About vonhonnauldt

I'm just an old guy, married to my amazing wife for more than 47 years. We have five children and nine grandchildren. No dogs or cats or fish. Just us two. Sorry about the no picture. Ran out of cameras :) I love to read and teach the Word of God. There's always something new, even in the difficult chapters. Thanks for stopping by. Come visit us at nightlightblogdotcom. We pray God's best for you.

“The Altar of Incense”

“You shall make an altar to burn incense on; you shall make it of acacia wood.  A cubit shall be its length, and a cubit its width – it shall be square – and two cubits shall be its height.  Its horns shall be of one piece with it.  And you shall overlay its top, its sides all around, and its horns with pure gold; and you shall make for it a molding of gold all around.  Two gold rings you shall make for it, under the molding on both its sides.  You shall place them on its two sides, and they will be holders for the poles with which to bear it.  You shall make two poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.  And you shall put it before the veil that is before the ark of the Testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the Testimony, where I will meet with you.

“Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning; when he tends the lamps, he shall burn incense on it.  And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.  You shall not offer strange incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering; nor shall you pour a drink offering on it.  And Aaron shall make atonement upon its horns once a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonement; once  year he shall make atonement upon it throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD….”

And the LORD said to Moses: “Take sweet spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, and pure frankincense with these sweet spices; there shall be equal amounts of each.  You shall make of these an incense, a compound according to the art of the perfumer, salted, pure, and holy.  And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put some of it before the Testimony in the tabernacle of meeting where I will meet with you.  It shall be most holy to you.  But as for the incense which you shall make, you shall not make any for yourselves, according to its composition.  It shall be to you holy for the LORD.  Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from his people,”  Exodus 30:1-10, 34-38 NKJV.

He made also the holy anointing oil and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the perfumer, Exodus 37:29 NKJV.

Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, with his hand full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil.  And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die, Leviticus 16:12, 13 NKJV.

This is the last article of furniture before one reaches the veil, which is the separation from the holy place, where we are, and the most holy place, where God told His OT people that He would meet them.

There are 139 occurrences of the word, “incense,” in Scripture.  All but 7 of them are in the OT.  Of those 7 times, 3 are in Luke 1, where Zechariah the priest was burning incense, and the other 4 are in Revelation.  The ones in Luke are at the announcement to Zechariah that he and his wife Elizabeth, though both old and well beyond such things, were to be parents, parents of the forerunner and herald of the Messiah.

The first three occurrences in Revelation describe incense as the prayers of the saints, 5:8; 8:4, or as being offered with the prayers of the saints where it is described as much incense being offered with those prayers, emphasis added.  The last reference, 18:13, is in regard to the false church.

We don’t often think of our prayers as incense, or that God finds them well-pleasing and fragrant.  Too often, I’m afraid, we don’t really think of them at all.  We just “say” them.  But, at least in theory, we’re coming into the presence of the God who created the universe and holds it together by His power.  At the same time, though, He has numbered the hairs on our head.  We are never to think that He’s too busy to be concerned about us.  We’re never to think that there is any problem that is too great for Him to handle, or too minor to bring to His attention.  He already knows all about them; in fact, He might have already set in motion their answer.  In promising a time of future blessing for Israel, God said, “It shall come to pass, That before they call, I will answer, Isaiah 65:25, emphasis added.  While this speaks of the future, I think it’s also a present reality and blessing for believers.

Nor do we think of the necessity of much incense being added to them as Revelation teaches.

Some religious circles talk of the merits of the saints.  The difficulty with that is that “the saints,” whether man-made or Scriptural, have no merit in and of themselves, let alone having any “left-over” for others to borrow.  We have only demerits.   There’s only ever been One with merit, and that is why we are taught to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus, Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:17.

“The name of the Lord Jesus,” “in Jesus’ name” – these are not some sort of magic talisman, some “abracadabra” or “open sesame,” that we can utter in order to get God to grant us three wishes.  No, no.  It’s the recognition that only through Him, through the Lord Jesus, have we any right – any permission – to come into the presence of God, and that in such fullness that we may come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, Hebrews 4:16, emphasis added.  Using His name is, in effect, pleading His merit, not some imaginary merit of sinful humans.

It is His merit, and His alone, which is the much incense added to the prayers of the saints and makes them effective.

Though we don’t think very much about it, if at all, I’m not sure that God is at all pleased with our negligence in this matter.  In the Old Testament, it was forbidden either to make incense for personal use, Exodus 30:37, 38, or to offer any other incense in the worship of God.  It is this latter which got Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, though priests themselves, into trouble, Leviticus 10:1, 2.

