Archive for the ‘Bible Study’ Category

Dying to Flesh: Lesson from the Gate of the Tabernacle 

Exodus 27:9-19

The courtyard of the Tabernacle had rectangular shape with 100 cubits length (north and south sides) and 50 cubits width (east and west sides).
The perimeter of the courtyard was fenced with white linen.
Meanwhile, the gate of 20 cubits long was located on the east side of the Tabernacle and was made from the combination of white linen, blue, scarlet and purple cloth.

In the Bible, each of the color carries spiritual meaninng.
The white linen represents the righteousness of the saints (Rev 19:8) which is none other than the righteousness of Christ Himself.
Blue is the color of the sky, representing Lord Jesus as the Son of God.
Purple is the color of royalty, representing Him as the King
Scarlet (red) is the color of blood, representing His nature as fully man of flesh and blood and His sacrifice as the Lamb of God

Let’s look at the gate of the Tabernacle from another point of view.
How did they get the purple, blue and scarlet dye for the cloth?
To begin with, since there was no synthetic dye in the ancient world, all the dyes must be derived naturally.
Hence, these dyes were expensive materials.
Very likely, the Israelites obtained blue, purple and scarlet fabric along with gold and silver when they had plundered the Egyptians (Exodus 12:35-36).

In the ancient world, blue dye was obtained from certain sea snails/shellfish.
In order to extract the dye, the snails were crushed and the resulting fluid was further processed to yield the dye.
Meanwhile, scarlet dye was obtained from certain insects.
In the extraction process, the insects were immersed in hot water bath, sometimes boiling water, with added chemicals.
On the other hand, purple dye was obtained either from another type of snails or simply by mixing red and blue dyes.

Notice that in both situations, snails and insects had to die to yield the dye which was used as part of the gate of the Tabernacle.
What lesson can we draw here?

Similar to insects or snails, we may consider ourselves to be weak, sluggish, untalented or insignificant.
In short, we may dislike ourselves.
Nevertheless, just like they died to yield the dye, even when we are weak, we can surrender our lives to God.
As we learn to obey Him and die to our flesh (i.e. sinful nature in us), He will use us for His glory.

Unless the snails and insects yielded to the process of crushing or heating, they would never realize their potential in the building of the gate of the Tabernacle.
Unless we are willing to die to our sinful nature (i.e. crucifying the flesh), we will never realize our potential in the kingdom of God. 

A related verse to the principle here:

In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and earthenware, and some for noble use, some for ignoble.  
If any one purifies himself from what is ignoble, then he will be a vessel for noble use, consecrated and useful to the master of the house, ready for any good work.  
2 Timothy 2:20-21 RSV 

Let us examine ourselves.
How is our journey of consecration thus far?



Quick Repentance

9 Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.

10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’

11 Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.

12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’

13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.

14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”

2 Sam 12:13-14

Sometimes, when God forgives, He does not remove the consequence of disobedience.
In the first post, we learn that God punished the Israelites by denying them entry into the Promised Land.
In the second post, we learn that God also punished Moses and Aaron with the same penalty.

In this post, we learn from David’s adultery.
Certainly David repented when Nathan rebuked him.
God forgave David, but God did not remove the punishment of his sin.
The child from adulterous act died no matter how much David prayed for the baby.
In addition, bloodshed ran in his family.
Even his son, Absalom, staged coup de tat against David.

If only David had admitted his sin earlier without causing the death of Uriah, the consequences would not have been this severe!
If only David had listened to his guilty conscience earlier!!

Important lesson.
We must always obey the LORD and quickly repent if we disobey Him.
Otherwise, the consequences will be worse.

Praising God and Resting in His Love

A thought inspired by the sermon by a Pastor in Surabaya.

Jacob had 2 wives: Leah and Rachel.
He loved Rachel but not Leah.
Can we imagine Leah’s cries as she was not loved?
Initially she hoped to win his affection through giving birth to sons.
Indeed, the LORD Himself opened her womb (Genesis 29:31).

