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25 October - 2 Chronicles 21; 22; Daniel 3; Acts 1


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Posted 25 October 2007 - 09:59 AM

First Portion

2 Chronicles 21; 22


21:1 Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Jehoram his son reigned in his place. 21:2 He had brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat: Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah; all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. 21:3 Their father gave them great gifts, of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fortified cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram, because he was the firstborn. 21:4 Now when Jehoram was risen up over the kingdom of his father, and had strengthened himself, he killed all his brothers with the sword, and various also of the princes of Israel. 21:5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 21:6 He walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab; for he had the daughter of Ahab as wife: and he did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh. 21:7 However Yahweh would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a lamp to him and to his children always. 21:8 In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves. 21:9 Then Jehoram passed over with his captains, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and struck the Edomites who surrounded him, along with the captains of the chariots. 21:10 So Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah to this day: then Libnah revolted at the same time from under his hand, because he had forsaken Yahweh, the God of his fathers. 21:11 Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and made the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the prostitute, and led Judah astray. 21:12 A letter came to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, “Thus says Yahweh, the God of David your father, ‘Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah, 21:13 but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the prostitute, like the house of Ahab did, and also have slain your brothers of your father’s house, who were better than yourself: 21:14 behold, Yahweh will strike with a great plague your people, and your children, and your wives, and all your substance; 21:15 and you shall have great sickness by disease of your bowels, until your bowels fall out by reason of the sickness, day by day.’”

21:16 Yahweh stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians who are beside the Ethiopians: 21:17 and they came up against Judah, and broke into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king’s house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, except Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons. 21:18 After all this Yahweh struck him in his bowels with an incurable disease. 21:19 It happened, in process of time, at the end of two years, that his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness, and he died of severe diseases. His people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers. 21:20 Thirty-two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years: and he departed without being desired; and they buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 10:00 AM

22:1 The inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his place; for the band of men who came with the Arabians to the camp had slain all the eldest. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned. 22:2 Forty-two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem: and his mother’s name was Athaliah the daughter of Omri. 22:3 He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab; for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly. 22:4 He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, as did the house of Ahab; for they were his counselors after the death of his father, to his destruction. 22:5 He walked also after their counsel, and went with Jehoram the son of Ahab king of Israel to war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramoth Gilead: and the Syrians wounded Joram. 22:6 He returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which they had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. Azariah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick. 22:7 Now the destruction of Ahaziah was of God, in that he went to Joram: for when he had come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom Yahweh had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab. 22:8 It happened, when Jehu was executing judgment on the house of Ahab, that he found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brothers of Ahaziah, ministering to Ahaziah, and killed them. 22:9 He sought Ahaziah, and they caught him (now he was hiding in Samaria), and they brought him to Jehu, and killed him; and they buried him, for they said, “He is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought Yahweh with all his heart.” The house of Ahaziah had no power to hold the kingdom. 22:10 Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal seed of the house of Judah. 22:11 But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were slain, and put him and his nurse in the bedroom. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest (for she was the sister of Ahaziah), hid him from Athaliah, so that she didn’t kill him. 22:12 He was with them hidden in the house of God six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land.

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 10:00 AM

Second Portion

Daniel 3


3:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits, and its breadth six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 3:2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the satraps, the deputies, and the governors, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 3:3 Then the satraps, the deputies, and the governors, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3:4 Then the herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, peoples, nations, and languages, 3:5 that whenever you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, you fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up; 3:6 and whoever doesn’t fall down and worship shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 3:7 Therefore at that time, when all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, all the peoples, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 3:8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and brought accusation against the Jews. 3:9 They answered Nebuchadnezzar the king, O king, live for ever. 3:10 You, O king, have made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image; 3:11 and whoever doesn’t fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 3:12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not respected you. They don’t serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up. 3:13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 3:14 Nebuchadnezzar answered them, Is it on purpose, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you don’t serve my god, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 3:15 Now if you are ready whenever you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music to fall down and worship the image which I have made, well: but if you don’t worship, you shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that god that shall deliver you out of my hands? 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 3:18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up. 3:19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his appearance was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spoke, and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 3:20 He commanded certain mighty men who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 3:21 Then these men were bound in their pants, their tunics, and their mantles, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 3:22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 3:23 These three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 3:24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste: he spoke and said to his counselors, Didn’t we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered the king, True, O king. 3:25 He answered, Look, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are unharmed; and the aspect of the fourth is like a son of the gods. 3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace: he spoke and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God, come forth, and come here. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came forth out of the midst of the fire. 3:27 The satraps, the deputies, and the governors, and the king’s counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, that the fire had no power on their bodies, nor was the hair of their head singed, neither were their pants changed, nor had the smell of fire passed on them. 3:28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel, and delivered his servants who trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and have yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. 3:29 Therefore I make a decree, that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything evil against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill; because there is no other god who is able to deliver after this sort. 3:30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 10:02 AM

Third Portion

Acts 1


1:1 The first book I wrote, Theophilus, concerned all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, 1:2 until the day in which he was received up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 1:3 To these he also showed himself alive after he suffered, by many proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking about God's Kingdom. 1:4 Being assembled together with them, he commanded them, "Don't depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which you heard from me. 1:5 For John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

1:6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, are you now restoring the kingdom to Israel?"

1:7 He said to them, "It isn't for you to know times or seasons which the Father has set within his own authority. 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth."

1:9 When he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. 1:10 While they were looking steadfastly into the sky as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white clothing, 1:11 who also said, "You men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who was received up from you into the sky will come back in the same way as you saw him going into the sky."

1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 1:13 When they had come in, they went up into the upper room, where they were staying; that is Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.. 1:14 All these with one accord continued steadfastly in prayer and supplication, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

1:15 In these days, Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (and the number of names was about one hundred twenty), and said, 1:16 "Brothers, it was necessary that this Scripture should be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was guide to those who took Jesus. 1:17 For he was numbered with us, and received his portion in this ministry. 1:18 Now this man obtained a field with the reward for his wickedness, and falling headlong, his body burst open, and all his intestines gushed out. 1:19 It became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem that in their language that field was called 'Akeldama,' that is, 'The field of blood.' 1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms,

'Let his habitation be made desolate.
Let no one dwell therein;'

and,

'Let another take his office.'

1:21 "Of the men therefore who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 1:22 beginning from the baptism of John, to the day that he was received up from us, of these one must become a witness with us of his resurrection."

1:23 They put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 1:24 They prayed, and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two you have chosen 1:25 to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas fell away, that he might go to his own place." 1:26 They drew lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 11:54 AM

25 October 2008

2 Chronicles 21; 22
Daniel 3
Acts 1

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 08:09 AM

25 October 2009

2 Chronicles 21; 22
Daniel 3
Acts 1

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 01:29 PM

25 October 2010

2 Chronicles 21; 22
Daniel 3
Acts 1

"BUT YOU WILL BE BAPTISED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT"

Today we started reading the book of Acts. So many things in it are relevant to our efforts to serve Christ today, but it is important that we read it carefully; regrettably some do not. It begins with a summary of the final days of Jesus before he ascended to heaven “after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the Apostles whom he had chosen” [Acts 1:2]; it was a period of 40 days. [Acts 1:3]

We notice how “he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the father … you will be baptised by the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” [Acts 1:5] To whom was he making this promise? These 12 Apostles were now only 11 because of the tragedy of Judas Iscariot, so Peter says (Acts 1:21-23) that they must find a replacement “to take the place of this ministry and apostleship” [Acts 1:26]. To do this they end up casting lots – and the last verse reads “and the lot fell to Matthias and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles.”

It becomes evident that only the 12 received the promised Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. When the day came it was just the 12 who were standing up before the people [Acts 2:14] which some sceptics were accusing of being drunk [Acts 2:15]. We need to recall last week’s reading in John’s Gospel where Jesus was promising them the “spirit of truth”, a “helper” would be “sent to you from the father” [John 15:26; 16:13].

This Spirit, says Jesus, “will guide you into all the Truth.” It “will declare to you things to come” and will “bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” [John 14:26]. It is obvious that this Divine source of help is specially for the twelve, they are to be “baptised” into it by having the power come upon them. As we read on in Acts 2 we will learn that a “gift” was promised to the converts, but required the presence of one or more of the disciples for it to be given [Acts 8:14-17]. In today’s chapter we see that the disciples were hoping the kingdom would be established right then [Acts 1:6]; but no, they were to be witnesses, beginning “in Jerusalem … to the end of the earth.” [Acts 1:8] Only now is this commission being completed.
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Posted 25 October 2011 - 05:31 AM

25 October 2011

2 Chronicles 21; 22
Daniel 3
Acts 1

"WILL YOU AT THIS TIME RESTORE THE KINGDOM?"

Luke wrote the book of Acts, as is evident from its opening verses when you compare them with the opening verses of his Gospel. He tells us that in the 40 days before Jesus ascended to heaven he had made it plain he was alive “after his suffering by many proofs” and that he talked “about the kingdom of God” [Acts 1:3]. There is so much in the writings of the prophets about God’s kingdom, such as what we read yesterday in Daniel, that it is clearly a world wide kingdom. There is a wonderful future life awaiting genuine followers of Christ.

It was only centuries later that a belief in heaven going came arose and the whole Christian message and faith became tragically corrupted. It is sad to see the attempts to support belief in heaven going when “no one has ascended into heaven except (Jesus)” [John 3:13]. There are attempts find an example of heaven going by referring to Elijah, but we see in our reading today in 2 Chronicles 21 that “a letter came to him (Jehoram) from Elijah the prophet” [2 Chronicles 21:12] stating the judgement of the LORD upon him. So Elijah had been caught up into the sky to go to another place – but he still had a role to play in the Lord’s service.

There was an expectation among the disciples that now was the time when Jesus would proclaim his kingship over Israel. They asked him, “Lord will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” [Acts 1:6] – probably his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey [John 12:12-16] only 7 weeks previously was influencing their thinking.

His answer is, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” [Acts 1:7] Their task, he tells them, will be to “be my witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” [Acts 1:8] The first generation received special “power” to help them preach that message; today’s generation, with God’s word available in all languages, is completing that task “to the end of the earth.” Jesus words, as recorded by Matthew, are specific, “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” [Matthew 24:14] And when the end comes, let us make sure we are among those waiting for their Master, who, said the angels to the disciples as they gazed at his ascending figure, “will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” [Acts 1:11]
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Posted 25 October 2012 - 09:47 AM

25 October 2012

2 Chronicles 21; 22
Daniel 3
Acts 1

"DECLARE TO YOU THINGS TO COME"

Today we started reading the book of Acts. So many things in it are relevant to our efforts to serve Christ today, but it is important that we read it carefully; regrettably some do not. It begins with a summary of the final days of Jesus before he ascended to heaven “after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the Apostles whom he had chosen” [Acts 1:2]; it was a period of 40 days. [Acts 1:3]

We notice how “he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the father … you will be baptised by the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” [Acts 1:5] To whom was he making this promise? These 12 Apostles were now only 11 because of the tragedy of Judas Iscariot, so Peter says [Acts 1:21-23] that they must find a replacement “to take the place of this ministry and apostleship” [Acts 1:26]. To do this they end up casting lots – and the last verse reads “and the lot fell to Matthias and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles.”

It becomes evident that only the 12 received the promised Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. When the day came it was just the 12 who were standing up before the people [Acts 2:14] which some sceptics were accusing of being drunk [Acts 2:15]. We need to recall last week’s reading in John’s Gospel where Jesus was promising them the “spirit of truth”, a “helper” would be “sent to you from the father” [John 15:26; 16:13].

This Spirit, says Jesus, “will guide you into all the Truth.” It “will declare to you things to come” and will “bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” [John 14:26]. It is obvious that this Divine source of help is specially for the twelve, they are to be “baptised” into it by having the power come upon them. As we read on in Acts 2 we will learn that a “gift” was promised to the converts, but required the presence of one or more of the disciples for it to be given [Acts 8:14-17]. In today’s chapter we see that the disciples were hoping the kingdom would be established right then [Acts 1:6]; but no, they were to be witnesses, beginning “in Jerusalem … to the end of the earth.” [Acts 1:8] Only now is this commission being completed.
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Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:48 AM

25 October 2013

2 Chronicles 21; 22
Daniel 3
Acts 1

"… YOU WILL BE BAPTISED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT"

Today we started reading the book of Acts. So many things in it are relevant to our efforts to serve Christ today, but it is important that we read it carefully; regrettably some do not. It begins with a summary of the final days of Jesus before he ascended to heaven “after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the Apostles whom he had chosen” [Acts 1:2]; it was a period of 40 days. [Acts 1:3]

We notice how “he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the father … you will be baptised by the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” [Acts 1:5] To whom was he making this promise? These 12 Apostles were now only 11 because of the tragedy of Judas Iscariot, so Peter says [Acts 1:21-23] they must find a replacement “to take the place of this ministry and apostleship” [Acts 1:26]. To do this they end up casting lots – and the last verse reads “and the lot fell to Matthias and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles.”

