Fearing Him Equals Life

July 23, 2014

Friends,
Pr. 14:27 says, “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”

There are many snares of death in the world –snares of deception, pride, greed, pleasure, etc. that can entrap a person so that he falls into spiritual death. Snares of physical death –sickness, fatigue, depression, consuming unhealthy food and drink, etc. also abound throughout our world.

But what gives life to both body and spirit? God’s Word tells us that it is by fearing the Lord that a fountain of life (Life) bubbles up within us. This Fountain gives health to our soul –which spills into our physical body as well.

When we fear the Lord we will be seeking out what He wants from us. This means we will be reading His Word. When we read God’s Word, we will see that we are to put His commands, instructions, and teachings into practice. We will see that we must put Christ on daily so that we can function in the power of the Holy Spirit. We will see that in order to do this, we must have faith, and that faith is sparked and strengthened through the thanksgiving and praise we offer up to God –the God whom we reverence with great awe and fear.

Pr. 9:10 tells us that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. So together with Pr. 14:27 we can understand that by growing in wisdom, we grow in Life, and that thereby, we walk further and further away from deadly snares.

They all relate to one another –fearing God, reading and obeying His Word, gaining wisdom, abiding in Life and having its fountain stream out of us, staying clear of deadly traps… But from which one of these do the others originate? The answer is: The fear of the Lord. It is our fear of the Lord that causes the others to manifest in our lives.

It is a good thing to fear the Lord. In fact, good to the utmost.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
It has come to my attention that the false doctrines of Replacement Theology and Fulfillment Theology (which teach that the Church and Christ are the only recipients of God’s remaining promises to Israel) are growing, and that in believing these, people are feeling empowered to speak out against the nation of Israel. But, according to God’s Word, this is not a wise attitude or action. For God, in His promise to Abraham about making him (his decedents) into a great and blessed nation (Gen. 12:2) and giving them the land of the Canaanites (v. 6,7), decreed, “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you / who disesteem you / who show you contempt.” (v. 3)

One of those ethnic groups who have despised the Israelites, attacked them, and desired their annihilation, is the Amalekites. These people were a clan of Edomites, and the Edomites came from Esau (Gen. 36:9-12), Jacob’s (Israel’s) twin brother. (25:19-26) Amalek was Esau’s grandson through Eliphaz and Eliphaz’ concubine named Timna. (36:12)

When the Israelites came up from their slavery in Egypt, the Amalekites were the first to attack them. (Ex. 17:8) After the Israelites defeated them in that battle (v. 13), the LORD told Moses to write down the promise that He (the LORD) would (eventually –v. 16) “completely erase the memory of the Amalekites from under heaven.” (v. 14) Moses built an altar to the LORD (v. 15) and declared, “Because a hand was against the throne of the LORD, the LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” (v. 16) So we can see that the Amalekites, by being hostile toward God’s divine plan regarding the Israelites, made themselves solid enemies of God Himself.

In Num. 24:20, we see that Balaam, the prophet whom Moab and Midian hired to curse the Israelites (Num. 22:4-7), but who, because of God’s command, was only able to bless them (24:10-13), prophesied that Amalek’s end would be utter destruction. (v. 20) Balaam also prophesied, by the LORD, that out of Israel “a Star” / “a Scepter” (v. 17), namely Christ, would conquer Edom / Seir –he who is “His enemy”. (v. 18) Christ, the Ruler who comes out of Jacob (v. 19), is the One who destroys the survivors of Edom / Seir / Amalek, for they are the enemy of Christ Himself. (v. 18,19)

Balaam’s prophecy in Num. 24:17-19 adds support for those who believe that, although Esau, as a nation, has already been blotted out, he has descendants (survivors) who carry with them the same intense hatred toward Israel, and who will therefore be destroyed with burning pitch, unquenchable, by Christ Himself (Num. 24:19 // Isa. 34:8-10), though He actually uses the hand of Israel to do it. (Ezek. 25:12-14) No survivors will be left this time (Ob. 1:18) and so the Israelites, who were once exiles, will possess and govern the mountains of Esau and the land of the Philistines. (v. 19-21) “The house of Jacob will possess its inheritance” (v. 17) and “it will be holy” (same verse), for “the kingdom will be the LORD’s.” (v. 21)

Balaam also prophesied that Israel’s king will be greater than Agag and Israel’s kingdom exalted. (Num. 24:7) Who was Agag? We see that in the prophet Samuel’s day, he was king of the Amalekites (1 Sam. 15:32); therefore “Agag” was likely the term used for the top ruler like the term “Pharaoh” was used in Egypt. In the story of Esther we see that Haman, the man who tried to get a decree passed that would annihilate all Jews (Es. 3:8,9), was an Agagite. (v. 1) Verse 10 calls him “the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews.”

