Night Scenes In The Bible Friday, August 18, 2017 Top
Night Scenes In The Bible
By James L. Thornton
Many times God visits in the night. We are writing this article to dispel the feelings of loneliness and fear, or dread, which many have when the darkness of night falls upon us. In this article we will discuss some of the visits God made to people in the night. So read with us about some of the greatest scenes in our Bible that took place at night.
- The Last Night Of Sodom
- Three Nights With Abraham
- Jacob's Night At Bethel
- The Night Jesus Was Born
- Israel's Last Night In Egypt
- The Night Feast Of Belshazzar
- A Night With Jesus In Jerusalem
- Midnight In The Prison At Philippi
- Fourteen Nights In A Storm At Sea
- Midnight At The Last Supper
- Midnight At A Wedding
- Midnight At Troas
- At Night Jesus Walks On The Sea
Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
In The Beginning Night Ruled, Then God Made The Light, And Time Began.
God separated the light from the darkness and divided time between day and night. The night and the day were made equal in command. And each was appointed to relieve the other in counting of the days until time shall end.
Each (night and day) has their own way of proclaiming the glories of God.
The great Creator never leaves himself without witness of His majesty.
The day shines forth by the brightness of the sun, lighting the hills, and valleys, and streams, the trees, and bringing life to all living things. The night brings forth the stars and stills the voices and sounds of the day, and all is quiet.
The Teachings Of The Night.
The night is the season of darkness, of silence, of rest.
The night is the time to turn our thoughts inward and reflect upon the meditations of our heart. In the night we learn fearful lessons of our own being. Far more than day night shows us what it is to be alone with ourselves and God.
Psalm 77:6 (The Psalmist David) 6. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.
Happy Is The Man Who Has A Song In The Night.
Have you ever spent a wakeful hour upon your bed in the night, when all the sights and sounds of the day are hushed? With nothing to divert your attention from yourself, and you lie awake in the night and think.
You get the feeling that you are not alone—that there is another being—an Omniscient Presence moves in. The eye of the Infinite One is upon you—and there is no escaping His presence. We Learn that God works the night shift.
Psalm 139:12. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
You lie awake and think of what you yourself are, and what you ought to be, when you are alone with God.
Those hours of darkness, of solitude, of silence, are fearful, and sometimes maddening, to those who are afraid to be alone with themselves and God. They compass him about with darkness and make him feel how dreadful a thing it is to be guilty—to stand face to face with Almighty God—condemned by their own conscience. Judas went out, “and it was night.” (John 13:30)
But when the heart is pure it is the highest blessedness to feel ourselves alone with God. Jesus himself retired to desert places and spent whole nights upon desolate mountains, that he might be alone with His Father. (Matthew 14:23; Mark 6:46-48; Luke 6:12)
He taught us the importance of time alone, in solitude, with our Heavenly Father, to shut out the world with, its sights and sounds, and seek his face in a secret place. (Matthew 6:6)
I know that we all understand the emphasis which the Bible places upon public worship. There we sing together, pray together, worship together, listen to instructions from the Word of God as a group.
Hebrews 10:25 "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
It is social, public, seen and known of men--there we have a common feeling, practice, and opinion. This is all well, good, and necessary, but only a part of our religious life.
It is when we are alone in the solitude of the night—and the sights and sounds of others worshiping are not motivating us, what then, when we are alone, do our thoughts rest upon? Is there ever a semblance of worship when we are alone?
In these quite hours of the night we could learn a little more of refuge, of meditation, and of individual communion with God. Just to feel ourselves alone with Him for one hour in the whole week, and for that one hour to have no thought but of His presence, and no choice but His will to be done in out lives.
He would show us that by keeping our hearts pure, we can always have unfailing sources of joy within ourselves. In the quite moments of the night we can withdraw from troubles and conflicts of the world into the sanctuary of our hearts, and there, in our own heart, we see the vision of His face Who will change the night into day.
Psalm 77:6. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.
Too often we associate the night with fear, weariness, loneliness, or dread.
In this study we would like to dispel those feelings and replace them with thoughts of God’s concern, God’s protection, and God’s intimate fellowship with us.
Night is a natural phenomenon, a part of God’s creation, and therefore should not be feared.
The Bible searches the secret chambers of the heart and brings out of it, its purest love, its darkest hate, its highest joy, and its deepest grief. There is no middle ground therein; it is a love-hate response.
The Bible compasses the utmost range of thought, and feeling, and emotions, and desires and sets forth the most Spiritual and Heavenly truths in stories of earthly scenes and human characters.
To understand and treasure up these truths, therefore, we need to know something of the places, and the people that are so prominently displayed on the Sacred Pages.
We want to apply the lessons of inspired writers to the present time and to personal examples for duty. (1 Corinthians 10:6)
It will help us much if we go back in our imagination and sit with Lot at the gate of Sodom, and see angels approach, like common travelers in the dim light of the evening, and then watch in horror at the things that occur when they spend the night at Lot’s house.
We will walk with the two disciples into the country and see Jesus joining our company on the way to Emmaus, and follow them as they hurried back to Jerusalem on that first night after the resurrection.
The scriptures will come alive if we go a day’s journey into the desert with Elijah and see him falling down in despair and wishing to die.
We will sit and listen to the songs of praise sung by Paul and Silas at midnight in the prison at Philippi.
We will spend the night with Jacob at Bethel and see angels ascending and descending on a ladder which reached all the way to Heaven.
We will also be with him that night at Jabok when he wrestled with God until the breaking of the dawn.
We will spend the night with Abraham at Beersheba and groan with him during his greatest trial.
We will sit with the disciples in Gethsemane and listen as Jesus prays during his last night with them before his death.
We will sit with Belshazzar on his golden throne the night the finger of God wrote on the plaster of the wall.
We will join the children of Israel as they spend their last night in Egypt.
We will read and discuss stories of angel visits in the night.
We will sit with shepherds as they watch their flocks in the night Jesus was born.
And finally we will look at a place where there is no night. (Revelation 22:5)
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Night Scenes In The Bible #2
1. THE LAST NIGHT OF SODOM:
Genesis19:1. And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing [them] rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. (KJV)
Genesis19:15. And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters that are here, lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. (ASV)
Genesis19:17. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the Plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. (ASV)
“Tarry all night,…” Words of man.
“Escape for thy life:..” Words of angels.
The man, (Lot) a master of hospitality—
The angels, ministers of mercy and of vengeance.
The man speaks of house and home and feasting and rest.
The angels speak of impending wrath and swift destruction.
The man persuades to enjoyment of a quite evening in a luxurious setting and a promise of the return of a beautiful day.
The angels would hasten an escape from the awful scene of enchantment, of lust, at the sacrifice of all earthly possessions.
The man speaks from mere feeling and his impression of things as they are passing before his eyes.
The angels speak of things as they really are.
They see behind the calm and peaceful setting of the closing day.
They see the fiery tempest of the coming morning.
Such is the difference between the judgment of man who is all involved in the cares and toils and pleasures of the passing day, and of beings who stand outside the range of our vision, and who see the affairs of time in the light of eternity.
The partition between us and the unseen world is as thin as the garments which cloth our flesh. Every day’s experience compels us to believe in the reality and the awful nearness of forces that take no visible body or form.
Let us believe in the actual appearances of messengers from the unseen world stepping out from the shadows to teach men lessons from God.
1. THE FIRST SCENE OF GENESIS 19:
It is evening at a large city which lies upon the plain which looks like a garden. (Genesis 13:10)
Laborers are coming from the fields and vineyards on the plains. Shepherds are bringing their flocks to the fold around the city.
There are no signs of wrath in the sky—no voices of wailing in the air—no tremor in the sure and firm earth.
Yet Sodom’s last night is casting its shadows upon the walls of the doomed city.
The chief men are sitting at the gate of the city. The young and the old are milling around in the coolness of the late evening air. The idle multitude are coming and going to hear and tell the latest gossip.
The chief men display the luxury and the pride of princes.
The common people make a holiday of the whole year.
THE TRUE PICTURE:
Ezekiel 16:49. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw [good]. (KJV)
Idleness and riches stimulate the appetite for pleasure and they go to every excess in indulgence. They have everything that sensual appetite can desire—they study to find new ways of gratifying the coarsest and basest desire.
Luke17:28. Likewise even as it came to pass in the days of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29. Until the same day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all:
They lived for the day, and had no thought for the morrow.
How many millions live like the thoughtless and pleasure-loving people of Sodom? All devoted to earthly cares, joys, and occupation until the grave takes them away?
2. THE SECOND SCENE:
Two strangers are seen approaching the city.
To most of the people who saw them they seemed to be only common travelers coming from some distant city, and they would probably seek shelter for the night and be on their way come morning.
But one man at the gate of Sodom was attentive and arose to invite these strangers to his own house to spend the night. Lot saw something different about these two strangers that the other people of Sodom did not see.
The strangers were reluctant at first, but finally agreed to go home with him. Lot treated them with great courtesy and respect while others no doubt derided him for taking them in.
We should always be aware—God’s mightiest messengers of mercy and of wrath often come in a very common garb. They do not always announce their appearance.
We must give earnest heed and keep watch, or the angels of blessing and of deliverance will come and pass by us unawares.
Like the men of Sodom, most people are unawares of God’s workings. Many don’t care to know. Only a few were aware when Jesus was born, a few shepherds, Simeon and Anna to name a few.
The scriptures tell us,
Hebrews13:2. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (KJV)
As Lot led the two strangers away from the gate of Sodom, no doubt the others sitting there derided him, the vilest suggestions are passed to and fro among the lewd and leering rabble as Lot leads his guests away.
They become more clamorous, with outcries and rude assault as the night wears on.
They assault the house where the strangers are staying, unaware that they were angels who had come to see whether there were ten, in all the city, who could be persuaded to escape from the coming doom.
But the iniquity of the inhabitants was full, the last drop was added to the cup of God’s wrath, and it was to be poured out at daybreak.
Sodom Spent Its Last Night In Reveling And Riotous Living.
The angels urged Lot to try to persuade his sons-in-laws to flee the doomed city. “But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons-in-law.” (Genesis 19:14).
They jest and laughed the hours of life away while Lot is praying and weeping for them. The disappointed father-in-law returns empty-handed to the waiting angels. The sleepless night is wearing away for Lot’s household.
The first streaks of dawn are already spreading across the eastern sky.
There has been no change in the earth or sky,
No trumpet of wrath has blown,
No earthquake to shake a sleeping multitude,
No sulphurous fires have flamed up from the peaceful valley,
No threatening wave has rolled across the quiet lake,
No cloud of vengeance darkens the coming day.
The sleeping city dreams of long life and continued pleasure.
But the angels have said, “the Lord hath sent us to destroy it,”
And that’s reason enough for alarm and for immediate flight.
Even when a thousand voices may promise peace and safety, but,
Angels say, “leave your worldly possessions behind to perish”—
“You must hurry or even you cannot be saved.”
LOT LINGERED FOR ONE LAST LOOK:
Genesis19:16. And while he (Lot) lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.
17. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. (KJV)
“While He Lingered...”
“Escape For Thy Life…”
”Look Not Behind Thee,..”
The sun is beginning to rise over the hills of Moab on this, the last night of Sodom, and just now the hour of doom strikes, Lot’s wife, disregarding the voice of the angels, turns and looks back, and became one of the many thousands of pillars of salt in that region. Immortalized for all time by Jesus himself, “remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17:32)
The Lord rained fire and brimstone out of heaven upon the city—upon the plains which had seemed like a paradise the day before—and the smoke of the burning goes up as the smoke of a great furnace…
It is seen as far away as the hill of Hebron and the mountains of Moab.
In one moment this fair city with its surrounding gardens becomes a desolation never to be inhabited again.
The scriptures expressly declare that the fate of the city of Sodom is set in its pages for us as an example to warn men against living ungodly lives and neglecting the call to flee the wrath to come.
As always there are two voices which call out to us as we go about our daily walk of life.
One is from man and the world,
The other is from heaven and God.
The one says,
“tarry, be at ease,
Enjoy yourself while you can.”
