Date: 03/01/2019 Issue Number: 368
Freedom can lead either to chaos or cosmos (order). It depends on whether freedom springs from God or man, that is, from the laws of God or the traditions of men.
Men have always promised freedom to the people in order to garner their support and loyalty, but such freedom has inevitably been short-lived or downright non-existent. Only God’s plan of freedom brings genuine freedom, and this is set forth in the divine law. Hence, the psalmist tells us in that great law-chapter, Psalm 119:44, 45,
44 So I will k…
Date: 02/01/2019 Issue Number: 367
During the 60’s revolution, it was often argued that government should not try to legislate morality. Those who were unschooled in the law of God had weak responses. The fact is that all laws legislate morality, if we use the term in its general sense. Laws set the standard of behavior for the nation, because sin is a moral crime.
On the other hand, if one means that laws have no power to change hearts, that is certainly true. Laws are weak in that they only regulate behavior. Paul makes it clear that the la…
Date: 01/01/2019 Issue Number: 366
When the Bible began to be printed in the mid-1400’s so that Christians were able to read it for themselves, it changed the way men thought, and this changed the course of western civilization itself.
During the Dark Ages, the Church ruled supreme. No one was allowed to question its authority or its interpretation of Scripture, and if they heard God’s voice, it always had to be subject to veto by the priests. Hence, the law of God was always subject to the traditions of men, as it was in Jesus’ d…
Date: 12/01/2018 Issue Number: 365
During the Roman Catholic middle ages, Europe had a “Christian” worldview, not a Kingdom worldview. The Christian worldview of the church came out of an age that was the prophetic counterpart to the reign of King Saul, whose reign began on Pentecost—then known as the day of wheat harvest (1 Samuel 12:17).
The difference between Christian and Kingdom is the difference between the reigns of Saul and David. Saul was crowned on Pentecost; David was crowned in a Jubilee year. Each was crowned legitima…
Date: 11/01/2018 Issue Number: 364
The story of Creation is found in the early chapters of Genesis. There we read that God created the cosmos, called “the heavens and the earth.” It started out as chaos (“without form and void,” Gen. 1:2, KJV), but God then created man and authorized him to subdue the earth and establish order—that is, the Kingdom of God.
Though sin later reversed this course, man was called to shape what God had created and to give it form. The ultimate goal was to restore all things back to reconci…
Date: 10/01/2018 Issue Number: 363
Having promised to shake the house of Israel and to sift them as in a sieve during their time of captivity, Amos then ends his prophecy with a message of hope.
The Booth of David
Amos 9:11 says,
11 In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old.
The booth (or tabernacle) of David was the tent in which King David put the Ark of the Covenant during his reign. This was the temporary abode of the Ark prior to the …
Date: 09/01/2018 Issue Number: 362
A famine of hearing the word was to come upon the Israelites as a penalty for refusing to hear the word. Isaiah said essentially the same thing in Isaiah 28, where he tells how the people had refused to hear his prophecies in their own language.
The penalty was that God would speak to them in another tongue, a language which they did not understand.
Isaiah 28:11, 12 says,
11 Indeed, He will speak to this people through stammering lips and a foreign tongue. 12 He who said to them, “Here is rest, give rest t…
Date: 08/01/2018 Issue Number: 361
In Amos 8:5, 6 the prophet shows the lawlessness of society in Israel during his time. Then he says in Amos 8:7,
7 The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob, “Indeed, I will never forget any of their deeds.”
What is “the pride of Jacob?” The KJV renders it, “The Excellency of Jacob,” which is a reference to God Himself. The title “His Excellency” is a well-known title of respect that is used even today.
The fact that this title is used of God is clear from the fact …
Date: 07/01/2018 Issue Number: 360
In Amos 7:1-3 God showed Amos a vision of locusts that were to come upon the land. Amos begged God to “please pardon!” and God then “repented,” or changed His mind, saying, “It shall not be.”
The Vision of Fire
God then showed Amos a second vision in Amos 7:4,
4 Thus the Lord God showed me, and behold, the Lord God was calling to contend with them by fire, and it consumed the great deep and began to consume the farm land.
As with the first vision (about locusts), Amos under…
Date: 06/01/2018 Issue Number: 359
The first half of Amos 6 makes it clear that judgment was coming to the house of Israel, not only for their sin but also for their arrogance in thinking that they had the right to sin. For this reason, God swore an oath in Amos 6:8 to “deliver up the city and all it contains” to a foreign nation.
When God swears an oath, there is then nothing that can stop it. Intercession might still postpone judgment, but in the end, God must fulfill His oath.
Amos 6:9, 10 continues,
9 And it will be, if ten men are left in on…
Date: 05/01/2018 Issue Number: 358
Amos 5:14, 15 says,
14 Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and thus may the Lord God of hosts be with you, just as you have said! 15 Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the Lord God of hosts may be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
This is the third and final admonition where the prophet tells Israel to seek God. The three are:
Verse 4, “Seek Me that you may live.”
Verse 6, “Seek the Lord that you may live.”
Verse 14, “Seek good and not evil.&r…
Date: 04/01/2018 Issue Number: 357
Amos 5:1, 2 says,
1 Hear this word which I take up for you as a dirge, O house of Israel. 2 She has fallen, she will not rise again—the virgin Israel. She lies neglected on her land; there is none to raise her up.
This funeral dirge (qinah) is a song of lamentation. Ferrar Fenton renders it as a 2-line lament in this way:
Listen to this message that I bring to you—
The Lament for the House of Israel
Israel’s daughter has fallen and cannot arise!
She lies stretched on the ground without help!…