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Devotion: the Word became flesh

by Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a mock-up image of a book shelf
book shlef

John 1:14

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we come before You with reverence and awe. We pray for quiet, soft, receptive, and teachable hearts. Speak to us as we listen to You, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

The Word became flesh

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth

John 1:14

Commentary

I will dissect this verse into 5 parts.

The Word became flesh

The Word is Jesus Christ. The Word became flesh means incarnation. Incarnate means embodied in flesh. Jesus is the embodiment of God in human flesh. Jesus of Nazareth stepped out from eternity into our time-space continuum and became a man 2000 years ago. This explains why the calendar is divided into BC and AD.

In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

John 1:1

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched, this we proclaim concerning the Word of life

1 John 1:1

made His dwelling among us

The Greek word for “dwelling” is “tabernacle”. God dwelled among the Israelites in the tabernacle and later, the temple.  The tabernacle or temple was a foreshadow of Jesus Christ. Today, Jesus tabernacled among us. The body of a Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit. When someone is born again, the Holy Spirit tabernacled in his/her body. During the inauguration of the first temple, Solomon asked whether God would really dwell in the temple that he built, 1 Kings 8:27. God answered this question 1000 years later when Jesus came to earth and dwelled among us!

But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!

1 Kings 8:27

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

1 Corinthians 6:10

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our dwelling place with him

John 14:23, amplified Bible

we have seen His glory

The Greek word for glory is “doxa” which means splendour. “We” is a plural pronoun. John and the apostles had seen, heard, and touched Jesus. They saw the glory, grace, and truth of the Son of God. John was not only an eyewitness of Jesus but also a reliable one. John was a cousin of Jesus because his mother Salome and Jesus’ mother Mary were cousins. As children, they would have played together as a family. This was how close they were. 

the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father

The Greek word for one and only is “monogenes’’ which means the only unique or the only begotten. Jesus Christ, the unique Son of God, came from the Father as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

He was in the beginning with God

John 1:2

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known

John 1:18

full of Grace and Truth

Grace is to get something that we do not deserve. Truth is something that is authentic. The Hebrew words for grace and truth are “hesed” and “emet”, which means unfailing love and faithfulness. Hesed and emet in the Old Testament correspond to Grace and Truth in the New Testament. Salvation is by the Grace of God through faith in Christ, who is Truth. 

So, the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness

John 1:14 (a), NLT

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

Ephesians 2:8

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me

John 14:6

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free

John 8:32

Application

Jesus Christ stepped out from eternity into our time-space domain to become a human being. Jesus Christ is God in a human body. He is not just a good man, wise teacher, or prophet. He is fully God and fully man. He is God whom you can know, see, hear, love, and relate to. He is the message, the Word of God. 

Do you know Jesus? Do you want to know  Him? You can know Him right now, right where you are.

If you want to know Jesus say this prayer with me:

Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe You died on the cross to pay the punishment of my sin for me. I surrender my life to You, in Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

If you prayed this prayer you are born again as a child of God. This is the first step. Find a Bible-believing church near you, inform the church pastor about your decision, and join in the fellowship of believers to grow and mature in the faith.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to step out of eternity into our time-space domain to live among us. Thank You for showing us Your Glory, Unfailing Love, Faithfulness, Grace, and Truth. Thank You for the gift of salvation and eternal life by grace through faith in Christ, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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Devotion: rapture

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a photo showing clouds in the sky
clouds

Rapture

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, 17 then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever (please read the rest of 1 Thessalonians 4 on your own).

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Commentary

Paul spelled out the end-time prophecy concerning the rapture in this passage. The word rapture is derived from the words caught up in verse 17. The Greek word for caught up is harpazo.  The Latin word for harpazo is raptura. Rapture comes from the Latin word raptura. The Thessalonians Christians were worried because many of them had died but Jesus did not come back. They wondered whether they had missed out on the second coming. Paul reassured them to the contrary.