“escape for thy life,
Haste,Look not behind thee;
Flee to the mountains lest thou be consumed.”
“soul take thine ease,
Eat, drink, and be merry.
“thou fool this night thy soul is required of thee.”
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Night Scenes In The Bible #3
2. THREE NIGHTS WITH ABRAHAM DURING HIS GREATEST TRIAL:
The story is told in Genesis 22 Abraham was an hundred and twenty-five years old when he received a command to offer his beloved son Isaac for a burnt offering upon an unknown mountain in the land of Moriah.
The message came to him in a vision during the night in his tent in Beersheba. We can well imagine that there would be no more sleep for him that night.
THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT:
The Voice Spoke Only To Him And Which Only Himself Heard.
Genesis22:1. And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt (try) Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, [here] I [am].
2. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
3. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
4. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. (KJV)
Abraham already passed for an old man, even in the longer than average of human life in his time. The years had taken its toll upon him, the fires of youth no longer burned within him—it was no longer easy for him to bend before the storm of affliction and trial—and rise again with renewed vigor when the test was over.
This would be a bitter thing for him to be made to drink more deeply from the cup of sorrow than he had ever done in his younger days. It is very hard for an old man to find the sorest trial is reserved for the last.
Fifty years before this night Abraham had heard this same voice for the first time, and in obedience to that voice had left the land of his fathers and had, until the last few years, a sojourner in a strange country. (Hebrews 11:9)
Born in Ur of Chaldees at the mouth of the Euphrates River where it empties into the Persian Gulf, the modern country of Kuwait. For some unknown reason Terah took Abraham and Sarai, Abraham’s wife, and Lot, his grandson, and followed the Euphrates river to almost its source, across the country of Iraq into north-eastern Syria to the town of Haran.
Terah, Abraham’s father, died in Haran at the age of 205 years. (Genesis 11:32)
It was some time during this period that Abraham heard the voice of God speaking to him for the first time.
Genesis12:1. Now the Lord had said unto Abram, get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: (KJV)
Abraham was now 75 years old when he received this command from God. Abraham journeyed from Haran to Damascus, on southward through the land of Canaan and down to Egypt, and back to Canaan And God blessed him. “And Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.” (Genesis 13:2)
Abraham’s household had grown enormously with hundreds of servants (Genesis 14:14), and many herdsmen (Genesis 13:7). But there was one thing lacking in that great host of people which surrounded him--a son to whom he could bequeath his goods.
For many years the voice of God came to him in such a way as to indicate that Abraham would have many descendants.
Genesis13:16. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, [then] shall thy seed also be numbered. (KJV)
Years passed and no heir was born unto Abraham. Then one day the voice of God spoke again unto Abraham. Abraham complained to God and God again made him a promise that “one out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.” (Genesis 15:4)
Abraham was 86 years old when in order to fulfill God’s promise (he thought) Abraham had a son by an Egyptian servant of Sarah. Abraham named him Ishmael. Can we not imagine the joy in old Abraham’s heart when Ishmael uttered his first word, took his first step?
But after 13 more years with Abraham’s attachment to Ishmael growing each day, God appeared again and said that “this is not thine heir.” God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed ; and thou shall call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him…….” (Genesis 17:19)
Genesis21:5. And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. (KJV)
Genesis21:8. And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. (KJV)
Abraham was so happy, now he could just live out his life in peace. He had now settled down in Beersheba. He planted a grove of trees in which he built an altar and called on the name of the Lord. He dug wells of water from which men and camels have drunk for 3,500 years.
His young son, Isaac was with him at every moment. Abraham taught him how to build an altar--how to lay wood in order upon the altar—how to prepare and kill the sacrifice.
There was nothing Abraham held back from his son Isaac. He confided every intimate moment with him—he told him everything he did—everything he thought. There was no secret which Abraham kelp from Isaac.
It was at such a pleasant time in Abraham’s life when the night vision came and the voice from God speaking to him.
Genesis. 22:2. And he said, take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (KJV)
We are not told what raced through that old Patriarch mind—but we can be sure that his heart must have stopped for an instant—then the full realization of what was said came to him.
It would have been hard enough for an old man’s heart to lose such a son by sickness or death. He could have at least tried to make his last hours comfortable by acts of parental affection. But how could a father shed the life blood of that son he loved by his own hand? (God knew he loved Isaac)
How could he heap piles of wood upon his body and burn it to ashes in his sight? It would be extremely hard for an aged father to lose one of many sons. How Much Greater To Lose An Only Son—An Heir.
If Isaac had been a disobedient, and licentious son—if he had made himself such a grief to his parents that may somehow softened the blow. But Isaac was so gentle, so loving, and so deeply and tenderly loved.
If Abraham had been a selfish, cold-hearted man, with no empathy, caring little for his kindred and not caring who should bear his name.
How cruel, how inhuman must have seemed the voice.
What A Night!
If it had been his silver and gold, his flocks and herds, his servants and herdsmen, his promised land, his home, it would have been easy.
Even, Lord, if it had been himself that was demanded.
“Oh, my son, would God I could die for thee” (2 Samuel 18:33), was the cry of another distraught father (David) on the death of his son.
Abraham probably staggered out of his tent into the night and looked up into the sky—the stars are out. He remembers what the voice had said one time before.
Genesis15:5. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. (KJV)
But now, if the command be from God, then it must be obeyed. Abraham walks towards the grove and beneath its branches—he kneels at the altar he and Isaac had built—and in agony he prays. Every sound seems to echo the words, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest,...” (Genesis 22:2a)
The dawn is already beginning to break—if the journey is to be undertaken at all—there is no time for delay.
SO THE FIRST NIGHT HAS COME TO AN END:
Abraham goes to one of the tents where his servants sleep. Of the hundreds, he chose two. They prepare wood for the sacrifice and lay it upon the beast of burden.
Then Abraham calls his son Isaac—he turns his head when Isaac appears in the tent door. Shall he tell Isaac what the voice had spoke to him? He cannot! Only that we are going to the land of Moriah to make a sacrifice. “Why so far, to make a sacrifice?” And possibly a few more questions.
“O, why cannot I tell him? Abraham mutters to himself. There will be a time along the way. But what about Sarah, his mother? Shouldn’t she be told? After all that is her son too--her only son.” “Cannot she give him one final kiss—one final goodbye—after all she will never see him again--?”
There Are No Final Farewells:
The first day’s journey begins in company with his son to whom he had confided everything. He now travels all day by his side with a secret in his heart which affected his very life—and he cannot bring himself to tell Isaac. A hundred times the opportunity comes and goes. He cannot—he just cannot tell him.
I wonder if Abraham walked unusually close to Isaac—sometimes putting his arm around him—or did he keep a distance from him all day long? At any rate Abraham must have been relieved when night came on.
THE SECOND NIGHT:
They all lay on the bare earth—and Isaac and the young men slept.
I believe Abraham withdrew from them—and under the cover of darkness poured out the sorrow of his heart; Even as a greater sufferer prayed in agony, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” (Matthew 26:39)
The countless hosts of stars came out to remind Abraham of the promise.
All night long he waits for an answer. “Let my son live!” He prayed, but no such message came.
The hours of darkness are always long for a sleepless man.
But morning comes too soon for Abraham—for he must renew his journey.
THE SECOND DAY’S JOURNEY BEGINS.
He soon passes the oaks of Mamre where he had once interceded for Sodom (Genesis 18). But no angels appear to hear his petition for his son. He begins to ascend the hills of Hebron and into Bethlehem. The second day finally wears away.
THE THIRD AND FINAL NIGHT FALLS UPON THE WEARY TRAVELERS.
Abraham lies down with the others fully aware that the journey will end early tomorrow, and yet he has not told Isaac the reason for this journey. Isaac sleeps, as the lamb sleeps the night before the sacrifice.
Abraham tired and so weary, yet so restless—his body craves sleep yet his mind will not let it. All the while Abraham listened for the voice to speak—“It is enough; thy son shall live.”
THE THIRD NIGHT PASSES AND NO SUCH MESSAGE HAS COME.
Abraham can still go back—no one will ever know—it could have been a mistake—a bad dream, a hallucination. We all know the conclusion—the journey of the third day is begun. Sometime early on the third day Mount Moriah appears before them. The mysterious sign appears also to Abraham, this is the place.
Now it is settled beyond all questions in Abraham’s mind—the voice in the night vision at Beersheba was a reality—the command was divine—the sacrifice must be made.
Abraham lays the wood for the offering upon Isaac to carry, another and greater son of Abraham would also carry a wooden cross up the hill—Abraham takes the knife and the fire. They begin to climb the mountain together. Somewhere along near the top Isaac wonders out loud to his father about the lamb.
To which Abraham responds, “God will provide himself a lamb…” (Genesis 22:8)
They reached the top of the mountain together and built an altar as they had so many times before. They laid the wood on the altar.
The last dreadful moment has come and no delivering angel appears—no divine voice speaks to stay the sacrifice.
Abraham must tell his son the awful message which he has carried in his heart for three nights and three days. It must be with his own consent if he is offered at all—he is full grown—his father a hundred years older.
We do not know what expression of feelings this brought from Isaac. We are not told what surprise, what horror, what fear, what distrust, what agony he showed.
Did he try to reason? Did he try to plead? Did he try to resist?
We do not know the answer to these questions. We do not know what was said, thought, or felt by Isaac.
What we do know surpasses all comprehension.
We know that Isaac submitted to the sacrifice.
He consented to be bound.
He gave up his life, his hope; everything just because his father told him that it must be so. He waited for the stroke which would end his life.
We know the end of the story—the voice sounds at the last possible instant.
Genesis22:11. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here [am] I. (KJV)
The fourth night was a night of rejoicing for Abraham after three awful, dreadful nights.
OUR LESSON FROM THIS:
Nothing is too precious for us to give to God.
We never receive full value of any possession until we give it all to him.
Give him your money, your time, your talents, your efforts, your work
Give him your children, your heart, your soul, your life, your everything.
Then Jesus is truly yours, eternal life is yours, eternal joy is yours.
Nothing is too precious for God to give to us.
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Night Scenes In The Bible #4
3. JACOB'S NIGHT AT BETHEL
JACOB’S NIGHT AT BETHEL:
Genesis28:10. And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
11. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put [them for] his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
12. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. (KJV)
Few passages in the entire Bible have equaled these verses (Genesis 28:10-22) in their influence upon religious thought. The story of Jacob’s dream about the ladder set upon earth and reaching up to heaven, and the angels ascending and descending on it.
No man could number the souls who have taken heart at the thought of it. “It could happen to me,” is our thought. This story is told and retold in prayers, and hymns, and sermons every Lord’s day.
One of the spirituals goes,
“We are climbing Jacob’s ladder, ladder,..,
Each day brings me one rung
Thousands upon thousands have joined in singing,
“Nearer my God to thee.”
“Tho like a wanderer,
The sun gone down,
Darkness be o-ver me,
My rest a stone,
Yet in my dreams I’d be,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
JACOB’S NIGHT AT BETHEL:
How many of you have slept (or laid) on a bed which seemed to have rocks in it? I’ve slept on lumpy feather beds. I’ve also slept on straw ticks which gouged me every time I moved. There is an old saying, “If you make your bed hard, you will have to lay on it.”
Jacob had made his bed hard—he would have to lay on it.
Never a man has lain down, on any bed, more troubled than Jacob was that night. He was a fugitive, and he was afraid. He probably surrounded himself with stones and used one for a pillow.
This was probably the first night in Jacob’s life that he had to sleep outside. Jacob had been a mama’s boy, nourished from his earliest youth with all the tenderness and care of a mother’s love. Born second in a set of twins (Esau was first), his mother, Rebekah, had spoilt him.
Rebekah had a revelation about Jacob before he was born, and throughout his early life did all she could to fulfill this prophecy. Jacob began his life-long struggle even before he was born. And this was to continue most all his life.
Genesis 25:22. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If [it be] so, why [am] I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
23. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations [are] in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and [the one] people shall be stronger than [the other] people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
24. And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, [there were] twins in her womb.
25. And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
26. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: (KJV)
I feel this prophecy influenced her every action towards Jacob.
