The Fourth Commandment

fourth commandment

The Fourth Commandment

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11

The Sabbath and Legalism

Is it legalistic, as some people say, to keep the Sabbath holy? Wasn’t the “law nailed to the cross” and made obsolete?

In answering these questions, let’s first look at what “legalistic” means. In a biblical sense, it means trying to earn salvation by one’s works. The Bible tells us in plain terms, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). This fact is confirmed many times in the New Testament. No one can earn salvation, and it is futile to try. But is keeping the Sabbath, or any of God’s other commandments, an attempt to earn salvation?

Actually, it is possible to keep the Ten Commandments with an incorrect attitude, as did many Pharisees in Jesus’ day. They took pride in keeping the law and believed it made them good enough to be saved—that’s legalism. But, notice, it wasn’t the keeping of the commandments that was legalism, only their self-righteous attitude.

In contrast, those who have a loving, heart-changing relationship with the Lord know the commandments can’t save them; they keep His commandments, all ten of them, to please Him and to help make the world a better place.

Now let’s consider the second question. The idea of the law being “nailed to the cross” comes from Colossians 2:14: “Having wiped out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Could this verse be talking about the Ten Commandments? The apostle Paul, who wrote this passage, makes it plain in other verses that the answer is “no.” In fact, in many places he goes to great lengths to emphasize the importance of keeping God’s law. For instance, he writes, “For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified” (Romans 2:13). And again, In Romans 3:31, we read, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid! On the contrary, we establish the law.” James also writes of the importance of obeying God’s law (see James 1:22-25).

So what is the “handwriting of ordinances” referred to in Colossians 2? Another verse on the same topic sheds light on this question. “Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances” (Ephesians 2:15). The ordinances were contained in the law of Moses. The law handwritten by Moses was meant to be temporary – shadows pointing to the coming Messiah – while the Ten Commandments, etched in stone by God’s own finger, were meant to stand forever. Even their storage location evidences their difference. The Ten Commandments are stored under the mercy seat, inside the arc of the covenant. Moses’ handwriting of ordinances which foreshadowed the coming of the Messiah, were stored in a pouch on the side of the arc of the covenant.

Finally, Jesus kept the Sabbath holy. And just hours before His crucifixion, He instructed His disciples, “If you love Me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). And at the end of the age, before His second coming, He tells us in Revelation 14:12 “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Does that sound like He was about to abolish them?

It can never be legalism to keep God’s Ten Commandments out of obedience and love for Him!

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idolatry, n. L. idololatria. Gr. idol, and to worship or serve.

1. The worship of idols, images, or any thing made by hands, or which is not God.

Idolatry is of two kinds; the worship of images, statues, pictures, etc. made by hands; and the worship of the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon and stars, or of demons, angels, men and animals.

2. Excessive attachment or veneration for any thing, or that which borders on adoration.

We might think of Old Testament Daniel cast into the lion’s den, or Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, when they refused to bow down to the king or his golden image because it would be in violation of God’s first and second commandments; however, the worship of false gods and idols is still practiced by many today, and the second kind is practiced by most, including many professed Christians.

The first four of the Ten Commandments, written on the first tablet of stone, relate specifically to our relationship with God. The remaining six on the second tablet of stone relate specifically to our relationships with each other. Idolatry is the subject specifically of the second commandment, but is also an aspect of the first, since those practicing idolatry are worshipping other gods. It is also breaking the seventh commandment by committing spiritual adultery against God, which is why God calls idolaters harlots and says they go a whoring after other gods.

First Commandment (Exodus 20:3): Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Today’s gods include, but are not limited to:

1) Worshipping at the altar of materialism which feeds our need to build up our egos through the acquisition of more “stuff”, which necessitates bigger houses with more storage space to accommodate all the things we buy, much of which we haven’t even paid for yet.

2) Worshipping at the altar of our own pride and ego, which often takes the form of obsession with job, vocation, profession, avocation, and good works.

3) Idolizing mankind through naturalism and the power of science – clinging to the illusion that we are lords of our world, and building our self-esteem to godlike proportions while rejecting God’s Word and His description of how He created the heavens and the earth – accepting the nonsense of atheistic evolution and naturalism. We embrace the goddess of environmentalism and fool ourselves into believing somehow our efforts can preserve the earth indefinitely when God has declared that this current age will come to an end, and His word is always true.

4) Worshipping at the altar of self-aggrandizement or the fulfillment of self to the exclusion of others needs and desires, which often manifests itself in self-indulgence through alcohol, drugs, and food. The worship of self is the basis of all modern idolatry, and has at its core the three lusts found in 1 John 2:16: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” If we are to escape modern idolatry, we have to acknowledge it is rampant and reject it in all its forms – it is not of God, but of Satan, and in it we will never find fulfillment, only condemnation.

Second Commandment (Exodus 20:4-6): Thou shalt not make (make with the intent to give idolatrous worship) unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them (perform any worship of them, show any reverence to them by any gesture of the body – one being mentioned, bowing the body – prostration, bending the knee, kissing the hand, lifting up of hands or eyes to them, or by any outward action expressing a religious esteem of them, as if there was divinity in them): for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God (jealous of His own honour, “who will not see His glory given to another, nor His praise given to graven images”, See Isaiah 42:8, 48:11, or allow rivals to dispute His sole and absolute sovereignty), visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me (denotes those who persistently and defiantly oppose themselves to God); 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Very simple: God does not want us to make and bow down before – that is worship – images, statues, carvings, likenesses of anything in heaven, on earth, or in the sea. God equates this with hating Him, and placing ourselves in opposition to him is not something we should ever want to do.)

Third Commandment (Exodus 20:7): Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (God’s nature and attributes, the totality of His being, and especially His glory are reflected in His name (Psalm 8:1). Psalm 111:9 tells us His name is “holy and awesome,” and the Lord’s prayer begins by addressing God with the phrase “hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9), an indication that a reverence for God and His name should be foremost in our prayers. Too often we barge into God’s presence with presumptuous “to-do lists” for Him, without being mindful of His holiness, His awesomeness, and the vast chasm that separates our nature from His. That we are even allowed to come before His throne is due only to His gracious, merciful love for His own (Hebrews 4:16). We must never take that grace for granted. Because of the greatness of the name of God, any use of God’s name that brings dishonor on Him or on His character is taking His name in vain. The third of the Ten Commandments forbids taking or using the Lord’s name in an irreverent manner because that would indicate a lack of respect for God Himself. A person who misuses God’s name will not be held “guiltless” by the Lord (Exodus 20:7).

There is a larger sense in which people today take the Lord’s name in vain. Those who name the name of Christ, who pray in His name, and who take His name as part of their identity, but who deliberately and continually disobey His commands, are taking His name in vain. Jesus Christ has been given the name above all names, at which every knee shall bow (Philippians 2:9-10), and when we take the name “Christian” upon ourselves, we must do so with an understanding of all that signifies. If we profess to be Christians, but act, think, and speak in a worldly or profane manner, we take His name in vain. When we misrepresent Christ, either intentionally or through ignorance of the Christian faith as proclaimed in Scripture, we take the Lord’s name in vain. When we say we love Him, but do not do what He commands (Luke 6:46), we take His name in vain and are possibly identifying ourselves with those to whom Christ will say: “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlesness!” in the day of judgment (Matthew 7:23). The name of the Lord is holy, as He is holy. The name of the Lord is a representation of His glory, His majesty, and His supreme deity. We are to esteem and honor His name as we revere and glorify God Himself. To do any less is to take His name in vain.)

Fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8-1): Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

(This commandment requires a whole separate post to itself.)

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The Guest

The Guest!

(Author unknown)

A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in our family. Mom taught me to love the Word of God. Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger was our storyteller–he could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spellbound for hours each evening.

He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies, and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars.

The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn’t seem to mind, but sometimes Mom would quietly get up–while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places–and go to her room and read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave. My Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt an obligation to honor them.

Profanity was not allowed in our house–not from us, our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used four-letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge, the stranger was never confronted.

Dad didn’t permit alcohol in his home. But the stranger enlightened us to other ways of life. He often offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages. He made cigarettes look appealing, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished.

He talked freely about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man/woman relationship were influenced by the stranger.

I believe it was only by the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us even more. Time after time he opposed my parents’ values. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave.

More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad now, as he was in those early years. But if I were to walk into my parents’ home today, I would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk, and watch him draw his pictures. His name? We always called him TV.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Eternal Security!
Charles Spurgeon, very insightful.
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Spirit of Greed

out of his league_edited

Often, greed opens the door to other sins and we find ourselves falling farther from God and what He has for our lives. We must be careful to protect our hearts and minds against greed and to practice contentment. Not only to live satisfied and thankful for what God has given us, but also in being generous in giving.

We need to understand that Paul wrote Colossians to average Christians in an average small-town church. He told them that they must put to death their sinful nature with regard to “greed, which amounts to idolatry” (Col. 3:5). If greed was a problem for them in that culture, then surely we who live in this prosperous nation, must come to grips with greed.

Greed whispers in our ear that we would be happier if we had more money, more things, and more power. It creates discontent and a growing desire to do whatever it takes to gain position and possessions. But the Bible commands us to trust in God, not in “uncertain riches” (1 Timothy 6:17). Paul told Timothy that the way to overcome greed is to flee from it and to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11). And those “who are rich in this present age,” who have more than is needed, should “be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share” (vv.17-18).

Contentment and generosity are the opposite of greed (vv.6-8). As we learn to thank God for what we have and freely share it with others, we stop trying to fill the spiritual vacuum in our heart with things. And when we love Jesus more than money and possessions, we find that He is the greatest treasure of our lives. We discover that knowing Him is the source of genuine satisfaction. The best remedy for greed is generosity.

1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”

Mathew 6:19-20 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Luke 12:15 “And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of greed, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

1 Corinthians 6:10 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Proverbs 28:25 The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the LORD will prosper.”

1 Timothy 6:6-10 “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

1 Timothy 6:17-19 “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

Acts 20:35 “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

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Understanding the Ten Commandments

ten commandments

Understanding the proper relationship between the law and the gospel results in a deep appreciation for forgiveness, true conversion, and choosing to “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” Revelation 14:12.

“’Teacher, which is the greatest Commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'” Matthew 22:36-40. Jesus is quoting here from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. By fulfilling these two commands, we cannot help but keep all of the others, for these two summarize the Ten Commandments, as well as the Old Testament moral laws.

This is a very good, detailed study of the Ten Commandments by Steve Wohlberg – portions quoted below.

The Law of Sacrifices was Abolished, Not the Big Ten by Steve Wohlberg

There was a “law” that was separate from the Ten Commandments. It was written by Moses and involved “sacrifices… and burnt offerings … offered by the law” (Hebrews 10:1,8). Called “a shadow of good things to come” (vs. 1), its “sacrifices” pointed forward to the great Sacrifice, Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ died, this “shadow” ceased. Jesus Christ “abolished … the law of commandments contained in ordinances” (Ephesians 2:15). We know this is talking about “the law of sacrifices,” and not the Ten Commandments, because in the same book (Ephesians), Paul quoted the 5th commandment, “Honor thy father and mother,” as being in full force for Christians today (see Ephesians 6:1-3). “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us … nailing it to his cross” (Colossians 2:14). Some apply this verse to the Ten Commandments, but this is a mistake. Notice carefully that the “ordinances” mentioned here that were nailed to the cross were “the handwriting of ordinances.” The “handwriting” refers to the law that Moses wrote with his hand in a book (Deut. 31:24-26), and not what God wrote with His finger on “two tables of stone” (Exodus 31:18).

The following verses show the clear distinction between “the law of sacrifices” written by Moses (which were abolished) and the Ten Commandments (which endure forever):

The Ten Commandments                                  The Law of Moses

Written by God. Exod. 24:12                                Written by Moses. Deut. 31:9

The finger of God. Exod. 31:18                            The hand of Moses. Deut. 31:24

Written on stone. Exod. 31:18                             Written in a book. Deut. 31:24

Placed in the ark. Deut. 10:1-5                             In the side of the ark. Deut. 31:26

Royal law of liberty. James 2:8-12                       Law of ordinances. Eph. 2:15

Moral precepts. Exod. 20                                       Ritual matters. Deut. 31:24

We should keep. James 2:12                                 We should not keep. Acts 15:24

Judges all men. James 2:12                                    Judges no man. Col. 2:16

Spiritual. Romans 7:12-14                                     Carnal. Heb. 7:16; 9:10

Christ magnified. Isa. 42:21                                   Christ abolished. Col. 2:14; Eph. 2:15

Established by faith. Romans 3:31                        Blotted out by Christ. Col. 2:14

When Jesus Christ died, He caused “the sacrifice … to cease” (Dan. 9:27). But the Ten Commandments can never “cease.” They’re on “two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18) and still exist in the original “ark” in the heavenly temple (read Revelation 11:19).

Twisted Text – Galatians 5:3,4 (A Debtor to the Whole Law)

Paul wrote, “And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” This is 100% true. Those who seek to be “justified,” which means “set right,” with God by the law remain condemned as lawbreakers (see Romans 3:19,20) for the simple reason that “all have sinned” (see Romans 3:23) and broken the Ten Commandments in the first place. When people trust in the law, or in their own efforts to keep it, they invariably remain under a crushing “debt” to God Himself they can never pay. The only deliverance from such bondage is by repentance and simple faith in Jesus Christ alone.

But once again, the question is: now what about the law? Are we free to keep breaking it? In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul then lists “the works of the flesh,” which include “adultery” (breaking the 7th commandment), “idolatry” (breaking the 2nd commandment), and “murder” (breaking the 6th commandment), and then he shockingly warns that “those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (verse 21). In other words, no, the law doesn’t save us, but neither can we continue to willingly violate it and expect to go to heaven. Then in verses 22 and 23 Paul lists “the fruit of the Spirit” specifically, and summarizes by saying, “against such there is no law” (verse 23). In other words, there is “no law” of God that is against love, joy and peace, but His law is still against idolatry, adultery, and murder.

Thus a careful reading of Galatians 5 lends no support to the false notion that we are now free to violate any one of the Ten Commandments. On the contrary, those who are truly filled with the Holy Spirit will keep them. Read Romans 8:4.

The Curse of the Law and the Gospel by Steve Wohlberg

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'” (Galatians 3:13). This verse is often interpreted as an argument against God’s law and in favor of Jesus Christ. This is a gross perversion of it’s meaning. Here is what it means, and what it doesn’t mean.

“The curse of the law” hangs over those who break the law (see Deuteronomy 28:15). “The curse of the law” is “death” (compare 1 John 3:4 with Romans 6:23). Death is pronounced upon all those who break God’s law of Ten Commandments because that law is so perfect, so holy, so unchangeable (see Romans 7:12), and so eternal (being written on stone, Exodus 31:18), that all lawbreakers are justly condemned to die for violating its holy principles. Thus is not an argument against God’s law, but in favor of it.

The Good News is that Jesus Christ willingly took the horror of “the curse of the law” and became “a curse for us.” Because of what Jesus did for us on Calvary, we can repent of our sins, have faith in Him, be fully forgiven, and thus stand before God’s law as if we never sinned (see Romans 3:26). Far from abolishing God’s law, the death of Jesus Christ establishes its holiness and eternal validity (Romans 3:31).


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The Mockingbird of Pentecost

father and son mockingbirds_edited

It is said that mature mockingbirds know hundred of songs; but he is not mocking those songs, he is mimicing them. Mimus polyglottus is his biological name, which means “’many-tongued mimic”. Although many species of bird imitate the vocalizations of other birds, the northern mockingbird is the best known in North America for doing so. Among the species imitated are Carolina wren, northern cardinal, tufted titmouse, eastern towhee, house sparrow, wood thrush, eastern bluebird, northern flicker, great crested flycatcher, blue jay, and the American robin. It would be interesting to know if these other birds understand what the mockingbird is saying when he mimics their song.

On the day of Pentecost, the apostles and disciples were gathered together in one accord in the upper room, when they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues. Unlike the mockingbird, they were not mimicking other nation’s languages, but actually sharing the Gospel in tongues that were strange to the speaker, but understood by those whose languages they were speaking.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” Acts 2:4-11. The word “other” (Gr. heteros) simply means that they spoke in languages different from the normal language they were used to. The context substantiates this.

Unfortunately, there are churches today practicing and promoting a counterfeit doctrine of speaking in tongues that is nothing more than unintelligible jibberish, which causes confusion and does not edify the hearers. It is often seen and heard, along with people being “slain in the spirit”, “drunk in the spirit”, experiencing “Holy Ghost Laughter”, and other unbiblical actions, so blatantly disrespectful to God and His Spirit. At what point in time, “unknown” became synonymous with confusion and unintelligible jibberish, is unclear, but it was certainly not experienced in the early Church. It was however something Jesus told us to look for.

“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Revelation 16:13-14. We are told further in Acts 2:17-21, and 38 “‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’” 38 “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”

This will likewise be a time of great apostasy, subject to grand counterfeit activity by Satan. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,” 1 Timothy 4:1-2

This is the mockingbird of the Pentecost, the one who mocks, mimics, counterfeits and comes with all power, signs and lying wonders. “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” 2 Thessalonians 2:8-11.

All Christians need to have on the full armor (Ephesians 6:10-18), intently studying their Bibles and praying for discernment to be able to recognize the true from the counterfeit in these times. Satan is very good at what he does, and if possible, he will lead the very elect astray (Mark 13:22, Matthew 24:24). The only way we can be led astray is if we do not know and stand on the promises contained in God’s Word.

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Legalism or Loving Obedience?


I received an email yesterday morning from a Christian sister in back home affiliated with a church my mother and I had attended until we were convicted of certain truths in God’s word that made it impossible for us to remain in the church. I love this sister, and other brothers and sisters in that church, and others we attended while on our quest to find a church that taught strictly Bible truth, including prophecy, and not one lukewarm and watered down by the teachings and traditions of man. At this church, we reached an impasse on God’s law, specifically His Ten Commandments, but also on the state of the dead, hell and prophecy, which I will address in other posts. This is the email I received from her and my response, which is timely because I wanted to write a post on this subject. I would love to hear from others Christians concerning your thoughts on the need to obey our Lord.

“Greetings, Ellen! I hope this message finds you and Jean well. It has been a long time, and I have been thinking about both of you. Are you still of the same beliefs — the legalism? God is definitely on the move! Things are happening and we should all be shouting the Gospel from our rooftops. No, no one is doing that, but it feels like we should. Prophecies are falling into place. I sincerely hope that you write back and let me know how Florida is treating you and Mom.”

My response, expanded upon a bit for this post:

“Dear Sister … So good to hear from you. I pray all is well with you. Jean and I have been incredibly blessed in our move to Vero (which interestingly means truth) Beach. Our new Church family is as dear, Bible loving and spirit filled as our Beverly Church family — who we still stay in regular communication with.

I’m not sure what your question means — the legalism. If you are referring to our keeping the ten commandments, as Jesus did and commanded us to do (“If you love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15, “And by this we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” 1 John 2:3, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” 1 John 3:22, etc., etc.), then yes, of course we are. He put His laws into my heart, and in my mind He has written them; I can do nothing else. Now, as we near the end, is no time to be found in rebellion against God, as far too many professed Christians are as they blithely go down the wide road to destruction feeling quite comfortable remaining in their sin, as Jesus warned they would.

Satan is wroth and will do everything in his power to destroy the remnant church (“which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17). The “testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”, which so many Christians are blatantly turning their backs on in this time, in addition to the commandments of God. Since the three angels messages of Revelation 14 were made clear to me — becoming a heavy burden that God has placed on my heart for the souls of many — sharing that has become my soul’s primary purpose. There is nothing more important for people to understand now, before it is too late and they have chosen to worship the beast and accept his mark rather than receive the seal of God.

Revelation 14:12 in particular speaks very loudly about where we should be at this time: “Here is the patience (perserverence) of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” This is a much higher standard than many Christians believe they can slide by on. In addition to keeping the commandments, we are not called to a simple childlike faith in Jesus, but to the mature Christian faith of Jesus, which is what we are going to need to get through the soon coming time of tribulation. Jesus will lead us through the tribulation, just as he led Daniel through the lion’s den, and Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego through the fiery furnace, protected the Israelites through the last seven plagues in Egypt, brought them through the Red Sea, and nourished them through forty years in the wilderness ; but we need the faith of Jesus to not fall away before He is able to protect us and lead us through to His appearing. We need to be having our own Gethsemane experiences of prayer, pure devotion and affliction to be strengthened to that level in our faith.

Satan is doing everything in his power to cause as many as possible to fall away before that Great Day. We are told in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 ”that day (the Appearing) shall not come except there come a falling away first, and the son of perdition be revealed”. Satan has been so effective, as Jesus said he would be, in deceiving the whole world and if possible, even the very elect. There are many Christians who will sadly find themselves waking up to the wrong resurrection.

Jesus was talking to us in Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” and 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” These are the ones who do not keep the law — the lawless ones, the workers of iniquity, the ones who rebelliously refuse to keep His commandments (sin is transgression of the law), calling themselves Christians — “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:” 2 Timothy 3:5.

Where do people think all those do good, feel good, say good emergent, spiritualistic, jibber jabbering, worldly, preaching another Jesus, prosperity teaching mega church pastors are leading all their followers? Does that look like a narrow gate, or a broad way? Christians today are not kneeling at the cross of Jesus in repentance, begging God’s forgiveness through His blood, and asking for the power of the Holy Spirit to work through them to do His will not their own on a daily basis, surrendering all to Him. That is what we need to be doing every day — forsaking the world and following Him and Him alone. Our redemption draws neigh — we should be looking up to Him, not to the fallen world around us.

