The Seventy Sevens of Daniel (and Jesus)

Saturday, September 3. 2011
Bible Commentary

During the Chapter 9 session of our study of Daniel at the 2010 Convocation ("A People Prepared for These Last Days"), I made a comment near the end of the class regarding "the other" Seventy times Seven found in the New Testament (Mt 18:22). Our brother Phil Norcom, who organized the conference, later that afternoon gave me the homework assignment of elaborating on my point in writing. That is what I am attempting to do here.

To properly set the context, we had studied the visions recorded in the book of Daniel verse by verse on Friday and Saturday (in Chapters 2, 7 and 8 as they relate to the appearance of the antichrist in the last days). On the third day of our studies, we saw in chapter 9, that Daniel was moved to intercede for Israel when he understood ("by books") that the Seventy years of exile prophesied by Jeremiah were almost complete. While Daniel was praying and speaking, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and proceeded to give Daniel understanding concerning much more than the immediate predicament of his people's seventy year expulsion from the land of promise. "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people," to accomplish the following things:

Finish transgression,
Atone for wickedness,
Bring in everlasting righteousness,
Seal up Vision and Prophecy, and
Anoint the most holy.

There will be sixty-nine "sevens" until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes (and is "cut off"). To those of us who have found favor in the eyes of God despite ourselves, the first century incarnation of Jesus, and His death at the cross in the first third of that century is a remarkable fulfillment of the foretold Sixty-Nine of the Seventy Sevens.

And then a final "Seven" which takes us to the end of this age.

The seventy sevens of Daniel take us through the Tribulation (the great one) and right on up to the return of the Lord, which simultaneously defeats the anti-christ, translates His Church, and opens the eyes of Israel who (as an entire nation) sees Him whom they have pierced, and mourns.

THAT is the grand scriptural background for the "seventy times seven" statement that Jesus makes to Peter. So, think about that for a moment. What will take place during that last "seven" of Daniel? What kinds of persecutions, betrayals, transgressions, offenses, etc. must transpire to make the final three and a half years that precede the coming of the Lord worthy of being called that most terrible of times?

In the closer context of Matthew chapter 18, Jesus has been put on the spot by this question from His disciples:  "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" The disciples are comparing themselves to themselves (2 Cor 10:12) and they want Jesus to cast the deciding vote. Jesus, being wise, then begins to talk about becoming like a child (Mt 18:4), welcoming a little child (Mt 18:5), and not looking down on one of these little ones (Mt 18:10). In most cases, little children aren't very good at anything except being dependent and needy. They do not hold positions of power and men do not generally feel a need for gaining their approval.

When we get to the latter parts of this chapter and start discussing what to do when a brother sins against you, we really haven't changed the subject. This is basically still a "who is greatest" problem. A brother is offensive when he won't concede that you hold the moral high ground, that you have the greater devotional life, or the most correct interpretation of scripture, etc, etc. Or worse yet, an enemy is convinced that what you have belongs to him. He thinks that he is more deserving to have your land, your hard work, or even your wife and children.

When this happens, it is very important to begin dealing with the offense one on one. This is to encourage the offended one to seek God first and come to the "offender" with expectation that God is able to change anyone's heart (since after all, God has already conquered your heart and you are the chief of sinners! Aren't you?) If that fails and you must bring in a second brother (or the whole church later), it is very important that the spirit of intimidation not be employed. The world runs on the fear of death. We have not been given the spirit of fear (but a Spirit of love, power and a sound mind).

This approach to one another is not normal. It is miraculous and powerful. It is driven by a Spirit not of this world. It is the very Spirit of God, and when two or more come together in this fashion, principalities and powers are shaken and removed. When just two agree to share God's view on a matter what they ask will be given.

How do you know if you have this approach? You will know you have it if there is a determination in your heart to be reconciled with the brother, or an enemy, even if it costs you everything. When Peter asks the question of Jesus, "How many times should I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" he may have thought that he was holding out for some observable moral perfection. But Jesus ups the ante by referring to the exact language of our beloved Daniel when he caught the vision of these horribly intense trials and travail of the seventieth "seven." These are the days when Satan is hurled to the earth and wreaks havoc on the inhabiters of the earth. Fear, intimidation and gross darkness will cover the people and be the rule of the day.

How will you deal with those who feel they are better than you? With those who kill you thinking they are doing God a service? What kind of generosity of heart will you have toward these "enemies?" The Seventieth Seven takes us right up to the last moment before the return of the Lord. Your last breath may come and go before you are vindicated by His coming. If you stop short of that last breath in forgiving your brother, there will be a part of your robe that is not washed in the blood of the Lamb. If you don't maintain the "testimony of Jesus" to the end, then you are implicitly stating that there was something in you that was superior and more deserving than the offender. Do you or don't you depend totally on the gift of God's righteousness, in the way a child depends on his parents for every good thing? Then you must hold out and believe all things for your "enemy." "Lord Jesus, lay not this sin to their charge." (Acts 7:60)

The answers to these questions will determine whether the coming flood of evil will drown you, or lift you up into the heavens. (Gen 6-8)

I Have Prepared A Place For You

Tuesday, February 23. 2010
Bible Commentary
2nd Kings Chapter 1 provides an account of an encounter with three different "battalions" of soldiers and Elijah the prophet. The soldiers had been sent by King Ahaziah to capture Elijah for prophesying that the King would not recover from his illness. Specifically, the reason given by Elijah was that the King refused to seek the LORD, but rather Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron. The captains of the first 2 battalions apparently did not believe that Elijah was a prophet of the Most High God as the approached him with this demand: "Man of God, the king says, 'Come down!' " The second captain added "Man of God, the king says, 'Come down at ONCE!'"

To both of these commanders Elijah replied: "If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!" Scripture records that "the fire of God fell from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men".

It would be reasonable to assume that the disciples of Jesus had this account in mind when they asked Jesus if He wanted them to call down fire from heaven ("as Elijah did") on the Samaritans that would not receive Jesus into their town because He was determined to go to Jerusalem. In apparent contradiction to the Old Testament account (when God responded to Elijah's request) Jesus replied to them: "You know not what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." From our vantage point, we know that those disciples did not yet know the depths to which God was required to go in order to redeem men.

Jesus, "knowing from whence He came, and where He was going" (Jn 13:3) absorbed within Himself the rejection of these Samaritans --- who had already professed a measure of faith in Jesus as the Christ during the incident with the woman at the well --- in a way that Elijah had not. How then did the fire of God (and of Jesus, who is God) fall from heaven at Elijah's word, if this later account seems to indicate that God is not like this? Could it be that the fire that Elijah called down was prophetic of an eternal fire that has been prepared solely for the devil and his angels and that comes to men only if they reject God's one means of escape in Christ?
Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Matt 25:41
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:2-3

Recently, I listened to some early sermons from the 1970's by the late Art Katz. Because of certain phrases and impressions, I am certain that I listened to a few of these during my first year as a Christian in the summer of 1985, when I was a volunteer at a liberal Christian Community and starving for the Word. A member of the community had gotten me hooked up with a Cassette Tape ministry and I stumbled upon these Art Katz messages that literally changed the course and direction of my life. One in particular, "The Fire of God" has captured my imagination once again (now 25 years later) as a key to bringing light and clarity to some ideas that have been wrestling each other in my mind.In this message Art pointed out that no person in all of scripture spoke of hell more than Jesus.
I am THE way, THE truth and THE life and NO man comes to the Father but by ME. John 14:6

He that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16b

“You are from beneath. I am from above. You are from this world. I am not of this world. If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:23-24

Jesus drained the cup of God's wrath against sin when He died on the cross. He "tasted death for every man." Some say that this means that God is no longer a God of judgment. This view is short-sighted as this much is certain: the devil and his demonic cohorts still hate God and want no part of God's self sacrificing way of doing things. If God is in heaven, Satan would rather be somewhere else. In response to this foolish rebellion, God has prepared and isolated a special place in Himself for the evildoers that the Scriptures call hell. (Psalm 139:8)

So, what this boils down to is that there is in fact a judgement-free zone. It is vast and spacious, with many mansions, but the entrance to it is straight and narrow and involves embracing a cross. What we do with this man Jesus, God's anointed, and with the mighty outpouring of His Spirit that His death and resurrection makes available to us is the question of our lives. "I set before you this day life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life!" (Deut 30:19) God has made a way for us to escape the coming judgment on the devil and his angels. He has prepared another place for us that is near His heart. The question is now whether we will enter into that place through Jesus, the only door ("I AM the gate" John 10:9) that will get us there.

The Writings of Reggie Kelly

Wednesday, October 29. 2008
Bible Commentary

Since March of this year, I have had the privilege of hosting the writings of Reggie Kelly on the Zion Christian Press web site. Because of the "Angry, Jealous, Foolish" structure of the site, his writings are relatively difficult to find there. I believe that Reggie's articles and Q and A are precious and priceless insight into the days that are soon to come. May those who have ears to hear be strengthened in the inner man.

UPDATE (07-25-2009): Reggie's content has been moved to

"End" Times Theology

Sunday, July 29. 2007
Bible Commentary

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last. Romans 1:17

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Rev. 22:12-13

Any doctrine concerning the last days should have some application in the life of a saint no matter what dispensation of time he appears. Jesus said, "I am coming and My reward is WITH Me," just as He told Abraham, "I AM your exceeding great reward."

We started this walk by faith and revelation. We were born (not graduated) into a new kingdom. Flesh and blood did not reveal to us that Jesus is the Christ, but it was His Father in Heaven. It was the beginning of coming to the end of ourselves, so that His life my be displayed in us. The knowledge of the "End" of times is no different because He IS the goal and "end" of our lives. We reckon ourselves dead unto sin and alive unto God.

We can study to show ourselves approved, but correct knowledge of the last days does not come merely by the study of doctrine, but by relationship with Him who is the author and finisher of our faith. Through study or listening to sermons and teachings we may be become better able to articulate what has transpired within us by God's intervention, but if that learning is just becoming accumulated knowledge, then it may only serve to feed our pride.

All of history may be summed up by this statement:

God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Prov. 3:34; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5

This is as true of the history of nations as it is of the life of any individual. God excercises His genius in bringing about circumstances over and over that frustrate the strength of the strong and the wisdom of the wise. Even those who have already entered into a relationship with Him on His terms will find that He is jealous for complete purity. He will stop at nothing to purify and refine those that belong to Him.

The Lord reserves the right to use anything to demolish the remaining pride in His chosen vessels, and only He knows if and when they will respond. Some, like Pharoah, will continue to kick against the Lord's pricks and harden their own hearts towards His advances. Others like Saul of Tarsus appear for long seasons to be vessels of dishonor (even to the chosen), but may end up being glorious vessels of the pure, unadulterated mercy of God.

With this in mind, our "End" is near us dear people. At the Cross, Christ "our End" has proven once and for all that He is totally and utterly committed to being near us. The only obstacle to our experience of that nearness is pride that yet remains in our hearts. If you know Him already you can rest assured that He Who began a good work in you will, by His own nature, continuously and mightily resist that pride in you so that He may (shortly after you yield) entrust you with a greater measure of Himself.

I Wither Away Like Grass, But YOU Sit Enthroned Forever

Friday, July 20. 2007
Bible Commentary

The first portion of Psalm 102 is one of the most graphic, agonizing of the Psalms, approaching the anguish of Jeremiah's Lamentations:

For my days are consumed like smoke,
and my bones are burned as an hearth.
My heart is smitten, and withered like grass;
so that I forget to eat my bread.
By reason of the voice of my groaning
my bones cleave to my skin.
I am like a pelican of the wilderness:
I am like an owl of the desert.
I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.
Mine enemies reproach me all the day;
and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.
For I have eaten ashes like bread,
and mingled my drink with weeping.
Because of thine indignation and thy wrath:
for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.
My days are like a shadow that declineth;
and I am withered like grass.

