Chapter 10: The Messiah and then the Tribulation OR the Tribulation and then the Messiah?

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If I have not lost you as a reader after all these references to Jesus Christ, praise God. But let’s go to the question of those Jews who will survive what is called the great tribulation and will enter into the Kingdom and reign with the Messiah. If you do not yet understand the tribulation, you will. You may believe the Messiah is coming to set up His Kingdom and to restore Jerusalem. He is! But first comes the tribulation.

Which Jews will survive the tribulation? Will the Holy Spirit come upon those Jews that do survive the tribulation? What is the Holy Spirit except the Spirit that Jesus said He would ask the Father to send following His ascension? Will the Jews who survive the tribulation think of themselves as “Christians” and thus enter into salvation? That does not seem to be the scenario.

The term Christians means followers of Jesus Christ. In scripture they are referred to as the “body of believers,” the Church. Believers are those who the scriptures say will have, by the Grace of God, through faith, received eternal salvation. There is no controversy among New Testament scholars as to whether the Body of Believers, the Church, will have been raptured at some point prior to the battle of Armageddon.

The Church includes those individuals (not persons identified as members of some particular organization) who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is more likely that the Jews surviving the tribulation will think of themselves as Jews, obedient to God during this terrible time. They will not have taken the mark of the beast and their faithfulness will be counted unto them for righteousness, just as it was with Abraham. I pray that you personally, in failing to accept the Messiah now, have the faith to endure the persecution you are about to experience.

By now, you may be asking, what is the true motive behind your writing this book? Aside from the “warning and pointing,” referred to earlier, there are two additional reasons I am writing this book. First, I pray that you receive the gift of eternal life right now, by accepting Jesus Christ as the Messiah, your personal Savior and that you accept the cleansing that entails. That cleansing, that renewal of a right relationship with the Father, is made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus, wherein your sins are as “separate from you from the east is from the west,” never to be remembered against you again.

If that is your desire, confess your sins to Jesus, ask for forgiveness, thank Jesus for taking your sins from you by the shedding of His blood, ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and seek a moment by moment relationship with Him every day, and be obedient and faithful to His Word.

The second reason is, if you decide not to act on the first reason, at least understand that what lies ahead is both glorious and frightening. It will only be glorious if you choose to obey God during this upcoming period of severe persecution and punishment. Only your personal faith in God will provide you with the strength, His strength, to endure. It is frightening because of what will be required of you if you refuse to accept the mark of the beast, your only means of proving your faithfulness when that moment in time occurs.

Now, listen to Isaiah and allow for the possibility that the Old Testament prophecies applied to a people and times of the past and to a people and times of the future, simultaneously. You will have to arrive at that point anyway with some yet unfulfilled prophecy, but if understanding the Word of God was entirely that simple, why, for centuries have we lived in darkness? The scriptures say “God has given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day.” But listen to what Isaiah says about the Light of Israel.

Isaiah 10:17-22 (NKJ)

17 So the Light of Israel will be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame; it will burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day.
18 And it will consume the glory of his forest and of his fruitful field, both soul and body; and they will be as when a sick man wastes away.
19 Then the rest of the trees of his forest will be so few in number that a child may write them.
20 And it shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, will never again depend on him who defeated them, but will depend on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
21 The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God.
22 For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them will return; the destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness.

The Light of Israel, His Holy One, I say the Messiah, Jesus Christ, will burn and consume in one day, the thorns and briers, the fruitful field, both soul and body and there will be so few left that even a child may “write them.” Notice that the “destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness.” Whose righteousness? Not yours and not mine. It is God who is righteous and our faith in Him shall cause Israel to be “overflowing” with righteousness, even during the great destruction. Righteousness is an attitude, a cloak of salvation that will envelop you during this time of tribulation. Your heart will be at peace because of His righteousness in you.

Then Ezra makes it clear that even the remnant stands before God in guilt, needing a redeemer. If you retain your guilt, you can not attain His righteousness.

Ezra 9:15 (NKJ)

15 “O LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left as a remnant, as it is this day. Here we are before You, in our guilt, though no one can stand before You because of this!”

No man can stand before God because of his guilt. The scripture says God hates sin, it grieves Him when His children sin. Does it grieve you when your children sin? Of course it does. It also says every man has sinned. None is “righteous,” no not one. Every name is written either in the Book of Life or in “other books.” Your soul, your spirit is being sustained, awaiting judgment. Listen.

