Arrayed in Hypocrisy

Monday, October 31, 2016

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27,28 KJV).

“Looks can be deceiving” is not only true during Halloweentime, but confirmed year-round within Christendom.

Today is Halloween, when children dress up and feign themselves to be creatures they are not. Likewise, many church leaders today wear “Christian” garbs, but their ministries do not bring the Lord Jesus Christ glory and honor. They promote their denomination, and seek to perpetuate it, rather than serve and exalt the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. The Bible manifests these who appear to be good, as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

In today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ exposed Israel’s corrupt religious leaders who misled the nation in His day. In His Parable of the Tares, Matthew 13:24-30,37-43, Christ explained how just as He had sown good seed (wheat, believing Jews) in Israel, Satan had also sown tares/weeds (unbelieving Jews). Tares resemble wheat; unbelieving Jews resemble believing Jews. The unbelieving Pharisees and scribes, for instance, looked like God’s people (believing Israel). Judas Iscariot was another example of Satan’s tares—the apostles never realized who Judas really was until it was too late!

But Satan’s counterfeit believers are not confined to Israel’s program. Today, within local assemblies of the Body of Christ, there are people feigning themselves to be Christians: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Beloved, beware of the church leaders who are arrayed in hypocrisy, “and avoid them” (Romans 16:17b). If their teaching does not agree with the rightly divided King James Bible, you have no business as a child of God to be listening to them.

*This is excerpted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What are ‘phylacteries?’

You may also see our special study, “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?

Two Bodies

Sunday, October 30, 2016

“And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go” (John 11:43,44 KJV).

Now, compare this with Jesus’ resurrected body!

“Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself” (John 20:6,7). Jesus had vanished within those clothes! When He called Lazarus out of his burial cave, Lazarus was still wearing grave clothes. Lazarus actually came hopping, bound, and needing someone to loose him; yet, Jesus’ burial clothes remained in His tomb. What exactly was going on?

There is a difference between simply being raised from the dead, and being resurrected. Lazarus, the son of the widow of Nain, Jairus’ daughter, and others were raised from the dead, but they died again. However, Jesus was resurrected, never to die again. Hence, Jesus had a (resurrected) body quite different from Lazarus’ (raised) body.

Comparing Lazarus’ raised body with Christ’s resurrected body, we see similarities and differences. Both were physical bodies that could eat physical food and be touched by physical hands (John 11:1,2; John 20:17; Luke 24:37-43). But, Jesus’ body passed through His burial clothes. Those clothes lay in the grave just as they had buried Him! His resurrected body had an amazing structure, one far beyond the grasp of our puny minds. In fact, Jesus later literally vanished into thin air (Luke 24:31), and even passed through locked doors to instantly reappear (Luke 24:36; John 20:19,26)!!

Brethren, this is all very exciting, for Scripture says: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:20,21). Those remarkable bodies, like His glorified body, will enable us to function in heaven for His glory throughout eternity’s endless ages! 🙂

Despite All, It Will Carry On!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes (2 Timothy 1:15 KJV).

Years ago, one verse impacted my thinking about Christianity in a very mighty way. That verse was today’s Scripture.

Not having a familiarity with the Bible that I should have had at the time, I had assumed that apostasy (people turning from the truth) had only occurred in recent decades. Today’s Scripture radically shifted my view. Nearly all of Paul’s converts in modern Turkey—Ephesians, Galatians, Colossians, Laodiceans, et cetera—had turned away from him… some 20 centuries ago!

We must bear in mind that the Apostle Paul was just as human as we are. There were times of discouragement, no doubt especially concerning today’s Scripture. Here he was, sitting in a Roman dungeon, knowing that he was soon to die for Jesus Christ. He had received some terrible, heartbreaking news. So many of the dear Christians he had known decades previous had now abandoned his ministry and message. Despite the repeated warnings to be vigilant against Satan’s policy of evil, they had not faithfully held on to the grace doctrines the Holy Spirit through him had delivered to them. It was such a mass apostasy that I am sure Paul’s flesh got the advantage at times. His thoughts wondered, “Is this the end of Christianity?” Yet, the Holy Spirit led him to write in 2 Timothy 2:9: “…but the word of God is not bound [confined, limited].” (No, it was not the end of Christianity!)

Dear brethren, when we think about Christianity today, perhaps we conclude this is the “last generation.” With the world so bad, becoming increasingly anti-Christian, how can Christianity continue? If we look at it from the human aspect, it really is hopeless! However, we use the eyes of faith to see something else entirely. We can rest assured, beloved, that if Christianity lasted 2000 years, that it was able to reach us, it will continue even if Jesus Christ was to return 2000 years from now. Religious cults will fade, denominations founded by men will pass away, but we know the word of the Lord endureth for ever (1 Peter 1:25)! 🙂

His Son #10

Friday, October 28, 2016

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

The Holy Spirit led the writer of the Book of Hebrews to state God’s Son “uphold[s] all things by the word of his power.” Jesus Christ’s words are infinitely powerful, mighty words never to be taken lightly. In fact, our massive (!) universe is held together—yea, came into existence from nothing—because Jesus Christ spoke the words, “Let there be…!” Consequently, Father God admonishes Israel to listen to His Son speaking. That Son will be crowned King of Heaven and Earth one day. Anyone not submitting to His authority will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire! (Friends, those who reject Jesus Christ today will go to that same place of everlasting torment!)

