What if the presidents or prime ministers or kings or queens or dictators weren’t leading the country in the right direction? What if those in authority were leading people astray? What if their actions weren’t in alignment with God’s plan and purpose? What would be the consequences? To them…To us… We know that every action and a response. Or as they say in physics, every action as an opposite reaction. What if the people followed suit? What if the people turned it around? Those in authority have responsibilities for what is going on! Those who are following also have a responsibility for how they respond and act! We see the roller coaster of kings in the Old Testament where they follow God and then the next guy is proud and rebels against God and back and forth. We see the people go along with it and we see the people reject it. What if someone in authority asked you to do something that you knew was wrong? What if it was against God’s Word? What if in your gut you knew it was the wrong thing to do?
This weekend at church there was an interesting topic as we are closing the What’s Next series. It spoke to Judgment Seat of Christ (Bema Seat) and the White Throne of Judgment. Do you know the difference? One you definitely don’t want to miss and the other you definitely don’t want to be at that event.
White Throne of Judgment…
11 Then I saw a great white throne and the one who sits on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence and were seen no more. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small alike, standing before the throne. Books were opened, and then another book was opened, the book of the living. The dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. 13Then the sea gave up its dead. Death and the world of the dead also gave up the dead they held. And all were judged according to what they had done. 14Then death and the world of the dead were thrown into the lake of fire. (This lake of fire is the second death.) 15Those who did not have their name written in the book of the living were thrown into the lake of fire.
–from Revelation 20
We want to be in the book of Life. All we need to do is to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Ask Him into our hearts and follow after Him.
12 “Listen!” says Jesus. “I am coming soon! I will bring my rewards with me, to give to each one according to what he has done.
–from Revelation 22:12
10 You then, who eat only vegetables—why do you pass judgment on others? And you who eat anything—why do you despise other believers? All of us will stand before God to be judged by him. 11 For the scripture says, “As surely as I am the living God, says the Lord, everyone will kneel before me, and everyone will confess that I am God.” 12Every one of us, then, will have to give an account to God.
–from Romans 14:10-12
9More than anything else, however, we want to please him, whether in our home here or there. 10 For all of us must appear before Christ, to be judged by him. We will each receive what we deserve, according to everything we have done, good or bad, in our bodily life. 11We know what it means to fear the Lord, and so we try to persuade others. God knows us completely, and I hope that in your hearts you know me as well.
–from 2 Corinthians 5:9-11
19After all, it is you—you, no less than others!—who are our hope, our joy, and our reason for boasting of our victory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes. 20Indeed, you are our pride and our joy!
–from 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
We want to be at this event. This is more like the Olympics where God will call us up and reward us for our lives lived for Him! So let’s be good stewards of what He has given us! Let’s do everything we can do to finish the race strong!
Consider what we read in James…
2 My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, 3for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. 4Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
12Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.
–from James 1:2-4, 12
Do you want to receive a crown for what you have done? Did you know there are 5 crowns?
- Grown of life – James 1:12
- Crown of righteousness – 2 Timothy 4:8
- Crown of glory – 1 Peter 5:4
- Crown of rejoicing – 1 Thessalonians 2:19
- Imperishable crown – 1 Corinthians 9:25-27
So what will you do with your today? Let’s consider what is in today’s reading…
The Lord’s Portion of the Country1When the land is divided to give each tribe a share, one part is to be dedicated to the Lord. It is to be 10 miles long by 8 miles wide. The entire area will be holy. 2In this area there is to be a square plot of land for the Temple, 840 feet on each side, entirely surrounded by an open space 84 feet wide. 3Half of this area, a section 10 miles by 4 miles, is to be measured off; it will contain the Temple, the holiest place of all. 4It will be a holy part of the country, set aside for the priests who serve the Lord in his Temple. It will contain their houses and the section of land for the Temple. 5The other half of the area is to be set aside as the possession of the Levites, who do the work in the Temple. There will be towns there for them to live in. 6Next to the holy area, another section, 10 miles long and 2 miles wide, is to be set aside for a city where any of the people of Israel may live.
Land for the Prince7Land is also to be set aside for the ruling prince. From the west boundary of the holy area it will extend west to the Mediterranean Sea; and from the east boundary it will extend to the eastern border of the country, so that its length will be the same as the length of one of the areas allotted to the tribes of Israel. 8This area will be the share the ruling prince will have in the land of Israel, so that he will no longer oppress the people, but will let the rest of the country belong to the tribes of Israel.
Rules for the Prince9The Sovereign Lord said, “You have sinned too long, you rulers of Israel! Stop your violence and oppression. Do what is right and just. You must never again drive my people off their land. I, the Sovereign Lord, am telling you this. 10“Everyone must use honest weights and measures: 11“The ephah for dry measure is to be equal to the bath for liquid measure. The standard is the homer. The resulting measures are as follows: 1 homer = 10 ephahs = 10 baths 12“Your weights are to be as follows: 20 gerahs = 1 shekel 60 shekels = 1 mina 13-15“This is the basis on which you are to make your offerings: Wheat: 1/60th of your harvest Barley: 1/60th of your harvest Olive oil: 1/100th of the yield of your trees (Measure it by the bath 10 baths = 1 homer = 1 kor) Sheep: 1 sheep out of every 200 from the meadows of Israel “You are to bring grain offerings, animals to be burned whole, and animals for fellowship offerings, so that your sins will be forgiven. I, the Sovereign Lord, command it. 16“All the people of the land must take these offerings to the ruling prince of Israel. 17It will be his duty to provide the animals to be burned whole, the grain offerings, and the wine offerings for the whole nation of Israel at the New Moon Festivals, the Sabbaths, and the other festivals. He is to provide the sin offerings, the grain offerings, the offerings to be burned whole, and the fellowship offerings, to take away the sins of the people of Israel.”
The Festivals(Exodus 12.1-20; Leviticus 23.33-43)18The Sovereign Lord said, “On the first day of the first month you are to sacrifice a bull without any defects and purify the Temple. 19The priest will take some of the blood of this sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the Temple, on the four corners of the altar, and on the posts of the gateways to the inner courtyard. 20On the seventh day of the month you are to do the same thing on behalf of anyone who sins unintentionally or through ignorance. In this way you will keep the Temple holy. 21“On the fourteenth day of the first month you will begin the celebration of the Passover Festival. For seven days everyone will eat bread made without yeast. 22On the first day of the festival the ruling prince must offer a bull as a sacrifice for his sins and for those of all the people. 23On each of the seven days of the festival he is to sacrifice to the Lord seven bulls and seven rams without any defects and burn them whole. He is also to sacrifice a male goat each day as a sin offering. 24For each bull and each ram that is sacrificed, there is to be an offering of half a bushel of grain and three quarts of olive oil. 25“For the Festival of Shelters, which begins on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the prince will offer on each of the seven days the same sacrifice for sin, the same offerings to be burned whole, and the same offerings of grain and olive oil.”–from Ezekiel 45
The Prince and the Festivals1The Sovereign Lord says, “The east gateway to the inner courtyard must be kept closed during the six working days, but it is to be opened on the Sabbath and at the New Moon Festival. 2The ruling prince will go from the outer courtyard into the entrance room of the gateway and stand beside the posts of the gate while the priests burn his sacrifices whole and offer his fellowship offerings. There at the gate he must worship and then go back out. The gate must not be shut until evening. 3Each Sabbath and each New Moon Festival all the people are also to bow down and worship the Lord in front of the gate. 4On the Sabbath the prince is to bring to the Lord, as sacrifices to be burned whole, six lambs and one ram, all without any defects. 5With each ram he is to bring an offering of half a bushel of grain, and with each lamb he is to bring whatever he wants to give. For each half-bushel of grain offering he is to bring three quarts of olive oil. 6At the New Moon Festival he will offer a young bull, six lambs, and a ram, all without any defects. 7With each bull and each ram the offering is to be half a bushel of grain, and with each lamb the offering is to be whatever the prince wants to give. Three quarts of olive oil are to be offered with each half-bushel of grain. 8The prince must leave the entrance room of the gateway and go out by the same way he went in. 9“When the people come to worship the Lord at any festival, those who enter by the north gate are to leave by the south gate after they have worshiped, and those who enter by the south gate are to leave by the north gate. No one may go out by the same way he entered, but must leave by the opposite gate. 10The prince is to come in when the people come, and leave when they leave. 11On the feast days and at the festivals the grain offering will be half a bushel with each bull or ram, and whatever the worshiper wants to give with each lamb. Three quarts of olive oil are to be offered with each half-bushel of grain. 12“When the ruling prince wants to make a voluntary offering to the Lord, either an offering to be burned whole or a fellowship offering, the east gate to the inner courtyard will be opened for him. He is to make the offering in the same way he does on the Sabbath, and the gate is to be closed after he goes back out.”
The Daily Offering13The Lord says, “Every morning a one-year-old lamb without any defects is to be burned whole as an offering to the Lord. This offering must be made every day. 14Also an offering of five pounds of flour is to be made every morning, along with one quart of olive oil for mixing with the flour. The rules for this offering to the Lord are to be in force forever. 15The lamb, the flour, and the olive oil are to be offered to the Lord every morning forever.”
