I Samuel 16

1. Now the LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.”

Now the LORD scolds Samuel for mourning too long for Saul. The problem was not the mourning, which was fine and proper, and no doubt the LORD himself mourned for this sad event. Yet if the mourning carried on too long and got in the way of doing something to move on and fix the situation, then the mourning was no longer appropriate. The time for mourning is past, since the LORD has rejected Saul from governing over Israel. He no longer deserves the job. Samuel is now to go and anoint his replacement with a horn of oil.

Now the “horn” of oil was probably quite literal. It seems they would carry their oil at that time in the horn of a domestic animal. After the animal was butchered they would save the horn, making a cap for it, and this horn would be used to hold the oil. Since they did not have an overabundance of water for bathing, nor did they have deodorants or things like that which we have, they would often use this oil as a crucial part of their toilet to make themselves presentable. No doubt Samuel would have had this horn of oil for his own, daily use. Yet now he is to use it to do something significant for God. Read the rest of this entry »

I Samuel 15 Continued

13. Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD.”

Saul is feeling good about his victory, and when Samuel comes to him, he greets him cheerfully. He wishes him the well speaking of the LORD upon him, and then goes so far as to claim that he has performed the commandment of the LORD. From his perspective, he no doubt actually believes he has done this. After all, did he not gather the army and actually go on a campaign for no good reason of his own, but simply because the LORD told him to? Did he not risk his life and the lives of his people in the venture? Was not the campaign abundantly successful? Did they not follow most of the LORD’s orders in killing all but one of the people and in destroying at least some of the spoil that they could have kept for themselves? Surely this must be enough obedience for the LORD, he thinks. Surely no prophet would be so picky as to point out the few details that he had not carefully followed! So Saul with his worldly mindset does not even realize that he has forfeited his standing with the LORD by his willful disobedience. Read the rest of this entry »

I Samuel 15

1. Samuel also said to Saul, “The LORD sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the LORD.

Now Samuel comes to Saul with instructions from the LORD. First, the LORD claims Saul’s allegiance and obedience since He anointed him king and gave him the rule over His people. This was a good argument. Saul owed much to the LORD, and He had every right to demand his service in repayment. Saul really did owe it to the LORD to hear whatever instructions He might give him.

2. Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt.

Now Jehovah gives Saul his instructions. He has remembered and not forgotten Amalek. Besides being Canaanites, these were also God’s enemies whom He had promised to destroy, as we read in Exodus 17:14-16. Read the rest of this entry »

I Samuel 14 Continued

24. And the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had placed the people under oath, saying, “Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food.

The Israelites become weak with hunger as they attempted to pursue the Philistines because Saul had made them take this foolish vow. Why should the people not eat any food until evening when they were in the midst of the strenuous exertion of chasing their enemies? This injunction could only hinder them in their efforts.

It seems clear that Saul undertook this vow in an attempt to compensate for his earlier, unfaithful actions. When he failed to obey Yahweh, he tried to appease Him with a religious act. This is how those who are religious rather than in relationship to God often behave. Yet such a show of piety did not really impress Yahweh, and it only really was a hindrance to their efforts against the Philistines. While Jonathan won a great victory this day by his act of confidence and faith, Saul could only make things difficult through his disobedience and spirit of empty religion instead of true submission. Read the rest of this entry »

I Samuel 14

1. Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison that is on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.

Now the story shifts from the failing Saul to his son Jonathan. Remember that Jonathan was the one who started this whole mess back in I Samuel 13:3 when he attacked the garrison of the Philistines in Geba. We are not told the circumstances that brought about this attack, and whether Saul was privy to it in advance or not. Now we will see more of the character of this son of Saul, Jonathan. It seems that even as the rest of Saul’s army is terrified and certain that a terrible loss to their enemies is inevitable, Jonathan is not afraid of the Philistines, for he is trusting in God. It is a pity the rest of Israel was not like him in this, and even more a pity that his father Saul was not like him. If he had been Jonathan surely would have made a worthy successor and next king. Alas, though, Saul did not have the faith of his eldest son.

