The Lion Has Roared

(Amos 3:8)

When we see a lion roaming around, we come to the realization that he is, without a doubt, the king of the beasts, for his powerful appearance and uncompromisingly strength. None will escape his attack in the strength that he displays to bring its victim down. It is heartbreaking to watch the killing taking place, though. Fear of him is spread all around at the sound of his roaring heard five miles away. In a frightening moment at the dark of the night, one experiences the hair standing up in a chill of death. But that roaring is only expressing his right to the prey he is killing. The success he utters is not for sharing of the meal, but to warn all to stay away. Who cannot help but to feel the vibration of fear all over the spine at his roaring? Running a short distance at 50 mph, no one can escape his pursuit. Majestic and intimidating, the lion stands tall and non-afraid. Although, many of their care givers lost their lives at their claws and mouth, the lion has shown undisputable love toward their owners even when apart from them many years through their affection demonstrated to them. It is hard to believe how he can be so loving and at the same time so ferocious!

 YAHSHUA , the “Lion of Judah” came from the tribe of Judah, the most privileged tribe of all the twelve tribes, because it was through this tribe that God chose to send His Son to the world. Therefore, it is through this tribe that the world has been blessed according to the blessing God promised Abraham at the ranges of Mount Moriah after testing him. Judah’s name means praise or thanksgiving. Although, Judah was not an ideal moral man, God’s sovereign purpose was accomplished through his descendants. In Genesis 49:8-10 Jacob, before he died, prophesized to all his sons, and of Judah he said, Judah, you are the one whom your brothers shall praise; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down to you; Judah, a lion’s cub! With the prey, my son, you have gone high up. He stooped down, he crouched like a lion, and like a lioness who dares provoke and rouse him? The scepter or leadership shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff between his feet, until Shiloh comes to Whom it belongs, and to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Jacob’s words echoed through the years and will continue to the day when YAHSHUA, the Lion from the tribe of Judah will come to reign and through Him the prophecy will be completely fulfilled.  His voice is compared to the roar of a lion, powerful in times of His judgment. Amos 1:2 says, Jehovah roars out of Zion and He utters His voice from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds mourn, and the head of Carmel withers. We see in the prophetic words of the Prophet Amos confirming and warning the people of the seriousness of God’s judgment. The lion hath roared; who will not fear? The Lord Jehovah hath spoken; who can but prophesy? (Amos 3:8). Even nature in its frailty recognizes the voice of God! There is much to ponder at the sound of the Lord’s roaring. As nature trembles at the sound of His voice, men must realize the tone of judgment in God’s voice and mend his ways.    

Two by Two

(Genesis 6-7)

The beautiful relationship between God and man before sin entered into the Garden of Eden, was perfect and pure, for He had made man in His likeness -the only creation to have been created in the likeness of God Himself. He and not the animals could have a relationship with God in the level of understanding and through reasoning he could communicate with God. But Satan had to interfere by planting sin in the hearts of Eve and Adam. The Bible says when men began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair, and they took wives of all they desired and chose…. There were giants on the earth in those days- and also afterward- when the sons of God lived with the daughters of men, and they bore children to them…. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and the that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually… So the Lord said, I will destroy. Blot out and wipe away mankind from the face of the ground, whom I have created. Not only men, [but] the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air- for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I have made them (Gen. 6: 1-7).

In the Year King Uzziah Died

The Prophet Isaiah registers a beautiful experience he had with God after King Uzziah died. King Uzziah was a very successful king in the early years of his career as king. The secret laid on the fact that he sought the Lord. It was his desire to seek God (2 Chron. 26: 5). God blessed him and he became very successful in all he did. He was a distinguished and successful politician. He went against the Philistines and broke down the walls of Gath, of Jabneh, and of Ashdod, and built cities near Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines, and God helped him against the Philistines and the Arabs who dwelt in Gur-ball and the Meunim. That Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread abroad even to the border of Egypt, for he became very strong (II Chron. 26: 6-8).

But King Uzziah’s successes turned him into a prideful king. The Bible says, but when [King Uzziah] was strong, he became proud to his destruction; he trespassed against the Lord his God, for he went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense (vs. 16). Burning incense by other than the sons of Aaron was a terrible breach of the Levitical Law. He well knew about it, but for whatever reason, he was driven to commit this evil against the word of the Lord. His pride arouse when the priest Azariah confronted him. He was enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord. King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death, and being a leper, he dwelt in a separate house, for he was excluded from the Lord’s house (II chron. 16:18-21).

