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Lord is the Supreme Accountant!
20:12 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.
taught throughout the Bible.
Christians are going to give account of their faithfulness at the
judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-12).
Elders are going to give account of their stewardship (Hebrews
The unsaved are going to give account at the Great White Throne
mentioned in Revelation 20.
Having been involved in teaching and practicing the discipline of
accounting for many years, I know that the record keeping of many
companies leaves something to be desired.
However, the Lord’s record keeping is accurate.
He doesn’t manipulate the books, and we will all get a chance
to face the Lord and His records someday.
Kinds of Records that the Lord Keeps
Mark 8:36 analyzes our
lives through the lens of an income statement.
The passage tells us that if we get everything this world has to
offer but the cost of that “revenue” is to lose our souls, then our
bottom line is red.
In Daniel 5:27, Belshazzar’s life was analyzed as a balance
He was weighed in the balances and found wanting, that is, the
liabilities were greater than the assets.
Belshazzar was bankrupt.
The Lord also makes projections.
John 3:36 tells us of the eternal destiny of the believer and the
eternal destiny of the unbeliever.
The Lord tells us to count costs.
He has the ability to credit benefits to our account for which we
have not paid.
The Lord is also an auditor.
This passage in Revelation sees the Lord as an auditor who is
reviewing the lives of those standing at the Great White Throne.
Audit is a Righteous Audit
The passage says that
the books were opened.
That means that the Lord is a bookkeeper and has been keeping
What books are opened?
For one, I believe the Bible will be opened.
People who won’t read it now will get a chance to see what it
The book of life is opened.
This is the place where the names of everyone who has trusted
Christ and who has become a child of God is found.
I believe that a record of the sins of unbelievers will also be
opened at the Great White Throne.
I do not see those who
have believed in this present day of grace at this judgment. They have
already been raised at the resurrection of life and have lived and
reigned with Christ throughout the 1000 year reign of Christ. On them
the second death has no power (Revelation 20:6).
Their sins have been blotted out (Acts 3:19).
The ones being audited here are those who are raised at the end
of time as we know it in order to be held accountable for their works.
This will include all the people who thought that their good
works would get them into heaven as well as all those who rebelled
against the righteous standards of God and who thought that they would
never be held accountable.
When the books are
opened, those standing here will have to face the fact that their sins
were never “blotted out” as they are for a believer.
They will have to face the fact that Romans 3:23 says all have
sinned and come short of the glory of God.
They will find out that their names are not in the book of life.
They will find out too late that God was willing to declare them
righteous but they wouldn’t believe on the Lord Jesus so that God
could do that.
All of these will have to admit that getting to heaven “their
way” didn’t work.
There is only one way to heaven and that is by the way of the
do I want to be Judged?
How do You want to be Judged?
It appears to me in
reading the Bible that all who want to get to heaven by their own works
But all who are going to heaven because of the work of Calvary
While it is true that Christians, who have their entry into
heaven sealed by the work of the Lord at the cross, should have a
conscience about sin and should do good works; they also know that no
one (apart from the Lord) was ever good enough to get into heaven by
their good works.
So how do you want to
be judged at your audit?
for the week of August 3, 2014
Time is Near or Ready
1:1-3 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His
servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and
signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the
word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he
saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this
prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is
Race is Run Quickly
have been interested in the Kentucky Derby the last few years.
If you watch it on television, there is a lot of pageantry
leading up to the race. Horses
are analyzed. In addition,
we hear about their owners and jockeys.
Some people even bet on the outcome.
It is an all afternoon affair for those who go to see the horses
run. For me, it seems like
it takes forever to get the horses to the starting gates; but once those
horses are there, all the preparation time is over.
The horses are ready to run.
And when they run, they finish the race quickly.
The race is over in about two minutes.
I think this is a crude illustration of what the Lord is
trying to tell us in Revelation 1: 1-3.
The Book of the Revelation is not the revelation of end time
events so much as it is the revelation of Jesus Christ.
It is the rest of the story. The cross wasn’t the end of the
story. The Lord’s resurrection and ascension to heaven followed.
But the resurrection and ascension weren’t the end of the
story. The Lord left his
disciples with the promise that He would come again.
