Jesus' Footprints

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Now a word was secretly brought to me, And my ear received a whisper of it.   In disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falls on men, Fear came upon me, and trembling, Which made all my bones shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; The hair on my body stood up.   It stood still, But I could not discern its appearance.  A form was before my eyes (Job 4:12-16).

Sounds like something out of a horror movie, doesn’t it?   What an eerie feeling it is to sense that something is in the room with you while you are sleeping.  It makes the hairs on your body stand up, indeed.

This night vision is not a work of fiction.  It is real.  It happened to a man name Eliphaz.  He was one of Job’s friends.  When he and two other friends found out about the calamities Job had gone through–losing his livestock, possessions, children and finally, his health, they went to see him.  They were so stunned when they saw the condition he was in–probably disfigured from the boils covering his body, they wept, and threw dust over their heads in deep mourning.  They sat with him in silence for a while until each of them began to speak to Job, assuming that he had brought his suffering upon himself because of sin.

Eliphaz shared the night vision he had.  It was used to illustrate his point that no innocent person has ever perished or the upright ever cut off, implying that Job was neither innocent nor upright.  However, we have read stories of the innocent and the upright being persecuted, martyred.  It was not up to Eliphaz to determine whether or not Job brought this suffering on himself.  Job didn’t need to hear these hurtful words.  He needed a friend.

Job’s whole experience shows us that God doesn’t do bad things to people–He allows it sometimes.  And we are not to judge others.  We can’t assume that they are suffering because of something they did. And that bad things happen to good people too.  And in the case of Eliphaz, people misunderstand who God is.  He believed that God was punishing Job when it was Satan who was responsible for these calamities.

Eliphaz believed that Job must have done something wrong and that for him to say that he was innocent, was like saying he was more righteous and pure than God.  Job was not attacking God’s character but was maintaining his innocence.  He knew that he hadn’t done anything to deserve what had happened to him.  The devil wanted Job to believe that God was punishing him and was trying to get him to curse him.  The spirit was either Satan himself or an evil spirit sent by him to distort a true picture of God and to destroy Job’s faith in Him.

The Bible advises us, “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

Something else that stood out for me in the vision were the words, “Now a word was secretly brought to me, And my ear received a whisper of it.”  This took place at night and it was in secret.  God’s doesn’t operate like this.  His truth is light and it is not secret.  We have to be discerning and test whatever new “light” we receive and see if it is in harmony with the Word of God.  

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“He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God” – Luke 23:35

031211_0125_CITIZENSOFA14As Jesus hung on the cross, soldiers cast lots for His robe and the people passed by, blaspheming Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” The chief priests and scribes jeered Him among themselves, “Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” (Mark 15:29-32).  The soldiers mocked Him, saying that if He were the King of the Jews, He should save Himself.  One of the criminals blasphemed Him, telling Him that if He were the Christ, to save Himself and them.  As He hung there, Jesus asked His Father to forgive them (Luke 23:34-37).

None of those jeering at Him realized that He had fulfilled the purpose for which He came.  He was not going to save Himself.  He was there to save them and the world so that those who believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.  He became a curse for our sake.  Nicodemus must have reflected on these words as He witnessed the crucifixion,  “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:14-17).

Jesus had to be lifted up so that all men would be drawn to Him.  Just as the Israelites looked upon the serpent in the wilderness and were saved so will those who look upon Him in faith.  The heavenly King to give His life a ransom for many.  The rulers seem to have forgotten Caiaphas’ prophetic words, “You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” John wrote that the high priest prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad (John 11:49-52).  Thus Jesus would die not only for the Jews but also for the Gentiles.  And it was expedient that He should die.  There is no remission for sin unless blood is shed.  The blood of the Lamb of God had to be shed for the sins of the world.  Without His death there would be no reconciliation with God for sin had separated us from Him.

Ironically, the other thief on the cross, who was also cursed because he was hanging from a tree, he realized that Jesus was innocent and undeserving of such a humiliating death.  He acknowledged his own sinfulness in the face of our Lord and asked Jesus to “remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”  Jesus promised him that day that he would be among those who were resurrected on that glorious day when Jesus would come again to gather His people to Him and take them to Heaven.  That thief gave his life to the King of Kings and in return received the promise of eternal life. 

