Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: What the Angels of Heaven Are Begging Us to Do

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The angels of heaven are begging the inhabitants of earth to read the book of Revelation (see 1:1-3).

As we come to the end-time, the sounding of "the seventh angel's" trumpet, John the prophet sees "lightnings" and hears "noises ["voices," KJV], and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail"--the most awful spiritual "storm" in earth's 6000 years (11:15-19).

Next he sees the panoramic history of God's true church through the ages, focusing on their final witness of truth to the world (12:1-17).

Then he sees the monstrous deception of a counterfeit "christ" and its imitation gospel that leads "all who dwell on the earth" to worship this power except those "whose names are ... written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (13:1-8). The world is being catalyzed into two camps.

Next the prophet sees a savage burst of persecuting frenzy wherein multitudes who think themselves following that "Lamb" will repeat the essence of His original unjust crucifixion, on His people (13:11-17).

Then the prophet sees the raising up of a group of "144,000" who share a corporate oneness "in Christ" and bring the world to a final up-or-down vote on identifying the true Christ (14:1-15). It will also involve distinguishing the true Holy Spirit from its extremely clever opposite (18:2, 3). We're just about there. Living now is serious business.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 16, 2005.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Listen, World! Listen, Church!

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

As the Angel of Revelation 10 (Christ Himself) gives the fanfare to "the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound" his trumpet (Rev. 10:1-7), Jesus says, Listen! The message of that seventh angel is electrifying to the whole world: "There should be [time] no longer. ... The mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants, the prophets."

Listen, world! Listen, church! Everything that God has been saying for 6000 years is now being shouted before "many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings" (vs. 11). Finally, something is being "finished"! No more delay! Finally the picture is being focused razor sharp.

But what is this "mystery of God"? Something He wants to hide from us? No, a thousand times no. A "mystery" in the Bible is something God wants to reveal to us. Colossians explains it neatly: "The mystery which has been hidden from ages ... now has been revealed ... which is Christ in you, the hope of glory ... that we may present every [person] perfect in Christ Jesus" (1:26-28).

The seventh angel says that now is the time to be done with all this sin-foolishness; now is the time to "see" Christ as He truly is, free from the foggy misconceptions invented by the "Antichrist" that envelop Him in mist that makes Him seem "far away from us." Now is the time to see how He became one of us, took our fallen, sinful nature, and "condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3), our "flesh," so that those who consider Him as He truly is can "overcome ... even as [He] also overcame." (Rev. 3:21, KJV).

Yes, God will have what He has always wanted--"every [person] perfect in Christ Jesus" (that is, every person who believes the Good News). And if you will "listen," you will find it easier to "believe." Impossible?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 16, 2001.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: A Special Angel Calls Us to Be Alert

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Have you been listening? Above the loud noise of our freeways, planes, trains, TVs and radios, and talking on cell phones, something important is sounding: the blowing of a heavenly trumpet.

Most of the world is deaf to this sound of real alarm. It's the reality above and beyond the savvy of our wisest news commentators and philosophers. It's the news in the Book of Revelation, chapter 10, of the seventh angel blowing his trumpet.

A special Angel (Christ Himself) with a rainbow on His head declares solemnly to all the world "that there should be [time] no longer, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound [his trumpet], the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets" (vss. 1-7).

In Revelation chapters 8-11, we are given this glimpse into reality--seven angels blowing seven trumpets of alarm. For centuries, careful, reverent-minded scholars have seen these "trumpets" as spanning the 2000 years since Christ's resurrection.

In this larger picture of cosmic history, they have seen the events under the "fifth" and "sixth trumpets" as portraying the impact of Islam on the world, and the "seventh trumpet" as the time of the final Day of Atonement when the world's Savior completes His work of reconciling humanity to God's plan of salvation. Then "the kingdoms of this world ... become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ" (11:15).

This solemn ministry is going on right now; none know how soon this special ministry of grace will end. The Angel calls us to be alert, to hear what's going on. Listen on your knees.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 15, 2001.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: "Great and Precious Promises"--God's or Ours?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

It seems like a fantastic idea, but it's like a golden thread throughout both Old and New Testaments of the Bible: proud, sinful, selfish, lustful, wicked human hearts (ours!) are changed by simply believing what the apostle Peter says are "exceedingly great and precious promises" (2 Peter 1:4)!