In this book, He has given John the Apostle the rest of the story
which has to do with that second coming.
John has been told that these things must shortly take place.
That doesn’t mean that these things will happen immediately
after this revelation is given; but that when they happen, the events
will happen quickly. The
Kentucky Derby is run in two minutes after a lot of preparation and
pageantry. Once the Lord
sets the events in motion that are described in chapters 6-19, they will
take place quickly. It has
been two thousand years since the promise of the Lord’s return has
been given; but once the starting gun is fired, these events will take
place in seven literal years of 360 day years.
Then the Lord will set up a righteous kingdom that will last a
literal one thousand years.
Events Have been “Ready” for Years!
Kentucky Derby is not ready to be run until the horses are in the
starting gates. But in a
sense the horses have been waiting in the starting gates for years if we
let the race represent the things that happen once the Lord gives the
command to start the race. The
Lord says the time is near. He
really means that the time is ready.
Nothing has to take place for the Lord to start this “race.”
Now some might argue that Peter had to be crucified since that had
been predicted and that the temple had to be destroyed since the Lord
had said that would happen. But
if scholars know what they are talking about, the book of the Revelation
was written after those things had taken place.
However, Daniel 9 indicates that an unbelieving nation of Israel
will be willing to sign a covenant with a world leader who offers the
nation false peace. Signing
this covenant starts the seven years predicted in Daniel 9. And
while it is true that there was not a nation of Israel until 1948, I
believe that the Lord could have established the nation overnight if he
had wanted to over the last two thousand years.
Remember how fast the Soviet Union disintegrated and the Berlin
wall fell? We are told to be
always ready because the events are “at hand”, “near,” or ready
is the Lord Waiting?
why has the Lord not fired the starting gun?
Because He is not willing that any should perish but that all
should come to repentance (and thus to faith).
See 2nd Peter 3:9.
It is because of the Lord’s mercy and longsuffering that this
race has not been set in motion. People
who have rejected the Lord in this period of grace when the Gospel is
being preached will not be saved after the Lord comes.
They will believe a great deceiver because they wouldn’t
believe the Lord. See 2
Thessalonians 2: 9-12. It is
because the Lord wants to save one more person that the starting gun has
not yet been fired.
race will not be started until present believers are caught up to
heaven. They are to be saved from the “wrath to come.” Because
the time for end time events is “at hand” or “ready”, that must
happen just before or at the same time that the peace treaty is signed.
But the skeptics and rebellious and the unbelievers of this day
of grace are going to experience wars and famines and natural disasters
that will exceed anything this world has seen.
There will be no escape once the starting gun is fired.
for the week of August 10, 2014
Matter of Integrity!
16:13 “However, when He,
the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He
will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will
speak; and He will tell you things to come.
Inspiration and Divine Interpretation
Scriptures are God breathed according to Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16.
2 Peter 1:21 says that prophecy never came by the will of man,
but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Prophecy here would involve speaking for God in any capacity, not just
predicting the future. Because
the original manuscripts were not written in English, interpretation of
the original languages of the Old Testament and New Testament can become
difficult. Nevertheless, the
Bible is clear that the Holy Spirit that inspired the texts is the same
Holy Spirit that will enable us to interpret the texts.
Principles of Interpretation
properly understand the Bible we have to want to understand the Bible.
We can’t come to the Bible with a desire to prove a pet theory
or to find something “new” that has never been found before.
Finding fresh truth is different from finding new truth. To
properly understand the Bible we have to be “born again” or
“saved”. When we trust
the Lord, the Holy Spirit seals us.
Until that moment, we did not have the ability to be guided by
the Holy Spirit. He
influenced our lives but He did not guide our lives or our thinking. To
properly understand the Bible we have to know the difference between
God’s earthly people, the Jews; and God’s spiritual people, the
church. They are different
and must not be confused. Of
course to properly understand any author you have to read the whole
manuscript and interpret things in context.
I usually start out with one verse that I want think about in
these meditations, but anyone who is wise will pick up their Bibles and
read the whole chapter. If
you haven’t done it recently, you should read the whole book that the
quote comes from. The Holy
Spirit will need to convince you that the passage is being interpreted
in the context of God’s progressive revelation of Himself and in the
context of His plans for mankind.
