Thursday, July 16, 2020

'He Who Follows Me Shall Not Walk In Darkness'

(Hansueli Krapf - CC BY-SA 3.0).

“Light Has Come Into The World”

THE prophet Isaiah wrote – “The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.”

Verse 6 – “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7) Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

This awesome prophecy makes me think of the question I had asked my unconverted wife – who does not believe that the Bible is inspired by God – “Is Jesus Christ the Son of God!?” And she answered a definitive, “Yes!” For this statement alone – “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder” is indeed included in one of the seven proofs of the validity of the Holy Bible – FULFILLED PROPHECY!

Friends, these few verses – like no other – are like the proverbial acorn that grows into a mighty oak tree. It is so rich in the TRUTH of God that many who read over it – read it as though it is but religious salt and pepper. But within these glorious lines contains a prophecy that reaches out to every single life and offers the clearest, purest, unobstructed view of the gospel message that most people in their state of blindness cannot see. It’s like the memorable quote from the 1992 military court drama film A Few Good Men, in which Lt. Kaffe says, “I want the truth!” And Col. Jessep replies, “You can’t handle the TRUTH!” And this is what’s happening to this world. They think they seek the truth – but when they read these words off the pages of the Holy Bible the glaring TRUTH of Almighty God is completely missed. And in mankind’s pursuit of happiness, prosperity, health, and wealth, he has sought to find a state of utopia – only to dig further into a state of utter darkness. Indeed, mankind has sought answers to his biggest questions through his own means, his own logic, and leaning upon his own understanding.

The Book of Proverbs, chapter 3 tells us – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding.”

So, here in this magnificent verse of God’s living word we read that light has shined into a darkened world. But what does it mean that ‘people live in darkness’!?

I’d like to begin here in Matthew, the 6th chapter, verse 22 – Jesus Christ talked a lot about darkness. ’ The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.’ – of course, singleness of mind, one goal, one vision.

Verse 23 – “’ But if your eye is bad [evil], your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!’

Now, in 1981, I came across a MOST IMPORTANT statement:  “May God richly bless you in your efforts to understand His truth.” The truth is God Almighty and Jesus Christ explaining to us through Their living word THE WORD OF GOD, THE TRUTH OF GOD, and THE PLAN OF GOD! And so when we read this concerning darkness we begin to understand what is out there in this world – I mean, when you look around the world today, nearly 7.8 BILLION people. How many of them understand the truth of God!? Very few people.

In John, chapter 3, verse 19, Jesus said, ’ And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, …’

He speaks of ‘light having come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.’ As you might or might not be aware – in strip clubs the room is in darkness, in the back rooms of adult novelty shops it is bathed in darkness. And, I’m not necessarily saying that if you go into a strip club or an adult novelty shop that you are evil – but I am saying that surely God’s Spirit is nowhere to be found there! It is as if men are trying to hide their deeds from Almighty God – in darkness. So, there is a proclivity in man to love darkness. Why!? Jesus says, ‘because their deeds [are] evil.’ And that is really hard to come to grips with – most people don’t understand that when a person comes to the truth of God one of the first realizations that they have to come to is that we are sinners. That we are breakers of God’s eternal law! Most people are oblivious to God’s law – they don’t even know what God’s law says. Can you recite the Ten Commandments!? And they are oblivious to the fact that they are breaking God’s law – and with it comes a penalty. A death penalty.

Turn with me over to 1st John, chapter 1, verse 5 – “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light …” – there’s a couple of Scriptures in the Bible that says “God is …” And this is one of them. “ … and in Him is no darkness at all. 6) If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk-in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Surely, this implies someone who says they are a follower of Jesus Christ, that they have fellowship with Jesus Christ, but if they walk in darkness, walk in a life filled with breaking God’s law, they are but deceiving themselves. And here Jesus is addressing people who are religious. They walk in darkness, though they say ‘we have fellowship with Jesus.’ Do you recall what He said concerning this!?

’ Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom [from] heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” – Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV.

This is a terrifying message here. Recall they said, ‘haven’t we cast out demons in Your name!?’ And He says, ‘depart from Me!’ – those that walk in darkness, as the apostle Matthew says here.

