All posts by Lightdancer

Just a soldier for our Father.

The Silence of Zachariah

The book of Malachi marks the end of the Old Testament. Yes, we have the apocryphal accounts of the Maccabees and the Jewish revolt, but Malachi marks the end of the prophets and then for 400 years God is silent. God is silent until Zachariah entered the Holy of Holies, at which time Zachariah is struck dumb, i.e. rendered silent.

Let’s take a look at that, and let’s pay careful attention to the reason why Zachariah was forced silent, because God did it for a very special reason.

Luke 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

“Of the course of Abia” means that Zachariah was not just a normal Levite; he was the son of Aaron.

You can read in 1 Chronicles 23 where David divided the sons of Aaron into 24 groups. The eighth group being Abia. Eight, in biblical numerics, being new beginnings, and we are going to have a new beginning here.

You have to understand that the sons of Aaron were different from the rest of the Levites. God had given them several jobs that only they were to perform (it’s a study in and of itself), and they were the only ones allowed to go into the Holy of Holies. They also had several special duties that only they were allowed to perform. It was the job of the rest of the Levites to help to make sure that the sons of Aaron could do their jobs. Now let’s look at numbers 18:1 and tell me if that doesn’t get your Christian gears turning.

Numbers 18:1 And the LORD said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father’s house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.

Okay, let’s head back to Luke.

Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
(7) And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

Now, the reason that they were old was because the priesthood, as it was at that time, was also old.

Luke 1:8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, (9) According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. (10) And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.

Meaning that he was alone in the Holy of Holies.

Luke 1:11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. (12) And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. (13) But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

The name John means God, or Yah, is a gracious giver. And He is a gracious giver because He is about to give us the last levitical priest.

Luke 1:14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. (15) For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. (16) And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. (17) And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Remember how I brought up Malachi at the start of this article? Well this is the reason: because that was the last promise God gave before going silent.

Malachi 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. (5) Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: (6) And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Luke 1:18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.

Okay guys, just for the record, if an angel of the Lord shows up and tells you something is going to happen, tells you that your prayers are answered, don’t ask stupid questions.

Luke 1:19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. (20) And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

Now, up until this time, Zachariah was a pretty good ‘ol boy. I mean, how many of us could it be said to be “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless”? So I don’t want to beat up on Zachariah too much, but we have to understand the parallel God is giving us. Israel had turned from God. The book of Jeremiah tells us that He divorced Israel, and since the book of Malachi had been silent. Ever since Moses complained to God saying that he wasn’t good at speaking, Aaron and his sons have been speaking for God. God wants us to know that He had silenced them.

Luke 1:21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. (22) And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. (23) And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. (24) And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, (25) Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.

Now, for the sake of this article, let’s jump down to verse 57.

Luke 1:57 Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. (58) And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. (59) And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. (60) And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. (61) And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. (62) And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.

This is interesting to note because John wasn’t going to be like any of his other kindred. He was the sign of something new, but he was also the symbol of all that came before. All the Law and the prophets that paved the way and told us of the coming of Jesus, just as John the Baptist was the man that made the path straight for Jesus. Can you see the parallel?

Luke 1:63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. (64) And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. (65) And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. (66) And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him. (67) And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, (68) Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, (69) And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; (70) As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: (71) That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; (72) To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; (73) The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, (74) That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, (75) In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. (76) And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; (77) To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, (78) Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, (79) To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (80) And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

So we see that, even with the silence of Zachariah, God has a purpose. Just as He had a reason for John to come from old parents, to show John came from the old covenant. And He had a reason for Jesus to come from a young virgin: to show that, with Jesus, everything is made new, and that the greater covenant is ours if we will only accept it. He has a purpose for you, me, and everyone else, and it’s up to us to look for that purpose. To seek Him and His wisdom.

God Bless

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The Religious Response John 11:46-57


In the last segment, Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead, which is the seventh sign in the book of John. Many of the people who saw it believed upon him. Now it’s time to check in on the ones who didn’t.

John 11:46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. (47) Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. (48) If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

Let’s understand what they are saying here. The belief was that the Messiah would come and re-establish the kingdom like it was under king David. So what we have here is a worry that everyone will follow Jesus, that Jesus will rise up to claim He is the Messiah and try to take Jerusalem from Rome, and that He will fail.