Because of what God had told Moses after the battle with the Amalekites when they first came out of Egypt (Ex. 17:14-16), Moses reminded the Israelites about that travesty which the Amalekites had done to them (Dt. 25:17,18) and ordered the Israelites to remember to “blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” (v. 19) The Israelites, however, would not or could not do it, for in Samuel’s day, they were still existing.

Had Moses given that annihilation order at the LORD’s command? Yes. We see that years later the LORD gave the same annihilation order to Samuel to give to King Saul: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” (1 Sam. 15:2,3) However, did Saul utterly destroy them? No, he did not. Samuel therefore rebuked him angrily, saying, “Now the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the LORD?” (v. 18,19)

Not killing off the Amalekites was an evil act in the eyes of the LORD. It was rebellion and stubbornness against God (1 Sam. 15:23), a sin equal to that of witchcraft and idolatry. (same verse) Then, because Saul had spared “Agag, king of the Amalekites” (v. 32), Samuel sent for Agag and then “hacked Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.” (v. 33)

There are numerous prophecies in God’s Word concerning Esau / Edom / Amalek, but let’s add this one: Mal. 1:1-5: “…the word of the LORD to Israel… I have loved you… I have loved Jacob but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness. Though Edom says, ‘We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins,’ thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the wicked territory, and the people toward whom the LORD is indignant forever.’ Your eyes will see this and you will say, ‘The LORD be [is] magnified beyond the border of Israel!’”

Have the prophecies about Amalek’s annihilation and Edom’s ruin all come to pass, or are some still future? Either way, those of us who fear the Lord should certainly be very careful about our actions, our words, and our attitudes regarding the nation and the land which God, centuries ago, chose as His inheritance. (Ps. 135:4 // Joel 3:1-3) That land and nation is Israel, and the borders of Israel’s allotted inheritance are so specifically defined by God Himself (Num. 34:1-15 // Ezek. 47:13-23) –which He reminds them He swore to them with uplifted hand (Ezek. 47:14)– that it is blindness to accept Replacement and Fulfillment Theologies. Furthermore, those who ridicule Israel, those who speak and act spitefully toward her, and those who desire her downfall, have made themselves enemies of God (Ps. ch. 83 // Isa. ch. 34 // Joel ch. 3 // Ob. ch. 1), unless they repent.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Rev. ch. 5 speaks about “the Lamb” who is worshipped and we know He is Jesus, the One “who was slain” (v. 12) to atone for the sins of mankind.

Rev. ch. 6 is about six seals being opened, all which bring about suffering, destruction, and death.

The first seal opened allows a rider on a white horse to go forth with a bow and a crown, and as a conqueror. (v. 2) Wow… this already is not sounding very loving, or humble, or just. Who is it who dares to ride out to conquer and rule others? And who is it who would so “arrogantly” send him out?

The second seal opened allows a rider on a fiery red horse to be given a large sword. This rider is given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. (v. 4) What?… this sounds outright violent. Who is it who dares to send such a rider forth?

The third seal opened allows a rider on a black horse to go forth with a pair of scales in his hand to weigh out food rations in time of famine. (v. 5,6) Wow… who would decree such hardship upon the earth?

The fourth seal opened allows a rider on a pale horse to go forth. This rider’s name is Death, and Hades follows close behind him. They are given power over a fourth of the earth to kill using sword, famine, plague, and beasts. (v. 8 ) Horrible… Who would be so “cruel” as to send these riders out on such a mission?

The fifth seal opened reveals those who were martyred for their testimony concerning the Word of God and reveals their cry to the Holy God about when He would avenge the earth’s inhabitants of their blood. (v. 9-11) God did not rebuke them but they were told to wait until more believers were martyred. (v. 11) Strange… who would be calling for more time so that more people could be martyred?