First, she gave birth to Reuben which means “The LORD has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.”

Well, for patriarch, who was not happy to have a son? 
Yet, despite all his happiness, Jacob could not bring himself to love the mother, Leah.

Second, she gave birth to another son, Simeon, which means “The LORD heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.”
You bet, Jacob was overjoyed. Still, he could not love her.

Third, she gave birth to  Levi which means, “Surely this time mu husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons.”
And did Jacob give any affection to Leah? Still not at all.
Imagine Leah’s feeling. Her hope still did not come to pass year by year. Can you hear her cries?

Fourth, she gave birth to Judah which means, “Now I will praise the LORD!”
She realized something. True, she could not win Jacob’s love.
In the midst of her shattered dream, she chose to praise the LORD.
She must have realized that even if she did not receive any love from him, she could rest in God’s love.

What about us? When our world comes crashing down, what do we do?
Can we follow Leah’s example by choosing to praise the LORD?
Can we follow Habakkuk’s example of rejoicing in the LORD?
Can we rest in His love even if the people around us do not love us?

Posted February 17, 2016 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Bible Study, Thought

Pastor Kong’s Sermon 12, August, 2015 Church Wide Bible Study End Times Reality (2/3)

Dan 9.
Daniel was 82 years old by then. This was the year 500BC, 67th year of captivity.
Daniel prayed for the restoration of Jerusalem. Even though he was 82, he still fasted as he loved God.
Dan 9:21-24
Archangel Gabriel looked like man. We need to be kind to everybody as we might entertain angel.
70 weeks: 70 sevens. 490. It is not clear the meaning of 490 here.
From the context, we see transgression, sin and iniquity.
Sin: Single offence. Transgression: Repeated offence. Iniquity: Full-grown bondage.
Iniquity can be passed from one generation to the next generation.
Lord Jesus came to forgive transgression, sin and iniquity.
However, until now we have not seen everlasting righteousness, sealing up of prophecy, and anointing of the Most Holy (which is the Holy of Hollies of the Temple of God).
Even now, the Jews are planning to build the third temple of God. The moment it is done, we know Lord Jesus is coming soon.
Daniel 9:25
7 weeks. 7*7 years. There were 4 royal decrees for rebuilding of the temple and the city.
Nehemiah 2:1
444BC Mar April Nehemiah received the permission from King Artaxerxes.
7 weeks: 7*7 Jewish years=49 Jewish years =48 years of the world. From 444BC to 396 BC, we had 48 years. At the same time, Jerusalem was rebuilt and the Old Testament was completed.
62 weeks: 62*7 Jewish years = 428 years. 396 BC +428 years became 33 AD Mar-Apr. This was when Lord Jesus was crucified.
Lord Jesus was cut off (crucified) for the sins of many.
Daniel 9:26
40 years after Lord Jesus died, Roman General Titus massacred the Jews. However, Daniel was seeing antichrist. He signed peace treaty for Jerusalem.

Middle East problem.
1. Economics: Oil and energy.
The west does not want to depend on Middle East to get oil.
2. Politics: Middle East is in the middle of civilization.
Rev 8:7-11. Nuclear wars just before Lord Jesus returns. Rev 9:18-19. Apostle John saw missiles which killed a third of the world’s population.
3. Military: Radical militants trying to get nuclear warheads.
4. Spiritual: Satan’s attempt to hinder God’s word.
Jews became blessing wherever they went. God promised them they would be the heads and not the tails. Gen 17:7-8. It is an everlasting covenant/possession.
Israel and the land of Canaan become the test of God’s promise. Satan worked days and nights to either destroy the Israel or to stop them from possessing the land.
After the second world war, the Jews returned to the promised land. Immediately after the Israel declared independence, the surrounding nations attacked Israel.
Luke 21:20, 29.
Israel was the blossoming fig tree in 1948. Dan 10:12-13. The prince of Persia was a demonic prince, a fallen angel over the nation.
There were prince and small kings. Michael is the archangel of Israel.
All this spiritual war affects the politics. Since angels do not die, this war has been ongoing ever since.
Why did Michael come? Because Daniel kept praying for 21 days.
When we pray, God hears and sends angel to answer our prayer. The angel may be hindered but we should keep praying
5. Grudge: Jews and Arabs.
Arab was descended from Ishmael. Gen 21:8-10-12 Mocking: Physical abuse. Middle East was the place of family feud.
Some things will happen before Lord Jesus comes back.