We notice in the preceding verse that when the twins were born that Esau came out first but when Jacob came out he was holding onto Esau’s heel, this act, no doubt, influenced the name which was given him, Jacob, meaning, heel grabber, or supplanter.
But God had plans for him. God was to use him, and bless him. Jacob would dig wells that people would drink from for 3500 years (I’ve drank from one of them myself).
God would make him the father of a nation which still exists when most of the nations of his day have long ago faded from existence.
Genesis25:27. And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man (Pious, Gentel, Perfect, Undefiled, Upright, from Strongs), dwelling in tents.
28. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob. (KJV)
Jacob was aware of his mother’s revelation, and also of the significance of the birthright. The birthright did not mean inheritance of money, land, flocks, and herds. It meant the headship of the family in its covenant with God to Abraham. The birthright was a spiritual blessing, and Jacob craved it, he desired it, he hungered for it.
Jacob could not be content with the things of the flesh, as Esau was. So the “heel grabber,” or “supplanter,” in Jacob came to the forefront in acquiring of the birthright from Esau.
Jacob made a deal with Esau, “And he sold his birthright unto Jacob.” (Genesis 25:33b) “And thus Esau despised his birthright.” (Genesis 25:34c)
Thus Esau discarded his privilege,
He discarded his tomorrow,
Because he was only interested in today.
“All I want is something to….”
“And he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way.” (Genesis 25:34b)
“Nothing will ever come of it.”
“No one will ever believe him.”
So lacking in seriousness,
These thing are of little weight or importance.
But the day would come when he would weep bitterly over this day. (Hebrews 12:17)
One day Rebekah over-heard Isaac talking to Esau concerning his death and the giving of his blessing to him before he died. So she devised a plan where-by Jacob could deceive Isaac, scheming for Jacob to steal the birthright and blessing. She wanted Jacob to have the best of everything no matter how he got it.
Genesis27:13. And his mother said unto him, upon me [be] thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me [them]. (KJV)
When Esau discovered that Jacob had obtained his blessing he was very angry.
Genesis27:41. And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob. (KJV)
A note of my personal feelings. God had ordained that Jacob received this blessing even before his birth (Genesis 25:23) and God would have brought it to pass even if he had to cause Esau to be killed. So I feel that what took place actually saved Esau’s life.
Rebekah realizing the anger of Esau and fearing for the life of Jacob purposed to save him by sending him to Haran. Her brother Laban was now living in Haran and Jacob could seek shelter there until Esau’s wrath cooled.
“Then I will send for thee.” (Genesis 27:45)
Again Rebekah seemed to have the way to solve this problem with his father Isaac. She said to Isaac that she just could not live if Jacob married any of the daughters of the land. So Isaac agreed and he called Jacob to him and gave him the blessing of Abraham and sent him away. (Genesis 28:3-4)
“The blessings of “El-Shadai,” “God Almighty” be upon thee.” (Genesis 28:3)
Then Isaac bestowed upon Jacob the inheritance of the land. (Genesis 28:4)
The first blessing (Genesis 27:28-29) was only natural blessings.
“God give thee dew of Heaven…”
“Fatness of the Earth…”
“Plenty of corn, wine…”
“Let people serve thee…”
“Be Lord over thy brethren…”
God must have had a hand in the decision to send Jacob to Laban’s house to seek his wife. This would keep the bloodline pure from Abraham down through Jacob. (Genesis 24:2-9)
So Jacob left the security of his father’s house to go to Haran.
It would take a man at his age (79) 30 days to travel so far on foot alone, in a strange country—no roads, no landmarks, no food but what he could gather along the way, no houses of rest on the way, with “nothing but a staff in his hand.” (Genesis 32:10)
His heart was heavy as he walked—his thoughts only on his troubles which he had brought upon himself. He had lied to his father; he had deceived him and obtained his brother’s blessing. His mother had told him to “go for a few days and I will send for you.” (Genesis 27: 44-45) but Jacob realized it would be much longer, in fact he may never see them again, he thought.
This blessing he had been so anxious to receive had only made him an outcast, a wanderer, a stranger in a strange land. Many times we feel as Jacob felt, our new found faith separates us from old friends, making us an outcast in their society.
Genesis28:10. And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
11. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put [them for] his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. (KJV)
His brother Esau could be close behind, wild beasts were lurking on every side roving bands of men were always waiting for some lone traveler to come by.
As the sun set Jacob piled the stones around him for protection, he lays his head down on a stone for his pillow. But when men lose all confidence in himself, it is time for God to help, to such a man, unworthy, remembering all the things he had done, sleep doesn’t come easy.
Finally In The Solitude Of The Darkness Jacob Fell Asleep.
I have told you before (introduction) that it in the night watches God becomes more visible to us. Elihu reminds us that’s when God speaks to the soul—“in a dream, a vision—pain—sickness.” (Job 33:14-24)
God’s Unexpected Presence:
Remember God works the night-shift.
Genesis28:12. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, …
And in this vision he received divine assurance that the God of Abraham and Isaac was with him in his wanderings, and would bring him back again into this land and give it to him and to his seed as an inheritance forever.
Genesis28:15. And, behold, I [am] with thee, and will keep thee in all [places] whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done [that] which I have spoken to thee of. (KJV)
Jacob was a fugitive and he was afraid—he, in our estimation, had not deserved a vision of God—but he needed it. All his life in his groping and unworthy way he had desired it. He had never been content with the things of the flesh, as Esau was.
Even guilty of all his many sins he knew that there was a higher righteousness to which he was accountable.
Genesis28:16. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew [it] not.
17. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful [is] this place! this [is] none other but the house of God, and this [is] the gate of heaven.
18. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put [for] his pillows, and set it up [for] a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
19. And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city [was called] Luz at the first.
20. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
21. So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
22. And this stone, which I have set [for] a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee. (KJV)
Our lesson from this night scene in the Bible is that even in our unworthiness, in our fears, in our unexpectedness of any favor, God appears sometimes in our darkest night.
Jacob’s night at Bethel was a great turning-point in his life. This night vision reassured him of the reality of his mother’s conversation with God (Genesis 25:22-23), one of the very few conversations recorded that God had with a woman) that he would be the one that God would call to be the father of a great nation.
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4. THE NIGHT JESUS WAS BORN #5
Night Scenes In The Bible
The Night Jesus Was Born
The Night God Came Down To Dwell Among Men
Luke 2:7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. (KJV)
“Keeping watch over their flocks by night.”
There are no words in the Gospel of Luke upon which our minds have dwelt more thoughtfully and more tenderly than upon these which we have read. The words, as Luke wrote them, form a picture in our minds as vividly to the imagination as though we looked with our own eyes.
A small town in darkness, in a remote part of the earth, a jostling crowd of people arriving and pushing ahead of one another for a place to spend the night. Joseph and Mary coming wearily to the end of their long road. There was no room for them in the village inn. Nothing to do then but to find a corner in a stable where Mary, great with child, could lie down to rest.
Poets, song writers, artists, preachers and teachers have long tried to express its simple beauty—grandeur.
These were the first verses of scripture which I committed to memory. They let us know that the most wonderful event that ever took place took place at night.
Birth-date? 4—7 B.C?
In the third century some celebrated January 6. In the fourth century it was changed to December 25, where it has been celebrated since. Luke tells us it was at a time when sheep could still be kept in the field. Probably sometime between April and November. We know only the things which God chose to reveal to us.
Today we want to think about the things that happened which led up to that night and especially those thing which took place that night.
First Scene, 9 Months Previous To This Night.
Luke 1:26-35. describes the scene when the angel Gabriel suddenly appears to a young virgin named Mary, telling her the she would be the mother of a child, not just any child, but, the child would be the Son of God himself.
Luke 1:35. And the angel answered and said unto her, the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (KJV)
This is one of the most important verses in the entire bible, unless we can believe this verse we will have trouble believing the other things we read about Jesus. In fact we must believe it to be saved.
This brought about a problem in Mary’s life because she was engaged to a local carpenter named Joseph, and was soon to be married to him. When she told him what had happened and that she was expecting a child he could not believe the story. But God had a way of convincing him that night.
Night Scenes In The Bible
Matthew 1:18. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
Though humble enough in position—for he was by trade a carpenter—Joseph was, in reality, of the noblest blood of his race, for he could claim descent from the ancient kings of his nation, and was the legal heir to the throne of David and Solomon.
Though betrothal was virtual marriage, and could only be broken off by a formal “bill of divorcement,” the betrothed did not at once go to her husband’s house. To give time for preparation, and to soften the pain of parting from her family, or, in part, to let them get a longer benefit of her household services, an interval elapsed before the final ceremony; it might be so many weeks, or months, or even a whole year.
Joseph had two options available to him when he knew of her pregnancy. He could accuse her publicly of immorality and have her stoned (Deuteronomy 22:13-21). Her death would then have broken the marriage contract. A second alternative was to divorce her; because of Mary’s pregnancy there was sufficient ground to seek an annulment of the marriage contract.
But since Joseph did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. Joseph was not hasty in carrying out his decision.
20. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25. And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. (KJV)
The One, who by his power had created the universe, would come in human flesh through Mary’s womb. Jesus Christ, the eternal one, reached out through his birth and took to himself a true and complete humanity. He united true humanity and true deity in one person forever.
Such was the revelation given to Joseph. Joseph’s response was one of implicit faith and obedience. He did not ask for confirmation. He did not ask for explanation. He accepted the fact that Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the virgin birth was the true explanation of Mary’s pregnancy, and he obeyed the command of the angel and took Mary home as his wife.
This brought on another problem. All the prophecies of the Old Testament foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and Bethlehem was many mile away, and he had not made any plans to go to Bethlehem, but God had plans of his own.
Night Scenes In The Bible
Bethlehem The Night Jesus Was Born.
Luke2:1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2. ([And] this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. (KJV)
Jesus Christ was born during the reign of Caesar Augustus. In the Roman method of taking the census, we see God acting providentially to bring Joseph and Mary to the place in which Micah had predicted the Messiah would be born.
Mary in like manner was a descendant of David, her legal inheritance was in Bethlehem as well. This necessitated a difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. When Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem they found the village crowded with other travelers who had come to be enrolled in the Roman census. They sought some place to stay, since it was obvious they would have to remain in Bethlehem for some time.
Luke 2:6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (KJV)
This was to become an eternal parable of Jesus’ life.
“No room for them in the inn.”
“No room for him in the people’s heart and life.”
The only complaint that ever escaped his lips was,
“The son of man has no place to lay his head.”
Why was there no room?
Why is there no room?
Other guests had gotten there first no-vacancy.
If Mary and Joseph had come earlier to the inn, they no doubt would have gotten in. These travelers from Nazareth had come too late—now the inn was crowded, and they could not get in. We have filled all the space we have with other guests.
So it was not through any particular hostile will that Jesus is excluded from our hearts. We do not mean to be irreligious—but our thoughts and feelings are occupied with other matters which had come first.
Now religion and Jesus cannot find a place when he comes with his infinite gift to enrich our souls—there is simply no room for him in the inn of my heart—it’s already filled.
Another reason there was no room for Mary and Joseph and for the Christ Child who would be born that night. It was because nobody knew that they were coming, and did not recognize their importance when they came.
If the inn-keeper had dreamed who Mary’s child would be—he would have found means to welcome him. He would have been flattered at the idea of welcoming greatness. If someone had only told him that here was the world’s Savior—that a star would shine over his place that night—that angels would sing—that here was the one by whose name every little town and village he entered would be made famous.
Then he would have rearranged his guests and sent some to find lodgings elsewhere so that Mary the mother of Jesus might come in. But he did not know--that’s the way it always is.
We See Only An Ordinary Stranger When He Comes Knocking—
“There Is No Room In The Inn Of My Heart.”
In one of those innumerable caves close to the inn which was used to house the many animals Joseph found shelter in the little town of Bethlehem-Ephratah, in the land of Judah. He had no choice but to be content with such accommodations in an unoccupied corner on the filthy area, which must be shared with other late comers, amid the mules, cows, goats, sheep, and camels. I am sure that Joseph tried to provide all the cleanliness and decency amid the unpleasant smell of the close quarters that he could.