One the surface, their worry isn’t misplaced. Ever since Judah had been placed under Roman rule, “messiahs” had been popping up and rallying the people to rise up. Rome would then kill these “messiahs,” along with many of their main supporters, and the people would return to the daily grind of oppression and high taxes. But if we take a closer look at what they said, we will see that there is more to this tale. Look at verse 48 again, and see what their first concern is: That the Romans will take away THEIR PLACE.

Under the Romans, the “chief priests and the Pharisees” had a pretty cushy existence. They had money and power, and people with money and power do not like to see anything that will upset the status quo.  I mean, consider the flip side. Jesus rises up, claims He is the Messiah, defeats Rome, and establishes a Davidic kingdom. Would Jesus, a man who has openly opposed them since the beginning of His ministry, keep them around in their same positions?

John 11:49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, (50) Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. (51) And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; (52) And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

To prophesy means to speak the future, or to speak the words of God. That doesn’t mean the speaker always understands what he or she is saying. Here, God is honoring the position of high priest and making his words come to pass, but clearly for Caiaphas, he means that if Jesus is taken out of the way, then the nation doesn’t need to suffer at the hands of the Romans.

John 11:53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.

Naturally! What else are good religious folk supposed to do with their day?

John 11:54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.

On most bible maps, you will find Ephraim just northeast of Jerusalem, but the true location of the city/village today is unknown.

John 11:55 And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.

This was a custom/law, to go to Jerusalem every year for the Passover.

2 Chronicles 30:5 So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written.

John 11:56 Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast? (57) Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.

The seventh sign, bringing Lazarus from the dead, leaves Jesus as the enemy of the state. Only the most wicked of men would seek murder for a solution to their problems and concerns. This just adds to their status as the sons of satan.

Thus we see that the seventh sign, bringing Lazarus from the dead, leaves Jesus as an enemy of the state, or more accurately an enemy of the religious community. It’s very easy for us today to sit back and say that we are not like the Pharisees and Sadducees and that we wouldn’t wish Jesus dead, that we would instantly recognize a work of God. Perhaps that is true, but in closing I would ask you to stop and ponder a work before you condemn it. Pause to at least ask yourself (or better yet ask God) if this is just another person or movement out for itself and its own glory, or if it is of God, and you simply do not yet understand. Look at the fruit of that work before you label it, because even the disciples struggled to keep up at times.

God Bless

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Behold a Virgin shall Conceive Part 3

We began this series by examining the word virgin in Isaiah 7:14, and continued by looking at the historical aspects surrounding the verse, and finally, we are going to tie this all together as to why this chapter is about not only the Messiah, but also why there had to be two advents.

To do this, we have to actually back up to chapter 6, which begins with Isaiah seeing the Lord, to Whom he cries out:

Isaiah 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

He is, no doubt, thinking of when Moses was allowed to see only the hinder parts of God least he die.

Isaiah 6:6-7 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: (7) And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

This could be a study in and of itself, but for the sake of brevity just note that his sins are forgiven.

Isaiah 6:9-10 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. (10) Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

God told Isaiah that they would not understand. Understand what? Well, the next several chapters, especially chapters 7-14, if not all of what He would say, but it is particularly important to note that Jesus tells us that this is part of the first advent. Observe:

Matthew 13:10-16 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? (11) He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. (12) For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. (13) Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. (14) And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: (15) For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (16) But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

Isaiah 6:11-12 Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, (12) And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

This means that they are going to be taken all away, and they are not going to understand until AFTER their return. They still have not returned, not all, and certainly not the House of Israel, that is to say the ten northern tribes.

Take special note of this final verse of the chapter:

Isaiah 6:13 But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.

This translation really doesn’t cover what the Bible is saying here because we don’t eat teil trees or oaks, as they are deciduous trees, and the word eaten, here, is more along the lines of “used up,” not “consumed”. What it is really saying is that the trees (note there are two trees for both the houses of Israel and Judah) are going to shed their leaves, and their substance will be in them, just like how a deciduous tree moves it’s sap, etc., down into the roots (remember the root of Jesse?) to survive winter or a dry season.

“So the Holy Seed shall be the substance thereof.” This is the exact same seed God spoke about, and has been protecting, way back since the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

And that, my friends, is the first prophecy concerning Jesus Christ.

This brings us back to chapter 7.

