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daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 28 November 2009 16:51
Revelation 4:1 - After these things I looked and saw a door open in
heaven; and the first voice like a trumpet, which I heard spoke to me
saying, "Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after these
things."

The Greek phrase 'meta tauta', "after these things," signifies a shift
in events. This phrase 'meta tauta', which on its own may be considered
a chronological marker, is definitely a chronological marker in
Revelation. This chronological marker is emphasized in this verse by the
fact that it both begins and ends this verse. In Revelation 1:19, God
gave John the instructions of how he was to lay out the book of
Revelation: "Write therefore what you have seen, and the things which
are, and the things which are about to take place after these things."

At this point the events of the church have come to an end; and the
church will not be addressed again in the book of Revelation, except in
the final exhortation in Revelation 22:16. What John had seen up to this
point concerning the churches he was able to view from an earthly
position, but now God must call him up into heaven in order to show him
the "things which shall be hereafter." The first time the Greek phrase
'meta tauta' is used in the book of Revelation is in Revelation 1:19,
where it is identified as the marker for the last section of the book of
Revelation. John wrote about the "things that he saw" in chapter 1, and
the "things which are" in chapters 2 and 3, and finally the "things
which shall take place hereafter" beginning in chapter 4. The Greek
phrase 'meta tauta' was first shown to be a chronological marker in John
3:22, designating the event that followed Jesus' visit to Jerusalem. It
is also used as a chronological marker in John 5:1; John 5:14; John 6:1;
John 7:1; John 13:7 and John 21:1. The first time that 'meta tauta' is
found in the New Testament is in Luke 5:27, where once again it serves
as a chronological marker. If the 'meta tauta' of Revelation 1:19 refers
to the 'meta tauta' of a Revelation 4:1, then the church must be removed
before the tribulation of the book of Revelation begins.

The first time that these catastrophic events of Revelation 4 through 19
are mentioned in the New Testament is in Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14; and
Luke 21:20, which refer to the events of Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11;
Revelation 13:5; and 2 Thessalonians 2:4. Revelation chapter 4 begins
the series of events that will take place over the course of seven
years. The first in these series of events in Revelation focuses on the
revealing of the Man of Lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:3; Revelation
6:1-2). Now there is only one primary event that must take place before
the revelation of the man of sin, spoken by the prophet Daniel: the "one
who now withholds" must come (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7). This verse may
also imply the removal of something.

There are only three powers that may be viewed as hindering lawlessness:
Human Government, The Holy Spirit, and The Church. We know for certain
that throughout Revelation 4 through 19 we see the working of both Human
Government and the Holy Spirit. Human Government is represented as the
nations warring against each other: the Ten Kings, which are also
represented by Daniel's vision as the Ten Toes of the Great Image
(Daniel 2:34,44; Revelation 16:12; Revelation 17:12; Revelation 18:9).
These governmental powers will ultimately be destroyed when Jesus
returns with His saints; and fights against the kings of the earth, who
are led by the Man of Lawlessness, or the Antichrist (Daniel 2:34,44;
Revelation 19:15). The Holy Spirit will still be present, because there
will be many who will turn to Jesus; and there will be the working of
miracles, all of which are the function of the Holy Spirit.

The only power that remains to be taken out of the way is the Church. In
Luke 21:36, Jesus tells his disciples to pray that they may be worthy to
escape all of the catastrophic events of Revelation 4 through 19 and
stand before the Son of Man (Jesus). Of course, we know where Jesus is
standing before these disasters begin to take place; for this is
primarily what chapters 4 and 5 are devoted to: He is in heaven
(Revelation 4:2; Revelation 5:6-9). The point of convergence for all of
these passages of scripture is the revealing of the Man of Lawlessness,
or the Antichrist who will commit the abomination that makes the temple
of God desolate - by proclaiming himself to be God. We know that when
Paul spoke of these final days of the church on earth, it was revealed
to him that not everyone would die; because there would be an event for
those who were alive which would cause them to be caught up into heaven
(1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). There are no reasons
to believe that this catching away takes place at any other juncture in
the book of Revelation than here.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 27 November 2009 13:05
2 Peter 1:10 - On account of this brethren, instead be diligent to make your
calling and election sure; for doing these things you shall never stumble.

Peter's understanding of our calling and election by God could not be
spelled out more clearly than it is in this scripture. Certainly, there
would have been no other apostle who would have understood the grace and
election of God better than Peter (1 Peter 1:2; 1 Peter 2:9; Acts 2:39).
Here he reveals the response that each individual must have to the election
of God: a willing and obedient heart - one that does not take for granted
what God has done for us, but just the opposite - one that seizes the
opportunity, and counts the riches of God as more valuable than all other
things. The riches of His grace that have been given to us in this so great
a salvation cannot be neglected; but rather diligently attended to (Hebrews
2:3; Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 11:6). If we give ourselves to continually living
in the conduct and behavior listed in verses 2 Peter 1:5-9, then a
confirmation and security is supplied to us through the work of grace.

We live in a day where wickedness is more prevalent and more endorsed - yes,
even encouraged by society - than ever before. Everywhere we turn, there are
those things that would draw us away from the faith, virtue, and godliness
that Peter refers to. Therefore, all the more, we must give ourselves to the
holiness that Peter preached in his first Epistle, and the fear and holy
conversation that he will conclude with in this Epistle (1 Peter 1:15-16; 1
Peter 2:5,9; 2 Peter 3:11; Thessalonians 3:13; Revelation 22:11). If we
should so give our hearts and minds to these things that please our heavenly
Father, then we can be certain that He will provide us with the supernatural
strength and divine power of godliness to never stumble; much less fall
(Jude 1:24; Ephesians 3:20; Colossians 1:22; Philippians 2:13).

Moral integrity and holiness are absolutely essential with God (1
Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; Galatians 5:21).
Jesus did not die to just remove the guilt and the penalty of sin - but the
very power of it (1 John 3:8; Romans 6:1-23). He died to make us holy, so
that we can live holy. He died to make us righteous, so that we can live in
righteousness. So then, let us all be strong in the strength of the Lord and
the power of His might, and let us walk over top of all the power of the
enemy. He has given us power over all unclean spirits to cast them out;
therefore we should never be taken captive by them. Let us shine as lights
in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation, hating even the garments
spotted by the flesh. Let us hold fast the doctrines of the word of God, and
take hold of the beauty of God's ways and the glory of heaven; so that our
hearts may enjoy the pleasures of His life, and the presence of the one who
has brought to us the reality of His godliness. It is this manner of living
that is the abundant life - which is truly full of joy unspeakable, and
glorious!
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 26 November 2009 10:34
1 Kings 12:27 - If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the
Yahoah in Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people return unto
their lord Rechavam (Rehoboam) king of Judah. And they shall kill me and
return to Rechavam (Rehoboam) the king of Judah.

How quickly many men of God forget who blessed them with the power and
ability that they have (1 Kings 11:29-31). Jeroboam (Yarveam) the
Ephramite was one of those men. God had by His own choice given him the
ability to become the king of the ten tribes of Israel, because of
Solomon's grievous sins of idolatry (1 Kings 11:4-8; 1 Kings 11:11,33).
Yet somehow Jeroboam completely lost all sense of reality. Trust in God
and obedience to His will were not the things that he was willing to
commit his life to do. When he saw his power and his life threatened, he
immediately set into action whatever reason dictated to preserve them
both. Although God gave him the power and authority, he thought that his
own power would preserve them.

