Isaiah 66, in Depth

The Principles of the Prophets are the themes of the Bible.

Isaiah 66, Verse by Verse

In this study we will go verse by verse, as opposed to an overview by color, which we did here. If you are not yet aware of the colors of the Principles of the Prophets, take a look at that study.

God continues speaking from Isaiah 65. But as the last chapter of Isaiah, the message is compacted and summarized. This is why all of the Principles glow in this section.

We begin with a reference to Heavens Declare. And then he refers to the House David desired to build for him, reminding them again that it was man’s idea to have a Temple made of stone. God’s plan was always to dwell with his people in the New Heavens and the New Earth. And that House is established, made of those who are humble, contrite, and tremble at his word.

As opposed to the people who have gone DOWN then UP, we see those whose sacrifices and offerings are disgusting to him. Those who have Chosen their own ways, whose Pleasure are abominations to God. The Suffering (Fears) they had experienced in this life–perhaps the fears they sought to waylay by offering heartless and pagan offerings–will come upon them.

Why? Why does God promise them fearful suffering?

Because when he spoke, they didn’t care. They kept going along the way they wanted, following the ways of the world and the Wisdom of the Wise. Their choices were categorized by unpleasing to God. On the other hand, there is another group of people. This group fears God in the right way. They tremble at God’s word. They have gone DOWN in repentance and worship, so they have found forgiveness (in Christ) and are walking with God in Covenant.

But the ones who are in a Covenant with God, have now become a target for the Haters. They are mocked for their trust in God, which should be expected. But those who hope in God are reminded that God’s vengeance is coming, from within the Temple. Recompense in due measure. The Measuring God who is building his Kingdom is also measuring the deeds of the wicked.

Wisdom tells us that timing is everything. Heavens Declare as well that labor leads to birth and that without labor a birth will not come about. The timing and rhythm of life tells us that even though it seems God is not bringing vengeance, it will indeed come. “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things?” This is not Wisdom of the Wise. It’s something very different that interferes with the recompense.

The delivery of a SON right here, at the end of Isaiah, brings to remembrance the prophecies of the boy-who-would-be-born.** The last chance for them.

The Incarnation and Atonement of the new Jerusalem, God’s heavenly kingdom (Gal 4:26, Heb 12:22) is reflected in mother-love terminology.

Purple, remember, is the big PLAN of the Ancient of Days. He is bringing it about. In one day the Incarnation came to earth, and in one day, the Incarnate Son bore the sins of God’s People. Here the Church is being referred to, the initiation of the Church Age that burst-forth on Pentecost.

The children being brought forth is yellow, a Separation Filter. “Her children” refers to all that are members of the New Jerusalem. Christ said he would lose “not a one,” so ultimately, those who are her children will be separated out from those who are not. And likewise, no one will be shut out who must be a part of the Kingdom: “Shall I…not cause to bring forth? Shall I…shut the womb?”

“Drinking deeply with delight from her glorious abundance” is the true joy of every member of Zion.

Peace like a river, an overflowing stream…Heavens Declare again the truths of God. Being carried upon the hip and bounced upon her knees, being comforted. These are the Plan and the Covenant love of God, in spite of the troubles we have that we need comforting from. True Joy comes from the hand of the Lord. But his enemies, likewise, will get something different from his hand.

So after the Incarnation and Atonement, we are looking again at God’s enemies. Fire is coming. The warning is here. Anger, fury, rebuke and fire. The Measuring God will enter into judgment, he will look at the books upon which were written all of the deeds of every man. It will not go well for many people.

We have one group, those who disregard the Law of God, who go forward doing their own thing, following the Wise ideas of pagan nations, abominations eating pigs and mice. They are in one group together. In spite of this, in spite of their works and thoughts being like this, because judgment is coming, he says “I will set a sign among them.”

They get another chance! They are clumped in a group, they’re on the path for doom, but that New Jerusalem that’s being built, those who have survived the bullies, will be sent to them. The nations far and near, will meet with the Survivors–those who are declaring his glory. God’s Covenant people will be found all around the world declaring his glory among the nations.

And what do we see? We see people “all your brothers” coming with them to God. They are bringing people to the New Jerusalem. “On horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries” is reminiscent of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. God’s people have gone and brought them.

From the perspective of God’s people each will say, “I was only doing my duty,” (Luke 17:10). The deeds of obedience, the following of the Great Commission, was an offering to the Lord.

Here we see again the Architect’s plan to build Jerusalem, we see the house of the Lord and the vessels in the house. God’s new system is being set up, using the Survivors and the Brothers from the Nations. God’s New Jerusalem is being built upon the promise of the Son that would be born, and the Nation-from-all-nations that happened in a day.

He begun this section by mentioning heaven and earth, he ends by reminding us of the New Heavens and the New Earth. But the new one is eternal. The one not built by human hands, the one Abraham was looking forward to (Hebrews 11). And the never-ending Name.

The next verse shows that we have already entered into this Kingdom. Every month and every week we come and worship before him. The Sabbath was a sign of the Covenant, it was a reflection of commitment to keeping the Covenant. Likewise, the Ten Commandments, as a reflection of natural law, required the weekly day of devotion. Sabbath, not sacrifice, was the sign of devotion. (And the same expectation carried into the New Covenant).

The ending verse of Isaiah is a horror to Christians in particular.

Jesus himself referred to this verse, clearly showing this was about hell awaiting those who had not taken all the chances they had been given.

The idea of going out to look at the rebels, who are an abhorrence to all flesh, repels us.

For one of the functions of hell, and this verse in particular, is to propel God’s people to go into the nations to “compel” our friends to Christ.

This last verse of Isaiah also warns those who are waiting for judgment that there still is time.
As long as it is called today. Repent. Come to Christ, as long as there’s time.


Click to download a Free Rainbow Scaffold Chart of ISAIAH 65 and 66.

**(See Separation Filters in Isaiah 7 | Isaiah 8 | Isaiah 9).


All quotes from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.

Isaiah 66 reveals Principles of the Prophets

It was in Isaiah that I first noted the repeated themes I’ve been showing here on my blog. The message God burdened Isaiah with was the same one every other prophet spoke, and the same message given by Christ and his apostles. The Principles of the Prophets are the themes of the Bible.

Isaiah by Colored Highlight

Take a look at Isaiah 66. Skimming down below, look at all the colors. Each verse tags one or more of the themes we’ve been discussing, and each color is addressed!


What Does This Mean?

While Isaiah’s message in this chapter is HUGE, and goes into depth on each of the Principles, we will discuss a verse or two under each category to show you how it works. (For a more advanced study, CLICK HERE.)

But as the Book of Isaiah touches on the theme, it builds the concept, giving facets uniquely apropros for the time it was delivered to the world.

The Who of God

Dark Blue: The Character of God

Who God is and how God is are shown by his self-declarations and his deeds, especially understood through the Bible.

Ex:  Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the LORD.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word (vv1-2).

The whole Bible is filled with a self-revelation of God, and as you see above, while it is substantially telling us the Character of God, it simultaneously taps into Grey/Light Green/Green/Light Blue. This is what makes Isaiah 66 so fundamental for understanding the Principles of the Prophets. The interwoven truths of Scripture: This is who God is and what he requires of man.

 

Purple: The Purpose of God

The Eternal Plan of the Ancient of Days is found in time words in the Bible: terms like “everlasting,” “for generations,” “age to age” reflect this plan from the beginning.

Ex: For thus says the LORD:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (vv.12-13)

“For behold, the LORD will come in fire,
and his chariots like the whirlwind,
to render his anger in fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire” (v 15).

God’s purpose is single-fold, yet it has many facets. He intends to bring about a New Heavens and a New Earth populated with his people. This world, and all the good and bad we face, is all for this one purpose: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10), see Temple below.

In Isaiah we see God bringing comfort and peace to those who have become His People, and we see him dealing righteously and justly with those who continued in this life to reject Him and his offer of peace.

 

Green: Architect God

He weighs and measures our deeds and sets forth the plumb line in conscience and his Word. Green is for the Temple he is building, and the measuring methods he uses to test humanity for membership in that Temple.

Ex: The sound of an uproar from the city!
A sound from the temple!
The sound of the LORD,
rendering recompense to his enemies!” (v 6).

“For as the new heavens and the new earth
that I make
shall remain before me, says the LORD,
so shall your offspring and your name remain” (v 22).

“For behold, the LORD will come in fire,
and his chariots like the whirlwind,
to render his anger in fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire.
For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment,
and by his sword, with all flesh;
and those slain by the LORD shall be many” (v 15-16).

Temple: The OT Temple was a shadow of the Temple God would build in his body and the body of Christ. Believers are the temple of God (1 Cor 6:19), as Christ’s body was also the Temple of God (John 2:19). God’s eternal Kingdom will remain forever, when death and rebellion have been destroyed.

Methods: Fire is commonly known to test the quality of metals, like gold. When we see Yahweh as an “unquenchable fire,” we will be pressed into two camps–those who dread and those who love. As his “offspring” (Acts 17:28), “begotten of God” (John 1:13), we have no fear of the fire of God, for Christ has borne our judgment (Isaiah 53). But Yahweh’s flames of rebuke and judgment meet others with a vastly different result (Rev 6:16).

Orange: Covenant God

Covenant is both a reflection of the Character of God and a Separation Filter. Yahweh keeps his people under his faithful, loving care, and his people will respond to him likewise in a committed, faithful way (John 14:15). To understand Covenant you must understand ancient Suzerain Treaties.

The Covenant is also a Separation Filter. Professing believers will show their love, in particular in the way they use their time, talents, and life (Eph 2:10). God-haters and atheists are given God’s people in the world as a test, and how they treat the Church reveals their heart toward God.

Ex: GOD: “As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bones shall flourish like the grass;
and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants,
and he shall show his indignation against his enemies”
(v. 13).

LOVERSRejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her (v.5)

And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the LORD (vv. 19-20).

From new moon to new moon,
and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
all flesh shall come to worship before me,
declares the LORD (v. 23).

HATERS“Your brothers who hate you
and cast you out for my name’s sake
have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified,
that we may see your joy’;
but it is they who shall be put to shame” (v. 5).

In the whole counsel of Scripture there are certain undeniable facts:

First, Yahweh is with his people in a unique way. He is their protector and defender, he is their comfort and their joy.

Secondly, people who know Yahweh run to him in times of distress or times of joy, and live in a way that pleases him, the Sabbath or day-of-worship being a unique demonstration of that covenant-commitment.

And thirdly, God’s people become targets to haters because of their status with God (Is 66:5 & Ps 53:4).

Consequently, God will repay those who touch the “apple of his eye” (Ps 17:8, Zech 2:8). These are the three ways Covenant works: by God, toward God, against God.

Light Green: Heavens Declare

All things in nature find their source in the creative mind of God, so all aspects of science and reason are intended to teach us the character and nature of God, often as analogies.

Ex: “Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord”
(vv 1-2a)

“He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man;
he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck;
he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig’s blood;
he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol”
 (v. 3).

The created order declares the greatness of God. “By his hand” they have been made, and the more we know of the universe the greater we realize God is. Considering nature teaches us about God (Rom 1:20).

Killing a man, breaking a dog’s neck these are things we naturally cringe from, since they are written on our conscience as wrongs. Oxen, lambs, grain and frankincense are nice things that would normally be associated with a good gift. But in these verses we see that the analogies of nature make a strong point as to God’s disgust with offerings without the necessary relationship (see v.2b below)

Light Blue: Up is Down

The only way to know God is by going down. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. He requires humility and repentance, both requiring a submission to the manner God requires.

Ex: “But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word”
(v 2b)

The way to switch from Hater to Lover, from damned to blessed, is by going down. Return, repent, kneel, confess.

Repentance and confession of sins, falling at the feet of God who will judge you and asking for pardon by the blood of Jesus, if it is authentic and lasting, moves you from death to life.

“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry” (Ps 2:12). This theme is the point of everything. This is why bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people.

Each of us is being given a chance, every human who ever lived was given this chance (Rom 1:18-32).

Life gives us this chance, every Separation Filter (see below) gives us this chance to go Down.

The way UP (to God) is DOWN (in humility) and the way DOWN (to hell) is UP (in pride and self-sufficiency).

The Whys of Life

Yellow: Separation Filters

Life sorts people into two groups by their choices, and specific opportunities are given to force that choice, proving what that person is. General Separation Filters are those that clearly differentiate between two groups. Often we see Yellow with another color.

Ex: “‘These have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delights in their abominations;
I also will choose harsh treatment for them
and bring their fears upon them,
because when I called, no one answered,
when I spoke, they did not listen;
but they did what was evil in my eyes
and chose that in which I did not delight.’

Hear the word of the Lord,
you who tremble at his word”
(vv 4-5a)

Here two groups are mentioned: those who have chosen their own ways and those who tremble at his word. While there is a heavy reference to Wisdom of the Wise (see below), we see the decisions they are making and the results that are sure to come. On the other hand, we see that God makes a differentiation with those who fear him.

Red: Wisdom of the Wise

How we answer the big questions and how we weigh the ungodly principles of this world sift us into a self-serving life or a deeper faith and trust of God’s Word.

Ex: “Your brothers who hate you
and cast you out for my name’s sake
have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified,
that we may see your joy’;
but it is they who shall be put to shame”
(v 5b).

Here those mocking God’s people reflect the stunted reasoning of their world. They make fun of God’s Covenant people who hope in God’s glory.But this hostile thought process proves they are no friend of God. In earlier verses, the reference to doing things the way the nations do things, especially with regard to sacrificing to idols, reveals them bending to popular “wisdom” that is not wisdom.

 

Pink: Pleasure

Good things in this world either pull us away into idolatry or draw us to God as the source of all joy and contentment.

Ex: “These have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delights in their abominations” 
(v. 3b).

Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her;
that you may nurse and be satisfied
from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight
from her glorious abundance.”

For thus says the LORD:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.

As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bones shall flourish like the grass;
and the hand of the LORD shall be known to his servants,

and he shall show his indignation against his enemies” (vv 10-14).

The first group delights in their abominations, the second group is comforted and flourishes because they are trusting in God, rejoicing with God’s “Jerusalem,” or heavenly kingdom (Gal 4:26, Heb 12:22).

 

Brown: Suffering

Pain and suffering in this world either push us into an atheistic anger against God or into a deeper trust of his ways.

Ex: “These have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delights in their abominations;
I also will choose harsh treatment for them
and bring their fears upon them” (vv. 3-4).

As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem (v 13).

“And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh” (v 24).

The Biggest Big Question is why we have to live in a suffering world. Believers suffer so they can turn to God for comfort.

In Isaiah 65, God repeated the either/or warnings to the nations and to those not following in the Covenant.

In Isaiah 66 we see the end result of their life of bad decisions. We no longer see suffering sifting them anymore. No more chances remain. Instead, we see that suffering they experienced was a message of impending judgment they never took to heart. And this is the last verse of Isaiah.


(For a more advanced study, CLICK HERE.)


All quotes from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.

Amos & the Principles of the Prophets, Ch 1-2

Amos Chapters 1 & 2

Noise from Heaven

“The Lord roars from Zion and utters his voice from Jerusalem…The pastures of the shepherds mourn and the top of Carmel withers” (v 2).

God is not pleased. The Day of Judgment has come…or has it? 

In Amos 1 and 2, God shows his righteous character and he warns those who are on the brink of destruction. Using the Principles of the Prophets, Amos instructs Israel how to escape the fires of hell.

The Character of God is clear, In verses 1:6, 9, 11, 13 and 2:1, 4, 6. “I will not revoke the punishment.” God will not allow sin to be overlooked.

But significant to this passage is the Hebrew for this phrase. Each time it occurs it literally says:  I will not turn it back.

Firstly, in this phrase we see the INEVITABILITY of the consequence. It’s not tied to the whims of God. It’s tied to something in a sense beyond God’s ability to control: pure Justice. It must happen that just consequences fall onto Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, and Ammon, Moab, Judah and Israel.

Each of the judgments has a pattern: God says he will not turn it back, then he states their crime, then he gives the consequence. To Ammon and Moab he gives a longer consequence, most likely because they were the tribes coming from the sons of Lot, and they also knew better.

But to Judah and to Israel the crime section is much different.

First let us look at the crimes of the other nations who are not God’s covenant people.

Amos 1; click for zoom

The Crimes:

If you just look at the colors you can see that the crimes are brown (Suffering). They have hurt other people.

Damascus: “they have threshed Gilead with threshing sledges of iron

Gaza: “they have carried into exile a whole people to deliver them up to Edom

Tyre: “they have delivered up a whole people to Edom, and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.”

Edom: “he pursued his brother with the sword and cast of all pity, and his anger tore perpetually and he kept his wrath forever.”

Ammon: “they have ripped open pregnant women in Gilead, that they might enlarge their border.”

Moab: “he burned to lime the bones of the king of Edom.”

The Why Behind the Crimes

What do we learn about God’s requirements on the nations from these stated crimes? All men everywhere know to not do certain things.

Romans 1 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

…For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Heavens Declare the glory of God; through conscience and reason we know what God requires.

What do these verses say about the crimes against Israel’s neighbors? Anything against the Character of God will be punished, namely: injustice and lack of compassion and mercy.

The crimes listed show unjust responses in war. “Threshing” Gilead, “carrying into exile a whole people,” “delivering up a whole nation,” “pursuing with a sword,” “casting off all pity,” “ripping open pregnant women,” and “burning to lime the bones of a king.”

The nations were causing suffering upon other human beings.

The last one may surprise you, since cremation is tolerated and even encouraged in many churches today. But Moab’s crime for which they would receive an equally-strict judgment was cremating the remains of an enemy king.

It was dishonoring the body, disregarding essentially the image of God in the man, and actively decimating his physical presence on Earth.

All of these ultimately relate to having a warring spirit.

Why do people fight and war?

Dissatisfaction with their lot.

In modern times NATO countries get involved in wars to “protect our neighbor’s freedom.”  But this was not the case for these cursed nations.

They wanted what the other nations had. They wanted the spoils. They coveted, and were willing to kill and ravage in order to steal it.

The “covenant of brotherhood” mentioned to Tyre was most likely an actual covenant (see Joshua 9), but underlying this is the essential requirement God has laid upon mankind to look out for mankind, irregardless of national boundaries.

“Loving your neighbor” is written on the heart of man, being connected with God’s generosity toward humanity, and so the unloving actions and war instead, deserved irrevocable judgment.

Amos 2; click for zoom

Judah’s and Israel’s Crimes

In contrast to the nations’ crimes against natural law, Judah and Israel’s crimes are against God himself, against Covenant. Look at the colors Orange and Red for Judah, and so many other colors for Israel.

The text:

Judah: “they have rejected the law of the LORD, and have not kept his statutes.”

Israel “in the house of God they drink the wine of those who have been fined.”

While the nations received a judgment for one or two Brown crimes, those who are supposed to be the People of God get many more crimes.

Judah not only has broken Covenant, she is charged with following the Wisdom of the Wise: “their lies have led them astray, those after which their fathers walked.”

Judah walked after the wisdom of the nations: idolatry.

Israel was lured into different crimes against God.

Israel was far down the path toward degeneration. Just like in the Sower and the Seed parable, Pleasures of this world proved the essence of her heart. Like weeds, Israel allowed pleasures to choke and kill off any love she had for God.

Amos, a prophet from Judah sent to northern Israel, lists for Israel:

a) broken Covenant (vv 8, 10-11),

b) touting the Wisdom of the Wise (v 12),

c) Causing Suffering on others (v 7) because of  their

d) selfish pursuit Pleasure (vv 6-8, 10, 12).

Selling the righteous for silver, the needy for sandals. Sexual perversion, contrary to the written Law of God, and trampling “the head of the poor into the dust of the earth.”

The crimes on Israel’s list are so many more than for the other nations. She is about to fall, but hasn’t yet.

Hope remains!

The Consequence of Fire

Seven of the consequences upon the eight nations are “fire.”

Damascus: “So I will send a fire.”

Gaza: “So I will send a fire.”

Tyre: “So I will send a fire.”

Edom: “So I will send a fire.”

Ammon: “So I will kindle a fire.”

Moab: “So I will send a fire.”

Judah: “So I will send a fire.”

But one different consequence stands out:

Israel: “Behold, I will press you down in your place.”

===========

To those who heard this prophecy “Fire” meant they themselves would be attacked.

“He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword,” is how Jesus explained this, and  “With the measure you use it will be measured to you” (Matt 26:52, Matt 7:2).

“You reap what you sow,” is both a lesson Nature teaches us about the plant world, and a right inference about life choices.

The injustice and hatred the nations reaped would come back on them when the  “bigger fish” came their way to swallow them. Their own towns would meet that injustice by the next guy.

Fire is a universal fear. And fire is also a common symbol God uses in Scripture to reflect his hatred of sin. It brings to mind the verse in Isaiah:

“The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: ‘Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?'”(33:14).

God is a consuming fire, he will eternally burn up the unjust and wicked.

“Who among us can dwell…?” Is a right question. Sinners and the godless do right to tremble. The eternal soul knows it will face judgment upon death, and this eternal fire is one that must be faced.

So the warning of fire to the nations and Judah also warns of the finality of hell-fire.

But Amos was a prophet from Judah but sent to preach to Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II.

Israel has no fire promised, yet. They will be pressed down.

Verses 14-16 list the measurable strength a kingdom might trust in. Then it shows that these “strong things” are nothing against the measure of justice on its way from God.

“Pressing down” brings to mind the Alpha of pack animals establishing dominance toward those challenging it. This “opportunity to stay in the pack by submission” is a theme you will see in the upcoming chapters.

Israel still has a chance. They have time to repent and return (Up is Down). This is the message of Amos, as we will see in the next chapter.


The Principles of the Prophets are clear in Amos’s teaching, almost all of them found in the first chapter. As we read on we will see them listed and expounded on even clearer.

1 & 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7


All quotes from: The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.

 

Rainbow Scaffold (Theme)

Rainbow Scaffold Verses


Organized by Theme

click theme below for information on and examples of each Rainbow Scaffold theme.


 

 

Purple: The Purpose of God

The Eternal Plan of the Ancient of Days is found in time words in the Bible: terms like “everlasting,” “for generations,” “age to age” reflect this plan from the beginning.


 

 

Dark Blue: The Character of God

Who God is and how God is are shown by his self-declarations and his deeds, especially understood through the Bible.


 

 

Orange: Covenant God

He keeps his people under his faithful, loving care, and his people are to be responding to him likewise in a committed, faithful way.

The People of God respond to Covenant a certain way–in trust and obedience. God-haters respond to Covenant a certain way–in assaulting God’s people and in blaspheming. So God’s Covenant also functions as a Separation Filter.


 

 

Green: Architect God

He weighs and measures our deeds and sets forth the plumb line in conscience and his Word.


 

 

Yellow: Separation Filters

Life sorts people into two groups by their choices, and specific opportunities are given to force that choice, proving what that person is.


 

 

Pink: Pleasure

Good things in this world either pull us away into idolatry or draw us to God as the source of all joy and contentment.


 

 

Brown: Suffering

Pain and suffering in this world either push us into anger toward God and atheism or into a deeper trust of his ways.


 

 

Red: Wisdom of the Wise

How we answer the big questions and how we weigh the ungodly principles of this world sift us into a self-serving life or a deeper faith and trust of God’s Word.


 

 

Light Blue: Up is Down

The only way to know God is by going down. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. He requires humility and repentance, both requiring a submission to the manner God requires.


 

Light Green: Heavens Declare

All things in nature find their source in the creative mind of God, so all aspects of science and reason are intended teach us the character and nature of God, often as analogies.



Often these themes overlap within one verse and need more than one color. 

Many passages in Scripture include all of the colors. In fact, Psalm 23, the Lord’s Prayer, Colossians 2, and many of our favorite chapters in the Bible are concentrated with all of the rainbow scaffold themes.

It resonates because these are the themes the Spirit has been teaching us all along, and it’s chock-full of it all.

Click any of the themes above for further study of these amazing themes of Scripture.

Rainbow Scaffold in Ecclesiastes

WRITING ON THE WALL SERIES: Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin

Rainbow Scaffold in Ecclesiastes

The Rainbow Scaffold is a term I have given to the consistent principles taught in Scripture. These strands were understood by every inspired writer, and the teachings of each book of the Bible match these overarching themes.

It is so prevalent I have begun highlighting my Bible to show the woven colors of God’s themes.

Following is an explanation of the Rainbow Scaffold, with sample verses from Ecclesiastes.


The Who of God

Dark Blue: The Character of God

Who God is and how God is are shown by his self-declarations and his deeds, especially understood through the Bible.

Ex: Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few” (Ecc 5:2).

Ex: “I have perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man” (Ecc 3:12-13).

 

Purple: The Purpose of God

The Eternal Plan of the Ancient of Days is found in time words in the Bible: terms like “everlasting,” “for generations,” “age to age” reflect this plan from the beginning.

Ex: “I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” (Ecc 3:10-11).

 

Green: Architect God

He weighs and measures our deeds and sets forth the plumb line in conscience and his Word.

Ex:“Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment” (Ecc 11:9).

Ex: “What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted” (Ecc 1:15).

 

Orange: Covenant God

He keeps his people under his faithful, loving care, and his people are to be responding to him likewise in a committed, faithful way.

Ex: “Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God” (Ecc 5:19).

Ex: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ec 12:13).

 

Light Green: Heavens Declare

All things in nature find their source in the creative mind of God, so all aspects of science and reason are intended teach us the character and nature of God, often as analogies.

Ex: “The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again” (Ecc 1:6-7).

 

Light Blue: Up is Down

The only way to know God is by going down. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. He requires humility and repentance, both requiring a submission to the manner God requires.

Ex: “If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow” (Ps 7:12).

Ex: “It will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him. But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God” (Ecc 8:12-13)*.

 


The Whys of Life

Yellow: Separation Filters

Life sorts people into two groups by their choices, and specific opportunities are given to force that choice, proving what that person is.

Ex: “For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God” (Ecc 2:26)*.

 

Pink: Pleasure

Good things in this world either pull us away into idolatry or draw us to God as the source of all joy and contentment.

Ex: There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?” (Ecc 2:24-25).

Ex: “Again, I saw vanity under the sun: one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, ‘For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?’”(Ecc 4:7)*.

 

Brown: Suffering

Pain and suffering in this world either push us into anger toward God and atheism or into a deeper trust of his ways.

Ex: “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other” (Ecc 7:14)*.

 

Red: Wisdom of the Wise

How we answer the big questions and how we weigh the ungodly principles of this world sift us into a self-serving life or a deeper faith and trust of God’s Word.

Ex: “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him. But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God” (Ecc 8:11-13)*.


Several of these verses overlap, and would need more than one color. I’ve starred these above. Certain phrases within a larger passages emphasize the architect God or highlight suffering.

Many passages in Scripture include all of the colors. In fact, Psalm 23, the Lord’s Prayer, Colossians 2, and many of our favorite chapters in the Bible are concentrated with all of the rainbow scaffold themes. It resonates because these are the themes the Spirit has been teaching us all along, and it’s chock-full of it all.


Click below to see a video about this.

“We are willing to suffer all external losses”

// A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith, //

| Chinese Churches face Persecution 2018 |



The princes of the peoples gather
    as the people of the God of Abraham.

Psalm 47:9


The Ancient of Days has always had this plan. Peoples (from every nation) would become one people: the people of God. These people would be his Covenant people, would find their joy in him alone, and would face any difficulty with a steadfast love for him and for their neighbor. 

He called Abraham giving this global plan: “through you all nations will be blessed” (Gen 22:18).

Christ likewise said to his disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

And in our glimpse of heaven in Revelation we see the many peoples now as

ONE People:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Facing difficulties for the sake of Christ has been a part of the story since the beginning. It will be like this until the harvest is complete.

The past few months of 2018 have been especially difficult for the Chinese Church, facing harassment and imprisonment by the national government. This persecution has prompted them to formulate the statement below.

If you are a believer, you will agree with every word you read.

It beautifully reflects our faith in the God of Abraham, the Ancient of Days, and the way he expects us to be light in a dark world.

Chinese Church prays
Early Rain Covenant Church

A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith

2018


A Joint Statement by Pastors:
A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith4th edition, 279 pastors)
—————————————————————————
We are a group of Chinese Christians, chosen by the Most High God to be His humble servants, serving as pastors for Christian churches throughout various towns and cities.

We believe and are obligated to teach the world that the one true and living Triune God is the Creator of the universe, of the world, and of all people. All men should worship God and not any man or thing. We believe and are obligated to teach the world that all men, from national leaders to beggars and prisoners, have sinned. They will die once and then be judged in righteousness. Apart from the grace and redemption of God, all men would eternally perish. We believe and are obligated to teach the world that the crucified and risen Jesus is the only Head of the global church, the sole Savior of all mankind, and the everlasting Ruler and supreme Judge of the universe. To all who repent and believe in Him, God will give eternal life and an eternal Kingdom.

