Archive for Gospel

There Shall Be Seven Weeks: Monthly Offerings

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2021 by paulthepoke

Daniel 9:25b …there shall be seven weeks…

The context of this series of posts is the course of the Jewish people for the initial 49 years of the 483 year period communicated from the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel. The city of Jerusalem has been rebuilt post exile. These events are covered in Nehemiah 8-13. Israel is returning to God’s Law. The focus is Temple worship service. The Sabbath offering was covered last week. Next, Nehemiah reminds the Jewish people of the Monthly Offering or the New Moons.

New Moons is a phrase and a reminder of a new month. How is a new moon or a new month determined on the Hebrew calendar? God operates on a lunar calendar. Jews have utilized the following procedure every month for thousands of years. It is called Rosh Chodesh which means “head of the month”.

At the end of a lunar cycle, the moon is dark and is not seen for 2-3 days. So, the new moon could be identified during this 2-3 day period …of that day or hour no one knows…

By definition, a new moon is proclaimed when the first little sliver emerges from a darkened moon. It is a tiny crescent that is noted briefly at sunset on the western horizon. The month begins at the sighting of the new moon.

Two witnesses have to confirm the sighting. Upon agreement, the two witnesses report to the high priest. When the new moon is confirmed, the trumpet (shofar/ram’s horn) is blown. Why two witnesses? This concept is part of Jewish law. See Deuteronomy 19:15-21.

Two or more witnesses to the new moon are legally establishing as fact per the law.

Every new moon the following sacrifices are to take place.

Numbers 28:11-15 At the beginning of every month, you are to present to the LORD a burnt offering of two young bulls, one ram, and seven male lambs a year old, all unblemished, along with three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering with each bull, two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering with the ram, and a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering with each lamb. This is a burnt offering, a pleasing aroma, an offering made by fire to the LORD.

The elements of animal sacrifice and bread remain from the daily offering to the Sabbath offering to the monthly offering. All animals are unblemished and one year old. More bread is required for larger animals and the amount of flour decreases from the bull (3/10 ephah) to the ram (2/10 ephah) to the lamb (1/10 ephah). An ephah is roughly one bushel or 8 dry gallons or 35 liters or 8 pounds.

The element of fire, symbolic for judgment remains. Grilled meat and baked bread is a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

Numbers 28:14 Their drink offerings shall be half a hin of wine with each bull, a third of a hin with the ram, and a quarter hin with each lamb. This is the monthly burnt offering to be made at each new moon throughout the year.

Wine is required with the sacrifice as well. The bigger the animal, more wine is required. The amount of wine for a bull is 1/2 hin, for the ram 1/3 hin, and for the lamb 1/4 hin. The liquid measurement of a hin is roughly 1.5 U.S. gallons or 5.7 liters.

Numbers 28:15 In addition to the regular burnt offering with its drink offering, one male goat is to be presented to the LORD as a sin offering.

Perfect, spotless animals are sacrificed and burned. Symbolically, judgment has been delivered perpetually. Daily, weekly, and monthly examples are provided as a reminder. Bread and wine are served with these sacrifices. These elements represent perfect sacrifices.

And why are the sacrifices offered? Because of the male goat, a symbol for sin.

Christ is the fulfillment! Got Jesus???

Passover: Blood on the Door Posts

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Gospel, Prophecy, Spring Feasts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2021 by paulthepoke

Exodus 12:22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning.

Hyssop is a plant used for medicinal and religious purposes. Symbolically, hyssop is like bleach for sin. The plant is required for ceremonial cleanliness when a person came in contact with dead bodies or dead animals.

The context of Exodus 12 tells us the Passover Lamb was previously sacrificed. Each household was to butcher their own lamb. Each lamb was sacrificed by the front door of the house.

Blood from the animal was collected in the basin. The Hebrew word for “basin” is caph. The word can be defined and utilized a couple of different ways in the Old Testament. The word comes from the term caphaph. Another translation could be “threshold”. The word is primarily translated as basin, threshold, or door in the Old Testament.