So Jonathan, not deterred at all by the vastly superior force of the Philistines, decides to carry out a plan of his own. He makes this bold proposal to the young man who is his armor-bearer. He suggests they go over to the other side to the Philistines’ garrison. What he plans to do there, he does not yet reveal. In going, he does not inform his father. Perhaps he is aware that his father is filled with fear, and will likely not be in the mood to risk his son and heir on what he would view as a fool’s errand. Saul just did not have the outlook of faith that his son Jonathan had. Read the rest of this entry »

I Samuel 13

1. Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel,

This verse sounds a little strange as it reads, as of course if he reigned two years, he also reigned one year. Yet things become even stranger if we go into the Hebrew behind this translation. The original Hebrew, if it were accurately translated, reads, “Saul was one year old when he became king, and he reigned two years over Israel.” This is what it reads, and yet none of the translators are brave enough to translate the verse this way. For one thing, we simply know this was not true. As near as we can tell, Saul was about thirty years old when he became king, about the same age as David, his successor, when he took the throne. Moreover, we have read of Saul’s actions leading up to being king, and they are certainly not the actions of a one-year-old, nor even of a child. Yet the problem is that there is no Hebrew manuscript evidence for any reading but this. If this was an error, we would expect that the original reading would have made it through somewhere, and yet that is not the case. As far as the evidence goes, it is all for this reading. Yet how could this reading possibly be right?

I believe that the key to what this is talking about is the “new Saul.” We read that God had produced a new Saul back in I Samuel 10:6. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following questions:

Could you explain Rom 12:1
Present your body as a living sacrifice holy acceptable unto God which is reasonable service.

1Pet4:18
If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?  Wherefore, let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful creator.

Thanks for your help.

To present your bodies to God as Romans 12:1 indicates means to live a life that is separate from the world around you and acceptable to God. It means not being conformed to the world around you by acting like the world acts, but rather being changed by having your very way of thinking about things renewed to accord with the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. It means living a lifestyle that accords more and more with the lifestyle set forth in Ephesians 4-6, which is the worthy walk (lifestyle) of the believer, in keeping the unity of the Spirit, in putting off the old man (manner of life) and putting on the new man, in walking in love, in walking in light, in walking circumspectly, in submitting to other believers in the fear of God, in putting on the whole armor of God, and in praying. Read the rest of this entry »

approved02I received the following question:

My question to you is. Anyone passing the WHITE THRONE TEST, will they be placed in the PARADISE of the kingdom, or as Sellers suggested, they will start a new colony in one of the planets in the New Heavens and New Earth? And your opinion is?

You ask a very good question! I am afraid I cannot really answer. I have trouble believing that people who were judged unworthy of the kingdom of God or the parousia of Jesus Christ would then be thought worthy of the new heavens and new earth, which are beyond those! Yet if the place they are to live is not the new heavens and new earth, then I do not know where else they can live. Mr. Sellers’ suggestion of a colony on a new planet is a good idea. I think he used the verse about God planting the heavens (Isaiah 51:16.) But that verse is certainly of debatable meaning. I just don’t have any Biblical evidence to say for sure. But I do know they will be given a chance at life somewhere. We will have to leave the exact details up to God.

devildown02I received the following question:

Here’s a question from one of my co-workers. I’ve done my best to answer his question on my own, but I’m needing a little more help because I think it’s a bit deeper than I have gone myself. “If God knew (or could have known) that Satan would fall and deceive Isha, why then did God create him?” Thank you in advance. I am always encouraged by your steady study and devotion to the truth.

Thanks for the great question! Hopefully I can help you figure out something to say that will make sense to your co-worker.

Ultimately, this goes back to one’s basic philosophy of God. Many people assume that God must know everything and must control everything. This seems to make sense to us humans, since to us, with only limited knowledge and partial control over our circumstances and surroundings, increasing in knowledge and in power/control is something we are always concerned with. Extrapolating from our perspective, we assume that since God could know everything and could control everything, then He must do so, for why would He not? Yet ultimately, I think there are things that, to God, are far more important than power and control and knowledge. God has access to all the power and control and knowledge that He needs to accomplish His purposes. He is not jealous of these things, or worried about losing them, as a human being might be. The things He is concerned with are far more important. Read the rest of this entry »

olives02I received the following question:

I found Sellers’ booklet on the “Good Olive Tree” confusing. Maybe I caused my own confusion because I thought that pure gentiles were being grafted to become Jews into the Good Olive Tree of Romans 11:

The Good Olive Tree, was Jesus Christ, and the gentiles partook of the blessings of believing, during the Acts period. When a pure gentile believed during the Acts period, it provoked the Jews into jealousy. But these two groups were kept separate. The pure gentiles were grafted into Israel’s blessings and became partakers of Israel’s spiritual things. The pure gentiles did not become Jews, no more than Cornelius and his household became Jews

The Lord would not graft an apple into an orange tree because that would be confusion and God is not the author of confusion. The gentiles stood in separate positions of blessings.

I was confused with the Good Olive Tree, but reading your Malta Omission and a few other Precepts truths you have written helped clarify my confusion. Thanks.  

I am not sure if you are asking me to explain this, or saying you already have it figured out from reading my Precepts. I do think that the “pure” Gentiles were being grafted into Israel’s olive tree of blessings in place of some of the Israelites, the natural branches, who were being cut off. Read the rest of this entry »

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