This surely makes me think of my dear friend who we lost to cancer April 19th, 2020 - he had been at one time a minister with the Open Bible Standard Churches. He would often praise Pentecostal evangelist’s such as Asa A. Allen – who believed and taught that the Ten Commandments ‘was superseded by grace.’ Jesus Christ will say to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practiced lawlessness!’

In 1st John, chapter 2, verse 11 – “But he who hates his brother is in darkness …” – now that surely strikes close to home sometimes. You cannot have hatred in your heart – Jesus elevated that commandment “Thou shalt not murder.” Jesus told those Pharisees, ‘If you have hatred in your heart for another person, you might as well go out and actually murder him.’ Because it’s the same result. “ … and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

It’s difficult to say just how vast this has happened to this world and to this nation – concerning the darkness, the veil which covers the eyes of human beings. Because of sin – iniquity. God gives us these parameters of just what evil is and how evil can cause great darkness. So, mankind is wandering around – as a ‘blind man.’ And not only that, he’s unaware that he’s in darkness. As a sort of example – the other day I asked my wife – “Is Jesus the Son of God?” And she answered a definitive, “Yes.” But she couldn’t answer, “Can you prove He is?” And I could have well asked her – Is Jesus the Messiah? She likely would have asked me – What is a messiah? Once she understood just what a messiah is, she probably would have answered – no. Based upon the answer to the question, “Did God create the universe?” She answered, “No. It’s always existed.” It’s this type of darkness that God speaks.

Yet, through all this blackness – this darkness – a light shines. Through all the noise and confusion of this world – the lost hope – there is a glimmer of light ahead of us. And it is so brilliant that ‘every eye will eventually see’ – cf. Revelation 1:7. It’s like when I saw the flickering light of the struck match in the utter darkness of Kartchner Caverns in Benson, Arizona – you couldn’t help yourself from not looking at the light. And so it is – mankind has been given a reason to believe again. It is, as the apostle Paul called it, “the accepted time.”

In John, the 8th chapter, Jesus said, ’ I AM the light of the world.’ And is He ever!

Verse 12 – “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I AM the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’ – this alone speaks of hope in this life and the ‘next life’ – as they say.

In John chapter 12, verse 46 – “’ I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes [on] Me, should not abide in darkness.’

“’Unto us a Child is born’”

So, back in Isaiah – the next portion of that – after it says, ‘light has come into the world’ it says, “For unto us a Child is born.”

Turn with me if you will to the Book of Luke, chapter 1.

I can surely remember back when I was in junior high in Mrs. Johnson’s class when she wanted us to memorize these verses during Christmas time, and how I had privately gone to her and told her that I do not celebrate Christmas. After asking me why, and discovering the answer, she actually respected me for my conviction – which is not the reaction most would have in this world. She wanted us to memorize these verses having to do with the birth of Jesus.

Luke 1:31 – “’ And behold, you will conceive in your womb …’” – and this is the angel speaking to Mary, telling her ‘even though you’re a virgin, you’re going to conceive in your womb.’ “ …’ and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.’” – now this name is probably better rendered JOSHUA – because it’s the exact equivalent of the name Joshua. Indeed, the name Jesus in the Greek language has been absolutely bastardized. I mean they’ve used this name until it’s almost blasphemous. The way that people down through the generations have used the name Jesus – over and over again. It’s a sacred being of whom we are speaking of. And to use the name in such a blasphemous way – you know the Jews, even today, will not even write the name God, nor will they even speak the name of God in some cases, because they consider it to be so absolutely reverent. So absolutely holy. To use it in such common phraseology of religious parlances now is just in degradation. It degrades the holy name of God. Now, I’m not saying that we should not write God’s name, or speak His name. But we should use it in such a way that shows others that we consider His name to be absolutely holy.

Verse 32 – “’ He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33) And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’”

Now over in Luke, the 2nd chapter, verse 8 – this was another portion my social studies teacher wanted us to memorize. “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9) And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.” – I can imagine that they were.

