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Let’s try again, to make some simple Old Testament observations around the Sabbath day.

The first actual mention of the word rendered “Sabbath” is in Exodus, when the children of Israel were in the wilderness and God was feeding them with manna.

Moses said, "Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. - Exodus 16:25

On the Sabbath – there was no new manna and the manna from the day before stayed fresh. God was careful to create a culture in which it was necessary to stop the normal day to day tasks and give the day to different things.

Yesterday, we talked about God sanctifying the Sabbath, and today we see that it was, in deed, set apart from other days, because you had to have a different routine. If you had not gathered two days worth of manna on the 6th day, you would be hungry on the Sabbath.

See, the LORD has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day." - Exodus 16:29

A little further down the page we read that the Sabbath was given to them. The Sabbath was a gift. I suppose there have been those through the years who have looked askance at this particular gift, but it is none the less, a gift.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. - Exodus 20:8-11

There were plenty of things that God gave to the people before He gave the law, but not all of them got into the top 10 list. The keeping of the Sabbath is the fourth commandment.

God made it holy, and Israel was commanded to keep it holy.

In his retelling of the law in Deuteronomy 5 Moses adds this bit about Egypt

You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day. - Deuteronomy 5:15

Here we get the sense that the Lord is saying, remember the days when you were slaves, and had to work seven days a week for your masters. Now you have been rescued from those evil masters, and as an remembrance and thanks for the one who brought you out of slavery, stop your work for one day every week.

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. - Exodus 31:12-13

Next we see that the Sabbath is not only intended to be kept holy or separate from all other days, but the observance of the Sabbath was intended to be a sign between God and Israel which set it apart from all other nations.

I live in Bergen County, New Jersey, in fact the next town over is the famous Paramus, New Jersey. It is famous for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the invention of the shopping mall. I believe the Garden State Plaza was the first shopping mall in the world. But more notable is the fact that though it may well have more major shopping malls than any other town in the country, it also has the most strict blue laws in the nation.

This from Wikipedia:

Bergen County in New Jersey is notable for their blue laws banning the sale of clothing, shoes, furniture, home supplies and appliances on Sundays kept through county-wide referendum. Paramus, New Jersey has its own blue laws even more strict than the county itself, banning any type of worldly employment on Sundays except necessity items such as food and gasoline. Wikipedia: Blue Laws

So then Paramus, New Jersey is set apart from all other shopping destinations on Sunday’s. By the way, it is wonderful to drive on the State Highways in Bergen County on Sundays. Hurray for blue laws!

For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings. - Leviticus 23:3

On the Sabbath there was supposed to be a convocation or meeting, assembly, or the word can even mean reading – such as a public reading of the Word of God.

Every sabbath day he shall set it in order before the LORD continually; it is an everlasting covenant for the sons of Israel. - Leviticus 24:8

God’s intention is for this sanctified day to be remembered as long as time is kept.

There is a very serious story in Numbers about a man caught breaking the Sabbath:

Now while the sons of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering wood on the sabbath day. ... So all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. ... "It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, - Numbers 15:32, 36, 39

As we get to the prophets, and as Israel slides further and further away from Father, we have some strong words to consider:

Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies-- I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. - Isaiah 1:13

God is nauseated by the celebration of Sabbath when it was polluted, and not kept holy.

If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot From doing your own pleasure on My holy day, And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, And honor it, desisting from your own ways, From seeking your own pleasure And speaking your own word, - Isaiah 58:13

Rather than a holy convocation, it became a day to do their own pleasure, or to continue to work and pad there pockets. [Tweet This] They did not stop and honor the God who gave them the power to be free, the power to get wealth. They simply went about their business, and tipped their hats to God on the Sabbath day, and it made God sick.

Her priests have done violence to My law and have profaned My holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they hide their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. - Ezekiel 22:26

I do pray Lord, that I would be found doing your pleasure, everyday, Sabbath included.

Ben NelsonI must ask you to come back tomorrow. Remember, we live in a New Covenant, and I promise there is some good news coming, but for today, this is enough.

See you tomorrow


Stack of BiblesIn Paul’s account of the gospel he uses this phrase twice:

…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures ~ 1 Corinthians 15:3- 4

So let’s take a look.

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. ~ Isaiah 53:4-5


My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?
I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
And Thou dost lay me in the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded me;
A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me;
They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.
Psalm 22: 1, 14-18


As I began to poke around after a reference to three days I was pretty blown away by what I found. There are 41 uses of the phrase ‘three days’ in the Old Testament (using the NASB translation) and as I scan through them I find tons of references that point to the three days Jesus spent in the tomb. Check this one out:

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” Then he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet. There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them. ~ Exodus 15:22-25

So perhaps you will say I am stretching things, but I see in this account – Israel passing through the Dead Sea and going 3 days into the wilderness. They find no water for three days. Finally, after 3 days there is water, but it is just more death. Then when the tree (cross) is thrown into the bitter water of death, it becomes the source of life for all who drink of it.

The most obvious is probably Jonah in the belly of the whale, who Jesus himself pointed to as a foreshadowing of the time He would spend in the grave.

Jesus fulfilled hundreds of Scriptures, which foreshadowed everything from His conception, His birth, His ministry, His torture, death, burial and resurrection.

I love the account of the two disciples walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day of Christ’s resurrection. You can find it in Luke 24. Jesus shows up and walks the seven miles with them, and during that hike He explained everything to them from the Scriptures.

Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. ~ Luke 24:26-27

My point? The gospel of Jesus Christ was not something that was cobbled together after His death to create some religion, so the disciples would save face.

The gospel of Jesus Christ – His death, burial, and resurrection was planned and set in motion long before that first Christmas, long before Israel ventured into the wilderness. As far as that goes, the gospel was in motion before Adam sinned, before God breathed the breath of life into the dust of the Earth and made man in His own image.

Is He not:

“the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” ~ Revelation 13:8

All I have to say is Glory to God for the eternal gospel of Jesus the Christ.

Ben NelsonSee you tomorrow


Many Waters - SoS headerWe have been talking for weeks about the signs of life, and it all started when Jesus, or perhaps I should say the Shepherd King called to our maiden to come out of the secret place and join Him. He has been telling her of the wonders of this newly arrived season. Now He is once again going to repeat His call for her to join Him.

Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!

But on the heals of this reiterated call, we have one of the most compelling and comforting invitations you will ever hear.

O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
In the secret places of the cliff,
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely. ~ Song of Songs 2:13-14

Now let me make it clear here. Jesus is calling His bride into ministry. He is calling her out of her comfort zone, to leap and run in the hills and mountains.

Have you ever been around when someone tries to get you to minister using guilt or shame? How bout those emails? If you love Jesus you will send this email to everyone on your email list right now. If not, Jesus will be ashamed of you when He returns. (when I type this I wonder if I should even capitalize Jesus name, because they are certainly not talking about the very Son of Very God when they are threatening my eternal life because I clicked [delete] instead of [spam all known addresses.]

This is not how Jesus woos His woman into ministry.

He calls her His dove. As we have said before, the dove is faithful and has a single eye. [Click here for a refresher on the dove.]

Then He makes one of the most beautiful promises in the Bible. I will protect you! If you come with me, you will be safe. I will hide you in the cleft of the rock. You may feel like we are leaving the secret place of intimacy, but I have a secret place of ministry!

The phrase cleft of the rock is really significant. Clearly the Bible teaches that Jesus is the rock. He is that rock that Moses struck in the wilderness, and out of the cleft of that rock flowed the water that brought the Lord’s people life for 40 years, the river of life.

Jesus is that rock – the veil torn asunder by the Father – and that is where He will hide us. [Tweet this] In His broken body – in His resurrected body – In HIM – Jesus is the cleft in the rock. He wants you to be hidden in Him.

I am going to take you to a place where no one can touch you. No weapon formed against you will prosper. I am a strong tower, and you are hidden in me.

Not only will you be safe, but we will be together. I am not sending you, but asking you to join me. The call is not GO away, but COME away. This is so wonderful!

Jesus says to YOU – Let me see your face, let me hear your voice. Your voice is sweet and your face is lovely. I have chills running down my spine as I hear Jesus say these words to me.

Come away with me.

Listen, do you hear it?

Come away with me.

I will hide you in the cleft of the rock.

I want to hear your voice, I want to see your face

Your face is lovely, your voice is sweet.

Ben NelsonSee you soon beloved


Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. (Matt 5:17 NASB)

Paul spends a lot of time trying to pry us free from the law. However, Jesus, in this large chunk of the Sermon on the Mount takes the law and actually make it harder – well – IMPOSSIBLE to keep. He is also going to set forth a kingdom style of living for us.

What did Jesus do with the law? What does it mean when Jesus says I have come to fulfill the law? Paul tells us in Galatians 5:18

“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”

And again in Romans 6: 14-15

“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!”

I am intrigued by this phrase “fulfill the law.” Jesus tells us that He would fulfill the law, but consider for a minute Paul’s words in Romans 8 (yes this is actually my favorite chapter of the Bible!)

