Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Clearing Away the Confusion About Christ's Sacrifice

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Someone asked, What evidence is there in the Bible that Jesus suffered "the second death" in His great atonement sacrifice? (And others wonder, what difference does it make what we believe about it?)

The Bible clearly teaches that what we call death is "sleep." The real thing is the second death (Rev. 2:11; 20:14). In that light, it becomes evident that since the world began no sinner has ever truly died; everyone who is in the grave has gone to "sleep" until either the first or the second resurrection (John 5:28; 1 Thess. 4:15, 16; Rev. 20:5, 6).

When Romans 6:23 says that "the wages of sin is death," it has to be the second death, otherwise it follows that everyone who has gone to sleep in the grave is automatically qualified to enter heaven because by dying the first death he has paid "the wages of sin"! The Bible is clear: no sinner has as yet truly paid "the wages of sin."

What kind of death did Jesus die? If He died the first death, or if He merely went to sleep "for our sins," then the second death still awaits every human being including those who believe in Jesus, for Christ, in this scenario, has not paid the price for human sin! And that cannot be! Jesus truly paid "the wages of sin" as our Divine Substitute. The Bible nowhere says that He went to sleep for our sins; it says, "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3).

But, what difference does it make? The Bible truth clears away clouds of confusion about the sacrifice of Christ, revealing "the width and length and depth and height" of the agape of Christ (Eph. 3:18, 19) that led Him to His cross to pay "the wages of sin" for us. He suffered the terrible heart agony that the lost at last will feel in the final Day of Judgment. A failure to understand this truth inevitably produces the lukewarmness that permeates the church today, for only an understanding of those grand dimensions of agape can "henceforth" "constrain" people to live lives wholly devoted to Christ (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 6, 2000.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Last Days Before the Second Coming of Jesus

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Bible says that this world will become very wicked in the last days just before the second coming of Jesus. He Himself asks, "When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8), implying that it will be very rare.

Paul says, "In the last days perilous times will come." Then he lists many evil things that people will do, even those who profess to worship God. "For men will be ... unthankful, unholy, ... From such people turn away!" (2 Tim. 3:1-5).

But if you are willing to turn from the Old Covenant and welcome the New, you will see that God has not yet withdrawn completely the Holy Spirit from the world. He is still "the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world" (John 1:9).

The Bible is clear as sunlight on two realities of human life: "(1) All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [and (2) all are] being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:23, 24).

You may be discouraged by the evil that is in the world. We hear tragic stories of the hatred of people who give their hearts and minds to Satan; but the Bible is equally clear that "where sin abounded, grace abounded much more" (Rom. 5:20). That means that whatever evil Satan has invented, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Source of even greater love and compassion manifested in grace.

That's because He drained the exceedingly bitter cup as He hung on His cross in the darkness and cried out to His Father, "My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46). The Lord Jesus actually went to hell in order to save the human race. There was no evil that He did not taste, for our sake: "we see Jesus, ... that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone" (Heb. 2:9), that is "the second death" (see Rev. 2:11; 20:14). These eternal facts of truth underlie life on this planet, which Jesus came to save; He saved us although it cost Him the last drop in total consecration of His all.

The entire world is gathered at His cross: many will curse Him as did the leaders of the true church of that day. The Jews did; but there will be those who like the pagan Roman centurion will permit their worldly hearts to melt in repentance. Don't forget, it was he who gave the order to his soldiers to "Crucify Him" and it was he who confessed, "Truly this Man was the Son of God!" (Mark 15:39).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 11, 2007.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Where the Conflict of the Ages Has Been Fought

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Have you ever rowed a boat upstream, against the current? It's a waste of your energy. It's like in life, going against the majority.

Possibly this very day you will be confronted with some kind of controversy that tests your loyalty to Christ. In politics or in the marketplace, it is often easy to stand alone for the right; but the most difficult place to stand for Jesus can be in His church. That's where the conflict of the ages has been fought.

Would you have entered Noah's ark when everyone was ridiculing him? When almost all of Israel made a golden calf and indulged in orgies, would you have responded alone to Moses' challenge: "Whoever is on the Lord's side, let him come to me" (Ex. 32:24-26)? When later the same crisis erupted and they "committed harlotry with the women of Moab," would you have joined Phinehas who alone "stopped" the plague that would have wiped out Israel (Num. 25:1-8)?

Would you have joined Elijah on Mount Carmel when he was outnumbered (within the church, remember) 450 to one by the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:21, 22)? You may say, "That issue was so clear-cut, yes I would have stood with Elijah!" But remember, Baal-worship was an exceedingly clever counterfeit, and the leadership of Israel were on Baal's side, thinking Baal was their true "Lord."

Would you have joined Jeremiah when he was dumped in that deep mudhole by the government leaders of the true church of that day--the kingdom of Judah (Jer. 38:5, 6)?

Would you have dared to stand alone with the Prisoner that Friday morning when the entire Sanhedrin voted, "crucify Him"? Would you have bravely told Caiaphas, "If you crucify Him, you crucify me too!"? Only the indwelling Christ can save us from fanaticism on the one hand and cowardice on the other.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 25, 2002.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Dial Daily Bread: Stress and Fear--Where the Healing Takes Place

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Millions right now experience the anguish of severe tension. World events are distressing; crime and corruption at home worry us. Home troubles are often so painful that life is a burden. Sometimes we can hardly face a new day.

Those millions need a Divine Physician of the soul, but they already have one if only they knew it. His name? Jesus. He is not merely far off waiting for them to find Him; we read how "Jesus Himself drew near" to His sorrowful, stressed-out disciples (Luke 24:15). He didn't wait for them to draw near to Him! Often we are like Mary in the Garden weeping in utter discouragement, yet Jesus Himself was standing over her, but her eyes were so blinded with tears she could not recognize Him--she thought He was the gardener (John 20:11-16).