The sixth seal opened allows for a great earthquake that causes chaos in the earth and across the heavens, and causes all people to be terrified and wish to die. (v. 12-17) And who are the people terrified of? Whose wrath are they acknowledging and longing to escape from? We see who it is in verses 16 and 17 when the people “called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’”

It’s God’s wrath? The God who is Love? The Lamb? The Lamb who was slain to pardon mankind? HE is the One who has been sending forth riders of chaos, suffering, and death? But, but, we believe Jesus to be gentle, kind, compassionate, forgiving, merciful, and just. How can He be sending these riders against “innocent” people?! Is it truly His wrath that is making the earth reel under destruction and bloodshed?

“I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals.” (v. 1) “When the Lamb opened the second seal…” (v. 3) “When the Lamb opened the third seal…” (v. 5) “When the Lamb opened the fourth seal…” (v. 7) And He opened the fifth and the sixth as well. (v. 9,12)

And Jesus warns, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Mt. 10:34) “See, the Name of the LORD comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; His lips are full of wrath, and His tongue is a consuming fire… He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction… And you will sing as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice…” (Isa. 30:27-29)

Let him who has ears to hear, listen! (Mt. 13:9 // Rev. 2:29)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
I receive updates about the legal cases that the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice) is involved in, and because they are engaged in Israel’s legal case, I yesterday received their email which included this link:

http://aclj.org/israel/hamas-bears-moral-legal-responsibility-for-every-dead-palestinian-child

Though I began receiving the ACLJ emails solely for the purpose of staying informed about certain persecuted and imprisoned Christians, I decided yesterday to click the above link. The argument there is as I suspected and the situation described as I agree with. –That is, that if Hamas wants to pick a fight with Israel, a nation much stronger than itself, and use violence to do so, then its members and those who voted them in, must bear the consequences, as well as the responsibility, for the casualties inflicted, including those by Israel.

Israel is a nation. Who owned the land before 1948, and how poor the people and the land fared before Jews began buying real estate there (usually for more than required), and many detailed facts that counter other Leftist and Islamic propaganda, can be read here:

http://wordfromjerusalem.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/the-case-for-israel-appendix2.pdf

Also, an informative article showing the prophecies in God’s Word which were fulfilled in 1948 can be read here:

http://watchmanbiblestudy.com/Articles/1948PropheciesFulfilled.htm

I have avoided, until now, reading and writing very much about political issues. The summer of 2006, I watched, day after day as it was shown live on T.V., the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War in Lebanon. It was tragic, and it upset me so much, that it was one of the main reasons I halted, by the end of that year, my interest in politics and almost all other news. For I could not believe my ears to hear such unreasonable arguments from those irate with Israel for defending herself against those who were disregarding rules of war, and who, while instigating fights, were claiming to be victims.

Some people are critical of those who disdain those connected, either politically or religiously, with terrorists groups. Their criticism is unwarranted. For God Himself hates those who practice evil and who create, promote, and/or participate in terrorism, brutality, and forced religion. (Ps. 5:5,6 & 11:5 // Pr. 6:16-19) Truly, we are to love all people as souls we want saved, but in regards to their wicked actions, speeches, views, idolatries, deceit, and bloodshed, we loathe them. We certainly can both love and loathe a person at the same time, for we desire the ultimate good for them –salvation, while we also detest that they have marinated themselves in evil. For example, if a group rampages through a village hacking off children’s arms in the name of their religion (which has been done), then God is, and everyone else should be, repulsed by such vile people.

Jesus did not teach that we are to rise up against governing authorities, but that we are to respect their laws, though always while not violating God’s moral law. (Mt. 22:15-22,34-40 // John 18:36) Paul told us to submit to rulers (Rom. 13:1-7) for they have been instituted by God Himself (v. 2), and Peter taught this submission as well. (1 Peter 2:13-21) God has His reasons for instituting certain governments, sometimes His reason being to punish that nation, or another nation. (Isa. 10:5,6 // Amos 6:14) Therefore, because of what God’s Word teaches, then anyone, or any group, that attacks an instituted authority, especially with the intent to kill its civilians and/or obliterate the nation itself, is, understandably, going to be viewed as wicked, even odious, by those who love peace, compassion, reason, and obedience to God’s Word.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

We Grieve Comforted

July 19, 2014

Friends,
I was so thankful to hear from my mom that, while she and my dad had spent time with her sister today, her sister was doing well considering her husband’s death this last Monday. My aunt made them lunch today and shared some more of the details, one being that my uncle had been in intense pain since his fall three weeks before which had broken his vertebrae. Another detail she mentioned was that many of the hospital staff had commented about being incredibly blessed to see a family that was so obviously close and caring of one another. My aunt said that their six kids, their spouses, and all the grandkids and great-grandkids had been surrounding their hurting loved one with continuous visits of love.