Isaiah 7:3 Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field;

When God gives us a specific place and specific people, it’s time to open those eyes. A fuller’s job was to cleanse impurities from cloth or wool, and the fuller’s field is where they did their work. So, why did God tell him to speak to Ahaz here? It was to let us know that all the crud is going to get scrubbed, that is to say the wickedness and sinful behavior will be removed. If we then pair that location with Isaiah’s son, Shearjashub, which means, “a remnant will return,” it gives us the message that Israel shall return after they are cleansed.

Isaiah had two sons (that we know of), and this is the only place this son is mentioned. His other son, Mahershalalhashbaz, which means, “hastened-booty speedy spoil,” is only mentioned at the beginning of chapter 8. Most students of the Bible recognize that the second child, Mahershalalhashbaz, is the sign promised to Ahaz, and that the name itself (given by God in Isaiah 8:1) tells us how the Assyrian will come.

Isaiah 8:3-4 And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz. (4) For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.

What most people read over is:

Isaiah 8:18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.

That is “children,” plural. This means both children, and Isaiah (which means, “Yahaveh’s Salvation.”) himself. What does that mean if we put all of this together? It means, “From Yahaveh’s Salvation (Isaiah) comes two children, Shearjashub and Mahershalalhashbaz.” This tells us that God’s salvation plan has two parts, and if we pay attention, we will know that means two advents. That is why John asked:

Luke 7:19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

He didn’t ask if we should look for another because he didn’t know who Jesus was at this point: he had already baptized Him, and the Holy Spirit announced who He was. He asked because he knew that God’s salvation plan had TWO parts.

Isaiah 9:6-7 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

These verses do not describe Mahershalalhashbaz. That child was only the type to prove the words of Isaiah were true. I didn’t really want this article to turn solely into a post about the two advents (I feel that should be a topic in a of itself). I began by just wanting to address some of the criticisms that the word, “virgin,” receives, and it has turned into all of this. I hope you have learned something worth-while, and it has caused you to look deeper into His word for yourself. I can’t help but close with these two verses:

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

This is the first advent.

Zechariah 9:10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.

This is the second advent.

Until next time, May God bless you and keep you.

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Behold a Virgin shall Conceive Part 2

In Part 1, we addressed the use of the Hebrew word, almah (virgin), as it is used in Isaiah 7:14. Today we are going to look at the whole of chapter 7 and onwards to understand the historical aspects of what is written, which will lead to how it pertains to the birth of Christ, and then into His future return.

Many people ask why the historical context is important, and the answer is really twofold. First, it’s important because God gave us a very specific set of instructions to tell whether a prophet came from Him or not.

Deuteronomy 18:20-22  But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. (21) And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? (22) When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

Many scholars will look at historical prophecies, like those given in Daniel, and say that they have already come to pass, and that they were given to those specific people for that specific period of time, and that those prophecies don’t have any more meaning for us today. The problem with that is there are many parts of Daniel and this book of Isaiah that have not come to pass even to this day. Why? Because God gave us the prophecy and allowed it to be partially fulfilled to show that prophets like Isaiah and Daniel truly came from Him. If we only have prophecy given for the end of the world then we wouldn’t know if they came from Him until after the end of the world and by then it wouldn’t matter. God wants us to know before hand.

Mark 13:23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

The second reason is that the historical context gives us the example for the future. Thus, if we can see the physical past events that happened, it helps us to understand not only the physical events that will happen, but also the spiritual ones.

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Therefore, we need to know and understand what happened historically during the time of Isaiah.

Isaiah 7:1 And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.

What did the world look like at this point in history? The kingdoms of Judah and Israel, having been split, are sometimes called the northern and southern kingdoms.  The northern kingdom didn’t want to go down to Jerusalem to worship, and instead they set up two golden calves to worship.

To the north of the northern kingdom, you have Syria, and to its east you have the big daddy superpower of the world Assyria. The Assyrian empire was extremely aggressive and had, in the not too distant past, threatened the northern kingdom during the reign of Menahem. Menahem decided to pay tribute to Assyria instead of fighting, however as anyone knows, if you feed a problem it only makes it hungrier.

Israel was a mess and was well past the four sons that God had promised Jehu would sit on the throne, Jehoadaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam II and Zechariah. Now we have a pile of evil generals and politicos that started with Shallum and there is even some evidence that supports the notion that the northern kingdom was split between Israel and Ephraim. Regardless, God wasn’t happy with any of it.