The night the world had awaited for thousands of years came. (Galatians 4:4)
It was the grandest night that ever came.
Luke 2:6b. “While they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger;
Only the simplest of provisions could be made for this babe. She wrapped him in strips of cloth. These strips of cloth or swaddling bands had been used from ancient times (Ezekiel 16:4). There were no trappings of royalty, no purple robes, and no sign of wealth or of position, even though this one was born to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
A manger became his cradle and the King of Glory condescended to be cradled in the manger that was to hold food for cattle. He who had come to provide heaven’s bread descended to a manger.
That Same Glorious Night On The Judean Hillsides.
The Announcement To The Shepherds.
An announcement of the forthcoming birth of Jesus Christ had been made to Zechariah and to Mary and Joseph. Now the fact of the birth of Christ was announced by angels to shepherds. These were the most unlikely recipients of such a revelation, for shepherds were despised as a class because they were considered unclean.
The work of tending the flock by night was divided into shifts by the shepherds. While those on duty watched over the flocks, the remaining slept.
The darkness of the night was suddenly dissipated!
"their flock by night."
9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
“The Glory Of The Lord Shone Round About Them:”
This was the glory that had appeared to Abraham while he dwelt in Ur (Acts 7:2), the glory that appeared in the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35), and the glory that appeared in the Temple (1 Kings 8:11). This was the glory that Ezekiel saw depart from the temple (Ezekiel 10:4, 18-19; 11:22-23). For more than 500 years the nation of Israel had been without that visible sign of God’s presence among his people, and now the glory for which Israel had waited was revealed to shepherds in the field, not to the priests in the temple.
“And they were sore afraid.”
The shepherds evidently recalled God’s word to Moses:
“There shall no man see me and live.” (Exodus 33:20)
For they were terrified by the revelation of God’s glory.
In the stillness of the night their fear was dissipated by the angel’s voice. He had not come as the minister of death, but came to bring good news of great joy.
10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (KJV)
“I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
“A Saviour which is Christ the Lord.”
“Ye shall find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
One would expect to find a baby of royal parentage in a palace. Such a baby normally is wrapped in luxurious garments and surrounded by every comfort and convenience, signs of wealth and station everywhere evident.
But such was not the case with this baby.
He was in a manger.
No royal garments clothed his body.
But rather, he was wrapped in strips of cloth.
The baby had the appearance of being prepared for burial.
How fitting that he should be so seen from the time of his birth, since he truly had been appointed to death.
All heaven turned out that night to sing his praises.
Luke 2:13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (KJV)
Such a momentous announcement compelled the shepherds to leave their flock that night and go to Bethlehem to see the thing that had come to pass.
After seeing the babe, they departed and became the first evangelists. They spread the word about this child which was born that night.
Night Scenes In The Bible
Scene Number 4 Which Took Place That Wonderful Night When Jesus Was Born.
Men in a far-off country to the east were gazing into the sky that night a saw a very bright and unusual star.
Matthew2:1. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3. When Herod the king had heard [these things], he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6. And thou Bethlehem, [in] the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
7. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found [him], bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Night Scenes In The Bible
The Wise Men’s Dream.
12. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Night Scenes In The Bible
God Warns Joseph In A Dream.
13. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: (KJV)
Joseph at once obeyed the command from God to flee to Egypt, where he stayed until Herod’s death. Joseph had no financial resources available to him, but God graciously provided the needs of this family through the gifts the wise men that they offered as a token of their esteem. With these gifts, Joseph no doubt was able to pay all the expenses of the trip to Egypt, as well as the return to Palestine.
So we see how God chose to bring Christ into the world at night. He sent a host of angels to the Judean hillside to sing of his birth to a group of shepherds watching over their flocks that night.
Can we expect God to appear to us in some miraculous way some night when we least expect it? I really think we can, and as we continue in this study of NIGHT SCENES IN THE BIBLE we will see how God did come unexpectedly in the night.
We will follow these scenes with more ‘Night Scenes In The Bible’ as we get them prepared.
We hope you will read the other article on our web pages.
Night Scenes In The Bible #6
Israel’s Last Night In Egypt
By, James L. Thornton
Exodus 12: 42 “It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.”
2. All Egypt Sleeps On That Dreadful Night
3. All In The Land Of Goshen Are Awake
4. It’s Almost Midnight
5. A Great Cry Was Heard
6. Pharaoh Urged Them To Leave That Night
7. The Children Of Israel Left With Haste
This was the night of Israel’s birth. Before this night, a large family, a group of slaves. After this night, a nation on the rise, a nation which would affect every person born into this world.
Jehovah stood guard to protect Israel, therefore Israel must guard the memory of this night.
It was the beginning of a history that shall flow with continuous current till time shall end. And that stream shall carry life and blessings to all nations of the earth.
On that memorial night God Himself appeared on the earth on behalf of an enslaved and despised race and brought them from the house of bondage to take their place among the great historical nations.
As suddenly as the sun-rise a nation was born. Never before, nor since, has a nation been formed so suddenly.
When the sun went down, The descendants of Abraham were sojourners and slaves toiling under the lash of the taskmaster and in a land not their own.
When the morning broke, they were a great nation on the march, with an army of six-hundred-thousand strong—with the God of Hosts for a guide.
Rome began as 30 to 40 shepherds and robbers were drawn together in a small cluster of huts. Yet it took 700 years to reach the summit of its greatness. The Hebrews numbered nearly 3½ million the first day of their life as a nation.
The Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, all the great conquer conquering nations of ancient times, have utterly passed away. They have few, if any, representatives to bear their name or to glory in their history. They have no influence in the life of the world today.
But the Hebrews, in all their wanderings and dispersions, are Hebrews still. And the descendants of the three-and-one-half-million, who marched out of Egypt that night, may be found on all the continents and in all great cities of the earth.
That nation under God in a night, has been the teacher and leader of the human race. Their laws, their sacred principals of morality, their God-given faith, the character of their great men, exert more influence upon the minds of men today than all the other nations of antiquity put together.
The birth-night of the Hebrew Nation was the great era of ancient times.
Let us study the events of that night that we may learn in what way God gave life to the Hebrew Nation. Let us suppose ourselves carried back to that night and become spectators as God works that night.
2. ALL EGYPT IS SLEEPING ON THAT DREADFUL NIGHT:
It is late March or early April, it is night throughout all the land of Egypt. A bright full moon is shines from a cloudless sky. It is dark in the twenty-thousand cities and villages that line the banks of the Nile—all is still.
The laborers have come in from the field, and are asleep. The Princes of Pharaoh are asleep in the palace on soft pillows of silk. The house-slaves are asleep are asleep in the floor. The bond-men, the wise-men, the magicians, which had withstood Moses and Aaron, are sleeping, along with Pharaoh and all his house—all Egypt slept.
The mighty Monarch has said that the man Moses shall not see his face any more. He has sworn that the hated Hebrew shall die the moment he appears again.
For many days this fugitive from the desert had haunted the proud king. His shepherd’s staff has become more powerful than the scepter of Pharaoh. The wise-men and priests of Pharaoh had been confounded and put to shame by him.
The water of the sacred river had been changed to blood, the cattle had been smitten, creeping things, lice and locus, and frogs have invaded every home, at the bidding of Moses.
But Pharaoh has had enough, he has forbidden Moses to ever come again. Moses said, thou spoken well, I will see thy face again no more” (Exodus 10:29).
On this night the locusts are gone, the boils and blains which afflicted everyone are healed,the flax and barley that were beaten down by hail has been replaced by a harvest of wheat.
The blood-stained waters of the Nile have become pure and fresh—the thick darkness has given away to the light of the full moon. A weary Monarch sleeps forgetting all the threats against his kingdom. So in Egypt all sleep as of death—silence reigns.
3. ALL IN THE LAND OF GOSHEN ARE AWAKE:
No one is asleep in the Land of Goshen where the Hebrew slaves lived. In all the houses of the Hebrews, every soul is awake and every eye upon the watch. There is no stir in the streets; the families are all inside the house, as Rahab was commanded to “Get your family in.”
There is a blood-stain on the lintel and on the side-posts of every door. Children are clutched in their mother’s arms. They have just finished eating supper—a roasted lamb, unleavened bread and with bitter herbs, representing the bitterness of their toil.
They ate while standing, their long robes are gathered up and girded tightly around their loins. Their feet are shod with sandals for a journey (These sandals would last their lifetime).
They have a shepherd’s scrip (bag) on their shoulders filled with provisions for the way, (and also loaded with jewels of gold and silver borrowed from the Egyptians Exodus 11:3-4, “they spoiled the Egyptians” Exodus 12:36)
Men and women stand with staffs in their hands, ready to go forth when the sign was given.
4. IT’S ALMOST MIDNIGHT:
Strong men turn pale, women weep, children are too frightened to cry. They have been told by Moses “At Midnight,
The Lord God would visit Egypt and all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die. From the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.” (Exodus 11:4-6)
God had told Moses,
“And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them” (Exodus 3:7-9).
For 400 years God had heard the cry of the Hebrews—He remembered every cry, every sigh, every groan, now He would avenge 400 years of crying in one night.
5. A GREAT CRY WAS HEARD:
The midnight hour draws near.
Listen! Was not that the sound of someone yelling? This is followed by a piercing scream coming from a distant home. Cold chills ran up the spines of everyone who heard it.
Within minutes, not just one Egyptian home, but from every home, shrieks and howls break forth upon the stillness of the midnight air. Village after village, city after city, from the Palace of the King, to the mud-huts of the poor—The Cry Went Up. The young and old, rich and poor everyone was screaming.
There is universal terror throughout all Egypt for in one awful moment the Angel of Death has smitten every family in the whole nation with just one stroke which must have caused the most crushing sorrow.
“And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle,” “there was not a house where there was not one dead” (Exodus 12:29-30).
6. PHARAOH URGED THEM TO LEAVE IN THE NIGHT:
“And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste;” (Exodus 12:30-33).
Did you notice the little phrase at the end of verse 32? “And bless me also.” Here we have a very arrogant Egyptian Monarch brought to realization that there was a God who ruled the heaven and the earth, and His name was Jehovah, and at that dreadful moment he realized how much he need that God’s blessing. Once before, 400 years before this night, another Pharaoh received the blessing of Jehovah as Jacob was brought before him (Genesis 47:10).
7. THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL LEFT WITH HASTE:
“And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle” (Exodus 12:34-38).
Psalm has another account of that night, “He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes. Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them. And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:” (Psalm 105:37-38, 43).
WHAT A GLORIOUS NIGHT FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD
In one glorious night Israel was set free from bondage and servitude. Our lesson from this, Jesus Christ came to set us free from the bondage of sin.
In one glorious moment, it don’t take all night, we can be released from the chains which bind us, and come forth into the glorious liberty with God’s people.
Thank you for taking the time to read this section of NIGHT SCENES IN THE BIBLE and we hope you will read the other section of NIGHT SCENES IN THE BIBLE on this web site.
By James L. Thornton
Night Scenes In The Bible #7
The Night Feast Of Belshazzar
By, James L. Thornton
Daniel 5:1 “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. 4. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. 30. “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.”
3. An Invading Army
4. Belshazzar’s Impious Feast
5. The Fingers Of God Write Upon The Wall
6. Belshazzar Is Terrified
7. Daniel’s Sermon To Belshazar
8. Me-ne, Me-me, Te-kel, Uphar-sin
9. The End Of Belshazzar’s Kingdom
Belshazzar was the last of the Babylonian kings. The great feast he made for a thousand of his lords which we read about here was on the last night of his reign.
Belshazzar belonged to the proud, profligate race of Chaldeans—licentious and wildly extravagant, grossly self-indulgent and very, wicked. The Hebrew Prophets described them as “Given to pleasures, dwelling carelessly, and trusting in wickedness” (Isaiah 47:8).
Their young men were showy, sensual, and lewd. They dressed in dyed garments of bright colors—they curled their hair, used jewelry, carried walking-sticks with a bird or a serpent carved on the handle. They were fond of gold and silver chains, costly furniture, and great feasts.