Isaiah emphasizes how near the Lord is to us when we don't realize it: "He is near who justifies me" (50:8, remember that when you are falsely accused!), and His "righteousness is near" (51:5). The Bible does not say that Jesus is a possible Savior if you do everything just right; you read that He is "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42); "the Savior of all men" (1 Tim. 4:10). He has already laid His loving hand on you to quiet and calm you. Let His healing virtue flow into your troubled soul as His healing virtue flowed into the woman who touched the hem of His garment in Luke 8:43-48.

So He says in Psalm 37:7: "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret ... ." Maybe you don't know how to "rest." Often that's the problem; you are so high strung that even when you go to bed and try to sleep your nerves feel like they are being sandpapered.

Step one in "resting" is to believe the Good News the Lord is saying to you! Step two is to make the choice to surrender your soul into His hands; identify with Him in Gethsemane and on the cross. Take down the barriers you have erected to shut out the Holy Spirit, and let Him refresh your mind with what happened when Jesus on the cross almost lost emotional control (read Psalm 22:14-20).

Stress and fear combined will kill us unless we "rest" in Him as He hangs on His cross! There is where the healing takes place, every time.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 29, 1999.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: "Gift" or "Offer"--Which Is It?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The world is spiritually dark no matter where you look, but the bright light of Jesus shines: "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels ... that He by the grace of God might taste death for everyone" (Heb. 2:9).

Here is a brilliant revelation of salvation through "much more abounding grace" (cf. Rom. 5:20). Satan may try to foist on us enormous, impenetrable darkness, but here the light shines beautifully: "Jesus tasted [the second] death for everyone."

No matter who you are or where you are sitting in your darkness of despair, this simple but brief revelation of truth is like a shaft of lightning on midnight darkness. Christ has already died your second death! That's the biggest truth you will ever confront. That's what Hebrews 2:9 says, a million highly trained theologians to the contrary notwithstanding.

Note what Hebrews 2:9 does NOT say: By the grace of God Jesus offered to taste your second death if you first do something to please Him. No! The Bible is clear: "God so loved the world, that He gave [not merely offered to give!] His only begotten Son" (John 3:16); the Father actually gave His Son to you as your Savior; and He "tasted [your second] death" when He "tasted" it for "everyone."

Along with the gift of Himself to you He has given you the freedom of your own choice to refuse the gift of Himself as your Savior, if you want to make that choice (it will break His heart if you do). Only one text comes to mind as soon as we say that: "But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation" (Heb. 6:9).

Now, simply believe this real, solid truth. A heart appreciation of what Christ suffered for you when He "tasted" your second death will motivate you "henceforth" to live unto His glory forever. You will never tire of saying "Thank You!" This faith delivers you forever from that "fear of death" which has kept you "in bondage all [your] life."

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 29, 2007.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Horror and Tragedy--The Only Real Solution

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We all get tired of it--the unending news of horror and tragedy. With up-to-the-minute news coverage of earthquakes, plane crashes, terrorism, and mass shootings, we empathize or identify with the suffering victims. Their agony becomes ours. It's hard not to feel guilty enjoying the peace and security we spectators temporarily possess.

It's a morbid addiction that keeps us glued to the screen for the latest tragic details of these horror stories. But can we do something to help?

The only real solution is the setting up of the kingdom of God, which will be at the personal, visible return of Jesus, the world's rightful Ruler. This is "the stone cut out without hands" that strikes Nebuchadnezzar's image on its "feet" of iron and clay, and becomes a "great mountain" to "fill the whole earth" (Dan. 2:34-35). Every God-fearing heart cries out continually, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:20).

If we had the authority, we would tell Him, "Come today!" But Revelation 14:15, 16 tells us that this authority resides alone in somebody else, "another angel [who comes] out of the temple" who finally tells Christ, "Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap." But what "event" can move that "other angel" to decide when to give Him the signal to "come"? The answer, "The harvest of the earth is ripe."

This simplest imaginable divinely inspired illustration explains the delay in the return of Christ! But this special farm "harvest" depends on the volition of the "grain." An entire "crop" can selfishly refuse to let the Lord's warm sunshine of the gospel and refreshing showers of "the latter rain" perform the ripening process. It's a "harvest" process God cannot force upon the "field of grain."

So, after wearily processing another inexplicable horror story, we consecrate our all to the recovery and proclamation of that true Revelation 14 "everlasting gospel," which alone can ripen the grain for the blessed "harvest." Something to live for? Oh, yes!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 9, 1999.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Saved From "The Second Death"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Imagine the joy you would feel if you were saved from death either by drowning, or illness, or an accident; you are grateful forever after. Can you even begin to imagine the infinitely greater joy you would feel if you could realize you have been saved from what the Bible calls "the second death"?

When old Simeon "blessed" Mary the mother of Baby Jesus in the Temple, he told her "a sword will pierce through your own soul" (Luke 2:34, 35). The word he used was the Greek one for Goliath's enormous sword, thus describing the pain that she would know at the crucifixion of her Son.

Probably no other human has felt quite the extent of that pain. She knew that His conception and birth were that of a virgin; she knew the angel had announced it to her; she knew His righteous, loving character as no one else could know; and yet now He is stripped naked, crucified like a common criminal before her eyes. Greater than her concern for her own salvation was the anxiety she felt for the world and the very universe of God--is the plan of salvation a failure? Is the great controversy lost? How she agonized! Has any other human been so stricken with any "sword" that pierces the "soul"?

She must have been in such pain through the long weekend Jesus lay in His tomb. Now imagine her soul-bursting joy when He is risen! That is the same joy God wants us to know. But we must not remain infants spiritually: we must grow up "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13), so our hearts can be enlarged enough to savor what has happened, to appreciate what He has done for us.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 27, 2005.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Dial Daily Bread: God's Special Promise to You

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

God's promises are all good news, but there is one that is in a special way precious to anyone who likes to think seriously. It's the fourth of the seven promises that the Lord made to Abraham as being the New Covenant promises (they are found in Genesis 12:2, 3):   

"You shall be a blessing." Not only that, I will bless you so you will be enriched.

Better still, you yourself will be a blessing--no matter where you go in this dark world. You will be a "pipe" through which will flow the "water of life" to soul-thirsty people. And you will be an "oven" with freshly baked "bread of life" for soul-starved people. You will be the "new song" that only the 144,000 can learn and sing (cf. Rev. 14:3). It will cheer their hearts and save their souls.

The very fact that you are following "the Lamb wherever He goes" will show people the way for them to go; and some will choose to go because of you.

Your daily speech will be different and people will notice it; their cursing will die on their lips as they think about how you talk. In your mouth will be found no "guile" (the Good News Bible says "they have never been known to tell lies," vs. 5).

Your face will be like Moses' face when it shone (Ex. 34:29); "the Father's name [will be] written on [your] forehead" (Rev. 14:1).

You will never want to fall away, or to apostatize, and all Satan's efforts to unsettle you and cause you to fall will be defeated, for because of your faith in the New Covenant promises, you will be "sealed." No longer will you envy the "fun" of the wicked. You will deserve, by the grace of Christ, to have a palm branch in your hands.

Come to what the Lord has created you for--He has redeemed you, too. Come today.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 30, 2008.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Let Us Choose Life!

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Adam was a great man but he plunged the world into rebellion against God through sin. Sin brought death, not only the death that we call “sleep,” but the real thing--the total eternal end of life, what the Bible describes as “the second death.”

The Good News of the gospel declares that a “last Adam” or second Adam has entered our dark, doomed world, and has taken over the headship of the human race (1 Cor. 15:45). As we are all by nature “in Adam” with a verdict of condemnation hanging over our heads, so now “in Christ” we have a verdict of acquittal pronounced over us. Instead of a sentence of death, we have a sentence of life!

But all through the ages during these two millennia there have been some dear souls who thought that this Good News means that everybody will be saved eternally at last; this is known as “Universalism.” But the Bible does not teach Universalism.

God would like for “all men” to be saved eternally (1 Tim. 2:3-6). He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 18:23). In fact, their final ruin is terribly painful for Him to have to endure (cf. Rev. 8:1). Even today He is in agony when human beings, the creation of His love, have to endure it (Isa. 63:9). He repented in behalf of humans who repent because He became “the Lamb of God” and was baptized in John the Baptist’s baptism of repentance (Matt. 3:11).

When humans choose irrevocably to reject the message of His much more abounding grace, they bring upon themselves the final ruin of the death that is the inevitable result of sin. To His great pain of heart, those who choose at last to be lost are in number “as the sand of the sea” (Rev. 20:8).

The Bible does not teach the popular doctrine that God Himself has predestined them to be lost while He predestines other fortunate ones to be saved; the Bible is clear as sunlight--He predestines all to be saved; and Christ gave His blood for “all.” He will save all who do not frustrate or reject Him.

But those in number “as the sand of the sea” have at last chosen to “frustrate the grace of God” (cf. Gal. 2:21, KJV), down to the last bitter end. Along with life and liberty and salvation the dear Lord has given us all the freedom of choice; all the angels in heaven cannot interfere with that or force us either way. Today, let us choose life!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 13, 2007.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: God's Promise Is Always Solid!

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

One of the strangest anomalies of history is the fate of Israel held in Egyptian slavery. That was something that was not supposed to be! How could it ever have happened?

The Lord told Abraham that his descendants "will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. ... [And] afterward they shall come out with great possessions" (Gen. 15:13, 14). Yes, they were to be slaves all that time! But was it the Lord's will for them?

The Lord had made those seven glorious New Covenant promises to Abraham (Gen. 12:2, 3), which applied not only to him, but to his descendants after him: "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. ... The law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect" (Gal. 3:16, 17). God's promise is always firm and solid!

Why then should Israel be slaves in Egypt? Jeremiah was shown that it should never have been: "Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he plundered?" (Jer. 2:14; the Good News Bible renders it, "Israel is not a slave, he was not born into slavery"!).

There can be only one answer: Abraham's descendants forgot the New Covenant promises that God had made to their father Abraham. Even the patriarch had trouble believing how good the Good News is when he agreed to take that second wife, Hagar, and thus to doubt and disbelieve the Lord's promises that "in Isaac your seed shall be called"! (Gen. 21:12).

Have you forgotten those promises? Then confess that you are in that distraught father's place when he begged Jesus, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24). That should have been Israel's prayer all during those 430 years! Let it be ours now.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 8, 2006.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sabbath School Today, Lesson 13, Quarter 2-16

Sabbath School Today

With the 1888 Message Dynamic

The Book of Matthew

Lesson 13. Crucified and Risen


Jesus did no work on that last Sabbath as He lay in Joseph's new tomb. Now He rested from His long, hard work, as Savior of the world. It had been an extremely busy week.

The anointing at Bethany; the ride on a donkey into Jerusalem at the beginning of this busy last week; meeting the contentions of the Jewish leaders who opposed Him; preaching His sermon on last-day events of Matthew 24; His last meeting with His disciples when He organized the Lord's Supper on Thursday night; the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane when He nearly died and would have had not an angel come to strengthen Him to endure more suffering; His disappointment at His disciples sleeping through His period of agony; the betrayal by Judas and the cruel arrest by the police; the forced march to the high priest's house, then the all-night (illegal) trial when He was mocked, spat upon, beaten, ridiculed and despised; the terrible sorrow at hearing Peter deny Him three times with cursing and swearing; the trial before Pilate; the forced march again to Herod, and his sneering contempt that Jesus had to endure; the march back to Pilate; having to listen to the people shout "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"; the last visit with Pilate when the governor almost yielded to his wife's pleading not to condemn Jesus; the sentence of death; the mocking of the soldiers; the crown of thorns on His head; the jeering of the mob; being forsaken by all of His disciples; the forced march this time to the hill called Calvary when they forced Him to carry His heavy cross; His fainting beneath the burden; hearing the women weep and wail because of Him and His last sermon to them when He said, "Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children!" (Luke 23:27-31); the actual crucifixion with its physical pain; the exertion of His soul to say words to the penitent thief, "Thou shalt be with Me in paradise!"; the taunting of the priests and rulers and the cruel crowd as He hung on His cross in pain and shame; the terror of the great darkness that came at noon that Friday when He cried from his broken heart, "My God! My God! Why hast Thou forsaken Me?"; His refusal to taste the intoxicating drink they offered Him to help to deaden His pain; His mental agony as He fought in His mind against despair (such a struggle would exhaust anyone!); His choice with His last ounce of strength to believe that His Father would not abandon Him, that His sacrifice would be accepted, that--yes! He had saved the world!

And then He bowed His head and prayed, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit," and He died.

He was tired, oh, so tired! But He had finished His hard week of work and now He was resting in the tomb on the holy Sabbath day.

The 1888 message shows us the special kind of death which Jesus, the Son of God, died (Gal. 2:20). He "tasted death for every man" (Heb. 2:9), not the ordinary kind of death which we call "sleep." No, Jesus did not "go to sleep for our sins," He died for our sins! He died the equivalent of what the Bible calls "the second death," the real thing (Rev. 2:11). He went all the way to hell in order to find us and to save us. Since the world began, He is the only person who has ever truly died; all the others have gone to sleep!

On the cross Christ felt the horror of eternal separation from the Father. This was due to infinite guilt, but not the self-righteous, self-justifying pain of a sinless person who feels his innocence; it was the total self-condemnation felt by One who was "made to be sin for us, who knew no sin" (2 Cor. 5:21). The "us" is the entire human race. Combine the guilt of all the sin of the world: that is what He bore "in His own body," in His nervous system, in His soul, feeling as if the guilt were His own (1 Peter 2:24). He died for the human race and He died as the human race, for He became our second Adam. In dying the equivalent of our second death, He delivered the human race from that death ("perish," John 3:16).

One need only ask two questions: "What is the punishment for sin?" and the answer has to be, "death" (Rom. 6:23; Eze. 18:4; Gen. 2:17; Rev. 2:11; 20:14). The first death, which the Bible calls "sleep," can never be the punishment for sin. The Bible does not say that "Christ went to sleep for our sins," but "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3). "Did He suffer the true punishment for our sin?" The answer had better be "yes," or we are lost for eternity. Thus Christ died every man's second death (Heb. 2:9).

But how then could He be resurrected the third day? The second death is not the mere degrees of heat and physical pain of the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14). On the cross, Christ hardly felt the physical pain, so terrible was His spiritual anguish, being "made ... sin for us." [1] Likewise, the lost will hardly feel the physical pain, so great will be the spiritual anguish sensed because of their true guilt--which now at last they fully realize. The anguish of despair which Jesus endured on the cross was itself the precise experience the lost will have at last--the second death (Rev. 2:11). Isaiah describes it clearly: "He poured out His soul unto death." "Therefore" the Father honors Him supremely, to "divide Him a portion with the great." "He shall see the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied" (Isa. 53:11, 12).

It had to be that "God raised [Him] up, having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that He should be [held by] it" (Acts 2:24). Those were not the "pains" of mere sleep! Not only did He make the total commitment of His "soul" unto eternal death--not seeing "through the portals of the tomb," [2] He actually did experience the total agony of the real second death. Those who deny this do not understand why His agape made it "not possible" that He should be held in the tomb. Christ's resurrection is an eternal principle. All who choose to be "crucified with Christ," motivated by this agape of Christ to die with Him the second death, says Paul, cannot "possibly" be held in its grasp: "If we have been planted [united] together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection" (Rom. 6:5).

But that awful second death could not hold Him. Satan wanted to keep Him a captive there, but it was impossible. The Son of God had lived and died triumphant over sin and Satan; He had "condemned sin in the flesh," our fallen, sinful flesh, and had gained the victory for the entire human race; He had single-handedly wrested from Satan the control and rulership of this world. He had conquered sin. Now He must be resurrected as triumphant over death as well!

The voice of the Father called, "Jesus! Come forth from that prison house of death!" It was so real!

He carefully folded the grave-clothes they had wrapped about Him, and laid them down neatly. Then He stepped out of the dark tomb into the everlasting light of His resurrection life.

Yes, in Him you and I are resurrected also. "He that hath the Son hath eternal life," says John (1 John 5:11, 12). Jesus had said, "Because I live, ye shall live also" (John 14:19).

That is why when Jesus was resurrected, you were resurrected "also"! Now, be happy forever; and demonstrate your thankfulness by following Him "whithersoever He goeth" (Rev. 14:4).

--Paul E. Penno

[1] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 753.
[2] Ibid.

Pastor Paul Penno's video of this lesson is on the Internet at:

"Sabbath School Today" is on the Internet at:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Lord Thinks Upon You

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

With all the billions of human beings on planet earth that the Lord has to care for, can you be sure that He cares about you?

Your answer, "yes" or "no," steers you to heaven or to the opposite. And your answer does not depend on miracles; in fact, if the only (or the main) reason you answer "yes" is certain miracles in your life, you are in for trouble. First, the devil can work miracles and fool you completely; and second, you can forget the miracles on which you base your faith.

You absolutely must believe: "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so." Getting up at 3 or 4 in the morning and going outside is a blessing: you get to see the stars. Look! They are infinite in number--concrete examples of God's infinitude; yet the Lord cares for each one. You've never seen a heavenly collision, have you? "Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, ... He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing" (Isa. 40:26).

"But they are great stars! I am ... well, nobody!"

Remember that the Creator of them all, the Son of God Himself, made Himself to become a "Nobody" for your sake. "He made Himself of no reputation" ["emptied Himself," New American Standard Bible] (Phil. 2:5-8). He died as a Nobody on a cross, forsaken by God His Father (so it seemed to Him, as it sometimes seems to you, Matt. 27:46).

You must believe what the Bible says! Read again what happened to Christ on the cross--it's Psalm 22. By faith alone He triumphed over that terrible sense of despair (vss. 21-31). Identify with Him; immerse yourself in Him, for He is life. Let self be "crucified with Him" and you will sense the resurrection with Him. Yes, say it: "But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks upon me" (Psalm 40:17). Choose to believe it!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 14, 2002.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Father's Day--What Can You Do for Him?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Many countries in the world will be honoring fathers tomorrow (June 19) as they celebrate Father's Day. But what can you do for him? Get him a new tie, a new shirt, or some electronic "toy" that a man might like? And of course, a nice card with words of appreciation. He would like that. But with all the excitement that Mother's Day brought last month, and the round of graduation ceremonies, there is usually not much energy left for Father's Day celebrations.

However, fathers are the family entity most in need of help today. In most single parent families something has happened to father; he's gone. And in many prosperous two-parent families, father is so stressed out trying to keep the family financially sound that he has little if any spiritual or emotional energy left for being a father to the children. Millions of children don't "know" their father. He's just too "busy." Ask the welfare specialists and divorce lawyers.

But where there's a need, there's a Savior. The very last verse of the monumental Old Testament contains a divine promise of special blessings for fathers: "I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord [this is 'present truth']. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children ..." (Mal. 4:5, 6). A miraculous intervention.

Who is "Elijah"? Some white-haired old man in a robe? Jesus made plain that the answer is No; "he" is a message. The message of John the Baptist was the initial fulfillment of the prophecy (see Matt. 11:7-14). Therefore the final fulfillment will also be a message; a message that grips the heart, that heals old wounds, that reconciles alienated hearts to God and to one another.

Better than some new toy for Dad will be an understanding, mature, sympathetic prayer on your part, and a realization that you can be a human agent for "Elijah" to do his work. And if you don't have a Dad to pray for in that way, there are plenty of them all around you who need that "message."

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 8, 2000.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Great Angel of Revelation 10

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Angel of Revelation 10 is a Great One, standing with one foot on the earth and one foot on the sea, swearing a solemn oath that there should "be delay [time] no longer." He is no less than Christ Himself; He is tired of waiting. He is fully divine, from eternity; but now He is also human. And He wants the problem of sin to be solved forever. He says that when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, it will be.

In fact, in a certain solemn sense God cannot "rest" until the misery caused by sin is finished. The thought that since He is infinite, Christ doesn't care how long the "delay" continues is not true. His is the eagerness of a Bridegroom longing for the wedding day to come. Christ is still human and will be for all eternity, but like we are, He is now subject to time. The Bride-to-be has put Him off long enough. He is tired of delay.

But how long must He wait? Centuries more? What will bring about the change that will enable the reluctant Bride-to-be to "make herself ready"?

Not force; no bridegroom can have a happy marriage if he forces the girl to marry him. But in this case the Bride-to-be has misjudged her divine Bridegroom and has delayed the marriage due to her unbelief. The only possible solution is repentance on her part.

And this is precisely what He calls for in His message to the "angel of the church of the Laodiceans," "be zealous and repent" (Rev. 3:19). Her response will trigger enthusiastic rejoicing in heaven beyond imagination--four Hallelujah choruses (19:1-6), for "the mystery of God" has at last met resolution.

There has been at last a fundamental change in understanding and motivation unheard of for 6000 years; the Bride has grown up out of her childish egocentric concerns. At last she can think of Him, feel for Him, share with Him His concern. And He is happy--at last.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 21, 2011.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Dial Daily Bread: Two Views of “Perfect Obedience”—Which Is Closer to the Truth?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Here are two statements. Which of the two do you believe comes closer to the truth?

(A) God demands perfect obedience from those who will be ready for the second coming of Christ. He requires that they "overcome" perfectly "even as" Christ overcame, all this demanded because He cannot and will not "translate" any sin into His kingdom. His people must respond, on pain of being lost forever.

(B) God's people will gladly "overcome even as Christ overcame" (Rev. 3:21), motivated not by fear but by their heart appreciation of the sacrifice of Christ. A clearer, more mature understanding of His atonement will result in a people who "follow the Lamb wherever He goes" (Rev. 14:4), a people who will stand "without fault" before the throne of God, as fully reconciled in heart to Christ as a loving bride is reconciled to her bridegroom.

The first statement (A) is a very widespread view, but its popularity demonstrates the need for something the Bible speaks of as the "Day of Atonement," a cosmic Day of Reconciliation, the time of corporate at-one-ment with the Lord, the "time of the end" when all misconceptions of the character of God are resolved by truthful Good News. This first statement translates into a kind of Holy Terrorism for anyone who thinks God demands, requires, what is impossible.

Isaiah speaks of what will produce the blessed statement (B): "'Nations all over the world will be in awe, taken aback, kings shocked into silence when they see Him [Christ], for what was unheard of they'll see with their own eyes, what was unthinkable they'll have right before them'"--a revelation of His cross (Isa. 52:13-15, Peterson, The Message).

In other words, what they at last "see" is "the third angel's message" of Revelation 14 "in verity," the message of Isaiah 53 in essence. A people will respond: "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied" (vs. 11).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 4, 2003.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: What Is "Day of Atonement" Living?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

What really is "Day of Atonement" living? What's so special about living "in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound" (Rev. 10:7)? Well, "another mighty angel [comes] down from heaven, ... a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. He had a little book open [Daniel] in his hand. ... And he ... cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. ... And the angel ... lifted up his hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, ... that there should be [time] no longer, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished" (vss. 1-7). It's that last statement! No, it's not fear-motivated living; it's solemn, holy awe. Something's going on that makes your spine tingle.

But isn't that the same "at-one-with-God" living that Jesus, His apostles, and all the holy prophets have called for in past millennia? Yes, precisely! But, this is the first "time" in world history that God has a people, a corporate "body" on earth, not just a scattered insignificant, uncoordinated few, who truly "follow the Lamb wherever He goes" (Rev. 14:4).

Now at last that Lamb of God "see[s] the travail of His soul, and [is] satisfied" (see Isa. 53:11). Now at last Paul's heart-melting prayer is answered: Christ has a people on earth, a church, a "body," who are "rooted and grounded in agape ... able to comprehend" something that no such "body" of saints has ever fully grasped--"the width and length and depth and height" of that "love of Christ which passes knowledge." At last, they are "filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:14-21). At last, ready for Christ's coming!

But won't that make Satan angry in his "great controversy" with Christ? Why disturb him? Yes, but it will prove to the world and the universe that Satan's stranglehold on this planet is broken; he has been defeated; sin has been "condemned" in fallen, sinful flesh; Christ's enemy has lost his last great battle; the war is over!

All heaven rings with the triumphant anthem: "Let us be glad and rejoice ... , for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife [His Bride] has made herself ready" (Rev. 19:7). At last she's grown up--no longer the flower girl at the wedding.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 9, 2001.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, June 13, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: A Distorted "Caricature" of Christianity

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The resurrected Christ commands us, "Go into all the world and proclaim the Glad Tidings to everyone!" (see Matt. 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15). It was a joyous ministry for the apostles as they fanned out over their known world, because the foundations of ancient paganism collapsed before their proclamation of Christ the Son of God and Savior of the world. People everywhere welcomed the precious message. This same joyous work is our ministry that we have today, two millennia afterwards.

But there are great non-Christian religions resistant to the Christian gospel, such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and of course, Judaism. They teach non-Christian doctrines, and they seem to have an enormous control over their peoples' prejudiced thinking. Is this the will of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Is the gospel of Christ comparatively impotent as it confronts non-Christian religions? Must the great masses of world population always remain resistant?

Daniel 8 and 9 are two of the most profound chapters in the Christian Bible (and Jewish Old Testament). A personal devil is at war with a personal Christ; the enemy learned that bloody persecution could not destroy Christ's church--the gospel was too strong in capturing human hearts. Therefore, the enemy devised a massive apostasy or "falling away" from the original purity of the gospel (cf. 2 Thess. 2:3-7 where Daniel 8 and 9 are explained).

A distorted, confused "caricature" of Christianity took over the church, misrepresenting the love of Christ. In Daniel, this deception is seen as a "little horn" at war with the God of heaven. It alienated the masses from Christ and His plan of salvation, creating this constant resistance to the gospel.

Revelation 18 describes how this process must and will be reversed before the end so that again a church in full possession of the original pure, true gospel proclaims the "fall of Babylon." Once more and at last, the honest in heart all over the world will respond.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 28, 2004.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: An Experience Long, Long Overdue

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Everywhere you look in the book of Hebrews you run into “blood.” It’s almost the “bloodiest” book in the New Testament, as Leviticus is the bloodiest in the Old. Blood is mentioned twenty-one times in Hebrews, and some ninety times in Leviticus. Only the last book of the New Testament exceeds Hebrews--Revelation mentions the Lamb some twenty-five times, the “Lamb slain.” It’s “the blood of the Lamb” in which believers “washed their robes and made them white" (5:6, 12; 7:14, etc.). Why this obsession with “blood”?

The ninety times it is featured in Leviticus, it’s animal blood that “makes atonement” for sin; in Hebrews and Revelation, it’s the blood of the Son of God. What is the Holy Spirit trying to say to us who are living now? We don’t like to see blood; we are horrified by the bloodshed in the Middle East and the murders in our own land.

Hebrews and Revelation direct our gaze to the cross where Christ sacrificed Himself to save us from eternal death. “Behold! The Lamb of God” is the message (John 1:29). The “light” that will eventually “lighten the earth with glory” (Rev. 18:1-4, KJV) will be a revelation of the “width and length and depth and height" of “the love of Christ which passes knowledge” (Eph. 3:18, 19).

Because it “passes knowledge” no human tongue can tell it adequately, but evidently in that final hour of proclaiming the gospel its dimensions will be probed more deeply than ever before in world history. Humanity will be brought face to face with ultimate Reality--“Christ and Him crucified.” “All men” will face the cross and see their involvement in the world’s moment of truth that happened there.

Many will choose to crucify Christ “afresh,” but thank God there are also many in the world who for the first time will “discern the Lord’s body”; He was crucified by themselves (1 Cor. 11:29)! They will repent. At last, that great IF in Christ’s proclamation will be fulfilled: “And I, IF I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all to Myself” (John 12:32, 33).

That IF has never been realized in its full sense. By a multitude of voices all over the earth, Paul’s message will be repeated, “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” “God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world” (1 Cor. 2:1, 2; Gal. 6:14).

This is the “everlasting gospel” of Revelation 14:6, 7 that is to be proclaimed in mighty power to “every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.” It has been thought that this final message will grip the world with terror-stricken fright and thus force decisions. Rather, the last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.

Thank you book of Hebrews, thank you book of Revelation, for bringing us to the cross of Jesus. And please, please, heavenly Father, send the Holy Spirit to melt our worldly hearts, so that by true and genuine faith we can be “crucified to the world.” That experience is long, long overdue.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 2, 2003.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: What Shall I Do, or What Shall I Believe?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

What can you do when you discover the enormity of the sin that is in the heart? When you feel deeply guilty, polluted, alienated from the sunshine of God's favor? When finally the blinders have been torn off your eyes and you discern your nakedness of soul? The pain is intense!

First, be thankful that at last you have come to see it, for this is possible only if you have received the gift of the Holy Spirit. His first work is to "convict the world of sin" (John 16:8). If He left you happy and content to go on in your sin, then you would have a reason to be worried (but that's when we humans are not concerned!). "Blessed are those who mourn" because of the realization of deep sin (Matt. 5:4).

The question, "What shall I do about my sin," comes short of the truth. The proper question is, "What shall I believe?" Yes, you can find examples in the Bible of people who have asked, "What must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30), but superficial reading has encouraged many dear people to lean upon a program of salvation by works, doing something. Please note that this jailer in Philippi was not an inspired man; but Paul was inspired when he answered him, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" (vs. 31). Salvation lies not in doing this or that good thing but in believing truth. And then the believing "works" (Gal. 5:6).

Now, what do you believe? (1) That the Son of God is your Savior, (2) that He died the death that your sin deserves, (3) that it is He who in love convicted you of the deep sinfulness of sin, (4) that He experienced the hell that you would experience were it not for His sacrifice, (5) that He is now working as High Priest night and day, 24 hours a day, to save you from sin, (6) that the Father has "accepted" you "in Him" (Matt. 3:17; Eph. 1:6)?

And then? Your hard heart is melted. The tears flow, not because of fear but because of everlasting gratitude.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 19, 2000.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Realizing How Sinful Your Heart Really Is

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Is it Bad News or Good News to realize how sinful your human heart really is? Suppose you have a pain inside your body, and you don't know what causes it. One physician tries to amuse you and gives you an aspirin and sends you home laughing. You are blissfully unaware of the cancer that is eating away at your very life, but at least you are smiling and happy.

Believe it or not, our genetic human nature likes that kind of medical care! The Great Physician Himself says of us: "You do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked" (Rev. 3:17).

Paul says he was happy as long as he did not realize the sin that was deeply buried within his human heart (Rom. 7:9-17). But when the Holy Spirit begins to enlighten our natural sinful hearts, we realize that the best Good News is always the truth, even though we naturally think of ourselves as being "rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing" (Rev. 3:17). That feeling "rich" and "have become wealthy" can apply to us individually, or to us as a church, and even to us as a nation.

If one has a mysterious pain deep inside, it is best to go to a sober physician who will make a thorough examination and then tell us the full truth--immediate surgery, or, possibly, death. The option to live would be immense Good News! So we should seek the diagnosis of the Great Physician, Jesus, our High Priest ministering in the heavenly sanctuary mentioned in Hebrews 7:24-27. He is concerned for reality, not mere appearances.

An unfaithful physician may give you a "Certificate of Health" to enable you to get a job when in fact you are mortally ill, but Jesus won't do that. For Him merely to "declare" you righteous when in fact you are sinfully selfish and polluted in heart will not prepare you to enter heaven! He wants the cancer of sin to be removed; and that ministry is what He is accomplishing on this great final Day of Atonement.

Don't be afraid to go to Him for a Diagnosis. He will not wound you, He will heal you. The removal of the cherished sin will be a blessing to you. But remember that just as the best physician in the world cannot operate on you without your written consent, so neither can Jesus do the blessed work of saving your soul without your consent.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 17, 1999.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Battles of Conscience

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Suppose you get yourself into a relationship or a deal where you want to be loyal but your inner conscience tells you that something is not right? So you try to drown your conscience and plow ahead in what you think is faithful loyalty, even becoming a fanatic in your devotion. Finally the inner conflict becomes unbearable, and you must either yield to your conscience and break away from this falsehood, or end up selling your soul completely to evil. Reinhold Niebuhr said wisely, "Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure."

The Bible describes a final movement within human history when people will be forced by their honest conscience to re-align their loyalties. Revelation 15:2 tells how they have spent their past lives in loyal service to "the beast" and to "the image to the beast," and even loyal to the "number of the beast," but in the final realignment of loyalties must break away from the popular service of "the beast" and his cohorts and step out bravely on the side of truth.

In Revelation 15 John sees these people "stand on the sea of glass" having "gotten the victory" over their previous devotion to falsehood. That will involve tremendous personal sacrifice because chapter 13:15-17 describes how they must meet the most intense persecution Satan has ever directed against people loyal to God.

Large numbers of people right now are fighting battles of conscience in their inmost souls. Where can they obtain the strength and courage to do what is right? "They overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb" (12:11).

Jesus had a battle with conscience that took Him to His cross. He alone can give them the strength they need.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 12, 1999.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

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Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: A Savior FROM Sin

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

To what extent was Jesus in His incarnation tempted like as we are, from within? We cannot dare to go beyond what the Bible says. But neither do we dare to deny or come short of what it says regarding our Lord's experience with our temptations. What Scripture does say clearly is: "We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15; the double negatives mean a firm positive). We dare not say that there are some temptations we must endure which Jesus never had to meet!

The word "all points" in Hebrews 4:15 is a Greek term that means exactly that--"all." "Infirmities" is the word that means "weaknesses." And the word "like as" in the Greek means "identically," not merely in a similar way.

Only one conclusion seems possible: In His incarnation, Christ had to endure every temptation that we have to meet. Some object, "Was He tempted to watch TV? Eat ice cream? Drink vodka? These things were not invented in His day!" The answer has to be yes, He was tempted in principle. He had to meet the temptations of appetite as must we, and also of sensuality as must we. Hebrews 2:18 in the Greek clearly implies that only "in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted." If we can find some temptation to sin that He never had to meet, in that respect we do not have a Savior from that sin!

His temptations on His cross were certainly from within: His cry, "Why hast Thou forsaken Me?" was from deep within His soul. We must accept the Good News that indeed Christ is a Savior from sin. We can come "boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in [every] time of need" (Heb. 4:16).

All I can do is encourage you to believe how good the Good News is.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 9, 2000.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Faith in the Nearness of Christ's Return

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Seven Seals of Revelation (chapters 5-8) are an overview of world history so clear that even a young person can understand. They take us from the apostles through the bloody massacres of Christians under the pagan Roman Empire, the breakdown of the Empire, the great "falling away" from the truth that nearly killed true Christianity inside the church, the horrible persecutions of Daniel's 1260 years of the Dark Ages. Then they carry us into the final "time of the end" when a people is to be prepared for the second coming of Christ. The great Seventh Seal is the triumph of the Son of God in His great controversy with Satan. Breathtaking!