In either case, the term implies the sacrifice likely took place near the front door or threshold where the blood could be collected in a basin.

Blood stained hyssop was painted on the lintel or the top of the door. Then, blood was painted on the doorposts. Again, the blood comes from the basin or container.

John 10:9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

Jesus Christ is the door. His body is the basin that holds the shed blood. Jesus is the Lamb of God. He is the sacrificed paschal lamb.

Christ’s crown of thorns is the brushed blood on the lintel of the door. He is the shed blood on the doorposts with His outstretched arms on the cross. His feet were pierced with nails to the cross. A Roman soldier thrust a spear in His side to confirm His death.

Believers in Him are redeemed and purchased with that blood.

Romans 3:25 God presented Him as the atoning sacrifice through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had passed over the sins committed beforehand.

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Notice, the people are inside the house and they are instructed to stay inside until the next morning. The LORD does not see the sinful people inside the structure. The LORD sees the shed blood of the Passover Lamb.

Exodus 12:23 For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.

There Shall Be Seven Weeks: God Is With Us

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels with tags , , , , , , on February 7, 2021 by paulthepoke

Daniel 9:25b …there shall be seven weeks…

The context of this series of posts is the course of the Jewish people for the initial 49 years of the 483 year period communicated from the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel. The city of Jerusalem has been rebuilt post exile.

As the Israelites read the law, confessed their sins, and worshipped God, the priests made a proclamation.

Nehemiah 9:5b “Stand up and bless the LORD your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.”

The focus of the announcement was a history of who God is and what God has done. It was a time for review and reminder. God is with us.

  • God is the Creator (Nehemiah 9:6).
  • God called Abram and established a covenant with Abraham (Nehemiah 9:7-8).
  • God saw and heard the misery and poverty of His people in Egypt (Nehemiah 9:9).
  • God performed miracles against Pharaoh and Egypt (Nehemiah 9:10).
  • God divided the Red Sea (Nehemiah 9:11).
  • God led by smoke and fire (Nehemiah 9:12).
  • God delivered the law on Mount Sinai (Nehemiah 9:13-14).
  • God provided manna and water (Nehemiah 9:15).
  • God was forgiving, gracious, and compassionate when Israel disobeyed (Nehemiah 9:16-17).
  • God stuck with and continued provision for Israel even when they made idols (Nehemiah 9:18-20).
  • God provided and clothes were preserved for forty years in the desert (Nehemiah 9:21).
  • God gave Israel the Promised Land and the people multiplied (Nehemiah 9:22-24).
  • God delivered prosperity to His people (Nehemiah 9:25).
  • God gave Israel to oppressors because of their disobedience (Nehemiah 9:26-30).
  • God does not forsake Israel and remains gracious and compassionate (Nehemiah 9:31-32).
  • God is just (Nehemiah 9:33).

At this point in the proclamation, Israel admits their iniquities and sins. They know they are guilty many times over. Israel realizes they are deserving of punishment.

  • Every level of society from top to bottom was disobedient to the law (Nehemiah 9:34).
  • Israel did not serve God or repent (Nehemiah 9:35).
  • Israel acknowledges slavery to God and the land due to sin (Nehemiah 9:36-37).

The good news, Israel is not stuck in its past because of sin. God has an answer for sin. Gabriel told Daniel a Messiah is coming.

Daniel 9:25 Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince…

From our view point today in the 21st century, history tells us Israel rejected their Messiah at His first coming. Despite the rejection, Jesus died on the cross for their sins as well as the remainder of humanity.

Isaiah 53:12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Colossians 2:14 By canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Romans 5:8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

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But there is more good news for those who believe in Jesus. He is coming again.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

For those who think this is nonsense and do not believe. Your choice has consequences regardless of what you think.

Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Still Seeking the Master… Joshua of Ghana

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Joshua Ghana with tags , , , , , , on January 30, 2021 by paulthepoke

TEXT: JOHN 20:1-10

Key verse: John 20:1 “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulcher.”

