Daily Word: Matthew 2017

1-corinthians-212
picture with Bible verses: 1 Corinthians 2:12

Today we read what happened to Jesus. Because Jesus said that the same will happen to His followers (disciples). Matthew recorded many teachings of Jesus which depicted everyday lives. They are timeless. Human heart and nature have not changed. Matthew 20:1-17 tells us the scene in the marketplace (employment agency) on one ordinary day. An employer (God) employs workers at different intervals and pays each one the same wage he has committed. But those who think that they deserve more just because they have been in employment longer become angry and indignant. They try to incite a revolt against the employer. But the employer tells them off. He is honoring his part of the employment agreement. But these protestors/revolters are not. They have forgotten or conveniently ignored the agreement. Why?

Jesus gave the reason why in His life.
13 “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14 Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’

16 “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”

Jesus Again Predicts His Death
17 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. 18 “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man[b] will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. 19 Then they will hand him over to the Romans[c] to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”

Jesus told the parable to show how jealousy and greed cannot be concealed and can ruin a person. His adversaries are driven by greed and are insanely jealous of Him. They (the religious and political leaders) have been there a long time. They have institutionalized themselves as the only authoritative governing voice for the nation (social, cultural, education, economic, religious and political). Jesus is not one of them. So how dare He now take the lead in all fields of the nation, with countless more followers from the grassroots than them (over their whole lifetime) in a mere short three years?

While Jesus is following God’s will, doing all the good deeds feeding the poor, genuinely caring loving those upon whom the society looks down, healing the sick, setting the captives/oppressed free, his adversaries are plotting to kill him.

Pilate the Roman Governor knows the motive of the adversaries of Jesus. Matthew 27:18 For Pilate knew that it was because of jealousy that the chief priests and elders had handed Jesus over to him.

The point for Christian intercessors of knowing or revising the above is to pray more effectively. Now we are reminded of the motive of the adversary of God, how shall we pray? I am led to read Mark chapter one and sixteen right now as I ask the Lord.
Here are the  verses that should spur us into the right course and action:

Mark 1:3 This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.[a] It began 2 just as the prophet Isaiah had written:

“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
and he will prepare your way.
3 He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’”

14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

16:15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. 17 These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. 18 They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

19 When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 20 And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.

In summary: Press on in the supernatural journey and run faithfully and consistently as we are led by the Spirit of Christ as ordained by the Almighty and not be distracted by the petty ways of man (motivated by personal agenda and not aligned with God’s plan).
1 Corinthians 2:12  And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

a word of encouragement 2 Kings 6:16-17 New Living Translation (NLT)

16 “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.

a word for those angry with God
Genesis 4:4-7New Living Translation (NLT)

4 Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, 5 but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.

6 “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? 7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

Daily Word: think carefully and focus on promise of good in rebuilding (Haggai 1818)

haggai-218God always speaks before a thing happens. What He has spoken always comes to pass.God makes it come to pass to show that the message is from God. What shall the hearers do? Just believe and go forward. All the great men of God in history accomplished great exploits following this simple key. Today we read from Haggai 2 this prophetic verse: “Think about this eighteenth day of December, the day when the foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid. Think carefully. I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you.” (2:18-19)

This is spoken by God to a group of people who were uncertain about their future after starting to rebuild the Temple of God. They inherited a system of ruin (political, social, economic and religious) as a result of years of corruption, neglect, self-seeking among the rulers and administrators in all significant fields of life. They were also facing political and religious enemies all round bent on causing disruptions and distractions to prevent their nation rebuilding efforts.

Who are in this group of brave rebuilders whom God is addressing right now? The group of remnants who have sacrificially left their own comparatively safe and comfortable zone/homes in foreign land and returned to Jerusalem to rebuild. They have responded to a common calling: to rebuild their nation. In today’s language, they left their own personal agenda and responded to God’s agenda.

God also speaks to the anointed leader loud and clear. In the case of this prophetic passage from prophet Haggai, the leader is a prince, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, whom God calls, “My servant.”

Haggai 2:23 “But when this happens, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, I will honor you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant. I will make you like a signet ring on my finger, says the Lord, for I have chosen you. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”

Daily Word: ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain and go home.'(Judges 717)

psalm-683Today’s daily word is not for the cowards. Courage and boldness are what the apostles and disciples continued to pray for even after they have witnessed the release of Peter and John from the hands of the adversary. (Acts 4:29) The physical number of the courageous men could not match the number of the adversary in the enemy camp. But God asked for a mere three hundred brave men (who remained standing) against armies like a swarm of locusts and camels like grains of sand on the seashore-too many to count! (Judges 7:12)

Judges 7:1-7 New Living Translation (NLT)
Gideon Defeats the Midianites
7 So Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon) and his army got up early and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. 3 Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain[a] and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight.

4 But the Lord told Gideon, “There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.” 5 When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, the Lord told him, “Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream.” 6 Only 300 of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream.

7 The Lord told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.”

The Lord even gave Gideon a supernatural prophetic confirmation
7:14 His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!”

The Outcome just as the Lord had promised to Gideon
7:21 Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape. 22 When the 300 Israelites blew their rams’ horns, the Lord caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as…

A song for the intercessor to sing today
Psalm 68:1-4
1 Rise up, O God, and scatter your enemies.
Let those who hate God run for their lives.
2 Blow them away like smoke.
Melt them like wax in a fire.
Let the wicked perish in the presence of God.
3 But let the godly rejoice.
Let them be glad in God’s presence.
Let them be filled with joy.
4 Sing praises to God and to his name!
Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds.
His name is the Lord—
rejoice in his presence!

Daily Word: Look, walk through, remain undaunted (Genesis 1317)

genesis-1317Today’s prompting is entirely action-oriented: “look” and do not limit your looking. The word was first given to a man of established wealth and power. Yet, God gave him a very hands-on instruction. God told him to look far. Do not set your own limit based on your own limited view. God did not ask Abraham to look at the past accomplishment. No doubt he was a wealthy and powerful man in his own right in his own territory. But God had uprooted him and moved him to a strange, hostile territory with uncertainty and threat in all aspects. Yet God asked him to look beyond and keep looking, as far as he can see or imagine and even beyond…Awesome. God is awesome. We serve an awesome God. Note that God asked him to look at the further positive gains which God was giving and going to give instead of focusing on the loss of Lot and Lot’s loyal support.

What was Abraham required to do after looking in every direction? A simple task: “Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” Just walk through the territory and claim his right, based on God’s covenant and God’s authority. What did Abraham have? He had the Word of God, the Name of God, and the Covenant of God. What did he do? He obeyed and started walking through, exercising and executing God’s given authority just as God had said so.

It may seem too simple to be true. But Abraham was not just any man. He was a spiritual man. He heard God and communicated regularly and naturally with God like a close friend. God called him friend. Abraham was an intercessor. He was also a hands-on and action-oriented pragmatic man. Is this impossible for today’s would-be-Abraham? No. Jesus called His disciples friends. He even gave His life for His friends. Those who are followers of Jesus are born of the Holy Spirit under the Covenant established by the blood of Jesus, given the authority as sons of God, the Word of God, and the Name of Jesus. Awesome. God is awesome. We serve an awesome God. We call Him our Abba Father. We have His Spirit in us. We can discern spiritual matters. We can do all things through Him who strengthens us.

Genesis 13:2 New Living Translation (NLT)
2 (Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.)

Genesis 13:5-6
5 Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents. 6 But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together.

Genesis 13:14-17
14 After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. 15 I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants[a] as a permanent possession. 16 And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! 17 Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.”

Footnotes:
13:15 Hebrew seed; also in 13:16.

Note: There is one condition for the Covenant to take place: Lot must go. The Word clearly says, “After Lot Had gone,…” Lot was not included in the Abrahamic Covenant and had no share in what God had given to Abraham. Lot had a choice to stay in the favor of God by supporting Abraham. But he chose to leave.

I am also reminded of a scene at the time when Governor Nehemiah (with a formal official decree from the King Artaxerxes) entered Jerusalem and started to rebuild the Jerusalem wall. When the adversary party of three officials (Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab) heard of his plan  they continued to scoff contemptuously at him. But Nehemiah remained calm and undaunted, and boldly proclaimed, “The God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall. But you have no share, legal right, or historic claim in Jerusalem.” (Nehemiah 2:19-20)

Daily Word (2/17/17) Why do you cry to God? Go forward!

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! 16 Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground.

AAAJ watchman

exodus-141516In Exodus 14:14-16; 19-20; 15:1-2; 6-7, God gave Moses a sure win weapon.  All Moses had to do was to tell the people to go forward. Nothing would happen if they stood still. By faith, they went forward and of course they won the battle against the adverse forces: the enemy, the sea and their own fear and doubt.

“The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

And the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and…

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Decisions Determine Destiny (a call)

an urgent call to destiny.

God's Way of Healing

andrew-wommack-teachesI have decided to share this letter as I have subscribed and partnered with Charis Bible College World Outreach. By faith I decided sowing the seed of a mere $30 a month. What is a $30 to you? To a person not living in a developed world it could mean a lot. By faith I am also a registered first year correspondence student with the Charis Bible College through one of their overseas branches. I agreed with Andrew that “Decisions Determine Destiny”. I was born again in 1983 and for twenty years I tried to read the Bible and live the Bible way. I invested a fortune in buying many costly reference and commentary books from many theologians before I heard of Andrew’s free teaching. Despite the good intention and my zeal to serve God and live a better life (more abundant life) I increasingly realized that my discipleship ministry had no…

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Daily Word:Matthew 4111 power to make the adversary go away!

matthew-44Today’s key issue: how to make your adversary go away and leave you alone? There are many petty hassles that are trying their best to distract you from the really important issues like nation or church building. Daily hassles are stressors and their intention is to drive you to the point of being dysfunctional. Today the watchman is led in the spirit to give this following 100% effective strategy. It has worked perfectly when Jesus initiated it and it is still working effectively today. The arch-enemy the devil tried to pester Jesus when Jesus started his ministry. But Jesus was well prepared as the Son of God. What happened in the end? “Then the devil went away, and the angels came and took care of Jesus.”

My notes are in brackets in italics.

Matthew 4:1-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Temptation of Jesus
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

(There are times of tiredness as you assume your new office of great responsibilities. And that is the time to be alert against the wiles of the enemy. The more important your job is the higher rank devil will be assigned to tempt you.)

3 During that time the devil[a] came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”

(Of course, the first trick is to make you eat unnecessarily and not at the right time and proportion. Many important people failed and fell because they made their belly/PHYSICAL PART their god. They suffer from a fear of lack. lack of physical comfort, popularity, security, esteem and friendship from others etc.)

4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,

‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”

(WHAT DID JESUS SAY? THE SPIRITUAL IS MORE IMPORTANT AND POTENT THAN THE PHYSICAL! WHERE DOES HIS SPIRITUAL SUSTENANCE COME FROM? THE WORD OF GOD.)

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,
‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’[c]”

(the devil then tried this seemingly equally spiritual and ‘godly’ temptation. He challenged Jesus in the matter of faith. “If you really have faith in God, you jump to your death!”)

7 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’[d]” (WHAT DID JESUS SAY? HOW DARE YOU CHALLENGE GOD!” JESUS IS INDEED THE SON OF GOD AND HE DOESN’T HAVE TO PROVE HIS CREDENTIAL.)

8 Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”

(lastly, the devil tried a seemingly fail-proof offer, power and wealth, fame and fortune.)

10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,
‘You must worship the Lord your God
and serve only him.’[e]”

(JESUS FINALLY COMMANDED THE DEVIL TO GET OUT OF HIS SIGHT. IT WORKED! THE DEVIL HAD TO OBEY. WHY? BECAUSE JESUS IS TRULY THE SON OF GOD AND HE KNOWS HOW TO USE HIS AUTHORITY AGAINS HIS ENEMY.)

11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

Footnotes:

4:3 Greek the tempter.
4:4 Deut 8:3.
4:6 Ps 91:11-12.
4:7 Deut 6:16.
4:10 Deut 6:13.

