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For accessing rich treasures in His Word and for edification
 
 
MESSAGE FOR THE FORTNIGHT
 





THE FAITHFUL ONE

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant… Deu 7:9

First things first (Alphabet “F” would be used frequently in this message…). What is the chief and highest end of man? Let the revered Christian Book namely the Westminster catechism give the answer. Man's chief and highest end is to glorify (worship) God, and fully to enjoy him forever. When it comes to glorifying Him and fully enjoying Him, let it be said that the entire exercise ought to be “absolutely genuine emanating right from the innermost core of one’s being (read spirit)”. This would lead to the next question, how could the process of glorifying Him originate right from the depths of one’s heart? It is only possible, when a person is truly fascinated by His unique traits. Remember, worshipping God for what He is, is the highest form of worship, standing head and shoulders above other forms of worship, which come with strings attached, such as worshipping Him for the blessings, He showers upon us. While on the subject, at this stage, it would serve us well to look at the synonym of the word “Glorify”, which is “Magnify”. When, one magnifies Him, that is to say, when one keenly observes His Divine nature, with a magnifying glass, as it were, the “spiritual explorer” (if you permit me to use this expression) in you is bound to come across several unique attributes of the Almighty, which would evoke awe, and in turn lead to spontaneous, heart-felt worship and praise.

In this message I would like to bring before my readership, one definite attribute in the Almighty, which at once evokes awe in me that is …He is (as the above-captioned Scripture emphasizes) a Faithful One. One may well say that His signature of faithfulness is seen vividly in all of His dealings with men beginning with Adam. Going with the ebb and flow of this message on the topic of our Lord’s faithfulness, Yours Truly would also attempt


    a) to reconstruct events of Daniel 5 (where we would see overthrowing of the Mighty Empire of Babylon by the Medo-Persian King Cyrus in line with the prophecy therein within a few hours of its utterance - Daniel 5:24-30), even

    b) whilst bringing out some similarities between King Cyrus and Christ

At this stage, it would also serve us well to look at the Hebrew and Greek words employed for describing faithfulness which are “Emunah” and “Pistis” respectively which mean loyalty or steadfastness. It is His infinite loyalty which binds the Eternal One into an eternal relationship with his prized creation-Man.

A closer look at the above captioned Scripture portion (at the beginning of this message) would also reveal that the words “Faithful” and “Covenant” are spoken of in the same breath. In fact where God’s faithfulness is, the word Covenant (whose base is God’s faithfulness) cannot be far-off.

Before taking one proverbial step forward at this point, I would like to dwell more on the significance of the word “Covenant” even while comparing it with the word “Contract” to understand better the nuances of the former. The 2 notable differences between these 2 almost similar words are…while a contract is always between 2 Parties of equal stature (eg…a Land owner and a building Contractor), a Covenant is always between a higher party and a lower party like
    1) a marriage between a stronger husband and his wife-a weaker vessel- Mal 2:14/ 1 Peter 3:7 -or

    2) the will of an experienced father being handed over to his not-so-experienced progeny- Job 42:15 or

    3) the Prince Jonathan entering into a covenantal pact of friendship with the shepherd boy David (1 Sam 18:1-4).



Also we need to remember that while a contract stands broken if either of the 2 Contracting parties violate the terms of agreement, a Covenant remains intact at all times, from the higher party’s perspective with he always fulfilling the terms of the agreement even if the lower party violates them. One need not go beyond a faithful husband Hosea and his faithful demeanor towards his faithless wife Gomer to better comprehend the meaning of the word Covenant (Hosea 3:1-3).

To substantiate the above points I want to bring before my readership the following examples which underscore our Heavenly Father’s faithfulness…

Faithful Father of Man…



Yes, Adam whose Father is God (Luke 3:38) transgressed the covenant he had with his Father dealing faithlessly with Him ( Hosea 6:7-ESV) but his Divine benefactor would not go back in the matter of helping him and his wife in various ways…beginning with

    a) provision of clothes ( Gen 3:21)

    b) protection from wild animals (Daniel in the lion’s den story would get dwarfed in comparison, for after the Fall all the “wild” animal-tigers, bears, elephants- would all become hostile to our “First Parents”, leave alone the Lions) and later on

    c) ensuring safe delivery during child-birth (Gen 4:1-2) at a time no midwives were there ( Gen 35:17) leave alone the maternity hospitals ….etc…etc…