In September, 2017, the State Council issued the new “Regulations on the Administration of Religious Affairs” and began implementing these regulations in February, 2018. Ever since then, Christian churches across China have suffered varying degrees of persecution, contempt, and misunderstanding from government departments during public worship and religious practices, including various administrative measures that attempt to alter and distort the Christian faith. Some of these violent actions are unprecedented since the end of the Cultural Revolution. These include demolishing crosses on church buildings, violently removing expressions of faith like crosses and couplets hanging on Christians’ homes, forcing and threatening churches to join religious organizations controlled by the government, forcing churches to hang the national flag or to sing secular songs praising the State and political parties, banning the children of Christians from entering churches and receiving religious education, and depriving churches and believers of the right to gather freely.

We believe that these unjust actions are an abuse of government power and have led to serious conflicts between political and religious parties in Chinese society. These actions infringe on the human freedoms of religion and conscience and violate the universal rule of law. We are obligated to announce bad news to the authorities and to all of society: God hates all attempts to suppress human souls and all acts of persecution against the Christian church, and he will condemn and judge them with righteous judgment.

But we are even more obligated to proclaim good news to the authorities and to all of society: Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, the Savior and King of mankind, in order to save us sinners was killed, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God, destroying the power of sin and death. In His love and compassion God has prepared forgiveness and salvation for all who are willing to believe in Jesus, including Chinese people. At any time, anyone can repent from any sin, turn to Christ, fear God, obtain eternal life, and bring great blessing from God upon his family and country.

For the sake of faith and conscience, for the spiritual benefits of the authorities in China and of society as a whole, and ultimately for the glory, holiness, and righteousness of God, we make the following declaration to the Chinese government and to all of society:

1. Christian churches in China believe unconditionally that the Bible is the Word and Revelation of God. It is the source and final authority of all righteousness, ethics, and salvation. If the will of any political party, the laws of any government, or the commands of any man directly violate the teachings of the Bible, harming men’s souls and opposing the gospel proclaimed by the church, we are obligated to obey God rather than men, and we are obligated to teach all members of the church to do the same.

2. Christian churches in China are eager and determined to walk the path of the cross of Christ and are more than willing to imitate the older generation of saints who suffered and were martyred for their faith. We are willing and obligated under any circumstance to face all government persecution, misunderstanding, and violence with peace, patience, and compassion. For when churches refuse to obey evil laws, it does not stem from any political agenda; it does not stem from resentment or hostility; it stems only from the demands of the gospel and from a love for Chinese society.

3. Christian churches in China are willing to obey authorities in China whom God has appointed and to respect the government’s authority to govern society and human conduct. We believe and are obligated to teach all believers in the church that the authority of the government is from God and that as long as the government does not overstep the boundaries of secular power laid out in the Bible and does not interfere with or violate anything related to faith or the soul, Christians are obligated to respect the authorities, to pray fervently for their benefit, and to pray earnestly for Chinese society. For the sake of the gospel, we are willing to suffer all external losses brought about by unfair law enforcement. Out of a love for our fellow citizens, we are willing to give up all of our earthly rights.

4. For this reason, we believe and are obligated to teach all believers that all true churches in China that belong to Christ must hold to the principle of the separation of church and state and must proclaim Christ as the sole head of the church. We declare that in matters of external conduct, churches are willing to accept lawful oversight by civil administration or other government departments as other social organizations do. But under no circumstances will we lead our churches to join a religious organization controlled by the government, to register with the religious administration department, or to accept any kind of affiliation. We also will not accept any “ban” or “fine” imposed on our churches due to our faith. For the sake of the gospel, we are prepared to bear all losses—even the loss of our freedom and of our lives.

Signatories of the Joint Statement (279 people total)

First Group (29 people):

Pastor Wang Yi (Chengdu Early Rain Covenant Church)
Pastor Yang Hua (Guiyang Living Stone Church)
Pastor Jin Mingri (Beijing Zion Church)
PastorZhang Xiaofeng, Elder Sun Yi, Elder You Guanghui (Beijing Shouwang Church Governance Committee)
Pastor Huang Xiaoning (Guangzhou Bible Reformer Church)
Pastor Dou Shaowen (Zhengzhou Conerstone Church)
Elder Zhang Chuanlei (Guiyang Renai Reformed Church)
Elder Wen Hongbin (Chengdu Xishuipang Reformed Church)
Minister Yang Xibo (Xiamen Xunsiding Church)
Minister Jiang Jianping (Foshan Olive Tree Church)
Elder Xue Honggen (Chengdu Yudu Zhuen Reformed Church)
Elder Char Changping (Chengdu Shengmingzhiquan Church)
Minister Shi Shangbiao (Zhangzhou Feilizhijia Church)
Pastor Li Tao(Kunming Endian Church)
Pastor Shen Xianfeng (Wuhan Zhongfu Chenxing Church)
Elder Tang Bohu (Shanghai Caihong Reformed Church)
Pastor Cui Quan (Shanghai Wangbang Xuanjiao Church)
Pastor Su Yaorong (Taizhou Tianfu Reformed Church)
Minister Wang Teng (Taizhou Mingdao Reformed Church)
Pastor Wang Changyi (Tiazhou Tiantai Fuyin Church)
Pastor Ji Jianyang (Tiazhou Xianju Mengen Church)
Pastor Guo Chuanyu (ChangchunLinhezhifu Reformed Church)
Pastor Li Lianmin (Shenzhen Shajing Bible Reformed Church)
Pastor Zhuang Zhiyong (Shenzhen Huaqiang Bible Reformed Church)
Pastor Chen Jingtang (Shengzhen Guifangyuan Bible Reformed Church)
Pastor Huang Lei (Wuhan Shangxiatang Church)
Pastor Zhang Yong(ChangchunYangguangzhijia Reformed Church)

Second Group (87 people):

Pastor Gao Lijun (Wenzhou Wangkun Church)
Minister Cai Jingliang (Foshan Fangzhou Church)
Minister Xu Jianwei (Hebei Tangshan Church)
Minister Jiangtian (Chengdu Gospel Church)
Minister An Yankui (Taiyuan Xuncheng Reformed Church)
Elder Haoming (Deyang Qiuyu Qingcaodi Church)
Minister Li Zihu (Chengdu Ziuyu Enyue Church)
Minister Cheng Zhangchun (Chengdu Qiuyu Jianan Church)
Minister Cao Qingen (Chengdu Linxishu Reformed Church)
Minister Wang Tianmin (Shamen New Creation Church)
Elder Wang Zhaorong, Minister Wan Changchun (Bangbu Huoshi Reformed Church)
Pastor Li Jiale (Beijing Daohang Zhijia Church)
Pastor Huang Yizi (Wenzhou Pingyang Fengwo Church)
Pastor Lin Yage (Guiyang Mengen Church)
Pastor Wu Yiqi (Changchun Fuyin Zhiguang Reformed Church)
Minister Gu Hongfei (Beijing Aixuan Church)
Pastor Xu Zhibing (Jiangsu Guanyun Xiansi Duizhong New Church)
Pastor Peng Qiang (Chengdu Enfu Reformed Gospel Church)
Elder Zheng Zhaobei, Minister Ren Lichuan, Minister Jie Shoutuan (Chengdu Xishuipang Reformed Gospel Church)
Elder Jiang Guocheng, Elder Peng Yuan (Renshou Enhui Reformed Gospel Church)
Elder Liu Maolin (Linyi Enyue Reformed Church)
Elder Yan Xiaoxin (Rizhao Enzhao Reformed Church)
Elder Huowei (Linyi Enquan Reformed Church)
Elder Chen Shun (Linyi Enyuan Reformed Mission)
Elder Li Rongtai (Linyi Enlin Reformed Church)
Minister Yang Binchuan (Zaozhuang Zhuentang Church)
Pastor Liu Hongwei (Beijing Ganlanshan Church)
Minister Lin Hesheng (Chengdu Fanglin Church)
Minister Liu Zhiyong (Xi’an Jitaicun Cornerstone Church)
Minister Luo Ruisheng (Guangzhou Sui Guizheng Fuyin Tuanqi Huangshen Jiangdian)
Minister Ye Xinde (Fujian Zhangpu Yilin Zhijia Reformed Church)
Minister Meng Yongguang (Gansu Lanzhou Chenxing Church)
Minister Wang Zisheng (Qingdao Jimiya Church)
Minister Huang Wenyou (Hong Kong Chinese Christian Church)
Minister Chen Huizhen (Zhangzhou Longhai Shima Xincheng Church)
Pastor Liu Yang (Xi’an Xinwang Ai Church)
Minister Sun Chao (Yunnan Qujing Feila Tiefei Church)
Pastor Xu Mei (Xi’an Enquan Church)
Pastor Dong Zhi (Beijing Hemujia Church)
Brother Liang Yongen (Dalian Shien Zhen Church)
Pastor Ju Dawei (Xi’an Halleluiah Church)
Pastor Zhao Yanwei (Zhengzhou Zhongai Church)
Pastor Ren Jinbiao (Hebei Botou Shihong Grace Church)
Pastor Huang Lei (Hunan Yueyang Shipan Shisheng Jingdu Church)
Pastor Sun Hong (Jilin Shengyue Zhendao Church)
Minister Zhu Lehai (Zhangjiajie Hope Christian Church)
Pastor Zhang Qianjin (Beijing, missionary)
Pastor Gao Quanfu (Xi’an Zhiguang Church)
Pastor Guo Zhi (Dongguan Reformed gospel Church)
Minister Chen Shengda (Wenzhou Boteli Church)
Minister Wang Lanqing (Shandong Linyi Tiancheng Shengyue Church)
Pastor Guo Yijun (Beijing Endao Reformed Baptist Church)
Minister Xu Fengchuan (Anhui Fuyang Nanzhao Xingqi Faguang Church)
Minister Huang Wenguang (Shenzhen Jehovah Yile Church)
Minister Li Jianxuan (Shenzhen Thanksgiving Church)
Minister Yin Xuguang (Beijing Shijing Shanshuguang Church)
Pastor Zhou Yunfeng (Xianyang Xin Wang Ai Yangwang Church)
Minister Yang Fuli (Shijiazhuang Hongdao Church)
Teacher Cheng Chaohua (Wenzhou Shenzhou Preaching Team)
Minister Qin Shengjie (Henan Balizhuang Church)
Teacher Wang Weixin (Wenzhou Yufutang Church)
Pastor Weng Xiangkun (Wenzhou Shenzhou Preaching Team)
Pastor Huang hanxin (Wenzhou Shenzhou Preaching Team)
Minister Wang Xiao (Henan Dongguocun Church)
Pastor Zhu Jiahao (Wenzhou Shenzhou Preaching Team)
Minister Xinyi Chuandao (Datong Lirenzao Church)
Minister Zhao Lihui (Datong Lirenzao Church)
Pastor Lin Jinlian (Wenzhou Shenzhou Preaching Team)
Pastor Yan Xiaojie (Wenzhou Shangjiang Church)
Minister Chen Jiafu (Chen Dawei) (Fuzhou Boteli Reformed Church)
Pastor Du Youchang (Jingmen Ganlanshan Church)
Pastor Wang Yongcheng, Elder Feng Guangxiong (Shen Ai Shi Ren Fengshou Church)
Pastor Ruan Dawei (Zhanjiang Gengxin Church)
Minister Guan Xinyuan (Jiangsu Liyang Family Church)
Minister Zhao Ruohan (henan Xihuo Church)
Minister Sun Chanli (Hubei Shiyan Rongguang Biliya Church)
Elder Li Youhong (Chengdu Shengming Zhi Quan Church)
Elder Yan Xixia, Elder Su Bingsen, Elder Li Yingqiang, Elder Tan Defu, Minister Zhang Xudong (Chengdu Early Rain Covenant Church)

