Friday, March 27, 2015


I’ve been preaching through the Old Testament book of Numbers for over a year in our evening service. Numbers is important – the apostle Paul, after describing an event recorded in Numbers, says, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). A few weeks ago, someone glanced ahead to see what was in the text for the following study. As we were dismissing, he asked (with obvious skepticism), “what about chapter thirty-three?” Most of the chapter is a list of place names, most of which are referenced only here. It’s a travel journal describing the years between the Exodus and the entry into the Promised Land for the children of Israel. It includes scant details. The original accounts in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers are far more interesting from a narrative point of view. So what do we learn from this text? Actually, something very important.

“These are the journeys of the children of Israel, who went out of the land of Egypt by their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the Lord. And these are their journeys according to their starting points” (33:1,2).

It’s important that Moses writes this chronicles “at the command of the Lord.” We’ll see why in a moment. I’ve broken the long list down into its forty-two camping points to make a little more manageable.

One: Rameses (33:3-4)
They departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day after the Passover the children of Israel went out with boldness in the sight of all the Egyptians. For the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had killed among them. Also on their gods the Lord had executed judgments.

Two: Succoth (33:5)
Then the children of Israel moved from Rameses and camped at Succoth.

Three: Etham (33:6)
They departed from Succoth and camped at Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness.

Four: Pi Hahiroth (33:7)
They moved from Etham and turned back to Pi Hahiroth, which is east of Baal Zephon; and they camped near Migdol.

Five: Marah (33:8)
They departed from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, went three days’ journey in the Wilderness of Etham, and camped at Marah.

Six: Elim (33:9)
They moved from Marah and came to Elim. At Elim were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there.

Seven: By the Red Sea (33:10)
They moved from Elim and camped by the Red Sea.

Eight: In the Wilderness of Sin (33:11)
They moved from the Red Sea and camped in the Wilderness of Sin.

Nine: Dophkah (33:12)
They journeyed from the Wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah.

Ten: Alush (33:13)
They departed from Dophkah and camped at Alush.

Eleven: Rephidim (33:14)
They moved from Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.

Twelve: In the Wilderness of Sinai (33:15)
They departed from Rephidim and camped in the Wilderness of Sinai.

Thirteen: Kibroth Hattaavah (33:16)
They moved from the Wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth Hattaavah.

Fourteen: Hazeroth (33:17)
They departed from Kibroth Hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth.

Fifteen: Rithmah (33:18)
They departed from Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah.

Sixteen: Rimmon Perez
They departed from Rithmah and camped at Rimmon Perez.

Seventeen: Libnah (33:20)
They departed from Rimmon Perez and camped at Libnah.

Eighteen: Rissah (33:21)
They moved from Libnah and camped at Rissah.

Nineteen: Kehelathah (33:22)
They journeyed from Rissah and camped at Kehelathah.

Twenty: Mount Shepher (33:23)
They went from Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher.

Twenty-One: Haradah (33:24)
They moved from Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah.

Twenty-Two: Makheloth (33:25)
They moved from Haradah and camped at Makheloth.

Twenty-Three: Tahath (33:26)
They moved from Makheloth and camped at Tahath.

Twenty-Four: Terah (33:27)
They departed from Tahath and camped at Terah.

Twenty-Five: Mithkah (33:28)
They moved from Terah and camped at Mithkah.

Twenty-Six: Hashmonah (33:29)
They went from Mithkah and camped at Hashmonah.

Twenty-Seven: Moseroth (33:30)
They departed from Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth.

Twenty-Eight: Bene Jaakan (33:31)
They departed from Moseroth and camped at Bene Jaakan.

Twenty-Nine: Hor Hagidgad (33:32)
They moved from Bene Jaakan and camped at Hor Hagidgad.

Thirty: Jotbathah (33:33)
They went from Hor Hagidgad and camped at Jotbathah.

Thirty-One: Abronah (33:34)
They moved from Jotbathah and camped at Abronah.

Thirty-Two: Ezion Geber (33:35)
They departed from Abronah and camped at Ezion Geber.

Thirty-Three: In the Wilderness of Zin, or Kadesh (33:36)
They moved from Ezion Geber and camped in the Wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh.

Thirty-Four: Mount Hor (33:37-40)
They moved from Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, on the boundary of the land of Edom. Then Aaron the priest went up to Mount Hor at the command of the Lord, and died there in the fortieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month. Aaron was one hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor. Now the king of Arad, the Canaanite, who dwelt in the South in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel.

Thirty-Five: Zalmonah (33:41)
So they departed from Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah.

Thirty-Six: Punon (33:42)
They departed from Zalmonah and camped at Punon.

Thirty-Seven: Oboth (33:43)
They departed from Punon and camped at Oboth.

Thirty-Eight: Ije Abarim (33:44)
They departed from Oboth and camped at Ije Abarim, at the border of Moab.

