Scriptually, finding the Balance…

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“You will bear me witness, my friends… said that 19th Century English Baptist Preacher Charles Spurgeon… that it is exceedingly seldom I ever intrude into the mysteries of the future with regard either to the second advent, the millennial reign, or the first and second resurrection. As often as we come about it in our expositions, we do not turn aside from the point, but if guilty at all on this point, it is rather in being too silent than saying too much

Charles was making a good point here. Many a good preacher… when it comes to Eschatology and the study of prophecy and end-times events… seem to tread lightly on the matter, rather than truly searching out the things that God has written us concerning these things… I find that very interesting… in light of the fact that nearly 1/3rd of the Bible is prophetic.

But then there is the other side of the coin…

Vance Havner, the mid 20th Century Evangelist is quoted as saying… “I know that some are always studying the meaning of the fourth toe of the right foot of some beast in prophecy and have never used either foot to go and bring men to Christ. I do not know who the 666 is in Revelation but I know the world is sick, sick, sick and the best way to speed the Lord’s return is to win more souls for Him.”

These two sides seem to make up a great deal of Christianity… those who tread very lightly with the subject of prophecy…

And those who spend so much time in prophecy… that they neglect the marching order of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20… which were His last words to the Apostles prior to ascending back to heaven… where Jesus said… Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I commanded you

I believe that the appropriate approach to Eschatology and prophecy and the overall study of the Bible lies there in the middle of those two camps…

We need to be looking for the Lord Jesus return… as Jesus said in Matthew 25:13… Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. 

Yet, at the same time we are not to be so heavenly minded that we are of little earthly good. Again, as Jesus said in John 13:34… A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

I believe that scripture gives us prophecy to encourage us and give us hope… but it also gives us marching orders to be Christlike in the day and age in which we find ourselves… So dear reader, be a light on a hill- for the world to see!

 

 

Mourning at Atad…

At the Romans 8:1 Christian Fellowship, where I Pastor a small beautiful fellowship, we are nearing the conclusion of our study of the Book of Genesis. I have been prepping my study on Genesis 50. Here, Jacob has died and Joseph, his son is taking his body back to the Promised Land- from Egypt- to be buried at Abrahams cave in Machpelah. On the journey there… we read in Genesis 50:10…

When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he observed seven days mourning for his father.

They stopped there, why? And for seven days, again why? The Bible does not directly give us insight into this… but asking these questions over the  years have been a real blessing for me… so I researched it a bit.

The word Atad means buckthorn in Hebrew or thorn. This type of thorn was huge and would have been planted around the threshing floor to help protect the grain from being stolen. It may have been the type of thorn used to make a crown for Jesus at His crucifixion. That is interesting.

When the Canaanites who lived there saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning for the Egyptians” They noticed something big was occurring.

So what is the spiritual application of Atad or Abel-mizraim as it was renamed?

Well, consider this… In Rabbinical Literature:

The rabbis say that both names, signifying respectively “The Mourning of Egypt” and “The Thorn Threshing-floor,” are derived from the mourning over Jacob.

According to the rabbinical account the sons of Jacob had scarcely crossed the frontier at Abel-mizraim with the body of their father, when their cousins, the sons of Ishmael, Esau, and Keturah (we know biblically they settled in the South of Canaan), appeared in large numbers against them, believing that the Egyptians, of whom there were many in the procession, intended to INVADE Canaan.

But when they recognized Jacob’s mummified body and pedestal, as well as Joseph’s CROWN carried behind it in state, the thirty-six princes among them sent their CROWNS also, to be carried in the funeral procession. Hence the name “Thorn Threshing-floor”; for Abel-mizraim was so encircled by this row of crowns as to remind one of a threshing-floor, which is usually surrounded by a hedge of thorns to protect it from looters and thieves.

Threshing floors in the Bible are significant. A threshing floor is where Abraham had offered up Isaac–Jacob’s father. Solomon would build the Temple on that very same sight… for we read in 2 Chronicles 3:1 Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.

It is believed Jesus died on a cross there. The threshing floor was a place of sacrifice.

And here is the point of me bringing this up…
Sacrificing one’s interests or well-being for the sake of others is a rarity in this day and hour.

This threshing floor is where Joseph stopped to weep and bury Israel in his heart… because it is believed that they had just entered the Promised Land.

Notice how Joseph’s family members, the Canaanites rise up to come against him… out of fear.

They think the worst of Joseph. They think of him as an invader of their land–to take over what they have staked.

However, their eyes were opened to their brothers and they end up laying down their crowns and there was reconciliation in that moment.

Funerals can be a great place of reconciliation…. Both within families as well as in the Body of Christ. Life is short. Can we stop coming against our natural families and our brothers and sisters in the Lord and realize we are family? Can we trade our thorns for peace? Can we take our positions, our titles, our thorny crowns off our heads and die at the threshing floor? Grace can cover a great deal of hurt… if we allow it.

Jesus traded his crown of thorns for a Royal Crown and sat down at the Right Hand of the Father… and we will one day be with Him… I believe, to lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus as is demonstrated for us in Revelation 4:10-11… so let’s make and keep peace in the family… to the glory of our great King!