Purposes of the Tribulation

The purposes for the great tribulation are clearly stated in the book of Daniel chapter nine: to finish transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place (vv. 24). Summarizing all, it is to make an end of wickedness and wicked ones.  When YAHSHUA came in the period of the sixty-ninth weeks of the seventy weeks of years given to the Jewish nation, He took upon Himself the penalty of our sin and iniquity, He suffered the pain of the tribulation and of hell, so to deliver those who would accept Him. Those who believe in Him go through the process of regeneration, and sanctification and ultimately glorification through the new birth.  As He told Nicodemus, “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you that unless a person is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God; unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of flesh is flesh; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. God so greatly loved the world that He gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life; for God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; but he who does not believe in Him is judged already, because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God; The [basis of the] judgment lies in this: The Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works were evil” (John 3:16-19).

Mount Zion vs. Mount Sinai

(Exodus 19:1-20; Hebrews 12: 18-29)

“For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched, that is ablaze with fire, and to gloom and darkness and a raging storm, and to the blast of a trumpet and a voice whose words make the listeners beg that nothing more be said to them” (Hebrews 12:18-19); “but rather, you have come to Mount Zion, even to the city of the living YAHWEH, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless multitudes of angels in festal gathering, to the assembly of the first born whose names have been written in heaven, to YAHWEH, who is the judge of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect, to YAHSHUA, and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things that the blood of Abel” (Vs.22-24).

The difference between the experience at Mount Zion and Mount Sinai is worth noting for us to realize the wonderful grace of God toward us.  When God came down to Mount Sinai to meet the people of Israel, He came expressing vehemently His holiness through fire, in a dense and black cloud that enveloped the mountain. At that time, He declared His covenant with the people and gave them the Ten Commandments. At that time, Israel had a glimpse of the extent of the holiness of God; and not being able to bear it, they begged Moses to speak to them, instead.

When I See the Blood

(Exodus 12:12-13)

 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. I am the Lord. The blood shall be for a token or sign to you upon the houses where you are, when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt (Ex. 12:12-13).

The Lord God constituted Passover for Israel at the time when they left Egypt, as a memorial of their deliverance from bondage to Egypt and as a future signal pointing to YAHSHUA the Son of God, Who was to come as the perfect Lamb of God to be sacrificed for the sins of mankind. Before then, Jacob’s sons were not yet an established nation. They were residents in Egypt for many years, as in 430 years. God promised Abraham that after that frame of time, his descendants would leave for the Promised Land as He had promised him. When the new Pharaoh arose to power, who did not know Joseph, neither the background history why he and his brothers landed in Egypt, things changed for all of them. They no longer enjoyed the freedom they used to have, but were subjected to hard labor mercilessly. Theirs is a story of contrast:  blessings and hardships, but God had a plan for the offspring of Abraham. Because Abraham believed God’s word, he was promised blessings upon him and his posterity. Choosing Moses with the help of his brother, Aaron to lead his people out of Egypt, God performed great miracles before Pharaoh through them to show Pharaoh that He was and is the only true God, above all the Egyptians’ gods. Pharaoh’s heart became hard with every judgment God sent to them, until the slaughter of all the males in the land of Egypt, for which Jacob’s sons’ families were sealed with the blood of the sacrificial lamb they had killed that day.

As Were The Days of Noah, The Days of Lot…

(Matt. 24:37-46; Luke 17: 26-30)

And [just] as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the time of the Son of Man; people ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, right up to the day when Noah went into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. So also as it was in the days of Lot.  [People] ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heave and destroyed [them] all. That is the way it will be on the day that the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17: 26-30).

What does the days of Noah and the days of Lot exactly mean? Those days were defined by their increasing wickedness and God’s judgment that came upon them. The accounts of Noah’s days are described in Genesis chapter six. It reads, When men began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair, and they took wives of all they desired and chose. Then the Lord said, My spirit shall not forever dwell and strive with man for he also is flesh; but his days shall yet be 120 years. There were giants on the earth in those days – and also afterward- when the sons of God lived with the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually, and the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart. So the Lord said I will destroy, blot out, and wipe away mankind, whom I have created from the face of the ground- not only man, [But] the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air- for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I have made them (vs. 1-7).