Just because it might not get us into trouble like it did them, it’s still a serious sin:  to make light of or adding to or subtracting from who the Lord Jesus was or what He did for us in His life or on the Cross.

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“Christmas in July”

Though not recently, I’ve seen businesses advertise “Christmas in July” specials to draw customers in, but that’s not what this post is about.  On satellite TV, there was recently a series called, “Christmas Memories,” where for several weeks, they showed nothing but “Christmas” stories.  The thing is, there wasn’t a minute in that series, apart from a very occasional carol, that had anything to do with what Christmas is supposed to be about, namely, the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.  There was all sorts of stuff about family and decorations and Santa and getting the right tree and restoring broken relationships, but there wasn’t even the obligatory nativity set somewhere in the background.

There’s not a verse of Scripture telling us to celebrate our Lord’s birth.  We don’t even know for sure when during the year He was born or even what year, for that matter.  He Himself told us to remember His death, not His birth.

His birth could only condemn us.

Why is that?

Because He demonstrated that it is possible for a [sinless] human being to be righteous and to live a blameless life.

The trouble is that we’re not sinless – or righteous or blameless in any sense that God will accept.

That’s why the Lord Jesus came into this world – to do for us what we could never do ourselves:  living a righteous life, and, failing that, to be able to provide the sacrificial death that could pay for our sins.

O that we might see that only in the Lord Jesus Christ is there salvation from the sin that plagues us, and will condemn us.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…,” Acts 16:31.

 

 

In Transit

Sorry to have been so long since the last post, but we’ve moved several hundred miles from where we were since then.  The last post gave some idea of what we were doing in preparation for the move.

This post is a little bit about the other end of that move.  We have arrived and are in the process of getting everything moved in – sort of.  I’m sitting here looking out a picture window at a beautiful panorama of snow-covered mountains, though there’s no snow here, thankfully.  It’s 102 degrees outside, but the humidity is only 20%.  I don’t remember it getting that hot in the 18 years we lived in Indiana, but neither do I remember humidity anywhere that low!  I think I’ve mentioned that one of the TV weathermen back there considered 55% humidity to be “refreshing.”

I’ve lived in this state, on and off, for about 40 years.  I’m home.

And yet…

I’m not.

Scripture teaches that this world is not our final abode.  It teaches that there is life, or at least existence, after death.  That there are places called “heaven” or “hell.”  That only through the Lord Jesus Christ may we enter the one and avoid the other.  My body and my mind are still adjusting to all the changes, but one thing that will never change is the certainty that this life isn’t all that there is.

In a very real sense, I’m still “in transit”.

So are you.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,” Acts 16:31.

 

Payday Someday

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…, Hebrews 9:27.

For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,

Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”

So then, every one of us shall give account of himself to God, Roman 14:11, 12.

Over the last few days, we’ve had a garage sale to pare down some of the things we’re going to have to move, and to make a few bucks to help with said move.   We had stuff spread out in the driveway, the garage, the kitchen and the living room.  We had lots of people stop by.  Except for one thing, it was thoroughly enjoyable. At some time, someone helped themselves to a laptop computer that was NOT part of the sale.  I never gave it a single thought or I would have put it away, but I left it out where they could see it.  They saw it and they took it.

Thank the Lord, there was nothing personal on it yet; I had just gotten it.  Still, it was saddening to me.  That person will ultimately pay far more for that laptop than he, our daughter thought she saw the person who stole it, than he can ever possibly begin to imagine.

There is coming a payday someday.

One day, that gentleman will pay for his sins, including the theft of the laptop.  My true prayer for him is that this will be the last thing he will ever steal, that he will repent of his wickedness, and that God would be pleased to draw him to Himself.

It’s a sad thing that people don’t stop to think…

Payday someday.

A Forever Home

Home.

Forever.

Two words that don’t really go together in this life.  As we use them, they just basically mean someplace permanent.  Often, they’re used for children being adopted to describe their new home.  But they’re not really “forever.”

As I sit here typing this, my chair, a table, a floor lamp and a desk are all that’s left in this combination living-dining room.  The dining room half is empty and you can see where the formal dining table, the china cabinet and another desk left their marks in the carpet.  Their “home,” too, was not forever.  But they are still with family, and, Lord willing, one day a sixth generation will sit and eat at that table.