Thirty-Nine: Dibon Gad (33:45)
They departed from Ijim and camped at Dibon Gad.

Forty: Almon Diblathaim (33:46)
They moved from Dibon Gad and camped at Almon Diblathaim.

Forty-One: In the Mountains of Abarim (33:47)
They moved from Almon Diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo.

Forty-Two: In the Plains of Moab (33:48,49)
They departed from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho. They camped by the Jordan, from Beth Jesimoth as far as the Abel Acacia Grove in the plains of Moab.

I mentioned that it was important that Moses wrote this “at the command of the Lord.” Despite their sin throughout the wilderness wanderings, not one of their failures is mentioned in this chronicle. Up to this point, Numbers has not held back at all in mentioning the faithlessness, disobedience, and sin of Israel. In this list, however, the debacles associated with certain place names go unmentioned here. It’s about grace. At any one of these places God could’ve destroyed the people in their sin and been perfectly justified. Forty-two place names that highlight the patience and grace of God.

Read Numbers 9:15-23. They did not move unless God moved. They did not stay unless God stayed. From a “human responsibility” point of view, they were utterly tied to a following of the Lord wherever He went, whenever He went. From a “God’s sovereignty” point of view, God never left them without His presence for a single moment in the wilderness. Each of these forty-two place names emphasizes this point. God never abandoned His people, and they didn’t take a step that wasn’t in the shadow of His Presence.

God provided for them in the wilderness. “I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet” (Deuteronomy 29:5). There were times He allowed them to hunger in the wilderness so that they would lean on His Word more and more: “He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you” (Deuteronomy 8:3-5). Each of these forty-two places represents both preservation and discipline, both from a loving Father (read Hebrews 12:1-17...often).

They were delivered from Egypt, the kingdom of slavery and darkness, brought through the wilderness (in forty-two steps), and ultimately into the Promised Land. We can relate. We are currently in the wilderness of this world, between the bondage to darkness from which we came and the true heavenly Promised Land that awaits. “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13,14).

This idea of “the first month” in Rameses followed by forty-one other place names becomes an important symbol in the rest of the Bible for God’s provision and discipline. The forty-two of Numbers 33 becomes 42 months, 1,260 days, or 3 ½ years of God’s care and perfecting of His people in the time between their deliverance and homecoming. Let’s look at how the Holy Spirit uses this concept in the rest of the Bible.

“The fourth beast shall be
A fourth kingdom on earth,
Which shall be different from all other kingdoms,
And shall devour the whole earth,
Trample it and break it in pieces.
The ten horns are ten kings
Who shall arise from this kingdom.
And another shall rise after them;
He shall be different from the first ones,
And shall subdue three kings.
He shall speak pompous words against the Most High,
Shall persecute the saints of the Most High,
And shall intend to change times and law.
Then the saints shall be given into his hand
For a time and times and half a time.
But the court shall be seated,
And they shall take away his dominion,
To consume and destroy it forever.
Then the kingdom and dominion,
And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven,
Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High.
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And all dominions shall serve and obey Him”
(Daniel 7:23-27).

“A time and times and half a time.” 3 ½ years. Forty-two months. The people of God persecuted but preserved and ultimately given “an everlasting kingdom” (the eternal reality of which the earthly Promised Land of the O.T. is a symbol). This vision of Daniel’s describes the rise of the new covenant people of God in Christ during the days of the Roman Empire (the fourth beast) in the A.D. first century (and really, until today). Life is not easy for the people of God, but they will be preserved until they receive the Kingdom eternally. Daniel 7 is one of my favorite chapters – I think a good understanding of it goes a long way to understanding the rest of the Bible and our circumstances today as the people of God in the world.

Revelation contains three references to this time period:
  • “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth’” (Revelation 11:1-3).
  • “Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days...the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent” (Revelation 12:6,14).
  • “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:5-8).
Each of these is a different view of the same period – that which is described in Daniel 7. From the unbelieving nations (11:2) to the serpent/dragon/devil (12:12-17) to the “beast rising up out of the sea” (13:1, the “sea” representing the unbelieving nations - 17:15; cf. Psalm 65:7; Isaiah 8:7; 17:12,13), the Church will be hounded during this time period between salvation and homecoming. During this wilderness wandering in the world, God will preserve and provide for His people. The Church will give testimony (1:2,9; 6:9; 11:7; 12:11,17; 17:3,6; 19:10; 20:4) to Christ, holding to Him alone, even above love for life (12:11,17). He will also test her dedication to Him, purging her of idolatry and faithlessness. This Exodus pattern is also found in Hebrews 3-4.