The extravagance of God in what He allows His people to experience is sometimes staggering, especially when the day comes that you are one He chooses to lavish this sort of attention on. When the writer of this Psalm finally acknowledges that "I am withered like grass..." and that it is the LORD's indignation and the LORD's wrath that have caused this horrible condition, he is able to say:

"But YOU, O LORD, are enthroned forever;
and the fame of Your name endures to all generations.
You WILL arise and have mercy and loving-kindness for Zion,
for it is time to have pity and compassion for her;
yes, the set time has come.

How did this person know that the SET time of the LORD to have mercy on Zion has come, unless it had something to do with what has just taken place in his own withering and his own being cast down? There is something about the broken and humbled heart that the LORD finds irresistable, even if He is the one that had to do the resisting in order to bring about that condition. "The LORD resists the proud, and finds the humble irresistable, thus favoring them with Himself."

Out of despair in his own ability, there arose a supreme confidence in the ability of the Lord. When the Psalmist reached this low place himself, immediately hope for the future of rebellious, devastated Zion sprung up within his heart:

The Lord WILL rebuild Zion and appear in His glory.
He WILL regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.
This Psalmist has, through his personal afflictions which were so lonely, caught a glimpse of the culmination of the ages involving Israel and the nations. So, as if to encourage those who will someday be in the midst of their own devastations, he declares:
This shall be written for a generation to come:
that a people which shall yet be created may praise the LORD.
The LORD looked down from His sanctuary on high
from heaven He viewed the earth
to hear the groans of the prisoners
and release those condemned to death.
So the name of the LORD will be declared in Zion,
and His praise in Jerusalem
when the nations and the kingdoms will assemble
to worship the LORD.

What does this say about our own walk with God? He is no respecter of persons. We cannot escape from the fire of His jealous love. The Christian walk begins with this kind of crisis of kingdoms, and it is a mistake to believe that the remaining part of our walk with the LORD shall be based on anything else. He is removing the filthy rags of our own righteousness, which is painful for a moment because to our carnal mind it does not seem that anything good can come out of this kind of stripping.

In the course of my life, He broke my strength, He cut short my days. (v. 23)

But then, out of the ashes we rise, clothed in the righteousness of Christ Jesus Himself and Hallelujah, now we have the same faith for our neighbors, cities and nations that God has. We can even begin to hope for the coming together of the dry bones of Zion; those most hardened to the name and good news of Jesus.

If we do not have that resurrection hope within us, it is because we are still moving in the realm of natural strength. We have not yet "withered away like grass."

Oh that utter despair in ourselves might come, so that this supreme confidence in God might be born in us.

YOU remain the same! YOUR years will NEVER end!
The children of YOUR servants WILL live in your presence;
their descendants WILL be established before you.

Mothers in Israel

Sunday, June 3. 2007
Bible Commentary

"The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel." Judges 5:7

Deborah is the only instance in all of Scripture where we see a woman in authority over Israel (unless you count Jezebel). And here, in Deborah's song, do we not find how she sees herself? That is, "a mother in Israel."

Now, every man, when he is a child, is subject to his mother. A mother has a God-ordained authority over her children. But there comes a time, which is a crisis of authority, when a transition takes place and that young man must answer to God directly. It is almost certain that some circumstance will arise where he will have to make it clear to his mother that he is now accountable to a higher authority.

Even in the life of the Lord Jesus we find several encounters with Mary that invite consideration.

First, when Jesus was twelve, and Mary and Joseph mistakenly thought Jesus was with relatives as they were returning to Nazareth, they finally find Jesus three days later in the temple amazing the doctors of the Law with His understanding.

When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him,
"Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be about my Father's business?" But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:48-52

Jesus was truly perplexed my Mary and Joseph's anxiety. "Didn't you know that I had to be about my Father's business?" I wonder if it was not more for their lack of understanding than his unreadiness, that he humbled himself and went down to Nazareth. Whatever the case, it is apparent that He immediately perceived in His heart that going down with them was His Father's business, at least for that season that ended up lasting 18 years.

This was the beginning of the transition of authority from the earthly to the heavenly, which is complete by the time we see Jesus again with His mother in John chapter 2.

And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. John 2:3-5

At this point, it is clear that both Jesus and Mary understand who is in authority. Mary's famous statement "Whatever He says to you, do it" is spoken with the certainty of one who has tried it and seen the results. It is as if she knows now that when she uttered the words 30 years before, "Be it unto me according to Your Word" that the one she bore as a result of the word IS the Word that was spoken to her.

One final example bears mentioning. Both Matthew and Mark share the account of Mary and Jesus' brothers coming to see Jesus after He was well into His ministry:

While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him.
Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."
He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?"
Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." Matthew 12:46-50 NIV

There is no record of Mary taking offense to these words. Mothers everywhere, and likewise, all women in ministry, should ponder these things, because if those little ones who have been entrusted into your care are truly growing in favor with God and man, then the transition of authority over them from you unto God is close at hand.

The Apostle Paul goes as far as to say this:

I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 1 Timothy 2:12

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach. 1 Timothy 3:2

An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Titus 1:6 NIV

When I was a new Christian, in my twenties, the Lord placed me in a ministry under two older lady saints (Jewel Courtney and Annette Marsnik). Spiritually, they were like mothers to me, and I am grateful for their influence and their watchful eye. The last one surviving was eager to transfer the outward authority within the church to one of us "brothers," and was prepared to bring in outside help from a man if necessary. They were always deserving of the honor and respect of a mother, but in order to remain on the solid ground of what is written in the Scriptures, that transition had to take place.

Had it not, those of us who were their children would have not been equipped to face our own hour of temptation, when our relationship with our Father in Heaven and what He has written in His Word and revealed in Jesus, are the only adequate weapons for our victory.

Hoping Against Hope

Saturday, April 7. 2007
Bible Commentary

Against all hope
, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."

Romans 4:18

Naturally speaking, Abraham had no reason to hope in the fulfillment of God's Word in his life. His wife was past the age of child bearing, and as for himself, he had not been particularly faithful to walk exactly as God had commanded him to walk. But he continued to believe that God was God and that HE was faithful, and THAT believing was counted to Abraham as righteousness.

It has been over twenty years now that I have been actively trying to cooperate with God in my life, calling Jesus my Lord and Savior. By many accounts I would have to admit that I have been a failure. I have fallen out of fellowship with our church of twenty years. I am often irritable with my family. I have not provided the type of "normal" life my wife was hoping for when we married. I have had so many quarrels with my older teenagers over clothing and attitudes that they no longer value my opinion.

I have to cry out with the Psalmist,

"May those whose hope is in you Lord, not be disgraced because of me."
Psalm 69

Spiritually, I feel worn out and desolate. However, the real question is not about my ability to be faithful to God or how good I feel about my walk with Him, but about God's ability to be faithful to someone like me. At the Cross of Jesus, He proved once and for all that He has taken all the burden of this walk on Himself.
Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Hebrews 12:3

We cannot afford to examine our own lives for fruitfulness lest we take our eyes off the only One who can produce fruit in our lives. We are like Peter who successfully walked on water as he gazed upon Jesus, but began to sink as soon as he began to consider his predicament. At some point, our inner failings must be treated like the winds and waves -- they must be brutally ignored -- so that we might consider Him who bore and buried all those contradictions at the Cross.

Have you taken your eyes off of Him lately - perhaps looking for some evidence besides His death and resurrection? Fortunately for us, He forgives such lapses as these lapses themselves were also taken care of in those great and terrible days.

Wounds and Welts and Open Sores

Sunday, March 25. 2007
Bible Commentary

Why should you be beaten anymore?
Why do you persist in rebellion?
Your whole head is injured,
your whole heart afflicted.

From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
there is no soundness—
only wounds and welts
and open sores,
not cleansed or bandaged
or soothed with oil.
Isaiah 1:5-6

Have you ever had a severe sunburn and then had someone come and put their hand on you? With such an affliction even the clothes on your back hurt. Here in Isaiah, we see Israel, a people that has open sores, wounds and welts from the top of the head to the soles of their feet. Can you imagine the agony? Every aspect of their being will have a heightened sensitivity to any contact whatsoever.