They frequented dramatic entertainments in which dancers and singers appeared with little or no dress, and less decency, for their amusement. They drank wine and and sang lewd songs, were out late at night and did everything else that wild, half-intoxicated young men are likely to do. (Sounds like modern day youth).
This is well documented by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel and from the Greek historians, as well as from inscriptions from their own monuments that remain to this day. And knowing all this concerning that great and mighty city we are not surprised that Babylon became a desolation.
The day of doom is not far off from any great city, or country, when its young men become effeminate, self-indulgent, fond of pleasure, and afraid of work. There are 4 words which describe those who leave all the work for someone else, “it’s not my job.”
That is the way Babylon was ruined—that is the way Rome fell to the barbarians—that is the way Constantinople came under the sway of the Mohammedans—that is the way Venice ended a thousand years of independent history with shame and servitude.
We could go on and on and name you some more. It will happen again maybe to your city—heaven help this generation. People do not realize how far they have drifted until they go over the edge.
Belshazzar had everything to flatter his pride and feed his passions. He was an absolute Monarch, holding life and property of his thousand lords and his countless people entirely at his disposal. He answered to nor one. His servants were the princes of conquered nations. Kings bowed before him.
His wives and concubines were the wives and daughters of kings. His city was enriched with the spoils of many nations—his fields were cultivated by captive people.
He was hasty and violent in temper. History records them as the most ruthless race of people on record. Yet history tells us that Belshazzar was effeminate and luxurious in his habit of living.
Belshazzar inherited the pride, the glory, the palaces, the capitol, the kingdom of his great father Nebuchadnezzar. He gained all this power and glory at the age of 15. It quickly went to his heard.
He lifted himself up against the Lord of heaven, and he despised the kings and armies of the earth. But remember the old saying, “The bigger they come the harder they fall.” Material power is no obstacle to God. In this study of NIGHT SCENES IN THE BIBLE we see the moving fingers of God.
3. AN INVADING ARMY:
At the time preceding the great feast in our scripture reading (Daniel 5:1) which Belshazzar made for a thousand of his lords, his province had been invaded and his city assailed by a great army from the North.
But for some reason the attacking force had apparently withdrawn. They could no longer be seen from the towers. It was taken for granted that the siege was abandoned and the war was over. The whole city was immediately given up to rejoicing and reveling. Guards deserted their posts—Belshazzar proclaimed a great feast to a thousand of his lords in honor of another victory.
No attention was given to the strange and startling fact that the water of the Mighty Euphrates River, which ran through the great city under the walls, was beginning to fall. In a short time the river-bed was bare in some places.
4. BELSHAZZAR'S IMPIOUS FEAST:
Belshazzar himself takes the lead in the reveling. “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand” (Daniel 5:1). Indulgence in the intoxicating cup prepares the way for every excess of profanation.
Belshazzar and his thousand lords did not profane the golden vessels of Jehovah until that had drunk wine. The feasting and mad pursuit of thrills is a sign of a sick generation.
“Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine (under the influence of wine), commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.
"Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone” (Daniel 5:2-4).
The loss of the sense of sacred things is always one of the signs of moral decay. But let us remember that the eye of the Great Judge is upon every scene of profanity and dissipation (2 Chronicles 16:9).
5. THE FINGERS OF GOD WRITE UPON THE WALL:
“In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote” (Daniel 5:5).
God write in very conspicuous places, and in very inopportune times. The Handwriting appeared upon the wall of the banquet room in Belshazzar’s palace in the hour of their wildest mirth to show that God was there.
God is in every scene of wickedness and debauchery not less really than in Holy Places of His own sanctuary. The finger of God is ever writing the witness of his presence upon the living tables of out hearts.
As long as we have a conscience, we have a voice within us to tell us that God’s eye is ever fixed upon us. And that we must give account to Him of all we do.
God is witness every day of the week and every hour of the day. God never sleeps. His ear catches every word that passes from our lips (Matthew 12:36). In the deepest solitude we must all have one companion. “God is here—God is everywhere.” We cannot hide anything from God.
6. BELSHAZZAR IS TERRIFIED:
“Then the king's countenance was changed (his color changed, the blood drained from his face, he was white as a ghost), and his thoughts troubled him (he had anxious thoughts, alarming thoughts), so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. The king cried aloud (literally called with strength).” (Daniel 5:6-7a).
4 Words, 4 Strange Words. This writing was strange which no one could read. Since it was a ghostly hand it was a ghostly script which no wise man had seen. There was room for alarm when professional wise men were unable to interpret the writing. “Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied (astonished)” (Daniel 5:9).
The Queen Mother gave this advise, “and the queen spake and said, O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed: There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods;” (Daniel 5:10-11).
7. DANIEL’S SERMON TO BELSHAZZAR:
Daniel was 83 years old—he had been captive here in Babylon for 67 years (538 B.C.-606B.C.). He had been recognized since his youth as one who knew, and was known by, the God of the Universe.
Belshazzar to Daniel, “I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee. And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom” (Daniel 5:14 & 16).
Daniel refused the gifts and then reminded Belshazzar of his father and the glory of his kingdom, which went to his head, and how that God had humbled him by taking away his mind “till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; (Daniel 5:21-22).
“YOU HAVE NOT HUMBLED THINE HEART, THOUGH THU KNEWEST THIS.”
“But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.” (Daniel 5:23-24).
8. ME-NE, ME-ME, TE-KEL, UPHAR-SIN:
GOD WRITES SO MUCH IN SO FEW WORDS. In four words God sums up Belshazzar’s remaining hours. “This is the interpretation of the thing.”
26. MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
27. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
28. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
9. THE END OF BELSHAZZAR'S KINGDOM:
Night Scenes In The Bible.
30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
Belshazzar had riches, and pleasure, and power, and glory, the absolute master of the greatest city of the ancient world. Belshazzar, excited with wine and carried away with the delusion that no foe could ever capture his city. He is anxious to make some grand display of defiant and blasphemous desecration.
The Armies of Cyrus had turned the Euphrates out of its channel and marched into the unguarded city unopposed. They were already in possession of the palace-gate when Belshazzar and his thousand lords were drinking from the golden vessels of Jehovah.
And that great feast of boasting and blasphemy was THE LAST NIGHT OF THE CHALDEAN KINGS. While Belshazzar was yet in the height of his power and glory, his days were numbered. His character weighed and found wanting before the infinite Judge. And the same sovereign God counts out the days of life to each of us.
Oh, to be wanting when God weighs our motive, character, life, and soul.
To be Wanting when Judged by the most compassionate, indulgent and generous friend.
To be wanting in a hope sure and steadfast when God takes away the soul.
To be wanting when the book of life is opened and the eye of the final Judge turns to see whose name is written there.
To be wanting in love, and obedience to Christ.
To be wanting in fruits and joys of a Holy Life.
Those that are wanting will be cast into outer darkness, Cast into everlasting night.
Our life is filled with crises—there are moments when our whole future is at stake. What will we say? What will we answer for our wanting? What excuse can we bring to that court?
Will we say “it was the home I was raised in, the environment around me, the neglect, the abuse, the poverty, my race, my color, my lack of education? Let us not while away our days in senseless reveling and spending our nights in wild parties and wicked deeds. Remember we will give account as well as Belshazzar for our time spent on earth.
We will close this study this Night Scenes In The Bible with the words of the Apostle Paul to the Romans.
“The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:12-14)
I hope you enjoyed the study of NIGHT SCENES IN THE BIBLE.
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Night Scenes In The Bible #8
A Night With Jesus In Jerusalem
By, James l. Thornton
2. Nicodemus Came By Night
3. Ye Must Be Born Again
It seems that every day as we listen to the news there is a conference being held between leaders of different nations to try to resolve some problem between them. Some of these conferences will go down in history books as a historical event. These are momentous times. Our lives are filled with crises. There are not only days like a thousand years, but there are moments when our whole future is at stake. We could call these men and women who work behind the world’s scenes, “Minute Men.”
Today we want to take a look at a private conference between two individuals of far greater importance that any that is taking place today, or at any time in our memory, any where in the world.
This interview was not watched with eager expectance by great armies. It was not arranged before hand by watchful agents guarding the interests and safety of the two who met. In fact the world may have never known about this meeting if it were not for one lone listener who recorded it for the entire world to read.
This meet which we will study today has been read in every known language and by more human beings that will ever read of the meetings taking place in our lifetime.
2. Nicodemus Came By Night:
John 3:1. “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”
It was late at night when an old man made his way to where a young teacher, whom he had seen and heard that day was spending the night. He wanted to know more.
The old man was Nicodemus, the young teacher was Jesus.
This night was the first Passover after Jesus’ ministry began; Jesus had come up from Capernaum to keep the Passover Feast. (John 2:12)
Multitudes had come from every city and village in Palestine and from far distant Nations. The houses in Jerusalem were full and the streets were thronged. Everywhere you looked Jerusalem was crowed with people. The Temple was the chief attraction. Jesus mingled with the crowd. His anger was aroused about what He found doing on in the Temple.
John 2:14. And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15. And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;
16. And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
17. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
All during that day Jesus spent His time healing the sick and teaching the people who came unto Him.
John 2:23. Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did.
One man who saw and heard Him would not openly give to Jesus his allegiance, but none the less, his mind and his heart was affected by what he saw and heard. That evening Jesus retired to some abode outside the City of Jerusalem.
Nicodemus felt that he could not sleep until he had personally become aquatinted with this Teacher from Galilee. Nicodemus was himself a master teacher in Israel, and a member of the Sanhedrin and known to all the Jews in Jerusalem for his wealth, his learning and liberality.
For reasons known only to him, Nicodemus chose to wait till the crowds had dispersed and then make his way alone to the place where Jesus was in the darkness of the night. Nicodemus, rich, learned, and powerful, was a member of the proud and strictest sect of the Jews. He came as a trembling, doubting, unsatisfied seeker after light. It’s the only way to come to Jesus.
Nicodemus would later defend Jesus before the Sanhedrin, John 7:50. He also would come bearing spices for Jesus’ burial John 19:30. On this night Nicodemus addressed Jesus with awe and respect.
John 3:2. “The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” (like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel).
The answer Jesus gave to him was a great surprise to Nicodemus.
John 3:3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
“Born Again.” This set Christianity apart from all other religions. Never before had any man heard such a statement. Nicodemus wanted an explanation.
John 3:4. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
Jesus then declared that even such a person as he (kind, generous, learned, a Master in Israel) must be born again. He must have a New Heart, a New Life, or he will not see The Kingdom of God.
John 3:5. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Nicodemus sat in silent amazement at the thought of a Kingdom so pure that even he could not enter it without becoming a new man.
John 3:7. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
3. Ye Must Be Born Again:
Five words which would change the world. If men would only study this Conference, between Jesus and Nicodemus and would become obedient to this message. There would be no need of Peace Initiatives, or Peace Conferences, or Peace Keeping Forces, For all men would be at peace with one another.
Jesus is saying that man is depraved and lost in his natural condition and must be renewed and saved by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Man’s life, as the Gospel of Jesus finds him, is a waste and a perversion, and he needs to begin all anew.
Man is a prodigal, he is a wandered and he must be called home. He is in bondage to his worst enemy, and he must be made free by The Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is in subjection to the Old Man of Sin and misery, and he must be made a New Man in Christ Jesus.
He is an alien and a stranger from the holy and Blessed Kingdom of God. Even good men like Nicodemus must be made an Heir of God by Faith, and a Son by Gracious Adoption. If a person does not feel himself lost, then he is not prepared to turn to Christ for Hope.
Our main purpose of coming to Church should be that we maybe made better. The man unaware of his own need or his own unworthiness is unaware of the nearness of disaster. A man must renounce the sway of what the Bible calls the carnal, the earthly, and the worldly principle. The Bible calls this Repentance.
“Marvel not that I say unto thee, Ye Must be born again.” The Bible gives hard names to all who have not put on the New Man which after God is created in Righteousness and true Holiness.