GOD’S WORD FOR TODAY’S CHRISTIANS
2 Corinthians 6:17-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things,
and I will welcome you.[a]
18 And I will be your Father,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.[b]”
Footnotes:
6:17 Isa 52:11; Ezek 20:34 (Greek version).
6:18 2 Sam 7:14.

WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD.WE HAVE THE SAME AUTHORITY AND POWER JESUS HAS TO COMMAND THE ADVERSARY TO LEAVE.
Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
Romans 8:15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
Romans 8:16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
Romans 8:17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

Daily Word:Ecclesiastes 111 Send your grain across the seas, profits will flow back

ecclesiastes-111All about Christian (and Jewish) economics and finance today. In another word, how to persistently and sustainably prosper the Bible way?
Advice from the richest man in history. Ecclesiastes 11 New Living Translation (NLT) Investment and disbursement
11:1 Send your grain across the seas,
and in time, profits will flow back to you.
2 But divide your investments among many places,
for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.
3 When clouds are heavy, the rains come down.
Whether a tree falls north or south, it stays where it falls.
4 Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.
If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.
5 Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.

6 Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.

Isaiah 28:23-29 Listen to me;
listen, and pay close attention.
24 Does a farmer always plow and never sow?
Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting?
25 Does he not finally plant his seeds—
black cumin, cumin, wheat, barley, and emmer wheat—
each in its proper way,
and each in its proper place?
26 The farmer knows just what to do,
for God has given him understanding.
27 A heavy sledge is never used to thresh black cumin;
rather, it is beaten with a light stick.
A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin;
instead, it is beaten lightly with a flail.
28 Grain for bread is easily crushed,
so he doesn’t keep on pounding it.
He threshes it under the wheels of a cart,
but he doesn’t pulverize it.
29 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is a wonderful teacher,
and he gives the farmer great wisdom.

Daily Word: what has Mark 11:11 and Nehemiah 2:11 have in common? “Investigate, verify and act according to plan.”

nehemiah-218Jesus did something that Nehemiah did around 444BC. After He entered into Jerusalem, He inspected and verified first the actual condition of the Temple. Prior to this action, as recorded in Mark 11:9, 10 in acclaiming Jesus with the words of Ps. 118:25, 26, the people were publicly acknowledging Him as their Messiah. Hosanna, meaning “Save now” came to be a customary shout of praise like…but Jesus was not at all concerned with attending any celebration party after the brief interval at the gate, or seeking a personal glory through the people in Jerusalem who appeared to exalt him to the highest political position they could give to a fellow country man. Instead, He continued with His plan and carried it out quietly and effectively. The newly appointed Governor Nehemiah did the same thing. On arrival at Jerusalem, instead of attending a lavish inauguration party, he went out on his own in the quiet of the night and carried out his first hand investigation and proceeded with his plan without wavering. Nehemiah succeeded in re-building the wall of Jerusalem in 52 short days! Jesus completed His mission within the immediate holy passion week. Both were man of focused thoughts and action. No diversions or distractions ever succeeded in preventing them to finish their race and achieve their one utmost important goal.

Mark 11:11 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

11 And He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around at everything, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve, since it was already late.

Nehemiah 2:11-20 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Inspecting the Walls
11 I came to Jerusalem, and after I was there for three days, 12 I got up during the night along with a few men. But I did not tell anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no animals with me except the animal I was riding. 13 By night I went out by the Valley Gate toward Jackal Spring and the Dung Gate, inspecting the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I moved on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, where there was not enough room for my animal to pass with me; 15 so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and returned to the Valley Gate. 16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, but as yet I had not told the Jews, the kohanim, the nobles, the officials or the rest of the workers.

17 Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation we are in: Jerusalem is desolate and its gates have been burnt. Come! Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a disgrace.”

18 Then I told them how the good hand of my God was on me and the words that the king had said to me. Then they replied, “Let us begin building!” So they prepared themselves for this good work.

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. They said, “What is this you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?”

20 I responded to them saying, “The God of heaven will bring us success. We His servants will arise and build. But you have no part, right, or historical claim in Jerusalem.”

Jesus focused on God’s mission and plan (the big picture)
John 12:28 Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.”

John 12:49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.

Daily Word: what 13 means today to Reform a nation (and transform man)

galatians-615He resembled Ezra in his fiery zeal, in his active spirit of enterprise, and in the piety of his life: but he was of a bluffer and a fiercer mood; he had less patience with transgressors; he was a man of action rather than a man of thought, and more inclined to use force than persuasion. His practical sagacity and high courage were very markedly shown in the arrangement with which he carried through the rebuilding of the wall and balked the cunning plans of the ‘adversaries.’ The piety of his heart, his deeply religious spirit and constant sense of communion with and absolute dependence upon God, are strikingly exhibited, first in the long prayer recorded in ch. 1:5-11 , and secondly and most remarkably in what have been called his ‘interjectional prayers’, those short but moving addresses to Almighty God which occur so frequently in his writings,”* (Who is this man? Nehemiah, the comforter-deliverer)

Nehemiah’s Various Reforms in chapter 13 (Bible book: Nehemiah in NLT)
13:1 On that same day, as the Book of Moses was being read to the people, the passage was found that said no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be permitted to enter the assembly of God.[a] 2 For they had not provided the Israelites with food and water in the wilderness. Instead, they hired Balaam to curse them, though our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 When this passage of the Law was read, all those of foreign descent were immediately excluded from the assembly.

4 Before this had happened, Eliashib the priest, who had been appointed as supervisor of the storerooms of the Temple of our God and who was also a relative of Tobiah, 5 had converted a large storage room and placed it at Tobiah’s disposal. The room had previously been used for storing the grain offerings, the frankincense, various articles for the Temple, and the tithes of grain, new wine, and olive oil (which were prescribed for the Levites, the singers, and the gatekeepers), as well as the offerings for the priests.

6 I was not in Jerusalem at that time, for I had returned to King Artaxerxes of Babylon in the thirty-second year of his reign,[b] though I later asked his permission to return. 7 When I arrived back in Jerusalem, I learned about Eliashib’s evil deed in providing Tobiah with a room in the courtyards of the Temple of God. 8 I became very upset and threw all of Tobiah’s belongings out of the room. 9 Then I demanded that the rooms be purified, and I brought back the articles for God’s Temple, the grain offerings, and the frankincense.

10 I also discovered that the Levites had not been given their prescribed portions of food, so they and the singers who were to conduct the worship services had all returned to work their fields. 11 I immediately confronted the leaders and demanded, “Why has the Temple of God been neglected?” Then I called all the Levites back again and restored them to their proper duties. 12 And once more all the people of Judah began bringing their tithes of grain, new wine, and olive oil to the Temple storerooms.

13 I assigned supervisors for the storerooms: Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah, one of the Levites. And I appointed Hanan son of Zaccur and grandson of Mattaniah as their assistant. These men had an excellent reputation, and it was their job to make honest distributions to their fellow Levites.

14 Remember this good deed, O my God, and do not forget all that I have faithfully done for the Temple of my God and its services.

15 In those days I saw men of Judah treading out their winepresses on the Sabbath. They were also bringing in grain, loading it on donkeys, and bringing their wine, grapes, figs, and all sorts of produce to Jerusalem to sell on the Sabbath. So I rebuked them for selling their produce on that day. 16 Some men from Tyre, who lived in Jerusalem, were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise. They were selling it on the Sabbath to the people of Judah—and in Jerusalem at that!

17 So I confronted the nobles of Judah. “Why are you profaning the Sabbath in this evil way?” I asked. 18 “Wasn’t it just this sort of thing that your ancestors did that caused our God to bring all this trouble upon us and our city? Now you are bringing even more wrath upon Israel by permitting the Sabbath to be desecrated in this way!”

19 Then I commanded that the gates of Jerusalem should be shut as darkness fell every Friday evening,[c] not to be opened until the Sabbath ended. I sent some of my own servants to guard the gates so that no merchandise could be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 The merchants and tradesmen with a variety of wares camped outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 But I spoke sharply to them and said, “What are you doing out here, camping around the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you!” And that was the last time they came on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and to guard the gates in order to preserve the holiness of the Sabbath.

