Cooler than the Other Side of the Pillar

November 12, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Posted in Q&A | 3 Comments
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Question: The children of Israel were led by a pillar of cloud/fire as they left Egypt. When they got to the Red Sea, did the pillar go over or across the sea so they would know they were supposed to go across, too?

Answer: If you look at Exodus 14:19-22 it appears that the pillar moved from in front of the Israelites to behind them in order to act as a shield between them and the Egyptians. After they crossed the Red Sea, it must have returned to the forefront in order to keep leading them. What’s really interesting is that Verse 19 connects the pillar with “the Angel of God,” which many Bible scholars take as a Christophany (a preincarnate appearance of Christ in the Old Testament). I Corinthians 10:1-4 also seems to support this idea.

The Redeemer Is Prophesied

June 6, 2011 at 11:01 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Genesis | 25 Comments
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I am now getting near the end of a long series of posts on the Book of Genesis. Since Genesis is the first book of the Bible, it has been fun to point out several things, ideas, or words, which occur for the first time in Genesis. We have seen the first plants and animals, the first man and woman, the first marriage, the first sin, the first murder, the first song, the first tears, the first rain, and the first interpreter.

Now we will look at the first time a very special Bible word is used in Scripture: “redeemed.”

The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

Genesis 48:16

The Hebrew word is ga’al, and it means “to buy back,” or “to pay the price to set someone free from slavery.” When a sinner trusts Jesus Christ as his Savior, he is set free from the slavery of sin.

The concept of redemption is a key to understanding God’s plan of salvation, and it is a concept about which the Lord has much to say in the Bible. Below is a brief study guide on the Biblical concept of redemption:

Q. What was the price of redemption?
A. The precious blood of Christ. (I Peter 1:19)

Q. Can it be paid for with something else of value?
A. No, silver and gold are corruptible (I Peter 1:18), but the blood of Christ is incorruptible.

Q. To what were we enslaved?
A. Sin – such as serving divers lusts, hating one another, living in envy, living for self (Titus 3:3), and to vain conversation or empty living. (I Peter 1:18)

Q. What are we set free to do?
A. To serve the Lord diligently, not to be slothful or lazy. (Romans 12:11)

Q. Who is the Redeemer?
A. Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Colossians 1:13-14)

Q. How did the Redeemer first appear?
A. As a young child. (Luke 2:25-40)

Q. How does the Redeemer continue to work?
A. As a Mediator. (Hebrews 9:14-15 and Job 9:32-33)

Q. How long does redemption last?
A. Redemption is eternal. (Hebrews 9:11-12)

Q. How long will the Redeemer last?
A. He always has been, always is, and always will be: “He lives” (perpetual present tense). (Job 19:25)

Q. Redemption sets our bodies free from the slavery of sin, but what about our souls?
A. The price has been paid for our eternal souls to be set free. (Psalm 34:22)

Q. How should being redeemed make us feel?
A. Our lips and souls should sing and rejoice. (Psalm 71:23)

Q. Do we deserve redemption?
A. No, God’s mercy allowed our redemption. (Psalm 44:26)

Q. Can anyone other than Jesus be powerful, influential, or wealthy enough to redeem me?
A. No, true redemption is through Christ alone. (Psalm 49:6-9)

Q. How much time is there before it is too late to be redeemed?
A. The offer of redemption is for a limited time only – you must by faith receive Jesus, and trust in the price He paid, before you die and before He comes back. (Hebrews 9:27 and Luke 21:27-28)

Q. Should we keep quiet about our redemption?
A. No, the redeemed of the Lord should say so. (Psalm 107:2)

Q. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in redemption?
A. He seals us unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

After the Fire

May 20, 2010 at 10:22 am | Posted in Daniel | 4 Comments
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Lord, we know that You are in the midst of Your people in their times of trial, testing, and trouble, just like You were with Daniel’s friends in the fiery furnace. You were in the midst of their troubles because You had been in the midst of their prayer time, their Bible study time, their time of assembling together with their brothers to learn about You. Please remind us to call upon You to enter into our midst when we do these things also. In Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen.

The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.

Daniel 2:5

The threat to make their houses a dunghill was a threat not only to them, but to those they represented. For the Chaldeans it would only be their own families, but to Daniel and his friends, it would be all the Jews they represented. Daniel did not take sole credit for what the Lord allowed him to do. His friends had been faithful to pray with him for the interpretation of the dream (Daniel 2:36), so he was faithful to give them part of the credit.

By Daniel Chapter 3 Nebuchadnezzar had already forgotten how he had been forced to acknowledge the greatness of Daniel’s God. He builds a statue (Daniel 3:1) 60 cubits by 6 cubits. If we think of the number of the beast, 666, we see two of the sixes in these dimensions, but where is the third six?

