September 13, 2015
In this issue: Signs for Faith & Salvation by John Robertson
by John Robertson
God told Ezekiel that he would “take away from you the desire of your eyes with a stroke” (Ezekiel 24:16). The “desire” of the prophet’s eyes was his wife. The Lord further instructed his prophet not to cry or mourn the death of her. God stroked Ezekiel’s wife the next evening and she died. Ezekiel did not cry and neither did he mourn her death. Ezekiel writes, “And I did in the morning as I was commanded” (Ezekiel 24:18). The captives of Judah, who were now living in Mesopotamia, ask “Tell us what this means to us.” Ezekiel tells them that as his wife died without his tears so will their sons and daughters die in the siege of Jerusalem and they will not cry nor mourn their deaths. Rather than cry they would “pine away in your iniquities and moan one toward another” (Ezekiel 24:23). The Lord then tells the people, “Thus shall Ezekiel be unto you a sign; according to all that he has done shall you do: when this comes, then shall you know that I am the Lord God” (Ezekiel 24:24).
Many, throughout Bible history, have lacked faith in God just as Judah during the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. God has always given man signs to bring them to confess that he alone is the Lord God Almighty. God gave the miraculous sign of creation to produce faith in man (Psalms 33:6-9; Jeremiah 32:17 and Romans 1:18-20). God delivered signs in Egypt so that Pharaoh and the world might believe that he is the one true God (see Jeremiah 32:17-22 and Romans 9:17). God gave signs in the form of catastrophic disasters so that men would come to know that he alone is God (see Ezekiel 4:3). God destroyed the household of Korah so that they may serve as a sign of what happens to those who reject the authorized will of the Lord (see Numbers 26:10 and Jude 7-11).
The prophets and apostles of Jesus Christ also performed signs to produce faith in their audiences (see Hebrews 2:1-4). Jesus performed signs, wonders, and miracles too yet the world rejected and killed him (see Acts 2:22-24). The Apostle John records seven signs of Jesus. First, Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana (John 2:1ff). Secondly, Jesus healed the nobleman’s son (John 4:46-54). Thirdly, Jesus healed a man that had been lame for 38 years near the pool of Bethesda (John 5:2-9). Fourth, Jesus miraculously feeds five thousand with five loaves and two fishes (John 6:1-15). Fifthly, Jesus walks on the Sea of Galilee (John 6:16-21). Sixthly, Jesus healed a blind man by spitting in the dirt and making a clay mud pack and placing it on the blind man’s eyes (John 9:1-7). Lastly, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in a very public display of his divine powers (see John 11:17ff). All the signs Jesus performed were for the object of producing faith in those who witnessed them (see John 20:30-31).
Throughout history God has given signs to cause people to believe that he is the one true God, to believe his words to be of a divine origin, and to teach man that salvation is found in no other. Those who live now and have lived in the past have had many signs available to cause them to believe the divine words of revelation (Mark 16:20). There is absolutely no excuse in man’s rebellion and walking by his own standards when the Lord has given so many signs (see Jeremiah 10:23 and Romans 1:20).
The signs of God establishes his words as divine truths and patterns that must be followed (see Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:1-3 and 8:1-5). The divinely established pattern of how people are saved is first introduced at Acts 2:38 which is a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy at Isaiah 2:2-3. The divinely established pattern of the identity of the church, work of the church, organization, and worship is established in the pages of God’s word too. God demands that man examine the signs and conclude that his words are truth and worthy to be followed to eternal life (Colossians 3:17).
Why do men seek a different way when our history is replete with God’s faith producing signs (Jeremiah 10:23)? Why do men teach different doctrines than what are found in the sign confirmed truths of our Bible (Galatians 1:6 and 2 Peter 2:1ff)? Why do men call their churches by a different name than what is in the Bible (Romans 16:16)? Why do men set up their churches to worship, work, and be organized differently than the revealed pattern? Is it because the signs God gave them never satisfied them? Is it because these men will always do what they want rather than what God wants? The more we examine man’s history the clearer it becomes that most people are going to do what they want to do rather than what Jesus commands them to do even though the signs are so evident (see John 12:37-43). Jesus said that once man is in this mode of selfish hard hearted thinking that it wouldn’t matter if a man were raised from the dead right before their eyes they will continue to do things their own way rather than by the written and authorized word of God (see Luke 16:19-31). The Apostle Paul said that they are “ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). Again, Paul writes, “the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be: and they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8).
Look around you! Why are there 10,000 different religions? One of those 10,000 is “Christianity” (Annual Editions – World Religions page iv). Why are there 33,000 different denominational bodies within “Christianity” teaching 33,000 different doctrines regarding salvation, church organization, and many other religious doctrines? The world of self -seeking religious people are no different than the Pharisees who asked Jesus to perform a sign even though he had previously done many miraculous signs right before their eyes (see Matthew 12:38-45). Jesus answers the Pharisees request saying, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet:” (Matthew 12:39). Jesus had one last sign to give to the unbelieving. As Jonah was in the depths of the ocean for three days even so Christ would die and three days latter be resurrected. Why did Jesus respond in such a negative manner? The Pharisees and unbelieving Jews should have looked to the signs Jesus had already performed and paid careful attention to his divine instructions. Jesus was greater than Jonah and the Queen of Sheba yet the Pharisees would not listen to him. The Gentiles of old times had seen the miracles of God and gave careful attention to the teachings of inspired men like Jonah and Solomon yet these Jews rejected the very one who was the law giver.
Jesus said that if you love him you will keep HIS commandments (see John 14:15 and 15:10). God has given man all the signs that he is going to give them. There will be no more miraculous signs performed by men to produce faith (1 Corinthians 13). The only sign left for the Jews was the resurrection of the Christ and the only signs left for us are the creation, the completed sign proven truth, and judgment. There is a great day of judgment coming upon the world. No one will have a valid excuse for casting away God’s signs that confirmed his divine words as truth. Those who invent their own church names and own ways of salvation shall be cast alive into the fires of hell (Revelation 20:11-15). God is warning us to walk by his standards of righteousness and justice through these final signs that we have (Ephesians 4:1-4 and Colossians 3:17). Many; however, will meet their eternal doom at the hands of the living God because they refused to fear him and give him glory through their obedience while they lived. Most all of humanity will put their own personal ideas, opinions, convictions, and beliefs above the authorized will of God (see Matthew 22:1-14 compared to Revelation 19:6-9). When all of humanity stands before the Almighty they will bow their knee to him and confess that he is Lord of all (Philippians 2:9-10). ~
From Watchman Magazine, March 19, 2013