My aunt told my parents about how two of the family members had sung all the hymns they could think of that they knew were my uncle’s favorites, and how this brought a huge comfort into the room, including for my uncle as he, still coherent, neared death’s door. She also relayed that my uncle had asked the pastor to be sure to stress to everyone through the funeral sermon the importance of getting right with the Lord.

My parents went to the funeral two days ago and they said the whole thing was very beautiful. My 103 year old grandpa, considering it a priority to go, went as well, and the church was packed. My mom mentioned to me an extra-special framed poem one of the grandsons had written that was being passed around afterward that clearly revealed how loved my uncle was by all of his family.

One of the things I’ve been praying for all week, several times a day, is for the Lord to comfort the family, especially my mom’s sister. I was very thankful to God to hear that my aunt had told my parents that, from both the Lord and from family, she had experienced much peace and comfort.

It’s true: Those who know and love the Great and Tender Shepherd do not grieve like the rest of the world. We grieve in hope, we grieve with peace, we grieve with the knowledge that God, who is rich in mercy and love, is sovereign over all, including how and when we and our loved ones pass from this earthly life.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Do Not Lie

July 18, 2014

Friends,
It never ceases to amaze me how people, especially how people who claim to love and follow Jesus, can have such a careless attitude about their practice of lying. Lying is a sin. To skew the truth, to deceive, or to omit information necessary for someone, is to lie. To tell a “little white lie” is to deprive or steal knowledge and truth from another. It is wrong.

Not only do we hate it when our fellowman lies, but the LORD, as well, hates a lying tongue. (Pr. 6:16,17) A lying tongue is detestable to Him. (same verses) “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD.” (12:22) Being this is the case, God will condemn to Hell all those who refuse to repent of (renounce and quit) their lying. As Rev. 21:8 warns, “All liars –their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”

It is wise to train ourselves, or rather command ourselves, to never lie. For one thing, lies grow. They grow bigger, more numerous, and they create all sorts of other sins, such as hypocrisy, cruelty, laziness, and general self-centeredness. A person who lies is almost always acting out of concern for himself, not others. He is intent on getting what he wants and in the easiest way possible.

When a person begins to see that he is getting away with his ability to lie, temptations of all sorts likely flood into his mind, and his heart. For all sorts of sins, he realizes, can be partaken of, as most have as their foundation a lie. Like shop-lifting, like adultery, like tax-evasion, like fraud…

But, a lying tongue doesn’t last very long. (Pr. 12:19) For being that the All-Mighty God abhors those who are deceitful (Ps. 5:6), He will destroy them. (same verse) Yes, “whoever tells lies will perish.” (Pr. 19:9)

Therefore, let us be wise and heed God’s Word, including the command, “Do not lie to one another.” (Col. 3:9)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
I find it a concern that Israeliteindeed has written several posts lately with the viewpoint that all the promises God made to Israel, as a physical nation, have either been fulfilled or negated. See http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com

I also find it a concern that she seems to be lumping in those who disagree with her view with those who, while claiming to be Christians, she finds are engaging in hypocrisy, elitism, racism, and “zionism”, and are victims of propaganda. I myself do not watch T.V. or listen to radio or internet news, nor do I read blogs that discuss the Mideast conflict; but even for those true Christ-followers who may, a person whose mind is controlled by the Spirit tosses out falsehoods coming from the world. Any information we get, we hold up to the light of God’s Word while remaining under the tutelage of His Spirit.

I believe we should be very careful about writing against any country as a whole. The problem in the world is sin, and it is everywhere. Therefore I do not believe it is wise to focus too heavily (or angrily) on one particular nation (or race) and their prevalent sins. I cannot think of one nation of the world that is not evil and corrupt.

There are, undoubtably, nuts-who-claim-to-be-Christians ranting across the internet, but this does not mean that there are not many level-headed true Christians who have a good understanding on the complexity of the Mideast conflict. Though I certainly believe in a spiritual Israel, as Israeliteindeed does, I believe her focus of the physical-Israel controversy she is writing about to be misplaced. For the issue should not be about racism or favoritism on God’s part, nor on the part of those who believe His Word, but about prophecy –what God has foretold about what will happen concerning the nation of Israel.