We, as Christians, are called to minister to such a people and to do it with a compassion and genuine empathy that makes us effective witnesses of the love of Christ. Where are we supposed to get such ability and what will it cost us to obtain it? Are we like the Church of Laodicea in the Book of Revelation,

"You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see." Rev 3:17-18

In order to be the kind of ministers he requires us to be, we need to go buy some of this gold that has been tried in the fire, and these white clothes to cover our nakedness and salve for our eyes. This is not something that we're to obtain in Bible School or Weekend Seminars (although these are not to be despised), but must be gotten in the fire of tribulation. The salve must come from the Holy Ghost when our utter blindness to Kingdom realities is made known to us and we cry out to Him for help. If we are serious about knowing God, we will identify with the people in Isaiah 1. He will see to it first of all because He has identified with them Himself, and secondly because we are essentially no different from them anyway.

Are you in some unexplainable agony now? Irritable to the touch by those around you who are oblivious to your condition? This just might be an answer to those prayers you uttered years ago when you asked for a true ministry of the Spirit, or pleaded to become more like Him.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who
comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any
trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

2nd Corinthians 1:3-5

No Beauty That We Should Desire Him

Saturday, March 24. 2007
Bible Commentary

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”
Isaiah 53:2

One truly pathetic angle of this statement is that it was entirely our fault that he was uncomely. Of course it takes a “born again” man to really appreciate the beauty of Jesus. Before regeneration, we’re so dumb spiritually that we don’t know gold when we see it, and in our flesh we were not attracted to One who lays down His life. But I’m not talking about that here.

What I AM saying is that we were like someone drowning in a cess pool that wouldn't receive our rescuer because now he stinks, not realizing that He only stinks because he got in the mess to save us.

We hit Him and then turn away because He’s bruised. We won’t trust Him and then we wonder why He is not joyful in our presence, oblivious to the fact that He is grieving for us.

Teenagers are like this with their parents. They behave disobediently, disrespectfully, and/or irresponsibly and then scoff because their parents aren’t jovial, cool and carefree. Little do they know that before they came along their parents probably WERE cool and carefree.

Jesus stooped to enter our mess. He then allowed all of our sin to come between Him and His Father (His only true companion), so that He could legally pour out His Spirit into our dead souls.

Are we ready and able to be kind to those who hate us even when we are trying to minister to them? His Spirit is ready, but unless He is alive in us through the second birth we never will be.

Husbands, Love Your Wives

Saturday, March 17. 2007
Bible Commentary

Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Ephesians 5:24-27

“Love as Christ loved...” Is there any other command in all of Scripture that is more demanding? I think not, and no man should require that His wife fulfill the first part of this passage (“Wives submit your husbands,”) until he has satisfied his side of the deal (which may be a while).

It is interesting that the passage begins with “as the church submits to Christ...”, because it seems that the church has always been slow to obey and always had expectations concerning how the Lord was going to fulfill His Word or establish His Kingdom that did not involve Him or her going to the Cross.

How many wives are skeptical of their husband’s leadership? When Jesus came to the moment of truth – when it came time to fulfill His ultimate calling on this earth – all his disciples fled and Peter even denied Him three times. If those who had spent three years of intense teaching and togetherness with the Perfect Man – who had seen the miracles and tasted of His glory – could not remain faithful in His hour of trouble, then why should any man alive today expect his wife to do better trusting and obeying him.

Paul speaks with a certainty that the Lord’s church DOES submit to the Lord Jesus as the veil of flesh in our hearts is rent, the magnitude of His love displayed at the Cross is revealed, and the enabling power of the Spirit of God is poured into a believer. Could it be that in God’s eyes we are not even qualified to be called the Church until His Spirit begins to live through us?

If a man does begin to lay down his life for his wife, even in part, it is only by the power of God working within him. If a wife submits to a husband, who is not walking perfectly with the Lord, as if he were, it will be because she was enabled by the Resurrection outpouring of the Spirit of God Himself. To her credit she has received the Gift that comes from God alone and not from any man.

God holds both the husband and the wife accountable to this standard regardless of the cooperation of the spouse because of the excellency of the Spirit He has made available to each one through Jesus Christ. For both the husband and the wife it involves the crucifixion of every natural tendency and ability, and requires leaning wholly upon Him.