Ephesians 3

Ephesians 3: The Love of Christ

                Paul opens his letter to the Ephesians by explaining that through Apostles and Prophets, God has “…made known unto me [Paul, an Apostle] the mystery… whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ…” (Ephesians 3:3-4)

Paul explains this so that we can understand the importance of not only the prophets, but their teachings [the scriptures], so that we can understand and know the mysteries of Christ. Paul goes on to explain that in times before, those mysteries were “…not made know unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the spirit;” (Ephesians 3:5) This further helps us to understand the importance of prophets that we can continue to reveal more of those mysteries through modern day Apostles and Prophets.

Paul explains to the Saints [the members of the Church], that they can overcome their own personal tribulations in this life, through faith and love in Jesus Christ; “…faint not at my tribulations for you… That he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his spirit.” (Ephesians 3:13,16) 

2 Corinthians 4

2 Corinthians 4: Trials of the Earth are Nothing

                Paul explains that he, as an Apostle of the Lord does not act with craftiness or deceit. He explains that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is often blinded (veiled) from those who are perishing, from those who really need the Gospel.

Paul tells the Saints in Corinth that “…we preach not ourselves, but in Christ, Jesus the Lord…” (2 Corinthians 4:5) When we speak about the Gospel of Jesus Christ we need to remember that it is His Gospel, and we are only His servants. As Saints, we will be; “…troubled on every side, ye not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9) Paul explains that even with all the trials we have on this earth, it is never more than we can handle. We may see them as being the end, or may see them as being too hard for us to bear, but the Lord will guide us! The Lord God will raise us up, just as He was raised from the dead.

We need to; “…look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18) While we are on this earth, we will not understand everything in its entirety. Science discovers new things daily, which should not be discredited. God created science and gives us the tools, thoughts and abilities to design, build, invent and discover the things that make our lives easier. Evolution is real, Creationism can coincide with science! After all, God created science! Paul just reminds us that the things we don’t see are the eternal things. Often times we are required to walk by faith and not by sight.

Numbers 31-32

Numbers 31-32

Chapter 31: Moses sends 12,000 Warriors

At this point in the story, we have learned that Joshua was appointed to succeed Moses as the new leader for the Israelites. Joshua received the priesthood authority. Moses has another task, before he can be gathered completely to his people.

The Lord commands Moses to take vengeance upon the Midianites. Remember Numbers 25? Where the Midianites seduced the Israelites and caused that some of them worshiped their idol gods? Well Moses sends out 12,000 troops to fight the Midianites. This amounts to 1,000 from each tribe. With this group Moses sends Phinehas (the son of Eleazer) who takes some articles from the tabernacle and some trumpets which he uses for signaling.

The Israelites easily defeat the Midianites, killing every single man and taking the women, children and loot for themselves as plunder. They kill the five kings of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, Balaam and Reba.

The warriors return with the plunder and everyone except Moses is happy. Moses asks them;  “…Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor…” (Numbers 31:15-16).  Essentially telling them that the women were the ones who caused the Israelites to sin, so they should have been killed too.

Moses commands them to kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man, but save those who had not slept with a man. Anyone who participated in the killing or touched the dead bodies, would have to stay outside of the camp for seven days as part of the cleansing process.

After that, they divide up the spoils between the soldiers and the rest of the Israelites. The Levites are to receive 1 out of every 500 of everything the soldiers receive and 1 out of every 50 items that the rest of the Israelites receive.

The officers of the army report to Moses that they had 0 casualties, they wiped out an entire nation without any loss! They thank the Lord for this victory, by presenting an additional offering of 190 kilograms of gold. OR in today’s standard of Gold to US dollar equals:  $6,118,000!!! That’s right… over 6 MILLION dollars in Gold.

Chapter 32: Conquering of Canaan

The Israelites are about to enter into the Promised Land, what will become “Israel”, the land on the west side of Jordan. Before they cross Jordan, the Reubenites and the Gadites take a look at the surrounding lands on the East side, or the former lands of Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Hesbon, Elealeh, Sebam and Beon. The Reubenites and the Gadites see that the land would be good and ask Moses if they can keep these lands instead, because they were favorable in their eyes.

Moses of course gets a little angry, especially since they haven’t made it to the Promised Land that they Lord had planned for them, and they already want something else. Moses speaks to the children of Gad and Reuben, saying: “…Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? And therefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them?” (Numbers 32:6)

                The Lord has prepared the Promised Land for them and wanting something else, is really not putting their trust in the Lord and this causes him to be angry. The children of Reuben and Gad come back to Moses and tell him that they will go with Israel into the Promised Land.

The Lord even reminds them of why they had traveled in the desert for forty years: “And the Lord’s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the Lord, was consumed” (Numbers 32:13). Essentially we learn about trials and tribulations…

The Lord gives us Trials that we can be strengthened. By “filtering” out the evil in the children of Israel, the Lord through a 40 year process was able to find the strongest and most faithful of the Israelites to live in the Promised Land. This reminds me of a scripture in (Romans 5: 1-6)

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”

                We glory in tribulations… knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope.

Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh receive their inheritances east of Jordan. They covenant to join the other tribes in conquering Canaan.