So, if you consider that legalistic, then yes, I am still legalistic and have no intention of changing, because I believe Jesus when he said: “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17. I also know that “With God all things are possible” and “Christ in me, the hope of glory”, so it is possible through the power of His spirit working in me to keep them and sin not, and because I love Him — he suffered, bled and died to redeem me from the pit, from eternal destruction — that is my greatest desire, which desire is not even my own but of the Holy Spirit. We can never be saved by keeping the Commandments, but our desire to keep them evidences that we are saved; that we love our Lord and will do whatever He asks us to do by the working of His Spirit in us. I also know: “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” Hebrews 10:26-27. I have no interest in being an adversary of God because of my pride and selfishness. I would much rather surrender all, and trust and follow Jesus in obedience, as He said we must do.

Remember Mathew 5:18, where Jesus clearly tells us “For verily (truly) I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled (realized, brought to completion).” This obviously can’t happen until the end in Revelation 20 when Satan and all those not written in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire, heaven and earth are consumed (all sin and iniquity is utterly and forever destroyed) and then occurs Revelation 21:1 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away …” At that point sin is no more and all that remains are the righteous redeemed of Christ — we who have become like unto Him.

“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Romans 6:4-6. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2.

We need to daily do as Paul admonished us: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” 2 Corinthians 13:5. Never forget, we can be disqualified, blotted out of the book of life (Revelation 3:5), and in unwitting rebellion accept the mark of the beast, which leads straight to the lake of fire — do not pass go, do not collect $200 (Revelation 14:9-10). To the glory of God, are we exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit in our lives in ever increasing ways? God’s purpose for us is nothing less than Christlikeness. We should all daily pray our own version of the Prayer of Saint Richard of Chichester:

“Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day. Amen.”

Do we put first this command of Jesus: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). If we are to love God completely, it will involve our whole being — our intellect, our emotions, and our will. The better we come to know God by spending time studying His word (“may we know Thee more clearly”), the more we will love Him (“love Thee more dearly”). And the more we love Him, the greater our willingness to trust and obey Him in the things He calls us to do (“follow Thee more nearly”). That should be our greatest desire for every day we are given here.

Much love your way, and prayers that your eyes and ears will be opened. As Jesus said: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Rev. 2:29. Time is short. Love, Ellen

This is a great, very short video that punctuates this post, entitled “Jesus said it, Christians hate it”. This young man is not afraid to speak truth.

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Amazing Facts about Our Eyes

eye lense

An Amazing Fact: To simulate one-hundredth of a second of the complete processing of even a single nerve cell from the human eye requires several minutes of processing time on a supercomputer. The human eye has 10 million or more such cells constantly interacting with each other in complex ways. This means it would take a minimum of 100 years of supercomputer processing to simulate what takes place in your eye many times every second.

The visual cortex is the part of the brain that processes visual information. It is located in the occipital lobe in the back of the brain. Though computers are getting faster, there is still a level of complexity in processing that doesn’t even come close to the fascinating combination of input from the retina into the visual cortex. The average number of neurons in an adult’s primary visual cortex in each hemisphere is estimated at 140 million. In reality, your eye does not see; it is your brain that “sees!”

Let’s think for a moment about the partnership of the brain and the eye. This helps us understand just how intricate these two organs work together. The brain receives images from both retinas, combines these two pictures, calculates depth of field, recognizes lines and boundaries, analyzes color, determines luminosity, controls the pupil’s diameter, controls eye movement with muscles, reassembles all the pieces into a visual image that is then compared with visual memory, reverses the upside-down image, and even fills in blank spots to make sense of the picture!

As one studies the details of eye/brain function, it affirms the role of a Great Designer in the creation of vision. It would seem utterly impossible to imagine all of these pieces and processes randomly coming together by chance and working. Thank God for our eyesight!

This same loving Creator sees you. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous” (1 Peter 3:12). Isn’t it good to know that we are watched by One who can see all things?

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Psalms 32:8

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Revelation: The Bride, The Beast & Babylon

An excellent movie for those who desire to understand end time prophecy, especially the book of Revelation, which Jesus tells us clearly from the start: “Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 1:3. The time is at hand, we are the remnant church, and all must clearly understand these teachings to avoid the terrible admonishment in Revelation 14:9-10: “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.'” There are many professed Christians who will worship the beast and receive his mark because they refused to listen to the warnings Jesus has given us for this time.

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God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists

This is incredibly funny. Whether you are a believer or an atheist, it is worth watching — unless you are a believer or an atheist with no sense of humor. We all need a good laugh these days.

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