Most everyone hates to see bloodshed and anyone mistreating another. However, God does use evil rulers to accomplish His punishments against certain peoples and to bring about any other part of His will He chooses. One obvious example is the cross of Christ. Another is when God said, “I will send for My servant Nebachadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will set his throne over these stones I have buried here… He will come and attack…” (Jer. 43:10,11) Jesus’ work while He walked on earth as a man was not to overthrow any government except Satan’s, but God certainly does overthrow earthly governments and raise others up. (Dan. 2:21 & 5:25-28)

Let’s look at Ezek. 25:14 where God says, “‘I will take vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel, and they will deal with Edom in accordance with My anger and My wrath…’” Verses 15-17 are telling, as well: “‘Because the Philistines acted in vengeance and took revenge with malice in their hearts, and with ancient hostility sought to destroy Judah, therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to stretch out My hand against the Philistines… I will carry out great vengeance on them…’” God Himself takes revenge and often does so through the violence of nations. God has done so, continues to do so, and will do so at the very end, as Rev. 19:11-21 describes. Our compassion, which comes from God Himself, about lives and souls being destroyed, does not negate God’s just punishments and how He chooses to punish. He punishes everyone who refuses to repent of sin. Sometimes even the righteous, because they are somehow aligned with the wicked, must endure some of the punishment as well. (2 Chron. 20:35-37 // Job 36:17 // Ezek. 21:1-5)

Let’s study these verses: “‘I will bring back My exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them… I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God.” (Amos 9:14,15) “Never again to be uprooted” is telling, and so are verses 11 and 12: “‘In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom…’” Spiritual Israel has not ever fallen, nor ever will. God refers in this passage to physical Israel and building it as it used to be. He is referring to “the land I had sworn with uplifted hand to give to your fathers.” (Ezek. 20:42)

Let’s consider these: “Oh mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD… ‘Because they ravaged and hounded you from every side so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations and the object of people’s malicious talk and slander…’” (Ezek. 36:1-3) Other nations do not, and cannot, possess any part of spiritual Israel. Furthermore, God directs the prophecy to “the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, to the desolate ruins and the deserted towns that have been plundered and ridiculed by the rest of the nations around you.” (v. 4) Spiritual Israel is not in desolate ruin (Mt. 11:12) nor have we been plundered by the world; instead –victoriously– we have overcome the world. (1 John 5:4)

Continuing: “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In My burning zeal I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, for with glee and with malice in their hearts they made My land their own possession…” (Ezek. 36:5) Again, natural men can never overtake and possess spiritual Israel. God says, “You [Edom] boasted against Me” (35:13) concerning “the mountains of Israel.” (v. 12) “I will give you [Edom] over to bloodshed and it will pursue you. Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you.” (v. 6) “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of My holy name, which has been profaned among the nations where you have gone… the name you have profaned among them.” (36:22,23) The true spiritual Israel does not profane God’s name, but honors Him; therefore this is about physical Israel.

Here is more from God’s Word: “I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered…” (Ezek. 20:34) Physical Israel, not spiritual Israel, was scattered among the nations as punishment, which is what God says in verses 23 and 24. He also says, “I will bring you into the desert of the nations and there, face to face, I will execute judgment upon you.” (v. 35) “I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against Me.” (v. 38) Spiritual Israel is not in revolt against God. “As for you, O house of Israel, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Go and serve your idols, every one of you! But afterward you will surely listen to Me and no longer profane My holy name with your gifts and idols. For on My holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD, there in the land the entire house of Israel will serve Me, and there I will accept them.’” (v. 39,40) Spiritual Israel (being that she is spiritual) does not serve idols and then afterward serve the Lord.

God’s Word is telling us that physical Israel will turn, as a nation, to recognize her Messiah, repent, and serve the Lord. (Ezek. ch. 20 // Zech. 12:10-14 // Rom. 11:26) For on account of the patriarchs, God’s love and promises concerning them stand irrevocable. (Rom. 11:25-29) The issue is about prophecy and God’s promises in Scripture, not about racism coming from propaganda.

I have very much appreciated most of Israeliteindeed’s posts, but concerning God’s promises to the physical nation of Israel, I believe she is not correct.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel