Saturday, October 14, 2017

October 14: Jeremiah 23:21 – 25; Psalm 84; Proverbs 25:15; 2 Thessalonians 2 (More Rapture Stuff)



Overview

            Jeremiah: The Lord affirms that he did not send the prophets but they are following their evil deeds. God is omnipresent so no one can hide from him. He fills everything. Therefore, he knows that the prophets ae lying. They can tell their dreams but the one that has God’s word must tell it faithfully. He is against them like a fire to burn or a hammer to smash. He is against their lying dreams and those who lead his people astray with their lies. He didn’t send them.
            When a prophet or priest asks what the burden (oracle) of the Lord is, answer that he is the burden of the Lord and the Lord will get rid of him. They are not to use the phrase “the burden (oracle) of the Lord.” They can say, “What has the Lord answered or spoken.” Those that continue to say, “The burden (oracle) of the Lord,” will be cast out of the city and have everlasting reproach.
            After Nebuchadnezzar took Jeconiah captive the Lord gave Jeremiah a vision of two baskets of figs. One was spoiled the other very good. The Lord said that the good ones represented the people sent away into captivity. He would bring them back and they would prosper. The bad ones represent Zedekiah and the remnant that remain in the land. They will be destroyed.
            In the 4th year of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar’s first year, Jeremiah told the people that he had been speaking the words of the Lord for 23 years and they haven’t listened. The Lord also sent others and still the people didn’t listen. Repent now and they will live to be old people in the land. Don’t serve other gods. Because they haven’t listened, their actions have provoked God to anger.
            The Lord will send his servant, Nebuchadnezzar, from the north against them and the surrounding nations. The Lord will devote them to destruction. The whole land will be a waste for 70 years. Then he will punish the king of Babylon for their sins by making the land a waste and making slaves.
            The Lord told Jeremiah to take the cup of his wrath and make the nations to whom he sends drink it. Jeremiah then lists all the nations that will suffer. If they refuse to accept his wrath, he is to tell them that they don’t have a choice. If he is punishing his own city, what makes them think they can escape punishment? Jeremiah is to prophesy against them that the Lord will roar and tread them like grapes. He is to tell them that the Lord is pronouncing a time when all the earth will suffer disaster and there won’t be anyone to bury the dead from one end of the earth to another. The Lord’s anger will cause the shepherds and lords of flock to wail because of his fierce anger and the sword of the oppressor.
            Psalm: The sons of Korah express their deep desire and longing to be in the Lord’s presence. Even birds can fly into the temple and build a nest near the Lord and so is anyone blessed who dwell in the Lord’s house. Those who pilgrimage to Zion are blessed with strength.
            Those who go through a valley of weeping (Baca) are refreshed like streams and pools are refreshed from an early rain.
            They ask the Lord to hear their prayer and look with favor on his anointed one.
            It is better to be in the Lord’s house than anywhere else. They would rather be a doorkeeper in the Lord’s house than anything the wicked offer. The Lord supplies all the needs for those who are blameless. They affirm that anyone who trusts in the Lord is blessed.
            Proverbs: Being patient can change a ruler’s mind just as constant rubbing of tongue can break a bone.
            2 Thessalonians: Paul and his companions provide the Thessalonians more information about the time the Lord will gather Christians to himself. The Thessalonians should not be concerned about false reports that it has already happened. That will not happen until the man of lawlessness, the one who is destined to be destroyed appears. He will exalt himself to be above all gods and sit in the temple of God pretending to be God. Paul had told them this before so they know who is restraining him from coming now. This lawlessness is already occurring but it is being restrained by one who will step aside and let him be revealed. The Lord Jesus will then kill him with his breath and all he has done will be reversed as if it had never happened. This lawlessness is brought by Satan with all his false signs and wicked deceptions of those who are perishing. They perish because they refuse to love the truth and be saved. God sends them delusion so they have false beliefs that condemn them and their pleasure of sin.
            But Paul and his companions give thanks to God because God chose them to be saved. The Thessalonians are made holy by the Holy Spirit and their belief in the truth. They were called through the gospel to have glory with Jesus. So, the Thessalonians should stand firm and continue in the traditions they were taught by Paul and his companions in person or in letter. They ask for the Lord Jesus and God the Father who gives us eternal comfort through grace to comfort them and keep them going in every good work.

What Stood Out

            Jeremiah: “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord” (Jer 23:23-24).
            Psalm: “Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God” (Ps 84:3).
            Proverbs: “With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone” (Prov 25:15).
            2 Thessalonians: “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction” (2 Thess 2:3).

Insight

            Jeremiah: Jeremiah 23:23-24 is an absolute declaration of God’s omnipresence. We should all stop and think about this. God is everywhere. He is right there with you wherever you are when you read this. He is right there with you when you are glorifying him. He is right there with you when you are sinning and bringing shame to his name. The Lord told the lying prophets this because they were saying the Lord had spoken to them but he hadn’t. There was no way they could justify what they said.
            When we want to sin and decide we’ll do it, we should remember that God knows it not just because he is omniscient and knows all things. He knows it because he is watching what we are doing. He is standing right there with us. We can’t say that he didn’t know or that there were no witnesses so we are falsely accused. Jesus said he judges justly because of two things. The first is that he hears. He is just as omnipresent as the Father and the Holy Spirit because he is God. The second reason is because he is doing the will of the Father. (See John 5:30).
            Who among us wants to disobey a parent when that mother or father is standing right there? Who would do that in the presence of the police or other officials? Only wicked people. So, we should really examine ourselves when we sin and think about God’s omnipresence and what we are telling him face to face.
            Psalm: Have you ever thought about the way the temple was constructed and the fact that there were parts of it where everyone was prohibited except the priest who offered the blood of atonement once a year? Apparently from Psalm 84:3, we discover that birds would occasionally make nests in these parts of the temple and raise their young. If it were a man, the guy would die instantly for his indiscretion.
            It reminds me that we are living in a time of God’s abundant grace. This bird that built a nest in the temple is a symbol for that grace. Jesus said that God feeds the birds (Matt 6:26) and that one doesn’t fall to the ground without his notice (Matt 10:29-31). We should have no fear when we are walking with the Lord. We should be just as comfortable in his presence as that bird in the temple. It can’t happen if we’re preparing to sin. It can only happen because of his grace.
            Proverbs: A bone is hard, and a tongue is soft. However, the tongue continues to replace worn away cells. If you work on it long enough you can break a bone with your tongue. In the same way, gentle words can change someone’s mind.
            2 Thessalonians: Warning, there is more rapture stuff coming. Paul starts the chapter by defining “the day.” That days is when Jesus comes and we are gathered with him (2 Thess 2:1). We are not to be deceived so we must pay special attention. That day will not come unless the rebellion comes first (2 Thess 2:3). That should be simple enough. The rebellion will happen before we are gathered with Jesus. The man of lawlessness, who is apparently the Antichrist because he proclaims himself to be God (2 Thess 2:4), has to come first as well (2 Thess 2:3).
            If I remember the Left Behind series and other concepts of the pre-tribulation rapture, then the Antichrist isn’t revealed until after the rapture. The rapture sets the world in such a state of disarray that the Antichrist is able to smooth-talk his way into power. This concept is based on the idea that the one who restrains him from being revealed is the Holy Spirit and he is removed when all the believers are raptured (2 Thess 2:6-7).
            A problem with this pre-tribulation explanation is that it is eisegesis instead of exegesis. When you have already decided what the passage must mean, then you interpret it and fill in the blanks that with your preconceived belief, it is eisegesis – putting into instead of taking out. These passages say nothing about who restrains the man of lawlessness. It implies that Paul told the Thessalonians but he didn’t mention it in his previous letter so we don’t know. It is nothing but pure speculation that it is the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit is “taken out of the way” (2 Thess 2:7). Because several English translations use this phrase, they relate it to the rapture. This is speculation.
            Since Paul clearly says the Antichrist will be revealed before the gathering, and most people agree that the tribulation starts when the rebellion starts and that is when the Antichrist appears, then a mid or end of tribulation rapture is a better explanation of the timing.
            Enough about the rapture. While we wait for the rebellion or the rapture, we must be about the business of the work that Jesus has called us to do. Keep up following our Christian traditions (2 Thess 2:15) and stay established in good works (2 Thess 2:17). And, if we start to demand that our interpretation of the rapture is an essential doctrine of Christianity, then we are no better than the lying prophets of Jeremiah.

Application

             I don’t want to be called a lying prophet. What I learn and write about from God’s word should be as accurate as I can be. I’m not claiming to be inspired so don’t stone me. If you disagree, then study the Scripture to make sure you are as accurate as you can be. May we all depend on the Holy Spirit in the way we examine the Word. May we all agree on the vital doctrines of Scripture such as the deity of Jesus. May we agree to agree when doctrine does not affect salvation or living holy lives.

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