And they're not man's "promises." They are the Lord's. Can it really be true that there is power in something as simple as believing God's promises (that appear to be so wild and extravagant)? God virtually promised Abraham the sky. And the old man is "the father of us all."

For instance, in the Old Testament we read that He picked up the only monotheist He could find in the ancient world, called him into exile to "a land that [He] would show him," promised it to him "for an everlasting possession." Paul got the idea: it was almost infinitely more than that tiny little strip of land known as Canaan; it meant the whole earth! (Rom 4:13).

And no way could the "possession" be "everlasting" for Abraham unless this "exceedingly great and precious promise" included the gift of eternal life, which Abraham couldn't enjoy as a genetic inheritance for he was born a sinner under condemnation like all of us. And further, no way could he be "the heir of the world" unless it became the "new earth." And again, no way could he be "the heir" of such a new earth unless he was given the gift of "righteousness," for Peter insists that only "righteousness dwells" there (2 Peter 3:13).

So, it all ends up full circle: God's "exceeding great and precious promises" mean the out-and-out gift of "righteousness by faith." And that was the meaning of those seven promises the Lord made to Abraham in Genesis 12:2, 3, and then later swore to in chapter 15--staking His very existence and His eternal throne on His keeping them.

Now, we return to our question: does it make sense that we, sinful selfish people by nature can be changed, converted, purified, transformed, even "sanctified," by believing those "promises"? Believe it or not, that is Peter's idea: "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, ... exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:3, 4).

"Escape" is what we desperately need, for we face the second death without it. The "corruption" of lust surrounds us and would permeate us. But it's true: our "escape" is only in believing those "promises." Let's join the father whose son was healed, in our own heart-felt prayer: "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:23, 24). We can never perish if we pray that prayer.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 6, 2004.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Young People, Something to Dedicate Your Life For!

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The grand truths of the Bible are becoming more sharply defined worldwide as we come closer to the second coming of Christ. A great Enemy of Christ fights against truth, but "the truth of the gospel" prevails against all opposition:

(1) Christ's love for His church (and for the world) will motivate His personal, literal, and visible second coming to take to Himself His people (John 14:1-3).

(2) A people will respond to "the truth of the gospel" and will "overcome" sin in preparation for translation at His coming (Gal. 2:5; Rev. 3:21).

(3) The motivation that will accomplish this grand demonstration of the gospel will not be egocentric fear (the basic idea of "Babylon"), but a clearer concept of love (agape) that "constrains" to unselfish devotion to Christ (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).

(4) Thus will be fulfilled the prophetic picture of a people that truthfully "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 12:17; 14:12; Rom. 13:10).

(5) This takes place in the biblical "time of the end," when "knowledge shall increase" (Dan. 12:4). That time is now.

(6) It is the same as "the hour of [God's] judgment" when He as well as the world is to be "judged" (Rev. 14:6, 7). It is the final victory of the ages, the long "controversy between Christ and Satan."

(7) It is also described as "the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary," a successful completion of Christ's ministry as the world's great High Priest (Dan. 8:14).

(8) He is not to battle vainly against sin for endless eons yet to come, always doomed to remain "despised and rejected of men." He is to demonstrate a huge success in His plan of salvation, before His second advent (Rev. 14:15; 18:1-4). The world will see it.

(9) Every honest heart around the world will respond to this "revelation of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 15:2).

(10) A significant chapter in this development of "the truth of the gospel" will be the distinction between the counterfeit "holy spirit" of "Babylon" and the genuine "latter rain" to be received by the "remnant church" (Rev. 18:1, 2). Every honest heart worldwide will be undeceived.

Young people: this is something to dedicate your life for!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 25, 2007.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Is Theological Harmony in the Church Possible?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Whatever gift anyone has received from the Giver of gifts, it builds up the church. When you're confused about whether a message you hear or read comes from God or is a counterfeit from the Enemy, just watch and see: does it build up the church?

