"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . . Our Website is UNDER CONSTRUCTION, please be patient!

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Friday, July 31, 2020

DAYS OF ELIJAH – An Exposition

DAYS OF ELIJAH – An Exposition

~ by James Fire

When we bring “a sacrifice of praise to the LORD” as it says in JEREMIAH 17:26 and JER 33:11, we worship the LORD with our hearts as we love on Him, our voices as we sing to Him, our bodies as we raise our hands to Him, (maybe even dance!) and with our minds as we meditate on Him.

That’s why there are certain worship songs that really move my heart, because they so glorify GOD and magnify His majestic magnificence and exalt His excellency and draw me into His presence and I am eagerly offering Him the praise and worship for all He has done for us, all that He is doing for us and all that He has promised to do for us, and beyond that, to praise and worship Him for Who He is! He is worthy of all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. And songs with a lot of biblical meaning to them are the best!

I especially love worship songs that address GOD in the first person, so that as we sing, we are not saying “He” and “the LORD” but rather “You” and You, LORD” because when we worship it is a kind of prayer that we address to GOD directly.

Worship songs that are based on Scripture or ‘Scripture songs’ are the very best – you don’t see a lot of those anymore. When I came to Christ in 1980, my spiritual Mom, a neighbor lady I got to know who lived in my neighborhood and discipled me with zillions of teaching tapes by reputable pastors, would routinely tell us all to turn to such-and-such a Bible passage, and then would lead us in song that would take those verses, if not verbatim, then almost so and use them as song lyrics!

Not only could you never find better song lyrics – perfect lyrics really, inspired by the Holy Spirit Himself, but you’d also be memorizing Scripture as well!
We remember the words of commercial jingles years afterwards, why? Because those words were put in memorable musical form, and because we remember the jingle, we remember the words. 

Well, today we are going to examine a song, it’s not a ‘Scripture song’ but it definitely is full of Scriptural truth and references; it’s about these final days before the coming of the LORD:
 
THESE ARE THE DAYS OF ELIJAH by Robin Mark, who has this to say about this song he wrote after first service at his church and sang it during the second service:
"The song is generally and principally a song of 'hope'. . . the theology of Old Testament stories and characters being, either as themselves or by their actions, 'types' or 'examples' of Christ . . . in the old covenant days, their actions and characters can be used to teach and represent the character of God under the new covenant and they continually and repeatedly point to Christ. People call this “Typology” or “Typical” analysis of the scriptures."
To read Mr. Mark's full explanation on this song he wrote, follow this link.

“These are the days of Elijah,
Declaring the word of the Lord”

In MALACHI 4:4-6 we read this prophecy:
4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

John the Baptist was sent before the day of the LORD in His First Advent, two thousand years ago to bring repentance to Israel, and prepare them for and declaring to them the Word of the LORD. He came not as Elijah himself, but in the spirit of Elijah.

MATTHEW 17:10-13
10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

Earlier in the 11th chapter of MATTHEW the LORD said this regarding John the Baptist,

MATTHEW 11:13-15
13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. 15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

So, what is this, some biblical example of reincarnation? That Elijah reincarnated and appeared as John the Baptist? There are New Agers that would suggest as much.
Yet the religious leaders of Israel point blank asked him if he was Elijah (for they were expecting his return before the coming of the LORD) and in JOHN 1:21, he plainly told them, No – I’m not. Again, he came in the spirit and power of Elijah; his ministry mirrored that of the Old Testament prophet.

Zacharias, John the Baptist’s father heard a prophecy from the angel Gabriel in: 

LUKE 1:13,17
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Getting back to MALACHI 4 in vs. 5, it states that Elijah will return “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” and for this reason, many believe that he will be one of the two witnesses (REV 11:3) in the last days to proclaim the great and dreadful “day of the LORD” JOEL 1:15; 2:1,11,31; 3:14,18. Also it’s worthy to note that Elijah is one of two that never saw death (the other being Enoch; GEN 5:24); he was caught up into heaven in a chariot of fire and a whirlwind (2 KINGS 2:11).

“And these are the days of Your servant Moses,
Righteousness being restored.”

Back to MALACHI 4:4, we remember the reference made of Moses, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments”. 
Scripture tells us that righteousness is not obtained through the Law, but was established on the basis of faith, 400 years before Moses, during the days of Abraham:

ROMANS 4:13
For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

ROMANS 3:20-22
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Are we to do without the Law then? Just cast it aside? What does it mean then by “righteousness being restored” in this song?

That righteousness is not through the Law in the keeping of all the precepts and ordinances – there are over 600 Old Testament laws that Israel was to abide by – is the church obligated to keep these as well? No – we take a sort of ‘short cut’ when we receive salvation by grace through Christ and the born again experience. It was Christ Himself who perfectly obeyed the Law of GOD (MATT 5:17). Having lived a life of sinless obedience to the Law, His righteousness is transferred over to us, “imputed” the Bible says (Read ROMANS 4 in your own time).
Christ’s righteousness is granted to every believer so that GOD sees us clothed in His perfect, flawless, holy righteousness:

ROMANS 7:6
6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

ROMANS 3:22
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference; see also: GALATIANS 3:21-24

So we see that the righteousness that the Law demands, is fulfilled, not by our keeping of ‘the letter of the law’ (“the oldness of the letter”) but by simple faith in Christ, we receive “the righteousness of GOD”! That’s called justification: not only Christ’s righteousness placed upon us, but that same righteousness by the Spirit of grace working itself out through our lives (PHIL 2:12) so that we follow Christ in an increasingly righteous lifestyle; that’s called sanctification. This is “righteousness being restored” through salvation in Christ! 

Not only for us who are the church, but also for Israel, who will soon see “the King in His beauty” (ISAIAH 33:17). The day is coming, when after “the time of Jacob’s Trouble” (JER 30:7), that’s the time of tribulation, that Christ will return and save Israel from her enemies, and they will recognize Jesus as their Messiah, receive Him by faith as a nation, and experience the spiritual rebirth promised to them, which EZEKIEL and the LORD Jesus both referred to (EZEK 36:26; JOHN 3:3-5).

“And though these are days of great trial,
Of famine and darkness and sword,
Still, we are the voice in the desert crying
"Prepare ye the way of the Lord!"

In MATTHEW 24, MARK 13, LUKE 21 as well as the entire book of REVELATION by the apostle John, we are given the signs of the last days, concerning which, the LORD Jesus Himself said, that when we see these things (these birth pangs) begin to come to pass, then look up for your redemption draws near! (LUKE 21:28).

These passages talk about earthquakes, famines, pestilences, wars and rumors of wars between different kingdoms and different nations (ethnos – ethnicities, or “ethnic hatred”), as well as deception (MATT 24, deception is mentioned 4x (vs. 4,5,11,24)).

Skeptics dismiss such prophecies, stating that we’ve seen these things since the beginning of time, what’s the big deal? Point them to MATT 24:8:
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. These signs will happen like a woman giving birth; starting out gradually, then slowly increasing in frequency and intensity. And if you do the research, you find each of these signs following this exact pattern.
GOD is Light (1 JOHN 1:5) and light reveals things hidden in darkness:

EPHESIANS 5:13
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

Jesus claims to be the Light of the world in JOHN 8:12 and previously He stated in JOHN 7:7 that: “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”

So we see spiritual darkness increasing, and since darkness cannot overcome light (JOHN 1:5), we can rightly conclude that the light in the church (which the LORD also calls the light of the world in MATT 5:14) is growing dim in this apostasy, this departure from the faith spoken of in 1 TIM 4:1. However - - there are the faithful few, who like John the Baptist, are a voice in the desert, crying out Prepare ye the way of the LORD!

Like John the Baptist, we must decrease, and He must increase (JOHN 3:30). That is, the old James Fire the sinner, must decrease as I die to self by the cross of Christ, and the new James Fire the saint, must increase by the resurrection power of the Spirit that resides in me, and in you, who are born again, saved by faith in Jesus Christ. By this means, we keep the light shining bright. John the Baptist, as well as the Holy Spirit – they have the same job: pointing to JESUS, not themselves – it’s all about Jesus, not anything about us. This is the job of the church as well!

And the LORD is coming soon!
We are seeing preparations for a one world government, and a one world religion – even a one world digital currency! Enforcement of these masks is conditioning people to be compliant to mandates, not laws, yielding to governmental authorities. And the purpose is not merely safety’s sake to prevent spread of COVID 19. Masks really are ineffective at providing complete safety because the virus is so small, it can pass through the fabric of such materials that masks are made of.

I believe that the enforcement of masks is conditioning people to accept a vaccine that they might not otherwise accept. And in accepting the vaccine, that will condition people to accept the mark of the Beast – this is a slow, gradual, subtle process of conditioning. It’s the frog in the pot of water syndrome, where that water is ever so slowly heated up until the frog finally dies in boiling water (note: for those especially vulnerable to infection, who have a pre-condition of some ailment or immune-deficiency, it is of course wise to take every precaution because such people, and the elderly, are most susceptible to such viruses).

But we are to prepare the way of the LORD: In what way?

REVELATION 19:7-9
7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

As any wedding day approaches, the bride is preparing, and getting ready for her big day! This is the day any woman holds in highest esteem because she is going to meet with the love of her life, and the two of them are going to exchange sacred vows, wedded together, committed together before GOD and witnesses, to be united in love, in purpose, in the plans that the LORD has for them.

