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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 The Best Commentary On The Bible Is The Bible Itself
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
 
The Reflections Newsletter

Monday, June 28, 2010

**In This Issue**

  1. The Prophets to the Gentiles
  2. What Does the Bible Say About...? 

Welcome to the Reflections Newsletter from Reflect His Glory.  RHG is a co-ministry with Creation Science Ministries.  Feel free to send this to your relatives and friends.
 


The Prophets To The Gentiles

Did you know that there are at least three prophets in the Old Testament who were called specifically to prophesy regarding the Gentiles?  In our studies, we see that most of the Bible deals with history, both past and future, and through the "lens" of Israel.  However, there are three short books that focus on Gentile history, and each has a specific application to you and me today.

The Biggest Miracle
Perhaps one of the biggest miracles in the Old Testament is found in the book of Jonah.  Now, I know what you are thinking; however, the miracle to which I am refering does not involve a whale... Close, but no cigar.

God called Jonah to minister to Nineveh, which had served as the capital of the world for several centuries.  Nineveh was the bitter enemy of Israel, so instead of obeying God by going to Nineveh, Jonah boarded a ship bound for Tarshish.  But, as you know, God had other plans, and after some motivational training, Jonah finally reached the great city.

When Jonah arrived in Nineveh he did not present a polished, "seeker friendly" sermon.  God had declared that the Ninevites were 40 days away from being destroyed.  Jonah went through town proclaiming something like, "40 days and you'll get yours!"  He was hoping they would get wiped out.  Jonah's biggest fear was that God might spare them.  In fact, went up on a hill and pouted when God did spare them.

What I find interesting is that Jonah did not preach repentance.  He simply announced their impending doom.  Now here comes the miracle: within those 40 days, the king of Nineveh speculated that, just maybe, if they repented, God might change His mind. They did repent, and There were not destroyed.  But we know that God knew that they would repent, and He would let them live, for a time.  From the king on down, they put on sackcloth, the traditional ritual for repentance, and cried out to God.  The king put on sackcloth and ashes, and he proclaimed that the people also put sackcloth on the cattle.  The repentance of Nineveh is astounding when you think about it.  It was perhaps one of the greatest miracles in the Old Testament.

When Nations Die
The book of Nahum comes some one hundred years after the prophecy of Jonah.  This book tells the conclusion of the saga of Nineveh, where God spared the city and population from destruction for an entire century.

Nations and empires actually do have "life cycles."  Many historians have studied this throughout the years and they all have come to about the same conclusion: the life cycle is about two centuries.  The populace all seem to go through the same life cycle: "from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependence back again into bondage."   (Alexander Tyler, 1750)

Where are we in this cycle?  If you take a close look at our history here in the United States, we, too, have gone from bondage to spiritual faith; from faith to great courage which established our precious liberty, which, in turn, has given us unprecedented abundance that has made us the envy of the world.  This abundance, however, has led to complacency and apathy. If you were to ask the average person, "What is the biggest problem in America?  Is it ignorance or is it apathy?"  They will probably answer you with, "I don't know; and I don't care!"

This apathy will ultimately lead to dependency, and then return us to the very bondage from which the founding of this nation broke.  Robert Bork was right when he said that, "The only hope for America is a grass roots revival."  Is America ripe for judgment?  Billy Graham quipped many years ago, "If God doesn't judge America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!" Thomas Jefferson summed it up well: "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; and that His justice cannot sleep forever."

Israel's Enemies
Today, the enemies of Israel are on the front pages of every newspaper and newscast.  You may be surprised to learn that they are also summarized, and prophesied about, in the shortest book of the Bible, the Book of Obadiah.

Although specifically directed against Edom, the scope of the little book of Obadiah may surprise you.  In fact, an over-review of this book covers far more than simply some ancient tribal animosities:

  • What are the prophetic roles of Ammon, Moab, and Edom (now known as Jordan)?
  • Why does Edom escape the rule of the Antichrist?! 
  • What is the purpose of the Great Tribulation? 
  • Where does Jesus return?  Is it on the Mount of Olives, or in Bozrah?

Reading is fun... Don't you think so?

 


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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory


What Does the Bible Say About...?

 

In this section of the Reflections Newsletter we answer questions that have been asked.  If you have a question that you would like ask, and do not mind having it printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to send your question in an email to me at biblequestions@reflecthisglory.org.  Of course, you may call me anytime by phone at 801-302-1111.

The question for this issue is, "In reading Scripture, one gets the impression that God has two 'wives', Israel and the Church.  Doesn't this illustration make God appear to be a polygamist?"

While it is true that both Israel and the Church are portrayed in this fashion, I hope the following will help to clear will up any confusion.

In chastising ancient Israel, the Prophet Jeremiah conveyed the displeasure of the Lord when he said:

Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel, says the Lord.  Jeremiah 3:20  KJV ER

The love of a husband for a wife is also used to illustrate the love that Christ Jesus has for the Church.  The Apostle Paul said:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it;  Ephesians 5:25  KJV ER

Despite the fact that God's love for both Israel and the Church has been so compared, it is not accurate to refer to God as a polygamist.  Several things must be kept in mind.  First, God transcends His creation.  His love is so deep and so wide that He can love a multitude of people with an even deeper measure of love than we humans.   Because of our limitations, we can  only reserve our love for one person.  That being said, there is a very important distinction between Israel and the Church.  Israel is called 'Wife', and the Church is called the 'Bride'.  More on this later.

Although polygamy was practiced by early man, and even allowed by God, it invariably produced problems for those who practiced it.  Undoubtedly, this is why God encouraged monogamy for mankind.  Look at Genesis 2:24 and note that the word "wife" is used, and it is not plural.

Secondly, in the prophetic scenario, Israel and the Church will eventually become one 'wife', as Israel and the Church are grafted into one body:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3:28  KJV ER

When Christ Jesus returns, virtually all of Israel will embrace Him as their Messiah. 

And so all Israel shall be saved.  Romans 11:26  KJV ER

Later, when we enter the eternal state, the New Jerusalem, home of the saved of all ages, Jews and Gentiles alike, are described as the 'bride' of Christ', as well:

And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them, and be their God.  Revelation 21:2-3  KJV ER

One more statement about the Church being the "bride of Christ:"  Israel is not called the 'wives' of God.  Likewise, the Church is not called the 'brides of Christ."  As Israel is considered corporately as one, so is the Church.  The bride of Christ is one entity, comprised of all believers from all of time, Jew and Gentile, one bride to be one wife.

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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 

**MEMORY VERSE OF THE MONTH**

Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

John 3:19  KJV ER

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

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"Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him,
"
If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed;
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
."

John 8:31-32

  
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory