Understand the Times!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holiness

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

1 Chronicles 12:32 And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Among the mighty men of David were those of the tribe of Issachar whose special gift was their understanding of the times, a gift of prophetic insight; and this was such a precious gift because included in their discernment was the ability to know how to apply it. In our time prophecy is everywhere. Yeshua (Jesus) warned us that there would be false prophets in the last days, especially approaching His second coming, and He said the prophecy would be so subtle and the false signs so powerful that even the elect might be deceived if that were possible; [Mt. 24:24] While it's clear to many of us that we're living in prophetic days, there are also millions who have no clue of the current times and seasons.

So we're faced with a challenge and a profound, multi-faceted responsibility: to acknowledge the significance of our times, to awaken others to this reality, to rightly discern true from false prophecy, and to know what to do about the things we rightly discern. Wow! Not an easy task. How do we even begin?

I believe that we have a prophetic "anchor"…a fundamental sign, missing throughout all of Church history, until our day. This sign is the rebirth of Israel as a nation. Many of the OT prophets foresaw the ingathering of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland in the latter days. [Jeremiah 30; Isaiah 43:5-6; Amos 9:14-15; and many others]. Isaiah prophesied the nation's rebirth in a single rhetorical question, "Can a nation be born in a day?" [ Isaiah 66:8]. One hundred years ago Israel, (then called "Palestine" by the Romans, as an insult to the Jews), was a barren, sparsely inhabited province in the Ottoman empire, and Jerusalem was hardly ever mentioned in conversation unless someone was reading scripture. Today, Israel is a thriving resurrected nation, reclaimed from desolation, established in one single day, (May 14, 1948), and Jerusalem is in virtually every daily newspaper, the subject of intense controversy throughout the civilized world. This one sign assures me, personally, that we are really and truly living at the end of the age.

I believe we must acknowledge this, share it, WATCH very carefully, and PRAY as the developments in the Middle East conform themselves to the Word of God. The prophetic clock is ticking toward the final hours of this age when the Lord Yeshua will return in power and great glory to judge the entire world of men.

The sons of Issachar understood their times, and knew what to do. Watching and praying, we can too. Preparing ourselves with holy living for the Lord's return, we must also warn those who live in ignorance of these amazing days by showing them the prophetic sign of Israel's resurrection, and warning them to repent, believe the gospel, and be accounted worthy to escape all these things and to stand before the Son of Man!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holiness

Follow in the footsteps of Messiah!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holiness

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Continuing this study of Mashiach Ben Yosef (Messiah "Son of Joseph"), I want to focus on another aspect of the rabbis' understanding; that Mashiach ben Yosef will come first, and prepare the world for the Kingdom of the Lord. According to their teaching he will do this by fighting God’s wars against "Edom", which is collectively understood as the enemies of Israel in the time preceding the restoration of the Messianic Kingdom by Mashiach "Ben David" . This preparation is known as Ikvot Mashiach – the Footsteps of Messiah. Their expectation was that the entire world would be thus readied for the arrival of Mashiach Ben David, the glorious King.

Messianic and Christian believers understand that Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus) fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of Mashiach Ben Yosef in His first coming, and we anxiously await His return to fulfill the role of Mashiach Ben David. During this long interval, we who know Mashiach "Ben Yosef", the Suffering Servant, Yeshua, (Jesus) also "walk in His footsteps", preparing the world for His return.

This "walk" also engages us in a war. "Edom" represents the earthly man, the man of flesh, an enemy against whom we struggle daily, facing many battles and obstacles as we prepare ourselves and our brethren in holy living for our expected Bridegroom's arrival. Walking in His Footsteps means living a life of expectant preparation, and calling others to this walk as we preach the gospel of the coming Kingdom to all the nations.

Let us follow faithfully in His footsteps, fighting in the spirit, the battle with "Edom", our sinful nature, and winning souls through holy living and sharing the gospel of salvation at every opportunity.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holiness

Be Transformed This Shavuot!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holiness

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

Leviticus 23:15-17 'And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord. You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the Lord.

The Lord (YHVH) commanded the grain offering on Shavuot, (known as Pentecost among Christians), to be made of the finest flour, baked with yeast, that is, leaven. Leaven, in the Bible, is almost universally, a symbol for "sin", and in the OT is strictly forbidden on the altar of YHVH., yet here, in the Feast of Weeks it is commanded as part of the offering. Just six weeks prior to this festival, Israel had spent a week eating unleavened bread, a clear picture of the connection between the Passover Lamb and the removal of sin from our lives. Now the grain offering for Shavuot contains yeast; two loaves with it. Why? A common interpretation of this for NT believers is that the loaves represent Jews and Gentiles, the two types of redeemed people, who, of course, still contain sin in our lives.

So the sequence of these two spring festivals can be seen to illustrate, on the one hand, our perfect deliverance from sin and death through the Passover Lamb (Yeshua); and subsequently, the reality of our true condition as "leavened loaves" offered to the Lord as "first-fruits". We know that having come to faith in Yeshua (Jesus), cleansed by His shed blood, we stand righteous and perfect in Him; and yet, we constantly struggle with our Adamic nature. In this light, Shavuot begins to emerge as a festival marking and illustrating the opportunity and means for our transformation. The Lord's sending forth of His Holy Spirit at this time awakens and empowers us to change; to be inwardly transformed from the old creation into a new creation.

On the day of Pentecost, 2000 years ago, this transformation process was dynamically accelerated and made accessible to every believer. Baptized with the Holy Spirit of God, and with His fire, our sinful nature with all its impurities and "leaven" takes a back seat to the powerful indwelling of the Spirit of Messiah, so that as we continually pray, walk in obedience, and thus cooperate to be filled with His Spirit, we are sanctified and transformed into His likeness – "from glory to glory", and so become His effective witnesses. Praise God that He works with our issues– and is transforming us into a bride without wrinkle or spot!

Allow the Holy Spirit to burn away the impurity of your sinful nature; to purge out the dross, and deeply penetrate your life. The process can be "firey" and involve some painful sacrifices, but the result is purity and the holiness without which no one will see God. And remember that Yeshua is returning soon, greatly anticipating a bride who is prepared for His arrival!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holiness

Crush, Mutilate, Destroy!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holiness

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."

According to ancient Jewish legend, one day Abraham was shown his father, Terah's room of many idols. Young Abraham, thinking that perhaps he could discover intimacy with them, made some desirable delicacies and placed them before the idols. When nothing happened, he realized that these idols were nothing more than clay — they could do nothing for him or anyone else for that matter. So he proceeded to destroy all the idols, except for one.

When Terah received word of this, he went to Abraham and said, "Son, what did you do to my idols?!" "I brought them delicacies," Abraham replied, "and then the biggest idol became envious of the others, and destroyed them all." Terah, furious with Abraham, said, "You're lying to me! How can idols made by my own hands do such things?" "You're right father." Replied Abraham, "Now tell me, then, why do we worship idols that can not eat, drink or even move?"

This kind of idol worship may sound far removed from us, but we too, have our idols. They may not be made of clay but they are very real! The love of money, possessions, success, leisure, food, sensuality, security and outward beauty — the love of tradition and even our friends and family — the pursuit of our goals and dreams are among some just off the top of my head. Most of these are not bad things in and of themselves, don't get me wrong. But if we are not careful, they can all easily become idols in our lives!

What is the object of our affections today? What takes up the majority of our time, effort, and resources? These are our idols. Anything that we allow to run our life becomes our god.

There is only One God we ought to be worshiping — and He will not have any other god's before Him! Let's crush our idols today. We need to get right with the Lord so that we may be used mightily for His Kingdom!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holiness

Prepare the Way!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holiness

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Isaiah 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Many believers have a special place, a quiet place where they go to spend time with the Lord. This is a very important thing. But how many believers have actually 'prepared a way' for the Lord? As sacred as that special quiet place is to us, it is limited. It has definite boundaries. But a way never ends–it goes on and on. The key of a life of blessing is not preparing God places to fill, but preparing a way for Him. The Hebrew word for way is 'derech'. Derech means a path, or a way of life.

If we want to be blessed, we need to prepare a derech in our lives. We need to develop Godly ways, Godly habits, Godly consistency and practices. We need to turn all our holy places into holy ways that carry on throughout our daily lives. The blessings of God need to flow through us to others around us– let's give Him a derech through which to do so. There's so much work to be done!

 

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holiness