Faithful Father of the Nation…



While George Washington and Mahatma Gandhi, may be called the Fathers’ of the Nations’ of USA and India respectively, there is no doubting as to who was the Father of the Nation of Israel as the following Scripture portion affirms oh-so-beautifully…

Surely you are our Father! Even if Abraham and Jacob would disown us, LORD, you would still be our Father…-. Isa 63:16

Though the obedience graph of the Jews would show wild swings right from their “conception onwards”, so to speak (read Wilderness journey from Egypt to Canaan) the Almighty remained faithful to them providing for them. A closer scrutiny of the Scriptures would reveal despite their constant rebellion none of them died out of hunger or thirst in their 40 years journey- Deu 29:5- though they brought a curse of longer stay in the Desert upon themselves. Later on, in the Promised Land and outside of it too (they brought the curse of exile upon themselves due to willful idol-worship) the Faithful God would continue to care, provide for them (Jeremiah 29:1-11) besides protecting them from all kinds of dangers including a planned, horrific international genocide (Book of Esther stands as a testament to this truth). Now the same faithful One has given an assurance that all Jews (though they despise Christ now) would soon be led to a Christ-oriented salvation (Zech 12:10/ Rom 11:26-27).

Whilst on the Lord’s faithfulness towards the Jews, even cursory reading of Jeremiah 29:11 addressed to the Jewish exiles in Babylon would make a first-time Bible reader wonder whether the Jews were in Babylon for doing “something good” or doing “something bad”.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.- Jeremiah 29:11

When we consider historically how the good Lord brought this prophecy (addressed to the Jewish exiles in Babylon) to pass, it would bring us to King Cyrus and the providential events described in Daniel Chapter 5). Before I take one proverbial step ahead, I want to blare out a question…is it an easy task to enter White house and kill the incumbent US President just like that, what with all the security around (God forbid, for we shall always uphold our leaders in prayer- 1 Tim 2:1-2)???

King Cyrus (one of the seven individuals named in The Bible even before his birth- the others being Ishmael, Issac, King Solomon, King Josiah, John the Baptist and Christ Jesus) was miraculously aided by the good Lord to bring about the Fall of Mighty Babylon on the night of revelry of wicked King Belshazzar (who had no qualms in defiling the holy utensils of the God’s Holy Temple whilst being under the influence of wine) perfectly in line with the prophecies in Isaiah 44:27-28/ Isaiah 45:1 which read thus:

“who says to the deep, ‘Be dry;I will dry up your rivers’; who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfil all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built’, and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’”- Isaiah 44:27-28

Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed:- Isaiah 45:1


Daniel Chapter 5


For the uninitiated ones’ on the subject, I intend to say that it would serve them well to read the enlightening Biblical commentaries such as the one of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown or that of Adam Clark on the subject to grasp better the mystifying intricacies of this amazing subject (events of Daniel Chapter 5) for even cursory reading of this Chapter by curious first-time readers’ would birth in them some logical questions such as

    a) Was King Belshazzar aware of the impending attack of the army of King Cyrus on that “epochal” night? If so, would he hold a rev party on the night of his death?

    b) How did King Cyrus cross the Euphrates River which lies between the 2 Kingdoms of Babylon and Medo-Persia oh-so-quickly? Was the prophecy “I would dry up the rivers before King Cyrus” literally fulfilled that night?

    c) Who opened up the gates of the imposing Babylonian fort for King Cyrus to enter the City and take the obviously unprepared Babylonian army totally by surprise?


While limitations of time and space may constrain Yours Truly from dealing more elaborately on the above "juicy" questions, what I want to affirm is this. King Cyrus after being called the Shepherd of the Jews (Isa 44:28) could only be the “protector and provider” of God’s flock (read Jews) in line with the hitherto referred to prophecy in Jeremiah 29:11 rather being a source of any danger to them.

Just contemplate for a moment, if King Cyrus had broken down the gates (it would have been a “noisy affair” alerting the army on the other side of the gates) of the Babylonian Fort on that fateful night (fateful for Babylonian King who was getting his just desserts for his many a blasphemous act- Daniel 5:2-4) before making his entry into the City (they were doubtlessly “miraculously” opened). Would not “the-now-alerted” Babylonian forces resist Cyrus’ army with their own barrage of weapons? In the ensuing, intermittent “cross fire” (permit me to use this modern expression) of that battle, would not have at least some of the innocent Jews (in fact thousands of them were residing in Babylon then) perished? In the Indian context, even today does not “Cross-border” firing in J and K claim innocent lives? But the Faithful God of Israel ordained the occurrence of events as per His Sovereign will borne out of fathomless wisdom in such a way that “not one Jew” perished in the “entire take-over” process!!! If this is not an act of faithfulness by the ever-faithful One towards his not-so-faithful people, then what is it? Hallelujah!!!