Verse 10 – “Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” – which included the Gentiles.

Verse 11 – “’ For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” – now, those shepherds knew that the Savior had been born – didn’t they!? Did they doubt that the Savior had been born!? Now, later, when Jesus Christ was with the Pharisees and Sadducees, they didn’t understand that the very Savior was standing there in front of them – even though the evidence was slapping them across the face! When He would heal a blind man or raise someone from the dead. Even John the Baptist – in a moment of doubt – asked of Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” But I guarantee you here, these shepherds understood that the Savior had been born.

Verse 12 – “’ And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ 13) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God saying: 14) ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’”


And from my library of Bibles:
“’ Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased’” (NLT).
“’ Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased’” (NASB).
“’ Glory to God in the highest heaven,’ they sang, ‘and peace on earth for all those pleasing him’” (TLB).
“’ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of goodwill’” (NCB).
“’ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests’” (NIV).
“’ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men’” (KJV).
“’ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” (ESV).
We tend to lose some in many of these translations. It is talking about – when peace will ultimately be established and where this peace is going to break out. It will break out here on this E A R T H.

So, here we have this extraordinary revealing of this glorious Child that was born unto the family of mankind – that was prophesied. And in many commentaries, they’ll give you all of the passages of the prophecies which were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Sadly, many who contradict that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah claim – and this is truly reprehensible – that Jesus, when He was an adult man, looked back at all those old Scriptures in the Old Testament, read them, and decided to try and play them out in His life – fulfilling those prophecies. That’s one way they get around rejecting the fact that He actually came to fulfill those promises – those prophecies. Jesus actually had very little control over most of the events which occurred in His life. As an example – the betrayal of Judas Iscariot and His delivery up to be crucified.

Friends, we read in the Book of John, chapter 1 that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2) ALL THINGS were made through Him, …” – an absolutely extraordinary revelation – wouldn’t you say!?

In verse 14, John reveals definitely of whom he speaks, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt [or tabernacled] among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father …” – Jesus the Christ.

When the majority of these worldly churches on their walls have a picture of a ‘little Lord Jesus’ – or hanging front and center a ‘dead Jesus on a cross.’ And they say their prayers every night to the ‘baby Jesus.’ Or they sing – little baby Jesus ‘away in a manger no crib for a bed. The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.’ Or in their movies, our LORD God – the living and powerful Jesus Christ – is portrayed as a child. And they don’t understand that Jesus was the very being that was there who said, “’ Let there be light!’ He was the very One who spoke to Moses from the burning bush. He was the very One who was with Israel when He led them out of the land of Egypt. He was the One who led them ‘by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light.’ He was the very One that gave them manna, which rained down from heaven. And He was the very One who stood before the Jews and exclaimed, ’ Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’ What power He has!!

In the Book of Hebrews, it says that He was ‘the brightness of His glory,’ describing Jesus Christ as God the Father’s own begotten Son. He was an exact replica – in flesh-and-blood – of the very glory of God. The disciples just couldn’t understand this. Jesus, on a number of occasions, would say, ‘He who has seen Me has seen the Father.’ And they said, ‘Show us the Father.’ And Jesus answered, ‘Do you not believe that I AM in the Father, and the Father in Me?’ Because He was showing them exactly what the Father looks like, acts like, the Way in which He treats others, the fact that He is a God of love, and forgiveness. He once told the Pharisees, ‘go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ They scratched their heads – they just couldn’t understand what He was meaning. That God no longer desired burnt offerings but mercy, and the knowledge of God more than any sacrifice. Again, they scratched their heads in bewilderment. He was trying to explain – a great God who actually loves us so much that He literally gave His only Son as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. What a glorious and remarkable Child that had been born unto us! And so Isaiah – writing under the inspiration of the Spirit – prophesied of this Child that would be born.

“Made Himself Of No Reputation”

In Philippines, the 2nd chapter, verse 5 – the apostle Paul (and I’ve noticed a greater number of websites on the Internet which bashes the apostle Paul, and it truly sickens me) writes here something about Jesus’ character in coming down to live in flesh-and-blood. Notice, “Let this mind be in you …” – which mind should be in us!? “ … which was also in Christ Jesus.” – the same mind which Jesus had.

