Every year at Thanksgiving I’m reminded of the holiday’s origin, the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. It was the crowning event in Israel’s cycle of fall feasts that also included Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It was a celebration of the harvest, of God’s mercy in forgiving their sins for another year, and a remembrance of the time when He lived among them in the wilderness, setting them apart as His people.
I get a lot of questions about the relationship between God and Satan. Most of them are from people who want to know how God can tolerate Satan in His presence, and as far as I can tell the Bible offers no explanation for this. All we know is that Satan regularly comes before the Lord to accuse us and will continue to do so until he’s finally expelled from Heaven at the beginning of the Great Tribulation (Rev. 12:10-11).
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)
Note: This is one of my very favorite articles Jack has written! And it means something new to me now. I thank the God of all comfort, for the words I have received from those of you who have also lost a spouse/partner/best friend (for Jack was all three, and more, to me). I will treasure them always. There is something powerful in knowing and feeling you are not alone in your sorrows.
Site update: Words cannot express how much your comments here and on Facebook, and your emails have meant to me this past week. From the beginning, the Lord has brought us the most amazing and supportive readers. And I am so very grateful for you all.
Update: Last night after a beautiful time of prayer and worship over him, Jack went home to meet his Savior. It wasn’t the healing I, and so many others, had asked and believed for. But it is, in Jack’s words, the ultimate healing. Below are the words that he wrote in 2006 that bring me comfort in this while my heart is broken. I pray they give you comfort as well.
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
The following question was emailed to our “Ask a Bible Teacher” column this week. Since it’s such an important question, I’m responding in our feature article format so as to provide greater detail. This will also allow more people to see it, because it’s a question we’ve all asked. Continue reading…
As you go, preach this message: “The kingdom of heaven is near.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:7, 8)
This isn’t a usual post from us. This is an urgent call to PRAY and FAST.
In Mathew 21:22-23 it says, “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
I first wrote an article by this name in October of 2014. The level of fear among pre trib evangelicals was on the rise even then. From the number of emails I have received lately, I’ve concluded that if anything, the spirit of fear has gotten worse.
Q. During recent discussions with members of the Church regarding the end-times events which are unfolding on the world scene, I have been surprised by the negative comments regarding the rapidly approaching return of Jesus. Several professing Christians have expressed their desire that there be enough time remaining which would allow them to “experience a full life.” Some of the most common comments are as follow: “I want to see my kids grow up.” “I have some things that I want to do first.” “I want to serve God longer.” Most of these people would agree that they are tired of the evil we face every day and that things are getting worse. I am baffled by their desire to remain in our current state of existence. Do their reasons for wanting to continue in this life conflict with the sentiment of 1 John 2:15-17?
Q. I have two questions. My first question is about the Pharisees. Throughout he gospels we see that the Pharisees just about hated Jesus. My question is, why? Why did they hate him? I mean, he was healing the sick and giving sight to the blind. Why weren’t they compelled to follow Him? My second question is: why did Jesus teach in parables? When I was reading the gospel of Mark recently, it seemed like He didn’t want the people to understand His message. Why is that?
Q. I have a burning question that you answered for another person, but I need examples please. When we are doing our good works for the Kingdom, how do we know if we are working in God’s power and not just our own? Is there any way to tell the difference besides waiting for the Bema judgment?
Q. You have stated the Rev. 7 martyrs are saints who die after the Seal judgments. Have you ever tried to figure out how the four horses line up chapter-wise with the whole book of Revelation? Or does it overlap too much to do that?
Q. When we give to God we’re supposed to give without expecting anything but out of gratitude. But when I read 2 Cor. 9: 6 where it says “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” it appears as if it encourages giving with expectations of returns from God because a sower expects harvest when sowing. What is your thought on this?
Q. Re: Rev. 11:19 The Ark of the Covenant was seen by John, as related in Revelation, in Heaven in the future. Now if the Ark of the Covenant is there then is it not likely that it is there presently? And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
Q. My sister is reading a book in which the author speaks of the angel in Revelation 8:3-7 as being Jesus. The author also says that the prayers of the saints which are being offered with the incense upon the golden altar are the prayers of the raptured church for those ‘christians’ who missed the rapture and are now enduring the tribulation. To settle a disagreement about these verses, my sister would like you to explain who the angel and the saints are.
Q. My question has to do with what the Bible refers to as “hardening of hearts”. There are many examples in the Bible of people hardening their hearts toward God. For instance Ephesians 4:17-18 (NLT) states, “Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him”. My understanding of verses like these are that our hearts are hardened toward God and accepting Jesus as our savior because of our sinful and ungodly behavior. Other verses state that God hardened someone’s heart. For example, in God’s dealing with Moses and Pharaoh in Exodus 4:21 God stated, “When you arrive back in Egypt, go to Pharaoh and perform all the miracles I have empowered you to do. But I will harden his heart so he will refuse to let the people go.” My understanding of this is that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that pharaoh would, “see His power and that His fame might spread throughout the earth,” (Exodus 9:16). Am I correct in saying that God, who knows the end from the beginning, knew that Pharaoh would never turn to Him so God used Pharaoh for this purpose?
Q. I have been a Christian for a long time and have always believed in Jesus Christ, however, as of late, I realized that I didn’t understand why I believed what I believed, so I set out on a quest. I wanted to understand why others from different faiths believed what they believed about God. This quest brought me to a finding that I have a question about. It would appear that Hinduism predates Judaism. I also found that Krishna has a very similar story as Jesus. Now please don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in Jesus, I was just hoping for an explanation for my findings. Again, I am a firm believer, but I guess I am on a quest of reassurance. I wish I had more faith so I didn’t doubt all the time. It really isn’t that I doubt what I believe, I just want answers to back it up. Do you think this is wrong to have a lack of faith like this? To question things all the time like I do?