Thankfully, Jesus did not come down from the cross as He was goaded into doing.  Instead, He cried out, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit’” and died.  Even nature responded to the death of its Creator.  There was darkness over the earth and the sun was darkened.  The veil in the temple tore, signifying that the old sacrificial system was obselete now.  “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.  For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.  For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1-4).  Only the blood of Christ can take away our sins.  He offered Himself once and for all on the cross. 

Another important point that should be made is that the tearing of the veil also signified the tearing down of the partition which separated us from God.   We read in Hebrews 10:19, 20, that we can boldly enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus and by a new and living way which He consecrated for us through the veil which is His flesh.  So, thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we are now able to boldly approach the throne of grace.  In the old system, “when a sacrifice was offered for the sins of the entire congregation, the blood was taken by the priest, who represented Jesus (Hebrews 3:1), into the sanctuary and sprinkled before the veil which separated the two rooms. The presence of God dwelt on the other side of the veil” (God Drew the Plans, Amazing Facts.  In the tearing of the veil, we see Jesus in His roles as our sacrificial Lamb and our High Priest.  Through Him we can go directly to God and confess our sins.  We don’t need an earthly intercessor.  The Bible clearly teaches that there is one Mediator between God and us and that’s Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).  He is the only way to the Father because of what He did on the cross.

The King of Kings stayed on the cross until He was able to say, “It is finished.”  He had accomplished what He came to do.  Hebrews 10:7 states that He came to do the Father’s will.  Isaiah 53:11, 12 explain what that will was:  By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.  And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.”  It pleased God to give His beloved Son so that the world would be saved through Him.  And the Son was willing to lay down His life. 

When the centurion saw the veil tear in two from top to bottom, he declared, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39).  Here we have a Gentile, a Roman soldier who acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God while many of the Jews rejected Him as their King and their Messiah.  This centurion declared that Jesus was a righteous Man and glorified God (Luke 23:47).  He believed that Jesus was the Son of God.  This was a confession of faith.  He was drawn to the King who was lifted up.  Jesus said of Himself, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).

Today, reflect on the King as He hung on the cross, cursed for our sakes so that He could redeem us.  Thank God for loving you so much that He sacrificed His Son so that you could be reconciled to Him.  Thank Jesus for laying down His life for you.  And rejoice because the King is now in heaven sitting on the right hand of the Father.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” – Matthew 5:3

humilityThe message seems to contradict itself but God’s way of living is usually at odds with the world’s.  His ways may seem strange to the world.  We must be poor in spirit which means to be humble.  Pride and self-importance have no place in God’s kingdom.  The Bible says, “God resists the proud but gives grace to humble.  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:5-6).

People don’t like to submit or be dependent on anyone.  They like to be self-sufficient, idependent.  Jesus is saying  blessed are those who humble themselves in the sight of the Lord.  As disciples of Jesus we must submit to God and resist the devil who offers us worldly things.  These traits are the ones Jesus is looking for in His followers.  God blesses those who live out these traits.

It is not easy to do what may seem strange and opposite to the societal norm.  How could a humble person inherit the kingdom of heaven?  The Lord Himself declares, “I will dwell in the high and holy place with him who has a contrite and humble spirit.  To revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15).

God dwells with the humble–the poor in spirit–those who for recognize their need for God.  They are lowly in spirit.  Paul describes this kind of attitude best.  “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3, 4).

Jesus was poor in spirit–He was humble and He came to serve, not to be served.  He always puts the needs of others before His own.  And the result is, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).  Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death.  As disciples of Christ we are to humble ourselves and be obedient to God in all things.

Like Jesus, our kingdom is not of this world and that is why the world does not know us just as it did not know Him.  We are God’s peculiar people.  Our way of life is at odds with the ways of the world.  Being poor in spirit brings us God’s riches which are eternal.

bible and glassesOn the morning of February 25, 2013, my husband and I were talking about the encounter between Saul and whom he perceived to be the prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel 28. We recalled a broadcast of In Touch some time ago when Dr. Charles Stanley taught that it was God who spoke through “Samuel” whom the witch had seen coming up from the ground. Some commentators talk about how the woman seemed startled when she saw an old man with a mantle rising from the earth. Some intimate that she was a fraud and got a shock when a spirit actually came up. I wouldn’t speculate on why she was startled or how she found out that it was Saul in a disguise. What shocked me was that Dr. Stanley would preach that God would speak through the very means which He forbade His people from using. In Moses’ time mediums and those who consulted the dead were put to death (Leviticus 20:27).