He began by the word of the Lord and the Spirit of God, but felt that
only through his own fleshly efforts could he keep what he had freely
received. In so doing, he set up the idols of his own creation and began
to do worse than what Solomon was punished for. He created a new altar
and a new order of worship to tear the people away from the worship of
God. Oh, he kept as many things similar to the worship of the One True
God in Jerusalem as he could, so that he might deceive the people; but
it was still nothing more than a terrible abomination. The only motive
he had was to retain his power over the people. Therefore he was willing
to remove anything, including God Himself, that could threaten his
existence.

His self-interest and hardheartedness was only magnified when the Lord
sent yet another prophet to prophesy his doom, and the doom of his
religious practices. When the prophet from Bethel declared the judgment
against the altar that he had set up and the judgment against his house,
he reached out to harm the prophet. The hand that he had lifted up
against Solomon was now lifted up against God; and it withered up (1
Kings 12:33; 1 Kings 13:1-4). Instead of crying out to God and asking
for mercy and repenting of his evil, he only asked that the prophet pray
that he could have his hand restored to him again.

We must wonder, are all men so blind to their own self-interest? Are the
purposes of God and the honor of his name second to our own interests?
It was not as though Jeroboam had forgotten how he received the power to
reign over Israel; for when his son whom he had named after the prophet
Aviyah was sick, he sent his wife to find out from the prophet what
would happen to the heir to his throne (1 Kings 14:1-2). The prophet
foretold his death and the destruction of Jeroboam and his house, but
still Jeroboam did not repent (1 Kings 14:7-14). His own self-interest
set the course of events for the whole of the northern kingdom of Israel
to be destroyed. If he would have simply trusted God to keep that which
was committed to him, then he would have prospered, and his house would
have been established.

Ephraim, who had always been jealous of Judah, was given an opportunity
of greatness among the tribes of Israel (Isaiah 9:9; Isaiah 28:1,3;
Hosea 5:5). Yet the pride of Ephraim, which always lurked in the
background of his actions, rose up at the moment of greatness and
destroyed everything. Men's self-will and pride can do nothing but
destroy. The humility of David is in stark contrast to the pride of
Jeroboam. Oh, that men would realize that it is only possible to walk
with God and achieve the status of greatness through humility. If we
could only see the disastrous effects of holding on to our own
self-interest, and be willing to realize how we must deny ourselves if
we are to achieve the great things to which we have been divinely
appointed!
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 25 November 2009 12:57
Isaiah 58:14 - At that time you shall delight on account of Yahoah. And
I will cause you to ride upon your high places of the earth. Also, I
will feed you with the inheritance of Jacob your father, for the mouth
of Yahoah has spoken!

If you want your voice to be heard in the chambers of the Almighty God,
then there are some things that you are going to have to do (Isaiah
58:4,9). If you want the glory of God in your life, and the increase in
the anointing so that you can walk upon the high places of authority in
God, then you must comply with God's demands (Isaiah 58:8; Deuteronomy
32:13). In Isaiah chapter 58, God describes a list of those demands.

We must be willing to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy
burdens; to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke (Isaiah
58:6). This in itself would be a revolution to the way many churches and
those who attend operate. There would be no more holding people under a
mandate that they cannot live free: from the tyranny set against the
Kingdom of God, and from disobedience to God himself. They would find
the liberty and freedom that is given to those who are in Christ Jesus
and are given the right to walk in the Spirit of Holiness. The bands of
wickedness are broken when, as Isaiah said: the brokenhearted are
healed, liberty is proclaimed to the captives, and the prison doors are
opened to those who were bound (Isaiah 61:1).

It is essential that we recognize that we are to be separated unto a
unique kind of fast. Instead of afflicting ourselves by not eating food,
while all the time the nature and compassion of God is absent from our
hearts, we must take hold of the knowledge of God (Isaiah 58:3). With
the knowledge of God's will and the compassion of His heart overwhelming
us, then we will give bread to the hungry, we will bring the poor to our
houses, we will clothe the naked. We must understand that there is both
a spiritual application as well as a physical. It is not just good
enough to give humanitarian aid, for the spiritual food and the
knowledge of the saving grace found only in Jesus Christ is far more
important. We must also recognize, by context, that these things are
first for our own house and the house of God (Isaiah 58:7; 1 John 3:17;
Matthew 25:35-40). Many who are orphaned and cast off by society would
easily come to Jesus through such compassion.