Revelation 20:12 (NKJ)

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

The Book of Life is defined in this verse.

Revelation 3:5 (NKJ)

5 “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

These are great teachings from His scriptures. It implies, and this is broadly supported in scriptures, that every name, including yours and mine, is in the Book of Life. How else could it be blotted out, except that it be there first? It is God’s will that every man be saved, that none perish. It states that those who “overcome” will be clothed in white garments. Listen to a description of one group of “overcomers” and what will have happened to them.

Revelation 20:4 (NKJ)

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

During the tribulation, your personal sacrifice, at the hands of God’s enemy, will be the price you pay as you seek to obey God, provided that you understand that there is not one thing you can do to earn salvation except to be obedient to God, and to, by grace, accept His gift of life. Stated another way, even the sacrifice of your physical body must be a decision you make that is based upon faith and obedience to the Father, not some macho “I can take anything you can dish out,” attitude.

I used the word “enemy” in the singular, because there is only one enemy that you can not, in your own strength, ever overcome. Satan is the enemy, the fallen angel who is the ruler of this world. Understand that from the day that Adam sinned until now, man’s heart is on a “default” setting. We are born with a heart of flesh. We serve that heart our entire lives unless we are able, not in our own power, but by the grace of God, to have a new heart.

You can not, in and of yourself, overcome the desires of the flesh. Those desires will overcome you, again and again. God provided relief that only He could have envisioned and delivered. He sent the Messiah to provide a means for us to have a new heart, one that is first broken, then replaced. If one does not, by absolute contrition understand how fruitless it is to seek to be like God, absent the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, that one is destined to die in their pride.

Yes we should work hard, study, contribute and share in the bounty of this world, but this world is perishing and all the bounty and bodies with it. Life must be about more than what you can do during your three score and ten allotments, if it is to be “redemptive;” or else, all really is vanity. Death is the victor and your achievements, trophies, assets and “record” will soon perish. If you think life is about a physical life only, your God either does not exist or is so infinitesimally small as to be of no consequence. Our physical bodies are finite. If you don’t think this is true, then listen to the comment of the thief on the cross and the response of the Messiah.

Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43 NKJV

Notice that Jesus said to the man being condemned, you will be in Paradise, not someday; He said, “today”.

The only victory you have over the grave is the spiritual victory made accessible by the Holy Father who sent His only begotten Son to redeem you and me. But the choice remains yours, right up until your last breath.

I have often wondered what the greatest single cause of failure is, as men seek to obey God. I will estimate that “pride” is the answer. It seems, especially after reading Solomon’s writings. We strive to attain, to possess, to control, to satisfy our physical needs, in vain. After all of the “trying” comes the end and the end is not a pretty sight. I would remind you of what happens to our physical bodies but it is just too gross.

Does man have to be “at the end of his rope” either in age or in circumstance to finally recognize that life is vanity when lived as if “that is all there is?”

The sacrifice of your life, during the tribulation, if that is required of you, as you stand steadfast in the declaration of your faith, will be an act of incomparable faith and obedience. Are you capable of that kind of faith? Do you have the strength to endure this test? The answer is yes, at least in some cases, but why would one do that? In hope, in hope that God will honor their faith, that God really exists, that there is a heaven and that life is eternal to those whom “obey.” But obedience to death is a large order. Not so large, again, that you can’t handle it, in the strength of God, but an ordeal that God foresaw.

God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to provide a means of escape, that you might be able to bear the pain of temptation, that you might depend on the power of the Holy Spirit in getting through the dilemmas that life in the flesh presents. Listen please. The redeeming blood of Jesus, the Messiah, was a foreordained condition for the “final” sacrifice, at least final in the sense that any future sacrifices are offerings of gifts of righteousness, not for the forgiveness of sin. The perfect redemptive power of the sacrifice of Jesus, the sinless Lamb of God, sets aside any further pursuit of sacrifice aimed at cleansing yourself of sin. Otherwise, Jesus gave His life for nothing.

If we seek “another way” to redeem our souls, we make a mockery of God’s plan of redemption. For instance, does anyone think the blood of bulls or goats can redeem a soul? Do you believe that great financial gifts to honorable causes or the dedication of one’s life to serving God can secure your redemption? Of course not. If those acts could redeem you, again Jesus went to the cross for nothing. If you ignore God’s gift of redemption, what gift will you offer? Even the gift of your sinful self, as an act of contrition, done in faith, pales by comparison with the Gift of God. If we try to circumvent the shed blood of Jesus, who knew no sin, then the Messiah is not yet our Redeemer. Every dedicated Jew believes God will provide a Redeemer, a perfect, unblemished sacrifice.