“Faith, like light, should always be simple and unbending,” says Martin Luther King Jr. Mary Magdalene was a true symbol of that faith and who was committed and unwavering as a disciple should be.

@beholy404

The Lord Jesus had been crucified and was buried prior to the compulsory Sabbath day that forced rest on all. His sepulcher was heavily guarded by security men sent by the chief priests and Pharisees to make sure “His disciples (did not) come by night, and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead…” Matthew 27:62-66. As it began to dawn on the first day of the week when it was yet dark, Mary Magdalene came to anoint His body only to discover the huge stone that covered the tomb had been rolled away. Unable to understand what had transpired, she went to report to Apostles Peter and John who also came, saw it and went back home. But Mary, who was determined to see her Savior, stayed back.

The extraordinary courage and steadfastness of this blessed soul in defying all odds in her quest to find her crucified Master is reflective of a heart full of grace and gratitude towards a Savior who had earlier delivered her from demonic possession (Luke 8:2) and saved her soul. God is never unmindful nor is He unrighteous to forget our work and labor of love (Hebrews 6:10). Christ is still calling His disciples to a wholehearted devotion and commitment to Him and His cause.

The all-consuming passion that Mary exhibited in seeking the Lord until she found Him must be the driving force that propels every believer to keep on following Christ at this present time so as to be with Him eventually in heaven (John 17:24).

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: When you truly seek, you will find.

The Bible IN ONE YEAR: ROMANS 1 – 3

What is Christian Giving?

Posted in #PaulthePoke with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2020 by paulthepoke

First, defining what is not Christian giving is necessary. Christian giving is not tithing. Tithing is the practice of giving 1/10 of one’s income for the support of the Levitical priesthood, tabernacle, and temple system under the law. 

The Mosaic Law was given to the Jewish people and this was their guideline for moral living and civic law, as a nation with God as their “King”. If the Law was not upheld, punishment occurred according to the infraction.

These statutes are noted in the first 5 books of the Old Testament, which are also called the Torah (Hebrew for instruction).

This is defined in Numbers 18:21-32 and restated in Hebrews 7:5.

Hebrews 7:5 And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham.

Under the law, tithing was required of produce and livestock, a currency of the day. Tithing is a statute under the Law. 

Along side the tithing system, Israel also gave “freewill” offerings in addition to their required giving as a form of worship to God (Exodus 35:21, 29; 1 Chronicles 29:9, 2 Chronicles 35:8, Ezra 3:5, 8:28).  This giving was based on “whose heart moved them” and “willingly”, rather than under compulsion of the Law.

Exodus 35:29 All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the LORD had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the LORD.

The Law, being given as a part of the Mosaic Covenant, was to be replaced by a coming “New Covenant” as promised by the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Therefore, the law is for a specific time period and a code of conduct which ended with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ instituted this “New Covenant” at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25) prior to His death & resurrection.

Romans 10 clearly states the end of the Mosaic Covenant in Christ Jesus. Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Photo: Pinterest

As Christians, we are not required to keep the Law, but rather apply the “Spirit” or the principles laid forth by the Law. 

Romans 7:6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Christian living is not a checklist of “dos & don’ts”. Nor is Christian giving a specific amount according to a statute to follow. This is legalism.

Romans 7:4 Therefore, my brothers, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God.

Paul chides the Galatians for legalism.

Galatians 3:13 Christ 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).

A reminder to us all, if you practice the Law, you shall live by the Law (Galatians 3:12). This is a serious standard. Do you really want to go there? Do you even want to try and live by the one standard of a tithe?

Galatians 3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

Translated another way, you break one, you break them all. This is reinforced by James.

James 2:10, for whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

We are under grace and not under the Law.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not be master of you, for you are not under the law, but under grace. 

What is the standard of grace giving? Give as you see fit from the heart. Give in a cheerful manner and because you desire to do as such.

2 Corinthian 9:7 Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement: 5781/2020 Days of Awe and the Book of Life

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Fall Feasts, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2020 by paulthepoke

Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement is celebrated on Tishri 10th. It is the last day of the 40 day period of Teshuvah.