As the church, we likewise are to prepare to meet our LORD and consummate the marriage that we experience in Christ. When one receives Christ Jesus as LORD and Savior, one in a genuine sense makes a pledge, a vow:

"I, _____, take thee, _____, to be my wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith."

The LORD has vowed to receive us as His bride and committed to our care, so that whatever state we may find ourselves in – better or worse, rich or poor, sick or healthy, the LORD has us and holds us in His “everlasting arms” (DEUT 33:27); as souls that have been washed in His blood and made righteous, we represent a small minority among the world that for the most part rejects Christ’s sacrifice and His love, and are therefore in the sight of the LORD greatly loved and cherished – but unlike man and wife, there is no “til death do us part” (though for most people in our modern world, sadly it’s more like “til divorce do us part”!). Death cannot separate us from the love of GOD – NOTHING can!

ROMANS 8:35-39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In what other way are we do prepare the way of the LORD? It’s to invite others to the wedding of the LAMB! That they too may receive Christ and be clothed upon with His righteousness and be acceptable to GOD the Father as a member of the body of Christ, His church, His bride!

REVELATION 22:16-17
16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

“Behold He comes riding on the clouds,
Shining like the sun at the trumpet call”

This really doesn’t need a lot of commentary; we know that the LORD is coming in the clouds to meet us in the air, so then we shall ever be with the LORD. We know that He is ever with us, will never forsake us (HEB 13:5; MATT 28:20; MARK 16:20), but once the rapture of the church happens, we will ever be with Him! AND not through a “glass darkly” or a dimly reflective mirror, but “face to Face”! (1 THESS 4:16-18; 1 COR 13:12). 

Scripture tells us that the church will leave planet Earth and meet Christ in the air; this makes this event distinct from the Second Coming, because at this latter event, Christ’s feet touch down on the Mount of Olives, which then splits in half, creating a valley as well as a river of fresh water that rejuvenates the Mediterranean and the Dead Seas (ZECH 14). Just as He left this Earth at His ascension into heaven, the two angels told the disciples, He shall in this manner return: coming down out of heaven, and landing on the Mount of Olives (ACTS 1:11)!
The LORD wipes out the anti-Christ and the False prophet simply with “the brightness of His coming (shing like the sun)”; 2 THESS 2:8).

“Lift your voice, it's the year of jubilee,
And out of Zion's hill salvation comes.”

What is the year of Jubilee? Have you ever wondered about that? 

“During the Day of Atonement (Numbers 36:4), the blowing of a ram’s horn would indicate the start of the year of Jubilee. A year dedicated to rest, to restoration of property, and to freeing people from debts, servitude, and slavery. Therefore, the Israelites would dedicate this year of rest to God, acknowledging that God would provide for their needs.

“In Scripture, we see the Israelites place an important emphasis on certain days of the week (Exodus 20:8-11), certain holidays and observances throughout the year, and even certain years. The Year of Jubilee, which came every 50th year, was a year full of releasing people from their debts, releasing all slaves, and returning property to who owned it (Leviticus 25:1-13).This year was also dedicated to rest.

“During this year, the Israelites were not supposed to reap or harvest; it was a time for people to return to their families and loved ones.
“The Bible places a special emphasis on the number 7. After all, there are seven days in a week, and the seventh day is supposed to be the Sabbath, a day dedicated to rest and worship: 7 x 7 = 49 years. So, after seven years of Sabbaths, we reach the 50th year. A year dedicated to rest, to restoration of property, and to freeing people from debts, servitude, and slavery.
“Now, this isn’t the only year that they let the land rest. There are Sabbath years, as indicated in Leviticus 25:18-22.”
For us the saints, who were once slaves of sin, and in serious debt with GOD, through the person of Christ Jesus, our debts are forgiven, we are free from condemnation, will not be incarcerated in the prison house of hell fire, and no longer slaves of sin! For us, the year of Jubilee is salvation in Christ, the day of salvation, and so we can say,

PSALM 118:24
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

This is what is referred to as 'Zion' in a connotative sense; it was in Zion that Abraham offered up his son, Isaac, upon mount Moriah; this was a type of the Father, offering up the Son as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. Zion was also the location of Calvary - some believe this was the exact area where Abraham offered Isaac - but where the greater Son was offered up for our sins. Zion is a symbol of the Gospel.

“These are the days of Ezekiel,
The dry bones becoming as flesh”

These dry bones are, of course, a reference to the nation of Israel, found in EZEKIEL 37. In that chapter the prophet Ezekiel was given a vision of a barren valley and even drier bones filling it. GOD commanded His prophet to prophesy over those bones and there was an earthquake and bones started to assemble together, and then sinews and flesh, and then skin “but there was no breath in them” (vs. 8).