Rapture is not the same as the second coming of Christ as these are 2 separate and different events. On the day of rapture, Jesus Christ will come down from heaven preceded by an angel’s shout and a loud trumpet blast. The trumpet is a shofar or ram horn. Christians will be caught up to heaven to meet the Lord in the sky. Two groups of Christians will be raptured, The first group will be those who had died before the rapture. The second group will be those who are still alive at the rapture. The rapture is imminent, meaning that it can happen at any time. No one is privy to the exact day or time, except God, the Father, Matthew 24:36, 41-21.

But no one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Matthew 24:36

Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and one will be left.

Matthew 24:41-42

The rapture will come suddenly, like a thief in the night, 1 Thessalonians 5:2. Those raptured will be transformed into spiritual, imperishable, and immortal bodies to meet the Lord in the sky, 1 Corinthians 15: 52-53. Even those who died a long time ago will be resurrected and raptured. How this is even possible is a mystery and God is revealing this to us. 

For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night.

1 Thessalonians 5:2

Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.For this perishable body must become imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 

1 Corinthians 15:52-53

There are three theological positions on the timing of the rapture i.e. pre-tribulation, before, mid-tribulation, at the middle, and post-tribulation, at the end of the 7-year tribulation. The second coming of Christ will take place at the end of the 7-year tribulation, Revelation 19. Christ will set up His millennial kingdom on earth. for 1000 years, Revelation 20. This theological position is called pre-millennialism.

Application

If you subscribe to pre-tribulation rapture, the rapture is imminent, which means it can occur at any time. However, if you subscribe to mid or post-tribulation, it will not be imminent. Certain events must happen first, for example, the anti-christ appearing onto the world scene, the signing of the peace treaty, building of the the third temple, and so on before the rapture can occur. 

Are you rapture-ready? Are you sure, you will make it to the rapture? Are you sure, you not be left behind?

Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart. If you are not a Christian yet, you can become one right now, right where you are. In a simple prayer, confess to Jesus that you are a sinner, acknowledge that you believe He died for you on the cross, and surrender your life to Him. Find a Bible-believing church near you, inform the pastor about your prayer, join in the fellowship of believers, and grow in the faith.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of salvation by grace and justification by faith in Jesus Christ. Thank You that You died on the cross to pay the penalty of our sins for us. Thank You for speaking to us through Your word. Help us to be ready before the rapture by accepting You as our Lord and Saviour. Help us be vigilant of world events even as they unfold and be aware of the times that we are in. We pray for mercy, grace, protection, wisdom, and knowledge, in Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

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business card
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The 70 weeks of Daniel

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a photo showing clouds in the sky
clouds

Daniel 9:24-27

In the first year of King Darius’ reign, Daniel studied the prophecy of Jeremiah and came to the conclusion that the seventy years of exile were coming to an end. He prayed, interceded, and fasted in sackcloths and ashes, to seek the Lord’s will. 

While Daniel was still praying, angel Gabriel appeared to him in a vision, saying that the Lord had answered his prayer. In Daniel 9:24-27, angel Gabriel gave a profound end-time prophecy from the Lord.

In this article, I will walk you through the prophecy of the 70 weeks of Daniel. This interpretation is based on a pre-millennial, pre-tribulation rapture position. 

24 Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy Place. V 25 Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench but in times of trouble. V 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. V 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him (Read the rest of Daniel 9 on your own).

Daniel 9: 24-27

Verse 24, seventy sevens

Seventy ‘sevens’ refer to seventy weeks of years i.e. 490 years. Your people refer to Daniel’s people i.e. the Jews. Your holy city refers to Daniel’s holy city i.e. Jerusalem. This prophecy is for the Jews and Jerusalem. The entire duration of the prophecy is 490 years. At the end of 490 years, there will be no more sin, transgression, and wickedness and there will be everlasting righteousness. The vision and prophecy will be sealed, and the Most Holy place of the temple will be anointed. 

Verses 25-26, Part 1

The prophecy has a starting point and an ending point. The starting point is from the time a decree was given to rebuild Jerusalem. The ending point will be the second coming of Christ as will be explained later.

The prophecy has two parts. Verses 25 to 26 spelled out Part 1. It started with the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in 445 BC and ended with the first coming of Christ in 33 AD.