Remember this good deed also, O my God! Have compassion on me according to your great and unfailing love.

23 About the same time I realized that some of the men of Judah had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 Furthermore, half their children spoke the language of Ashdod or of some other people and could not speak the language of Judah at all. 25 So I confronted them and called down curses on them. I beat some of them and pulled out their hair. I made them swear in the name of God that they would not let their children intermarry with the pagan people of the land.

26 “Wasn’t this exactly what led King Solomon of Israel into sin?” I demanded. “There was no king from any nation who could compare to him, and God loved him and made him king over all Israel. But even he was led into sin by his foreign wives. 27 How could you even think of committing this sinful deed and acting unfaithfully toward God by marrying foreign women?”

28 One of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib the high priest had married a daughter of Sanballat the Horonite, so I banished him from my presence.

29 Remember them, O my God, for they have defiled the priesthood and the solemn vows of the priests and Levites.

30 So I purged out everything foreign and assigned tasks to the priests and Levites, making certain that each knew his work. 31 I also made sure that the supply of wood for the altar and the first portions of the harvest were brought at the proper times.

Remember this in my favor, O my God.

Footnotes:

13:1 See Deut 23:3-6.
13:6 King Artaxerxes of Persia is here identified as the king of Babylon because Persia had conquered the Babylonian Empire. The thirty-second year of Artaxerxes was 433 B.c.
13:19 Hebrew on the day before the Sabbath.

What Transformation really means to an individual as well as a nation

Hosea 2:15 I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.

Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Galatians 6:15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.

*Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary

Daily Word: what the word 111 means to Jerusalem

nasaisrael1 Chronicles 11 recorded David and his mighty men who conquered the stronghold of Jerusalem. (Read the whole chapter)
1 Chronicles 11:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and David made a covenant with them there before the Lord, and they anointed [him] king over Israel, according to the word of the Lord through Samuel.
4 And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, that is Jebus, where the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, were.
5 Then the Jebusites said to David, You shall not come in here! But David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the City of David.
6 And David said, Whoever smites the Jebusites first shall be chief and commander. Joab son of Zeruiah [David’s half sister] went up first, and so he was made chief.
7 David dwelt in the stronghold; so it was called the City of David.

Guards were set up to watch over the City.
All these chosen to be keepers at the thresholds were 212. This is recorded in 1 Chronicles 9:22 (AMPC)
9:2 Now the first [of the returned exiles] to dwell again in their possessions in the cities of Israel were the priests, Levites, and the Nethinim [the temple servants].
9:22 All these chosen to be keepers at the thresholds were 212…
26 But these Levites, the four chief gatekeepers, were in charge of the chambers and treasuries of the house of God.
27 They lodged round about God’s house, for the duty [of watching] was theirs, as well as the opening of the house every morning.

Stronghold background (war with Philistines)
1 Chronicles 10
10:1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel...13 So Saul died for his trespass against the Lord [in sparing Amalek], for his unfaithfulness in not keeping God’s word, and also for consulting [a medium with] a spirit of the dead to inquire pleadingly of it,
14 And inquired not so of the Lord [in earnest penitence]. Therefore the Lord slew him and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.

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Original background (During Abraham’s time) Genesis 14:18 Melchizedek king of Salem [later called Jerusalem] brought out bread and wine [for their nourishment]; he was the priest of God Most High,
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a word of warning from Jesus

Matthew 21:5 Say to the Daughter of Zion [inhabitants of Jerusalem], Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey [a beast of burden].

Matthew 23:36 Truly I declare to you, all these [evil, calamitous times] will come upon this generation.
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, murdering the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a mother fowl gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused!
38 Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate (abandoned and left destitute of God’s help).
39 For I declare to you, you will not see Me again until you say, Blessed (magnified in worship, adored, and exalted) is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!
Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men [astrologers] from the east came to Jerusalem, asking,…

Daily Word: end time assignment-Revelation 111

matthew-281820The theme statement received today: “The Temple, altar, and worshippers are to be measured.” (Prophesied by Apostle John) This watchman has been led today to browse a number of more often used and quoted Bible references/commentaries showing what the churches had been taught in christian history.