When the day came it was just the 12 who were “baptised” in this way As we read a few days ago in John’s Gospel, it was the 12 to whom Jesus promised that the “spirit of truth”, - would come, it would be a “helper … sent to you from the father” [John 15:26; 16:13].

This Spirit, said Jesus, “will guide you into all the Truth.” It “will declare to you things to come” and will “bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” [John 14:26]. It is obvious that this Divine source of help is specially for the twelve, they are to be “baptised” into it by having this power come upon them.

As we read on in Acts 2 we will learn that a “gift” was promised to the converts, but this required the presence of one or more of the disciples for it to be given [Acts 8:14-17]. In today’s chapter we see that the disciples were hoping the kingdom would be established right then [Acts 1:6]; but no, they were to be witnesses, beginning “in Jerusalem … to the end of the earth.” [Acts 1:8]

Only now is this commission being completed and the message is reaching “the end of the earth.” Are you ready for what is to happen after that?
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Posted 01 November 2014 - 03:31 AM

25 October 2014
 
2 Chronicles 21; 22
Daniel 3
Acts 1  
 
“A BURNING FIERY FURNACE”
            
In Daniel today we have the account of the faithfulness of Daniel’s 3 companions, those we read about in Daniel 1 who, together with him, refused to eat the king’s rich food and wine. Now we read how these 3 refused to bow down to the king’s tall golden image.  The king warns,” if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?" [Daniel 3:15]  They refuse, saying, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.  If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." [Daniel 3:17-18]
            
This is an example of commitment to God, come what may!  A dramatic deliverance follows: there is no other incident like it in the Bible!  Well, there are no more kings who had "a burning fiery furnace" - but there are many accounts of deliverance occurring to those who faithfully follow their God.  We will read of several in the book of Acts which we started reading today.   
            
Are their deliverances today?  We have heard of answered prayers this year - and previous years - but there is an ultimate act of deliverance promised when Jesus, in returning, "will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect ..." [Matthew 24:31]   The elect will be saved out from a time of trouble. 
 
 We are going to read in Daniel of a  "time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book." [Daniel 12:1]  Clearly this is “the book of life”! Paul refers to it in Philippians 4:3, praising those “who have laboured side by side with me in the gospel …  whose names are in the book of life”  May we labour together in spreading the true gospel so that, by the grace of our saviour, our names will be in the book too; indeed, are already there. It is the most important “book” in the world.. 
            
The extent to which there will be a "fire" at this ‘time of the end’ is not clear, we rather think that some Scriptures, such as 2 Peter 3:10-12 are symbolic, but we cannot be sure, but we long for the time Peter describes in the next verse,  "according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”   
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Posted 25 October 2015 - 11:13 AM

25 October 2015
 
2 Chronicles 21; 22
Daniel 3
Acts 1  
 
"BUT YOU WILL BE BAPTISED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT"
                                                                                     
Today we started reading the book of Acts.  So many things in it are relevant to our efforts to serve Christ today, but it is important that we read it carefully; regrettably some read God’s word mainly to find evidence for what they want to believe ­ and are therefore liable to misunderstand it. Luke compiled the book of Acts as you will see when you compare the start of the book ­ with that of his gospel. It begins with a summary of the final days of Jesus before he ascended up to heaven “after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the Apostles whom he had chosen” [Acts 1:2]; it was a period of 40 days. [Acts 1:3]
            
We notice how “he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the father … you will be baptised by the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” [Acts 1:5]  To whom was he making this promise?  These 12 Apostles were now only 11 because of the tragedy of Judas Iscariot, so Peter says [Acts 1:21-23] that they must find a replacement “to take the place of this ministry and apostleship” [Acts 1:26]. To do this they end up casting lots ­ and the last verse reads “and the lot fell to Matthias and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles.” 
 
It is clear that only the 12 received the promised Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.  When the day came it was just the 12 who were standing up before the people [Acts 2:14] which some sceptics were accusing of being drunk [Acts 2:15] because of their speaking in other languages [Acts 2:11].  Recall last week’s reading in John’s Gospel where Jesus was promising them the “spirit of truth”, a “helper” that would be “sent to you from the father” [John 15:26; 16:13]. 
 