From the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the first coming of Christ will be 7 X 7 plus 62 X 7 years i.e. 49 + 434 i.e. 483 years. The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given by King Artaxerxes Longimanus to Nehemiah in Nehemiah 2:8-9 in 445 BC. The first coming of Christ as Messiah was on Palm Sunday in 33 AD. Zechariah prophesied this around 500 BC, Zechariah 9:9. 

 445 BC to 33 AD is 478 Gregorian/ Roman/ solar years, based on 365 days per year. However, the Jewish lunar calendar is based on 360 days per year. 478 Gregorian/ Roman/ solar years is equivalent to 483 Jewish/ lunar years. 

Jerusalem was rebuilt in times of trouble amidst opposition from the Samaritans. On Good Friday, 33 AD, Christ was killed (cut off). In 70 AD, Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by the Romans. Wars and more wars had continued unabated ever since. 

Hence, the first 483 years of Part 1 as spelled out in verses 25 to 26 were fulfilled by the first coming of Christ. 

Verse 27, Part 2

Part 2 is prophesied in verse 27.  The last 7 years of world history remain unfulfilled. The ‘He’ of verse 27 is the antichrist. The starting point of Part 2 will be the signing of a peace treaty between the Jews and the Arabs, brokered by the antichrist. In the middle of this 7-year, the antichrist will set up the abomination of desolation in the future third temple. Part 2 will ends with the second coming of Christ at the culmination of world history. 

Between Part 1 and Part 2 is an interlude called the church age, and we are now living in this interlude for the past 2000 years.

God stopped the prophetic timer at the 483rd year. of the prophecy. The clock will start ticking again after the rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. 

The antichrist will allow the Jews to rebuild the third temple and resume the temple sacrifice. In the middle of the 7 years, he will set up his image in the Most Holy Place and force the Jews to worship him. This image will be called the abomination of desolation, Mathew 24:15. The Jews’ refusal to worship the image will trigger off intense persecution by the antichrist in the last 3 1/2 years of world history. This is called the great tribulation. 

In 174 BC, Antiochus Epiphany IV erected a statue of Zeus in the Most Holy Place, splashed swine blood on the altar, and desecrated the second temple. The future antichrist will desecrate the third temple in the same way during the tribulation. Jesus Christ will come back from heaven on a white horse and defeat the antichrist in the battle of Armageddon., Revelation 9:11 and following. He will set up His millennial kingdom on earth and fulfill the seventy weeks prophecy of Daniel, Rev. 20:4 and following.

Please note that the rapture and the second coming of Christ are two separate events. 

“And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests”.

Nehemiah 2:8-9

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey

Zechariah 9:9

So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel, let the reader understand

Matthew 24:15

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it is called Faithful and True. In righteousness, he judges and makes war.

Revelation 9:11

I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as didn’t worship the beast nor his image and didn’t receive the mark on their forehead and on their hand. They lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Revelation 20:4

Application

The Bible has given us sufficient information on how the world will end. The future is not looking optimistic. More troubles will break out as we move closer and closer to the end of world history. The covid 19 pandemic had already taken a toll on every one of us. The dust of the pandemic has not even settled and war broke out in Ukraine! We are truly in uncharted territories. If this war gets out of control and nuclear war breaks out, millions of lives will be wiped out in a matter of seconds! Whether you believe in a pre, mid, or post-tribulation rapture, one thing is for sure. Christ’s second coming is not too far away. Are you ready for His return? Have you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior? Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart. Come to Christ. With a simple prayer, confess your sin, accept Him as your Lord and Savior, and surrender your life to Him. You will be saved and even if anything happened, you will have eternal life.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word to us today. We know that Your second coming is not that far away. We know that You are in control of world events. We pray that the war in Ukraine will not get out of control but will come to an end soon. We pray that You will protect the people of Ukraine. We pray for the soldiers, the civilians, the refugees, and all others. May Your mercy and grace be upon all the people of Ukraine. Help us to surrender our lives to You because our future is in Your hand, in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen. 

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Devotion: Pentecost

by Dr Andrew C S Koh

a photo showing an open book
open book

Acts 2: 1-4

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we come before You today as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to You, as our spiritual act of worship. We give You our full attention, hearts, and minds. Help us be transformed to the image of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Saviour, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Pentecost

1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:1-4

Commentary

Easter corresponds to the Feast of First Fruits in the Old Testament. The day of Pentecost is celebrated fifty days after Easter (Feast of First Fruits), Leviticus 28:16. Pentecost is also known as the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering, Numbers 28:26 and Exodus 23:16. The Holy Spirit descended upon the 120 disciples in the upper room on day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came with the sound of a strong wind and rested on the head of each disciple as a tongue of fire and they spoke in tongues.

Jesus compared the activity of the Holy Spirit with the blowing of the wind in John 3:8. In Greek, the word for wind and Spirit is the same word, pneuma from which we get our English word pneumatic.

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit

John 3:8

Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.

Leviticus 23:16

Also on the day of the first fruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the Lord at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work.

Numbers 23:16

and the Feast of Harvest, the first fruits of your labors which you have sown in the field, and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.

Exodus 23:16

Application

The New Testament church was born on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the 120 disciples in the upper room of Jerusalem. This was a fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to His disciples in the upper discourse in John 14:26.

 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 14:26

Church Age

The time period from the day of Pentecost until now is the church age. The church age will end on the day of rapture when the church will be taken up to heaven to meet the Lord, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit descended open the disciples as visible tongues of fire resting over their heads and they spoke in the languages of other people’s nations. Like a Chinese person speaking French, a German person speaking Arabic, a Korean person speaking Japanese, and so on.

The power of the Holy Spirit is as strong as the wind. Typhoons and cyclones can blow off rooftops! Once, I was in Hong Kong and I saw the effect of a typhoon damaging houses. Another time, I was in India, and I saw the power of a cyclone.

You cannot see the Holy Spirit but you can feel His presence and you can see the result of His work. You feel His presence as goosebumps all over you and in other ways. Once, when I was in a boat in the Sea of Galilee, I felt goosebumps all over me! You see the result of the Holy Spirit in the millions of lives that are transformed by Him all over the world.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for speaking to us through Your word of truth. Thank You for sending us the Holy Spirit to be our helper, teacher, truth revealer, counselor, and advocate. Thank You for the amazing power of the Holy Spirit to transform lives. Thank You for Your love, mercy, and grace, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Devotion: Creation

Genesis 1:1-4

by Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a picture of God creating Adam
Creation of Adam

Creation

God created the world in six days. Whether this is a literal 24 hours day or not is something that is hotly debated. According to God’s reckoning, 1 day is as 1000 years and 1000 years is as 1 day, 2 Peter 3:8. God created, transcends, and is outside of the time, and space continuum. There are two schools of thought regarding the age of the universe. Is the age billions of years old or is the universe 6000 plus years old? There is also the gap theory. Is there an interval of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2? These are hotly debated issues among Bible scholars. As far as the Bible is concerned God is the creator of the universe. In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth. The universe is not a product of a massive explosion billions of years ago. The universe is not a product of random chance and mutations. Human beings did not evolve from monkeys or gorillas

“But don’t forget this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.”

2 Peter 3:8,

The Beginning

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep and God’s Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3 God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw the light, and saw that it was good. God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day”, and the darkness he called “night”. There was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Genesis 1: 1-4

Commentary

The Bible begins with “in the beginning God created”. We do not know when this beginning was. Is it billions of years or thousands of years? God created the universe in eternity past. The universe did not evolve by random chance over billions of years. It takes a lot more faith to believe in evolution than creation. God has no beginning. He is outside the time-space continuum. He is pre-existent, self-existent, eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, from eternity past to eternity future, from the Alpha, and to the Omega.

The six days of creation have a pre-set template, starting with “let there be…..” and ending with ”there was evening and there was morning………”

On the first day, God created the heavens, the earth, and the light. There are three heavens. The atmosphere from the ground to the clouds is the first heaven. The outer space from the clouds to the galaxies is the second heaven. The abode of God’s throne beyond the galaxies is the third heaven. When God created the earth, it was dark, empty, and structureless. Hebrews word for create is bara, which means to create something out of nothing, or ex-nihilo in latin.

