fact, Ahaziah’s deceased mother years earlier had threatened to kill Elijah for killing her prophets (1 Kin 19:1-3).

In 2 Kings 1:13-16 Elijah went with the third group of 51 soldiers because their captain did not come commanding or demanding, but instead came humbly. This captain recognized the position of authority Elijah held as the servant of the true GOD in Israel, and he sought that the lives of his men, and himself would be spared. The Angel of The LORD telling Elijah to go with this captain to Ahaziah, demonstrates Elijah did not act on his own, the two previous times. And we also recognize that the heart of Ahaziah had been humbled to hear The WORD of GOD and not kill HIS prophet.

In 2 Kings 1:17 Ahaziah dies according to The WORD of The LORD, which Elijah had spoken. His brother Jehoram became King of Israel in his place, since Ahaziah had no sons (2 Kin 3:1).

Are you seeking others instead of GOD? Our Beloved GOD is the Wonderful Counselor (Isa 9:6, Job 12:13, Psa 32:8, Pro 8:14, Jer 32:17-19). And HE forewarns us about putting our trust in men (Jer 17:5-6, Psa 146:3) and seeking the counsel of the wicked (Psa 1:1). Wicked counselors include disobedient friends (Psa 119:113-115), idols (Jer 10:1-5), astrologers (Isa 47:13-14), psychics and necromancers (Isa 8:19-20), fortune tellers (Isa 44:25), or witches (Isa 47:9). The counsel of the ungodly will always bring death (1 Chr 10:13-14).

This also comes from The LORD of hosts
Who has made HIS counsel wonderful
And HIS wisdom great
Isaiah 28:29

We Are Not Doing Right – 2 Kin 7:1-16

A Study in 2 KingsThen they said to one another
We are not doing right
This day is a day of good news
But we are keeping silent
If we wait until morning light, punishment will overtake us
Now therefore come
Let us go and tell the king’s household
2 Kings 7:9

As we continue our BIBLE study in 2 Kings, we look at four lepers and the events surrounding them in 2 Kings 7:1-16. We will also consider how the lesson the lepers learned, applies to us today.

Four lepers lived outside the city of Samaria (2 Kin 7:3-4), in accordance to our Beloved LORD GOD’s LAW concerning leprosy (Lev chapters 13 and 14). In Leviticus 13:45-46, we learn that lepers were required to live outside of populated areas, and warn others from a distance not to come close to them. We see this commandment carried out with the separation of Miriam (Num 12:10-15), King Uzziah (2 Chr 26:16-21) and ten leprous men standing outside a village where JESUS was about to enter (Luk 17:11-14).

It may seem harsh that GOD’s LAW required lepers to be separated from the general population, but leprosy is a disease that can be transmitted person-to-person through close and repeated contact through nose and mouth droplets (sneezing or coughing) from someone who has untreated leprosy. Truly our GOD is compassionate, and we see HIS kindness to lepers through our Precious LORD JESUS. When JESUS came into contact with lepers, HE did not avoid them HE met them right where they were:
 When a man covered with leprosy fell on his face at JESUS feet and begged JESUS, saying, ‘”LORD if YOU are willing, YOU can make me clean.” JESUS moved with compassion stretched out HIS hand and touched the leper, saying to him, “I am willing, be cleansed.” (Mrk 1:40-44)
When JESUS was in Bethany, HE went to the house of Simon the leper and dined with him (Mrk 14:1-3, Luk 7:36-50)
 JESUS testified to John the Baptist’s disciples about the miracles taking place during HIS ministry, including the cleansing of lepers (Mat 11:2-6)

The four lepers in this BIBLE study were starving to death because of the severe famine in Samaria (the capital of Israel). This famine was caused by the Aramean army (army of modern day Syria) besieging, or completely surrounding the city (2 Kin 6:24). This besiegement prevented any help from getting in, or people getting out. The lack of food was so severe that the Israelites living inside Samaria were eating unclean animals, dove dung (bowel movement), even their children (2 Kin 6:25-29).