It says that they are dead in trespasses and in sins and they must be “Quickened and Raised up” to a New and Holy Life. “They are sold under sin” and they must be bought with a Great Price. They are in Bondage, and a Mighty Deliverer must set them free. They are blind both to their interests and their obligations and their eyes must be opened that they may see.
Peter sums it up.
1 Peter 1:23. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
Peter is saying, “the first time you were born you were born with the seed of Adam, the second birth is from above, incorruptible seed of the Holy Ghost.”
Man in his un-renewed state is without Love, without Peace, without Hope, without Pardon. He is at war with himself; He carries a heavy burden upon his heart. He cannot get to heaven in the unregenerate state.
John 3:3. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. He cannot shake it off.
John 3:7. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Thank you for taking the time to read this study of Night Scenes In The Bible, and we hope you will read the other studies on our web pages.
Write To Us Godsgrazingfield@att.net
By, James L. Thornton
We will continue the study of NIGHT SCENES IN THE BIBLE and I hope you will follow us as we continue our study of them
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Night Scenes In The Bible #9
Midnight In The Prison At Philippi
By James L. Thornton
2. Midnight In The Prison At Philippi
3. Paul And Silas Prayed And Sang At Midnight
4. Paul’s Final Prison
The inmates in the prison at Philippi had long been accustomed to prisoners being brought in at all hours of the day and night. Shrikes, and groans, and cursing, and swearing had been heard many times in that dark dungeon.
Never before had the inmates bee disturbed at midnight by the sound of praise and prayer. Two men had been brought in a very bad condition and thrust into the deepest part of the prison. It was this part of the prison from which the singing was coming, and they kept on singing until all the prisoners heard them.
Acts 16:22. “And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
23. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
24. Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
25. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
Three questions we want to answer in this lesson.
1. Who were these men who were drawing the attention of all the prisoners at the midnight hour?
2. What had they done to be cast into this prison with their backs beaten?
3. Why did they sing?
I would like to answer the second question first. What had they done?
The day before they had been down by the river talking to a group that they had met a few days before, about Jesus and The Way of Salvation.
They were doing nothing to excite the people or to disturb the peace of the city. There had been some people baptized, Lydia and her household. Then another woman entered the picture, she was as different from Lydia as daylight is from night. She was a slave girl with a Demoniac mind. Under double bondage.
This demon had given her the power of divination. “which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying.” Fore-telling and Fortune-telling.
Acts 16:16. And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
17. The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
Paul had mercy upon this poor unfortunate woman and cast this spirit, along with the power of divination from out of her.
19. And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
20. And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
21. And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
22. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
23. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
24. Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet
fast in the stocks.
So they had been beaten and cast into prison for casting the Devil out of a woman.
First Question: Who were these men? and why were they in Philippi?
It would not be enough to say that they were Missionaries of Jesus Christ, of which, there have been thousands. And for many their Ministry has been brought to a close by just such incidents that we have just read about. By being tormented and thrown into a dungeon never to be heard from again. Then there have been voices from the Prison, voices which will never be silenced. It was from such a prison that John Bunyon Wrote Pilgrim’s Progress.
The first of these two men needs no introduction.
“Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ. (11 Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1)
“Paul a Prisoner of Jesus.” (Philippians 1:1)
“Paul a Servant of Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:1)
God’s Introduction of Paul:
Acts 9:15. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
He was no stranger to suffering and persecution.
Acts 9:16. For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
Paul had on one occasion been stoned and left for dead in Lystra. (Acts 14:19) But
God raised him up to life. But here at Philippi was probably his first prison experience. I am glad that he had Silas for a companion.
The other man Silas:
Some people are an inspiration to be around. I feel that Silas was such a person. Although far over-shadowed by Paul, Silas had some great outstanding qualities himself. We are introduced to Silas in Acts 15:22 where the Church of Jerusalem chose him to carry and read the Letter to the Church at Antioch. (verse 27)
His introduction reads “…… and Silas, chief men among the Brethren:” Acts 15:22 Years of devoted service.
Acts 15:32. Tells us that Silas was a Prophet. A Man who could interpret the Divine Will of God.
Acts 15:32. Silas was a Preacher……. “Silas Exhorted the Brethren with many words,” To urge forward, encourage.
Silas confirmed, established and strengthened the Brethren. He encouraged and strengthened the Spirits of the Brethren at Antioch. He helped them to be brave and staunch in the face of all opposition.
Paul needed a Companion and He chose Silas (Acts 15:40). Paul was never himself when He was alone. He needed the sympathy of a friend or a group of friends to bring out the best in him.
Silas was a great encourager, his religion was of the bright and cheerful sort. We see this from what he did when he visited Antioch; He put them all in better Heart. He came into Paul’s life in one of the most important times of Paul’s life. God knows what we need.
We see this later when Paul was in Corinth alone. He felt dejected because the men of Athens had rejected his Lord. That feeling changed when Silas rejoined him.
Acts 18:5. “And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.”
A.V. A Head of Steam
R.V. Constrained by the Word.
He was borne along by it, like a ship in full sail preaching became easy work now that Silas was by his side. So we see that Silas was a cheerful soul.
Now let us return to a statement that I made that Silas came into Paul’s life just when he needed him the most. (Acts 15:40)
Acts 16:6-7. Records a series of disappointments or set backs in His Ministry. Paul wanted to take the Gospel to the Regions of Asia but was forbidden of the Holy Ghost to Preach there. Anxious to know God’s Will Paul turned west and came down to Troas.
Troas is the gateway to Europe. There Paul had a vision. Probably the greatest single thing that ever happened in the History of European Civilization. It is almost impossible to exaggerate the influence of Paul on the development of Christianity. Paul’s obedience to that vision brought Christianity to Europe. It shifted the balance of power. Western Empires sprang up including America.
So Paul along with Silas, Timothy and Luke crossed the Aegean Seas to the city of Philippi of Macedonia and a Colony. It was here he met Lydia who was baptized along with her family. The next few days Paul and Silas, Luke and Timothy, along with Lydia’s household had a Revival. It seemed that God was pleased with them and sent His blessings. But this was brought to an abrupt halt by the healing of the Slave Girl.
They found themselves in a dungeon with their backs lacerated and torn from a severe beating. Their feet fastened in stocks which made it impossible to stand or to even turn over. Great pain and disappointment must surely have been felt by them.
Disappointment and frustration can bring on a lot of soul searching. Am I really in The Will of God? I thought that it was The Will of God to come to Philippi. Its things like this which has broken the spirit of man men.
3. They Prayed And Sang At Midnight:
“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed…” Naturally I do not wonder that they prayed. It would have been surprising if they had not “prayed and sang praised unto God…” Unnaturally in such a place and under such conditions they sang! And they kept on singing until all the prisoners were awake.
It is one of the most triumphant moments of New Testament Christianity. This brings us back to Silas. We don’t read of Paul ever singing when he was by himself, but he couldn’t help singing when Silas was near.
Silas sang in the prison at midnight and Paul couldn’t help joining in. Silas was a happy, cheerful, singing Christian. Results – An earthquake, the prison doors opened. The Jailer is baptized; a Church is founded in Philippi.
4. Paul’s Final Prison:
Twenty years latter in another prison Mamer-Tine Prison in the heart of Rome. Paul cannot tell the day from night. He has no way of measuring the time. Weeks and months pass in solitude, he writes his last letter.
Paul writes to Timothy:
2 Timothy 4:6. “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
9. Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
10. For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
11. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. 12. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
13. The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
14. Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
15. Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
16. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
18. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
From this prison Paul would go to be with the one he loved above all things. He was led out on the Alpine Way and beheaded for his role in the Kingdom Of God. No greater servant God ever had than this man.
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By, James L. Thornton
Night Scenes In The Bible #10
Midnight In A Storm On The Mediterranean
By, James L. Thornton
2. Why This Voyage Took Place
3. Paul Warns Against Sailing In Dangerous Times
4. From Midnight Till Dawn
5. All Are Saved
Acts 27:27 “But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country;”
This lesson concerns Paul’s voyage to Rome. Thanks to Luke’s account of this voyage it has been the most widely read, and studied, of any sea adventure since man began to sail on the sea.
We all know the story, and how it ended with safety to the Apostle, and the two-hundred and seventy-five others who sailed with him. Yet even though this may be the hundredth time we have read or heard it, we are still held in the grip of awe at this great man on the last night of this long voyage, walking up and down the heaving deck, among hardened soldiers and reckless seamen, waiting for the day.
The worst still lay ahead; the waves could be heard breaking upon the rocks of the distant shore line. The ship was coming apart in a hundred places. It was feared the anchors would give way at any moment.
Such fear gripped the hearts of them all till they had not eaten for fourteen days and nights. Then in a calm reassuring voice Paul besought them to take food and eat—“For this is for your health: for there shall not a hair fall from the head of any of you (Acts 27:34).
We want to touch on the highlights of this voyage.
2. Why This Voyage Took Place:
The past 2 and a half years Paul had been a prisoner; first of the Jews, then of the Romans. He had been tried in many Courts. He had always spoken in his own defense. First to the Jews, then to Felix the Governor, then two years later to Festus who had become Governor after Felix, then before King Agrippa (Acts 21:27&Acts 26:32). Paul in the mean-while had appealed his case to the highest court---Caesar.
Acts 27:4 “The winds were contrary,” seems to set the mood of the whole trip.
“The winds did not allow us to go on.” (Verse 7)
This could almost be said to be a parable of Paul’s whole life.
There were many contrary winds in Paul’s life.
1. His own people
2. Primitive travel and communications
3. Personal handicaps and weaknesses
4. Failure of Friends
5. Rome condemned him
6. His Conscience, His past seem to reappear often
Yet Paul had many things going for him.
1. A Good Family Background.
2. Roman Citizenship.
3. Some Wealth And Influence.
4. A Brilliant Mind.
5. Highly Educated.
6. A Sensitive Spirit.
Navigators however, learn how to handle adverse winds and make some progress in spite of them, Paul did. Anyone can sail if all the winds were favorable. We need to learn early in life that the winds are not going to always be favorable. Yet we must learn how to make progress even against adverse conditions. It is not so much a contest of endurance – It is more of an intelligent effort to change the circumstances.
Acts 27:9-44. From Crete to Malta Storm and Shipwreck.
The true courage and intelligence of Paul truly stands forth in this passage when everyone else had given up hope.
Acts 27:1 “And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band.
2 And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. (This was thought to be Paul’s personal servant, Ramsay)
3 And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself.
Paul seemed to have the respect of Julius who granted him a certain liberty that the other prisoners did not have. The other prisoners on board seem to a have been bound, or in a holding cell.
3. Paul Warns Against Sailing In Dangerous Times:
Acts 27:9 “Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.
11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.”
How many times people get in great trouble when they do not give heed to good advice. Paul was a seasoned traveler, he had already been in a shipwreck, 2 Corinthians 11:25, he knew the dangers of sailing so late in the year. Yet Julius listened to the captain of the ship and set sail, to the results Paul had warned them of.
Acts 27:13 “And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete.”
Many times “the south wind blows softly” when we are out of the will of God and it seems that everything is going to be fine. But any time we sail through life against the good advice of friends, our pastor, the word of God, and many other signs, we are headed for trouble just down the stream.
Acts 27:14 “But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.
15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.
For the next several verses Luke describes the turmoil they went through, even to the point they threw everything overboard that they could, just like Paul warned them of. For fourteen days and night the storm raged and all hope was gone that they would live through it. Everyone on board was fasting and calling on their god.
In the meanwhile Paul was somewhere praying and seeking God, and that night an angel climbed on board and made his way to where Paul was praying and assured him that God had heard his prayer an was going to spare everyone on board. It lets us know what God will do to protect one or two of His children, (Paul & Luke).
Acts 27:21 “But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship.
23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
4. FROM MIDNIGHT TILL DAWN:
Many times the hours between midnight and dawn seem the worst. People have struggled through theses hours since the beginning of time. These are crucial hours. We all have set through those hours with a loved one wondering if they are going to make it till dawn. These are the best hours to really seek God for our needs.
Acts 27:27 “But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country;
28 And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms.
29 Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished (waiting) for the day.”