Did Israel care? No, of course not. So they decided to join up with Syria and attack Judah. Now it’s hard to say for sure why Israel decided to attack Judah. Some speculate that Israel and Syria joined forces to stave off the mounting pressure of Assyria and wanted Ahaz to join them. Ahaz refused so they attacked him. It would seem strange for a pair of kings, worried about an Assyrian assault, to attack a southern neighbor, but it isn’t unheard of. I mean, Hitler did the same thing with Russia while fighting the west. The bottom line is people do strange things when they don’t stop to consult our Father.

Now Ahaz wasn’t a peach. He was just as evil as… well he was a bad dude. He sacrificed, not only to other gods, but he participated in Molechism, which is tossing children into fire. But when you decide to join up with a foreigner (Syria) and attack your brother (Judah), you’re going to be in a heap of hurt. Those of you that have kids can relate. If your sons or daughters have a fight with one another, that’s one thing, but if one of your sons grabs some other kid and uses him to beat up their brother that is crossing the line. Quite frankly, it’s unthinkable for most of us, but that is what Pekah did.

Reading on in Isaiah chapter 7, we will find that God sends Isaiah and specifically tells him to bring his son Shearjashub (this will be important to remember in the next part) to meet with Ahaz and tell him that Syria and Ephraim are not going to prevail, and that within 65 years they are not going to even be a people. Then God says:

Isaiah 7:10-11  Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, (11) Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.

Pause a moment. God tells you to ask for a sign would you ask? I mean He didn’t say I’ll give you one if you would like. He TOLD him to ask, but what does the mighty Ahaz do?

Isaiah 7:12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.

He can sacrifice children to Molech, but he won’t tempt God by doing what He tells him to do. That calls to mind a verse earlier in this book of Isaiah doesn’t it?

Isaiah 3:4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.

Anyway, that brings us to the well-known verse 14

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

This is the SIGN for the above prophecy. Namely, that God is going to make it so that Syria and Ephraim are no longer a people. Historically, this happened which is why most of Israel is scattered to this day, not knowing who they are.

Fast-forward to chapter 8:

Isaiah 8:1-4  Moreover the LORD said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz. (2) And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah. (3) And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz. (4) For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.

Clearly the prophetess isn’t a virgin (though she could’ve been prior), but obviously this is the child of which God spoke that would come, but only in part. This child is a proof that what Isaiah said was true. How do we know Mahershalalhashbaz isn’t the child Immanuel? Because if you read on through to chapter 9 you come to:

Isaiah 9:6-7  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Did Mahershalalhashbaz accomplish this? No, and because he wasn’t of the house of David, we know that ultimately this isn’t the child God intended. Thus, we know that God intended this for a future messiah.  Also if you read on through to chapter 14, where this whole sequence continues on to, you will see that Mahershalalhashbaz doesn’t come close to fitting the bill in it’s entirety.

But, was Mahershalalhashbaz the one Isaiah (or God rather) was speaking about in 7:14? Well Isaiah seemed to think so:

Isaiah 8:18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.

But wait, it says Children not child. Hey I’m glad you noticed that. It does say that, doesn’t it? That’s why I told you to note how God told Isaiah to bring his son, Shearjashub which means, a remnant shall return. And we will cover what that sign means prophecically even onto this day when we return in part 3.

If this was helpful please share and God bless.

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Behold a Virgin shall Conceive Part 1

Critics like to attack the book of Matthew, and they usually begin those attacks in the very first chapter.

Matthew 1:21-23 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (22) Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, (23) Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

For Christians we call these verses to mind every year, and it becomes a large bedrock of our faith. Others will say that the prophecy he is referring to doesn’t use the word virgin, nor is it speaking about the Messiah.

When I began this post I thought that I was going to just going to look at the prophecy it comes from:

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel,

and examine the Hebrew word that the King James Bible translates as ‘virgin’ and leave it at that, but it would seem that God wouldn’t let me stop there and what began as a single article has grown into what will be probably three or four.

So without further ado, let’s pull up the word virgin in Isaiah 7:14:

H5959  עַלְמָה  ‛almâh
al-maw’
Feminine of H5958; a lass (as veiled or private): – damsel, maid, virgin.