Third Group (80 people):

Elder Wang Chunzhi, Elder Liao Yantao, Minister Lan Junan (Chengdu Enfu Reformed Presbyterian Church)
Minister Tan Taochuan (Foshan Fangzhou Church)
Minister Liang Yongen (Dalian Shien Zhen Church)
Minister Chen Xianfei (Beian Shengyue Yongdao Church)
Minister You Guanda (Xiamen Dianqian Church)
Minister Li Yuanfei (Zhongqing Zai Dao Reformed Gospel Church)
Minister Hua Jiaquan, Minister Yang Zhenjiang (Ningbo Grace Church)
Pastor Tan Songhua (Wuhan Fangjiao Church)
Pastor Wang Zhengrong (Tianjin Shengguang Reformed Church)
Pastor Mao Zhibin, Elder Shen Lingchang (Shenzhen Sanyi Fuyin Fengshou Church)
Elder Zhang Senchang (Fuyang Maizhong Reformed Church)
Elder Li Leqing (Shangrao Yugan Gufu Yueshuya Church)
Pastor Wang Linmu, Pastor Long Jiangen, Pastor Gao Yingjia, Elder Yin Huibin, Elder Li Jianjun, Elder Jian Zhaopeng, Elder Wang Jun, Elder Ye Xiongjin, Minister Tian Yangbo, Minister Yuan Guoshen, Minister Wang Cong, Minister Qie Jiafu, Minister Chen Yong, Minister Wang Jinchuan, Minister Zhang Kun, Minister Chen Rutan, Minister Liu Zhenbin, Minister Jiang Hailin, Minister Yang Jun, Minister Wu Di, Minister Cui Jianguo, Minister Jin Hailan, Minister Geng Pengpeng, Minister Wu Hongfei, Secretary Zhang Yonghao (Beijing Zion Church)
Pastor Wang Desheng (Beijing Anhua Church)
Minister Song Hongtao (Handan Grace Church)
Pastor Jiang Shoudao (Shanxi Shenghuai Renshi Shengai Church)
Pastor Liang Junpei, Pastor Zhang Dawei, Elder Bi Guoxiong (Hong Kong Jidu Luxiao Church) Minister Ren Zhongzhi (Meinan Baptist Jerusalem Church)
Minister yin Zhongfan (Guilin Canaan Church)
Minister Lv Diya (Hubei Xidu Kingdom Christian Church)
Minister Yao Kun (Kunming Tianyuanli Bible Church)
Minister Li Guisheng (Henan Nanyang Family Church)
Pastor Shen Wanzhong (Liaoning Dandong Yezhong Church)
Minister Qin Chenguang (Beijing Guomen Church)
Pastor Liu Yangsun (Henan Anyang Church)
Minister Guo Liwei (Fujian Fuqing Enyu Zhi Jia Church)
Pastor Yin Jianan (Shanghai Zhongfu Christian Church)
Pastor Wang Hongzhong (Changzhi Muxuan Church)
Minister Huang Yongchuan (Chengdu Enfu Shequ Church)
Elder Fu Jun (Chengdu Shengming Zhi Quan Church)
Minister Zhong Zhengchuan (Xinjiang Hezi Christian Church)
Elder Yang Jianjun (Yueyang Cornerstone Bible Church)
Minister Hu Huitang (Dongguan Xianming Reformed Church)
Minister Zhao Zhanghua (Qingyuan Shuguang Gospel Church)
Elder Qin Zuzheng (Nanning Encheng Church)
Minister Zhao Peng, Minister Xu Zhiqiang (Pixian Christian Church)
Minister Yu Peixin (missionary, Yibin, Sichuan Province)
Minister Hu Moxi (Zhejiang Lishui New Life Church)
Elder Yin Keshan (Linyi Enquan Reformed Church)
Elder Zhao Jianxin (Linyi Enlin Reformed Church)
Minister Li Wenzhuo (Jinan Grace Covenant Church)
Pastor Fan Youcai (Linyi Trinity Covenant Mission)
Minister An Yaolin, Minister Yang Zhigang (Shanxi Huozhou Church)
Minister Li Minghua (Shanxi Taiyuan Qingganlan Church)
Elder Sun Dawen (Tianjin Mount Zion Church)
Pastor Huan Manjin (Huainan Qin Yu Lu Church)
Pastor An Xi (Beijing Fuyin Diyi Presbyterian Church)
Minister Wang Shiqiang (Yuxi Muen Church)
Pastor Pan Yongguang, Elder You Guangbo, Elder Xie Jianqing (Shenzhen Gaigezong Shengdao Church)
Fourth Group (71 people):

Pastor Huang Yonghui, Elder Guo Youhan(Tanghe County Yuxing Church)
Minister Zhang Mengxia(Tanghe County Fule Church)
Minister Shi Xitian,Elder Shi Shuqin(Tanghe County Enchong Church)
Minister Cui Fengsan, Elder Xu Xingyi(Tanghe County Yongfu Church)
Minister Liu Zongqin(Sheqi County Fuyin Church)
Pastor Li Qinle,Minister Zeng Xinrui(Tanghe County Enfu Church)
Minister Cui Baocun,Minister Yang Bingqin(Tanghe County Xinaizhijia Church)
Minister Tian Yujiao(Tanghe County Wanggang Church)
Minister Li Yurong,Minister Zhu Xiaomei(Tanghe County Enhui Church)
Minister Chen Chaojian(Tanghe County Shien Church)
Pastoe Zong Shiang(Tanghe County Xuandao Church)
Elder Wang Xianghai,Minister Liu Daoshu(Tanghe County Enyu Church)
Elder Liu Daocai(Tanghe County Enhui Church)
Elder Zhang Yongcheng,Minister Bi Aiyun(Tanghe County Engao Church)
Elder Ren Wentao(Tanghe County Rongen Church)
Elder Huang Fuping(Tanghe County Enrong Church)
Elder Feng Chao(Tanghe County Zhangdian Church)
Elder Shen Qingke(Tanghe County Shenchong Church)
Pastor Hu Changlin(Tongbai Fuyuan Church)
Pastor Wang Mingbao(Tongbai Tongxing Church)
Pastor Yao Mingyuan(Tongbai Tongxin Church)
Pastor Hu Qunxing(Tongbai Yien Church)
Pastor Wei Wenguo(Tongbai Fengen Church)
Minister Xu Yan(Tongbai Taishan Church)
Minister Li Jianpo(Tongbai Maoji Church)
Minister Liao Xizhi(Tongbai Xinsheng Church)
Minister Hu Changhong(Tongbai Guxian Church)
Elder Miao Aijun(Tongbai Nangang Church)
Pastor Yu Shuhua(Xinye Anshu Church)
Pastor Feng Xuezhi(Xinyang Enquan Church)
Pastor Xu Youbing(Xinyang Enxin Church)
Pastor Shu Wenxiang(Xinyang Enyu Church)
Pastor Guo Chunmei(Xinyang Baoshi Church)
Minister Zhang Cheng,Minister Yuan Paul(Xinyang Renai Church)
Minister Li Shouzhen,Minister Liu Xia(Xinyang Jianan Church)
Minister Zhou Chunyan,Minister Shu Mei(Xinyang Ganlan Church)
Minister Wang Xi(Xinyang Dongjiahe Church)
Minister Lu Jinwang(Xinyang Shuangjing Church)
Minister Wang Yan(Xinyang Jiaen Church)
Minister Hu Shihua(Xinyang Muen Church)
Minister Yu Farong(Xinyang Ganlin Church)
Minister Yang Yuxia(Xinyang Wushengguan Church)
Minister Zeng Yu(Xinyang Ganlu Church)
Pastor Wei Jindang(Zhengzhou Gusui Church)
Pastor Li Zijuan(Henan Yilin Church)
Pastor Ji Houjun(Zhengzhou Huoquan Church)
Pastor Yue Qunzeng(Zhengzhou Yongquan Church)
Pastor Wang Junping(Zhengzhou Mengen Church)
Pastor Ma Teng(Zhengzhou Zhongxing Church)
Minister Chen Lejia,Minister Yan Zuyuan(Yibin City Xuzhou District Emmanuel Church)
Minister Wong Lewen(Wenzhou Cangnan County Local Church)
Zhao Dewei and most fellow leaders(Beijing Songzhuang Fellowship of Artists)
Minister Li Jie(Linfen Covenant House Church)
Pastor Zeng Shenyuan(Chengdu Zijing Xuanjiao Church)
Minister Wang Wei(Ningxia Xuandao Church)
Pastor Chen Qichao(Beijing Dadisongge Church)
Elder Chen Defu, Minister Gu Peiying(Linyi Enyue Reformed Church)
Elder Kong Fanyong(Linyi Enquan Reformed Church)
Elder Zhu Yu, Minister Yan Shenglin(Rizhao Enzhao Reformed Church)
Minister Yang Yuming(Linyi Zhenai Church)
Pastor Jing Yucai(Yangzhou Bozhong Church)
Minister Chenhui(Deyang Shengminghe Mission)
Minister Wang Yongfei(Shenzhen Bantian Gospel Reformed Church)
Pastor Li Zhe(Beijing Qingganlan Church)
Minister Lin Zhisen,Minister Yang Haishan(Liaoyuan house church)
Minister Ding He(Tianjin Aizhijia church)