The four lepers discussed their options for dying or living (2 Kin 7:3-4). They decided to surrender themselves to the Arameans, where the possibility of surviving the famine existed (2 Kin 7:5). They did not know their decision was part of a plan our Beloved LORD GOD, The Victorious Warrior (Zep 3:17) was carrying out (2 Kin 7:6-7), to fulfill HIS WORD through the mouth of HIS prophet Elisha (2 Kin 7:1).

The four lepers went to the camp of the Arameans, and found it abandoned. They satisfied their hunger and thirst with the drink and food that had been left behind. Afterwards, they made two trips between where they lived and the Aramean camp, to hide the silver, gold and clothes also abandoned (2 Kin 7:8). By the third trip our Beloved LORD GOD convicted their consciences, making it known “what they were doing was not right,” and they would be punished if they continued (2 Kin 7:9). The four lepers responded to the conviction by immediately going to the gatekeepers of Samaria and announcing the good news (2 Kin 7:10), thus our Beloved LORD GOD saved the people of Samaria from completely perishing (2 Kin 7:11-16).

Like the four lepers who were saved from death, every Christian has been given Good News (Rom 10:14-15). Are you doing what is right? Are you sharing The Good News with the weak, the lost, and the dying of the world (Mat 24:14, Mat 28:18-20)? Are you receiving from GOD but never giving to others? (Luk 6:38, Mat 7:2, Mrk 4:24-25) Have you become a fat sheep? (Eze 34:17-22)? If you are not doing what is right, then you have blood on your hands (Act 20:26-27, Eze 3:16-21, Eze 33:1-9). Why? Because it is not our Beloved LORD GOD’s desire for any soul to perish (2 Pet 3:9). Therefore HE sends HIS servants forth with The GOOD NEWS that saves souls (Isa 52:7). Every Christian is responsible for their part in reaching the lost, making disciples, serving the body of our Precious CHRIST JESUS (Rom 12:4-8, Eph 4:11-13). If you are not doing your part, consider that you like the four lepers have been warned about punishment overtaking you, if you continue in wrongdoing.

And having shod YOUR FEET
WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE
or
For shoes
Put on the readiness to preach The Good News of peace with GOD
Ephesians 6:15

Preach The WORD
Be ready in season and out of season
Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction
2 Timothy 4:2

But sanctify CHRIST as LORD in your hearts
Always being ready to make a defense
To everyone who asks you to give an account
For the hope that is in you
Yet with gentleness and reverence
1 Peter 3:15

To The Praise of HIS Glory

To The Praise of HIS GloryTo the end
That we who were the first to hope in CHRIST
Would be
To the praise of HIS glory
Ephesians 1:12

I have been doing a personal study through The Book of Revelation. I wanted to understand through The WORD, the background of the saints in the Church of Ephesus (Rev 2:1), so I could better understand our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST’s message to them (Rev 2:2-7). After praying for understanding, my Beloved LORD JESUS led me first to do a background study in The BIBLE on the activities and events surrounding Ephesus. I was amazed at all that occurred there, but we won’t be discussing it in this study. HE then directed my study to Ephesians where I studied the saints in Ephesus, and HIS instruction to them and us today. From the very first chapter HE begin sharing awesome truths. In this study of Ephesians 1:12, we will look at why and how the following two purposes of GOD were accomplished:
• Those who were first to hope in CHRIST
• To the praise of HIS glory

Who are “those who were first to hope in CHRIST?” The Jewish nation. The Gospel was first preached to this nation by JESUS HIMSELF (Mrk 1:14-15, Luk 4:16-21, Luk 20:1) the apostles (Luk 9:1-6, Act 13:2-5, Act 14:8-15), and the brethren from the Church in Jerusalem (Act 8:1-4, Act 8:25-40, Act 11:19-24).

Why did GOD choose the Jewish nation to be the first to hope in CHRIST? For three reasons:
1) The nation of Israel was HIS firstborn (Exd 4:22). Israel was the first nation on earth that GOD chose to be HIS people (Exd 19:5-6, Deu 7:6, Psa 100:3), and as such, GOD called them HIS firstborn (Jer 31:9).
2) Fulfillment of prophesy. Sinful rulers, prophets and priests (Mic 3:1-12), destroyed and scattered GOD’s flock from the house of Israel (Jer 23:1-2, Eze 34:1-10). But through the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, our Beloved LORD GOD prophesied “HE would gather the remnant of HIS scattered flock” (Jer 23:3-4, Eze 34:11-16). When Immanuel (Mat 1:23), The Great Shepherd (Heb 13:20, Jhn 10:11, 1 Pet 2:24-25), came into the world HE fulfilled these prophecies by gathering the remnant of the lost from the house of Israel (Mat 10:5-6, Mat 15:24, Act 3:26).
3) Fulfillment of prophesy. Our Beloved LORD GOD through HIS prophets Isaiah and Micah prophesied that “The WORD of The LORD would go forth from Jerusalem” (Isa 2:3, Mic 4:2, Luk 24:47).

Is that why HE says “to the Jew first?” Yes (Rom 1:16). The Good Shepherd came first to save the lost from the House of Israel (Rom 9:27). We must also realize that salvation comes from the Jews through our Beloved Savior JESUS CHRIST (Jhn 4:22, Rom 9:4-5). And the Jewish nation was the first nation entrusted with The WORD of GOD (Rom 3:1-2), starting with Moses (Act 7:38, Luk 24:44-45).

Has all the remnant from the Jewish nation been gathered? No, the gathering of the remnant began among those who turned to The LORD JESUS CHRIST and away from their sin during the first coming of JESUS; but it will continue until HIS return, or second coming (Rom 11:25-28).

What does it mean that the Jewish nation “would be to the praise of HIS glory?” Through Jewish prophets, JESUS CHRIST and Jewish believers in JESUS, men from every nation will praise GOD for the display of HIS power, grace, mercy, lovingkindness, forgiveness and fulfillment of HIS WORD. Men from every nation throughout the New Testament and today, witness:
• fulfillment of ancient prophecies through the mouth of HIS Jewish prophets (King David-Psa 16:8-11↔Act 2:22-32; Isaiah-Isa 9:6-7↔Mat 1:21-23, Isa 53:1-12↔; Daniel- Dan 9:25-26↔Luk 2:11, Jhn 4:25-26; Joel-Joe 2:28-32↔Act 2:14-21; Luk 24:44)
• mighty acts performed through our Precious JESUS (Act 2:22↔Luk 7:21-22) and through HIS apostles (Act 12:1-18, Act 16:16-34)
• powerful miracles performed at the hands of JESUS (Mat 14:15-21, Mat 15:32-38, Jhn 2:1-11) and HIS apostles (Act 3:1-10, Act 8:4-8, Act 19:11-12)
• undeniable transformations of the apostles (Act 4:13, Act 9:19-22)
• irrefutable events occurring at the point of JESUS death (Mat 27:45-54), at HIS resurrection (Mat 28:1-10), and before HIS return to ABBA FATHER (1 Cor 15:3-8)

Do men still today give GOD praise because of the lives of HIS people? Yes, because JESUS is the same today, as HE was yesterday and forever (Heb 13:8), and when we truly follow HIM, men of all nations glorify ABBA FATHER (Mat 5:16). It is also important to mention, that when people profess to know The LORD JESUS CHRIST, yet do not walk faithfully with HIM, it causes HIS NAME to be blasphemed (Rom 2:17-24).

Departing from there, JESUS went along by the Sea of Galilee
And having gone up on the mountain, HE was sitting there
And large crowds came to HIM
Bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others
And they laid them down at HIS feet
And HE healed them
So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored
And the lame walking, and the blind seeing
And they glorified the GOD of Israel
Matthew 15:29-31

Tender, Unconditional, Incorruptible, Steadfast

Open heart, Light, LoveI love The LORD
Because HE hears my voice and my supplications
Because HE has inclined HIS ear to me
Therefore I shall call upon HIM as long as I live
Psalm 116:1-2

The opening Scriptures (Psa 116:1-2) are the words of my heart for my Beloved LORD GOD. I frequently think about HIM. I have a “tender affection” for my Beloved because of HIS love for me, HIS continual care of me, and our precious time spent together. I feel warm inside when I think about HIM. I think about HIS goodness, HIS gentleness, HIS powerful WORD, and the many conversations we have held together. HE is my caring family and closest friend. I am emotionally attached to my Beloved LORD GOD, I desire to continuously be in HIS presence, hearing HIS voice. In Psalm 63:1-8, King David perfectly expressed this very love.

Is this type of love “Agapee”? No, this love is identified by two names. In the Old Testament it is “ἀhab (ἀheb)” (OT:157), and in the New Testament it is “phileo” (NT:5368). “Ἀhab” and “phileo” both represent a love known for having a strong emotional attachment to, a tender affection for, and a desire to be in the presence of. It’s a love that cherishes (Psa 27:4-6, Psa 34:8, Psa 40:5, Psa 143:5-6).

“Ἀhab” in the Old Testament, can be a love that represents many different types of relationships, but for purposes of this study we will only look at the relationships that are comparable to the same love as “phileo” in the New Testament. Both “ἀhab” and “phileo” represents love between:
• parents and their children, such as ABBA FATHER has for JESUS (Jhn 5:20) and HIS other children who love JESUS (Jhn 16:27, Rev 3:19); Abraham had for Isaac (Gen 22:2); Israel had for Joseph (Gen 37:3); or Ruth had for Naomi (Rut 4:15)
• dear friends (Pro 17:17,) such as Jonathan and David (1 Sam 18:1); JESUS and HIS obedient followers (Pro 18:24, Jhn 15:14-15, Jam 2:23)
• servant and their Master (Exd 21:5-6, Deu 15:16-17, Jhn 21:15-17)
“Phileo” as reflected in various passages in the New Testament, can be a harmful love. Harmful when:
• love for family is deeper than love for JESUS CHRIST (Mat 10:37)
• the recognition as righteous, means more than being righteous (Mat 6:5, Mat 23:6-7, Luk 20:46, Mat 23:27-28)
• men love their own life/way of life so much they are not willing to give it up or change it (Mrk 8:34-37, Luk 9:24-25, Luk 17:31-33, Jhn 12:25).
When “phileo” is healthy, not only is it beneficial but also this love for our Precious JESUS CHRIST is an absolutely necessary condition of salvation! You might be wondering why this type of love for CHRIST is crucial, it’s because you will never be able to have a personal relationship with HIM if your heart is not emotionally attached to HIM. Without “phileo” your desire for HIM, will never be stronger than the desires of your flesh (Ecc 11:9, Mrk 4:19, Gal 5:24, Tit 2:12) or your attractions to the world (1 Jhn 2:15-17). This type of love for JESUS CHRIST and for The WORD of GOD (because JESUS CHRIST is The WORD – Jhn 1:1, Jhn 1:14, Rev 19:13) is so crucial, that our Beloved LORD GOD issued a very solemn warning through HIS servant Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:21-22:

The greeting is in my own hand — Paul.
If anyone does not love The LORD, he is to be accursed.
Maranatha.

In examining how serious the warning in 1 Corinthians 16:22 is:
• In 1 Corinthians 16:21, Paul’s words indicate he has stopped dictating and began writing the final greeting himself.
• In 1 Corinthians 16:22, Paul personally tells us “If anyone does not “phileo” The LORD, he is to be “anathema.”
Paul is telling us, to not have a sincere love for our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST causes one to be subject to “anathema.” Anathema is a word with Aramaic origin (NT:331), which means to be accursed (Eph 2:1-3, Col 1:21, 2 Pet 2:14), set apart for destruction (Pro 16:4, 2 Ths 1:8-9), or set apart from GOD (Mat 7:23, Luk 13:27). This might seem harsh, until you understand that one who does not love JESUS CHRIST is one who refuses to be guided by The WORD of GOD, and defies HIS authority (Jhn 14:15, Jhn 14:21, 2 Pet 2:10, Jud 1:8). The one who does not have a deep affection for our Beloved LORD, has no attachment to HIM, no trust in HIM, and no belief in HIS WORDS. And will suffer the same fate of all unbelievers and disobedient (Jhn 3:36, Jhn 16:8-9, 2 Ths 1:8-9).
• Maranatha is also a word with Aramaic origin (NT:3134) which means O LORD come, our LORD come, our LORD is coming (Php 4:5, Heb 10:37, Jam 5:8, Rev 22:20). It is an exclamation of the approaching divine judgment, for those who do not sincerely love HIM, though they make an outward profession of love. True faith in CHRIST comes with sincere love for HIM, which is reflected in obedience to HIM (Jhn 10:2-5, Jhn 10:25-28). Those who do not sincerely love HIM are warned about their exposure to GOD’s wrath (Rom 5:9, 1 Ths 1:10).