In 2020, it is Sunday, September 27 at sunset on our Gregorian calendar. The holiday is 10 days after the civil new year (Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashanah/Feast of Trumpets) is declared at the sighting of the new moon. The new moon was declared on Friday, September 18 outside of Jerusalem by at least two witnesses.

The ten day period of time from Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashanah/Feast of Trumpets to Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement is known as the Days of Awe. The ten day period is also called Yamim Noraim in the Hebrew or the Days of Repentance. This is to be a time of intense reflection of the sins committed during the previous year. The result should be Teshuvah or repentance.

Tradition, not the Bible, says during the Days of Awe, God is keeping His books. God is determining who lives, who dies, who will have a good life or a bad life during the upcoming year. But on Yom Kippur, the decision is made and the books are sealed.

https://www.jewfaq.org/holiday3.htm

Revelation 3:5-6 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

The statement is conditional. One must conquer or overcome through Jesus Christ. The result…

…and I will never blot…Jesus is making a promise. As a believer in Him, your good name and character are safe.

This the Greek word ἐξαλείφω/exaleiphó. Defined by Strong’s Concordance, it means: I plaster, wash over; I wipe off, wipe out, or obliterate.

Believers will not be erased, obliterated, or wiped out.

The verb ἐξαλείφω/exaleiphó is used a total of five times in the New Testament. It is utilized in the context of the removal of tears, sin, and debt. See the examples below.

Revelation 21:4a and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; 

Acts 3:19a Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away

Colossians 2:14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Jesus totally paid for sin once and for all. He is not about to let us be erased from life. He overcame death. And in Him, believers have eternal life.

Erased from what? …the book of life.

The “book of life” is mentioned in five times in Revelation. Scripture tells us the “book of life” has its origins from the beginning of time at creation. The owner of the “book of life” is Christ Himself, the Lamb.

Revelation 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

See also Revelation 21:27 and Revelation 17:8 for origin and ownership of the “book of life”.

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It would appear, we all start with our name in the “book of life”. Moses and the Lord are having a discussion. Sin will remove our name from the “book of life”. And this makes sense considering the wage of sin is death.

Exodus 32:32-33 “But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” The LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.”

The span of our life is noted to the day in the “book of life”.

Psalm 139:16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.

Every single detail of our life is documented down to the number of tears in the “book of life”.

Psalm 56:8 You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?

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Revelation 3:6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Please listen. This marks the fifth time Jesus has requested to all members of the church to listen. He is not pleading with the Sardis church only. This is an individual appeal. If you have an ear(s), Christ is talking to you.

You want to be found in the “book of life”. There is a consequence if your sins are not squared away with the Father.

Revelation 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Red Heifer Update: Colombia, September 2020/Tishri 5781

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Prophecy, Trend Update with tags , , , , , , on September 24, 2020 by paulthepoke

Colombia, September 2020: So an ultra Orthodox Jewish student is living in Colombia… This young man was out minding his own business and spotted a red heifer candidate. He took a picture of the heifer and sent it to the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. Upon further review, the Temple Institute authorized purchase of said red heifer. Apparently, a significant portion of pesos was paid.

https://www.israel365news.com/158710/a-red-heifer-was-accidentally-discovered-in-colombia-watch

According to Jewish tradition, historically there have been 9 perfect red heifers. The 10th perfect red heifer is to coincide with the advent of the Messiah and the third Temple. These folks are committed and serious. Watch some of the video productions at http://www.templeinstitute.org

https://paulthepoke.com/?s=red+heifer

Let’s look at the qualifications of the red heifer per the Bible in Numbers 19:1-2.

Numbers 19:1-2 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed.

The ashes from the sacrifice of the red heifer are necessary for purification prior to the building of the Temple.

Interpretation of verses provided by the Temple Institute. This is the criteria used for the identification of the red heifer.

…and take a heifer… Since the verse instructs us to take a heifer, we do not purchase a calf and wait for it to grow older while in our custody; “and take a heifer” means that the act of acquisition has to take place while the animal is a heifer. However, if a red calf is available, a price can be set with its owner, and the transaction can be concluded, but we do not take possession until it reaches the proper age as mandated by the Bible.