All pastors, elders, and ministers of Chinese churches are welcomed to co-sign the joint statement. Please include your church’s abbreviation. Send emails to earlyraincovenantchurch@gmail.com

1th edition: August 30, 2018; 2th edition: September 1, 2018; 3th edition: September 5, 2018; 4th edition: September 6, 2018;
**********************************************************

牧者联署:为基督信仰的声明(第三版,198位牧者)

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我们是中国的一群基督徒,被至高的上帝拣选,成为祂卑微的仆人,并在各城各乡作基督教会的牧者。

我们相信并有责任教导世人,一位又真又活的三一上帝,是宇宙、世界和地上各族的创造主,人应该敬拜上帝,而不应敬拜任何人和任何事物;相信并有责任教导世人,上自国家领袖,下至乞丐囚徒,人人都犯了罪,人人都有一死,死后且有公义的审判,若没有上帝的恩典和救赎,人人都将永远沉沦;相信并有责任教导世人,那位曾被钉死在十字架上、又复活了的耶稣,是全球教会的唯一元首,是全人类的唯一救主,也是全宇宙永远的统治者和最高的审判者,一切信祂、向祂悔改的人,上帝赐给他们永远的生命和永远的国度。

从2017年9月国务院颁布新的《宗教事务管理条例》以来,到2018年2月该条例执行以后,中国各地的基督教会,在公共敬拜和信仰实践上受到了来自政府部门的程度不一的逼迫、藐视和误解,甚至包括各种企图改造和扭曲基督教信仰的行政措施。其中一些粗暴的举动,是文革结束以来前所未有的。如拆毁教会建筑的十字架,粗暴干涉基督徒家庭悬挂、张贴的十字架和春联等信仰表达,强迫和威胁教会加入官方控制的宗教组织,强迫教会悬挂国旗或歌颂世俗国家、政党,禁止基督徒的未成年子女进入教会和接受信仰教育,剥夺和取缔教会和信徒的自由聚会等。

我们认为这些诉诸公权力的不义之举,使中国社会面临严重的政教冲突。这些行为违背了人类的信仰和良心自由、也有悖于普遍的法治原则。我们有责任告诉掌权者和全社会一个坏消息,那就是对人的灵魂的一切压制和对基督教会的一切迫害,都为上帝所憎恶,并必将受到上帝公义的责备和审判。

我们更有责任向掌权者和全社会传扬一个好消息,那就是上帝的独生儿子、人类的救主和君王耶稣,为了拯救我们罪人而曾被杀,埋葬,并以神的大能从死里复活,胜过了罪恶和死亡的权势。因着爱和怜悯,上帝为包括中国人在内的一切愿意相信耶稣的人都预备了赦免和救恩。在任何时候,任何人,都可以从任何罪恶中向主悔改,归向基督,敬畏上帝,使个人得着永远的生命,使家庭和国家蒙受上帝慷慨的祝福。

为信仰和良心的缘故,也为中国的掌权者和全社会的属灵益处,并最终为着上帝的荣耀、圣洁和公义,我们向中国政府及全社会作出如下声明:

1、在中国的基督教会,无条件地相信《圣经》是上帝的话语和启示,是一切公义、伦理和救恩的来源和最高权威。任何政党的意志、政府的立法和人的命令,若直接违背《圣经》的教导,损害人的灵魂和反对教会所信仰的福音,我们有责任顺从神、而不顺从人,也有责任如此教导教会的全体成员。

2、在中国的基督教会,始终仰慕和决心走基督的十字架道路,也乐意效法那些曾为信仰而受苦、殉道的中国教会的前辈圣徒,在任何情况下,我们都情愿和有责任以和平、忍耐和怜悯之心,承受来自政府和社会一切可能的逼迫、误解和暴力。因为当教会拒绝服从恶法时,不是出于任何政治目的,不是出于怨恨和对抗,乃是单单出于福音的要求,出于对中国社会的爱。

3、在中国的基督教会,愿意顺服上帝在中国设立的掌权者,尊重政府有管理社会和人的行为的权柄。我们相信并有责任教导教会的全体信徒,政府的权柄乃是出于神的,只要政府不越过《圣经》为世俗权力所设定的界限,即不干涉和侵犯一切关乎信仰和灵魂之事,基督徒就有责任尊敬掌权者,并热心为他们的益处祷告,也切切为中国社会祷告。甚至甘愿为福音的缘故,忍受不公平的执法所带来的一切外在损失;出于对同胞的爱而情愿放弃一切原本属于我们肉身上的权利。

4、为此,我们相信并有责任教导信徒,凡在中国属于基督的真教会,必当持守政教分立的原则和基督是教会唯一元首的立场。我们声明,教会愿意在外在行为上,如其他社会团体一样,接受民政或其他政府部门的依法管理;但在任何情况下,不带领教会加入官方控制的宗教组织,不带领教会在宗教管理部门登记,也不接受任何方式的挂靠。我们也不接受因信仰的缘故而对基督教会的“取缔”和“罚款”;并愿意为着福音的缘故,预备承担一切损失乃至失去自由和生命的代价。

牧者联署(共279人)

第一批29人:

王 怡牧师(成都秋雨圣约教会)
仰 华牧师(贵阳活石教会)
金明日牧师(北京锡安教会)
张晓峰牧师、孙毅长老、游冠辉长老(北京守望教会治委会)
黄小宁牧师(广州圣经归正教会)
窦绍文牧师(郑州磐石教会)
张春雷长老(贵阳仁爱归正教会)
温洪斌长老(成都溪水旁归正教会)
杨希伯传道(厦门巡司顶教会)
蒋建平传道(佛山橄榄树教会)
薛红根长老(成都郫都主恩归正教会)
查常平长老(成都生命之泉教会)
施尚标传道(漳州腓利之家教会)
李 涛牧师(昆明恩典教会)
申先锋牧师(武汉中福晨星堂)
唐伯虎长老(上海彩虹家归正教会)
崔 权牧师(上海万邦宣教教会)
苏耀荣牧师(台州天福归正教会)
王 腾传道(台州明道归正教会)
王昌以牧师(台州天台福音教会)
暨建羊长老(台州仙居蒙恩教会)
郭春雨牧师(长春临河之福归正教会)
李怜悯牧师(深圳沙井圣经归正教会)
庄志勇牧师(深圳华强北圣经归正教会)
陈景堂牧师(深圳桂芳园圣经归正教会)
黄 磊牧师(武汉下上堂教会)
张 勇牧师(长春阳光之家归正教会)

第二批(87人):
高丽俊牧师(温州望坤教会)
蔡景良传道(佛山橄榄树教会)
徐建伟传道(河北唐山堂)
姜添 传道(成都福音堂)
安彦魁传道(太原郇城归正教会)
郝 鸣长老(德阳秋雨青草地教会)
李子虎传道(成都秋雨恩约堂)
程章纯传道(成都秋雨迦南堂)
曹庆恩传道(成都邻溪树归正教会)
王天民传道(厦门新造教会)
王兆荣长老、万长春传道(蚌埠活石归正教会)
李迦勒牧师(北京导航之家教会)
黄益梓牧师(温州平阳凤卧教会)
林雅各牧师(贵阳蒙恩教会)
吴轶奇牧师(长春福音之光归正教会)
顾洪飞传道(北京爱宣教会)
徐之兵牧师(江苏灌云县四队中心堂)
彭 强牧师(成都恩福归正福音教会)
郑照北长老、任利传道、界守团传道(成都溪水旁归正福音教会)
江国成长老、彭玉安长老(仁寿恩惠归正福音教会)
刘茂林长老(临沂恩约归正教会)
阎小新长老(日照恩照归正教会 )
霍 伟长老(临沂恩泉归正教会)
陈 舜长老(临沂恩源归正布道所)
李荣泰长老(临沂恩临归正教会)
杨 斌传道(枣庄主恩堂教会)
刘红伟牧师(北京橄榄山教会)
林和生传道(成都芳邻教会)
刘志勇传道(西安祭台村磐石教会)
罗锐生传道(广州穗归正福音团契黄深江点)
叶新德传道(福建漳浦以琳之家归正教会)
孟永光传道(甘肃兰州晨星教会)
王梓晟传道(青岛积米崖教会)
黄文祐传道(香港中华基督教会)
陈惠珍传道(漳州龙海石码新城教会)
刘 洋牧师(西安信望爱教会)
孙 超传道(云南曲靖非拉铁非教会)
徐 梅牧师(西安恩泉教会)
董 志牧师(北京和睦佳教会)
梁永恩弟兄(大连市恩真教会)
巨大卫牧师(西安哈利路亚教会)
赵燕伟牧师(郑州钟爱教会)
任金彪牧师(河北泊头市宏恩堂)
黄 磊牧师(湖南岳阳市磐石圣经基督教会)
孙宏广牧师(吉林圣约真道教会)
朱乐海传道(张家界盼望基督教会)
张前进牧师(北京,宣教士)
高全福牧师(西安锡安之光教会)
郭 志牧师(东莞归正福音教会)
陈胜达传道(温州伯特利教会)
王兰青传道(山东临沂天城圣约教会)
郭易君牧师(北京恩道归正浸信会)
徐 峰传道(安徽阜阳男照兴起发光教会)
黄文广传道(深圳耶和华以勒教会)
李拣选传道(深圳感恩教会)
尹旭光传道(北京石景山曙光教会)
周云峰牧师(咸阳信望爱仰望教会)
杨赋立传道(石家庄弘道教会)
程超华教师(温州 神州布道团)
秦胜杰传道(河南八里庄教会)
王伟信教师(温州渔夫堂教会)
翁祥昆牧师(温州 神州布道团)
黄汉新牧师(温州 神州布道团)
王 枭传道(河南东郭村教会)
朱家好牧师(温州 神州布道团)
辛 义传道(大同利仁皂教会)
赵丽辉传道(大同利仁皂教会)
林金减牧师(温州 神州布道团)
严晓洁牧师(温州上江教会)
陈家福(陈大卫)传道(福州伯特利归正教会)
杜友长牧师(荆门橄榄山教会)
汪永诚牧师、冯光雄长老(神爱世人丰收教会)
阮大卫牧师(湛江更新教会)
管新元传道(江苏溧阳家庭教会)
赵若翰传道(河南喜获教会)
孙产力传道(湖北十堰荣光庇哩亚教会)
李友洪长老(成都生命之泉教会)
严熙夏长老、苏炳森长老、李英强长老、覃德富长老、张旭东传道(成都秋雨圣约教会)

第三批(80人):
王春智长老、廖衍涛长老、兰军安传道(成都恩福归正长老教会)
覃 韬传道(佛山方舟教会)
梁咏恩传道(大连市恩真教会)
陈显飞传道(北安圣约永道教会)
游冠达传道(厦门殿前教会)
李远飞传道(重庆栽道归正福音教会)
花家泉传道、杨振江传道(宁波城市恩典教会)
谭松华牧师(武汉房角石教会)
王正荣牧师(天津圣光归正教会)
毛志斌牧师、申凌长老(深圳三一福音丰收教会)
张 森长老(阜阳麦种归正教会)
李乐清传道(上饶余干古阜约书亚教会)
王林牧师、龙降恩牧师、高颖佳牧师、
尹会彬长老、李建军长老、简兆鹏长老、王君长老、叶雄进长老
田杨博传道、袁国深传道、王聪传道、郄佳富传道、陈勇传道、汪劲传道、张堃传道、陈如坦传道、刘桢彬传道、姜海林传道、杨俊传道、吴镝传道、崔建国传道、金海兰传道、耿朋朋传道、吴鸿飞传道、张永豪干事
(北京锡安教会)
王德生牧师(北京安华教会)
宋洪涛传道(邯郸恩典教会)
江守道牧师(山西省怀仁市圣爱教会)
梁君培牧师、张大卫牧师、毕国雄长老(香港基督路小教会)
任中志传道(美南浸信会耶路撒冷教会)
尹忠范传道(桂林迦南教会)
吕底亚传道(湖北硒都国度基督教会)
姚 昆传道(昆明田园里圣经教会)
李归圣传道(河南南阳家庭教会)
沈万众牧师(辽宁丹东耶中教会)
秦晨光传道(北京国门教会)
刘杨孙牧师(河南安阳教会)
郭利未传道(福建福清恩雨之家教会)
殷迦南牧师(上海中福基督教会)
王红忠牧师(长治牧宣教会)
黄 勇传道(成都恩福社区教会)
傅 军长老(成都生命之泉教会)
钟 正传道(新疆石河子基督教会)
杨建军长老(岳阳市磐石圣经基督教会)
胡会堂传道(东莞显明归正教会)
赵彰华传道(清远曙光福音堂教会)
覃祖正传道(南宁恩城教会)
赵 弸传道、许志强传道(郫县基督教会)
育培新传道(宣教士,四川宜宾)
胡摩西传道(浙江丽水新生命教会)
尹克山长老(临沂恩泉归正教会)
赵建新长老(临沂恩临归正教会)
李文卓传道(济南恩典之约归正教会)
范优才牧师(临沂三一圣约布道所)
安耀林传道、杨志刚传道(山西霍州教会)
李明华传道(山西太原青橄榄教会)
孙大文长老(天津锡安山教会)
桓满金牧师(淮南琴与炉教会)
安溪牧师(北京福音第一长老教会)
王世强传道(玉溪沐恩教会)
潘永光牧师、游广波长老、谢建庆长老(深圳改革宗圣道教会)

第四批(71人):

黄永辉牧师、郭有汉长老(唐河县复兴教会)
张孟侠传道(唐河县福乐教会)
史喜田传道、史书勤长老(唐河县恩崇教会)
崔丰三传道、徐兴义长老(唐河县永福教会)
刘宗勤传道 (社旗县福音教会)
李勤乐牧师、曾宪瑞传道(唐河县恩福教会)
催保存传道、杨炳琴传道(唐河县信爱之家教会)
田玉娇传道(唐河县王岗教会)
李玉荣传道、祝小梅传道(唐河县恩惠教会)
陈朝见传道(唐河县施恩教会)
宗世昂牧师(唐河县宣道教会)
王祥海长老、刘道书传道(唐河县恩雨教会)
刘道彩长老(唐河县恩惠教会)
张永成长老、毕爱云传道(唐河县恩膏教会)
任文涛长老(唐河县荣恩教会)
黄福平长老(唐河县恩荣教会)
冯 超长老(唐河县张店教会)
申庆克长老(唐河县申冲教会)
胡长林牧师(桐柏福源教会)
王明保牧师(桐柏同行教会)
姚明娟牧师(桐柏同心教会)
胡群星牧师(桐柏溢恩教会)
魏文国牧师(桐柏丰恩教会)
徐 燕传道(桐柏太山教会)
李建坡传道(桐柏毛集教会)
廖西芝传道(桐柏新生教会)
胡长红传道(桐柏固县教会)
苗爱军长老(桐柏南岗教会)
于书华牧师(新野安舒教会)
冯学智牧师(信阳恩泉教会)
徐友兵牧师(信阳恩信教会)
舒文祥牧师(信阳恩雨教会)
郭春梅牧师(信阳宝石教会)
张 成传道、袁保罗传道(信阳仁爱教会)
李寿珍传道、刘 霞传道(信阳迦南教会)
周春艳传道、书 梅传道(信阳橄榄教会)
王锡平传道(信阳董家河教会)
鲁金旺传道(信阳双井教会)
王 艳传道(信阳佳恩教会)
胡世华传道(信阳沐恩教会)
余法荣传道(信阳甘霖教会)
杨玉霞传道(信阳武胜关教会)
曾 玉传道(信阳甘露教会)
魏金党牧师(郑州谷穗教会)
李自娟牧师(河南以琳教会)
姬后军牧师(郑州活泉教会)
岳群增牧师(郑州涌泉教会)
王军平牧师(郑州蒙恩教会)
马 腾牧师(郑州中兴教会)
陈乐嘉传道、颜祖源传道(宜宾市叙州区以马內利教会)
翁乐文传道(温州苍南县地方教会)
赵德伟等绝大数同工(北京宋庄艺术家团契)
李 洁传道(临汾圣约家园教会)
曾深元牧师(成都紫荆宣教教会)
王 玮传道(宁夏宣道教会)
陈启超牧师(北京大地颂歌教会)
陈德夫长老(临沂恩约归正教会)
孔凡永长老(临沂恩泉归正教会)
朱 宇长老(日照恩照归正教会)
阎圣临传道(日照恩照归正教会)
顾沛迎传道(临沂恩约归正教会)
杨玉明传道(临沂真爱教会)
经玉才牧师(江苏扬州播种教会)
陈 辉传道(成都恩福教会德阳布道所)
王永飞传道(深圳坂田福音归正教会)
李 哲牧师(北京青橄榄教会)
林志森传道、杨海山传道(辽源家庭教会)
丁 贺传道(天津爱之家教会)

中国教会的牧师、长老或传道联署,请附所在教会的简称,致函:earlyraincovenantchurch@gmail.com

主后2018年8月30日第一版,9月1日第二版,9月5日第三版, 9月6日第四版。

 

Jesus Tackles All the Principles of the Prophets (Matt 23+) 5

The Rainbow Scaffold in Matthew, part 5

 (Light Green)

We have seen in previous pages that in Matthew 23-24 Christ warns people to repent, to take heed of the state of their souls. He shows that God uses his people to prove the hearts of the nations. Yahweh’s plan is moving forward, his measuring is sure.

Now we see that all creation is in on the story.  In all of Scripture we see that the natural world holds out for us a great message about God. We can see God’s character from reason and from proper consideration of the Earth and of the universe we live in.

The reaction of the sun, moon, and stars in verse 29 is almost a form of mourning. The darkening of the sky, the falling of stars, the shaking of the heavens, all of these are well-known portents of doom. These and more are “signs of the Son of Man.” Christ was born of woman, made of flesh and blood. He is of this earth. And yet he is of God, eternally-begotten of the Father. He is of God, fully and equal to God in his divine essence.