Volatile things happen in Middle East. The antichrist will come as master negotiator, negotiating with Israel, Iran, US and other nations.
The antichrist will sign a 7 years peace treaty.
After 3.5 years, he will break the peace treaty, come to the Temple, set up an image of himself and make the whole world worship him.
The next 3.5 years will be intense persecution. After that, Lord Jesus will come.

How should we live? Let’s listen to Lord Jesus.
1. Do business until He comes. Be excellent in study/work. The parable of talents.
2. Evangelize until He comes. Acts 1:8
We don’t have much time.
3. Encourage one another until He comes.
Heb 10:25. Don’t neglect spiritual discipline.
4. Pursue reward until He comes. Rev 22:12. There is eternal reward as we serve Him.
5. Live in hope until He comes. Titus 2:13.
We live in a broken-down world. Nevertheless, God is sovereign. Today, so many things do not make sense. In heaven, God will make us understand.

Posted August 27, 2015 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Bible Study, Kong Hee, Sermon

What Would You Do When You Can’t See God’s Hands?

It is said that in tough times, when you can’t see God’s hands, you can trust His loving heart.

But perhaps, some Christians grapple with this issue of a loving God who allows suffering in this world.
In fact, a common argument a skeptic raises against the Bible is this: If God is all powerful and all loving, why does He allow suffering? Either He is not powerful enough to prevent suffering or He is not all loving.

The answer to that question is: God is all powerful and all loving.
He allows suffering because He has a reason.

Therefore, a question comes up: If you can’t see His hands and can’t see His loving heart, what would you do?
Let me suggest that we can trust in His wisdom.

Let’s examine the book of Job.

Job had no idea at all why suffered.
He didn’t claim to be perfect.
His claim was that even though he wasn’t perfect, surely he didn’t deserve all the suffering he experienced.

He wanted to speak with God Himself.
In fact, it was rather a demand than request as the language he used was in the context of supreme court of justice.

God then spoke to Job.
Interestingly, God never ever revealed the reason why Job suffered.
Neither did He mention to Job about love.
Understandably, it is way more difficult to talk about love in difficult time.
It is easier to talk about love in time of peace.
In a way, God was telling Job: Who are you to contend with Me? You don’t even know how the whole universe works!

That is the key.
If God knows how to manage the universe, surely He has a reason when He allows suffering.
He never acts arbitrarily.
He is all-wise, after all.

Most likely when Job was alive, he didn’t know at all why he suffered.
Now that he is in heaven (or Abraham’s bosom), he surely he now knows the reason.
Perhaps he is also glad that his suffering becomes a lesson for Christians.

When things get tough and we can’t see His hands, we can trust His loving heart.
Even when we can’t trust His loving heart, we can still trust in His wisdom.

When I get to heaven one day, I will definitely hug and thank Job!!

Posted August 17, 2015 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Bible Study, Thought

Pastor Kong’s sermon 5, August, 2015 Church Wide Bible Study End Times Reality (1/3)

Why study end times?
1. Jesus often talks about the future.
Matt 24, John 16
He told us beforehand so we won’t panic and we keep trusting God all the days of our lives.
2. Jesus rebuked people for not discerning the future.
We are skillful in predicting the weather. Do we study the end times?
3. Jesus revealed the future so we can rest in Him.