A heifer by definition is a female cow.

…an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect… This means that the presence of as few as two hairs of any other color will render it invalid. Even its hooves must be red. It must also be totally free from any physical blemish or defect, whether internal or external. A list of blemishes that would disqualify the animal for sacrifice are noted in Leviticus 22.

…on which a yoke has never been placed. The red heifer must have never been used to perform any physical labor. This would include riding, or even leaning on her. But if a yoke were placed upon her even once, even if she were not used to plow – this would be enough to render the heifer unfit for use.

Three to four years of age is an oral tradition that has been passed down through the generations.

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The innocent, shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross is the fulfillment of forgiveness and the release from sin.

Hebrews 9:22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

As the red heifer was and will be again sacrificed outside the city limits of Jerusalem, so was Jesus Christ. As the sacrifice of the red heifer is for the purification and consecration of the people of Israel, so was and is Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 13:12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.

Christ’s sacrifice is not only for the people of Israel, but for all the people of the world. He is the sacrifice for all sin for all time.

1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Diversity in the Gospel of Jesus Christ… Mickey Sutliff

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Culture, Mickey Sutliff with tags , , , , , on August 12, 2020 by paulthepoke

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation…

What was at first a need to broaden my understanding and create personal value for African American culture and history, I found the LORD was expanding my vision in seeing the Body of Christ in a new and broader glory. As we walked in an intentional cross-cultural church, the LORD opened my eyes and heart to how diversity within the local body and Body of Christ universal reflects the unconditional reach of the gospel and God’s purposes in salvation. Not that I did not understand or know that ‘God so loved the world…’ but how little we actually experience in our local church the reality of this truth that will be our ‘reality’ in heaven and how this reality reflects the glory of our Lord.

Through time spent in Scripture and walking out the Christian life within a cross-cultural church, I began to see a connection between the proclamation made by the ‘four living creatures & 24 Elders before the throne’ in Revelation 5:9 and the whole of redemptive history throughout the Scriptures. Revelation 5:9 reveals the worthiness and glory due to the Lamb Who Was Slain flows from His shedding His blood “for men of every tribe, every tongue, every people and every nation…”

I found the ‘nations‘ at the heart of God’s redemptive purposes from Genesis to Revelation. God’s promise & redemptive covenant with Abraham included not only blessing his descendants but also ‘…all the families of the earth’.

The Old Testament, where Israel dominates the focus of God’s blessings, the incorporation of the nations into His eternal family is interwoven throughout the Psalms & the Prophets.

  • Psalm 96 extols the glory of the Lord and His heart for the nations.
  • Jonah is focused on God’s love & compassion for a ‘nation’ not Israel and rebukes the prophet for his lack of compassion for them.
  • Isaiah 56:6-7 speaks of ‘foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him, to love the name of the Lord… I will make them joyful in My house of prayer, for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples’.
  • Joel 2:28, quoted by Peter at Pentecost, ‘I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh’.   

As I began to engage the LORD in this dialogue about the gospel, the Church and the nations, I began to see in our diverse church family the expression of the unconditional reach and reconciliating power of the gospel. The Church should reflect the redemptive purpose as revealed in Scripture, which will be more tangible when those who gather are not all homogeneous in its make up. Diversity within the gospel reveals more fully the reach of the gospel of Jesus Christ, whether it is cultural or socioeconomic or ethnic diversity. Ideally all of these, Ephesians and James speak to these diversities specifically.

Ephesians 2 speaks to being ‘no longer strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God… being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord… being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

This picture laid out by Paul, reminds me of Isaiah’s vision of the LORD in His temple, and the seraphim proclaimed, ‘the whole earth is full of His glory’. The Church is His temple, as described by Paul and His glory will be made manifest by the Church. The gospel is not limited to one people group or ethnicity or to those of economic blessing or poverty (James 2:1-13).