God separated the light and the darkness, calling the darkness, evening, and the light, morning, and this was the first day. God defined a day as one evening and one morning. A Jewish day starts from 6 pm in the evening until 6 pm the next evening.

The Holy Spirit circled around the formless, structureless, dark, empty, and watery earth. God spoke, let there be light and light appeared on site. This was not the light of the sun but the light of God’s glory, Revelation 21:23. Jesus Christ is the word of God’s word, John 1:1.

The Trinitarian God of the Bible, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created the universe. God saw that the light was good. He separated the light from the darkness and called them day and night. Hebrews for God is Elohim, a plural noun.

In the presence of the Holy Spirit, God, the Father spoke, and it came to be. Jesus Christ is the spoken Word of God, the father.

The city has no need for the sun, neither of the moons, to shine, for the very glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Revelation 21:23,

“in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.”

John 1:1,

Application

Genesis declared that everything is created by God. If you believe that God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days, you will have no problem believing the rest of the Bible. How big is your God? How big is your faith? It takes more faith to believe in evolution than in creation. Faith is the key to unlocking spiritual truth. Believe and you will see the glory of God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us to understand Your word. We pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and to give us wisdom and understanding. Open our hearts, minds, eyes, ears, and spirit to receive, understand, see, apply, honour, and hear the truth of Your word, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Devotion: How big is your God?

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a photo showing a setting sun over the sea
setting sun

Joshua 10: 12-14

12 Then Joshua spoke to Yahweh in the day when Yahweh delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel. He said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still on Gibeon! You, moon, stop in the valley of Aijalon!” 13 The sun stood still, and the moon stayed until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies. Isn’t this written in the book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky and didn’t hurry to go down about a whole day. 14 There was no day like that before it or after it, that Yahweh listened to the voice of a man; for Yahweh fought for Israel. (Read the whole chapter of Joshua 10 on your own).

Joshua 10:12-14

Commentary

When Adoni-Zedek, the king of Jerusalem heard about the conquest of Jericho and Ai, and the Gibeonites’ surrender to Joshua, they were afraid. Adoni-Zedek in Hebrews means lord of righteousness. This is the first mention of Jerusalem in the Bible. Gibeon was a great royal city, and its inhabitants were warriors. Adoni-Zedek formed a confederation with four more kings to attack Gibeon. This five city-king confederation and their fighting men surrounded Gibeon and attacked her. The Gibeonites reached out to Joshua at Gilgal and pleaded for his assistance to rescue them. 

Without any hesitation, Joshua obliged and gathered his fighting men. The LORD reassured Joshua to be strong and courageous because He would ensure his victory. Joshua and his fighting men marched the whole night from Gilgal to Gibeon. The LORD confused the fighting men of the five city-king confederation until they could not wage war effectively. Joshua defeated them at Gibeon and chased them all the way to Beth Haran, Azekah, and Makkedah. The LORD rained hail hailstones from the sky which selectively landed on and killed Joshua’s enemies! Even the hailstones have eyes to see and log on to its target!

After defeating the Amorites, Joshua sought counsel from the  LORD. In front of all the Israelites, Joshua commanded the sun to stand still in Gibeon and the moon to stand still in the valley of Ajalon! This was certainly a tall order! Immediately, the sun stood still over Gideon and the moon stood still over the valley of Ajalon until Joshua defeated all his enemies! The LORD gave Joshua one extra day to do battle. Wow, this is mind-blowing! One day became 2 days. God stood outside of the time-space domain and stopped the clock!

Application

Earth stopped rotating

Joshua wanted more time to fight his battle and God stopped the clock for him! Isn’t this amazing? A 24-hour day became a 48-hour day.! The earth rotates around the sun once every 365 days. The earth also rotates on its own axis relative to the sun once every 24 hours. When the sun stood still, time was frozen, and the earth stopped rotating on its axis. God stopped the earth’s rotation for 24 hours. 

How big is your God?