Although sons and daughters of Adam, the Jews could be cleansed of their sins, and thus be qualified to participate in the glorification of God’s Son in the Earth. Jesus Christ came and “by himself”—omitted from the modern versions!—“purged [Israel’s] sins.” His rich, royal, sinless blood was shed for them, that He might “wash” them from their sins (Revelation 1:5). In the early Acts period, Jews were to come by faith in Jesus as God’s Son, having repented of their wayward thinking (idolatry), and then being water baptized in Jesus Christ’s name to serve as His kingdom of priests (Acts 2:38). All that the Prophets have foretold will be fulfilled one day, with believing Jews becoming “sons of God” because they listened to and believed the words of God’s Son (John 1:11,12)!

“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:12). 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Do Matthew 10:10, Mark 6:8, and Luke 9:3 contradict?

His Son #9

Thursday, October 27, 2016

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

Scripture says of God’s Son, Who being the brightness of his [Father’s] glory….” This “brightness” is radiance, a brilliant light shining forth. Psalm 104:1-2 says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain….” This light—which actually is a rainbow (Ezekiel 1:28; Revelation 4:3)—is God’s righteousness on display. First Timothy 6:16 describes Jesus Christ (verse 15) as: “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto….” The Lord Jesus is literally the perfect reflection of Father God concerning His radiant righteousness and glory.

In today’s Scripture, we also read of God’s Son as being, “…the express image of his [Father’s] person….” The Greek term rendered “express image” is actually “charakter” (from which we get our English word “character”). Jesus Christ resembles God the Father in every way—His faithfulness, truth, wisdom, love, mercy, grace, peace, power, kindness, and so on. There is nothing dark or mysterious about Father God if we look at His Son, for His son is a clear representation, or explicit portrait, of His Father.

Jesus Christ, “the only begotten Son,” declares the invisible Father unto the nation Israel (John 1:18). Our Lord Jesus said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). If Israel knows Jesus Christ, they know the Father, and have fellowship with both (1 John 2:22,23). Any Jew who rejects Jesus will never know anything about the Father God whom He epitomizes. He will remain in the spiritual darkness he prefers (John 3:18-20).

Now we conclude this devotionals arc….

His Son #8

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

John the Baptist (Matthew 3:7-12) and Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:30,38-42) warned Israel of “the [fiery] wrath to come.” Peter also announced that impending judgment (Acts 2:34-36; Acts 4:19-26): “And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people” (Acts 4:23). Jews who declined to hear God speaking by His Son (cf. today’s Scripture) would be “destroyed”—or, as Jesus said, “ground to powder” (Matthew 21:44). “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 4:26). Peter encouraged Israel to receive God’s Son!

Today’s Scripture says, “[His Son] whom he [Father God] hath appointed heir of all things….” Father God has determined to grant Jesus Christ power to rule everything (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Revelation 11:15). Father wants His Son to have preeminence in “all things,” all governmental offices of Heaven and Earth (Colossians 1:16-20; Ephesians 1:9-11; Philippians 2:9-11). Israel, by faith, can participate in His earthly government.

“By whom [the Son] also he [the Father] made the worlds…” refers to the governmental systems and their various ages of duration. For example, Scripture describes Christ’s future reign as “world without end” (Ephesians 3:21). Ephesians 2:6-7 speaks of these “ages to come.” Jesus Christ is the Creator God (Ephesians 3:9) mentioned in Genesis 1:1, and all things are to glorify Him to Father’s praise: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

Today’s Scripture urges Israel to realize these precious truths concerning God’s Son….

His Son #7

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

In Acts chapter 2, the Apostle Peter, God’s spokesman to Israel, offered her a renewed opportunity of repentance. Indeed, unbelieving Jews had refused John’s water baptism. Yes, they had also rejected their Messiah and crucified Him on Calvary weeks earlier. Nevertheless, Father God honored Jesus’ plea (Luke 23:34) and had forgiven them.

Now, God’s Spirit had been poured out on Israel’s believing remnant, signifying that resurrected Jesus was glorified in Heaven (cf. the “right hand…” of today’s Scripture). “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:32,33).

However, Peter warned, Jesus would not sit forever: “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (verse 34-36). Christ would rise and return to judge His enemies—unbelieving Israel!

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:37,38). (John the Baptist’s message expanded.)

Jesus would return with Israel’s kingdom and eliminate those who denied Him as God’s Son….