When the great Sixth Seal was broken, magnificent events were to follow, telling the world that Daniel's "time of the end" was near. The first: "behold, there was a great earthquake." Other celestial "signs" were to follow: "The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind" (6:12, 13).

All through the horrors of the Dark Ages faithful Christians loved the truth of the Bible. They recognized the terrible Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755, as the first of those "signs." Not only did it shake Europe physically, it did so in every other way. John Wesley saw it as a divine judgment on the immorality of Europe.

The same devout Bible readers saw the mysterious Dark Day of May 19, 1780, as the next "sign." And when the greatest celestial display of falling stars ever recorded came on November 13, 1833, thousands were convinced: God was at work preparing a people for the coming of Christ.

Now, more than 180 years have gone by since the time of which Jesus said, "This generation will by no means pass away till all these things are fulfilled" (Matt. 24:34). Faith in the nearness of Christ's return seems what He talked about when He asked, "When the Son of man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8).

The answer is Yes! The same spirit that recognized those "signs in the heavens" lives today in the hearts of those who understand there is a reason for the mysterious "delay." They will "keep the faith."

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 18, 2003.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Age of 33-1/2

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The age of 33-1/2 is a prime age for all able young men. At that age, you are just entering the excitement of being an adult; you are still young, just out of your youth; the beginnings of maturity are being seen and felt in your being; you are in that little period just between youth and manhood. Your dreams for your life's accomplishments are now the brightest and most hopeful. All of your natural abilities are at their best.

And that was the age when Satan attacked the young Man Jesus, and killed Him by crucifixion. The Bible is clear that Jesus in His incarnation was "in all things ... made like His brethren" (Heb. 2:17) "As the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same" (vs. 14).

As a young Man of 33-1/2 Jesus looked forward to life, just as we do at that age; He was indeed the divine Son of God, but He had laid aside the prerogatives of His divinity and chose to face life and to live it as we do with only one difference--"yet without sin" (4:15).

His consciousness was like ours at that age; for 33-1/2 years Jesus had successfully resisted all of Satan's temptations, and had conquered him. And Jesus had come as the long-promised Messiah to the Jewish people; but "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him" (John 1:11).

Yes, He was the divine Son of God; but does that mean that in His consciousness as One of us He was omniscient at that time? He knew of His coming death for the sins of the world--He had known it ever since the age He was attending His first Passover with Joseph and Mary in Jerusalem. He said to them then, "Why is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" (Luke 2:49). He looked at the white robed priest slaying the Passover lamb and He knew deep in His soul, that the Lamb of God was Himself.

When He returned later to Nazareth, the village children tried to get Him to play with them in their games; but He couldn't put His heart into it. His mother Mary was perplexed by Him; already old Simeon's prophecy of her was beginning to be fulfilled, "a sword will pierce through your own soul" (vss. 34, 35). Imagine the horror of her soul when she had to watch her Son be crucified!

In the resurrection day I hope I can have a minute to thank her for being the mother of our Savior! No other mother has endured the burden that she did. And I will kneel and thank her Son for saying No! to all the earthly joy that could have been His at the age He died for us.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 13, 2008.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Final Movement of Evangelism

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

A rare historical note attributes the hymn "I Have A Friend So Precious, So Very Dear to Me" to one sung by the Waldenses in their Provencal language in the Dark Ages. The last stanza says, "He bids me tell His wondrous love, And why He came to die." Jesus tells us that if we can "lift [Him] up from the earth" on His cross, He "will draw all [people] to [Himself]" (John 12:32, 33).

What Jesus meant was that common people can win souls if they can simply tell "why He came to die." But of course they can't do that unless they themselves understand "why He came to die." Which means that we should let the Holy Spirit do what He wants--that is, teach us what happened on the cross. Which of course we won't agree to if we feel "rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing" (Rev. 3:17; He says He understands our root problem!).

This raises the question: is the final movement of evangelism prophesied in Revelation 18 to be what experts say via satellite TV? That's the easy way, we just sit and listen. Or is it to be humble flesh-and-blood human beings like us, opening their hearts to tell the message personally?

Of course, the Internet and TV will have their part, but ordinary people like us must wake up and learn to understand what happened at Calvary so we personally can tell it. If we don't, He will have to raise up children who will.

We can't really "tell His wondrous love" unless we understand "why He came to die." May the dear Lord grant us to see why Paul could only "glory in the cross," and why he could tell others only of "Christ and Him crucified" (Gal. 6:14; 1 Cor. 2:1, 2).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 26, 2004.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Dial Daily Bread: Typical Questions and Answers About the Book of Revelation

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

"Is the book of Revelation difficult to understand?" No! The very name means it's open, clear, something the heavenly Father wants you to understand.

"But there are so many conflicting interpretations of it!" Its divine Author tells us, "Blessed [happy] is he who reads, and those who hear the words of this prophecy" (1:3). Note: the happy person is not the one who gets bogged down in bewildering, conflicting commentaries about the book; he's the one who actually reads the book as it is.

"But its symbols are complicated and confusing!" They are on purpose, like a holy cartoon that conveys a message too deep and important for mere words. They will make sense; be patient. Read!

"I have to work to make a living; I can't spend years in universities. And conflicting preachers confuse me. Can common, ordinary readers understand it?" The honor of God is at stake--He has promised that either "reading" or "hearing the words of this prophecy" will be rewarded. John 3:16 says that those who believe will not "perish" (those who don't believe spend their lives "perishing"). Not understanding Revelation or having no hunger for it is a bleak existence, even though you may be absorbed in the propaganda of the media. Jesus came to give you life "more abundantly" (John 10:10). Don't be too proud to enjoy that truly rich life. Read the book itself. Revel in it.

"Is there some key word in Revelation that I need to know, to start with?" Yes, "the Lamb," the crucified One who is the Savior of the world, especially of those who believe (1 Tim. 4:10). "The Lamb" is there some 25 times. He is your Elder Brother! The book will bring you close to Him. Stay with it. You'll understand what the cross means.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 31, 2005.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."