How can one know they have “Phileo” love for JESUS CHRIST? By how you live your life when you think no one is watching (Eze 9:9-10, Pro 28:13, Luk 8:17, 1 Tim 5:24-25), or if you truly believe our Beloved LORD GOD sees everything (Jer 23:24, Psa 69:5, Psa 139:12, Dan 2:22, Heb 4:13). This type of love only comes with an intimate relationship with our GOD and SAVIOR. You cannot have a close personal relationship with our Beloved and not be aware of HIS presence.
Our Beloved LORD GOD examines our heart’s attitude toward HIM (Jer 12:3), and HE calls us to examine ourselves (Lam 3:40, Psa 119:59, 2 Cor 13:5). During your prayerful examination, you might ask yourself “as a minister are my teachings in the pulpit, consistent with how I constantly live outside the pulpit (Gal 1:10, 1 Ths 2:4)?” Or “as a Christian is my public behavior consistent with my constant private behavior (Eph 6:5-6, Col 3:22-25)? Are my inner thoughts, words and behavior pleasing to GOD (Psa 19:14, Psa 104:34, Psa 119:97-103, Jhn 8:29, Jam 1:26)?”

What is “Agapee”? “Agapee” is a love that is more than feelings, it is an act of one’s will (Mat 5:43-48, Mrk 12:30-31, Eph 2:4, Eph 5:25, Col 3:19). It is a profound and constant love that is free from conditions, desires, or expectations (Job 2:9-10, Hab 3:17-19, Luk 6:35-36). It is a love that causes us to cling to our GOD (Deu 10:20, Deu 11:22, Rom 12:9↔Mat 19:16-17), and forgive others (1 Cor 13:5, 1 Pet 4:8). It is incorruptible (Eph 6:24), and steadfast (Psa 57:7-11, 1 Cor 15:58↔Heb 6:10). It is an unselfish love (Rom 5:8, Jhn 15:13, Rom 15:2). “Agapee” is a love that expresses itself through actions. GOD gave HIS SON JESUS for us (Jhn 3:16). JESUS willingly died that we might live (Jhn 10:17-18). We express “agapee” to our Beloved through our implicit obedience to HIS WORD (Jhn 14:15, Jhn 14:21, Jhn 14:23, 2 Jhn 1:6). And since we have been commanded to walk in this profound and constant love, which is free from conditions, desires, or expectations, we must walk in this love for our:
• Beloved LORD GOD at all times, even in the darkest of times (Psa 62:8, Mat 22:37-38, Heb 12:5-13, Jam 1:2-4)
• Precious LORD JESUS at all times (Jhn 8:42, 1 Jhn 5:1, Rev 12:11↔Dan 11:32-35)
• Christian brethren (Jhn 13:34-35, 1 Pet 1:22, 1 Jhn 4:7-12)
• Neighbors or fellow human beings (Mat 22:39-40, Mat 7:12, Luk 10:29-37, Rom 13:8-10)
• Enemies (Luk 6:27-28, Luk 23:34, Act 7:54-60, Rom 12:19-21)
One final note, in this section describing the love that is unconditional, incorruptible and steadfast, we have used both the Greek verb “agapaoo” (NT:25) and corresponding Greek noun “agapee” (NT:26) interchangeably.

Little children
Let us not love with word or with tongue
But in deed and truth
1 John 3:18