God warned His people, “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards,to be defiled by them: I [am] the LORD your God.” Why then would God who is holy defile Himself by speaking through what Saul perceived as the spirit of Samuel? If God engaged in the very practice which He prohibited, He would be a hypocrite.

Most people believe that when a person dies, they go to heaven if they are righteous and to hell if they are wicked. Does it make sense then that Samuel would be coming up from the earth if he were supposed to be in heaven? And would why would he say to Saul, “And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me” (verse 19). Would wicked Saul really be where Samuel, a man of God was? And why is “Samuel” who died and was buried in the city Ramah show up in Endor?

Consider what “Samuel” said to Saul in verses 15-19 and then consider Samuel’s behavior when the Lord rejected Saul as king. 1 Samuel 15:11 and 35 state: “And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night. And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.” Does this Samuel sound like the one who spoke to Saul in Endor? Even the witch showed Saul more compassion (verses 21-25).

1 Chronicles 10:13-14 say: “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. But [he] did not inquire of the LORD; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.” Saul sought the Lord but the Lord did not answer him in dreams or by Urim or the prophets (1 Samuel 28:6).

Saul’s heart was not in the right place. He had been disobedient to God for such a long time that the Lord’s Spirit had left him. And it proved that Saul’s heart was not in the right place because in his desperation, he sought the help of a witch. As one commentator rightly puts it, “He had done so in form ( 1 Sa 28:6 ), but not in the spirit of a humble penitent, nor with the believing confidence of a sincere worshipper. His enquiry was, in fact, a mere mockery, and his total want of all right religious impressions was manifested by his rushing from God to a wretched impostor in the service of the devil [ 1 Sa 28:7 ].”

The manner in which Saul sought the Lord explains why he received no answer. David knew how to approach the God of his fathers. ”The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart–These, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). What Saul needed was a broken spirit and a contrite heart and God would have responded to him.

This sad chapter in Saul’s life demonstrates just how important it is to read the Word of God for ourselves instead of simply relying on pastors and ministers. We ought to be like the Bereans who after listening to the apostle Paul’s sermon and readily receiving it, still consulted the Scriptures to make sure that what they were heard was in harmony. Once they were satisfied that it was, they believed.

So many Christians are being led astray by pastors and ministers who believe in what they are teaching but whose teaching are contrary to what is in the Bible. We encourage Christians seek the Word of God and prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into God’s truth. Don’t be surprised if the truth that is revealed to you is different from what you have been taught.

It is so easy to misinterpret or misunderstand God’s Word but the Holy Spirit is there to guide us. Jesus used the Scriptures to teach His disciples and show them the way. The disciples encountered a lot of opposition from people who did not believe in the Gospel. They challenged their beliefs and teaching but the disciples stood their ground because they had the Word of God on their side. Jesus used the Word of God to defeat the enemy who was trying to tempt Him. The enemy quoted from scripture but used it in the wrong context. This goes to show you that a person may know the Bible and quote scores of scripture from it but it doesn’t mean that the person knows what he or she is talking about.

In his letter to the Christians in Galatia, Paul wrote, “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” It is important to search the Word diligently, prayerfully and without any preconceived notions. Be open to the leading and teaching of the Holy Spirit. Don’t resist the truth because it is different from what you have believed for years. God once encouraged me to embrace the truth. Remember what Jesus said about the truth setting you free.

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” – Acts 17:11.

PP-HezekiahPraying_JS_0015The Rabshakeh whom the king of Assyria sent to the king of Judah and the Israelites and tried to persuade the people into doubting their king and their God.  He tried to convince them that since the gods of the other nations that Assyria conquered couldn’t defeat them why would the God of Israel be any different?  He tried to persuade them to trust in him instead and in return all will be well with them.

