Today’s Reading: Ezek 17:1–18:32, Rev 7:9–8:13, Job 34:16–30
Today’s Theme: God’s Full Knowledge
Today’s theme is God’s Full Knowledge. God really does know everything, noting is hidden form his sight, he know everything down to the smallest details. God know everything presently, he doesn’t learn anything. God knows everything at all times and has never not known all that he now knows.
Based on God’s knowledge he teaches with parables, calls man to repentance, warns man of judgement, makes declarations which he will without doubt back up and judges with complete authority. God’s knowledge also informs his love, mercy, patience and means God is not indifferent to man’s suffering.
Because God’s knowledge is full we can trust him and put our faith in him.
The wisdom of parables
“Say now to the rebellious house, Do you not know what these things mean? Tell them, behold, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, and took her king and her princes and brought them to him to Babylon.(Ezekiel 17:12, ESV)
God and Jesus both used parables and riddles
Don’t break agreements
But he rebelled against him by sending his ambassadors to Egypt, that they might give him horses and a large army. Will he thrive? Can one escape who does such things? Can he break the covenant and yet escape?(Ezekiel 17:15, ESV)
God takes the breaking of agreements seriously as Jesus teaches us that we should make our communication a simple yes or no
Have faith in God
Therefore thus says the Lord God: As I live, surely it is my oath that he despised, and my covenant that he broke. I will return it upon his head.(Ezekiel 17:19, ESV)
Very often our breaking of agreements is a sign of our lack of faith in God
God backs his talk
And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.”(Ezekiel 17:24, ESV)
God has the unique ability to back up anything he says, the figurative use of trees and twigs speak of the remnant of Israel that would be saved and of the nations
The owner of souls
Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.(Ezekiel 18:4, ESV)
This is a bold declaration that only God can make, all souls ultimately belong to him and the decree is that the soul that sins shall die.
lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.(Ezekiel 18:13, ESV)
My sins are on me and my children’s sins are on them, each man has personal responsibility before God
The curse is broken
withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live.(Ezekiel 18:17, ESV)
In and through Jesus we live right before God, there is no hereditary curse on us
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.(Ezekiel 18:20, ESV)
This is God himself destroying the bad teaching of hereditary sins and curses on the personal level, this is simply not true, every man is responsible before God for his own life… no excuses
“But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.(Ezekiel 18:21, ESV)
With the Lord there is room for repentance for the wicked man, here ends all ideas of fatalism
Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?(Ezekiel 18:23, ESV)
God wants all men to repent and takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, to understand this we need to understand the difference between the decreed and commanded will of God
Righteousness and responsibility NOW
But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.(Ezekiel 18:24, ESV)
We cannot live on the glory of our past righteousness our responsibility before God is always in the NOW. Also we must note that this is speaking of righteousness in the OT sense and not of regeneration although the same principle still applies and would be evidence of apostasy and false conversion.
God is not unfair
“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?(Ezekiel 18:25, ESV)
This is a common notion today that God is somehow unfair
God is gracious
“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin.(Ezekiel 18:30, ESV)
God is gracious to all people in even allowing us the option to repent at all and the promise that with genuine repentance he will forgive and respond
Make a new heart
Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?(Ezekiel 18:31, ESV)
It is our responsibility to make a new heart for ourselves. We do this by making God our treasure.
For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”(Ezekiel 18:32, ESV)
God’s cry to Israel and to all mankind, Repent! when we repent we bring God pleasure and there is rejoicing in heaven
The redeemed in Heaven
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,(Revelation 7:9, ESV)
There are the redeemed, the JWs don’t like this verse as it proves all believers will be before the throne of God.
Also note the distinctions made are nations, tribes, people and languages at no point is colour of skin mentioned
and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”(Revelation 7:10, ESV)
The great song of the redeemed, we know that God saved us
Sanctification, your responsibility
I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.(Revelation 7:14, ESV)
Notice our personal responsibility in sanctification
We will serve
“Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.(Revelation 7:15, ESV)
We will serve the Lord in heaven, not laze around
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”(Revelation 7:17, ESV)
Jesus will remain our shepherd in heaven and God will wipe away all tears from our eyes, what sort of tears will these be… Possibly regret for missed opportunities.
Jesus and the Holy Spirit our intermediaries
Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.(Revelation 8:5, ESV)
This 8th Angel is not a common intermediary for our everyday prayers. This was a specific moment in time seen in a vision by John pointing to a specific moment in time in the future where this ceremony will take place.
The Holy Spirit of God and Jesus are our only intermediary and transport for our prayers before God.
The imagery seems to suggest that the following plagues are the answer to the prayers of the saints
Majestic heavenly animals
Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”(Revelation 8:13, ESV)
You can see where Lewis and Tolkien get some of their talking and majestic animal ideas from
God calls it as it is
who says to a king, ‘Worthless one,’ and to nobles, ‘Wicked man,’(Job 34:18, ESV)
God is no respecter of people and can boldly call a king worthless and nobles wicked
God’s full knowledge
“For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps.(Job 34:21, ESV)
God sees everything, nothing can hide from him, no action, word or thought is hidden from God’s sight and full knowledge. This is a large part of what we mean when we say God is omniscient
For God has no need to consider a man further, that he should go before God in judgment.(Job 34:23, ESV)
When God judges, he does not have to weigh things up and take time to consider like human judges which are just a pale image of him. He knows and therefore judges
God is not indifferent
so that they caused the cry of the poor to come to him, and he heard the cry of the afflicted—(Job 34:28, ESV)
God is not indifferent to the suffering of the poor, he judges wicked rulers