We serve a great and mighty God who created the heavens and the earth in six days. Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, fed thousands with 5 miserable loaves of bread and 2 tiny little fish, calmed the storm, walked on water, changed water into wine, healed the sick, and raised the dead to life. Our Almighty God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. There is nothing that He cannot do to the universe that He created. He is beyond time, beyond space, and beyond matter. He is the name above all names. All glory, honour, and praise belonged to Him.

How big is your faith?

Do you believe in the God of the Bible? Joshua had faith when he commanded the sun to stand still in front of all the Israelites. Imagine what would have happened if the sun did not stand still after his prayer! Faith is the key to unlocking the power of prayer. If you have faith as small as a tiny mustard seed, you can even move mountains, Matthew 17:20. Without faith, it is impossible to please God, Hebrews 11:6.

.

Matthew 17:20, He said to them, “Because of your unbelief. For most certainly I tell you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you

Matthew 17:20

Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.

Hebrews 11:6

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that You are a great and mighty God and there is no other God apart from You. We acknowledge that You are the only true and the living God of the Bible. We believe that You created the heavens and the earth in six days. We believe that nothing is impossible for You. We bring all our needs before You for healing, restoration, and a miracle. We bring all our battles before You and seek victory over them. We pray that You will increase our faith, subdue our enemies, and train us up to be prayer warriors, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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bible study devotion

Devotion: Who can separate us from the love of Christ?

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a photo showing clouds on a blue sky
Clouds

Bible verse

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Could oppression, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Even as it is written, “For your sake we are killed all day long. We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”, Psalm 44:22. 37 No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from God’s love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8: 36-39

Devotion

Paul formulated and answered his own rhetorical question and for our benefit. He asked his audience and us, can anything separate us from the love of Christ? What things? He went on to name some of the things, oppression, anguish, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and even martyrdom. These are the trials and sufferings we faced in life as Christians. What about wars, accidents, and natural disasters like landslides, floods, earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes, cyclones, volcano eruptions, etc? When such things happened to us, does it mean that He did not love us? These are the things that Paul himself went through in his life. He was persecuted mercilessly by the Jewish leaders from day one and eventually faced martyrdom at the hand of Nero, yet he never even once doubted the love of Christ.

Paul went on to name even more things. What about death, life, angels, demons, present things, future things, powerful things, heights, depths, or any other created things? Can these separate us from the love of Christ? Paul’s answer? Nothing! No way! By no means! 

For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life

John 3:16

Go back to the cross whenever you begin to doubt the love of Christ for you. Jesus died for you and me on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins for us. This is how much Christ loved us. He died so that we can live. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s for another. Yet, Jesus died for you and me when we were still sinners and did not love Him. God loved you and me with an everlasting love.

Yahweh appeared of old to me, saying, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore I have drawn you with loving-kindness”

Jeremiah 31:3

Application

Right now, we are witnessing a brutal war in Ukraine, entering into its ninth month. Does this mean that Christ do not love the Ukrainian Christians? By no means! Christ loved the Ukrainians just as much as He loved everyone everywhere in the world. He died on the cross for everyone irrespective of race, religion, custom, creed, geography, or pedigree. God is a God of love.

Be careful of what you hear on the pulpit or read from the internet. Countercheck everything you hear or read with scripture and come to the correct and balanced conclusion.

Do not blindly believe and follow someone’s opinion hook, line, and sinker, without counterchecking with scripture. I was once following a Bible teacher on the internet, but when he kept on saying that God is not a God of love, I stopped following him!  

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for speaking to us today right out of scripture. Thank You for your agape love for us. Thank You that while we were still sinners, You died for us. Thank You for doing something for us that we will never be able to do for ourselves. You paid the debt of sin for us on the cross which we will never be able to pay. Thank You for the truth that nothing can ever separate us from Your love, in Jesus’ name. Amen.  

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bible study devotion

Devotion: if God is for us

If God is for us, who can be against us?

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a picture showing an opened bible and a spectacle
bible

Romans 8:31-34

A rhetorical question is a question that requires no answer. The question is asked in order to make a point rather than to get an answer. Paul’s favorite way of teaching is by asking and answering his own rhetorical questions. In this passage, Paul asked an imaginary opponent four rhetorical questions and answered all of them.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Romans 8:31-34

The first question is found in verse 31, ”what then shall say to these things?”