The Bible as a whole tells this story. In the Old Testament (specifically Numbers, in this case) it is a type, or shadow, of New Testament experience for the people of God. Forty-two camping locations between Egypt and the Promised Land represent our long experience from the waters of baptism at salvation to the opening of our eyes in Glory. In that time God will show His great grace to us, despite our many failures, idolatries, and faithlessness along the way – for we are covered with the blood of the Lamb. Along the way God will test us and purge us, even as He preserves and provides for us. The world will hate those in the camp of the saints as we wander, for they are instruments of that serpent of old. But one day we will cross the Jordan and be home. This is an unshakeable and unbreakable promise, our hope step-by-step as we go forward. 42 months. 3 ½ years. 1,260 days. Time, times, and half a time.

Let’s keep going, Church.
The La Sal mountains from Arches National Park, October 2013

Thursday, March 19, 2015

What I Wish I Could Say (a.k.a. Ugh, the Most Unpopular Blogpost Ever)

Things I wish I could say...

I wish Christians would be just as passionate in fighting for currently-existing traditional/biblical marriages as they are in opposing the legality of gay unions. I support traditional/biblical marriage, and am confessionally Baptist (both the 1689 Confession 25.1 and the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 art. 18). But don’t lose sight of marriage in fighting for marriage. Pray for the married couples in your congregations. Men, hold men accountable for being bullies, jerks, absent, unloving, adulterers, etc. Women, hold women accountable for bad-mouthing their husbands to others (or the children), never being content, thinking happiness (which they think God wants for them at any cost) is with another man, etc. Churches, hold members accountable for unrepentant sin in marriage. Couples, seek help sooner rather than later. Provide examples of a loving marriage by being open about your love for each other. I’ve heard complaints over the years that this couple or that couple was a little too affectionate in worship (“he was playing with her hair,” “they sure were snuggled up,” “they were just distracting”). Wish I could’ve seen it. I’m personally distracted by couples who grow in bitterness the longer they’re married. Show off your love for each other – we desperately need those role models, Church! I am my brother and sister’s keeper. I will fight for your marriage with you. I will rejoice with you, and be broken-hearted with you. I am passionate about it.

I wish Christians would be just as excited about “Jesus Christ, Who having not seen you love...yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:7,8) as they are pissed off at the bogeymen on the political stage. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: most of the political stuff we throw out there is “preaching to the choir,” and will not do a single blasted thing to change anyone’s mind about how they’ll vote. Both sides have their witty little sayings that make the other side look small and stupid. The argument "you're a total idiot" never convinced anyone. Promote Jesus. We could do with a little more apostle Paul (“I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” 1 Corinthians 2:2) and a lot less...well, you know (I’m not even going to talking about the theological compromise we’re willing to engage in to be on the same side politically). I’m politically conservative (not a compromiser or moderate). I vote. I pay attention to what’s going on and stay informed. I get frustrated by injustice and game-playing. I truly admire and support my dear brothers and sisters who are fighting the fight at considerable personal sacrifice. But I also try to maintain relationships with liberals because I care more about their eternal fate than anything else, and making fun of how stupid and logically inconsistent they are doesn’t serve that care for them.

Along that same trajectory, I wish Christians would talk more about Jesus than Israel. I support Israel. I dig Netanyahu. But those two things have nothing to do with religion, faith, or theology (though I recently saw someone use one's attitude toward the State of Israel as a test of Christian orthodoxy...something utterly alien to all of Church history!). Without Christ, the citizen of Israel will “be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). So will the prime minister (and I’m thankful he was re-elected). He’s not my hero or my hope. He’s a part of “my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1). Because apart from faith in Jesus Christ they’re not, even if we agree politically.

I remember a professor in my first semester of college saying, “if you want to know what’s most important to a person, listen to what they talk about the most.” I have never forgotten that (though I’ve forgotten a lot else about college). I would love to hear Christians talk about the glories of Christ, salvation through Him alone, and the display of Christ’s love for His Church in Christian marriages. Yes, and be engaged to see a biblical Christian ethic brought to bear on legislation, leadership, and justice in our country and in the world...but that should be the fruit, not the root. And it ought to be done in a way always glorifies and rejoices in the root, Jesus Christ. Where is your joy, hope, glory, peace, passion, life? Please, oh please, let it be in Jesus Christ alone, and, I beg you, let that become what you talk about the most!

Wish I could say that. And I love you more than I can say, so I just did.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Rock

“The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. Thus declares the LORD Who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him, ‘Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it’” (Zechariah 12:1-3).

This “burden of the word of the LORD” is really an echo of a previous vision, seen by Daniel. Daniel, in knowing and interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, first saw a statue representing the four great kingdoms between his day and the coming of Christ (Babylon, Mede-Persian, Greek, Roman). Then he saw this stone: “You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy” (Daniel 2:34-36,44,45). This “stone” is a Kingdom set up in the days of the Roman Empire which “will itself endure forever” and “filled the whole earth.” Compare this with a similar vision (this time of Daniel), in which an eternal kingdom is set up in the days of a fourth beast which also represents the Roman Empire.