There are times when people will cast doubt on God’s power or His ability to help us through tough situations.  They may even criticize those who give us godly counsel.  They might try to convince us that they have the solution or that they are the solution.

How do we deal with these negative, discouraging people?  Should we hold our peace and not say anything like the Israelites?

King Hezekiah dealt with this problem in two ways.  First, he consulted Isaiah, the prophet.  God spoke through Isaiah, telling Hezekiah not to be afraid of the words he heard from the Assyrian king’s messenger.  God assured Hezekiah that He would send a spirit on the king of Assyria who will hear a rumor and return to his own land where he will fall by the sword.

King Hezekiah prayed to God, asking for His help.  In his prayer he acknowledged the following things about God:

  • the One who dwells between the cherubim
  • You are God, You alone, of all kingdoms of the earth
  • You have made heaven and earth
  • You are the Lord God, You alone

He recognized the other gods were not gods but the work of men’s hands.  He wanted God to save the Jewish people from the king of Assyria so that all the kingdoms of the earth will know that God is the Lord God.

God responded to Hezekiah through the prophet Isaiah.  He said, “Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib, king of Assyria, I have heard.”  God outlined how the king would be defeated.  He promised that He would defend Jerusalem, save it for His (God’s) sake and David’s sake.

Just as God promised, an angel went out and killed 185,000 Assyrians in their camp.  King of Assyria left and returned to his home in Nineveh.  As he was worshipping in the temple of his god, his two sons killed him.

King Hezekiah trusted in God to save them from the Assyrian king and his vast army.  God came through for the Israelites because of Hezekiah’s faith in Him.  God delivered His people from their enemies.

God’s prophecy regarding the king of Assyria came true.  He caused him to return to his own land where he fell by the sword (verse 7).  The king’s god couldn’t save him because as Hezekiah pointed out, the other gods were not gods–they were made of wood and stone–the products of men’s hands and imaginations.  The God of Israel, on the other hand, is living, breathing and existed long before man was created. This reminds me of what Paul said to the Greeks in Athens (Acts 17:22-31).

Rev%2012%20Pictures_clip_image001_0000Revelation 12:4 says the dragon stood before the woman.  In the book, John uses symbolism but there are times when an angel explains what these symbols mean.  For example in Revelation 17, John sees a woman on a beast.  He marvels at her because she was dressed in purple and red, wore gold and precious stones and pearls, had the words MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH written on her forehead and she had the blood of Jesus’ followers on her.  Who was this woman?

The angel tells John.  “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth” (verse 18).  If Mary was the woman with the sun, the moon and the stars, who is this woman on the beast?  These two women are not literal women.  They represent something.  They represent churches.  The woman in Revelation 12 is the true church while the woman in Revelation 17 is the apostate church.  The apostate church is the mother of other apostate churches.  They may have broken off from her but they still follow some of her teachings.  The dragon does not make war with her because she is doing his bidding.  Instead he makes war with the true church.

The dragon used King Herod to devour (destroy) the child at His birth.  It was for this reason that God had Joseph to take his family to Egypt where the Child would be safe.  Herod had boys ages 0-2 slaughtered.  Revelation 12:5,6 state:  And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.  Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Jesus was taken up to heaven when His work here was done and He is sitting on the throne next to the Father.  Verse 6 says that the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God and where she would be fed for 1260 days.  How does this relate to Mary?  As far as I know Jesus placed her into John’s care and he took her to Ephesus.  I visited what is believed to be her house in Ephesus.  I saw John’s tomb.

Verses 13-17:  Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.  But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.  So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.  But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.  And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

When did Mary face persecution?  What is the wilderness that she was taken to after Jesus ascended to heaven?  Who helped her?  The Christian church fled into the wilderness–it went into seclusion during the Dark Ages to escape persecution at the hands of the apostate Church (the woman on the beast).  The true Church hid in caves.  God nourished her (Revelation 12:6).  This is like when the prophet Elijah fled from Jezebel who threatened his life and God took care of him.