So what’s the problem? Clearly virgin is on the list of possible translations right? It is, but there is a group of Hebrew scholars that say it shouldn’t mean virgin, but rather it should be a young girl or woman. Now if that’s true, then why was it ever translated virgin? Good question. The claim is that the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), completed probably around the 3rd century, used the Greek word for virgin instead of young woman, and that it was the Septuagint that Matthew referenced to compose his gospel. So, they say that Christians have been using the wrong translation ever since. A point which I feel is rendered moot when you consider the Septuagint was translated by 70 or more Hebrew Scholars that didn’t have any Christian influence since it was translated 2-300 years before Jesus was born.

Where does that leave us? First if you think about it, even if the word meant young unmarried woman or maid, it would almost certainly imply she is a virgin. But let’s not just say that because Hebrew scholars will say that, if it meant virgin, it would have used the word ‘bethulah,’ which leaves us with the fact that, if you grab from Christian sources, you will find many reasons (some good and some bad) as to why the word should be ‘virgin,’ and if you grab from Jewish sources (some good and some bad) you will find a myriad of reasons why ‘almah’ doesn’t mean virgin.

For now let’s back up from the word a bit and look at the context.

Isaiah 7:10-14 Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, (11) Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. (12) But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD. (13) And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? (14) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

God tells Ahaz to ask for a sign. Ahaz refuses and God says He is going to give one anyway. Right? So think on this a moment. God says there is going to be a sign, whether Ahaz wants one or not, which must mean this sign is pretty important. It would also mean that the sign would be special. Correct? In the book of John, when God gives us a sign, He raises the dead. When He wanted to give Egypt a sign, He split the Red Sea. So here, when God wants to give a special sign, He says that a woman will give birth? I don’t know about you guys, but it doesn’t seem to me that a woman giving birth is very earth-shattering.  I mean, I don’t want to make it sound that I think the miracle of birth isn’t special, but it isn’t rare. It happens every few seconds.

That being said, chapter 8 gives us the birth of Mahershalalhashbaz (which means hasten-booty speed spoil) who God names. This is probably the real reason that they used the word, almah, and not ‘bethulah,’ because the first child wasn’t born from a virgin, and that child didn’t complete everything given in the prophecy (we will cover more on this in the next post), whereas the second, Jesus of Nazareth, did.

The next segment is where things really start to get interesting because you see that “A virgin shall conceive” isn’t the prophecy, not really. It is the sign God would give so that we would know that the prophecy in Isaiah 7 was not only true, but that we would have the time frame of the whole thing. Until next time, may God bless you and keep you.

 

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The Death of Lazarus John 11:1-45

Chapter 11 of John brings us to the 7th of the 8 signs of Jesus. As with all the signs there are several levels, and we will try to tackle each of them as we go through this chapter. On the surface, we see Christ raising the dead, thus showing God’s power over death and to prove to everyone that Jesus is the Messiah.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (56) The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. (57) But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Going deeper, we see that, with Christ, we don’t die, that He is the Light of the World, and if we go still deeper, we will see the death of the priesthood and how Jesus let the priesthood die so that it could be brought back to life anew after the order of Melchizedek (in the Old Testament, or Melchisedec in the new Testament).  With that said, let’s dig in.

John 11:1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.

Lazarus in the Hebrew tongue is Eleazar, which is the name of Aaron’s son who took over the priesthood. This isn’t a coincidence. God wants us to see the connection between the priesthood and Lazarus, who is soon to die. The story of Mary and Martha is in Luke 10:38.

John 11:2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)

This story can be found in Luke 7:36.

John 11:3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

We know that, at this time, the priesthood was sick, actually dead since the office of the high priest was sold and the rightful high priest was kicked out and forced to go to Egypt. This left many of Israel crying out to the Lord for help.  Thus we will see, in this instance, that Martha and Mary are symbols of Israel and Judah, the two sisters that won’t be rejoined together until after Christ returns (See Ezekiel 37).

John 11:4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

We have to remember that this all happens for God’s glory.

John 11:5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. (6) When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

Why did He wait? In part it was make sure Lazarus had died and was dead long enough that nobody could say he recovered from a sickness, and that nobody could cheapen the miracle, but we must also remember that when we are given a specific number of days, especially in John, it’s to point to a deeper meaning. Keep that in mind as we move along.

John 11:7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. (8) His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?

Remember this was just in the last chapter.

John 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. (10) But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

This is a big lesson that we all need to learn. If you are doing a job for God it’s going to get done. You don’t have to worry about knuckleheads getting in your way. If you walk with Him and in the light, you can navigate around the rocks in your life just fine.

John 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. (12) Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. (13) Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. (14) Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

This whole exchange reminds me so often that God tells us things and we just don’t get it until we force Him to spell it out. If you’ve felt stupid or on the wrong page with the Father don’t worry because He is patient and the disciples weren’t any better.

John 11:15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.

This miracle is going to be a sign for us and Jesus is saying that He is thankful that we have it because, by our very nature, we are faithless creatures who need to see to believe.

John 11:16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

Didymus means twin, and what he is saying is that if Jesus is going to where they want to kill Him then he wants to go and bring on the fight.

John 11:17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.

Jewish tradition taught that the soul lingered about for three days, thus by waiting until the fourth day, it made it impossible for the pharisees to say that the soul simply returned to the body, or that Lazarus was somehow otherwise resuscitated.  That of course is all on the surface of what Jesus is trying to show us here. Remember:

2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Thus, if we count days from God’s perspective we are talking 4000 years which is the same as the time from Adam to Jesus.

Now I told you before that Lazarus represents the priesthood in this instance and that the priesthood was sick.  It needed to die so that it could be reborn after the order of Melchizedek.

If you are not familiar with Melchizedek I encourage you to read Genesis 14 and Hebrews 5-7. Later, I’m sure we will do a study on this.

John 11:18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: (19) And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. (20) Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. (21) Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

This clearly shows Martha has very strong faith that Jesus can heal the sick, but remember God is everywhere, so there was a purpose to all of this.

John 11:22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

Again she shows her faith. She knows that even though Lazarus is dead God can bring him back to life at request of Jesus, but I feel that she is almost afraid to ask for something this spectacular.

John 11:23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. (24) Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

Again you can see that even though Martha believes that God through Jesus could do anything. It’s something that she doesn’t think God WOULD do, thus she thinks He is speaking about the last day.

John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (26) And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

And here He is clearly speaking about a spiritual resurrection of all believers so you can’t blame her for thinking as she does.

John 11:27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. (28) And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. (29) As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him. (30) Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.

Naturally when Mary heard that Jesus wanted her, she went.

John 11:31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.

Again this is natural.

John 11:32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

Here she is almost accusing Him of his death.

John 11:33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, (34) And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

To say that He groaned really doesn’t cover it, so let’s pull up this word.

G1690

ἐμβριμάομαι
embrimaomai
em-brim-ah’-om-ahee
From G1722 and βριμάομαι brimaomai (to snort with anger); to have indignation on, that is, (transitively) to blame, (intransitively) to sigh with chagrin, (specifically) to sternly enjoin: – straitly charge, groan, murmur against.

Long story short, this means He was ticked. Can you guess why?

John 11:35 Jesus wept.

This is the shortest verse in the Bible and is often quoted, but few know or care to pause to note why Jesus wept.

John 11:36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

They simply do not understand.

John 11:37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?

Now we know why He wept. They didn’t have any faith, and quite frankly a lack of faith infuriates Him. Isn’t it human nature to just cut into someone and complain about how someone else could have done better and how they should’ve done this or that, instead of looking to themselves and to God to ask what they themselves could’ve done?

John 11:38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.

This second “groan” is certainly done for emphasis, but I also wonder how much He hated to do a miracle around so many that lacked faith. Often He would have them pulled from a room, or would have told someone not to tell the story, but here, everyone sees.

John 11:39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. (40) Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? (41) Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

It’s easy to overlook how much Jesus stopped to thank the Father. It is so easy to get caught up in something and forget to thank Him. Always take the time to thank Him.

John 11:42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. (43) And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. (44) And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

John 11:45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

Again, they knew the stories. No doubt some of them had even seen some of His other miracles yet it took someone returning from the dead for them to believe in Him.  Does that make Him love them less? No, but it certainly ticks Him off and it is certainly a blessing to believe when you don’t see. Remember Thomas?

John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Far greater the blessing come to those whom believe first. Also, God doesn’t just leave you hanging either. He will build your faith. You just simply need to provide the seed of that faith.

With that, we will stop here for today. When we return, we will see the reaction of the religious community.

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Jesus at the Feast of the Dedication John 10:22-42

In the first half of John 10 Christ is proclaiming that He is the true Shepherd. He will give His life for the flock, and we are told that His words left division among the Jews.

We pick up in verse 22. Many people believe there is a break between verse 21 and 22. I tend to agree, however this is all still linked to the 6th sign, the healing of the blind man, which proves Jesus is Messiah.

John 10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.

I know I have said it before, but when we are giving a time and place, it is important so pay attention.

The feast of the dedication is, in short, Hanukkah . It is not a feast that was given by God to us through Moses. (Leviticus 23, Deuteronomy 16).  Still we need to understand this feast in order to understand the mindset of Jesus’ audience here.

In 168 B.C., Antiochus IV demanded the Jews take on Greek culture. He disallowed circumcision and sacrificed swine in the temple, thus ending sacrifice until we come to the time of the Maccabees.

Judas Maccabee was a priest that was confronted by soldiers and told to sacrifice to an idol. Instead, he killed the soldiers and led a revolt that led to Israel becoming an independent nation. Under his rule they rededicated the temple. I am sure most of us are familiar with the menorah and the story of how they lit the lamp and only had oil for one day. The lamp was not supposed to go out, and it took eight days to prepare more, but they felt it would be better to get the lamp lit, even for a little time, than not at all. So they lit the lamp and, instead of the oil lasting only one day, it lasted until the new oil was ready.

Why is all this important to know? Because it is at this time of year that the Jews looked for a messiah more than any other time. It was when they were thinking of the last time they had become free from foreign rule. What they wanted was another David or Judas Maccabee to rise up and free them this time from the Romans. That is why there were so many rising up and proclaiming themselves messiah, and trying to take back Israel by force.

“…And it was winter.” This is a strange thing to add to the end of verse 22 because the feast of the dedication is always in the winter. It is like saying it was Passover and it was Spring. Thus we know that it is there is for a reason. In Matthew 23:20 and Mark 13:18, the two chapters where He explains His return, Jesus tells us to pray our flight is not in the winter.  Why? because He is not going to come in the winter. Therefore, by giving us “…and it was winter,” we are being told that it isn’t the time for Him to take up the sword. That this isn’t the advent where He comes with a rod of iron to slay the wicked also that He wouldn’t be coming during this festival.

John 10:23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.

Again a location. Solomon’s porch is on the East side of the temple, and historically was the place where the king would pass judgement. This is also where the Levites lived, and the doctors of the law heard and answered questions.

John 10:24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

Here we have Christ standing in the place where kings of old passed judgement during the festival the Jews looked for a messiah, with them demanding of Him to state if He is the messiah. Thus the King of kings and Lord of lords tells them and passes judgement:

John 10:25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. (26) But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. (27) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (29) My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Once you acknowledge who the Shepherd is and follow Him, nobody can take your salvation. That doesn’t mean you might not turn from Him and start to follow other shepherds, but there will be severe consequences.

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

If you have seen the Son you have seen the Father.

John 10:31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

Imagine that, they ask Him if He is the messiah, He answers, so they want to stone Him.

John 10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

I love this question.

John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Hey they have at point, at least at first glace: Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Non-Christians have made a lot of traction with this verse. A lot of Christians see this verse and either want to ignore it’s existence or start to lose faith. What does it say? It says God doesn’t have to lie like man does, and it says that He isn’t the son of man, that He should repent. Jesus is sinless and therefore doesn’t have to repent.

John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

It does. Let’s pull it up:

Psalms 82:1 A Psalm of Asaph. God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.

And who was just passing judgement?

Psalms 82:2 (How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah. (3) Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. (4) Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. (5) They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.

Christ just finished telling them they are not His sheep and they do not understand.

Psalms 82:6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. (7) But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. (8) Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

Ok back to John

John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

Remember in Matthew 5 He says He is not changing one jot or tittle to the law.

John 10:36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? (37) If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.

Actions speak louder than words. When Jannes and Jambres stood against Moses and turned their rods to snakes. The rod of Moses ate them up telling us that God does not mess around. Meaning that even if Jesus had pulled off some “miraculous” healing or was able to rile the people up with some fancy words God would have taken care of him. Just look at Simon the magician in the New Testament.

John 10:38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

Even if they didn’t understand what Christ was saying they should’ve known that His works were from God. His sheep know. They did then and they do now. It is the so-called wise men that always stumble.
John 10:39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,

Because it wasn’t time yet.

John 10:40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.

The Jordan marks the edge of the promised land so essentially He left Israel.

John 10:41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true. (42) And many believed on him there.

Wherever He goes, His sheep will follow. John the baptist was the voice crying out in the wilderness. His job was the make the path straight to the Lord. He certainly did his job. Is it no wonder Jesus said there was none greater that was born of woman.

God Bless you all, until next time.

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He is the Good Shepherd John 10: 1-21

In Chapter 9 Jesus performed His 6th sign, the healing of the blind man, the purpose of which was given to us in verses 3-5. These verses, summed up, tell us that the man was born blind so that Jesus would heal him, and so that “the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

Then verses 8-38 give us the reaction to this sign, which we covered in the last post. The chapter ends with Jesus telling the Pharisees that He has come into the world for judgment. This brings us to chapter 10, which, even though our Bibles shows as a new chapter, is really a continuation of the sixth sign, or more specifically the significance of the sign. So when reading this, if you want to understand this at the deepest levels, you will have to keep the healing of the blind man in mind.

John 10:1-6 Verily, verily (truly, truly), I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. (2) But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. (3) To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. (4) And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. (5) And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. (6) This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

Are you one of His sheep? Can you understand what He is saying here? The pharisees didn’t. Make sure you take the time to listen and understand because He is going to explain it:

John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

He is the only way into the fold. The wall that protects the sheep is our Father, and He has given us the gate, which is His Son.

John 10:8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

Christ uses the sheep here because sheep will not follow someone who isn’t their shepherd. Even if he is the shepherd of another flock they will not heed to his voice. God’s children know His voice and wont follow after strangers. They have spent time with Him and know Him. They know His ways and know in their gut when something isn’t from Him or is contrary to Him. The world today comes at us and tries to train us that what is wrong is right and that we have to accept their ways. At the heart it is the beast system, Satan’s system calling out to God’s flock and trying to pull them away: trying to get them used to his voice, and trying to get them to forget the voice of their Father. Remember what Christ said: Matthew 24:4-5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. (5) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Psalms 23:1-6 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (2) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. (3) He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (4) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (5) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

If you enter into His house through the door, you are His sheep and His son, a child of the Living God.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Do not let the thief entice you. When you see him or hear him, call to the Shepherd and He will come.

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Just as David fought lions and bears to protect his sheep, Christ gave His life for us, His sheep.

John 10:12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. (13) The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

There are many in the church today who are simply interested in a paycheck. Sure they will sound nice and they will tickle your ears with a 15 minute sermon on Sunday, but as soon as the wolf comes they will disappear. I’m not talking about good pastors because they do exist, but it is your job as the sheep to know the voice of your Father. If the hireling you have running your organization isn’t using the words of the Father, but instead is using his own words, and if he isn’t feeding the flock  then you need to either send him/her packing, or find someone that will feed you and will use the words of your Father.

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

Because His sheep know when He is speaking to them.

John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Christ died so that you can live. He is that gate. His blood is the way into the fold.

John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Here He is talking about the Gentiles.

Romans 10:11-13 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (12) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. (13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

There is only one flock. You have either gone through the gate or you haven’t. You are either attached to the vine or you’re not and God doesn’t care who your father is or the color of your skin. If you walk through the gate, you are His.

John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

He rose from the death ladies and gentlemen. He accomplished it.

Isaiah 25:7-9 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. (8) He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. (9) And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

The veil was rent: Matthew 27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

No longer do we need that porter He spoke of in verse 3. Through the Son we have a direct line to the Father.

John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

They did not have the power to take anything from Him. Before the time was ready He slipped away from them time and again. What did He tell Peter when he tried to stop them from taking Jesus in the night? Matthew 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

John 10:19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. (20) And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?

There will always be scoffers. No matter what you do, or how great a work you perform, someone will have a problem with it. Remember, Jesus just healed a man of blindness. He just took the veil that was over his eyes and cast it aside, and yet there are some that will call Him a devil. The same thing happened to Peter in Acts chapter 2, on Pentecost Day, when the Holy Spirit poured out from them, and everyone heard the words of God in their own tongue.

John 10:21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?

Thieves and robbers cannot open the eyes of the blind. They can only try and convince the blind man that he can see, or that seeing isn’t possible, or that blindness is a blessing. And I am not talking about those that are physically blind. I am talking about spiritual blindness. Christ said to pray for your daily bread. Seek Him out continually. If you cannot hear His voice, then you have wandered too far off and you need to cry out to Him. He will hear the bleating of His sheep and come for you. If you call to Him He will carry you home. Pray for understanding and He will give it.

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