Romans 8:1-4

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

It is really important not to chop up this paragraph of scripture. So often people take the first line of this chapter, and let it stand completely alone, taking away from it, the full import and condition in which it is enclosed.

I have highlighted a couple of phrases above and want to briefly make some suggestions to you about your relationship to the law.

First, notice that it is the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that has made us free from the law of sin and death. I like to think of this in terms of flight. What did Orville and Wilber do over a century ago? Did they undo the law of gravity? Is gravity abolished? Is it null and void? Not at all, but they learned some other laws, that “set them free” from the law of gravity. In fact, the laws of aerodynamics do not abolish gravity, but cooperate with gravity to enable a man who knows these laws (first generation) or even men who have been taught how to operate the proper equipment (later generations) to apparently defy gravity.

In my mind this is a great explanation of what happens with the law of sin and death. Because there is a higher law (or as Lewis puts it in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, deeper magic) that can overcome the law of sin and death. Once we enter into life by accepting and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, we are no longer limited by the law of sin and death. [Tweet This] Notice I use the word limited and not restricted. It is tempting to think of the law as something that keeps us from doing what we want. But the truth is that the law of sin and death has been holding us back from life abundant.

When the scripture talks about law, it is talking about what has dominion over you. If you are under a set of laws, you are under the ruler-ship of those laws, they are your master. If you do not obey, they execute punishment, based on their own code of justice. When you are under the law of sin and death, you do not have the ability to live as God intended. (see Romans 8:8) You cannot please God because laws you cannot keep, rule your life.

But now let’s look at the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. In my figure, this is like the laws of aerodynamics. The law of sin and death does not go away, but it no longer applies to you. Does this mean you are free to sin? As Paul says “God Forbid.” That is never what freedom means in the scripture. We get that, even in the natural. When we talk about our wonderful country, the United States of America, we call it a free country. Does that mean there is no law? Not by any means. So it is in the Spirit. Jesus was the freest person who ever lived. So how did He live? Well, He was accused of breaking the law of the Sabbath. How did He break it? Was it to walk in disobedience of God’s law? No, it was to heal the sick, raise the dead and cast our demons. It was to do what He saw the Father doing. It was to do that which was good and pleasing to the Father.

If you think a Christian's freedom means you can sin, expecting forgiveness, you do not understand the grace of God. [Tweet This]

Think back to Exodus when God told Moses to go before Pharaoh and demand freedom for the Jews that were enslaved in Egypt. What did God have Moses say? Exodus 7:16

“And you will say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness.

The BBE says, “that they may worship Me.”
The point I am making is that you were never set free from all restraint to do whatever would feel good, and give you pleasure. What you have been freed for is worship. As long as you were serving the law of sin and death in the kingdom of darkness it was impossible for you to please God. But now everything has been taken out of the way of your ability to please Him. You are no longer the slave to sin, but now are the servant of righteousness. (Rom 6:18) You have even been given a new nature that desires, and is capable of, bringing pleasure to the Lord.

Back to this idea of fulfilling the law, Jesus says here that He came to fulfill the law, and then Paul uses the same term in regard to us in Romans 8:4 “in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us” So again God’s idea is not that the law was evil, but that it could be fulfilled.

What is the law anyway? The law, in particular the 10 commandments, is a reflection of God’s value system. So there is no way that God wants to do away with His value system, but rather He wants it to become our values system. How is it a value system? Think about it. The first 4 commandments have to do with honoring God, and making Him your first priority. The other 6 have to do with how you relate to those around you. Jesus summed it up into 2 commands, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Simple!

This entire section of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is going to take the law as it was given to the Jews, and teach the true value system of Heaven. By doing so, He will make them un-keepable by any natural means.

I am so glad Jesus kept the law on our behalf, and is willing to baptize us in His Holy Spirit so that we can walk out a life pleasing to the Father. Aren’t you?

Thank you for reading this long-winded post. I really appreciate it.

Stop in again soon. Let me know if your spirit got excited reading this (or even if your spirit got angry – I would love to know that too)

Come back soon.

10 Commandments photo credit: @jbtaylor via photo pin cc

Airplane photo credit: cliff1066™ via photo pin cc

Pharaoh & Moses photo credit: JulioB via photo pin cc

Thy Name – Part 2 (Matt 6:9)

In yesterday’s blog I talked about the unique place the name of Jesus holds. Today, I want to look at the fact that almost everything we know about God, He revealed though His name. [Tweet This]Today we will look at the Old Testament, and tomorrow the New.

Think about Moses for a minute. He comes upon this bush burning in the desert. As he draws near it begins to talk to him. When he asks this bush for a name it says “I AM.” Moses is waiting for the rest of the sentence, but that is all he gets for the moment - well – I AM that I AM (as if that clears it up.)