Someone mentioned that since Jesus is a king that makes his mother a queen.  I know that Mary is referred to as the Queen of Heaven.  There is mention of a Queen of Heaven in the Bible.  We read about her in Jeremiah 7:18, 19:  The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead [their] dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.  Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: [do they] not [provoke] themselves to the confusion of their own faces?  And in Jeremiah 44:17-19, 25:  But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for [then] had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.  But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all [things], and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.  And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?  Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.

The queen of heaven was an idol which the people were worshipping, incurring God’s wrath.  There is no queen in heaven now.  Mary is not a queen.  She is as the Bible refers to her, “the mother of Jesus”.  Granted she is blessed above all women but that is because she was the one God chose to be Jesus’ mother.  This does not make her a queen or a co-mediatrix or co-redeemer.  We have one mediator and one redeemer and that is Christ because He shed His blood for us.  Mary did not shed her blood for us.  Mary simply obeyed God.  She saw herself as a humble servant of God.  She even called God her Savior.  She said, My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.   For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;  For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.   For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name (Luke 1:46-49).

“A woman,” signifies a true church. (2 Corinthians 11: 2.) A corrupt woman is used to represent an apostate or corrupt church.  “The sun” here signifies the light and glory of the gospel era.  “The moon” is the symbol of the Mosaic period. As the moon shines with a borrowed light derived from the sun, so the former era shone with a light borrowed from the present. There they had the type and shadow; here we have the antitype and the substance. “A crown of twelve stars”.

The woman, the church, had the moon under her feet; that is, the Mosaic period had just ended, and the woman was clothed with the light of the gospel sun, which had just risen. By anticipation the church is represented as fully organized, with its twelve apostles, before the man child, Christ, appeared upon the scene (Source:  Daniel and the Revelation).

The woman’s offspring is the last generation of true Christians–God’s remnant church which the devil makes war against.  The remnant is made up of Christians who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.  What is the testimony of Jesus–it is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).  This is what the spirit of prophecy means:  «In the last days,» said God, «I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.  In the last days, God’s true church (the woman’s offspring) will have the gift of prophecy as it experiences a final reawakening before Jesus’ return.

We should all take John’s advice regarding the Book of Revelation:  “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;  and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18, 19).

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,  by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

Peter makes these statements:

  • Christ died onec for our sins
  • Christ who was innocent died for us who are guilty
  • Christ died in order to bring us to God
  • His body was put to death and His Spirit made alive
  • Christ preached to the spirits kept in prison
  • The people disobeyed God while Noah built the ark
  • Eight people went in the ark and God brought them safely through the flood

What these verses say to me is that Jesus died for our sins in order to reconcile us with God because sin separated us from the Father. 

Christ preached to the spirits in prison during His ministry here on earth.  He preached, “Turn back to God!  The kingdom of heaven will soon be here” (Matthew 4:17).  The people were prisoners of sin but Jesus came to free them.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Jesus read this to the people and then after He closed the scroll, He announced, “What you have just heard Me read has come true today” (Luke 4:18-20).  Throughout His ministry, Jesus fulfilled this prophecy.  He healed the sick, the lame, the crippled, gave sight to the physically and spiritually blind, cast out demons and taught people the good news about God’s love and His kingdom.  He freed many from spiritual darkness and the bondage of sin.

He also preached to the people in Noah’s time.  He did so through the Holy Spirit.  These were the people who disobeyed God while Noah was building the ark.  God was patient with them, giving them ample opportunity and time to repent.  He gave them 120 years during which Noah preached to the people.  Peter referred to Noah as “a preacher of righteousness”.  Sadly, in the end, only eight people (Noah and his family) were saved. 

Today, Jesus through the Holy Spirit is preaching to us, urging us to repent so that we could be saved from the destruction of the earth.  We ought to pray like David that God would bring our souls out of prison (Psalm 142:7).  Just as in the days of Noah, God is patiently waiting for people to repent and turn to Him so that through Jesus, they could be saved.  Peter confirms this, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  God wanted to save more than eight people in Noah’s day but when the people continued to wallow in wickedness and rebellion, God had no other choice but to condemn them to destruction.

Don’t make God do something that breaks His heart.  Follow Peter’s advice, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.  Don’t allow yourself to be being led away with the error of the wicked;  but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:14, 17, 18).



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