"Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches" (John 5:2).
The pool of Bethesda was most unusual in that the Jews had made it into a shrine of sorts. The pool was apparently fed by an underground stream and at certain seasons the water stirred. This unaccountable troubling of the water was attributed to an unseen angel who released healing power into the pool, and the first infirm person to enter was healed.
The Old Testament closes with this amazing prophecy of Malachi: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse" (Malachi 4:5,6).
I am convinced that many who call themselves Christians are not going to endure to the end. It has been proclaimed that the love of many will grow cold and die because of explosive wickedness. Others will turn away from the truth and run after false teachers and prophets who will cater to their selfish lusts and deceive them. There will be those seduced by doctrines of demons who will become spiritually blind and end up given over to reprobate minds.
Paul admonishes us not to be deceived about God's hatred for sin in His house. What could be clearer than the following warning: "Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, not effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9,10).
A young Christian wrote these sad words to me recently, "For the last few years I have heard evangelists, pastors and teachers tell their audiences to give up everything for Christ. They set my heart on fire and created in me a desire to reject the world and all it stands for. I was told to put Christ first in all things, to seek His holiness, and to go all the way with Him. So I did it! I went all the way — I gave up everything — I started giving myself to the Word and to diligent prayer. Then the Lord began to reveal Himself to me about the backslidden condition in God's house.
Be sure your sin will find you out! This is one of the most misunderstood statements in all God's Word. Moses is speaking of one particular sin, that being a stubborn refusal to wholly follow the Lord! There are many sins that go unexposed here on earth and will be revealed only at the Judgment. Paul said, "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel" (Romans 2:16). The Greek word used here for secrets is, "that which is hidden, concealed, covered up."
You can believe the Kingdom-dominion people if you choose, who preach that Christians will subdue and purify this ungodly world system and bring back King Jesus to a conquered earth. As for me, I believe the apostle Peter who stood in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost and boldly proclaimed that Joel's prophetic last days had come.
It is time to weep and lament for the shepherds who are tending the Lord's sheep. Weep for the pastors, the evangelists, the prophets and teachers — because God is about to send fearful judgments upon those who have become evil, sensuous and blind. The godly shepherds are themselves weeping between the porch and the altar over the condition of the church, but the corrupted ones who are self-centered will be dealt with by the Lord Himself.
It is amazing how the Word of God literally cries out against the way a majority of Christians live today. Old Testament prophets spent much of their time exposing the greed and graft of priests, false prophets and of the masses. With broken heart Isaiah said, "His watchmen are blind: they are ignorant, they are all dumb dogs...sleeping...loving to slumber...yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough...they all look to their own way, every one for his own gain..." (Isaiah 56:10,11).
God has provided a source of life for the whole world. Not mere sustenance, but life in its fullest measure — Jesus called it abundant life.
God sent manna to sustain life in the wilderness — He sent His Son Jesus to sustain life in our day. Jesus said, "For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world" (John 6:33).