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Archive for February, 2011

“Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.”  (2 Chronicles 18:1)

Ol’ Jehoshaphat was a pretty good king, but he was as dumb as a rock.  Nice guy … but not very bright.

Judah had well over a million me n of war, so it is no wonder that all the nations around gave them tribute. Nobody wanted to mess with Jehoshaphat. It is also not surprising that Ahab, the wicked king of Israel sidled up to him to ask for help against the Syrians.

I can just hear Ahab now, “Hey cuz, ol’ buddy! You know, you and I, we’re family. How ‘bout a little help here to retake Ramoth-gilead”.

No, you’re not family! Israel had left the family of God when they decided to worship golden calves instead of the Lord God Jehovah.  If you look at this spiritually, this is the worldly Church trying to integrate itself with the true Church of God. Yeah, you look the same, but Ahab was not of the lineage of David and their religion was not of God.

So Jehoshaphat decides to be a nice guy and help his poor misguided “brethren” in the battle. Now, when Ahab called upon the 400 prophets of Baal to bless their endeavors, you’d think that maybe that should have given Jehshaphat a clue. And when a true prophet of God had to courage to prophesy against it but was tossed into prison for it that should have told Jehoshaphat that it was time to get out of there.  Nope. Not Jehoshaphat. He went along with it and almost got killed as a result.

Not only that, but as a result of the terrible defeat, he no longer had the strength of his once mighty army to resist the Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites that were now emboldened to come against Judah. What happened to your million men, Jehoshaphat?  You lost your power and strength when you decided to join forces with the worldly Church of Ahab, and now you have become a sitting duck for the devil to attack and destroy the Church.

And it doesn’t end there. Because of his continued affinity with the world, not only did God break his works in Ezion-geber, but the heritage of righteousness was corrupted.  His lack of strength, resolve and godly fear allowed wickedness to enter into the next generation. Jehoram, his wicked son, married  Ahab’s daughter and murdered his brothers who were righteous, and that sealed the destruction of the next generations of the kings of Judah, ultimately leading to their captivity in Babylon.

The message should be as clear as transparent glass.  But what do we see today? In our efforts to be “nice” so that we are embracive to others, and to show love and not offend anyone, we have muddled the stark differences between the holy and the profane.  We no longer fear God. Leonard Ravenhill once proclaimed that we have more of Hollywood than holiness in our churches … and he said that years ago! It has gotten worse since then.  If we as the Body of Christ follow the same path of Jehoshaphat, we will end up with the same results.

Nobody ever said the devil was stupid.

Brother Dale

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In a Stable

  I think I know why Jesus was born in a stable and not in a house.  This is one of the coolest things I’ve come across in a long time and I wanted to share it with my friends.

Let me start with John the Baptist.  Zechariah, his father, was of the course of Abia. Now, if you can figure out when the course of Abia ministered in the Temple, you can do the math to figure out when Jesus was born. 

The answer is found in 1 Chronicles 24 where David doles out the ministrations of the Temple to the chief rulers of the sons of Aaron.  There were 24 of them.  Each one was responsible to minister for two different weeks during the year, and all of them had to show up for the three Feasts of the Lord: Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles, for which all the males of the tribes of Israel were to show up in Jerusalem.  The ministrations were given by lot, and Abia (or Abijah) was given the 8th one.

Now considering that the Jewish calendar was a lunar calendar, there were four weeks to a month (28 days), each starting on the New Moon. The first month Abib (or Nissan) started the year sometime in March or April.  Since the Lunar Calendar runs differently than our Solar Calendar, dates will shift back and forth.

Abia had the 8th ministration, but you also have to figure in the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the first month and Pentecost in the third, so the course of Abia was during the second week of the third month.  Zechariah is visited by the angel Gabriel during his ministration in that second week and is told that his wife will conceive.  Zechariah finishes his ministration on the 14th day and goes home.  Assuming that old Zech was glad to get home and see his wife, John was probably conceived on or around the 15th day of the third month.

Pregnancy is 40 weeks long, or 10 lunar months.  That means that John would have been born during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It is interesting to note that the Jews to this day traditionally set out a goblet of wine for Elijah as an invited guest during this Feast.  John had the spirit of Elijah. He showed up right on time. 

According to Luke, Jesus was conceived 6 months after John.  So if John was conceived during the 3rd month, Jesus had to be conceived during the 9th month, which right about the time of the Festival of Lights, Hanukah. Since Jesus was the Light of the World, I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to imagine that this was part of the Plan also.

I might also add that the Hebrew word for “feast” actually means “appointed time”.  God is well able to perfectly engineer His astounding appointments.

Okay, now it starts getting really cool.  If Jesus was conceived in the middle of the 9th month (remember, the cycle all starts when Zechariah went home to his wife on the 15th day), that places His birth at the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles.  The Feast of Tabernacles is a feast of 8 days, the last day being the “great day of the feast”, which the Jews call Semini Atzeret.  If He was born on the first day of the Feast, then he had to be circumcised on the eigth day, or the great day of the Feast.  