Somehow, about midnight the shipmen realized that they were getting near the shore because each time they let down a weighted line it was geting shallower each time. So they threw out the anchors and waiter for daylight.
How many times have we cast out anchors just trying to hold on to what we have left? Songs have been written about this, “Will The Anchor Hold,” is one of my favorites. Cast out the anchor and wish for the day, is sometimes all we can do.
Paul noticed that the shipmen were letting down a small boat in the darkness in order to escape the coming crash. Paul warned the soldiers about this, because they would be the only ones who would be able to guide the ship onto the land.
5. All Are Saved:
Then Paul advised them to eat because none of them had eaten anything for days. After eating some food they felt better about their situation.
Luke gives us a vivid description of the end of the voyage with the ship breaking apart, and all 316 souls escaped to land by holding onto planks and other parts of the ship. Thus God gave Paul the answer to his midnight prayer.
After a long night, even though things break up around us, there is still hope if we grab hold of something and hold on, for God will see us through it all.
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Night Scenes In The Bible #11
The Night Judas Betrays Jesus
By, James L. Thornton
2. Sin Drove Judas Out Into The Darkness
3. Sin Separates
4. Powerful Forces At Work
5. Jesus’ Challenge To Satan
John 13:30 “He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.”
It was the night humanity sank to it’s lowest depts. The thing that strikes us here is the utter loneliness of Judas. With so few words John paints the picture. “He went out immediately and it was night.”
Within there was light and gladness and the richest fellowship the world has ever known. For Jesus was there. John was leaning on His bosom. The talk was on Holy Themes that evening.
Outside was hostility and hatred. Outside was darkness, “and it was night.” A fitting description of anyone going away from God.
2. Sin Drove Judas Out Into The Darkness:
No man drove Judas out into the darkness. It was the motion (inertia) of his own heart and life that impelled Judas to chose the darkness rather that light. It is the continual effects of sin. In every shape and form, in every age and country, sin brings and intensifies the loneliness of life.
3. Sin Separates:
Sin separates friends, families, partners, and fellowship with God. Sin drives wedges between brother and brother, sister and sister, husband and wife, partners in business. Anywhere there is sin there is division.
A friendship based upon sinful conditions is in reality only a comradeship. There can be no real trust. Sin separates man from his ideal—or what he knows he should do with his life. Sin separates man from man. Sin divides the brother-hood. Finally sin separates for God.
Sin separated Judas from his ideal—or what he knew he should do with himself and his life. Judas knew that the life which Jesus introduced was the greatest life which had ever been lived upon the earth. Judas knew that He should allow himself to be consumed by that life—that with passion he should give himself unto it.
4. Powerful Forces At Work:
But there were powerful forces at work upon him. Judas had walked with the Light Of The World, but as Jesus Himself said He chose darkness because his deeds were evil. Today we want to study the forces which were at work upon Judas and the inner struggles which must surely have gone on in his life. The more we know of this force the more we will know how to deal with the same force in our own lives.
Paul says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Three and one-half years before this dreadful night, Judas had joined this little fellow-ship, with the highest goals and intentions in mind. It takes some doing (action) to carry them out. Many people’s intentions and goals are born at the altar.
But it takes a lifetime to fulfill them. Judas had a high purpose in mind. He was a member of a Preaching Team. He rejoiced because the Devils were subject to his prayers. He held a position of trust (He was treasurer) of the Apostolic band.
What went wrong? What caused Judas to lose his ideal: His purpose in life which he seemed to have set out on? The hardships of the past 3 1/2 years had not caused him to murmur.
The hardships of life do not usually divide friendships nor cause one to change course. Hardships causes to us to realize how much we need one another. Hardship drives us to prayer- trust in God and one another.
The mountains and valleys, the deserts, the lakes, and the storms were all gone through together. But sin separated Judas from his Brethren. Jesus had said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my Disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Whatever it was that went wrong it had to start with Judas himself. Somebody has said “There is a part of me that it takes all the rest of me to keep under control.” That was Judas’ problem. Was it greed? Thirst for power or importance? Was it disillusions? Did he think that things were not going to work out like he thought?
Whatever it was that Judas did not conquer in his life Satan took advantage of it.
John 13:2. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
This does not mean that Judas for the first time left the faith and became an Apostate. It simply means that at last the Devil prevailed in the heart of this unhappy man the plan of betraying his Master.
He puts (cast) into the heart of those he tempts the seeds of evil. The heart is the seed plot into which he sows. Suggestion is one of his chief weapons. The sin of man consists of opening his heart to the suggestions. Giving it a place, and letting it sink down. So the seed sown in the heart of Judas, was now to bear fruit.
Let us note the reality, personality and awful power of our great spiritual enemy the Devil. There are degrees in his power and dominion over us. If his first temptations are not resisted, he may in the end gain full and entire possession of every part of our soul, and lead us captive to be his slaves.
So we find that even at the First Communion Satan was present, and busy in a heart. First he suggest: then he commands. First he knocks at the door and asks permission to come in. Then once admitted, he takes complete possession and rules the whole inward man like a tyrant.
Once a person begins tampering with the Devil he never knows how far he may fall. Trifling with the first thoughts of sin, making light of evil ideas, when first offered to us is dangerous to our soul. Don’t allow Satan to talk to us, and flatter us, and put bad notions into our hearts. This all may seem like a small matter to many but at this point is where the road to ruin often begins.
5. Jesus’ Challenge To Satan:
John 13:27. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
Our Lord addresses these words to Satan rather than Judas, and as it were challenging him to do his worst.
John 13:30. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
Jesus never drove anyone away. His words never drove anyone away.
“Come to me”
John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
Satan entered Judas first as the Satan of wicked ideas. (John 13:2)
Then after the sop, Jesus’ challenge to Judas, as the Satan of action. (John 13:27)
They would meet one more time in the Garden when Judas performed his awful deed. In a short while both the Holy Master and the treacherous servant were dead.
They will never meet again in the body till the trumpet sounds, and the dead are raised and the Judgment is set, and the Books are opened. What an awful meeting that will be.
We should not think of Judas as an absolute unique character as the solitary perfect incarnation of Satanic wickedness. We should always think as the Disciples did. “Is It I.”
To be happy in some fashion, Judas should either have been a better man or a worse. Had he been better, he would have been saved from his crime.
Had Judas been worse, he would have escaped torment before the time. As it was, he was bad enough to do the deed and good enough to be unable to bear the burden of its guilt. Woe to such a man! Better for him, indeed that he had never been born.
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Night Scenes In The Bible #12
Ten Virgins At A Wedding, Matthew 25
By, James L. Thornton
2. Ten Virgins Waiting
3. Behold The Bridegroom Cometh
4. The Door Is Shut
Jesus was the world’s greatest story teller—they will live forever. The setting for this story is given in Matthew 24:3 “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
Jesus is still seated on the Mount overlooking the temple and the city of Jerusalem. He is surrounded by the twelve disciples to whom He was unfolding the deeper mysteries of the Kingdom Of God.
The sun had long gone behind the hills of Judea, and darkness spreads across the city. The gates of the city are shut—the streets are darkened—almost all the lights are out. One home is still lighted by oil lamps for a festive occasion. A crowd is gathered, indicating that a marriage procession is expected. Let us read Jesus’ words.
Matthew 25:1 “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
2. Ten Virgins Linger Near The House:
Jewish weddings were celebrated at night, in accordance with the custom of the times. The Bridegroom, with the children of the bride-chamber (his own special friends) has gone to bring home his betrothed bride—by torch light, celebrating all the way.
He would conduct her along these darkened streets from her father’s house to his own, where a banquet is prepared for invited Guest. Near the house lingering near the doorway, can be seen Ten Young Woman in festive attire. Each of these Bridal Attendants has a lamp in her hand. A small vessel for oil is slung at her side. Their lamps are lit.
They have been waiting moment after moment, hour after hour, for the coming of the Bridegroom. Their eyes are turned towards the house where he has gone. They are eager to catch the gleam of the torches which signal his return.
Some unforeseen reason has delayed his coming. Wearied with the excitement and the fatigue of the long unexpected watch, these watchers for the Bridegroom have one after the other, dropped off to sleep. Their lamps left to burn as long as they will. Several hours have passed.
3. Behold The Brisgroom Cometh:
At last, midnight arrives. The sleepers are awakened with the cry of some Herald or Messenger. “Behold the Bridegroom Cometh!”
All at once the eyes of the sleepers are opened. Drowsiness and slumber are exchanged for life and activity. The Ten Virgins spring to their feet. The procession, for which they have been waiting to join, is close at hand.
Approaching with waving torches and loud joyous music
Jeremiah 7:34…… “The voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the Bridegroom, and the voice of the Bride…..”
The Ten Virgins grab their lamps. They begin to trim their lamps. Five of the watchers had been wise and brought oil in their vessels with their lamps. They had prepared for the long delay of the Bridegroom. They replenish the oil from the vessel and their lamps again burn brightly.
The Five other Virgins had not been so prepared. They had made no provisions for any such delay. They looked at their lamps and they were gone out. They looked at their vessels and they were empty. What could they do?
They turned to their companions…. “Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.” “But the wise answered, saying not so; lest there be not enough for us and you:” Only one thing left to do, go up the street to them that sell and buy for yourselves. Although at this hour the merchant would be asleep. But it was their one chance, and they risked it.
4. The Door Is Shut:
Meanwhile the procession has come. The Five wise Virgins join it, their lamps trimmed and burning. They all proceed to the home of the Bridegroom. The Bridal Party enters and “The Door is shut.”
By and by footsteps are approaching. It is the five improvident watchers hasting also to the Banquet hall. They knock --- They call out “Lord, Lord, open to us.”
But an unexpected answer is heard. Not so, “I know you not.” From this same vantage point on the Mount of Olives our Lord must have looked down many times on just such a scene as he has described. He saw those who were turned away
While inside the house came the sounds of festive joy. Those who were turned away were bitter and sad. They can see the lights gleaming and hear the sounds of music and laughter from within, while they themselves are left standing in the dark street.
Jesus is the Divine Bridegroom. He is coming the second time to take his espoused Bride to His house, constituting the Church in every age of the world. It is composed of Wise and Foolish symbolized by the Ten Virgins. Some prepared, others not prepared.
Matthew 25:13. “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
Watch ---- “While the Bridegroom tarried.”
“At midnight” --- The time He is least looked for.
The cry will be heard “Behold the Bridegroom cometh.”
Mark 13:35. “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
36. Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
37. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”
Luke 13:25. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
“The Door was shut.” Not to the unholy and the profane, but to the improvident and unwatchful professors. To those who had a show of religion. They were dressed in the same festive dress as the Wise Virgins. They had the same Lamps in their hands. They had gone forth professedly to meet Christ. With the apparent resemblance and identity, they were disowned at last by the Divine Bridegroom.
1 Peter 4:18. And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Now to all who are apathetic and unconcerned, the day is coming when you to shall be startled from your dreaming. Fearfulness shall surprise the hypocrites. Bless God the Bridegroom tarries. He tarries to give all the opportunity to be saved.
The wickedness of this world shall quicken the Bridegroom’s steps. Another hour, eternity may be at the door. Some may mock at prayer now, but the cry will come, “Lord, Lord, Open.”
The old man grown grey in sin, the Lamp of Salvation left un-trimmed for a lifetime. He will be in earnest then. The selfish person whose life was a scramble for riches will be in earnest for the true riches then.
Those who have bought and sold for the pleasure of this world will then cry “Give us of your oil.” Beware of any thing that would defray you of the joy of that festive occasion. “Be sober, be vigilant.”
Watch the first dimming of your lamps. Watch the first shortcomings in prayer. Watch the first symptoms of spiritual slumber and apathy, the first loss of your first love. Beware of resting contented in Religion.
“He that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.” The oil is the Holy Ghost.
Let us not have to go to the Oil-vender in the blackness of the midnight hour. Let us be ready “For in such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man cometh.”