I was given a pamphlet called “God’s Way of Salvation.”
It was a copy of a rather lengthy tract that had helped me come
to saving faith in the Lord. I
was assured that the tract was “unabridged” however because of my
interest in that tract, I think I have a pretty complete original
manuscript of it on my website. The
tract I was given was abridged. I
have picked up copies of this tract that do not even have some of the
text that was helpful to me. I
keep asking myself, what right do we have to take a manuscript that has
been mightily used of God and change it in anyway?
We of course might want to comment on it in our own comments when
reprinting it but the manuscript was written by Alexander Marshall and
has his name on it. It is
presumptuous to think that abridging it as a cost cutting measure or to
make it simpler to read or to make it quicker to read is our right.
I would not have a problem if Mr. Marshall were still around to
approve the changes, but he is not.
To me, it is a matter of integrity.
We should either reprint what Alexander Marshall wrote, or we
should not reprint it at all.
have had the same thing happen to me on two occasions with regard to
manuscripts that I have submitted to two different magazines.
Editors have revised what I said assuming that I had made a
mistake without checking with me. And
now there are articles circulating with my name on them that do not say
what I believe. These
meditations have been revised on occasion by those receiving them and
have been sent on under my name. These
things should not be done. It
is a matter of integrity.
we doing this same thing with the Bible?
I can accept the fact that the original King James Version has
become hard for our current crop of young people to read.
Revisions were helpful. However,
now there are so many versions and revisions that I can find one that
will support almost any doctrine I want to “push.” However, I
can’t worry too much about context or about that still small voice
that upsets me in the pit of my stomach when I read some of these
revisions. At one time, good
editors and Bible scholars tried to add explanatory footnotes to the
standard translations. That
helped us know what was Scripture and what was opinion.
But now we have so called translations that seem to be taking the
approach that they need to explain what God really meant.
We need to be careful that we don’t put words in God’s mouth,
because He put His words in His prophet’s mouths. We
don’t have a right to try to do the work of the Holy Spirit in
interpreting Scripture. I am
convinced that a simple person who is saved can understand what the Lord
said and we don’t need people explaining to us what “He really
meant.” There just
aren’t that many ways to interpret John 3:16.
for the week of August 17, 2014
3:30 “He must increase,
but I must decrease.”
the Baptist is an interesting study.
I have wondered if I would have been happy to have had his
calling on my life. How
would I have liked to be the one to point out the sin of the nation of
Israel? How would I have
liked to be the one who was going to announce the coming of the Messiah,
but who was always going to be number two in terms of importance?
How would I have liked doing my best to prepare the nation for
their coming King only to fail?
How would I have liked my own faithfulness to be rewarded with a
jail cell and ultimately a beheading because I called the wrong person a
sinner? This was the portion
of John the Baptist.
was named by the angel Gabriel before he was born.
He was six months older than the Lord Jesus.
We find that he was to be the voice of one crying in the
wilderness which tends to make me believe that his words were wasted on
people that were not listening for the most part (Mark1:1-3).
According to the Lord, he fulfilled the prophecy that Elijah must
come to prepare the people for the Lord’s coming (Matthew 17:10-13).
This shows me that there is figurative language that must be
considered in a literal reading of the Bible, and it also shows me that
there may be more than one fulfillment of many prophecies.
John had the privilege of baptizing the Lord and seeing the Holy
Spirit anoint Him for His earthly ministry.
with the Spirit
Luke 1:15 we read, “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and
shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with
the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.”
Some have told me that they do not need to be born again because
they were saved like John the Baptist who they think was saved by his
first birth based on this passage. We
must interpret the Bible in its context, and the Bible says that once
Adam sinned, death passed on ALL men because All have sinned (Romans
5:12). The Bible is clear
that unless we are born again we will never enter the Kingdom of God
(John 3:3). So I believe
John the Baptist had to come to grips with his own sin and trust in
Christ just like everyone of us. So
what does this passage mean?
puts each one of us on this earth for a purpose.
John’s purpose was to be a Nazarite (See Numbers 6:1-21).
He was to be set apart from his mother’s womb for a special
purpose of God. This has to
do with service and not with salvation.