The Prince and the Land16The Sovereign Lord commands: “If the ruling prince gives any of the land he owns to one of his sons as a present, it will belong to that son as a part of his family property. 17 But if the ruling prince gives any of his land to anyone who is in his service, it will become the prince’s property again when the Year of Restoration comes. It belongs to him, and only he and his sons can own it permanently. 18The ruling prince must not take any of the people’s property away from them. Any land he gives to his sons must be from the land that is assigned to him, so that he will not oppress any of my people by taking their land.”
The Temple Kitchens19Then the man took me to the entrance of the rooms facing north near the gate on the south side of the inner courtyard. These are holy rooms for the priests. He pointed out a place on the west side of the rooms 20and said, “This is the place where the priests are to boil the meat offered as sacrifices for sin or as repayment offerings, and to bake the offerings of flour, so that nothing holy is carried to the outer courtyard, where it might harm the people.” 21-22Then he led me to the outer courtyard and showed me that in each of its four corners there was a smaller courtyard, 68 feet long and 48 feet wide. 23Each one had a stone wall around it, with fireplaces built against the wall. 24The man told me, “These are the kitchens where the Temple servants are to boil the sacrifices the people offer.”–from Ezekiel 46
The Stream Flowing from the Temple1 The man led me back to the entrance of the Temple. Water was coming out from under the entrance and flowing east, the direction the Temple faced. It was flowing down from under the south part of the Temple past the south side of the altar. 2The man then took me out of the Temple area by way of the north gate and led me around to the gate that faces east. A small stream of water was flowing out at the south side of the gate. 3With his measuring rod the man measured 560 yards downstream to the east and told me to wade through the stream there. The water came only to my ankles. 4Then he measured another 560 yards, and the water came up to my knees. Another 560 yards farther down, the water was up to my waist. 5He measured 560 yards more, and there the stream was so deep I could not wade through it. It was too deep to cross except by swimming. 6He said to me, “Mortal man, note all this carefully.” Then the man took me back to the riverbank, 7and when I got there, I saw that there were very many trees on each bank. 8He said to me, “This water flows through the land to the east and down into the Jordan Valley and to the Dead Sea. When it flows into the Dead Sea, it replaces the salt water of that sea with fresh water. 9Wherever the stream flows, there will be all kinds of animals and fish. The stream will make the water of the Dead Sea fresh, and wherever it flows, it will bring life. 10From the Springs of Engedi all the way to the Springs of Eneglaim, there will be fishermen on the shore of the sea, and they will spread out their nets there to dry. There will be as many different kinds of fish there as there are in the Mediterranean Sea. 11But the water in the marshes and ponds along the shore will not be made fresh. They will remain there as a source of salt. 12 On each bank of the stream all kinds of trees will grow to provide food. Their leaves will never wither, and they will never stop bearing fruit. They will have fresh fruit every month, because they are watered by the stream that flows from the Temple. The trees will provide food, and their leaves will be used for healing people.”
The Boundaries of the Land13The Sovereign Lord said, “These are the boundaries of the land that is to be divided among the twelve tribes, with the tribe of Joseph receiving two sections. 14I solemnly promised your ancestors that I would give them possession of this land; now divide it equally among you. 15“The northern boundary runs eastward from the Mediterranean Sea to the city of Hethlon, to Hamath Pass, to the city of Zedad, 16to the cities of Berothah and Sibraim (they are located between the territory of the kingdom of Damascus and that of the kingdom of Hamath), and to the city of Ticon (located by the border of the district of Hauran). 17So the northern boundary runs from the Mediterranean eastward to Enon City, with the border regions of Damascus and Hamath to the north of it. 18“The eastern boundary runs south from a point between the territory of Damascus and that of Hauran, with the Jordan River forming the boundary between the land of Israel on the west and Gilead on the east, as far as Tamar on the Dead Sea. 19“The southern boundary runs southwest from Tamar to the oasis of Kadesh Meribah and then northwest along the Egyptian border to the Mediterranean Sea. 20“The western boundary is formed by the Mediterranean and runs north to a point west of Hamath Pass. 21“Divide this land among your tribes; 22it is to be your permanent possession. The foreigners who are living among you and who have had children born here are also to receive their share of the land when you divide it. They are to be treated like full Israelite citizens and are to draw lots for shares of the land along with the tribes of Israel. 23All foreign residents will receive their share with the people of the tribe among whom they are living. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.”–from Ezekiel 47