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Night Scenes In The Bible #13
All-Night Service At Troas
By, James L. Thornton
2. Scripture Setting
3. Eutychus Found A Seat In An Upper Window
4. Eutychus Went To Sleep And Fell To His Death
5. Paul Prayed And God Restored Eutychus
6. Paul’s Gethsemane
The scripture tells us that this incident took place on the first day of the week. This is the first recorded service which took place on the first day of the week. Paul and those who accompanied him were in Troas. This was not Paul’s first visit to Troas, the first time (6 years before) he was forbidden of the Holy Ghost to Preach.
It was at that time he also met “Luke the beloved physician.” Now after six years Luke was with once again with him. On this night Paul had much to say. The Apostle would not see these people again till Judgment Day. So Paul poured out his heart all night.
2. The Scripture Setting:
Acts 20:6 “And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.
7. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
8 And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.
9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.
10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.
11 When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.
12 And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.”
It seems they had met for communion, “The disciples came together to break bread,.. (V. 7). They had 7 days to get the word out that Paul was in town and was going to preach that weekend. Everyone wanted to be there—so they all crowded into the “upper chamber,” (packed’m in). What excitement. It was like the time when Jesus was in Capernaum and they had to take the roof off to get a man to Him. We can all remember such a service, especially us older ones.
“Many lights in the upper chamber,’ oil lamps. People had made great sacrifice to be there. Many people today do not know what it is to sacrifice to go to Church. We ride a few blocks, if it is convenient, if the weather is not too pretty to go riding, fishing, visiting, or too bad, 10% chance of snow or rain.
But it seems we will make no effort, or real sacrifice to attend. People will not come to Church if they are tired or feel bad, or mad, or can think of something they would rather do.
3. Eutychus Found A Seat In An Upstairs Window:
Eutychus May have come a long ways, under great hardships, to be in that service. It says a lot that he was there, possible he was a slave. He may have been there since before dawn, because the Early Church started this day with early prayer before dawn.
Eutychus sat in an up-stairs window… 3rd loft. It would be interesting to know why he chose that particular place, Hot, stuffy, smoke filled from all the lamps. Early places of worship had only the bare essentials for worship. They usually had a poor, bare, uncomfortable, and ordinary room in a home for its Church.
4. Eutychus Went To Sleep And Fell To His Death:
Yet the gathering was alive with the magnetic vitality of the speaker, cheered by the consciousness of the Divine Presence. I believe Paul was preaching under the “unction” (anointing) of the Holy Ghost. Yet Eutychus fell asleep. Not only fell asleep, but fell out of the third loft and killed himself.
People still fall asleep in Church. I’m talking about spiritual sleep. They are faithful to attend. They stay until it is over. Yet are oblivious to what’s going on. Not conscious or aware of the real objectives of the Church.
Paul knew that, “After his departure, grievous wolves would enter in among them, not sparking the Flock.” (Acts 20:29) “Therefore watch (Verse 31). But Eutychus sat and nodded…. unmindful and unaware of the warnings.
Heedless and with disregard to Paul’s preaching. “As Paul discoursed yet longer,”
A.S.V. “Paul’s address went on and on, …” Moffatt. “Paul prolonged his speech….” R.S.V.
Preachers find some consolation in the fact that even Paul was not able to hold the attention of everyone in his Congregation. Eutychus struggled bravely to keep awake, hoping that Paul would finish. But he went on for more. Let us listen to Paul.
Titus 2:11. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
Eutychus, “sunk down with sleep,..” (K.J.V)
“He sank into a deep sleep…….” (R.S.V.)
Eutychus sunk lower on his precarious position …. Third Floor Window..
Anytime we are in Church we are in a precarious position… Weighed by what we hear?
“He that thinketh he standeth, let him take heed lest he fall.” Paul Continued. (1 Corinthians 10:12).
“But thou, O Man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, faith, love, patience, fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
But Eutychus had been lulled to sleep by the power of the enemy, and just as Peter, James, and John slept in the garden while Jesus was praying for them. And Jonah had slept in times of great distress.
Paul “But of the times and seasons, Brethren, ye have no need that I should write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord cometh as a Thief in the night. For when they shall say, peace and safety sudden destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
“But ye Brethren are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a Thief. Ye are Children of Light and the Children of the day. We are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that are drunken are drunken in the night.”
But as some will still do today, Eutychus let go in his sleep and fell and was taken up dead. The heat, the crowd, the smell of the lamps, the late hour, the long Sermon. “Taken up Dead.” The people considered him dead and Luke the Physician agrees with that view. Many argue otherwise.
5. Paul Prayed And God Restored Him:
“And Paul went down and fell on him, and embracing him. Did Paul Pray? I’m sure he did. Could we say the sudden jolt of Paul falling on him restarted his heart. And the squeezing of the embrace caused his breathing to start. Everyone to his own opinion.
“Trouble not yourselves;” (K.J.V.)
“Do not be alarmed;” (R.S.V.)
“Make ye no ado.” (A.S.V.)
“Stop making a noise;” (N.E.B.)
“For his life is in him.” The crowd’s reaction indicates a miracle happened.
Acts 20:12 “And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.”
A great deal, “There was great rejoicing.” The accident had interrupted Paul’s Sermon. “When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten.” Midnight—was it at this time during the night that they observed Communion or was this some kind of Midnight Snack?
After This Paul resumed his Message “And talked a long while, even till the break of day, so he departed."
Acts 20:13 "And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot."
6. Paul’s Gethsemane:
The last phrase of the above scripture tells us that Paul wanted to walk the 20 miles to Asso instead of sailing with Luke and the rest of his company. I feel that Paul wanted these hours to himself, walking and praying prayers that God has been answering for the last 2,000 years.
After this day Paul would never have another day of rest and relaxation. He would be taken into custody when he got to Jerusalem and send most of the rest of his life in one prison after another.
I Call This Day Paul’s Gethsemane because it was during these hours that he made up his mind that God’s will was to be performed in his life. “Not my will, but thine be done.”
Thank you for reading this study of "Night Scenes In The Bible." We hope you will read the other studies on our web site.
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By, James & Mary Lee Thornton
Night Scenes In The Bible #14
The Night Jesus Walked On The Sea
By, James L. Thornton
2. Scripture Matthew 14:25
3. The Storm Happened At Night
4. The Disciples Were In The Will Of God
5. Jesus Came To Them Walking On The Sea
Paul wrote, “In perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea,.. 2 Corinthians 11:26. Perils, perils, and more perils. In this study a great disaster threatens Jesus’ chosen disciples. Two of them are the writers of this story, Matthew and John.
Jesus had sent them off in a boat and they had been overtaken in a violent storm while He is alone on a mountain praying. And they are in imminent danger. The Sea of Galilee is a small inland sea about 6 miles at its widest point and about 13 miles long. It can, and does, lie like a mirror at times, but it also can get whipped into a fury very quickly by storms. It was the scene of some of Jesus’ greatest miracles.
2. Our Scripture Reading:
Matthew 14:25 “And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
Two great storms of wind were encountered by the Twelve, probably within the same year. Both happened by night, and both were exceedingly violent.
In the first storm the ship was covered with waves and filled almost to sinking, so that the Disciples feared they would perish while Jesus slept in the stern. This storm was equally violent and lasted much longer. It caught the Twelve when they were half-way across and shortly after dark, and lasted until near day-break, “fourth watch,” with an unabated force.
To give us some idea of the fury, even at that late hour, they had rowed in all a distance of 3 1/2 miles. Nine hours (John 6:19). During all those weary hours they had done little more than hold their own while pulling against the wind and waves.
In the First Storm Jesus was with them fast “asleep on a pillow.” That time all they had to do was awake him. And say, “Carest Thou not that we perish?” This storm He was absent and not sleeping; but away up among the mountains watching and praying.
3. The Storm Happened At Night:
Three Important Things We want to Discuss:
1. The Storm took place at night
2. The Storm took place while they were doing the Will of God
3. While the Storm raged all progress was halted
The incidents of that fearful night, the watching, the wet, the toiling without results, the fatigue, the terror and despair, are all described for us. They are the symbolic representations of all the perils and tribulations through which all believers must pass on their way to the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Disciples would never forget the lessons they learned that night. Peter, writing many years later, spoke of, “The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth. (1 Peter 1:7)
Storms at sea can happen at all hours of the day, but trials of faith always happen at night. Were there no darkness there could be no trial. In all such trials we have the feeling that Jesus is not in the boat while the storm rages by night, and we toil on in rowing unaided, we think, by his Spiritual Presence.
Worst of all, in these trials of faith, even with all our rowing, we make no progress.
The best we can do is to hold our own, to keep off the rocky shore, to keep as best we can the water bailed out of the boat, to keep the bow pointed into the storm.
It is not always true that if we are not going forwards we much be going backward.
An axom for fair weather in a time of storm there is such a thing as standing still, and sometimes that can be in itself a great achievement.
It is no small thing to weather the storm, and keep off the rocks, the sands, and the breakers. Don’t vex the soul of one who is already vexed by the storms, by telling wise sayings about progress, and backsliding, in and out, up and down, etc.
Instead of playing the part of a Job’s friend, rather remind him that the great thing for one to do in the storms of life is to endure. To be immovable, hold fast his moral interiority, and his profession of faith. Keep off the dangerous coast of immorality and infidelity.
Tell him, yea assure him, that if he will only pull a little longer, however weary his arms, Jesus will come and calm the storm and bring them to shore. In the darkest trial of your life, He will come, only hold on.
“The Egyptians pursued the children of Israel. All the Horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen and his army overtook them encamping by the sea.”
A thousand voices cried out in alarm, many wanting to go back.
Moses – “Stand still and see the Salvation of the Lord.” (Exodus 14:13)
Paul – “Having done all to stand, stand therefore …. (Ephesians 6:13-14)
4. The Disciples Were In The Will Of God:
The Disciples were in the will of God when the storm broke upon them. Many times when we are storm tossed Satan wants us to feel that we are not in God’s will.
Matthew 14:22. And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
They probably concluded, when the storm came on, that Jesus had made a mistake in sending them across alone. Yet I feel the happy ending taught them.
1. To have firm faith in His wise and loving care
2. Expect a happy ending out of all perplexities
Yea, to glory in tribulation because of the great deliverance that would surely follow. Yet in this storm they had no expectation that Jesus would come to their rescue. For when He did come they thought He was a Spirit coming over the waters.
5. In The Fourth Watch Jesus Came To Them Walking On The Sea:
They cried out in fear.
Mark 6:48. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
49. But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
50. For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid."
“In the fourth Watch.” About 3 A.M. just before dawn. Why so long? This was the last watch of the night. Some see in this a prophetic view.
1st Watch=the age of Law.
2nd Watch= the age of Prophets.
3rd Watch= the age of Gospel.
4th Watch= the second coming of the Lord, during a time when the Church is buffeted by Anti-Christ spirits. He will be welcomed into His Church, He will bring calm and eternal peace.
His familiar voice, a voice they had heard so often uttering words of cheer and hope.
“Be of good cheer: Is Is I; be not afraid."
Second Miracle That Night --- Peter said, “Lord if it be Thou bid me come unto thee on the water. And He said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.”
We learn what power Jesus can bestow on them that believe on Him, He suspends the laws of nature. Fire wouldn’t burn them, Lions wouldn’t eat them, and a man walks upon water as if it were firm earth. Peter did what no mortal man had ever done before, nor has done since, walked upon the water.
Call it rashness, call it impulsiveness, call it reckless, but when Jesus said come, Peter was quick to obey and he walked, maybe to his surprise on the water.
“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, “Lord, save me.”
The weak flesh got the better of the willing spirit. Fear overcame him, he thought only of the winds and the waves and his faith gave away. How merciful our Lord is to weak believers. As Peter begins to sink cry, Lord, save me, “Jesus reached for him and caught him.”
Third Miracle Of That Night—“The wind ceased.” “Immediately they were at Land.”
Our lesson from this, when the storms come in the night, keep trying your best to at least keep the faith, and Jesus will come. He may seem long in coming, but when He does come He first calms our fears, and then He relieves the fury of the storm.
We are glad you took the time to read this study of "Night Scenes In The Bible." And we hope you will read the other studies on our web site.
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By, James & Mary Lee Thornton
Angels Singing At The Birth Of Jesus