What things was Paul referring to? All the things preceding Romans 8: 31, for example, the wrath of God, the grace of God, and so on. How do we respond to these things? We must take heed and do what is required.

The second question is found in verse 32, ”If God is for us, who can be against us?” 

God is for us. He does not condemn us. He justified us by grace through faith in Christ. He adopted us into His family as children of God. He sanctified us. 

If God is on our side, then we have nothing to worry about at all. Martin Luther said, ”with God, one is a majority”.

The third question is found in verse 33, ”who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?”

If we ever start to doubt the love of God, we must look back to the cross again. On the cross, God did not even spare his One and Only Son whom He loved. Paul’s argument is this, if God gave us His very best, He cannot give us anything less. If God gave us His Only Son, He can give us anything.

Our hearts can condemn us, but God promised no condemnation for those who are in Christ.

The fourth question is found in verse 34, ”Who is he who condemns?” 

there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

Romans 8:1

because if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our hearts don’t condemn us, we have boldness toward God

1 John 3:20-21

Satan can condemn us, but God justified us. John Newton said,

I am a great sinner but Jesus is a great Saviour

John Newton

for the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down

Rev 12:10 b

The final answer is found in verse 34 b

Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead so that we can live. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven to make intercession for us.

Therefore he is also able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, seeing that he lives forever to make intercession for them.

Hebrews 7:25

Application

Do you have trials and temptations? Do you have troubles anywhere? Are you discouraged?

You can carry everything to Jesus in prayer. He gives you peace and bears your sorrows. He knows all your weaknesses. If Jesus is for you, who cares what others think?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus, Your final answer to Paul’s rhetorical questions. You gave us Your Son to die for us on the cross to give us eternal life. Thank You for salvation by grace and justification by faith in Christ. We claim the promise of Ephesians 2: 8-9,

for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast

Ephesians 2:8-9

in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen

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bible study devotion

Devotion: the armor of God

Ephesians 6: 11-17

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a picture showing books on a coffee table
books on a coffee table

The Armor of God

Paul described the armor of God in Ephesians 6. This armor is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul used a Roman soldier’s uniform to illustrate the armor of God because he was chained ta a Roman soldier 24 hours a day under house arrest. The armor of God is a six-piece comprehensive uniform comprising a belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet, and sword. 

Paul exhorts his audience and us to put on the whole armor of God not only to protect but also to attack the enemy of our souls. We are not fighting against human beings with flesh and blood. We are fighting against evil spirits in the spiritual realm of the unseen world. Our enemies are the hierarchy of evil spirits called principalities and powers, rulers and authorities, and spiritual wickedness in the high places, We must win the war through prayer in the spiritual realm first, before we can see a breakthrough in the physical realm. In this war, we do not use physical weapons but spiritual ones to demolish strongholds, 2 Corinthians 10:4.

for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds

2 Corinthians 10:4

Ephesians 6:11-17

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

Ephesians 6:11-17

Jesus is the belt of Truth

Jesus sets you free from bondage. He is Grace and Truth.

and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free

John 8:32

I am the way, the truth, and the life 

John 14:7

Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is the truth

John 17:7

Jesus is the breastplate of righteousness

Jesus is the righteousness of God.

For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith”

Romans 1:17

2 Cor 5:21, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Jesus is the gospel of peace

Jesus is the prince of peace.  We must wear the shoes of Jesus to share the gospel of peace with others.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

1 Peter 3:15

preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching.

1 Timothy 4:2

Jesus is the shield of faith

Faith protects us from the fiery darts of doubt.

Contend, Yahweh, with those who contend with me. Fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for my help.

Psalm 35:1-2

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen

Hebrews 11:1

Jesus is the helmet of salvation

The helmet protects the mind from anxious thoughts. Salvation gives us the hope of eternal life. 

