Acts 17:31

“…because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

This is the last half of the last sentence of the sermon that Paul gave at Mars Hill in Athens. And, in this verse Paul spoke of two important matters.

The first is that a day of judgment is coming. It is an appointed day that the Lord has set, and it is known only to Him. While many details of it are described in scripture, particularly in the Revelation, the day of it is not known to us. It has been nearly 2,000 years since Paul said this to the people of Athens. The passage of time may make it seem that God is not really going to judge. But the delay does not mean that at all.

According to this verse, that day of judgment will be presided over by “that Man Whom He (God) hath ordained…” From scriptures it is certain that the Man that God ordained is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said in John 5:22, 23: “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.”

Revelation 19 provides some details of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. In verses 11-16 John wrote, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

What a spectacular event that will be. Revelation 1:7 says that every eye shall see Him. And, in Revelation 20:11-15 John wrote, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Yes, God is a God of justice. He will judge, and the day of judgment is certain. And Jesus is the Judge He has ordained.

Quoting from the above verse, the second matter of which Paul spoke is, “…whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” In the context of the promise of judgment, Paul spoke of assurance, or confidence. How can anyone have confidence before God when faced with His wrath? Especially with the words of Revelation 20 which talks about the lake of fire? The answer is that God has raised Jesus from the dead. The same One to Whom God has committed judgement has been raised from the dead! To be raised from the dead this One had to have died. Why would that happen?

God’s plan from before the creation was to provide a way to reconcile mankind to Himself. Philippians 2:5-8 reveals that Jesus came in obedience to His Father to carry out that plan. Verse 8 tells us that He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. But since He was never guilty of any sin, death could not hold Him. As Paul said it, “He has raised Him from the dead…”

Romans 5:7-9 says, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” And so, we can have assurance in that day of judgment!

Each of us needs to realize that Jesus died for them. Each of us needs to realize that we need this kind of intervention by God. Each of us needs to see that this is a gift from God for the taking (Ephesians 2:8). If He hadn’t intervened, we would still be under His wrath, awaiting the promised coming of Jesus to earth, and certain, fearful looking for of judgment, which shall devour the adversaries in the eternal lake of fire.

’Tis not by works that we have done,
Our souls re­deemed will be;
But by the blood of God’s dear Son,
Who died on Cal­va­ry.


By grace are ye saved,
By grace are ye saved thro’ faith,
And that not of your­selves,
It is the gift of God.
By grace are ye saved,
By grace are ye saved thro’ faith,
And that not of yourselves,
It is the gift of God.

’Tis not by works that we can do,
Our right­eous­ness is vain;
But by what Christ Him­self hath done,
Eternal life we gain.


’Tis not by works of ours that we
Can know our sins for­giv’n;
But by the liv­ing word of Him
Who pleads for us in Heav’n.


’Tis not our works, but Christ’s alone,
Then rest thy anx­ious soul;
For safe thou art on Him, thy rock,
While end­less ag­es roll.

Refrain (Fanny Crosby)

John 20:30, 31

“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

In the end of his book John revealed his purpose for writing it. From the beginning to the end, he wrote so that his readers would believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God.

John 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Speaking of the Word, John 1:14 tells us, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, …full of grace and truth.” So, in the first 14 verses John says that Jesus, called the Word, is God, Who created all things and Who became flesh. The rest of the book tells how He lived, died on a cross, and rose again from the dead.

In John 2, Jesus went to the city of Cana for a wedding. In John 2:6-10 John wrote, “And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins (about 18-27 gallons) apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: …the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.” Jesus turned 162 gallons of water into the best wine.

In John 4 a man from Capernaum came to Cana where Jesus was; a twenty-mile trip. In John 4:47-50 John wrote, “When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. …Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.” As he went, the man learned that his son had been healed, and he and his family believed on Jesus. The distance from Cana to Capernaum was no barrier to Jesus healing the boy.

In John 9 is the story of a man who was born blind. Jesus’ disciples wondered why the man was born blind. In John 9:3 Jesus said, “…Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” As the story continued, there was much controversy about what had happened. Stating the obvious, in John 9:25, the man himself “…answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” Then the leaders of the synagogue cast the man out of their gathering, and in John 9:35-38 we read, “Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” Jesus healed a man that was born blind!

We read in John 11 about Lazarus who took ill, and then died. Four days after his death Jesus came to his town. John wrote in John 11:39-45, “Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. …He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.” Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead!

All 879 verses of John reveal that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. In these few examples Jesus changed water to wine, healed a sick man from a distance, healed a man born blind, and raised someone who had been dead for four days. Is not Jesus God?

John wrote his book so that his readers would believe this about Jesus because by believing they might have life through His name. This is eternal life, and it is available only by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. This means believing Who He said He was, Who His Works say He is, and why He came to earth. The last is told in John 3:16-18, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” What will each of us do with Jesus? Eternal life is waiting!

Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,
We’re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;
But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,
All tears forever over in God’s eternal day.


It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

Sometimes the sky looks dark with not a ray of light,
We’re tossed and driven on, no human help in sight;
But there is one in heav’n who knows our deepest care,
Let Jesus solve your problem – just go to Him in pray’r.


Life’s day will soon be o’er, all storms forever past,
We’ll cross the great divide, to glory, safe at last;
We’ll share the joys of heav’n – a harp, a home, a crown,
The tempter will be banished, we’ll lay our burden down.

Refrain (Esther Kerr Rusthoi)

John 4:50

“Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.”

The man was from Capernaum. His son lay ill at home; at the point of death. Being a nobleman, the man likely spent as much as he could to have his son healed. But nothing availed. Then he heard that Jesus had come out of Galilee to Cana. He determined to make the twenty-mile journey to beseech Jesus for his son. He was certain that Jesus could do something, and he had run out of options.

And so he went. Finding Jesus, the man appealed to Him for his son. The conversation probably didn’t go the way that he had expected. Jesus seemed harsh, perhaps. He said, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” It cannot be that Jesus was harsh. He certainly brought this up for a reason. He had come to Cana from Sychar, where He had met the woman at the well. He went there on purpose to meet her. And this encounter was no different. Jesus had come to Cana to have this conversation. The nobleman answered the Lord by repeating his appeal for his son, “Sir, come down ere my child die.”

Then Jesus replied, “Go thy way; thy son lives.” Now the man was faced with a decision. All he had was Jesus’ word. What would he do? The scriptures tell us, “…the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.” Off he went! Another twenty miles were before him. The amount of time he spent with Jesus was perhaps only minutes. The conversation that is recorded would only require five minutes. But off the man went toward home. He believed Jesus’ word.

On the way back he met some of his servants that were coming his way. They brought the wonderful news that his son had recovered from the point of death! So he asked at what time that had happened, and was told that it was the day before, at the seventh hour. And he knew that that was when Jesus had told him that his son lived. We are told then, in verse 53, that he and his family believed on Jesus.

Taking God at His word is the essence of faith. This man’s trust in the Lord resulted in his son being healed, and the salvation of his whole family. The distance from Cana to Capernaum did not figure into the man’s thinking. Though twenty miles distant, at a time when walking was the main form transportation, the man sent to see Jesus, and headed home at the Lord’s word that his son was alive.

By contrast, the Lord clearly told His command to Adam and Eve. In Genesis 2:15-17 we read, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

This command of God was no more difficult than what Jesus told the nobleman: “Go thy way.” Both commands required belief and obedience. Belief will result in obedience. God’s command to Adam was soon violated. He and Eve didn’t believe what God told them. Perhaps the unheard-of consequences made it unbelievable. But what should have made it believable should have been Who it was that said it. The nobleman expected Jesus to go with him, but He didn’t. He simply told him to go his way. Which one did God’s will?

What command of God stands before us? All of mankind is faced with Romans 10:9-11, “… if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” Having believed this, the Christian life becomes a sort of school in which the believer learns to trust God more and more.

Come, eve­ry soul by sin op­pressed;
There’s mer­cy with the Lord,
And He will sure­ly give you rest
By trust­ing in His Word.


Only trust Him, on­ly trust Him,
Only trust Him now;
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now.

For Je­sus shed His pre­cious blood
Rich bless­ings to be­stow;
Plunge now in­to the crim­son flood
That wash­es white as snow.


Yes, Je­sus is the truth, the way,
That leads you into rest;
Believe in Him with­out de­lay
And you are ful­ly blessed.

Refrain (John H. Stockton)

Zephaniah 1:4-6

“I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; and them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham; and them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him.”

The Lord’s chief complaint against Israel was their idolatry. Even a casual reading of the Old Testament prophets reveals this. Here was God, their creator and deliverer, arms open wide toward them, and they were attributing their blessings to pieces of gold or silver or stone or wood. Or, they decided to come to God in ways that they had made up, instead of following His clear direction and desires.

Two types are described by Zephaniah. The first is those who were guilty of blatant idolatry. These verses mention the names of Baal, Chemarims, and Malcham. They also speak of the worshippers of the heavens from the rooftops. And, they mention those that swear by the LORD and by Malcham.

Baal, Chemarims, and Malcham were idols at the time of Zephaniah. Each were part of systems of belief which Israelites held to. But they were not what the Lord had commanded. For example, child sacrifice was practiced in these religions. All of them included representative statues, believed to be the god, so called, which were worshipped. In the verses above God promised that He would cut off all of these idolatries from Judah and Jerusalem.

Others worshipped the heavens, the sun, the moon, and the stars. They were worshipping the creation, instead of the Creator. It is the Creator Himself that is worthy of worship, not the things that He has made. God promised to remove this practice from Judah and Jerusalem.

Some swore by the LORD and by Malcham. They were mixing their idolatry with the ways of the LORD. They figured that they needed to cover all possibilities, honoring the LORD and their idol. But God does not share His glory with any idol. Those practices, too, will be removed from Judah and Jerusalem by the Lord.

Those that were the LORD’s served Him. Those that served the idols at least acknowledged spiritual things, though went about it wrongly. But the second group of people had a different view. They had no interest in either the One True God, or the idols. This is the same problem displayed differently. While the idolators took up with some form of religious practice, acknowledging that something was worthy of worship, the second group had no use for any spiritual things. Both groups missed the mark regarding spiritual matters, and what pleased God.

In the second group there was “…them that are turned back from the LORD”. At one time they had some kind of inkling about God. They went along with the practices of their religion which brought enjoyment or satisfaction or inspiration in some way. But for some reason they turned back from the Lord. Maybe some devastating personal event caused them to doubt His existence, or His care. And since they were insincere in the first place, they concluded that it was a waste of time and energy. People who don’t hold to the Lord, but are “playing the game”, will easily become discouraged when life becomes difficult. Pain or loss takes away the enjoyment of the rituals, and they conclude that God does not care, and so they turn away.

Then there were some that “have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for Him.” God and His things didn’t enter their thinking. They had no interest in finding out Who He is. But, as Paul put it in Acts 17:27, 28, “…He be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being…” The fact is God is near to us and interested in every aspect of our lives. He knows us completely, even our hearts. But they refuse to ask after Him or find out what He is like, or what it is that honors Him, or how to please Him.

But lest we think too harshly of those about whom Zephaniah wrote, their actions match the actions of all of mankind. We all are guilty of idolatry and rejection of God, just as Israel was. Those who are not of Israel are also guilty before God for idolatry and sin. To this day people think that God to be aloof or uninterested in their lives, or events on the earth. They think as the leaders of Israel did in the day of Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 9:9, the Lord told the prophet, “…they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not.”

But nothing could be further from the truth. He cares so much for all of mankind that He made a plan to reconcile us to Himself. He came as a man, He did many wonderful things, healing the sick and raising the dead, to prove Who He was. But He was rejected by the world, and was nailed to a cross. He endured man’s wrath in beatings and tortures, and endured God’s wrath against mankind’s sin. He himself never sinned. How could He do that if He were aloof and uncaring? What more would we want Him to do?

Like Zephaniah said, the day will come, and soon, when all of these idolatrous behaviors will be cut off. Jesus will come again, and He will rule the earth. Every eye will see Him. As we read in Philippians 2:9-11, because of the willing sacrifice of Jesus, “…God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” All idolatry gone, all apathy gone, He will receive the glory He deserves!

Man of Sor­rows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sin­ners to re­claim.
Hallelujah! What a Sav­ior!

Bearing shame and scof­fing rude,
In my place con­demned He stood;
Sealed my par­don with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Sav­ior!

Guilty, vile, and help­less we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full atone­ment! can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Sav­ior!

Lifted up was He to die;
It is fin­ished! was His cry;
Now in Heav’n ex­alt­ed high.
Hallelujah! What a Sav­ior!

When He comes, our glo­ri­ous king,
All His ran­somed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Sav­ior! (Philip P. Bliss)

Hosea 11:8

“How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.”

In the verses prior to these, the Lord spoke through Hosea to Israel concerning their sin. The Lord had told them that their sin would bring His punishment. Nearly all of the prophets brought the same message. They could not say that they had not been warned.

Concerning God’s judgment of Israel for their idolatry, in Deuteronomy 29:23 we read, “…and that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath…” His warning included this outcome if they ignored Him. The verse above is clearly referring to this warning from Deuteronomy. And from it we also learn some geography.

Hosea referred to Admah and Zeboim. Deuteronomy 29 reveals that Admah and Zeboim were destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah. There were five cities in that plain that were to be destroyed: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and Zoar. Zoar was spared because of Lot. An aspect of the judgment that fell that day was Sodom and Gomorrah received “top billing” while the other cities were not mentioned. Theirs was a further judgment because they are not remembered like Sodom and Gomorrah.

The LORD’s lament for Ephraim and Israel in Hosea includes this aspect. Not only were Admah and Zeboim judged, but they were set aside. Though mentioned a few times in the Word, Admah and Zeboim are less known. Israel was under God’s wrath for their idolatry, as Deuteronomy 29:23 promised, and facing the further prospect of being forgotten.

But this was not God’s desire for Israel. Though He had promised that He would punish them for their idolatry, He ultimately did not want that end for them. And we see that in the verse above. He would surely punish them like that, if necessary, but what He wanted more was for them to restore themselves with Him.

Through Hosea the LORD said, “…my heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.” The Lord’s heart is turned within Him for His people. His bowels yearned towards them, and his soul was grieved for their sin and misery. Judges 10:16 says, “…they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.” And Jeremiah 31:20 says, “Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.”

The word repent is often used in the Old Testament, and it is almost exclusively speaks of the Lord repenting. For example, Genesis 6:5, 6 says, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” The Hebrew word translated repent could also mean to sigh, and one can imagine God sighing over the turn that His creatures had taken against Him and His ways. Like parents that suffer the behavior of their children, out of concern for their welfare, so the Lord has concern for His people.

With words reminiscent of Hosea 11:8, Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God’s heart, what He is like in His personality, is that people see Him for Who He is, and honor Him. While He promised judgment against sin, which His justice will require one day, His desire is that all come to repentance.

God is good, and His ways are always right. Here we see a glimpse of His heart for His people. But let it never be thought that this side of His nature will overrule any other part. His justice must be satisfied, for He has promised that there is punishment for the misdeeds of mankind, so those punishments will be come. Now is the time to be certain before Him of our standing. In Jesus Christ there is reconciliation with God. Without Him, as Hebrews 10:27 says, there is a certain, fearful looking forward to of judgment.

Great God of wonders! all Thy ways

Display Thine attributes divine;

But the bright glories of thy grace

Above Thine other wonders shine:


Who is a pardoning God like Thee?

Or who has grace so rich and free?

Who is a pardoning God like Thee?

Or who has grace so rich and free?

Such deep transgressions to forgive!

Such guilty sinners thus to spare!

This is Thy grand prerogative,

And in this honor none shall share:


Pardon, from an offended God!

Pardon, for sins of deepest dye!

Pardon, bestowed through Jesus’ blood!

Pardon, that brings the rebel nigh!

CHORUS (Samuel Davies)

Revelation 21:1

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”

The bumper sticker read, “There is no Planet B.” But this, and many other scriptures say differently. God’s plan from before the creation was to put in place a new heavens and a new earth.

Why would he have to do that? It started with the disobedience of Adam and Eve to God’s command in the garden of Eden, as recorded in Genesis 3. In Genesis 3:17-19 we read about the curse that God put on the earth because of their sin, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” The creation was cursed by God because they disobeyed.

 Romans 8:19-22 reveals the same thing, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” There needs to be a new earth.

But why new heavens? There are at least three times in scripture where it is recorded that the enemy, satan, is in God’s presence: Job 1, Job 2, and Zechariah 3. Apparently, in God’s mercies and humility the enemy is allowed to have access to God’s presence. But the day is coming when he will be removed from heaven. Revelation 12:7-10 tells us, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”

Here we learn two things. First, the end of the passage tells us that the enemy of our souls uses his access before God to accuse the saints. And he does it day and night! This reminds of Zechariah 3. The other thing we learn is that his access will end on the yet-to-come day when he will be cast out of heaven, with all of his minions, never again to enter there, as told in Revelation 12. Their next destination is the lake of fire. Never again will they come before God to accuse the saints, or for any other reason!

Those hallowed halls have endured the footprints of the enemy and his demons ever since the fall of man, perhaps even before. The glorious presence of the Lord God Almighty has been assaulted by the comings and goings of him who is not only the enemy of mankind, but the enemy of God! Revelation 12:10 shows rejoicing in heaven at the enemy’s departure.

So, there is also a need for a new heavens. God’s plan from before the foundation of the world was to provide redemption for mankind, and to undo His great creation and replace it with another: both heaven and earth. In 2 Peter 3:10 we read, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” According to timing revealed in scripture, this verse covers around 1,007 years. The end refers to the heavens passing away, and the earth being burned up. This will make way for the new heavens, and the new earth, described in Revelation 21 and 22.

Concerning that coming time of the end, in Revelation 22:12, 13 Jesus said, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” He is the beginning and the end. John 1:3 says of Jesus, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.,” revealing that He was the beginning of all of creation. In that He is the end, this suggests that the end of all things, discussed above, is also in His almighty and capable hands. We can do nothing to coerce Him or force His hand. The day of the end will come at the time that He has set, and not a minute sooner.

Unlike a “Plan B” as we call it, where the first and best plan fails, so contingencies are put in place, God’s new heavens and new earth will be better than what we know now. As Peter tells it in 2 Peter 3:13, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” There is the difference. This earth seems void of righteousness, and as noted above, the enemy and his minions have access to God’s presence for a while, which will end in God’s timing. But the new heavens and the new earth will be characterized by nothing but righteousness! The new heavens and new earth will be glorious!

At the end of the verse above we read that there will be no more sea. This interesting comment reminds of Micah 7:19 where we read, “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” According to this, until the day of the new heavens and new earth, the depths of the sea contain the sins of those that are redeemed. And in the new heavens and new earth, there will be no more sea. It and its contents will be taken away, never to be seen again. How wonderful is that!

John saw the Heav’n and earth made new,
The first had passed away,
The holy city coming down,
The new Je­ru­sa­lem.

And God Himself shall dwell with men,
And wipe away all tears,
There is no sorrow, pain or death,
Throughout the coming years.

Behold, I make all things anew,
These faithful words are true,
To him who overcometh sin,
On earth with God shall rule.

In beau­ti­ful Je­ru­sa­lem,
God’s glo­ry gives it light,
All kings and nations walk in it,
For there shall be no night. (Louise Lapp)

1 Timothy 6:15, 16

“…Which in His times He shall shew, Who is the Blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and the Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to Whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.”

The end of verse 14 speaks of the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. This makes Him the subject of verses 15 and 16. These verses say that in His timing, Jesus will reveal Who is the Blessed and only Potentate, and King of kings and Lord of lords.

Jesus is, and will one day be, King of Kings and Lord of lords. Revelation 19 reports the coming of the Lord Jesus to the earth. In verses 11-16 John says, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” All earthly kings will bend the knee, as will all inhabitants of the earth.

In his dream of a great statue, which represented the kingdoms of the world, Nebuchadnezzar saw a stone that was cut out without hands which struck and destroyed the statue. In Daniel 2:44, through Daniel the Lord revealed that as “…in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”

Even before the time of Daniel the Lord had promised that He will reign on the earth. When that happens, His kingdom will last forever. God’s kingdom will destroy all the others, but it shall never be destroyed, and it will stand forever. He only is Blessed, and He only is the great authority over the earth, even now. The day will come when He will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Mankind thinks that their governments will make things right. The truth is that all the kingdoms of the world are established by God. In Daniel 4:25 Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar, “…the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” Paul told the people of Athens in Acts 17:26, God has “…made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation…” Not only does God dictate the boundaries of the kingdoms, He dictates how long they will last. In His time Jesus shall reign, and human governments will be but a memory. He is King of kings and Lord of lords.

In His time Jesus will reveal Him Who “…only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto…” There is no overstating the greatness and the glory of God, Maker of Heaven and Earth and all that is in them. Almost every contact between men and God recorded in scripture resulted in the men falling on their faces as dead. Scripture says that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).

In His time Jesus will reveal Him “…Whom no man hath seen, nor can see…” In Exodus 33:18-20 Moses requested that he may see God’s glory: “And Moses said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” His presence and brightness are so great, that no mortal can endure it. Wonderfully, in Revelation 22:3, 4 were told, “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.”

Concerning Jesus, Philippians 2:9-11 tells us, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” In His time Jesus will show Him, “…to Whom be honor and power everlasting.” Jesus is that one that will be honored by all.

The day when Jesus will reveal these things is yet to come. World events suggest it will be soon. Since it is impossible for God to lie, no doubt He will surely come again and establish His kingdom on the earth. When He comes, He will be the Blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. And He shall reign for ever and ever.

Lift up your heads, pilgrims aweary,

See day’s approach now crimson the sky;

Night shadows flee, and your Belovèd,

Awaited with longing, at last draweth nigh.


He is coming again, He is coming again,

The very same Jesus, rejected of men;

He is coming again, He is coming again,

With power and great glory, He is coming again!

Dark was the night, sin warred against us;

Heavy the load of sorrow we bore;

But now we see signs of His coming;

Our hearts glow within us, joy’s cup runneth o’er!


O blessèd hope! O blissful promise!

Filling our hearts with rapture divine;

O day of days! Hail Thy appearing!

Thy transcendent glory forever shall shine.


Even so, come, precious Lord Jesus;

Creation waits redemption to see;

Caught up in clouds, soon we shall meet Thee;

O blessèd assurance, forever with Thee!

Refrain (Mabel J. Camp)

Psalm 119:75, 76

“I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.  Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.”

In verse 75 the writer of Psalm 119 revealed that he understood that God’s judgment was upon him for sins he had committed. He knew and acknowledged that he was guilty. And he reveals a perspective that he gained in his affliction.

He said that he knew that God’s judgments are right, or righteous. A judgment is a verdict or a sentence. A verdict is made when there is guilt: it is the outcome. God said that the wages of sin is death. As far as the writer of Psalm 119, we have no idea what the writer had done. But we can be sure that he was of the human race. And the Lord said, “…all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) He also says in Romans 3:10, 11, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” Such is the condition of mankind.

Whatever was going on, the writer knew that God’s judgments were righteous and just. Even though what he was enduring was because of his own sin, he said that he knew that God’s judgments are right. That which he received was what he was due for his sin. Every man, woman, and child needs to realize this to be true for themselves. We all stand guilty before God.

The revelation was he realized that God’s dealings with him were in faithfulness to him: “thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” Another word for faithfulness is fidelity. The writer saw that God was being faithful to him in the things that he suffered. What an insight! God’s dealings with mankind are in faithfulness. The cross of Jesus revealed how far God was willing to go to be faithful to His people! Through it He restored mankind to Himself.

It may be difficult to understand how God’s afflictions are evidence of His faithfulness to us. Trials and anguish hurt. Illness and financial loss are frightening. The specter of death haunts us all. How could someone conclude that it was God’s faithfulness that such things had happened? These things come our way because of our nature that desires to sin against Him. God sees and knows all, including those things in our lives that offend Him. Being our Creator of us and all things, He surely deserves our respect. But we sin against Him. And yet, He is faithful to His people.

In Israel’s history, they were carried away by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon. Through Jeremiah, the Lord promised that the captivity would last 70 years. In Ezra’s day, the Israelites returned to Jerusalem. In the book of Ezra, an idea is expressed that is similar to that in Psalm 119. As recorded in Ezra 9:13, Ezra said, “And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this…”

Sadly, in Ezra 8 and 9 they had again fallen into sin. As Ezra prayed to the LORD on that occasion, he appealed to God on the basis of His past dealings with them. His appeal was that God had previously punished them less than they deserved, and had even given them deliverance. Even in that situation they saw God’s faithfulness. Ezra went on to request God’s mercies in the matter at hand.

Then, the writer of Psalm 119 said in verse 76, “Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.” Having realized God’s faithfulness, the writer looks to the Lord for His lovingkindness: His mercy and kindness to him. How interesting that, in spite of the sin that he knew he had committed, in spite of the judgement he was suffering because of it, he looked to God for mercy and kindness. How unlike us God is in this. Someone that crosses us we are hard pressed to treat kindly. Think about what you might require of someone who had crossed you and desired kindness and mercy from you. What would it be? What do you suppose would God require?

The writer appeals to God for mercy and kindness according to His Word! Only the guilty need mercy. God promised that He is merciful and kind. It is repeated many times in the scriptures. One example is in Exodus 34:5-7, “And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” God says this about Himself.

God’s dealings are only and ever in mercy and kindness with His people, no matter how it may feel. As Abraham asked in Genesis 18:25, “…shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” He shall indeed. Praise Him for Who He is!

Does the Lord afflict His chosen?
’Tis to draw them nearer home;
Many are the wiles that lure them
From their Father’s house to roam.


Listen to His loving whisper,
Weary soul, come unto Me;
Listen to His louder summons,
Still ’tis love that calleth thee.

Whom God loveth He chastiseth,
Grinds his idols into dust;
Turns earth’s pleasures into ashes,
Shows how vain in them to trust.


All His raging waves and billows
O’er thee now may wildly roll,
Yet He surely will deliver
Every humble, contrite soul.


He will ne’er forsake nor leave us,
He’ll complete the work begun,
We will trust Him, ever trust Him,
Till we hear His glad Well done.

Refrain (Annie K. Moulton)

Haggai 1:7, 8

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.”

The book of Haggai was written in the second year of Darius, the king of the Medes. The Israelites had been in captivity in Babylon for seventy years. As the LORD had promised through Jeremiah, the time had come for them to be returned to their land.

The book of Nehemiah tells how Israel had rebuilt Jerusalem. The book of Ezra tells how they rebuilt the temple. As they were returning to their land, they were told by King Cyrus to rebuild the temple. But as they built, their enemies convinced Cyrus’ successor, King Ahasuerus, to stop the work. Ezra records that the work sat idle for about ten years.

During those ten years, King Ahasuerus died and King Darius took the throne. And Haggai was sent by the LORD to prophesy and to get the Israelites back to work on the temple. In the context of the verse above, the LORD rebuked them for what they were doing. They had moved back into the land of Israel by God’s command. And they were getting comfortable. But because of the stop-work order from the king, who was now dead, God’s house was being neglected. They had their comfortable houses, but God had nothing. So, Haggai told them to consider their ways. Why were they neglecting God?

What God wanted was not what one might think. The temple that Solomon built was a large, gold-covered structure with many glorious features. But through Haggai the LORD told them to simply go and bring wood and build. He did not require gold, like Solomon had used, or silver or marble floors. The God of the universe is certainly worthy of that.

But since they had recently come from Babylon, they did not have the resources that Solomon had. So, what the Lord asked them to do was to go and get wood: to go up the mountain, cut trees and bring them for building His temple. These materials were readily available. They were not fancy or eye catching. But it was wood which God had provided. The trees on the mountain were tended by God. He provided the rain and sun needed for their growth, and He made them to flourish.

Wonderfully, God promised to take pleasure in that temple. God always desires to dwell with His people. It is seen time again in scripture. So, wood cut from the hills and used to build a plain temple for the LORD in their midst would please Him.

In the book of Numbers, the Lord gave directions about how the camp of the Israelites was to be arranged. The tribes camped in a specific order to the north, south, east, and west. Inside of that the Levites were to camp according to a specific order. And, in the middle of them would be the tabernacle. Numbers also describes how they were to be arranged as they travelled. The tabernacle and the ark of the covenant were to be in their midst as they went. He was always to be in their midst

And that was what God wanted in Haggai’s day. Jerusalem was the city where He put His name. Now that they were back in it, He wanted His place, too. He promised them that He would take pleasure in what they built. He also said that He would be glorified in that building. As plain as that wooden structure may have been, God would be glorified in it.