Then the prophet was told to prophesy to the wind and “breathe upon these slain that they may live” (vs.9). The prophet is then told that “these bones are the whole house of Israel” (vs.11). And the LORD GOD promises that just as the nation of Israel has been restored physically – as we see them today, but that He also promised that He will put His Spirit in them (vs. 14) – and further, GOD commanded Ezekiel to take two sticks, and write on each of them Judah and Ephraim (representing all the house of Israel) and hold them both together in his hand so that they appear to be one stick (vs.16-17). GOD declares that these will no longer be divided between the house of Judah and the house of Israel, as they were after the rebellion against the oppression enforced by Solomon’s son Rehoboam (1 KINGS 11–14), but one nation – as we see them today.

People who deny GOD’s plan for Israel, insisting that GOD is done with that nation, and that the church is now the new Israel (this is the false doctrine known as Replacement Theology) like to point out how wicked Israel is, how they are full of Humanists, atheists, agnostics, adherents of false religions, promoters of homosexual lifestyles, etc. How can these be GOD’s chosen people?! I like to ask such people, ‘What were you like before you got saved?’ What sort of things did you believe and practice before the Spirit of GOD came into your life and gave you spiritual rebirth? 

See, that hasn’t happened to Israel – yet! But GOD promised, that just as He has brought them to physical restoration to the land, so too, He will bring them spiritual life based on the new everlasting covenant (JER 31:32; 32:40) and the new birth (EZEK 36:26). This will occur when the people of Israel’s eyes are opened by GOD and they see that Y’shua – Jesus – is indeed their Messiah, Who they will receive and be saved just as the church is today (ROM 11:25-29)!

“And these are the days of Your servant David,
Rebuilding a temple of praise.”

This is yet another reference to Israel, speaking of the tabernacle of David as we read in: AMOS 9:11-12
11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: 12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this.

In ACTS 15, there is a council held in Jerusalem concerning the Gentiles who were coming to faith and the question whether or not they should be circumcised and follow after the Law of Moses, which was customary among the Jews. It was determined that the Gentile Christians were not under any obligation to do so. Peter relates how (in ACTS 10) the LORD used him to reach out to the first Gentiles who as a result of his preaching the Gospel to them, became Christians and were given the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Then the elder of Jerusalem, James chimes in:
ACTS 15:14-17
14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

“After this…” – after what? After GOD takes out a people for His name: referring to what was then beginning to happen: Gentiles coming to Christ. After GOD takes out these people (I believe that is a reference to the rapture of the church – He takes UP though, in the sense of taking OUT) THEN He will “build again the tabernacle of David” that is, to re-establish the Davidic Kingdom which He will accomplish after the tribulation, and at the beginning of the Millennium!

“These are the days of the harvest,
The fields are as white in Your world,
And we are the laborers in Your vineyard,
Declaring the word of the Lord!”

This is our ministry; this is our mission. When it speaks of the fields are white (JOHN 4:35) it speaks of the harvest in peril of being lost due to disease or climate. Unless the wheat is reaped and gathered quickly, because they’ve turned white, it’s an indication of something wrong and the crop could be lost.

Likewise, without the Gospel, souls are in imminent danger of being lost forever under the judgment of GOD and the subsequent condemnation to eternal hell. 
We are laborers in GOD’s vineyard – MATT 20:1-3; there is great reward for those who labor in the kingdom of GOD, in the sharing of the Gospel, in warning souls of the coming judgment, in standing for truth and righteousness, in leading and guiding those young in the faith, in prayers for both saints and sinners.

If souls refuse to be harvested into GOD’s garners, then they will be harvested into GOD’s judgment, what the Scripture speaks of as 'the grapes of wrath' (REV 14:10,19).

We understand that the vineyard in Scripture specifically addresses the nation of Israel, as mentioned in ISAIAH 5:1-7, esp. vs. 7. The Gospel is going out to Jew and Gentile, and upon both either salvation or condemnation hangs in the balance. In this present dispensation of the church, people are free to accept Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior – or not; if not, then these will face the next phase in GOD’s time-table, the time of the great tribulation.

Those who refuse to be a part of GOD’s Kingdom at His free invitation will by default be part of the kingdom of darkness as it will dominate the globe as a one world order under anti-Christ. To pledge allegiance to Christ during that time will mean inevitable martyrdom and losing one’s head (REV 20:4) – or by accepting the mark of the beast (666), will ensure condemnation with absolutely no remedy for that grave error (REV 14:9-11).

[Behold He comes riding on the clouds,
Shining like the sun at the trumpet call,
Lift your voice, it's the year of jubilee,
And out of Zion's hill salvation comes.]
There's no God like Jehovah. 15x

No, there isn’t. The LORD alone is GOD!

DEUTERONOMY 10:12
And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,

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