“And there was given me a reed like to a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” Revelation 11:1
“The measuring implies the protecting of, or the token of a resolve to protect, a portion of the sacred enclosure from desecration. The measuring, like the sealing of Revelation 7, is a sign of preservation during impending dangers.” “…the whole compass of the sacred enclosure, the house of God.” “The gist of the measurement is the preservation of the true, invisible Church, the Church within the Church; and everything necessary to the worship—Temple, altar, worshippers—all are reserved. (Excerpted from Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)
“God will have a temple and an altar in the world, till the end of time. He looks strictly to his temple.” (Excerpted from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
“There were, therefore, three things, as indicated by this verse, which John was directed to do, so far as the use of the measuring-rod was concerned:
(a) to take a just estimate of what constitutes the true church, as distinguished from all other associations of people;
(b) to institute a careful examination into the opinions in the church on the subject of sacrifice or atonement – involving the whole question about the method of justification before God; and,
(c) to take a correct estimate of what constitutes true membership in the church; or to investigate with care the prevailing opinions about the qualifications for membership.” (Excerpted from Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary (Excerpts quoted)
CHAPTER 11 Re 11:1-19. Measurement of the Temple. The Two Witnesses’ Testimony: Their Death, Resurrection, and Ascension: The Earthquake: The Third Woe: The Seventh Trumpet Ushers in Christ’s Kingdom. Thanksgiving of the Twenty-four Elders.
This eleventh chapter is a compendious summary of, and introduction to, the more detailed prophecies of the same events to come in the twelfth through twentieth chapters. Hence we find anticipatory allusions to the subsequent prophecies; compare Re 11:7, “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit” (not mentioned before), with the detailed accounts, Re 13:1, 11; 17:8; also Re 11:8, “the great city,” with Re 14:8; 17:1, 5; 18:10.

“This temple was a type of the church under the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 3:17 2 Corinthians 6:16, and is so to be interpreted generally in this book: for the material temple at Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans more than twenty years before this prophecy, never to be built more; not one stone was left upon another; so that John here was bid to measure the church.

And the altar, and them that worship therein; yet not the whole church, but that part of it which the inner court typified; the altar, and those that worshipped within that space where that was, which of old were only the priests and Levites; and under the New Testament signified those who were to be a holy priesthood, a spiritual house, those that should offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 2:5, who could endure a measuring by God’s reed, the word of God.”

Excerpts from: Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod,…. A measuring reed, which with the Jews was six cubits long, Ezekiel 40:5; with the Greeks and Romans, ten feet long; the Ethiopic version here calls it a “golden reed”, as in Revelation 21:15. This was given unto John very likely by the same angel that gave him the little book, since he afterwards bids him arise and measure with it; and by it seems to be designed the holy Scripture, or the word of God, which is sometimes called a line, a rule, and rod, Psalm 19:4, and which is the rule and measure of doctrine and faith;”

What about my personal revelation?
1. The apostle John was given a specific authority and task.
2. He was given this revelation, prophesy and this personal letter from Jesus Himself.
3. What is the purpose of showing this Bible verse today to this watchman?
My personal observation is that this verse comes before great changes and events that will bring in another era of man’s history on earth. It is like another spiritual door is now being opened and the events thereafter through that door are what human cannot comprehend and expect. The summary I quoted above of Revelation chapter 11 tells us briefly what are happening after 11:1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary: Measurement of the Temple-The Two Witnesses’ Testimony: Their Death, Resurrection, and Ascension-The Earthquake-The Third Woe-The Seventh Trumpet Ushers in Christ’s Kingdom-Thanksgiving of the Twenty-four Elders. Watch this prophesy:”the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit”.

Coming back to John’s measuring (protective) assignment and authority over the Christian churches. Who has been given the same? We read what Jesus says to affirm my answer.

Matthew 28:18-20 New Living Translation (NLT)
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[a] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Footnotes:
28:19 Or all peoples.