It is a fundamental scriptural truth that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. The only sacrifice that is going to matter is the One that permanently cleanses you, wherein you have triumph over sin by the power of the Holy Spirit and by your faith in the eternal love and grace of God.

Hebrews 9:22 (NKJ)

22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

Isaiah 48:17-18 (NKJ)

17 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go.
18 Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Following the period of great tribulation, there will be 144,000 Jewish martyrs who will have been beheaded for asserting their faith in God and refusing the mark of the beast. There will be a multitude without number who will stand in white robes with them, in God’s eternal kingdom. Listen.

Revelation 7:1-17 (NKJ)

1 After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree.
2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea,
3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:
5 of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed;
6 of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed;
7 of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed;
8 of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.
9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
12 saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”
14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.
16 “They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat;
17 “for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Notice it says, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Therefore they are before the throne of God…

Know that the “therefore” that places them before the throne of God, is based upon their having been washed in the blood of the Lamb. If you miss that point, you miss the entire basis of your being able to stand before God. Neither you nor I will ever stand in the presence of God on the basis of our worthiness. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. Only the blood of the sinless Lamb, the Son of God, can make us worthy. We stand in His presence because of His righteousness and mercy. We do not stand there based on our merit.

I have always want to ask a Jewish friend, “would you like to be judged by the Law?” I know that I do not want to be judged by the Law. The Law chronicles our sins. It is the straight edge by which we can be measured. The scriptures teach that if you are guilty of breaking even the smallest of the Laws, you are guilty of breaking the whole Law. No, we do not want to be judged by the Law. We much prefer to receive mercy, not judgment. The scriptures say that “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Thank our Holy Father that is true.

The scriptures teach that there is a 1000-year period in which the kingdom will be restored here on earth. Verse 15, above, is a Millennium scenario where God’s people serve Him “day and night” (thus this verse does not refer heaven where there is no day and night) and in verse 16 the scene moves on to eternal heaven where there is no sun, only the light of the Lord. Some will argue that you can’t jump in and out of scenarios that way, but if you have read the scriptures, you find prophecy does exactly that. Everything is not in a “straight line,” but everything fits.

God’s truth is neither contradictory nor false. Literalism is a very narrow place in which to stand but which of you would like the responsibility of saying “God did not mean what He said?” Once you start down that path, instead of “believing” and seeking discernment, you end up “interpreting” and laying man’s limited thinking on the analysis of the truth. God sums it up for us when He says,

Isaiah 55:1-13 (NKJ)

1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.
3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you– the sure mercies of David.
4 Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, a leader and commander for the people.
5 Surely you shall call a nation you do not know, and nations who do not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you.”
6 Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Daniel 10:21 (NKJ)

Daniel said, “But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth”.

Jesus, in responding to those who doubted He was the Messiah, said “the scripture can not be broken.” I believe the reason that people who take the Scriptures “literally” are willing to get chastised so often is that they take this quotation by Jesus very seriously. We may not understand what was said or what was meant by what was said, but that does not make it false. It simply means we don’t understand everything all the time. Here is the context in which Jesus made that statement.

John 10:22-38 (NKJ)

22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.
23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.
24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.
26 “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.
27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
28 “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
30 “I and My Father are one.”
31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.
32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”
33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ‘?
35 “If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),
36 “do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
37 “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;
38 “but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”

Here, in this next quotation, the apostle Peter offers a very important teaching about the interpretation of scripture. After reading this, consider laying this presentation aside, which is only a hint of the breadth of God’s Word, and take up His Word with all urgency, storing it in your heart. Seek His Face, His Holy Presence, His Wisdom and His Guidance now, before another day passes. Here is what Peter said about interpreting prophecy.

2 Peter 1:16-21 (NKJ)

16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;
20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,
21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

I realize this is a lot of reading, but if you can’t wade through what seems like a lot, how will you ever get through the Bible? When the Messiah returns there will be no time to “catch up.” Do everything you can, right now, to equip yourself for the moment in time where you will meet Him face to face. I can personally relate to the following verses.