Soul Sleeping Doctrine

The doctrine of the soul in an unconscious state until the resurrection is confusing because it is not consistent with many experiences registered in the Bible. It focuses primarily on passages where the word sleeping instead of death is used. However, when we read in the Bible the term sleep in death, it refers to the physical body- the material part, not the immaterial as the spirit of man. When the psalmists said, In death there is no remembrance of You; in Sheol who will give You thanks? (Ps. 6:5), he is referring to the dead ceasing to exist here on earth. The body will be decayed, but not the spirit. Absent from the body, Paul said, present with the Lord. Present with the Lord conscientiously with the soul’s faculties working while the material is buried and decayed. Paul also said, But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake (Phil. 1:23). Notice what Paul said, “To depart and be with Christ.” He did not say, and be in the state of unconsciousness until the resurrection. Again, he said, We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord (II Cor. 5:8). So the reality of the matter stands that when the spirit of a believer leaves the body the destination is “The presence of the Lord,” and not left sleeping somewhere. But for the unbeliever, sadly, his destination will be hell, as it is stated in the parable concerning a rich and a poor men, told by YAHSHUA:  In time both died. The rich man went to hell and Lazarus went to heaven, carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. And in hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame… (Luke 16:19-31). This parable clearly refutes the doctrine of soul sleeping in death for both men: one in hell and the other in heaven. The first was in anguish in the flame of hell, for His soul was awake, feeling pain and torment, while his body was in the grave. His soul was not taking a nap while waiting for judgment. He was feeling the pains of hell right then. Abraham, while listening to the rich man had this to say: Child, remember that you in your lifetime fully received comforts and delights, and Lazarus in like manner the discomforts and distresses; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed in order that those who want to pass from this to you may not be able, and no one may pass from there to us … The dialogue continued. If their souls were sleeping, there would not have been a dialogue between them. There would not have been recognition of Abraham. Another example we find is when YAHSHUA went up on the mountain to pray; He took Peter, John and James with Him. And as He was praying, the appearance of His countenance became altered, and His raiment became dazzling white and behold, two men were conversing with Him- Moses and Elijah, who appeared in splendor and majesty and brightness and were speaking of is exit, which He was about to bring to realization at Jerusalem (Luke 9:28-31). If Moses’s soul were sleeping he would not have had that experience with YAHSHUA. It would have been impossible for a sleeping soul to be talking, and to be aware of YAHSHUA. Another example we find at Calvary when one of the repentant criminals asked YAHSHUA to remember him when He came into His kingdom. YAHSHUA right then affirmed him: Truly, I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise (Luke 3:43). He did not say, after the resurrection, you will be with in Paradise, but “Today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

The Basis For Judgment

(John 3:19)

The Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light for their works were evil (John 3:19b).

We all have experienced some time in our life, one way or another, the effect of physical darkness. Voided of light, darkness grabs and handicaps us with fear, panic, and anxiety. We feel lost, not knowing where we are and how to get somewhere. People associate darkness with the presence of evil, as in Satan and his demons, rightly so. The feelings of fear, panic, anxiety attacks are feelings that express the presence of evil spirits in the environment. For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love and a sound mind (I John 4:18). Darkness is blindness. When we are used to the darkness, we find difficulty adjusting to the light. The eyes water and hurt to some extent until we become accustomed to the light. In other ways, light exposes evil deeds. It hides nothing that seems invisible.

Joseph and the Seven Years

(Genesis 41)

Pharaoh had two dreams two of the same. It is a dream of prophetic extension to the end times. God revealed to a Gentile “what He is about to do” and is going to do in the far future. Seven fat cows and seven undernourished ones; seven ears [of grain] plump and good; seven ears withered and thin were Pharaoh dreams, which caused him unsettledness of spirit. He was eager to understand the dreams, but not one of the magicians or wise men of Egypt could interpret them.

Two full years had passed since Joseph had interpreted the butler’s dream while both were in jail. The butler promised to mention him to Pharaoh when released from jail. But as it was, he forgot Joseph’s request and went on with his life. However, God hadn’t forgotten him. His purpose for Joseph’s life was going to be fulfilled in His time. Pharaoh’s dreams were the link to get Joseph out of jail. Not one day late, not one day early. He was only seventeen when sold to the Egyptians; thirteen years of struggles and unfairness toward him had passed. God in His sovereignty saw fit to exalt Joseph when he was ready. At the age of thirty, he was presented to King Pharaoh, who exalted him to greatness.