(From Forerunner Commentary)
Exodus 32:1-6 (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)
In Exodus 32:1-6 is an example of what happens when a leader goes away and does not return within the expected time. It provides a clear-cut example of what was happening to the Ephesian church (Revelation 2:4-5).
Moses went up Mount Sinai; Christ went up to Mount Zion in heaven. "What has become of him?" the people asked. "We do not know what has happened to him! He is up there. He is supposed to return, but He has not returned according to our expectations."
What do the Israelites decide to do? They began looking to the world for a solution, in this case to Egypt. In the Ephesians' case, it was the world around Ephesus, the world of Asia Minor. They looked to the culture to gratify them, and they began to drift in that direction.
Moses' return was delayed longer than the people thought that he should have been gone, so their affections pulled their attention elsewhere. The same happened to the Ephesians, only it took a lot longer because of the Spirit of God in them. The people in Exodus did not have the Spirit of God, yet the people Ephesians—in the church—did have God's Spirit, so what took place very quickly in the book of Exodus was dragged out over a much longer period in the first-century church. The Ephesian's affections were taking them back into the world, and they began to follow the world's ways once again.
John W. Ritenbaugh
How to Know We Love Christ
Obadiah 1:17-18 (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)
The theme for verses 17 and 18 is found in Malachi 1:2-3:
"I have loved you," says the LORD. "Yet you say, 'In what way have You loved us?' Was not Esau Jacob's brother? " says the LORD. "Yet Jacob I have loved; but Esau I have hated, and laid waste his mountains and his heritage for the jackals of the wilderness."
God's choice is supreme. He made His sovereign choice of Jacob over Esau before either had done anything. They may have struggled in the womb, but He made His choice prior to their developing any character. He chose Jacob, and that is the end of the matter.
Obadiah writes in verse 17, "But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions." This verse introduces an interesting distinction: "On Mount Zion [is] deliverance," but the end of verse 18 says, "No survivor shall remain of the house of Esau." The destinies of these two peoples are total opposites. Whereas God loves Jacob and allows a remnant to survive into the Millennium, no one survives of Esau.
There is no way to know how absolute this pronouncement may be. Will there be, perhaps, some few Edomite survivors counted among those who are converted—who become part of spiritual Israel, in effect? Perhaps, but certainly all the proud and gloating of Edom will be completely annihilated.
Verse 18 tells us, "The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame." "The house of Jacob" may refer particularly to Judah, and "the house of Joseph" would then refer to the rest of the nations of Israel, led by the Joseph tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh. In any case, it indicates the entirety of Israel. Zechariah 12:6 contains similar language, in which the governors of Judah will be "like a firepan in the woodpile" and "shall devour all the surrounding peoples." Edom will be one of these devoured nations.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
All About Edom (Part Five): Obadiah and God's Judgment
Obadiah 1:21 (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)
Notice the last phrase: "and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S." Along with verse 17 ["But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions"], it is clear that Obadiah is speaking of a millennial circumstance.
God's Kingdom will be on earth, and "saviors," plural, will be on Mount Zion judging. That ought to open some eyes. We know that a ruler judges, but "saviors" will be judging as well. Micah 4:5 talks about each person worshipping or operating "in the name of his god," indicating not the Father or the Son, but others who are also God. There is a principle here.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing to Be a Priest
John 4:23-24 (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)
God says we are to worship HIM in spirit and truth. The woman and Jesus were discussing the merits of their worship. Which was better, Mt. Gerizim or Mt. Zion? Jesus, after confirming the unique position of the Jews in God's plan, tells the woman that the Samaritans' worship was deficient. It was ignorant because they rejected all the Old Testament except the Pentateuch, and her ancestors were guilty of syncretizing what truth they had with forms of worship brought from their ancestral homeland.
God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship Him in spirit and truth. Being spirit, God is not confined to material things, so idols are totally irrelevant as worship aids. Being spirit, God is not confined to places, so even Jerusalem is irrelevant as a place of worship. His Spirit permeates the entire universe (Psalm 139)! Being spirit and a purposeful God, He is pleased only with what resembles Him. Thus, worship must be of a spiritual nature. The essence of true worship of God must be on His terms and in accord with His nature. It must spring from a knowledgeable, devoted heart under the influence of His Holy Spirit.
What God is looking for in those who worship Him is a demonstration in their lives of the fruits of His Spirit. Love of Him, love of the brethren, joy in living, peace through the security of living by faith, and faithful loyalty in keeping God's commands.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Thanksgiving or Self-Indulgence?
Revelation 14:1-2 (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)
Although it does not specifically say so, the wording strongly indicates that the voice mentioned here is that of the Father speaking at another pivotal time in world history: the day His Firstborn stands upon Mount Zion to meet His newly changed brothers and sisters. At the time this voice from heaven is heard, Jesus Christ—the Word of God and the Lord or Yahweh of the Old Testament—is on earth on Mount Zion.
Other biblical passages describe the voice of God in remarkably similar language to verse 2. Notice this verse in comparison to Ezekiel 43:2 and Revelation 1:15:
» And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters. . . .
» His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters. . . .
Now consider Job 40:9; Psalm 29:3; 77:18; and 104:7:
» Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His?
» The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders. . . .
» The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind. . . .
» At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.
Finally, note Isaiah 30:31-32:
» For through the voice of the LORD Assyria will be beaten down. . . . It will be with tambourines and harps. . . .
These proofs seem fairly conclusive that it is the Father's voice described in Revelation 14:2.
The Voice of God
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