God’s people, as revealed in Scripture, reflect the breadth of humanity. Even Jesus’ own 12 disciples were from the broad spectrum of Israelites.

Every Nation, Every Tribe, Every Tongue… Mickey Sutliff

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Culture, Mickey Sutliff with tags , , , , , , on July 23, 2020 by paulthepoke

22 years ago, nearly half my life ago, I had been a Christian for 15 years, discipled to know and love God’s Word as the foundation for following & loving our LORD, as well as being the basis for shaping my view of the world… to see the world as the LORD sees it, not necessarily as I or my culture chooses. In the process, I grew a passion for theology & apologetics and to make sure I understood what I believed and why I believed it. I had a strong commitment to the local Body of Christ and valued its importance to my daily walk. I would characterize myself at that time as mainstream Evangelical, conservative socially and politically and one that did not think much about diversity in the Body of Christ.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

I supported foreign missions and its role in spreading the gospel per Acts 1:8 but would not say I had much passion for what it meant for the Body of Christ to reflect people from “every nation, every tribe, every tongue” that Revelation 5 & 7 reveal before the Throne of God. 

Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands…

22 years ago, the LORD revealed His plan for me and my family… that we would be a multicultural family, as our two biracial daughters came into our lives at 7 months of age. I began the pursuit of leading my daughters/family well, which included incorporating African American heritage into our home. I began my pursuit for how to raise my girls to love God and who He made them to be. As I moved through this process, this became less of a “racial” discussion per se, but more importantly a biblical & theological one in my mind.

As I pursued the LORD, it became clear to me, to effectively lead my girls to value who God had purposed them to be (from the foundation of the world) in a country that has a history of devaluing African Americans, I had to hold those values for myself. Neither my upbringing or my first 15 years in Christ gave me much of a foundation but what I came to understand more clearly was there was more bias, ignorance and false understanding than I would readily admit 22 years ago. By the LORD’s grace, He brought us into community with African American brothers and sisters in Christ, where we were able to engage in meaningful, honest and at times very difficult and uncomfortable discussions. What followed required humble, honest self-evaluation… which led to repentance of heart issues and attitudes that came to light. The wonderfully good news of the Gospel is forgiveness & transformation Jesus Christ offers, but it does not come apart from repentance, and this is how sanctification is also worked in our heart as we continue to turn to the gospel throughout our life.

A More Perfect Way… Joshua of Ghana

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Joshua Ghana with tags , , , , , , , on June 19, 2020 by paulthepoke

TEXT: LEVITICUS 16:20-34

Key verse: Leviticus 16:30 “For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD”

@beholy404

Sin is man’s greatest challenge on earth. It separates man from God. Sin enslaves and no one can on his own free himself from it. The more man attempts to pull himself out of sin, the more he sinks into the abyss of helplessness. To be free from sin therefore, would require the intervention of superior power; the One who created man, Who alone knows how to disentangle him from the tyranny of evil and wickedness.

God took the initiative with the children of Israel when He appointed Aaron to be the High Priest. His job was essentially to make atonement for their sins. To do this, a day was set aside each year for him to enter into the most holy place in the temple, make animal sacrifices to cleanse his own sin and the sin of the people. The animal sacrifices only covered sins for a short period but could not cleanse it indefinitely. So, every year, the entire nation stood still to allow the high priest repeat this ritual of atonement under very strict rules. Without doubt, this old system of atonementor covering sins, was grossly limited and did not provide a permanent solution to man’s sin problem.

Whilst Aaron’s animal sacrifices only succeeded in temporarily covering the sins of the people, Christ’s sacrifice of Himself brought total cleansing from sin, once and for all. While Aaron made long preparations before appearing before God, we can now come boldly to His throne to obtain mercy and grace in time of need. Of course, now, we do not just prepare our body but our hearts as we approach God in prayer of faith through Christ.

As many as are willing can have their sins forgiven and their guilt removed as they confess and forsake their sins; accept Christ as Lord and Savior and place their trust in the spotless Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the whole world.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: In Jesus is found the only route to God.

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