But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation

1 Thess 5:8

Jesus is the sword of the Spirit

Jesus is the Word of God, a double-edged sword that cuts in both ways. Jesus quoted the Word of God when He was tempted by satan in the wilderness. The sword of the Spirit is prayer, fasting, intercession, and the Word of God. 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth

John 1:14

For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart

Hebrews 4:12

Application

Put on the full six-piece armor of Jesus before you even go to work. Then, you will be able to stand firm against the demonic spirits. If you kneel down before God in prayer, you will stand firm before men at work. Jesus covers you from head to toe with a helmet, breastplate, belt, shoes, shield, and sword. The helmet protects your mind. The breastplate keeps you righteous before God. The truth sets you free from deception. The shoes enable you to preach the gospel of peace The shield protects you from the flaming doubts of satan. The sword enables you to defend yourself and attack for deliverance, and demolishing of strongholds. 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus Christ, the armor of God for spiritual protection and spiritual warfare. Teach us how to pray with perseverance, watchfulness, and supplication. Teach us how to cultivate the discipline of intercession. We claim the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14,

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land

2 Chronicle 7:14

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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bible study devotion

Devotion: the stones will cry out

Palm Sunday

a picture showing an open book
open book

Luke 19: 29-40

Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. on Palm Sunday, seven days before Easter Sunday. Palm Sunday or the triumphal entry is recorded in all four Gospels. 

29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ”32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 Then they brought it to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on it. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. 37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying: “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.

Luke 18:29-40

On Palm Sunday, Jesus descended the Mount of Olives and entered the temple complex on a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, spoken 500 centuries before Christ! The Mount of Olives directly faces the temple complex but on a higher level. If you visit the Mount of Olives today, you get a panoramic view of the Temple Mount, the site where the second temple previously stood. You can walk from the Mount of Olives down the Kidron Valley to the Lion Gate passing through the beautiful garden of Gethsemane. You can do this thirty-minute Palm Sunday walk to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. 

The disciples brought to Jesus an unbroken donkey. Meanwhile, a huge multitude was following Jesus to welcome Him. The disciples threw their clothes on the unbroken donkey and Jesus sat on it. An unbroken donkey will never allow anyone to sit on it but Jesus sat and rode on it without any difficulty! The multitude threw palm branches and their clothes on the road to welcome Jesus as Messiah, the King, who came in peace in the Name of Yahveh, Matthew 21:8, Mark 11:8. The multitude spontaneously acted out the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, and proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. The multitude rejoiced, praised God, and recited Psalm 118:26, a messianic Psalm.

By this time, some of the Pharisees were offended. They demanded that Jesus rebuke and silence His disciples. Why? Because they could not accept Jesus as the Messiah claiming blasphemy. Jesus replied that if His disciples kept silent, the stones on the roadside would immediately cry out! During my visit to the Mount of Olives many years ago, I walked the Palm Sunday walk. I took many stones and brought them back as stones of remembrance to memorialize my trip.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey 

Zechariah 9:9

And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road

Matthew 21:8

And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road

Mark 11:8

 

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We have blessed you from the house of the Lord

Psalm 118: 26

Application

Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday seven days before Easter Sunday. This is recorded in all four Gospels.

He is the Passover Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world, John 1:29.

The next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 

John 1:29

He is the Jewish Messiah, the King of Israel, and the Saviour of the world. He died on Good Friday as a substitutionary atonement for your sins. He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday to prove that He is God. He is alive today, interceding for you in the throne room of the Father in heaven. Prophet Zechariah prophesied Palm Sunday 500 years before Jesus was even born! Wow, this is incredible! And this is just one prophecy out of at least 300 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in His earthly ministry! For this to happen by random chance is a statistical impossibility. 

Do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God?

Do you believe that Jesus is the Passover Lamb of God? 

Do you believe that Jesus died to pay for the penalty of your sins? 

Apostle John wrote his gospel so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in His name.

but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

John 20:31

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus Christ, the Passover Lamb of God, and the Savior of the world. Thank You Jesus, for coming to earth 2000 years ago, to live a perfect life, and died a cruel death on the cross for our salvation. Thank You for salvation by grace and justification by faith in Christ. Thank You for Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. Help us to understand scripture and develop a love for your Word, in Jesus’ name, Amen.