To the “Son of Man” is given “dominion, glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed” (7:14). I love this chapter of the Bible. This proclamation of the Kingdom is repeated several times:
  • “...the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come” (7:18).
  • “...that horn [one of the rulers of the fourth kingdom] was waging war with the saints and overpowering them until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom” (7:21,22).
  • “...the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him” (7:27).
The awesome thing about this chapter is that it is both the “Son of Man” and the “saints” who receive this eternal Kingdom. With the fullness of biblical revelation in the New Testament, we know that the saints receive because they are “in Christ,” in union with the Son of Man Who alone has been given absolute authority “in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). It is because of this that the Revelation can say we will “reign with Him” (Revelation 20:6; cf. 2 Timothy 2:12).

Now, what about this “stone” of Daniel and Zechariah? It is a people. Daniel describes it as a “Kingdom” in Daniel 2 (which we know to belong to the unified “Son of Man” and “saints”), but Zechariah says it is about Jerusalem.” How are we to understand this? What Jerusalem?

The New Testament picks up on this “stone” language and completes our understanding of this metaphor. The N.T. doesn’t do this in isolation, however. It builds on a song of the O.T.:
“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
This is the LORD’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:22,23).

Jesus, in the parable of the vineyard (Matthew 21:33-41//Luke 20:9-16), builds upon the story by identifying Himself not just as the “Son” of the story, but also the “Stone” of Psalm 118:22,23. He ends the teaching by saying, “And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust” (Matthew 21:42-44//Luke 20:17,18). Does this sound familiar to Zechariah 12:3?

The “rock” identified by Zechariah as Jerusalem cannot be national Israel or the ethnic Jews. “...Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written [in Isaiah 28:16], ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed’” (Romans 9:30-33). The “stone” here is Jesus, the One in Whom both Jews and Gentiles are saved if they believe. This is why, with the apostle Paul, our “heart’s desire and...prayer to God for them is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1). Outside of Christ there is no hope, no security, no deliverance, and no salvation, no matter what nation or city or ethnicity you claim.

The “rock” identified by Zechariah as Jerusalem cannot be national Israel or the ethnic Jews. “For thus the LORD spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, ‘You are not to say, “It is a conspiracy!” in regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, and you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. It is the LORD of hosts Whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread. Then He shall become a sanctuary; but to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, and a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Many will stumble over them, then they will fall and be broken; they will even be snared and caught’” (Isaiah 8:11-15).

Does this mean that Jesus, the “Son” and “stone,” is the Jerusalem of Zechariah’s “burden of the word of the LORD”? Yes, but that’s not all.

“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter [Πετρος], and upon this rock [τη πετρα] I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven’” (Matthew 16:13-19).

Upon which “rock” will Jesus build His Church? Not Peter – the question of 16:13 is not “who do people say Peter is.” The “rock” is the heaven-revealed confession of “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” With those who make this confession, there is an authority that spans both heaven and earth (the answer to the petition of Matthew 6:10).

1 Peter 2:4-10, drawing on Isaiah 28:16 and Psalm 118:22,23, speaks of Christ as the “stone,” but also describes those who believe in Him as “living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (2:5). Again, by the union with Christ, those who believe in Him are themselves the “stone,” as well. Those who believe in Christ are the Jerusalem of Zechariah 12:3 by virtue of union with Christ by faith.

The apostle Paul, in his allegory of Galatians 4:22-31, says of the “present,” literal, and earthly Jerusalem, under the Mosaic covenant made in “Mount Sinai in Arabia,” is “in slavery with her children.” The Church, on the other hand, is the child of “the Jerusalem above,” which is “free.”

The apostle John sees “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). The angel tells him, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” He immediately sees “the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God” (21:9,10). It is only the Church which is described as Jesus’ bride (Matthew 25:1-10; Mark 2:19,20; Ephesians 5:22-33). Those in union with Christ by faith, both Jew and Gentile, are the true Jerusalem – that which hurts those peoples and nations who gather against her (cf. Daniel 7:21; Revelation 11:7; 13:7; 17:6,14; 19:19; 20:7-9), the inheritors of the eternal and unstoppable Kingdom, and the priestly people who are the indwelt Temple of the true God.

This is the encouragement of the saints. Those who hate the Christ and His Church will be broken. Do not be distracted by the noise, numbers, and power of the opposition, but rest in the promise of the Word and the Person of the Son. Pray for the salvation of the peoples of this lost world, be they Jew or Gentile, that they might hear the preaching of the Gospel, be baptized in repentant faith, and be joined with the Christ and His Bride, the true Jerusalem – together, the eternal and unbreakable Rock.