Sunday, December 30, 2012

The 400 Silent Years

Temple Baptist Church - 12-30-2012
Malachi 4:5-6; Mark 1:1-4


A. You and I live in the times of the Second Coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

1. Those who know the truth of God’s Word also know the truth of God’s time. The Second Advent is eminent! Our Bible reads like the newspaper of our day and all has been fulfilled preceding the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2. I want to look at the years preceding the First Advent and make some spiritual applications to the Second Advent when our Lord comes for His church.

B. We read from the last of the Old Testament and the fulfillment of those verses in the first of the New Testament. The Old Testament ended with the pronouncement of a curse while the New Testament began with the birth of two men.

1. The birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ: the voice of one crying in the wilderness. The Bible gives the analogy of Israel being a wilderness when John began his public ministry. It was not a physical wilderness because the land was populated but it was a spiritual one.

2. The birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father: the Saviour of the world. The Bible gives the analogy of Israel being in great darkness when our Lord was born. It was not a physical darkness but a spiritual one. The time of His prophetic birth was well documented in the Scripture and Israel indicted for their lack of knowledge of the Saviour’s birth. The Wise Men knew and came from the East to worship. Israel, because of the spiritual blindness of their hearts, spiritually slept.

C. The last of the Old Testament prophets died with Malachi being the last spoken word given by the Lord and, for the next 400 years, heaven was silent and the only revelation from God was the written Word that He had given. During these 400 years, Israel began to change spiritually.

1. Alexander the Great defeated the Media-Persian Empire and introduced the Hellenistic Culture of Greece to the conquered world which included Israel. The Hellenistic Culture was one of ease and pleasure. When Malachi prophesied, Israel was already spiritually compromised. During these 400 years, the Levitical Priesthood as well as the people of Israel became compromised and worldliness.

2. Rome defeated the Grecian Empire and placed Israel under its “iron fist” and set up a “Puppet Government” to rule Israel. Israel began to place its trust in ceremonial worship instead of true worship and a “form of godliness” became the rule of the day.

3. When Israel came out of the Babylon Captivity, they brought with them the Mishnah from the Babylonian Talmud from which Israel established their laws, worship, and beliefs. The Mishnah continues to supersede the Word of God.

4. During these years, two religious sects arose to confront the worldliness that permeated both the priesthood and the Nation of Israel: the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

a) The Pharisees (means the righteous ones) were the “separatists” of the day and championed the Oral Law. They were exclusive: they accepted no one who did not meet their standards. While holiness emulates God, Phariseeism emulates the Pharisee!

b) The Sadducees (means a heretical Israelite) stood by the Ceremonial Law. Sadducees were inclusive: they accepted anything and everyone with no regard to biblical principles.

c) When John the Baptist and our Lord Jesus Christ were born and ministered, there were only a few looking for them and few followed!

d) This brings us to the analogy of our day as compared to these 400 silent years. God allowed the preservation of His Word in the King James Bible 400 years and, since that time, we have had nothing to follow or base our faith upon except it!

1. The pulpits and the pews have since seen compromise and worldliness creep in.

2. Those with truth tend to Phariseeism which is still exclusive! If you do not follow their standards, you do not belong and are to be spurned!

3. Those with little or no truth tend to be the Sadducees which are all-inclusive. It does not matter what you believe or how you act: the church doors are open to all.

4. Then, thank the Lord, there are those who are anticipating the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ and are the “voice of one crying in the wilderness.”

E. What do we need to be doing in 2013 as we wait for the coming of our Lord? I will preach on this subject over the next few weeks so here is the first thing that we will do.

1. We will continue to Magnify God’s Word! Psalms 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (God said “Magnified,” not minimize!)

a. My question this morning is simple: “When did people quit believing just the Bible?”

1) Now they believe the professors of universities and Bible Colleges

2) Now they place their faith in the “manuscript critics:” the modern day Gnostics and Nicolaitans!

b. My personal stand on the Bible comes from the Bible, not from my pastors or the colleges where I studied. I believe what the Bible says about the Bible: it is inspired, it is preserved, it is inerrant, it is infallible, and it is eternally enduring and the final authority for both faith and practice. I say, “Don’t like it, take it up with God! It is His Word, not mine.

c. Paul told young Timothy, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

1) Timothy studied the Word of God that he had been entrusted with. Not a commentary nor a college but the Word of God. Seminaries have been the downfall of every major denomination and the trend continues today.

2) Instead of building within the young preacher confidence in this blessed old Bible I hold in my hand, they undercut it. These “professors” subtly destroy the confidence of the students by retranslating, re-rendering, and confusing.

d. Learn to study this Bible and you will be surprised at the clarity of its teachings! The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. I wanted to know where I stood on the Bible so I went to the Bible to see what GOD had to say, not what man thought.

e. Here is what I found in the BIBLE about the Bible:

A. The Inscribed Word is an Eternal Word - 1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Psalm 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

B. The Inscribed Word is an Inspired Word - 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (This tears up the nerves of the liberals. This verse refers to the “holy Scripture” that Timothy was brought up under [verse 15] which were not original manuscripts but copies! God called them “holy” and “inspired!” My Bible is called the Scriptures and on the back of the cover, it says “Holy Bible!” God breathed life into the originals and that life still remains in His Preserved Word! It is INSPIRED! Not “From The Mind Of God To The Mind Of Man” but “from the mouth of God to the mouth of man.” God told Jeremiah to write the words that He spoke in a book. Plenary inspiration or “word by word.” No double inspiration but a single act of inspiration and continuing preservation.”)

C. The Inscribed Word is a Preserved Word - 1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (Biblical preservation is an act of God, not an act of man. God uses men but, if God left preservation up to fallible man, we would have nothing in our hand today but what man thought. I am glad that I still have the Word of God in my hand and have the utmost confidence in it.)

Psalm 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

D. The Inscribed Word is The Faultless Word - Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. (The liberals find fault with the King James Bible because they compare it to the wrong manuscripts. I find no fault with it at all and, therefore, not need for change or discussion.)

Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalm 119:140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

E. The Inscribed Word is the Authoritative Word - 2 Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (I am not the authority and neither is the commentator or college professor! This Bible is the final authority for both faith and practice. Disagree with it and you disagree with God. PERIOD!)

Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

F. The Inscribed Word is the Essential Word - Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (You cannot be saved without it. It is a saving, life giving Bible. No wonder the devil so desires to destroy or confuse it. You cannot live for God without it. It is essential that we have the Word of God and we have it.)

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

G. The Inscribed Word is the Rejected Word. Men today correct it and introduce other versions based on another set of manuscripts. This was the only Bible for over 250 years and without question the Word of God. We do not need another Bible; we need to believe, study, share, and live according to this one. I have never doubted this Bible! I may not understand all that I read but I believe every word of it. You cannot destroy my faith in this Bible because you are not the authority in my life. I agree with God: it is the Word of God!

Conclusion: Hang in there because He is coming and we are leaving! It will be worth it all when we see Christ.

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