Now coming to the “third dimension” of my message under the overall ambit of God’s faithfulness, keeping in focus the imminent rapture and subsequent tribulation period of 7 years, I want to bring out at this point the similarities between King Cyrus and Christ Jesus (and also incidentally the ones between King Belshazzar and Anti-Christ)…


Isa 44:26-27/45:1                                         Rev 19:11-16


Foretold…

Both- King Cyrus and the Saviour’s - names were foretold before their respective births Isa 44:28/ Matt 1:21)…

Free

If King Cyrus was used by the Faithful One of Israel to deliver the captive Jews in exile at Babylon, then Christ would in His Second Coming, be used of the Faithful Father to liberate the Jews from the besieging forces of Anti-Christ which would be gathered at Armageddon (Rev 16:16/ 19:21).

Form…

If the form of King Cyrus defeating the mighty Babylon forces holding sway over Jewish exiles in Babylon was one of “effortless ease” (relatively speaking), similarly Christ method of destroying the army of Anti-Christ at Armageddon would also be one of “effortless ease”. If through utterance of one word, Christ brought the World into existence (Col 1:16-17), then by utterance of one word, He would destroy the vast army of Antichrist too (Rev 19:21).

Fruit…

King Cyrus attack on Babylon was divinely mandated only at a time when the fruit of its sin had ripened, just as it had happened when Joshua conquered Canaan (Canaanites sin had ripened at that time- Genesis 15:16). Cyrus’ conquest of Babylon did not take place when Babylonian Empire had some God-fearing, considerate Kings like Nebuchadnezzar and Evil-merodach (Daniel 4:34-35, 2 Kings 25:27-30) but only when it was ruled by a hard-hearted, blasphemous King. Similarly, God’s wrath through Christ would not come upon Anti-Christ when he tries to be a global “peace usher” albeit through deceitful means (Daniel 8:25/ Rev 6:1-2) but only when his sins would ripen by way of many blasphemous acts (Rev 13:1-6).

Facilitate…

After defeating the Babylonian King, King Cyrus “the Shepherd of Jews” had played the facilitator in the reconstruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-11) and Christ the “Shepherd” after defeating Anti-Christ at His Second Coming, would also help Jews construct the Millennial “Ezekiel” Temple in Jerusalem even whilst ruling the World from that Holy City (Psalm 2:6-12/ Ezekiel 37:24/ 48:35).

Faithful Father of the Redeemed in Christ…



In conclusion, let’s focus upon our Faithful Heavenly Father’s dealing with us- Christians. Besides selecting us for salvation in Christ from times immemorial (Eph 1:3-6), He has promised to faithfully shepherd us till we safely reach Heaven or till the Rapture (whichever takes place first- 1 Thess 5:23-24) by sealing us with His Holy Spirit (2 Cor 1:22/ Eph 1:13-14). In our own “ups and downs” of our spiritual walk with Him, as the following Scripture testifies He always remains faithful…

“if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” -2 Tim 2:13
(Hey, let not this Scripture be a license to any licentiousness!!! Beware our Father is also a consuming fire- Heb 10:26-31/12:29)


In response to our Father’s immeasurable faithfulness, let’s resolve Him to serve Him faithfully till the very end depending upon His indwelling, empowering Holy Spirit to overcome all the temptations that may come our way (I John 4:4/ Heb 10:37-38/ Rev 17:14). Amen and Amen.



Yours in His service,


(Suresh Manoharan)



In the revelry in Babylon on the night of its capture, the inner gates leading from the streets to the river were left open, because there were walls along each side of the Euphrates with gates, which, had they been kept shut, would have hemmed the invading hosts in the bed of the river where the Babylonians could have easily destroyed them. Also, the gates of the palace were left open, so that there was access to every part of the city: and such was its extent, that they who lived in the extremities were taken prisoners before the alarm reached the center of the palace (Herodotus, 1:, sec. 191).