Verse 6 – “who, being in the form of God, …” – this exactly tells us that Jesus was a member of the divine Elohim – the God family. “ …did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.” – in other words, He was on a level with the God family. He was a divine being that had been there with God. And He did not think that position of authority and power was something to be grasped at – to cling to.

a single-cell embryo (CLAUDE CORTIER/SCIENCE SOURCE)
But, it says – verse 7 – “but made Himself of no reputation [He emptied Himself], taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”

Think about Jesus Christ being ONE SINGLE CELL inside the womb of Mary – how lowly is that!? And, indeed, when you look at the earth some 383 miles above the surface through the WorldView – 3 Satellite, human beings look smaller than the head of a pin.

Yet, when Jesus Christ was born into the human family, He took on the form of a servant. And so Paul is trying to show us here just what Jesus gave up for all of us. And that we each should have that same mind in each of us toward one another. That we should be willing to get rid of all of the pride and the vanity, the hatred, resentment, and be willing to become a servant to one another. We certainly do not grasp the scope of just what Jesus gave up in that state.

“The Government Will Be Upon His Shoulder”

So, back in Isaiah – the next portion of that – after it says, “For unto us a Child is born,” it says, “And the government will be upon His shoulder.”

And we – the Church of Jesus Christ – has explained for decades the government which Jesus talked about in His public ministry. From the very onset of His preaching He said, ’ Repent, for the kingdom [from] heaven is at hand.’ And of course we know that He was talking about His return to this earth. Sadly, the majority of people have ingrained in their minds that when they die, they immediately go to heaven if they have accepted Jesus. And while the majority take this for granted, no verse in the Bible actually says, “We go to heaven when we die.” In fact, there’s a mountain of evidence to justify that no human has ever gone there – including Jesus’ own prayer to Father.

I’ve heard it so many times in various movies – ‘Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. …’ And it’s nothing more than a mantra. But in that prayer, He says, ’ Your kingdom come. Your will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven.’ Friends, they mumble the words, yet they don’t understand that He is talking about a kingdom that is going to be established right here on E A R T H!

John, the 14th chapter, down in verse 3 – “’ And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.’ – where is He going to be!? Is He, as so many people believe, going to come back and skip off the atmosphere of the earth and waft people away in a so-called ‘secret rapture’!?


Well, there is nothing secret about the return of Jesus Christ! When you go back and read the events surrounding the return of Jesus Christ it’s a ‘day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness’ – Joel 2:2. When you read the signs of what is happening during that time at the return of Jesus Christ – in the Book of Revelation as an example – one giant sign happening right after another that is raining down upon mankind. That if He didn’t intercede mankind would wipe himself off the face of the earth! There is nothing secret at all about that.

So, where will He be!? If we turn to Zechariah, the 14th chapter – it says ‘in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives.’ So, again, back in 1981, I vividly recall first reading this very verse - Jesus is going to stand ‘in that day upon the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east’! I was so excited that I called my mother into the room and read aloud this very verse! As the disciples stood and watched as Jesus was taken up received of a cloud, and two angels said to them, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Jesus Himself said in the Book of Matthew, chapter 24, verse 27 – “’ For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.’ When the throne of God, when New Jerusalem, begins to return to this earth, at some point it will be a little small light in the night sky. And the next night it will be a little brighter – like the star Sirius. And then, it becomes more and more obvious – and people will look up and go, “What is that!?” Now, most of the people of the world will think it’s – and they really will – an invading alien force! There is nothing secret about it! This sign – this little small light in the night sky will grow larger and brighter month after month, verse 30 – “’ and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.’

And in the Book of Revelation, chapter 2, verse 26, Jesus states, ’ And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations.’ - this is upon the return of Jesus Christ, not a thousand years later. The setting up of the Kingdom of God. Can you imagine what it will be like to have co-power with Jesus Christ over nations!? Can you imagine the nation of Iran finally having it’s "swamp drained"!? Or Russia!? Can you imagine having the ability to ‘convict all who are ungodly’ (cf. Jude 14) – eliminating the dictators, despots, and evil wicked rulers!? To charge into the nation and shout, “This kingdom has become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (cf. Revelation 11:15). The nations of the world will cease their two greatest sins: idolatry and Sabbath-breaking! They will begin to keep all of God’s holy days (Zechariah 14:16-19). All people will begin to learn from God’s word just what God says, and how they are to live, and what they are to eat, and how they are to conduct their lives. And be witness to this transformation of the nations. Recall what the LORD said through Isaiah – even the “eunuchs [pronounced ´yü-nəks] who keep My Sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, Even them I will give in My house.”

And, friends, we could also go back and read Micah, the 4th chapter, where it talks about the condition of the earth, that the nations will “beat their swords into plowshares, And their speaks into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.”vv. 1-3. A world at peace – for Jesus Christ is called a ‘Prince of PEACE’! So, peace will eventually break out upon the whole earth!

In the Book of Isaiah, the 11th chapter, beginning in verse 1 – “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 2) The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” – speaking here of only one being - Jesus Christ!

Verse 3 – “His delight is in the fear [reverent fear] of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; …” – meaning, He’s not going to listen to tales, lies, gossip.

Verse 4 – “But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.”

And I will boldly say this – but there are people out there in this world who absolutely deserve to be destroyed from off the face of the earth! Because they WILL NOT give in to God’s Way of life. They refuse to live or even to begin to walk down a righteous path.

Verse 5 – “Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist. 6) ‘The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and fatling together; And a little child shall lead them.”

“IN THAT DAY” – when is that!? After the blowing of the SEVENTH TRUMP, and God starts the process of cleaning up this earth. “…’ O LORD, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.” – this is what the physical people of Israel will say! The kingdom of God is going to be established here on this earth – an ‘everlasting kingdom’ – and that even the nature of the animals is going to be changed.

Verse 9 – “’ They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain [‘My holy government’], For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.”

The prophet Isaiah says, Jesus Christ will sit ‘upon the throne of David and over His kingdom.’ And I’ll just remind you – in 2nd Samuel, chapter 7 – the LORD made a promise to King David that there will always be a seed after him, who will come from his body, who will establish the throne of his kingdom – forever. And the LORD relayed that later to King Solomon. He said that there will never fail his seed to sit upon the throne of Israel. Now, whether you believe that that throne still exists today or not – it’s not a point of doctrine. Yet, as I have on my personal Facebook page of favorite quotes – “Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened - Sir Winston Churchill.” The very fact that God made a promise – and cannot lie – and the fact of what the angel said in Luke – “the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” then Jesus is coming back to inherit a throne which is somewhere on this earth – yes!? Now, is it the ‘Rocket Man’s’ throne in North Korea!? Or Vladimir Putin's throne!? Is it Shinzō Abe’s throne!? Just look around the world and ask yourself – what throne is there that exists – at least it has for my nearly 51-years – which has a heritage that goes back to the nation of Israel!?

Conclusion

In conclusion, let’s turn to Isaiah, the 35th chapter.

All during the twenty years which I drove over the road hauling produce from the likes of Salinas, California to all parts of Florida – I would travel through Arizona. Now, all through my school years, we were taught that the word Arizona came from the Spanish language, meaning “arid zone.” And like I have mentioned before with the likes of such television programs as 10 Things You Don’t Know About featuring Henry Rollins – just when you thought you knew the answers, the questions are changed! But my point being – while traveling through states like Arizona and New Mexico along I-10 it, for the most part, is parched ground, desert cactus – just like the Steins ghost-town of 1880 and the Peloncillo Mountains – where there is rattlesnakes, rabbits, and thorn bushes. Yet even places like this – it says here – “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; 2) It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. … They shall see the glory of the LORD, The excellency of our God.” – now, where in the world is this going to be!? Where does peace need to breakout!? Does Jesus Christ need to go to the upper heavenly realms to preach peace – to establish peace!? Think about it. All the things which He taught – does He need to preach it up in heaven with all the heavenly hosts which have been there for millennia upon millennia!? Does He need to preach God’s law there!? Where do all the problems exist!? Where does God Almighty and Jesus Christ need to preach and to teach!? Here – on this E A R T H!