It is commonly said that theological harmony is impossible in the church until after the second coming of Christ. Theologians must squabble, we think; teachers must disagree; pastors must preach against each other; you're not smart unless you demonstrate where you differ from everyone else.

Paul says no; this "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one Spirit" (Eph. 4:4, 5) means what it says. We are to "grow up" out of our childishness into "the unity of the faith." Christ is not divided. That means a development of character that brings God's people to the enormously high standard of the Son of God Himself--"a perfect man, ... the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (vs. 13).

Someone may ask, "Is that the heresy of perfectionism?" No. "Perfectionism" is indeed a heresy, but this is not it; the heresy part is the idea of perfection of the flesh. The flesh never becomes perfect until Jesus comes. But this is Christlike perfection of character. The Bible does not even claim perfection of Christ's flesh. As a Carpenter, He was a careful workman, but must we say that He never bent a nail or hit His thumb? Hebrews says He learned "perfection" by the "things which He suffered" (5:8, 9).

But let us beware of ridiculing the idea of overcoming sin, because it's what Christ died to accomplish in His people! It's the final fruit of His work as High Priest in the second apartment of His heavenly sanctuary, the time of its ultimate cleansing on this antitypical Day of Atonement. It's His work going forward just now. It's His ministry of the "growing up" of His people that they may no longer be immature, "tossed about" by confusion, but may "grow up" before His coming.

The best good news comes now: the growing up process is going on! "The whole body," the church, is like a human body that grows in perfect symmetry and unity. Paul's idea is that the truest "church growth" is not where specialists come in to cause it, but where the members themselves, filled with agape, are adding new members, and helping those already in the church to grow.

That is the ultimate "evangelism," which will be demonstrated perfectly when that "other angel coming down from heaven, having great authority" illuminates the earth "with his glory," calling every honest-hearted soul to "come out of Babylon" (Rev. 18:1-4). And, praise God! His people still scattered in "Babylon" will heed the Voice and come!

That "other angel" is again a symbol of a people who have the message and are the messengers. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit as "the latter rain" will supply the holy energy. The beginning of that final "gift" was given long ago, but it was not welcomed at the time. But God will not permit His seed to return unto Him void; He is watching over that message, and in His providence it will bear its fruit.

--Robert J. Wieland

From: Ephesians: You've Been "Adopted," 2005.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Have You Ever Been Persecuted?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Have you ever been persecuted? If honesty forces you to say No, then you have never been fully "blessed." You are deprived! The word "persecution" has come to mean primarily suffering unjust opposition or affliction from religious authorities.

When people who are openly godless attack you, it is easier to bear than when those who profess to be servants of God do it. Jesus says, "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad ... for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matt. 5:11, 12).

Why is such persecution so painful for sincere people to endure? Church fellowship is like family fellowship, often more intimately so. It's like yanking a plant out of the ground by its roots; it soon withers. Where is Jesus when that happens to you?

We can find the answer in John 9: Jesus had healed the man born blind; the Jewish clergy harassed him, persecuted him, finally "cast him out" of his "church fellowship," the synagogue. "Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and ... He ... found him" (vs. 35). For Jesus to find him and be with him was part of the "blessing" that He promised to those who are persecuted for His sake.

If you have been so "persecuted," but you can be assured of one blessing regardless of the merit of your case. When your heart is aching because of the persecution you are enduring, Jesus finds you. Further, He had a conversation with the man who was born blind, to encourage him (vss. 35-39). And for sure Jesus will have a conversation with you, to encourage you in the way of truth.

Jesus feels especially close to everyone who suffers for the sake of his or her conscience, even if your conscience is "sick," in need of healing. Accept His presence; listen to Him, talk with Him; accept His healing. Your "roots" may have been yanked out of your church fellowship; now let your roots be established in Him. He will not encourage you to be self-righteous or proud, or vindictive or accusing. Instead, He will teach you holy wisdom.

If you are indeed suffering "for righteousness sake," He will encourage you to endure humbly until He vindicates your case as He did David's when he was suffering persecution under "the Lord's anointed," King Saul. Read his Psalms! Walk softly; let Jesus lead you.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 22, 1999.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."