Should we be willing to see things God's way and do things God's way,
then those of us who do will build the old waste places and raise up the
foundation of many generations; and repair the breach between God and
His people, and restore the paths of glory and greatness for the people
of God to live in (Isaiah 58:12). We may recognize from Isaiah chapter
61 that a part of the gospel is not only the freedom to live the godly
life of Christ Jesus and walk in splendor, in the anointing of joy, and
the mantle of praise; but also building the ancient ruins and raising up
the former desolations of many generations (Isaiah 61:4). All of these
simply refer to the the restoration of greatness in God and the blessing
that God placed upon Abraham, which was then also given to his
descendants (Genesis 12:2-3; Genesis 22:17; Genesis 24:1; Genesis
27:28-29; Genesis 28:14; Deuteronomy 33:13-16; Galatians 3:19,14).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 11:50
Psalm 44:3 - For they did not gain possession of the land with their
swords, and their own arm did not save them; for your right hand and
your arm and the light of your face, for you favored them.

There are so many people who struggle to get ahead. They are constantly
at war with their finances, doing anything to achieve a breakthrough.
What many fail to realize is that wealth and success is something that
God has purposed for all of His people. However, we must realize that
such a blessing only comes to us because we are willing to trust the
Lord. We must realize that all of His blessings, provisions, and
promises come to us by way of a miracle. God absolutely forbids us to
trust in our own ability and to rely upon the arm of flesh. We have to
be willing to walk in the day-by-day instructions of His word.

God led Israel through the wilderness and fed them manna so that they
could learn that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word
that proceeds out of the mouth of God. It was God's desire to give them
power to make wealth; but before he could do that, they had to come to a
place of obedience to His word - a place of absolute trust in Him
(Deuteronomy 8:16-18; Joshua 1:8). So the prophet Jeremiah says,
"Blessed it is the man that trusts in the Lord, that makes the Lord the
sole object of His trust" (Jeremiah 17:7). Yet, at the same time he
says, "Cursed is the man who trusts in the arm of flesh" (Jeremiah
17:5). We have to realize that the promotion that God desires to give us
will not come through our own might or power, but by the Spirit of the
Lord (Zechariah 4:6). If God sees that we need to go through a fiery
trial of faith or through a wilderness place, that we might learn to
trust Him and live only in obedience to the dictates of His word, then
He knows what is best!

However, what happens if we draw back; and instead of trusting God more,
we trust Him less? What happens to us if we begin to rely more on what
we can do for ourselves than what God can do for us? It is there that we
must face our self-reliance and need. We must repent and humbly
ourselves under the mighty hand of God; and faithfully do all those
things that he has commanded, no matter what the cost may be (1 Peter 5:6).

When we step into the promises of God on any level, we have to realize
that it was not by our own abilities or through the strength of our own
efforts; but it was by the blessing and miracle provision of God that we
inherited those things that God freely gave (Proverbs 10:22). Just like
Israel, we must come to a place where we are willing to say, "Whatever
you command we will do, and wherever you send us we will go" (Joshua
1:16); realizing that those of Israel faced a certain death if somehow
God failed to uphold them. Their actions were those of absolute trust,
and through their commitment they inherited land and riches that would
have otherwise been impossible to obtain. Understand this: God has not
planned your failure; He has planned out your success. Though many would
make us a defeated people who do not have the ability to live free from
sin and walk in the abundance of God's great riches, it does not change
the word of God, which is forever settled in heaven. God has put a
treasure on the inside of us, so that the excellency of His power might
be made manifest in our lives. Therefore let us not draw back - but
always press on!
 
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