This Spirit, says Jesus, “will guide you into all the Truth.”  It “will declare to you things to come” and will “bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” [John 14:26].  It is obvious that this Divine source of help is specially for the twelve, they are to be “baptised” into it by having this divine power come upon them.  As we read on in Acts 2 we will learn that a “gift” was promised to the converts, but required the presence of one or more of the disciples for it to be given [Acts 8:14-17]. 
 
Finally, and most importantly, in today’s chapter we see that the disciples were hoping the kingdom would be established right then [Acts 1:6]; but no, they were to be witnesses, beginning “in Jerusalem … to the end of the earth.” [Acts 1:8]  Only now has this commission been completed, altho’ we cannot say this is absolutely the case even yet.    
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- DC


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Posted 25 October 2016 - 09:47 AM

25 October 2016
 
2 Chronicles 21; 22
Daniel 3
Acts 1
 
"WILL COME IN THE SAME WAY AS YOU SAW HIM GO INTO HEAVEN"
 
Luke wrote the book of Acts, as is evident from its opening verses when you compare them with the opening verses of his Gospel. He tells us that in the 40 days before Jesus ascended to heaven he had made it plain he was alive “after his suffering by many proofs” and that he talked “about the kingdom of God” [Acts 1:3]. There is so much in the writings of the prophets about God’s kingdom, such as what we read yesterday in Daniel, that it is clearly a world wide kingdom. There is a wonderful future life awaiting genuine followers of Christ.
 
It was only centuries later that a belief in heaven going came arose and the whole Christian message and faith became tragically corrupted. It is sad to see the attempts to support belief in heaven going when “no one has ascended into heaven except (Jesus)” [John 3:13]. There are attempts find an example of heaven going by referring to Elijah, but we see in our reading today in 2 Chronicles 21 that “a letter came to him (Jehoram) from Elijah the prophet” [2 Chronicles 21:12] stating the judgement of the LORD upon him. So Elijah had been caught up into the sky to go to another place – but he still had a role to play in the Lord’s service.
 
There was an expectation among the disciples that now was the time when Jesus would proclaim his kingship over Israel. They asked him, “Lord will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” [Acts 1:6] – probably his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey [John 12:12-16] only 7 weeks previously was influencing their thinking.
 
His answer is, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” [Acts 1:7] Their task, he tells them, will be to “be my witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” [Acts 1:8] The first generation received special “power” to help them preach that message; today’s generation, with God’s word available in all languages, is completing that task “to the end of the earth.” Jesus words, as recorded by Matthew, are specific, “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” [Matthew 24:14] And when the end comes, let us make sure we are among those waiting for their Master, who, said the angels to the disciples as they gazed at his ascending figure, “will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” [Acts 1:11]
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- DC 


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Posted 29 October 2017 - 01:45 AM

25 October 2017
 
2 Chronicles 21; 22
Daniel 3
Acts 1
 
"THIS JESUS WILL COME IN THE SAME WAY AS …" 
 
We started reading the Acts of the Apostles today – it was written by Luke; his "first book" [Luke 1:1] was his gospel. He provides us with the plainest reference to what was said by the angels as Jesus left the disciples. "Two men … in white robes Men of Galilee … why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." [Acts 1:11] - as Jesus ascended into heaven. 
 
Mark also records this event and states, "the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God." [Mark 16:19]
 
We believe Jesus "will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." – and how close are we now to that event!? Today's generation, with God's word available in all languages, is completing the task of taking the divine message to all nations and all languages "to the end of the earth." 
 
Jesus words, as recorded by Matthew, are specific, "this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." [Matthew 24:14] The nations are as God sees them, not as how man has split them – and tried to 'meld' some of them, with their different languages together.
 
And when the end comes, let us make sure we are among those waiting for their Master, who will see him "come in the same way as" he was seen, by human eyes, to go into heaven. 
 
How close are we now to that event? There have been many anticipations over the years, indeed – over the centuries – and now that the nation of Israel has been reborn – anticipations at first increased! Let us increase our faith – and remember the climax Jesus gave to his parable of the wise and foolish virgins as to when (our) bridegroom would return! "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." [Matthew 25:13] Not even the hour! How sudden! It will utterly astonish the earth! And us?
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- DC





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