Keep Your Fork! #7

Monday, August 15, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Let us take a few moments to address a pervasive misunderstanding. Correctors of the King James Bible frequently refer to “the heavenlies,” and this faulty terminology has crept into the vocabularies of common people who innocently repeat what they have heard from “the blind leaders of the blind.”

Dear friend, if you use a printed King James Bible, you will notice “places” is italicized in today’s Scripture (also, Ephesians 1:3,20; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12). That is, there is no Greek word directly corresponding to the English, but the implication is there: “en [‘in’] tois [‘the;’ plural noun] epouraniois [‘above the sky’ = ‘heavenly;’ plural noun].” Our translators inserted the noun “places” to complete the thought. In Greek, adjectives such as “heavenly” are usually written without the modifying noun (substantive). To avoid an incomplete thought, an English word must be supplied during translation. (Think of the English sentence, “The good die young.” Obviously, “good” suggests “good people/men/folks,” but we do not need a noun there because it is implied to us English speakers. The Greeks used adjectives in a similar manner, which our Greek New Testament reflects. To adequately convey the sense of the Greek adjective, our translators added a substantive or noun: “heavenly places.)

To remove the italicized “places” from “heavenly places” and make it “heavenlies” is to generalize and obscure Bible truth. Firstly, “heavenlies” is actually nonsense to an English speaker. Heavenly what? We are not told! Our King James translators therefore supplied us with the plural noun “places.” Secondly, to take away the italicized “places” from “heavenly places” and have it read “heavenlies” causes us to lose the cross-reference to the word “place” in Revelation 12:8 (read verses 7-9). By correcting the Bible, we have robbed ourselves of the realization that we members of the Body of Christ will take over the seats of government, the dwellingplaces, of Satan and his fallen angels currently occupying the heavenly places….

Keep Your Fork! #6

Sunday, August 14, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Upon hearing the word “government” (regardless of form), most people cannot help but frown and snicker. Why? No matter the nation or city, a great many politicians are fraudulent, corrupt, inefficient, abusive, wasteful, greedy, self-serving, and embarrassing, among other things. Remember, since Adam’s sin in Genesis chapter 3, this is a fallen world under Satan’s control (Matthew 4:8-11; Luke 4:5-8); the Devil is thus styled “the god [ruler] of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). What would Earth be like if every “public servant” actually served the public’s best interests by working righteousness? There would be no crumbling infrastructure, unpunished criminals, shortages of necessities, and so on.

Similarly, Satan and his fallen angels (devils, evil spirits) have corrupted Heaven’s governments, leading to the “spiritual wickedness in high [heavenly] places” of Ephesians 6:12. Whatever evils we behold running and ruining Earth’s governments, they are precisely the activities and attitudes running and ruining Heaven’s governments. “Behold, he [God] putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight(Job 15:15). “…[Y]ea, the stars are not pure in his [God’s] sight (Job 25:5b). Until Almighty God removes all fallen angels (Heaven) and sinful humans (Earth) from power and replaces them with His saints (believing Israel in Earth, and us the Church the Body of Christ in Heaven), creation cannot function as originally intended.

The future eradication of evil in the heavenly places is Revelation chapter 12: “[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, [8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Here is the cross-reference to today’s Scripture….

Keep Your Fork! #5

Saturday, August 13, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Moving into the verses immediately preceding today’s Scripture (and being mindful of the concluding verses of chapter 1), we read about what has been aptly titled “God’s grace factory.”

Ephesians chapter 2: [1] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. [4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

Before God in His rich mercy and great love for us reached down and delivered us the Gospel of Grace through the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message, we were lost, spiritually dead, Hell-bound, Satanically-controlled, pagan, idolatrous Gentiles. God decided that those who would trust Paul’s Gospel—Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins (grace not works!)—would become members of the Church the Body of Christ. Those saints would receive resurrection life through Christ’s own resurrection. When He ascended to Father God to become Head of Heaven’s governments (chapter 1), we too were counted qualified to serve in Heaven’s governments. Though we are not in Heaven yet, our Heavenly Father reckons it as though it has already happened….

Keep Your Fork! #4

Friday, August 12, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Ephesians chapter 1: “[9] [Father God, verse 3] Having made known unto us the mystery [secret] of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:….”

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul prayed for us members of the Body of Christ in verses 19-23: “And [that ye may know; verse 18] what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

It was to our advantage that Father God exerted great power when resurrecting Jesus Christ and appointing Him as Head of all governments of Heaven and Earth. By allowing us to become members of the Body of Christ, God afforded us the opportunity to participate in His plan to restore creation unto Himself. Indeed, when God chose to form the Church the Body of Christ, it was not merely to prevent us from going to Hell and the Lake of Fire. It was “according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11) that He saved us….

Keep Your Fork! #3

Thursday, August 11, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Thus far, we have established that Heaven is a real, organized place. From the Book of Ephesians, chapter 6, verse 12, we gain further insight: “For 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.” The Greek word (“epouranios;” literally, “above the sky”) rendered “high places” here was translated “heavenly places” in today’s Scripture (cf. Ephesians 1:3,20; Ephesians 3:10). Heaven is also defiled, corrupted because of sin, in rebellion against the Creator. Here is your third reason to “keep your fork.”

Let us return to chapter 1 of Colossians, now reading verses 18-20: “And he [God’s dear Son, Jesus Christ; verse 13] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Lastly, Heaven will be restored to the Creator. Here is your fourth reason to “keep your fork.”

At this point, your four reasons to “keep your fork” are as follows: (1) Heaven is real, (2) Heaven is organized, (3) Heaven has been defiled, and (4) Heaven will be restored to God. We now draw our attention to today’s Scripture: And [Father God] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Indeed, we as members of the Church the Body of Christ will play an active role in the heavenly realm in the ages to come….

Keep Your Fork! #2

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

To a great many cynics, “Heaven” is nothing more than “a positive state of mind,” “wishful thinking,” or “a fairytale.” (If they so desire to be wrong, we dare not take away their right!) Nonetheless, if we truly are Bible believers, we will believe the Bible’s descriptions of it. As presented in the first verse of Scripture, Heaven is very much an actual place, just as real as Earth: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Here is your first reason to “keep your fork.” Provided we have no difficulty trusting the Bible’s opening verse, we will accept the testimony of the rest of the Scriptures.

So as to teach us more about Heaven, the Holy Spirit commissioned the Apostle Paul to amplify Moses’ words in Genesis. We turn now to Colossians 1:16,17: “For by him [God’s dear Son, Jesus Christ; verse 13] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” When the Lord Jesus Christ functioned as Creator in Genesis, creation was divided into two organized realms—Heaven and Earth.

Yea, the heavenly realm is “invisible,” but its “visible” earthly counterpart allows us the ability to comprehend what we cannot see. Look closely at those “things” in Colossians 1:16 again—“thrones,” “dominions,” “principalities,” “powers.” Do we not know what these are? Why, these imply offices of government or seats of authority, for they represent kings, lords, princes, and so on. The literal language the Bible uses for Earth is the same literal vocabulary it employs for Heaven. Whatever structure there is on Earth, it is also in Heaven. Here is your second reason to “keep your fork….”

Keep Your Fork! #1

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Having just learned she has a terminal illness and but a short time to live in this world, a young woman begins getting her affairs in order. She starts writing her final wishes, including her funeral plans. Inviting her pastor over to her house to assist, she shares all the details with him: what verses she wants read, which hymns she wants sung, and what burial clothes she wants worn. After several minutes of discussion, she finally declares, “That is all, Pastor. Thank you.” They rise from the couch and she shows him to the door.

As he starts walking outside, she exclaims, “Wait, Pastor! I forgot the most important part! Place a fork in my right hand. Okay? Remember, a fork in my right hand.” Amazed, to say the least, the pastor cannot remain silent any longer. He inquires, “Pardon my curiosity, ma’am, but why this most unusual request? Why place a fork in your hand?” She smiles and explains how she had learned from attending socials and dinners that immediately after the main courses were served and the dishes were being cleared from the table, people seated next to her would always lean over and remind her, “Keep your fork!” After all, the best part of the meal, something more fantastic, was yet to come. Dessert was on its way! The young woman summarizes: “Pastor, when people ask why that fork is in my hand in the casket, you take time in your sermon to relate this story to them, and close with these words: ‘Because of our Lord Jesus Christ, the best is yet to come, so keep your fork!’” The pastor cannot help but smile too, for now he understands the symbolism.

What exactly is Heaven like? Is it boring? Are people floating on clouds? Is there an endless strumming of harps? Will we see “a bearded old man” sitting in a “rocking chair?” Or, perhaps something else….

For Students This is Safe

Monday, August 8, 2022

“Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:128 KJV).

As a new school year dawns, let us awake unto spiritual truth!