We’ve lived here for 18 years.  I’m old enough that I fully expected to die in this house.  But nothing in this life is forever, and, Lord willing, in a few weeks, we’ll be done here and be starting a new chapter in life somewhere else.  Grandma will get to be grandma again and I, well, I’ll be getting used to a little one with way too much energy.  At the same time, though, they have cats. 🙂  Grandma’s not too excited about that, but I grew up around cats.  I love cats.

I don’t mean the last few sentences the way they might sound.  I’m looking forward to having another opportunity to teach a new generation.  At the same time, I have a new appreciation for my own grandmother.

But….

There really is a forever home.

It’s called heaven.

During the last few days before His crucifixion, our Lord made a promise to His disciples.  He was trying to tell them that things were going to change drastically in a day or so, and that He was going to leave them.  He wouldn’t leave them orphans, but would send a Helper to be with them and in them.  He was going to prepare a place for them, so that where He was, they would one day be there, too, John 14:2, 3..

This will truly be their “forever home.”

So thus we shall always be with the Lord, 1 Thessalonians 4:17 NKJV.

Just as a coincidental note – when I accessed the Bible program I use on this computer to make certain of verses I want to refer to, it opened up with 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 as “verse of the day.”

I’m sure we really have no idea about what eternity will be like.  The only thing we know for certain is that the Lord Jesus will be there.  Nothing else really matters.

But there is a second forever place, as well.

Hell.

We can’t really call it “home,” because it will be as far from the idea of home as one can get.  And we have no real idea what it will be like.

But it will be forever.

Cecropia Moths

Yes, the title is right.

And, no, you haven’t stumbled onto a nature page of some sort.

The title is there because, this morning, I encountered a Cecropia Moth for only the second time in my 78 years.

We’ve had record rainfall this year.  As a result, everything is lush and beautiful and green.  And, as a result, the maple tree in our back yard has produced an exorbitant number of “helicopter” seeds.  I was out there trying to clean them up.  While doing this, I nearly swept up the moth.  I couldn’t really tell because of all the seeds, but it looked like the moth was just finishing up emerging from its cocoon.  It was so beautiful.  I was trying to find a picture of one of them to include in the post, but once again technology has gotten the best of me.  (At least, I know what a dial telephone is.  I read something the other day about a lady whose grandson wanted to know what the wall phone she was talking on was.)

Anyway, according to Scripture, we’re a lot like that moth, or, more correctly, the caterpillar from which it comes.

1 John 3:2 says, Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

And Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54:

Behold, I tell you a mystery:  we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:  “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

One of these days, perhaps in my lifetime, or in the lifetime of our grandchildren, or maybe not until the life of their grandchildren, the trumpet will sound and believers will all be changed.

“It has not yet been revealed what we shall be….”

One day, that caterpillar was minding its own business, chewing away on a delicious bit of green when all of a sudden, it had this urge to spin a cocoon….

I’ve read that there is a complete change of DNA in that cocoon.  Nothing is left of the caterpillar as it changes into, say, a Cecropia Moth.  The creature that emerges has nothing in common with the creature that spun the cocoon.

One day, perhaps you or I will be chewing on a delicious bit of green, metaphorically speaking, and the time will come.  Death will knock at the door or the trumpet will sound, and we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

 

– And Peter –

In our reading the other morning, my wife and I read the last two chapters of Mark.  These two words in Mark 16:7 struck me, as I’m sure they have at other times in reading this portion.

Our Lord is so gracious.  So kind.  So understanding.

I’m sure Peter thought he was done.  After all his braggadocio,  “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” Mark 14:31 – here he was, hiding in the shadows somewhere, overcome with shame, remembering….

There are a couple of verses in Luke’s account that bear on this.   Luke 22:60, 61 tell us that before he was even finished with his denials, Immediately, while he [Peter] was still speaking, the rooster crowed.  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter,” emphasis added.

In the midst of His own suffering and humiliation, being taken to a death we cannot even begin to imagine in our culture of concern for “criminal rights,” the Lord Jesus remembered His errant disciple….

And He turned and looked at Peter.

That look must have torn through Peter like a knife into his soul.

The fact that all the disciples said it, Matthew 26:35, was probably no comfort to Peter.

He had said it.

And Peter went out and wept bitterly, Luke 22:62.

Ah, beloved, the Lord knows us better than we can possibly know ourselves.

“But go and tell His disciples – and Peter….”

And He still loves us and cares for us and restores us.