The Hem of the Savior’s Garment

Chickens, Boaz and Tears: Three Things that will Save your Eternal Life.

Have you ever seriously considered the verse, “Away from me, I never knew you!” ?

The Lord Jesus uses this warning in Matt 7:21-23 to show that not everyone who thinks they are saved will actually be saved.

But have you ever thought that MAYBE you might hear those words from the Lord’s lips? Does the thought strike fear into you?

In our Social Studies class this month we are studying the American Colonial times, and of course the Salem Witch trials come up. Many people accused of witchcraft were excommunicated from the Church, namely being told they were no longer saved.

In our PostChristian environment today, most people don’t give credence to the right of the Church to excommunicate its members.

But Scripture shows the authority Spirit-filled church leaders have to turn their members “over to Satan.” So those in 1692 Salem accused of witchcraft and their families all believed the convicted had likewise been deprived of salvation.

Can that happen? Really?

Another big question is about the “unforgivable sin.” Maybe you think you have committed it. You may be asking yourself, “Have I committed the unforgivable sin? Is what I have done too big now for Christ to forgive?”

What do I have to do to lose my salvation? What does one look like who will hear on Judgment Day, “Away from me, I never knew you”?

Or, more likely what you are asking, “How can I make sure that’s not me?”

I have good news for you today. You can know and be sure that you will never be discarded by God. You can have certainty. But it is costly and it is hard.

The answer is in the idea: Up is Down and Down is Up. But to understand this, we must understand Covenant.

A key aspect of the Bible, God’s Covenant with us, is expressed vividly in the Old Testament. Nature provides many examples of God’s principles (because Heavens Declare the glory of God).

One of the most poignant images, used repeatedly in Scripture, is that of the wings of God, which metaphorically represent his protective covering.



Behold what Psalms says:

Ps 91:1–2
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Ps 17:8
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,

Ps 57:1
…for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,

Ps 61:4
Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah

Ps 63:7
…for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

Christ’s Desire

Jesus wept over Jerusalem as he spoke of his desire to bring comfort and safety to God’s people. He used the same imagery used of God in the OT.

Mt 23:37
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

Lk 13:34
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!



The word for wing is also the word for garment. In Hebrew the word is kanaph (כָּנָף).

So we see in Ezekiel 16:8:
I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord GOD, and you became mine.



The Sick Woman

The story of the sick woman taps into this same imagery.

Matthew 9:20-21
And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.”

Mark 6:56
And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

Reasons for the sick touching the edge of Christ’s robe.

Several places in Scripture show us the thought behind sick people trying to touch Christ’s garment.

Zech 8:23
This is what the LORD Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'”

As we saw above, the Hebrew word for robe matches the word for wings, repeated many times in the Psalms. Taking hold of Christ’s robe was an ancient analogy for “attaching oneself to the party of his lord.”

They were humbling themselves before God, asking for mercy.

Down is Up. This is another way of saying “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Pet 5:6, NIV).

Bend down, bow, kneel, humble yourself…admit you are inadequate to the task…confess that HE is your only hope. Go down. God gives grace to the humble. But he opposes the proud. (1 Pet 5:5, James 4:6). Up is Down and Down is Up. If you go UP–if you insist on doing it your own way, sure you can do it yourself, lifting your chin and defying your need for God, that is the surest way “DOWN” to death and destruction, in the end.

But if you go Down, he will lift you Up.

Which means he will bring you into his eternal Covenant.

Nowhere is this more clear than the story of Ruth and Boaz.


The Book of Ruth holds the greatest clue for us, showing the relationship between redemption and the edge of the garment. Showing the certainty of the Covenant.

It’s a strange story, and one scandal-seekers love to point at while wiggling their eyebrows. But Ruth’s visit to the threshing floor was a demonstration for us of what a kinsman-redeemer is for humanity.

Ru 2:12
The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”

Already, Boaz had raised the topic of coming under the “wings” of God. Now, Naomi encourages Ruth to demonstrate the need for Boaz’s specific “wings,” as her protector, redeemer, and savior.

Ru 3:7–9
[Boaz] went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”

She had put herself under the edge of his garment. She desired covenant.

She desired him to be her guardian, her lord, her escape from a helpless situation.

Do you See it Yet?

It’s your only escape. The world may condemn you, they may falsely accuse you, or rightly accuse you. You will also accuse yourself of committing the unforgivable sin.

But where is your hope?

We will never live up to the life Christ lived. That’s the reason we needed a Savior.

But where is your hope?

Do you, after needing Christ for salvation, now attempt to reach perfection by works? (Gal 3:3) It won’t happen. We will produce fruit only as the Spirit enables us. As we abide we will be changed into his image.

But we are all going to fail this broken world.

You will have some up days, and down days. But as Billy Graham said, most of life is the valleys. We are not building our kingdom here. This broken world is not our home. We have hope in a kingdom not built by human hands. (Heb 11)

And when we consider Judgment Day…

…when we consider if he might could possibly accuse us of not being his,

…there is only one safe place to be found.

There is only one place to hide safely:

One vantage point from which to view the Great Assize, the Great Courtcase.



Hide from sorrow. Hide from failure. Hide from the law of sin in you waging war against the law of grace.

He is our only hope.

Under his wings we will find refuge. Hide under the edge of his garment.

On Judgment Day, DIVE DOWN under his garment. For under his wings you will find refuge. Under his wings you will be safe.