In Judges 13:5, Samson was also a Nazarite from His mother’s
womb. He was not a very
faithful Nazarite and may not have come to faith in Jehovah until he
lost his eyes playing with sin. In
John the Baptist’s case his life was controlled by the Holy Spirit so
that he could fulfill his prophetic ministry.
can one who was called of God, named by God, controlled by God and used
by God have doubts about His ministry?
In Matthew 11:3 John the Baptist is in prison and he sends his
disciples to find out if he really had announced the right King. “Art
thou He that should come or do we look for another?”
I suspect that he wondered why he
was being left in prison since the Lord was related to him and since he
had been faithful to the Lord. Perhaps he had forgotten that he had said
that the Lord must increase while he must decrease.
Nevertheless he had honest doubts.
And the way the Lord reassured him was to show him the things
that the Lord was doing. The
King James Version says that He showed John “again.”
This is one of the reasons why I believe that Christians need to
hear the sweet strains of the “how to be saved” Gospel over and over
after they are saved. The
Gospel that saved us is the Gospel that keeps us and it is the Gospel
that restores us when our hearts grow cold.
to the End
the Baptist was faithful to the end.
His end was to lose his head because he was faithful and because
of a wicked queen at a drunken birthday party.
I am glad that I am not called to be a prominent prophet, but I
am just called to be faithful in my little corner of the world. I
am glad that I likely will never have to lose my head over my
faithfulness to the Lord even though I may have to lose friends.
And should I have doubts, I just need to go back to
Scripture to be reminded “again” of the things that the Lord has
promised and done.
for the week of August 24, 2014
Whom am I Listening?
Peter 5:8 Be sober, be
vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring
lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith,
knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in
adversary is an opponent, an enemy, a foe, one who resists.
Satan is the adversary of the Lord and he is the adversary of
every person born into this world. He is also an adversary of everyone
who has set aside their own ambitions and pride and has trusted in the
Lord Jesus Christ.
devil or Satan does not always appear to be the enemy. When
he appeared to Eve in the Garden of Eden he came as a deceitful cunning
snake. Absalom, David’s
son who tried to usurp the thrown seems to be a picture of Satan as an
adversary. He was cunning
and beautiful and knew just how to win the loyalty of the people of
Israel. 2 Samuel 15:5 says,
“And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he
would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. In this manner Absalom
acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom
stole the hearts of the men of Israel.”
It seems to me that Satan and people that he uses first use
flattery, then they use lies, then they confront.
Satan wants to take the place in the heart of the people of God
that only the Lord should have. Then
he will ultimately do his best to destroy their confidence in the Lord.
While Satan will never be able to destroy a Christian eternally,
he can certainly destroy their confidence and peace while they are
sojourning here on earth.
often appears as a “messenger or angel of light”.
In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Paul warns Christians against false
apostles and deceitful workers. He
says, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming
themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself
transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great
thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of
righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” Satan
tries to convince us that his lies make more logical sense that the
makes sure that the Lord appears to be an imposter.
The Old Testament says that the Lord didn’t come looking like
He had the regal beauty of a King (Isaiah 53:2).
He was not and is not popular.
His solutions to the world’s problems are not the solutions
that are attractive to the world. Paul
says in 2 Corinthians 10:3, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do
not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not
carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.”
The Lord just thinks differently than the world thinks (See
Isaiah 55:8-9). And
that is why it is so hard to trust Him when things in life seem to be so
is the opponent or adversary. But
we who are saved have the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit and the Word of God always work together
directing our attention and affection to the Lord Jesus.
This passage says that we resist our adversary “in the
faith.” That is we resist
him by being confident in the things that we believe.
We don’t have to have stronger faith, but instead we have to
know the truth that gives us confidence.
The more truth we know the more we will be able to resist our
passage says that the Lord does care concerning us.
Let's not let circumstances cause doubts concerning that truth.
8:31: What then shall we say
to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Corinthians 15:57: But
thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus
Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in
vain in the Lord.
can be attractive and cunning and logical.
But his teaching is ultimately destructive.
The Lord is not physically attractive, his teaching often does
not make logical sense, but He wants to save us and preserve us so that
we glorify Him both now and in eternity
To whom are we listening?
for the week of August 31, 2014