Several well-known T.V. preachers are using passages from the PSALMS to give comfort during this pandemic, but that can be problematic because of the conditional relationship God had with Israel at that time. When they obeyed, God blessed them (Deut. 28:1,2); when they disobeyed, He cursed them (Deut. 28:15). Is that what we want? No. Today, during this age of Grace, we have a new, unconditional relationship with Christ, who is 'not imputing their trespasses unto them [us]' (2Cor. 5:19). After the cross, every sin committed by the believer [past, present, future] has been forgiven by our Lord (Col. 2:13). How many sins on our slate? NONE. We're in a much better place NOW than THEN. Why regress? Stay tuned.
Recently, I interacted with someone at the mailbox who said her pastor is telling his congregation to pray that God stops this virus as quickly as He started it. Really? That must mean her pastor believes God is sending His wrath as punishment on an evil world. Others have said that about other pandemics including AIDS, but that method rarely works. Look at the tribulation [Book of Revelation] when God does pour out His wrath on an unbelieving world (Rev. 16:8,9). No today God is dispersing His Grace (Eph. 3:1,2) to both Jew & Gentiles (Rom. 1:16,17). But, this age will one day end and no one knows when (1Thess. 4:16-18), and then His wrath begins (2Thess. 2:1-12). Why chance it? This is the perfect day to be saved (1Cor. 15:1-4), the day of your salvation (1Cor. 6:2). Stay tuned.
A sign at the entrance of our hospital says, NO INPATIENT VISITORS ALLOWED. Sadly, many loved one across this country who contract and die of COVID-19 will do so without family and friends by their side, but they do not have to be alone. Scripture tells us during the Gospel period, when Lazarus died, he was lovely carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom (Lk. 16:22). Paul gives us a further update to tell us the moment we depart this earth in death, we are immediately present with the Lord in heaven (2Cor.5:8). For those who are saved by simple faith in Christ's finished work (1Cor. 15:1-4), Christ is with us in life and in death. We are never alone (1Cor. 1:27). Share these comforting Bible truths with your loved ones now, just in case they get sick from this dreaded virus. Stay tuned.
Why did we suspend having church? We did so because the government charged us to do so and their power to do so comes from God (Rom. 13:1-4). It is the same reason we pay taxes and obey the laws of the land (Lk.20:25). To resist their counsel [social distancing/avoiding crowds] is tantamount to receiving the condemnation of God. We stayed home because the federal and state authorities advised us it was the safest course of action for a brief period. When would we NOT obey the government? When they exert unreasonable, excessive political power, usurping our basic civil rights under the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and violating our God given right to worship (Acts. 5:29). We pray that day never comes. Stay tuned.
During this time of COVID-19, many believers placed a red ribbon around their door to commemorate Passover and the Resurrection of Christ. God bridged the gap between Israel and her holy days [shadow] with Christ's finished work for the Church [reality]. On Passover, the Jews applied animal blood to their doorpost to save them from death (Exo. 12:13); We apply Christ's blood to our sin for eternal life (Eph. 1:7). The Jews were taught to keep the Passover once a year (Lev. 23:5). Sadly, many Christians do the same, only celebrating Christ's resurrection on Easter. The essence of Paul's ministry was not about keeping days (Gal. 4:9-11), but what the power of the resurrection and salvation means every day (Rom. 1:16; 1Cor. 1:18) so we can walk in that power (Phil. 3:10;Col. 2:6). Stay tuned.
Tradition teaches that Christ died and was buried by sundown on Fri. [before the weekly Sabbath] and was resurrected Sunday morning, but the math doesn't work (Mt. 12:40). If He was buried by sundown on Wed. [before the annual Sabbath], the math works perfectly: 3-nights [ Wed., Thur., Fri.]; 3-days [Thur., Fri.,Sat.]. What occurred exactly 72 hrs. after His soul descended to hell? The 3rd holy day of that Holy Week, the feast of First Fruits, which fell the day after the weekly Sabbath (Lev. 23:10,11), at sundown Sat. [Nisan 18]. Christ's was the first of a series of resurrections (1Cor. 15:20), and what better timing for His resurrection to occur than at the first moments of the feast of First Fruits! Christ didn't raise from the dead at sunrise on Sunday, which tradition also teaches, because Mary Magdalene arrived before sunrise to find the empty tomb (Jn. 20:1)--He had already risen 12hrs. earlier (God has provided His time line: Christ died on Passover, buried on Unleavened Bread, and was raised on First Fruits. Computer programs tell us these holy days occurred as such in A.D. 31). The events of Christ death, burial and resurrection, with its holy days + Sabbath days occurred under Israel's program (Lev. 23:1,2). Should we, members of the Body of Christ (1Cor. 12:12,13,27), recognize any 1 day [or week] as holier than any other? No, as they were shadows of something better (Col. 2:14-17), being safe and secure IN-CHRIST 24/7, from now through eternity (Eph. 2:6,7). Stay tuned.
Up until that time before the cross, everyone feared death (Heb. 2:15) as their body went to the grave while their soul was sent to hell [hades, the pit, nether parts of the earth (Eze. 32:24), etc.], the holding tank for each departed soul. At death, Christ's soul also descended down (Mt. 11:23) to hell (Eph. 4:9b), but with the goal of freeing the righteous souls (Eph. 4:8a; Lk. 16:22a) from their prison (Isa. 42:7b). Jonah's experience (Jon. 1:17) was a foreshadowing [type] of Christ (Mt. 12:40). As Jonah spent 3 days and 3 nights with his body in the fish and his soul in hell (Jon. 2:2), he cried out to God to be rescued and was (Jon. 2:4-10). Likewise, David's Messianic psalm portrays Christ's petition (Psa. 143:7) being granted (Act 2:27, as Christ defeated sin, death, and hell (Acts 2:24). At sundown on Fri. [now Nisan 17], at the beginning of the weekly Sabbath, Jesus had lain in the tomb for 48-hrs. In 24 more hours, God will bodily raise His Son from the dead. Stay tuned.
Sundown Wed. [Nisan15] was the 1st day of Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:6,7), also an annual Sabbath, which was treated like a weekly Sabbath (Lev. 23:3[weekly], 7[annual]. (Tradition places Christ's crucifixion on Fri. because of the weekly Sabbath at sundown, but there were 2 Sabbaths that week, which points to the earlier, annual Sabbath (Jn. 19:31) as the one following Christ's crucifixion on Wed.). Jesus' body had to be removed from the cross & buried by sundown on Wed. [6p] to avoid Sabbath work. Joseph of Arimathaea, a disciple of Jesus, went to Pilate who requested and obtained the body and laid it in his own new tomb (Mt. 27:57-60; Isa. 53:9), sealing it with a stone (Mt. 27:59,60). No Biblical record of activity, except the Jewish leaders went to Pilate to ensure His body would not be stolen (Mt. 27:62-65). At sundown Thurs. [now Nisan 16], Jesus' dead body has lain in the tomb for 24 hours. (He will raise from the dead in 48 more hrs.), but His soul was very much alive in the netherworld (Eze. 32:24). Stay tuned.
At sundown [rooster crowed] on Wed. [still Nisan 14] Peter betrayed Jesus (Mt. 26:73-75), tried by Pilate (Mt. 27:1,2; 11-25), beaten, crowned with thorns (Mt. 27:27-32) and crucified at 9am (Mk. 15:25). Darkness from 12pm-3pm (Mt. 27:45) as the father forsook His son (Mt. 27:46) who bore our sin so we wouldn't have to (2Cor. 5:19). After 3pm, He willingly gave His life (Mt. 27:50), those 3 hrs. like an eternity in hell [our punishment for sin]. He was buried [~6p(Mt.27:57-60)] at the beginning of the feast of Unleavened Bread [shadow] at sundown Wed.[now Nisan 15]. Yeast in the Bible represents sin (Mt. 16:6-12), and Christ [reality] fulfilled the purpose as He became sin for us (2Cor. 5:21). Jesus died for our sins [Passover] and took our sins with Him to the grave [Unleavened Bread]. Stay tuned.
Jewish days went from sundown to sundown (Gen. 1:5), evening to evening [~6P to 6P the next day] (Lev. 23:32). After Jesus kept the Passover (Mt. 26:19-21a), these events occurred: He served the Lord's Supper (Mt. 26:26-29); foretold Judas' betrayal (Mt. 26:31-35); prayed in Gethsemane (Mt. 26:36-46), and arrested (Mt. 26:47-56). Next, His trial by the high priest Caiaphas and the ruling body of Israel, the Sanhedrin (Mt. 26:57-68). Despite their plans NOT to execute Him on Passover (Mt. 26:5), that was to be the exact day God foreordained that His Son 'shall bruise His heel (Gen. 3:15). Like all those Passover lambs, He was as a lamb 'led to the slaughter,'but without protest (Isa. 53:7). As Wed. dawned [still Nisan 14], Jesus has less than <12 hrs. to live. Stay tuned.
At sundown on Tuesday [now Nisan 14, A.D. 31], Jesus and the 12 kept the Passover (Mt. 26:20 c.f. Lev. 23:5). The meal consisted of roast lamb [representing judgment of God upon an innocent lamb rather than Jews]; Unleavened bread symbolized the purity of the memorial as leaven (yeast) often represented sin; Bitter herbs, a reminder of the suffering Israel experienced in Egyptian bondage. Jesus fulfilled the purpose of the Passover in that He became the innocent Lamb of God on whom fell the judgment of God, One who was without sin (2Cor.5:21). In one 24- hr. day [Nisan 14], Jesus both kept the Passover [shadow] and became the Passover Lamb [reality] (1Cor. 5:7). He has <24 hrs. to live[Here read Jn. 13:1-30]. Stay tuned.
The year was A.D. 31, Nisan 12 on the Jewish calendar, a Monday, the day before the feast of Passover begins. As Jews, Jesus and the 12 prepared for it as required by law (Lev. 23:4,5) while the Jewish leaders plotted to kill Him. Ironically, they tried to avoid doing it on Passover (Mt. 26:2-5). Peter & John were sent to secure an 'upper room' for the feast (Lk. 22:12). Lambs had to be quarantined for 4 days [Nisan 10-14] to assure purity (Exo. 12:3-5), likewise Christ had been chosen out of a sea of humanity as the sinless Lamb of God (Jn. 1:29) via His 3+yr. ministry. For 1,500-years, God required the yearly Passover as a rehearsal for Christ sacrifice. At sundown on Monday [now Nisan 13], He would have <48 hours to live. Stay tuned.
Today is traditionally called 'Palm Sunday' [likely it didn't occur on Sunday], the so called triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (Jn. 12:12-15), but the real triumphal entry will be His 2nd coming (Zech. 14:4-9). The Bible says that Jesus' entry into the city was 'lowly', fulfilling O. T. prophecy (Zech. 9:9), on a donkey compared to His 2nd coming on a white horse (Rev. 19:11). Many Jews were coming for the Passover (Jn. 11:55) and interested in seeing Him (v. 56) because of the recent miracle of the raising of Lazarus (Jn. 12:17,18). The religious leaders began their plot to kill Him (Jn. 11:57) while everyone including the 12 misunderstood what He was about to do (Jn.12:16; Lk. 18:31-34). Stay tuned
Why do people fear in times like this? Because they feel powerless from a lack of knowledge of this virus and their future (2Tim. 1:7). The opposite of fear is calm or peace (Phil. 4:7), which every believer should have because we have the full knowledge [epi-gnosis] of God via the revelation of the mystery (Rom. 16:25). God has given knowledge of Himself and what He’s doing, but not all at once (Isa. 28:10). God revealed knowledge to Israel of her earthly Messiah (Lk. 1:77 c. f. Mt. 16:16), but revealed the fullest knowledge of the Head of the Body to the Church (Eph. 1:17-23). God revealed the law to Moses for Israel (Deut. 29:29), but kept the dispensation of Grace a secret until Paul (Eph. 3:1,2,9). Stay tuned
What is God doing today during this pandemic? Giving us everything we prayerfully ask for (Mt. 21:22)? No. God is dispensing His Grace, which is exactly what we need [vs. our wants] (Phil. 4:19). We need to be saved and to know His will during this age (1Tim. 2:4): we need spiritual baptism that eternally secured us in Christ (1Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:13). We need ultimate hope. We have it-- the Blessed Hope (Tit. 2:12-15). Should we believe modern day prophets, T.V. preachers who say they have the latest word from God? No! Listen to God via His Word, divided right (2Tim. 2:15). We are God's children, joint-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17), by a divine adoption (Eph. 1:5), whose sins are forgiven (Rom. 4:7,8). Stay tuned.
Could events like COVID-19 be leading up to the tribulation (Psa. 2:5)? It could. Life threatening events have been around for thousands of years (Gen. 12:10), but in the tribulation, they will be extreme. The world's population today is almost 8 billion people. During the seal judgments 1/4 of the earth's population [2 billion people] will die (Rom. 6:3-8); during the trumpet judgments, 1/3 of the population [2.5 billion] will die (Rev. 9:18). In 7-years >1/2 of the earths pop. [>4.5 billion] will die, and no relief agency will be able to deal with such devastation (Rev. 14:19). We cannot avoid the present scourge, but we can miss the coming 7-years of hell on earth by simple faith in Christ's finished work (1Thess.1:10). Stay tuned.
Why is the media so preoccupied with the number of deaths during COVID-19? Because of the unsaved world's fear of death, this is a daily reminder of their mortality. The world looks to mask and ventilators to save them from this deadly virus, yet many will die virtually unnoticed from M.V.A.'s, heart disease and cancer. Death is a consequence of man's original sin (Rom. 5:12), but Christ defeated Satan's grip on death (Heb. 2:14,15) through the power of His resurrection (1Cor. 15:21,22). As a result, eternal life is offered to all through Christ (Rom. 5:8,9). What's the meaning of life? Christ in life and Christ in death (Phil. 1:21). Death is not optional (Heb. 9:27), eternal life surely is (1Tim. 2:4). Stay tuned.
This might be the worst period [COVID-19] most of us have ever lived through, but it's not the 1st time bad things have happened to God's people (Heb. 11:36-39; 2Cor. 11:23-27). Our faith teaches us to trust Christ (2Cor. 1:8-10) and to learn to be content (Phil. 4:11-13). Weather things are good [a month ago] or bad [now], our position in Christ never changes (Eph. 2:6). As the world constantly changes, our eternal destiny in Christ is unalterable (Rom. 8:38-39). Paul's focus was to fulfill his calling to take salvation 'far hence to the Gentiles (Acts20:24; 2Tim. 4:7). During times like these, what's your focus? For what are you going to be rewarded (1Cor. 3:10-15)? Stay tuned.
COVID19 has changed the lives of all Americans. Many are scared, sick, and some are dying, but the most important things in life haven't changed : salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8,9); the gospel (1Cor.15:1-4); Spirit baptism into Christ (1Cor. 12:13), indwelling /sealing by the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 3:16; Eph. 1:13); our new body (2Cor. 5:1-4); our citizenship in heaven (Phil.3:20). Because we know we are safe & secure in Christ (Eph. 2:6), now is the time to do 'good works' (Eph. 2:10) when others are fearful. What do those who contract this virus need? Good medical care. What do they need before they contract the virus? Good spiritual care! We can't all be MD's or RN's, but we can all witness (2Tim. 4:5). Stay tuned.
What should "we" [GBF] be spiritual doing during this pandemic? Continue doing what we have been doing! Learning and being assured that Paul's body of truth [Mystery] is the full knowledge [epi-gnosis] and latest update from God in faith and practice (Eph.1:17-23; 4:12-14; Col. 1:9,10; 3:10; 1Tim. 2:4) which believers can do as the world continues to worsen (2Tim.3:13). As men grow smarter [can defeat COVID19], he grows more distant to the One who created and sustains him (2Tim. 3:7; Col. 1:12-19). The remedy? The Word of God (2Tim. 3:16-17) being careful to separate [right divide] God's plan for the Body of Christ and that of Israel (2Tim. 2:15). Be a Berean and search (Acts 17:11,12). Stay tuned
2 Timothy 3:1
The Apostle Paul does not list “signs” which will precede the rapture of the Body of Christ to heaven, but list trends. These are not societal trends, but the backsliding of believers near the end of the Church age (2 Tim. 3:2-4). Jammed and Jambres (2Tim. 3:8b) were Egyptian magician who competed against Moses (Exo. 7:11,12,22; 8:7; 9:11), but whose power paled to the God of Israel. Today, much of Christendom has been hijacked from the full truth and power of God (2Tim. 3:5,6), i,e. the mystery, by ‘men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith’ (2Tim. 3:8b; 4:2-4). Paul’s previously hidden truth (Eph, 3:9) is being taught and learned by fewer and fewer believers, a trend signaling the perilous times ahead. Stay tuned.
2 Cor. 5:7
Is COVID-19 a” sign” from God? No. During this present dispensation of Grace (Eph. 3:2), God is not issuing signs from heaven because Christ proved most didn’t believe them when they were given (Acts 2:22-23; Mt. 12:38-40). While many continue to walk by signs [sight] or man’s wisdom (1Cor. 1:22), we ‘walk by faith’. Faith is believing God and what He has done on our behalf (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 3:28). If Christ has done everything necessary for our salvation (1Cor. 1:23-24), surely we can believe Him and be comforted by His promise that we will forever be with Him (1Thess. 4:17-18). And besides, Satan has the power to produce “ signs”, which he will use to deceive many (2Thess. 2:7-9). Stay tuned. Pastor Brent
2 Peter 3:10-13
Is COVID-19 going to cause the apocalyptic end of the world? No. The last event on God’s timeline is the dissolving of the old [sinful] heavens & earth by heat in preparation for the new eternal [ sinless] heavens & earth ( Rev. 21:1). But, these events must precede it: rapture of the church (1 Thess. 4:16-17); 7 year tribulation ( Jer. 30:7; Mt. 24:21); 2nd coming of Christ (Mt. 25:31); 1,000- yr. earthly kingdom (Mt. 25:34; Rev. 20:4); and, great white throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). Thankfully, our salvation will spare us the wrath of God during the tribulation (1Thess.5:9) as we will be translated to our heavenly home before it begins (Phil. 3:20). Stay tuned.
Written by the Apostle Paul, who at that time was imprisoned in Rome. His contentment was not based on the things of this world, but rather on his relationship with Christ (Heb. 13:5). If God promised He would never leave or forsake the Jews even during their periods of disobedience (Deut.31:6), think how much more content we should be knowing that we are “hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). Paul knew he could get through any hurdle in life because of the spiritual strength he drew from Christ ( Phil. 4:12).
Stay tuned. Pastor Brent
II Timothy 1:7. Because the unsaved world feels powerless, they are fearful. On the other hand, we, the Body is Christ have the power of God through salvation (Rom. 1:16) and indwelling of the Father (Eph. 4:6); Son (Col. 1:27); and the Holy Spirit (ICor. 3:16). Spiritual power is rooted in God’s agape love for us (IJohn 4:18) and a sound or discipline mind (IICor.10:5) allows us to see clearly what our responsibilities are [like sharing the gospel with others] while the world is in a fog of fear. Believers are to renew their minds daily (Rom. 12:2) to the things of God, which will give us the Peace of God (Phil. 4:7).
Pastor Brent. Stay tuned....