That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet [1], flute [2], harp [3], sackbut [4], psaltery [5], dulcimer [6], and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:

Daniel 3:5 (bracketed numerals added)

There are six instruments mentioned, which, combined with the measurements of the false idol, may be a clue to us that this music was being inspired and used by Satan.

And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Daniel 3:11-12

Three stood up when when everyone else fell down.

Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Daniel 3:21

He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Daniel 3:25

Daniel’s friends were saved from the fire and their bonds were loosed. They were set free and their bonds were loosed, but their clothes were not burned off.

And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

Daniel 3:27

Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

Daniel 3:29

Daniel’s friends yielded their bodies. How did they know to yield their bodies to righteousness when they didn’t have the New Testament? They knew the principle of Romans 6:13 before it was written.

Daniel Chapter 4 is Nebudchadnezzar’s official autobiographical document. This is unique in the Bible, that God made a pagan king’s official writing a part of inspired Scripture.

Nebuchadnezzar had a vision of a tree, and he was overcome again with pride. When Daniel interpreted the dream for Nebuchadnezzar, it was revealed as a vision of Nebuchadnezzar himself, being cut down, and banded or sealed in the wilderness for a period of seven years. Daniel followed the pattern of calling an unbeliever to repentance, which I have analyzed with the acrostic O.A.R.S. from Acts 17. He O.pened. (Daniel 4:24). He A.lleged (Daniel 4:22), as he cited the Word of God as prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah. He R.easoned (Daniel 4:18-19), as he dialogued with the king and used tact and love. He S.poke and S.hared the truth (Daniel 4:27), as he preached.

Night Visions Part 1

March 8, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Posted in Zechariah | 5 Comments
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On February 15, 519 B.C., Zechariah had a series of eight night visions. The first was a vision of a Man on a red horse, the Angel of the Lord (Christ) leading an army of men on red and speckled and white horses.

Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.

Zechariah 1:7-8

An interpreting angel explained to Zechariah that Christ was interceding on behalf of the Jewish people with the Gentile nations.

The second vision was a vision of horns and carpenters, again dealing with the Gentile nations which had chastened Judah. These nations had built upon each other, but the Lord will one day restore Jerusalem.

The third vision was a vision of measuring and reclaiming ownership, and of the Lord preparing again to dwell with His people.

I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand.

Zechariah 2:1

For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.

Zechariah 2:5

Zechariah 2:8 contains one of our modern common expressions: “For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” The apple is the pupil: pupilla, or “little doll.” But it is also the part of the eye which reflects. A teacher sees a reflection of himself in the eye of a student, and students sometimes bring their teachers apples.

Zerubbabel was the governor and Joshua was the high priest. In the fourth vision, there was a courtroom trial.

And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

Zechariah 3:1

Joshua was on trial. Satan was the prosecutor. Jesus was the defense attorney, and God was the judge. We know the outcome: Joshua’s attorney stood before His client to take the punishment on Himself.

And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.

Zechariah 3:4

The vision concludes with two pictures: one of the priestly ministry of Christ as the Branch – the Messiah Who would save His people and be their One True High Priest; the other of Christ as the Stone. A stone can be a stumblingblock or a building material. It can be smitten or used to smite. It can be rejected or received. Christ the Stone is like a diamond. A diamond with facets can be turned toward the light to show its multiple beauties, and there is beauty from every angle. But eventually a flaw will appear in even the most perfect diamond. That is where the analogy ends, for Christ has no flaws, and God’s will has no flaws. If a rock formed in the ground can possess seemingly limitless beauty, how much more beautiful and eternal is the glory of God!

And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep,

Zechariah 4:1

Either Zechariah was having a really rough night, or these visions were just plain exhausting! I suspect the latter. Seeing visions from God and understanding their meaning wore Daniel out. We should be suspicious of those who claim prophetic visions with a flippant attitude.

The next vision was the vision of the candlestick and the olive trees. The candlestick, or lampstand, represented Christ (the Light of the World). It also represented God’s people, the nation of Israel. The two olive trees represented Joshua the priest and Zerubbabel the governor. From this vision we get the oft-quoted Bible verse:

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

Zechariah 4:6

Solomon had might (military) and power (wealth). Zerubbabel had neither – but he had God’s Spirit. He would not be known (like Solomon) for the “wisdom of Zerubbabel” or the “wealth of Zerubbabel.” He would be known as the one who God’s Spirit worked through to bring glory to God. We can try to do the work of the Lord three ways:

1. In our own strength (our own wisdom, our own way)

2. By borrowing the world’s resources

Both of these may look successful at the outset, but they are doomed to fail. Or,

3. By depending upon the power of God

This third way guarantees success.

Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

Zechariah 4:7

When God’s Spirit takes over, it may look like we moved the mountain, but God gets the glory. The only thing “great” about “great men and women of God” are the grace-gifts bestowed upon them by God. The smaller, the weaker, the more broken the thing He uses, the more glory He gets.


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