Verse 3 – “Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. 4) Say to those who are fearful hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.’”

Verse 5 – “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.” – this means both physically and spiritually!

Verse 6 – “Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.” – a complete change of the topography of the earth.

Verse 7 – “The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, There shall be grass with reeds and rushes. 8) A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.”

Friends, where in the world is the stain glass windows, the phallic steeples, great cathedrals, pipe organs, men and women wearing religious clothing – looking and acting religious – anywhere in any of these Scriptures we just covered!? Where are the choir lofts and the gospel music and the screaming televangelist begging for money!? Most of what people consider to be the religion that God loves is but a distraction from THE WORD OF GOD, THE TRUTH OF GOD, and THE PLAN OF GOD. We – the Church of Jesus Christ – have for decades tried to expose the deception and to reveal the real truth contained within His living word. Perhaps today a pinprick of light has made its way into your life through these words. If so, don’t be like the song by Corey Hart – in which he wears his sunglasses at night. □

Addendum:

The Division of Light From Darkness

So, Jesus calls Himself ‘the Light.’ He’s the One that sprang forth in a world of darkness.

And, here, it behooves me to mention again a set of books I’m reading called Shocked By The Bible by Joe Kovacs. My sister had asked me what my thoughts are of chapter ten of the second book – which is entitled Light up the darkness. When you think back to the recreation of this earth (cf. Genesis 1:2), we know that God tells us that He did not create this earth ‘without form, and void.’ When we come upon the scene of the very second verse of the Bible it tells us, “The earth [became] without form, and void; and DARKNESS was on the face of the deep.” And what was the very first command which came forth!? “’ Let there be light.’” I believe that it is so amazing that the very being which was there that brought light into a dark world – is the same One that brought spiritual light into a darkened world when He came to dwell among us.

In Acts chapter 26, it too can be used to show what the author was trying to point out in Genesis 1:4 – “concerning the revealing of God’s spiritual plan.” It’s not just the whole purpose of the apostle Paul’s calling – but a microcosm of the very Plan of God. And he expounds this when he is standing there giving a testimony. Remember, Paul was before King Agrippa II and he was telling his story how he had been struck down while on the road to Damascus - with authority and commission from the chief priest to go and capture the saints and bring them back for imprisonment and even death – with a great light. And he hears this voice which says, verse 15 – “’ I AM Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16) But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.’ – later on, He would appear unto him many times.

But notice what Jesus says, verse 17 – “’ I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you. …’

But notice the commission – and this is also to be the commission for His saints in the WORLD TOMORROW – Verse 18 – “’ to open their eyes, in order to turn them from DARKNESS to LIGHT, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith [on] Me.’

“… and God DIVIDED the LIGHT from the DARKNESS.” – Genesis 1:4 NKJV. “ …’ to open their eyes, in order to turn them from DARKNESS to LIGHT …’” – Acts 26:18 NKJV. 

Are you getting this!? 

From a spiritual standpoint, why did God DIVIDE the LIGHT from DARKNESS? Was it merely to create a day and a night in our physical world? The answer is no. The entire spiritual Plan of God can be summed up in this one verse – Genesis 1:4.

God is telling us His whole plan right from the beginning of the Bible, and He repeats it at the end -

Revelation 22:16 – “’ I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I AM the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.’

Verse 17 – “And the Spirit and the bride [the living Church of Jesus Christ] say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” – again we see Acts 26:18 – “ …’ in order to turn them from DARKNESS to LIGHT, …’

So here this LIGHT breaks through that darkened barrier and will literally illuminate the hearts of all people and will actually be receptive to the gospel message, be converted and changed, and will become faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ!

We know in the Book of Acts during the time of Pentecost that three-thousand were converted – but there are a number of occasions while reading through Paul’s writings that says, ‘there was a great multitude which were receptive of what we were preaching.’ And that surely was a great feeling – knowing that they have made a difference in people’s lives. □

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