This is the one who will come on the clouds of heaven. This one-like-us, who now is bound to a resurrection body as we will have. This One comes with power and divine glory, and the angels of God announce him.



(Green)

God who is building his eternal temple through the church, who is measuring and weighing mankind as evidence that his people are indeed his people, this God finally gathers his elect “from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (v.31).

Do the angels know who God’s elect are?

Absolutely. It is clear from the books that have been written, it is clear from their habitual deeds (see v. 46). God’s people are not making it to heaven by their deeds. They made it into the camp of Covenant people through bending, through repentance (Up is Down, light blue).

But the evidence of the camp they are in is their deeds. The inside of the cup has been washed, by the blood of the Lamb. They are like Noah who entered the ark (v 37) while the rest of his generation was satisfied with their own wisdom (Wisdom of the Wise, red, v.38).

The blindness, the unawareness (v 39), resulted in their WOE. They were swept away because they did not heed the Ark, which was being built in front of them (Architect, green).

(Dark Blue)

While the entirety of Scripture teaches us the Character of God, often we see a clearly defined picture of the-way-God-is. In verse 35 this is what we see. Jesus Christ is declaring that he himself is the Eternal Word of God, and that his spoken words are equal to Yahweh’s eternal words.

What does that do to you? Does it send you into the apathetic camp? Or does it send you onto your knees in grateful devotion?

Choose this day. How does it filter you?

Final Word-This Present Happy Hell

The book of Matthew is not done, the sermon is not over.

Three parables remain (all of them “all or nothing” Separation Filters, yellow). After the Great Summary of Judgment Day, the scene drastically changes and we Behold His Love. We will discuss these in another series.

But here Christ prepares us for the ultimate proof of life being about Separation Filters by verse 45 and following:

Do what you’re supposed to be doing,” says Christ.

It will go well for you if you do. And, as he says in John 14:23, if you love him you will be obeying him. This is the evidence of a life of faith: obedience. We are saved by grace, by faith. But faith without deeds is dead.

Time tests us; life is a test; this delay between Atonement and Judgment Day is testing us.

Do what you’re supposed to be doing, even if it seems the master is not coming. Verses 38 and 49 warn us of the wrong kinds of attitudes and priorities. “The love of most will grow cold” (24:12). How’s your love?

This Happy Hell we live in is filled with beautiful things. Like Vanity Fair in Pilgrim’s Progress, there are many things to lull us away from faithful following of Christ.

Is Christ your only joy? Is he your great treasure?

Purple, Green, Orange, Light Blue, Light Green, Dark Blue, Yellow, Pink, Brown–all these represent circumstances in life that are weighing, testing, and sifting whether or not you love God.

What you are is proven by your deeds.

What do your deeds say about you?

Where do you place your hope?

What do you love? 

What are you? 


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Jesus Tackles All the Principles of the Prophets (Matt 23+) 4

The Rainbow Scaffold in Matthew, part 4

(Purple)

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. How he was for Jacob is how he is for us. His plans and intentions back then have not changed.

Time words in Scripture reflect this over-arching character of God’s function in time, showing his purpose and plans.

The WHEN of verse 15 reminds us of God’s great plan that will be carried out.

From the beginning to the end, God’s intended outcome will come about.

  • Daniel spoke of it (past),
  • it is yet to be seen (future),
  • Christ prophecies that God intended to have things this way.

Things will not go well for God’s people, and that has always been part of God’s plan.

But WHY did God intend for suffering–for tribulation–on his people? This is the GREAT MESSAGE of my book That Darn Tree (Coming Soon!). In Matthew we can see it laid out in purple. It’s a part of the plan.

 


(Orange) GOD

Thankfully, Covenant-keeping God will keep it in restraint; those days “will be cut short.”

We see this same end in Revelation 6, when the NUMBER of those slain for Christ is COMPLETE (Architect, green).

The books are being written (Dan 7:10, Rev 20:12); the deeds the nations commit against God’s people are being logged, until the number of those who they’ve hurt is complete. The weight will be full.

(Orange) PRO vs CON

Note that it is God’s people who will be assaulted by the nations. Because they are his people. It’s not random. Covenant-keepers are assaulted by the Covenant-haters. Those who refuse to bend, who refuse to Kiss the Son, who refuse to hide under his wings (see v. 37 above), hate Orange. They hate God and all that he stands for.

Of course, as “children of hell” (v. 15) they have the priorities and affections of hell. So they assault that which God values. Being the Church makes us the target. We are the beloved Bride. We are the breakable, where Yahweh is unbreakable. They hate him, so they assault that which he loves with an unbreakable love.

There are ways out of the assault:

  • Denial of Christ is a sure means to no longer be a target to God-haters.
  • A lukewarm approach to Covenant is also a way to no longer be a target.
  • Following false-messiahs whose ideas tickle your ears is another way to avoid being a target for Covenant.

But a quick-out is not what we are after. He says many times, “they will persecute you.”

Christ called his people to love their enemies, to bless those who curse them, to turn the other cheek, to “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Because from their midst will come the last believers. Another number that must be fulfilled. History shows that a suffering Church quickly reaps a harvest of new believers.

And you, what do you think about suffering for the name of Christ? Is it worth it? Is he worth it?

How does the Covenant filter you? All or Nothing. Are you in?

(Purple)

This world will sort us. These events of the last days will prove who is the Church. Christ’s comments to the Churches in Revelation also show this–what you do proves if you are his.

As natural as vultures gathering at a corpse–and as natural as watching said vultures repulses humans–people naturally shift into their camps.

Revelation 22:11 puts it this way: “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” We are what we are. Except…

…while there is today, we can change. Down is Up and Up is Down-light blue. Repent and you shall be saved. God’s plan allows us time to decide. But time is short. Nature and the fig tree tells us this.

(Light Green)–click on–


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Jesus Tackles All the Principles of the Prophets (Matt 23+) 3

The Rainbow Scaffold in Matthew, part 3

(Orange) GOD

The amazing SIMILE of the HEN deserves its own posting. (Link Will Be Here). Despite of the way Israel unfaithfully treated both Yahweh and his prophets, Yahweh remains open and willing to keep his side of the Covenant–for the sake of the remnant. He is waiting with open-arms for the prodigal to return. Christ here bemoans their ignorant refusal to come, their refusal to go DOWN in repentance and humility that they may be brought up as Adopted Children of God. Yet God is no-matter-what faithful to his Covenant. Orange shows God in this act of faithful love. The prodigal he waits for WILL return. And the ones who will never come have the kindness of his forbearance.

Christ’s grief at the stiff-necked rejection, though he knew all but the remnant would be that way, is framed with Brown and Yellow.

(Brown)

Suffering forces a divide. We either come to God with expectant, hopeful, and humble hearts, or we shake our fist at him and curse him. The desolation of the House of Israel came because they had rejected Yahweh. Verse 38 is a warning that WOE will follow any failed test, any failure to measure up.

(Yellow)

Yellow shows that ultimately their response to his prophets was a sorting mechanism. Verse 39 declares that everyone knows there is a right way and a wrong way. “(Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father).”

They will call upon him, in the end. He is still calling out for those who will turn and repent, before it’s too late.

God’s tests sort people into ultimately two camps. Romans 1 reminds us that it is common knowledge.

(Purple) –click on–


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Jesus Tackles All the Principles of the Prophets (Matt 23+) 2

The Rainbow Scaffold in Matthew, part 2

(Green)

Christ notes the weights and measures he, as Judge, will compare them to: Justice, Mercy and Faithfulness.

The scribes and Pharisees would weigh out the exact amount they owed to God. Christ points out how useless that exact measurement was compared to the weight of their sin.

Throughout Scripture, God uses math terms to show that he is measuring and weighing our deeds, comparing them to a standard. Knowing that “average” is not good enough is crucial for salvation. You have to match his requirements. Exactly.

The only way to meet his requirements is by going DOWN, and Christ will lift you up. Listening to Christ we can find how to clean the inside of the cup. By kissing the Son, by being found in him, we can gain a different category.

Appearances do not cut it (v.28). God is using his own standards, which will result in failure and condemnation.

In verse 32, the word “measure” refers to a scale God is using to weigh out the punishment the “fathers” had earned, and if the scribes and Pharisees did not repent that measure would be theirs as well.

Because they were sentenced to hell, “therefore” (v.34) God sent them prophets, to warn them.

Below, in verse 2 we see hints of that greater Temple Christ was going to build, the City not built with human hands. Ezekiel’s Temple, which was made up of the faithful who had been measured and approved.

You are being measured and tested. Do you know how to measure up? Do you know what God is looking for?

(Orange) CON

God’s Covenant is a Separation Filter. The requirements of the Covenant will push people into a camp, reflecting their essential character.

Are you drawn to the Covenant-keeping God, or are you repulsed by him and his people?

In verses 34-35, Christ points out that truth-speaking prophets and wise men have been sent, and will be sent.

Note, Christ states he himself will send the prophets, and that his prophets will be equal both to Abel, the first prophet, and to all those who were mistreated in the Old Testament. He is declaring his divinity here! (Character of God, blue)

Those who carry a Covenant message present onlookers with a choice.

Will you bend to the words they carry? Will you show them respect and love? Or will you hurt them?

How we treat the Church of Christ reflects who we are. In this case, those who come are broken men who have been required to carry a message. Old Testament prophets always claimed a feeling of unsuitability to the task, yet they obeyed.

How do you treat those who carry the Covenant message? Christ has chosen his Church, faulty as it is, to carry something precious. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Cor 4:7-9). Ambassadors of the King, while not the king, are to be treated as the representative of that King.

Look below at verse 37. We hear echoes of the story two chapters earlier (Matt 21:33-41), where the prophets and the son himself are killed by those tending the vineyard.


(Orange) GOD–next verses–

 


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5