So What About Being a Witch?

We all are witchy. We, none of us, will ever satisfy God completely and thoroughly. We are broken people in a broken world.

Say to yourself out loud, “I am not my hope.”

They will not be pleased with you. Your righteous desires will not be pleased with you. God will not be pleased with “you.” 

But when the Father sees you, hiding there under the shadow of Christ’s garment, hiding under Christ’s righteous garment, he’ll shine his face on you.

That’s where the Father and the Son and the Spirit wanted you all along.

For more amazing Bible verses on this topic, click here: Shadow of the Almighty


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.


“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


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

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














王 怡牧师(成都秋雨圣约教会)
仰 华牧师(贵阳活石教会)
李 涛牧师(昆明恩典教会)
崔 权牧师(上海万邦宣教教会)
王 腾传道(台州明道归正教会)
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)

姜添 传道(成都福音堂)
郝 鸣长老(德阳秋雨青草地教会)
彭 强牧师(成都恩福归正福音教会)
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)
杨 斌传道(枣庄主恩堂教会)
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)
黄 磊牧师(湖南岳阳市磐石圣经基督教会)
郭 志牧师(东莞归正福音教会)
徐 峰传道(安徽阜阳男照兴起发光教会)
程超华教师(温州 神州布道团)
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)
林金减牧师(温州 神州布道团)

覃 韬传道(佛山方舟教会)
张 森长老(阜阳麦种归正教会)
姚 昆传道(昆明田园里圣经教会)
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)
赵 弸传道、许志强传道(郫县基督教会)


刘宗勤传道 (社旗县福音教会)
冯 超长老(唐河县张店教会)
徐 燕传道(桐柏太山教会)
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 艳传道(信阳佳恩教会)
曾 玉传道(信阳甘露教会)
马 腾牧师(郑州中兴教会)
李 洁传道(临汾圣约家园教会)
王 玮传道(宁夏宣道教会)
朱 宇长老(日照恩照归正教会)
陈 辉传道(成都恩福教会德阳布道所)
李 哲牧师(北京青橄榄教会)
丁 贺传道(天津爱之家教会)


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.


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


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?


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.


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 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


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

Jesus Tackles All the Principles of the Prophets (Matt 23+) 1

The Rainbow Scaffold in Matthew, part 1

I love it when all the Principles of the Prophets, or the whole Rainbow Scaffold, is found in one passage.

(If you are unaware of my ongoing Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin Video series, click here for an overview).

Here, in Matthew, just before the events of Passion Week, Christ has a final word. He lays it all out.

The Lord begins this section with WOES upon the scribes and the Pharisees. Starting here, he tags each of the Rainbow Strand principles. The OT Woes against Israel and the nations around at the time were saturated in these same ideas: beware, Judgment Day is nigh. The measures God uses to weigh and test the heart are laid out by Christ here in Matthew.

Christ is saying what had been said all along.

 (Light Blue)

Jesus begins this passage by supporting both Scripture and the teaching of it. But he criticizes the methods of the scribes and Pharisees. They burdened the people with “hard to bear” weight of obedience without understanding the heart of the law.

For the Pharisees, deeds made you right before God.

The Lord Jesus counters this idea here and in the following two chapters. He teaches rather that your actions and intentions reveal whether or not you love God. They do not in themselves make you right with God. True good deeds are proof of the presence of something else: love.

The Pharisees attempted to be justified by their deeds, but the opposite resulted: a righteousness contest they would automatically fail. Proverbs 16:18 says simply: “Pride comes before a fall and a haughty spirit before destruction” (Up is Down, light blue) .

Christ begins this diatribe with an attack on pride, commending humility before God.

Many verses in Scripture repeat this idea: by going DOWN, in humility and repentance, we will find grace in the sight of God.

For the scribes and Pharisees, their pride was the great thing they needed to repent of. Because Up is Down. By going up in self-exaltation, they ended up brought low. The next verses Christ calls them out as “whitewashed tombs,” “hypocrites,” “serpents, brood of vipers.”

Imagine you are a God-fearing scribe or Pharisee and Christ says this to you. Imagine he is saying this to you today. How do you see his words? Are you angry, denying that he has a right to say this to you? “Who are you, Jesus of Nazareth, to insult my godliness? I’m as good as the next guy. God will have to forgive my sins. What does he expect, anyway?”

Or do you find in his words an ECHO of the Prophets? Do you look inside yourself and hunt down your hypocrisy and your dead-bones? Do his words bring you to your knees in fear and trembling?

What does your attitude say about you? Before God are you full of pride and self-confidence or full of humility and repentance?


The world values something different than humility. Light was the first thing God spoke into being. “Let there be light,” (Gen 1:1-3).

John 1 shows that the WORD and TRUTH was also LIGHT. And when Paul was chastised and called to repentance on the road to Emmaus, he was struck blind to show he was missing the light of truth. True wisdom aligns itself with God’s revelation, including truth of Christ.

On the other hand, the World’s Wisdom  broadcasts what is contrary to God and his principles.

Christ says the scribes and Pharisees are blind. They are blind leading the blind, “blind guides.”

And yet he offers them hope. He gives instruction for how to come to the light: “Clean the inside of the cup,” (light blue again!).

For if they go UP in pride, continuing on that path, they will go DOWN, proving they are “a child of hell” (v.15). Up is Down but Down is Up.

For “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (Prov 3:34, Gk).”

 (Green) (click to read on)


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