Tuesday 21 January 2014

TFTD - 21 January 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

21 January 2014

Genesis 36
Psalms 38
Matthew 23


Our Lord Jesus really set about 'calling a spade a spade' as the saying is, as he confronted the religious leaders in Jerusalem. In today's reading [Matthew 23] he calls them "hypocrites" "blind guides" and children of hell (Gehenna). He says they concentrate on outward appearance "but inside they are full of greed and self indulgence" [Matthew 23:25] He is stirring up as much as possible their hatred of him, which goes hand in hand with their jealousy and envy of the adulation he received as he entered Jerusalem.

As a result their state of mind is such that they are determined to destroy him whatever it costs. Seven times in this chapter Jesus says "Woe to you" [Matthew 23:13,15,16,23,25,27,29] The hidden sevens in the Bible are interesting, as we noted in Revelation. Then, it seems to us, it is especially significant when he says, "Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape … all these things shall come on this generation." [Matthew 23:32,33,36]

The same Gk word is used in Matthew 13:47-50 when Jesus told the parable of the net being "thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age … "

Jesus is using a way of speaking that God used through the prophet Joel; speaking in this case of gathering in a grape harvest, as a parable of the overflow of his anger on the nations " … the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, for their evil is great … for the day of the LORD is near … and the heavens and the earth quake … so you shall know that I am the LORD your God." [Joel 3:13,14,16,17]

Sadly, for many, as with the religious leaders and a million Jews in the First Century, it will be too late, they were among the bad that we cast away when the full net was brought ashore.

But Joel's prophecy is about our days - and how true it is today those words of Jesus to the hypocrites that surrounded him that concentrate on the outward appearance "but inside they are full of greed and self indulgence"

Is not this the spirit in the world today? How close to being "full" is this world? A fearful repetition of the Jewish world of 1950 years ago! We call to mind the final message of Jesus, "Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth … they (the angels) were told not to harm … only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads." [Revelation 8:13; 9:4] How can those who do not read the Bible have any hope of having the seal of God on them … God's word tells you how to have it!
- DC

Thought for the Day

21 January 2014

"In this blessed provision for the forgiving of our sins we recognize the wonderful compassion of God, manifested to those who seek to know Him and to serve Him. In, and through, His beloved Son "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephesians 1:7). Reconciliation to God and continued fellowship with Him and His Son are only possible on the basis of His forgiveness of our sins. Little wonder, therefore, that this aspect of the Divine mercy is constantly stressed in the Scriptures as an outstanding feature of the character of God, and gratefully recognized and appreciated by those who have been the recipients of it."

- F.W. Turner
Meditations (1949

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