Bible Study by Pastor Don
This was one of those Bible studies where one question led to another, and led to another. I tried to share what was spoken, but these notes may seem to jump around quite a bit – that is because we moved very quickly from topic to topic.
Right now I am doing the Beth Moore Bible study on Daniel, and in my reading I wondered just how much the words of the prophets were known by the general populace. I asked Pastor Don if it was common knowledge what the various prophets shared about the future of Israel, or if it was reserved for the temple elite. Was there a gossip circle, did word spread like wildfire. I wondered how much Daniel knew about the prophecies about Israel. Of course, I forgot that Daniel knew that the captivity was to be for 70 years because of prophecies that he knew about.
Pastor Don answered saying that God loves all of Israel. When He sent a prophet to the Northern Kingdom, he also sent one to the Southern Kingdom. Pastor Don pointed out that the great prophets had scribes who followed them and wrote down the prophecies so that they would not be lost. The people would have had knowledge of the prophecies.
He pointed out that the Israelites would have known the prophecies about the dispersion as much as we are aware of the prophecies of Revelation and the End Times. We can trust that, since God has kept His word in previous prophecies, it is certain His Word will be kept in the End Times. Then Pastor Don pointed out that we have had a prophet in our day and age that most have not paid much attention to, Hal Lindsey, who wrote in the 60’s The Late Great Planet Earth and that much of what was said in that book has come true today.
Then someone asked what was implied by Matthew 5:38-42 (Jesus speaking) You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
Pastor Don said, what Jesus was talking about was the spirit of offense and he gave examples in the context of things the Israelites would understand. The walking an extra mile referred to a Roman Law that a citizen was required, if asked by a Roman soldier, to carry their stuff for a mile. After a mile they could drop the stuff. Jesus told them to go the extra distance. When everyone comes at you, be overboard in your expression of love and kindness. Embrace them.
When today’s church focuses on a particular sin in a category, such as homosexuality they are not addressing the real issue which is sexual immorality. It is just as much a sin to commit adultery, or to fornicate. When one particular type of sin is emphasized it sends a wrong message. The real message is that fornication of any kind is not acceptable to God. We need to love the sinner, but hate the sin. We need to love the sinner so they can come to understand a love of God, and then God will help clean them up.
In these last days we are seeing a spirit of lawlessness abounding. Things are going to get worse, so we need to occupy with purpose. To be joyful that there is a point where Jesus will come again. We want to live our lives with purpose. We will all mess up, but mess or no mess Jesus is coming.
Then someone asked about when Jesus would come, is there a way to hurry up His coming. Pastor Don said Jesus will come when all the souls are saved who are written in the Lamb’s book of Life, and our task is to reach as many as possible with the Love of Christ, to help bring in the harvest.
2 Peter 3:7-10 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
The Holy Spirit is with us, which is the promise that Jesus gave us. And one day the Messiah will come to straighten out stuff. Evil will be judged and good rewarded. God would love all to come to repentance, both the righteous and the unrighteous. We need to remember that He is God and we are not.
God knows us, and knows we will sin, but what we need to do is come to a place where we confess our sins as soon as possible, not wait until a later time. He wants us to stay repentant. To assess ourselves and bring judgment on ourselves, and come back in line with God’s Word.
We can ask the Holy Spirit to let us know when we have missed the mark, and have the Holy Spirit bring it to our attention. If we have unforgiveness in us that needs resolving, we need to BE QUICK TO REPENT so the gates of Heaven open. In the above passage, the Day of the Lord is the day of judgment, and when the judgment of God comes, the only thing that is not lost is the spirit of man. Anything that is not of God will be burnt up.
2 Peter 3:14-15 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation–as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him has written to you.
Peter is saying that you can do all the good works you can possible do, organize great events, serve hours and hours in church, food drives, orphan feeding, etc. and those good works are not as important as our relationship with Jesus. That only Jesus can give us salvation. We can do no end of good and it will not fix our sins, only the shed blood of Jesus.
Even science is backing up what God is saying about the end times. The planets are slowing down, the universe does have an expiration date. As Isaiah says, the garment is wearing out. The one thing that is not perishing is souls.
Most Christians are TROUBLE CHRISTIANS, they come to Christ when they are troubled, when they need help from Him. He wants us to have a continual relationship with Him. Then we have churches who, once a person sins they are banished from the church, yet, we need to accept those who sin into our midst so that they can repent. God still can change us.
Then Pastor Don went and did a bit more with 2 Kings 3
If you recall Jehoshaphat asked Elisha to prophesy regarding the situation with the kings. He wasn’t going to do it if only Jehoram (Ahab’s son) had asked, but because of Jehoshaphat, Elisha did prophesy regarding the situation. A grain offering was given, and the people were told to dig ditches in the desert land. Suddenly water came and the land was filled with water. The Moabites saw the water and God made the water look like blood, so they were tricked into thinking that the Israelites and Edomites had turned against each other, and came to the spoil shouting, “Moab, to the spoil.” To their surprise, the Moabites fled, and the Israelites did what God, through Elisha, told them to do, to stop up the wells, throw stones on all good ground, and cut down all good trees. Then we picked up,
2 Kings 3:26 And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him, he took with him seven hundred men who drew swords, to break through to the king of Edom, but they could not.
The King of Edom was the weakest link, but because He had allied himself with Israel, God protected Him. When we have areas of weakness, we need to be aware of who we associate with, for they can help to strengthen us in our area of weakness.
2 Kings 3:27 Then he (King of Moab) took his eldest son who would have reigned in his place, and offered him as a burnt offering upon the wall; and there was great indignation against Israel. So they departed from him and returned to their own land.
This just goes to show how evil the king of Moab is. So often people say that God is cruel when he tells Israel to destroy all the enemy, men, women, and children. But if there is evil in the land, it will reemerge. Pastor Don said that if a little five-year-old boy is left alive, and the nation has a problem, he may recall that when he was little they did human sacrifice when there was a problem. Sometimes the entire root of evil must be eradicated.
Pastor Don said we need to list our friends and figure out where they are in our lives. Are they Christians, mature, immature, are they part of our personal harvest field of souls, are they fellow saints, are they beyond our ability to reach, are they our worst nightmare (those who tempt us to sin). Are they sinners who we can keep loving on until they can be moved to our harvest field? Some saints are saved 15 years and are still a harvest field for us because they haven’t resolved some of their sinful behavior with God.
We are all under construction. Sometimes those in our circle of friends are weak in an area we are weak in, and it may be necessary to avoid that person for a while until we are not going to be tempted in that area of weakness.
This covers the first phase of Elisha’s ministry. As we continue to study Elisha we will see he does achieve a double portion of Elijah’s glory, and the people will come to respect him as a prophet in his own right. In fact when he dies, even his bones had the power to raise the dead.
Hoping you have a blessed Saturday.
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