Daniel 2.
The basic of Bible prophecy.
Daniel saw the rise and the fall of Judah, Babylon and Medo Persia. His prophecy went beyond his time.
He accurately prophesied to the exact year. God, through Daniel, wanted the whole world to know how the world would end.
A name in Hebrew and Greek is also a number. Daniel: 95. Hananiah: 120. Mishael: 381. Azariah:292. Together it is 888. When we walk with God, every little part of our day is ordered by God. Even our name has significance in God.
Dan 2
Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t remember his dream. Daniel was a teenager when he told the king the dream and the interpretation. As long as we are consecrated before God, God will use us mightily like Daniel.
Head of gold: Babylonian empire. Babylonian’s deity is Marduk who is god of gold.
Medo-Persian is the chest and arm of silver.
Belly and Thighs of Bronze: Alexander the Great of the Greece. Spartan used weaponry made of bronze.
Legs of iron: Rome. The longest world empire as they are the most powerful and brutal. Roman’s armor is made of iron. Rome split into two: Western empire in Rome and Byzantine empire in Constantinople. 10 kings of Rome: 10 nations which are part of old Rome. They have strength of iron, possessing nuclear power. However, they have clay part too and they are not that united.
In the days of these kings, God will establish His kingdom. His kingdom is spiritual and invisible. However, it won’t be invisible forever. One day King Jesus will return and establish His physical kingdom. The capital will be in Jerusalem. Out of the ten kings, there will come the antichrist.

Daniel 7
4 beasts. All these world empires are brutal.
Lion: Babylonian. Head of gold. In fact, their symbol is a winged lion. The beast was given a heart of man. Nebuchadnezzar behaved like an animal then he was restored.
Bear. Medo-Persian. Three ribs: They went wentward, northward and southward.
Leopard. Greece. Alexander the Great conquered the world quickly. He forced the whole world to speak in Greek. 4 wings. Alexander the Great was helped by 4 skillful generals.
The fourth beast was so frightening. There is no animal to describe it. It was the Romans who crucified Lord Jesus, Peter, and persecuted Christians.
10 horns. 10 kings in the end times. The little horn is the antichrist. He is very skillful in negotiation and diplomacy.
The antichrist will blaspheme God and persecute Christians and will seek global supremacy. Whatever evil is acceptable during antichrist time. Antichrist is gonna reign in terror for 3.5 years. One time means one year.
The antichrist will eventually be thrown into the lake of fire.
Daniel 7:9
White garment: Righteousness.
Daniel 7:10
All the righteous will stand before God during rapture to receive eternal reward.
The Son of Man. Lord Jesus will come in His glory and His reward is with Him (Rev 22:12). Once we are saved by grace, we then should work hard and live for Him.

5 rewards for Christians.
1. Victor’s crown.
When we crucify our desire because we want to fulfill our calling, God remembers that
2. Soul winner’s crown
3. Crown of righteousness.
We just need to love His second coming.
4. Crown of life
This is for those who endure persecution and humiliation.
5. Crown of glory
This is for the pastors, leaders and cell group leaders.
Rev 4:10
The elders cast their crown before Lord Jesus. We will come before God and present our crowns to Him.

Posted August 12, 2015 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Bible Study, Kong Hee, Sermon

The End Draws Nigh

Lord Jesus taught the signs of end times. Some of the signs are as follows:

1. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom (Matt 24:7)
2. Famines, pestilences, earthquakes in various places (Matt 24:7)
3. Lawlessness will abound (Matt 24:12)

All these three signs are fulfilled.
One can observe them on the news.

While waiting for Lord Jesus’ return, perhaps an important advice is given by the angel of God.

“He who is unjust, let him be unjust still;
he who is filthy, let him be filthy still;
he who is righteous, let him be righteous still;
he who is holy, let him be holy still.” 
– Rev 22:11 (emphasis added)

Posted June 28, 2015 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Bible Study, Thought