When Belshazzar hosted a drunken feast using the utensils that came from the Temple, the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote “Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin” in the plaster of the wall. These words spelled death and destruction for Belshazzar and Babylon (Dan. 5). It is this event that has given rise to the statement we use today when we say someone has “seen the handwriting on the wall.”
Not too many years later, a man had an experience that mirrored those events in Daniel 5. After Ahasuerus told Haman to parade Mordecai before the people in the square or plaza around Shushan, he returned home humiliated. Upon telling his wife and friends what happened that day, they told Haman that since this is so, he will surely fall before Mordecai (Est. 6:13). The plans of Zeresh and the others (Est. 5:14) were dashed when they heard what had happened. Thus, they voiced their warning to Haman (Est. 6:14).
Would Haman listen? Would he heed the “handwriting on the wall”? Haman faced imminent danger as he went to the Queen’s second banquet (Est. 7), just as Belshazzar faced imminent danger on that dreadful night in Babylon (Dan. 5:30). What choice would he make? He still had a chance to change things at this time.
Will we read -- not the writing on the wall, but the writing in the Book (Eph. 3:4)? The Bible warns us about sin and its consequences (Rom. 6:23; Jas. 1:14-15; Rev. 21:8). When we read these words, we are made aware of the expectations God has for us (Jn. 14:15; Col. 3:17; Rev. 22:14). Will we pay attention to His writing and obey, realizing that our days on earth are numbered (Heb. 5:9; Ps. 90:12)? There is a Hell to avoid and a Heaven to accept, and our “second chance” to get it right is now (II Cor. 6:2)!
Don’t be like Haman, who, when warned, refused to listen. Heed the warnings from God and from others who love you and want you to be saved (Heb. 12:1-2; Mk. 16:16)! Tomorrow may be too late!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Ephesians 1:22-23
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” These two verses remind us of the supremacy of Christ. He is head over all things (Matt. 28:18; Col. 1:18). God gave Christ this position, and we need to respect it (Eph. 1:20-21). At the same time, we see how the body (church) is the “fullness of him that filleth all in all.” This speaks of a special relationship wherein Christ is in us, but we also are in Him (Jn. 6:56, 15:4-7, 17:21; I Jn. 3:24; etc.)! This relationship is possible for those who are baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27). No one can say that the church has little or no importance! Some want to tell us to emphasize Christ and not the church. How can we do this in light of passages like Ephesians 1:22-23? Christ stands supreme as the head over His church, and at the same time, the church is His body! We can be a part of it and enjoy the fellowship in Christ today when we submit to His plan of salvation (Acts 2:38, 47)!
– Jarrod Jacobs
“What Prevents Me From Being Baptized?”
The above question was asked by an Ethiopian many years ago. As Philip preached Christ to him (Acts 8:35), they came to a certain water and “the eunuch said, See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized? … and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:36-39). The question the eunuch asked is still valid. What is preventing you from being baptized?
Is false teaching preventing you? Many people today are taught that baptism is not necessary for salvation. They are told to simply believe or to say a sinner’s prayer for salvation. Isn’t it telling to see that when the preachers of the New Testament taught folks, those listening wanted to be baptized! Yet, when many preach today, people do NOT want to be baptized!
Please read Acts 8 and notice that when Philip preached Christ to the people in Samaria (Acts 8:5), he taught them about “the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ” and baptism (Acts 8:12). “Simon the sorcerer believed, and after being baptized, he continued with Philip” (Acts 8:13). When Philip spoke to the eunuch and “preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35); the first time he saw plenty of water, he wanted to be baptized. Are we seeing a pattern? The teaching concerning baptism began with Christ (Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:16). The apostles and disciples of the Lord then carried this message to the world (Acts 2:38, 10:48, 18:8, 22:16; I Pet. 3:21; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:26-27). When the people heard the New Testament heroes preach, they wanted to be baptized. What is hindering you from being baptized?
Are friends and family preventing us? Depending upon our friends and family, they can pressure us to do the right things or the wrong things. Have they pressured us into not obeying the Lord? The Bible says: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Jesus said: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37). In order to please our Lord, we must obey His command to be baptized for the remission of sins regardless of what others might say about us (Phil. 3:8). What is hindering you from being baptized?
Does the urge for popularity prevent us? It is not popular to be a Christian. In fact, Jesus promised His apostles that men would hate them for no other reason than they served the Lord (Jn. 15:18-20). Peter said that some men would be “surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery” (I Pet. 4:4). We need to decide whether we wish for popularity with this world or to be the friend of God. We cannot have it both ways (Jas. 4:4)!
Could selfishness be preventing us? Some people refuse to do anything unless it is their idea. Could that be my attitude? Have I not been baptized simply because I didn’t want to? The Bible says that I need to put away such attitudes and place Christ’s kingdom first (Matt. 6:33). I need to love God even more than my own life (Lk. 14:26-27).
Whatever is hindering you from being baptized, realize that this hindrance is keeping you from enjoying spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3); from being in a covenant relationship with Christ (Gal. 3:27); from having your sins forgiven (Acts 2:38, 22:16); from being a child of God (Rom. 8:16-17); and from a home in Heaven (Col. 3:1-4; Rev. 2:10). Is this really worth it?
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Galatians 1:8
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian Christians, stating how surprised he was that they were “so soon removed” from the gospel of Christ to something perverted (Gal. 1:6). He then told them if any man, even an angel from Heaven preaches any other gospel, then let him be “accursed.” To be “accursed” is to be cut off from God and Christ. “Accursed” means to be abhorred, and to essentially be rejected from Christ, wherein He will say, “depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). Perverting the gospel of Christ is not a joke or something to be taken lightly! It will result in the souls of those false teachers being lost. It will also result in the souls of those who obey the false doctrine being lost! Teaching and following false doctrine will result in our being out of fellowship with Christ (II Jn. 9-11). Therefore, let us take the teaching and spreading of God’s word very seriously. If we preach or teach anything that is not according to the revealed will of God, we will lose our souls!
– Jarrod Jacobs
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Mark 16:16
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” These words are the Lord’s plan for saving man in a “nutshell.” If one wishes to be forgiven of sins, he needs to believe on Christ and be baptized. In a world that teaches that salvation is by “faith only,” or by praying a prayer, etc., let us be satisfied with the words of our Lord on this subject. These words are often called “The Great Commission” because Christ sent His apostles to preach this message to the world (Mk. 16:15). In like manner, we who are Christ’s disciples need to continue spreading the word (II Tim. 2:2). We need to let folks know that in order to be saved, we need to believe on Christ (Jn. 8:24) and be baptized (I Pet. 3:21). Be warned that if we reject Christ’s words, there is no other way to be saved from sin.
- Jarrod Jacobs