God is going to spend the next millennium or 2 filling in the blanks. Here are 8 examples:

  1. JEHOVAH-JIREH  "The Lord our provider" - This is also the name Abraham gave to the place where the Lord provided a sacrifice in place of Isaac. (Gen. 22:14).
  2. JEHOVAH-NISSI  "Our banner, a banner of love and protection" - Also the name Moses gave to the altar he built after defeating the Amalekites (Ex. 17:15).
  3. JEHOVAH-SHALOM  "Our perfect peace" - Also the name Gideon gave to the altar he built at Ophrah (Judges 6:24)
  4. JEHOVAH-TSID-KENU  "The Lord is our righteousness" - The name is applied to a future Davidic king who would lead his people to do what is right and thus bring peace (Jeremiah 23:6) and to the restored city of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 33:16). The name is possibly a play on the name of Zedekiah ("Righteous [is] the Lord") who reigned from 597 to 587 B.C..
  5. JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH  "The One Who is with us everywhere for He is Omnipresent" - The Jerusalem of Ezekiel's vision (see Ezekiel 48:35 margin) was known by this name. Compare text at Isaiah 60:19-20 and Revelation 21:3.
  6. JEHOVAH-SABAOTH  "The Lord of Hosts, our Protector." C.H. Spurgeon said this about the phrase "The Lord of Hosts: The Lord rules the angels, the stars, the elements, and all the hosts of Heaven; and the Heaven of heavens is under His sway... [the Lord] is on our side -- our august Ally; woe unto those who fight against Him, for they shall flee like smoke before the wind when He gives the word to scatter them." See text at Psalm 46:7.
  7. JEHOVAH-RAAH  "Our Shepherd Who tenderly leads us, loves us and will keep us safe." - the famous Psalm 23 tells us that "The Lord is our Shepherd and we shall not want...." Being illustrated as a shepherd implies a relationship with His sheep (His believers). The term shepherd appears approximately 80 times in the Scriptures, denotating meanings of: feeder, keeper, companion, friend, pastor and herdsman.
  8. JEHOVAH RAPHA  "I am the Lord Your Physician or I am the Lord Your Healer - this name especially was a Name God prophetically spoke about Himself, not one that someone gave Him. Exodus 15:26.

(Holman Bible Dictionary and the book All the Divine Names And Titles In The Bible by Herbert Lockyer used as source for certain material.)

There is another that does not make this list very often, but it is worth noting JEHOVAH QUANNA – From Exodus 20:5  “for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God.”

In any case we learn much about God’s character, and His nature as He tells us His Name.

As you read these names – which one speaks to you today? What do you hear the Lord saying about Himself, or about you when you meditate on these names? There are probably dozens, maybe even hundreds of other ways God refers to himself in the Old Testament, Ancient of days, Rock of Ages. Can you think of others?

Tomorrow we will look at the JEHOVAH statements of the New Testament. Don’t miss it!

BenThanks for reading.


"His Name is Wonderful" by Audrey Mieir
"Jehovah Jireh" - by Merla Watson

Hallowed is not a word we use much today. We hear a throw back to it in the word Halloween, but there is not much we can learn from our grand October holiday about what Hallowed means.

Well, here's a surprise for you. It is a verb not an adjective! That caught me by surprise. I would have said that it simply meant that God’s name had the characteristic of being Holy, or set apart, but that is not exactly it.

It is more like we are to hallow, or reverence the name of God, but I am still not satisfied with the word reverence, because it has little meaning to us today.

One thing we might be able to understand is that the Name of God must be kept separate from anything that is not holy. This is a bigger deal than just keeping it away from that which is dirty, or ugly, like using His name to curse rather than bless.

You see Holy is not the opposite of evil, it is the opposite of common, or normal, or regular. Let that sink in for a minute. Holy is the opposite of normal. We are to make His name stand so far above normal as to be supernormal (or you could say supernatural.)

Frankly this is why I cringe just a little when folks use OMG so freely. I hate to hear God’s name (or even just a quick reference to it) used in such a common manner, so regular and every day.

The third commandment, which God gave Moses for His people, was “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” (Exodus 20:7) I have often said when we are married a wife takes her husband’s name, and so it is when we are born again. We take Christ’s name, Christian. When we live a life that looks nothing like Christ we are taking that name in vain!

Let us, not only in our prayers, and in our words, but by our life Hallow His Name! [Tweet This]

MeWhat can you do today to Hallow His name?

Thanks for reading today. Let’s live it.


"Holy And Anointed One"  Written by John Barnett

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