His exhortation to the Israelites speaks to us today. God deserves glory from His people. He wanted the Israelites to do at least something for Him: to build Him something through which He could be in their midst. Work done for Him is always noticed by Him. It does not need to be fancy or expensive.

A repeated theme in the letters to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 is the Lord telling them that He knew their works. Some were praised for what they were doing for Him, and others were rebuked. But in all cases Jesus knew what they were. He is fully aware not only of what they did, but the thoughts and intents of their hearts in the doing. Even works that may seem to be trivial do not escape His notice.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 speaks of a coming day, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” On that day, that which the Lord knows of our works will be made manifest, and rewards will be given.

What is the littlest thing we can be doing for the Lord? He notices and takes pleasure in it. In Mark 9:41 Jesus said, “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.” Our efforts need not be on a national or international scale. How gracious of Him! How kind and caring He is!

All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.


I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessèd Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.


All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.


All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

Refrain (Judson W. Van DeVenter)

Psalm 145:17

“The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.”

Sometimes even Christians balk at these statements about God’s character because of what seems to be the testimony of the Old Testament. One might ask, “What about the many nations that were conquered by God through Israel?” or, “What about those that God had commanded to be utterly destroyed, including women and children?”

But this is not the only scripture that tells us that God is righteous. Psalm 71:19 says, “Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!” and Psalm 116:5 says, “Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.”

If we were to start with these scriptures as fact, and then consider the Old Testament, what kind of light do they shed on these questions? How is God’s righteousness and holiness revealed in those situations?

Speaking about Israel, Jeremiah 16:10-13 says, “And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God? Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law; and ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me: therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favor.”

Here we see that the judgment that God promised to bring was because of their disobedience of Him and His law. God had called them His people. He brought them out of Egypt in a mighty way. He gave to them the Promised Land, and they turned their back on Him. They ignored Him, turned away from Him, and took up idolatry, in violation of the first commandment (Exodus 20:2-6). In fact, within a month of hearing this commandment from God’s lips they were worshipping the golden calf (Exodus 32:1-5). Ezekiel said that they had carried idols out of Egypt when they left (Ezekiel 20:7, 8). It is clear from what Jeremiah said that they were being judged because they followed idols, and ignored God and His ways.

There are multiple prophets in the Old Testament. For hundreds of years, they wrote warning Israel about their idolatry. Time and again God warned them about turning away from Him. Time and again He told them what would happen if they ignored His warnings. God was righteous in giving them warning after warning. But time and again they ignored His warnings. God’s promise to judge was not an empty threat. Lawlessness must be met with justice. Legally speaking, the only righteous thing God could do is to make good on His promises. He certainly was not being unpredictable. He gave hundreds of years of warnings from multiple prophets, some of whom were killed and all of whom were ignored.

Though focused on Israel, the scriptures above can be generalized to all of mankind, for God does not change. He Who had made us, and has given us what we need to live, have we refused and ignored to this day. Romans 1:18-21 says “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Just like Israel, mankind has ignored God’s clear laws, choosing their own way.

Romans 3:21-26 says, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” God’s dealings with mankind regarding sin are the whole point of scripture. Sin is the reason for the coming of Jesus to the earth. God has sent His Son to reconcile mankind with Himself. Like the prophets of old, many ignore Him. What more should God to do? The day is coming when He will judge in righteousness because lawlessness must be met with justice.

1 Peter 1:18-21 says, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” God has judged Jesus in our place. Refuse that, and we will bear God’s righteous wrath against our sin.

Great God of wonders! all Thy ways

Display Thine attributes divine;

But the bright glories of thy grace

Above Thine other wonders shine:


Who is a pardoning God like Thee?

Or who has grace so rich and free?

Who is a pardoning God like Thee?

Or who has grace so rich and free?

Such deep transgressions to forgive!

Such guilty sinners thus to spare!

This is Thy grand prerogative,

And in this honor none shall share:


Pardon, from an offended God!

Pardon, for sins of deepest dye!

Pardon, bestowed through Jesus? blood!

Pardon, that brings the rebel nigh!

CHORUS (Samuel Davies)