Psalm 119:123 (NKJ)

123 My eyes fail from seeking Your salvation and Your righteous word.

Psalm 119:81-82 (NKJ)

81 My soul faints for Your salvation, but I hope in Your word.
82 My eyes fail from searching Your word, saying, “When will You comfort me?”

Psalm 130:5-6 (NKJ)

5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.
6 My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning– yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

Psalm 143:8 (NKJ)

8 Cause me to hear Your loving kindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.

Seeking God may take on many forms, but I do not know how you can anticipate standing before your Maker without having “listened intently” to Him. Could a person spend a lifetime in pursuit of knowledge, power, wealth and fame and have missed the opportunity to have God speak, directly to him? Of course you could avoid listening to God but why listen to the words of mere men? To whom do you listen all day? We are “choosing” to be an audience to someone or something. Time is running very short. Seek Him now. What else is more important? Certainly not a ball game, your garden, a good novel, or whatever else has your attention.

The scriptures say that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. How does your love manifest itself? It is excellent to love your neighbor as yourself. That is the second greatest commandment, but don’t miss number one as you pursue number two. The first great commandment, a summary of the first 4 of the 10 commandments, is “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.” This is the enabling commandment that makes the second 6 commandments (love toward others) “work,” to the glory of God. If you simply pursue the last 6 commandments, you will have done well, but not well enough, according to scripture.

There is no redemptive power in good deeds. If you fail to understand that fact, you fail to understand why any sacrificial law was ever instituted or why the Messiah had to suffer and die for our sins. If one could “earn” their salvation by good deeds, neither faith nor sacrifice would be required. Your love for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and your understanding of the redemptive power of the Messiah and the enabling power of the Holy Spirit equip you to serve Him as you serve others.

True love will require “forgiveness” every time. Not one of us is perfect and the love that we extend to others, if it is to be truly genuine, ignores the unrighteousness, on occasion, of the recipient. When each of us reflects on our own past sins (and all sin is of equal importance before God, there is no hierarchy of sin) we know that if God can forgive us, by the shed blood of Jesus, then He can forgive everyone else too. The scriptures say that “if you say you love God but you say you hate your brother, you are a liar and the truth is not in you.”

Loving the unlovely and the unlovable is only possible when you see in them, the image of God. You know that you were created in the image of God and so was every person. God would that no man perish and He expects we who have been cleansed and forgiven to convey His message of salvation. Listen.

2 Peter 3:9 (NKJ)

9 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.

That sentence could not be more clear. Repentance is the key to life. No repentance, no forgiveness; No repentance, no empowerment by the Holy Spirit. Repentance is the step you take in response to God’s invitation to enter into His Holy Presence.

Isaiah 57:15 (NKJ)

15 For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I 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.

I pray that my Jewish friends take solace in the fact that only some of their ancestors missed recognizing the Messiah. A great many Jews knew that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah. The New Testament that we have is largely a record prepared by and preserved by the Jews. The Messiah was a Jew, sent by God. God said the following words to the prophet Isaiah, some 700 years before the birth of the Messiah, His Elect one. Read this and Chapter 53 of Isaiah and ask your self, “Who could this be but the Messiah?”

Isaiah 42:1-9 (NKJ)

1 “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, my Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; he will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
2 He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; he will bring forth justice for truth.
4 He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands shall wait for His law.”
5 Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it:
6 “I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles,
7 To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house.
8 I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.
9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

God has taken steps to reveal Himself to us in so many unmistakable ways. Prophecy is one way, miracles are another. How in the light of fulfilled prophecy could one doubt? How could men watch a miracle of God, performed before their very eyes, and then return to their sin?

Here is one answer.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NKJ)

9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
10 I search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.

The heart that is deceitful and wicked is the heart of man. God wants to give you a new heart.

Jeremiah 24:6-7 (NKJ)

6 ‘For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up.
7 ‘Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.
A “new heart” is a gift from God. Perhaps my favorite verse in the entire Bible, written by Paul, a devout Jew, is embodied in this quotation.

Galatians 2:19-21 (NKJ)

19 …I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.
20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
21 “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

I write to you, not in my righteousness, but His. When you can say I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me, you are able to draw upon His unending reserve of grace and mercy and to thereby witness the crucifixion of your own flesh. Listen again.

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;”

This leaves no room for pride. There is plenty of room for joy, which I must admit sometimes appears self indulgent, but again, if Christ is going to bless you and use you, rejoice, not in your own accomplishments but in being His servant.

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