Although the autumnal equinox is still over a month away here in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is finally beginning to wind down for most of us. Students—with long faces and deep sighs—have returned or are beginning to return to school. As students return to the classroom, they need to be particularly mindful of the following.

Firstly, learning in and of itself is not a sin. Moses was “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22). Luke was a medical doctor (Colossians 4:14). Daniel and his companions were skilled in science (Daniel 1:4). Adam was the first taxonomist (Genesis 2:19,20). The God of the Bible is never against learning new things—remember, He gave us His Holy Bible so we can have plenty to learn for all of eternity!

Secondly, what the God of the Bible opposes is when we believe/trust ideas that do not seek our best interests, that contradict the way He designed our lives to function. Certainly, we Christians should never go around believing anything and everything heard and seen. Just because the professor, preacher, pope, or president says it is true, that does not make it so. Scientific consensus has been wrong before, religion has been wrong before, politicians have been wrong before. Much of the ideas that permeate our world today are wrong.

Lastly, there are many wonderful, exciting ideas and concepts out there—medical advancements, technological breakthroughs, and so on—but there are equally detrimental ideas that will mess up your life—religious traditions, secular humanism, and other philosophies. Daily intake of the King James Bible rightly divided will cleanse our souls of the filth and foolishness that we hear and see day in and day out in this evil world system. We highly exalt God’s Word, we know it is right “concerning all things,” and we hate and ignore the error.

Have a wonderful school year in our Lord Jesus Christ! 🙂

*P.S.—Yes, the coronavirus pandemic has caused things to be quite different than usual. Some of you will be returning to in-person classrooms; others will be learning from home, via computer or other electronic devices. Please know that I will be in special prayer for you in these unique circumstances. God’s grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9,10)!

An Ambassador Turns 34!

Sunday, August 7, 2022 🎂

“I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46 KJV).

Dear saints, today, an ambassador marks 34 years of this earthly life!

The Lord Jesus Christ became the God-Man to combat the satanic darkness in the world (see today’s Scripture). He came first and foremost for Israel, His covenant people, to teach them the truth and bring them back to Father God who sent Him to them. Once Israel had a personal relationship with the one true God through Christ, the nation would become God’s kingdom of priests to evangelize the world. Jews and Gentiles alike were in gross spiritual darkness, but, during Christ’s earthly ministry, there was an Israeli believing remnant and even some Gentile believers. They trusted Him, choosing not to “abide” (remain) in their darkness.

A few weeks back, I celebrated 27 years of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour. For over 15 years now, I have been “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Today, I celebrate my 34th physical birthday. What a journey it has been! I was in darkness for quite a long time, even as a denominationalist, so I have spent most of those years coming into more light from God’s words. There is still a great deal of room for spiritual growth and development, and there are (have been) innumerable distractions and hindrances along the way, but I am steadily moving along by God’s grace and fortunate enough to have the privilege of bringing others with me. Whether we grow ever so slowly, or ever so rapidly, just so long as we grow is what ultimately matters. Let us not be comfortable where we are spiritually, content to be spiritual simpletons and Bible babies. No, as we grow and develop physically, so it is (or, at least, should be!) in the spiritual realm.

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16).

Heathen Churches #5

Saturday, August 6, 2022

For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess (Acts 19:37 KJV).

Do even the “heathen” attend church? Yes, according to today’s Scripture, they do!

The Holy Bible says “heathen,” among other traits, have “churches,” repetitious prayers (chants), and various “aids to worship” (idols, images, and shrines). In fact, the ancient Jews corrupted the LORD’S Jerusalem Temple with this false religion. “Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem(2 Chronicles 36:14). That evil religion had so infiltrated Israel during Christ’s earthly ministry that He addressed and condemned it (see Matthew 6:7,8; Matthew 23:1-39)! It had caused the deaths of countless Jewish saints, and even Jesus was ultimately murdered because this heathen mindset infected and confused His people.

In one sense, it was actually easier to become a Christian and learn Christian truth 2,000 years ago than it is today. Back then, there were not tens of thousands of “Christian” denominations riddled with heathenism all claiming to be “the church Jesus founded” as now. It was far simpler to identify Christian teaching, seeing how it was separate and distinct from heathenism. Over these last 20 centuries, however, the definite lines between truth and error have become blurred. The advanced revelations the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ gave the world through the Apostle Paul, have been increasingly set aside in favor of the pagan darkness they were meant to overcome.

“But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles [heathen!], unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me (Acts 26:16-18). If we are to guard against heathen churches, we had better look especially to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