No wonder there was no room at the inn!  Every Tom, Dick, and Harry (or Ira, David, and Joseph) was crowding out every available place for miles around Jerusalem because they were required to attend the Feast.  I thought everybody was there because of Augustus’ taxing, but God isn’t controlled by a heathen emperor but by His own holy appointments. That makes a lot more sense to me.

Isaiah said He would be called Immanuel, or “God with us”.  The word “tabernacle” means dwelling, or in other words, God would “tabernacle” or dwell with us. What better way to fulfill that than to send His Son as a Savior right at the beginning of this Feast and confirm it by His circumcision on the 8th day!

Hang on, this gets even cooler!

The Feast of Tabernacles is also called Sukkoth because it commemorated the trek in the Wilderness and the Jews were supposed to spend that time dwelling in temporary booths.  Where was Jesus born?  In a stable! A temporary dwelling of sorts, not in a house!

Wow. Is that cool?

This may not be some earthshaking revelation that will change your life or anything, but it is one more brick cemented into the wall of our faith that God is not only really, really there, but He is the Great Architect of the Universe.  He is not only able, but is active in His dealings with men. He is All-Powerful, omnipotent and omniscient. 

How small is our faith that we do not take Him at His Word for the great and precious promises that He has given us, and to fully believe Him when He says that He not only hears our prayers, but will answer them!

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”  (Jeremiah 33:3)

 Brother Dale, dale@revivalfire.org

 

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Fire in crossfire the Hole

Recently, on two separate occasions, I have been approached by two old acquaintances who have wanted to enlighten me into deeper understandings.  These two men are polar opposites in their beliefs but both had the same intent.  Like Job’s comforters, they were just trying to help.

One is what I call an armchair theologian. You know the type – they never actually do anything; they just sit there and pontificate from their lofty position of deeper spiritual insights. After wading through page after page of his loquacious emails, I was left still wondering what his point was. Jesus was simple, but these guys always think they have to make it complicated.

The other guy is an ethereal philosopher who feels he has gained spiritual insights into the “secret knowledge” of Gnosticism through the esoteric Johannine Gospel, which was supposedly secretly given to the Apostle John by Jesus, only to be revealed to the world when we lesser lights are ready to receive it.  (Of course, only certain “enlightened” initiates have discovered this “inside scoop” of truth.)  While this makes for fascinating stories of the Holy Grail and great fodder for books by Dan Brown, it is hardly worthy of debate.

To the first, I would answer that the Bible says, “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth”. I’m not interested in how smart you are – go DO something!  The purpose of the Cross is not to learn a bunch of “stuff”, but to have mercy on souls. Jesus died to save sinners, not hand out theological degrees. 

To the other I would ask why he is pursuing so relentlessly something he can never obtain. By its very definition, the whole philosophy of Gnosticism propagates the idea of an endless quest for deeper and deeper wisdom that is always just beyond the grasp of mortal man.  Kinda like a carrot in front of a donkey.  But when you find Jesus – the real Jesus – you find the fountain of Living Waters from which you will never thirst again. If you’ve found the Truth, then why would you have to keep searching for it?

As I searched the scriptures for how the Lord wanted me to answer these guys, I kept turning up dozens of scriptures that admonished me not to fall into the trap laid by either one of these purportedly well-meaning friends.  While it is true that we are supposed to “contend for the faith”, we are also told not to answer a fool in his folly nor reprove a scorner. No matter what you say, they will not listen. Proverbs says that a fool is wiser in his own conceit than seven men who can render a reason.
The core essence of the issue goes all the way back to the beginning of time. In the Garden of Eden, man was given two choices: the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil vs. the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve chose the wrong one. Sure, it was pleasant to look at (lust of the eyes), good for food (lust of the flesh), and a tree desired to make one wise (pride of life), but in its fruit were the seeds of death, for “to be carnally minded is death”. But, hey, it sure made you feel good about yourself!
The Tree of Life, however, is not about you – how good you are, how smart you are, how “deep” you are, or how powerful you are.  To eat off that tree means you have to humble yourself before God and lend yourself to His wisdom, His power, and His righteousness. That pretty much shoots down any spiritual pride you might be hanging onto for yourself.

All heresy has the distinct purpose of minimizing sin and promoting the three lusts of the Tree of Knowledge. It is always in direct conflict with the crucified subjection to the will of God.

So why are they so vehement about pushing their agenda on others? The second Psalm starts off with “Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing?”, and answers in verse 3 that is it to break the bands of Holy Ghost conviction off them and the cords of subjection to God’s righteousness. That was what Satan tried to do also, and it has led to the downfall (literally) of untold masses of humanity.

After searching all his life, the wisest man in the world concluded that the whole duty of man was to fear God and keep His commandments.  As for wisdom?  Job 28 gives the best answer:

“But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? …
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”

Brother Dale
dale@revivalfire.org
 
 

 

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