Arrayed in Hypocrisy

Monday, October 31, 2022

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.

You may also see our special study, “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?” In addition, “What does the Bible say about ghosts?

Good to Better to Best

Sunday, October 30, 2022

“Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:16,17 KJV).

As a dear brother in Christ observed, “Never let it rest, until your good is better, and your better is best!”

The Christian life is a process. Indeed, the new believer is still a “babe,” but it is God’s desire that he or she grow up in spiritual knowledge, spiritual wisdom, and spiritual understanding so as to reach “full age” (maturity). The Lord had wanted this for national Israel, yet read Hebrews 5:11-14. He also wishes this for us, the Church the Body of Christ, but read 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, which accurately depicts the professing church at this very hour.

When Paul penned today’s Scripture, he had trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour 35 years before. To what purpose had he been saved unto eternal life? Even after all that time, he was still trying to fully grasp God’s plan for him. However, and note it well, he endeavored to keep growing in the Word rightly divided. This should be our resolve also. We follow Paul as he follows Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you” (Philippians 3:12-15).

Daily dispensational Bible study will allow us to better realize what grace living is—and what it is not. With each passing day, saints, our spiritual eyesight, spiritual gait, spiritual dexterity, and spiritual minds should be improving not failing (watch the progression of Romans 12:1,2—“good, acceptable, perfect”).

Tornado Day

Saturday, October 29, 2022 🌪️

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21 KJV).

Exactly 20 years ago today, I awoke to some startling news….

I had been a high school student for two months. One particular morning, Mom woke me up early to inform me I would not be going to school that day. She had learned from a local television news broadcast that a tornado had just touched down at my school’s campus and caused significant damage. Heavy cinderblock walls had been toppled into some classrooms. The walls and roof of the gymnasium had collapsed and the multipurpose room—another enormous structure—had also fallen inward. If that tornado had come just a few hours later, students (including me) and teachers would have been there to be seriously injured or killed!

Out of school for almost two weeks, all 400 of us finally relocated to a nearby abandoned school campus. This small place had been renovated especially for us. To make up for lost time, we even had some Saturday classes. Being in that new, cramped environment was definitely stressful for all of us. We were not able to return to our old school until the next school year some 10 months later. “Tornado Day” and its ensuing trials seem only like yesterday, so it is hard to fathom 20 years have passed!

Dear saints, the above account illustrates how quickly life can change because of this sin-cursed world (also see Luke 12:16-21 and James 4:13-15). Natural disasters, illnesses, financial losses, broken relationships, and even physical death will come our way if the Lord tarries. We are “creatures of habit,” meaning we grow extremely accustomed to our surroundings and are greatly displeased when adjustments must be made. Though tomorrow’s challenges are uncertain, we can join our Apostle Paul in today’s Scripture: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” In fact, he was writing as a prisoner (see the “bonds” [chains, shackles] of chapter 1, verses 7,13,14,16). When a “Tornado Day” comes our way, remember that it is our opportunity to let Jesus Christ live His life in and through us. Even if we lose our physical life during those conditions, we have still gained Heaven! 🙂

How to Have Faith

Friday, October 28, 2022

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 KJV).

Dear friend, do you suffer from a lack of faith? Today’s Scripture is the remedy!

Remarking on the dire spiritual conditions he observed 55 years ago, a preacher penned: “One reason so many church people have so little faith today is because they hear so little Gospel—and the average church member rarely—if ever—takes time to study the Bible. What church folk know about the Bible today is what they hear from the pulpit in Sunday services and at an occasional Wednesday night prayermeeting.” If that gloomy description was applicable five decades back, how much more at this present hour?

In the context of today’s Scripture (read the entire chapter), the Apostle Paul is commenting on how national Israel has remained in unbelief throughout the Acts period (he is likely writing during Acts chapter 20). Whether it was the Apostle Peter preaching during the opening chapters of Acts (prophecy), or the Apostle Paul during the latter chapters (mystery), most Jewish people were content with their works-religion. Paul’s argument in Romans chapter 10 is that they have had numerous opportunities to hear the Word of God, and yet remain in unbelief and adamantly refuse to trust the Lord Jesus Christ! They have heard the Word, but they have not believed what they have heard. In other words, they are without excuse.

Today’s people are usually not so fortunate. When they go to church, they hear the traditions of men (which will not lead to faith). They hear philosophy and vain deceit (which will not lead to faith). They hear the rudiments or basic principles of this world (which will not lead to faith). They hear non-rightly-divided Scripture (which will not lead to faith). Colossians 2:8 has been ignored, so they are not “[following] after Christ!” No wonder they are apostate (departed from the truth), disappointed, weak, confused, and spiritually ruined!

Beloved, unless we take the Holy Bible (King James in English!) in our own hands and read it rightly divided for ourselves (2 Timothy 2:15), and (above all) believe it in our heart, our spiritual understanding will be limited and we will be easily deceived (Ephesians 4:14). Here is how we have faith!

God’s Battle #10

Thursday, October 27, 2022

“And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15 KJV).

Indeed, “for the battle is not yours, but God’s!”

Christendom’s plenteous and hopeless confusion amongst innumerable so-called “Bible groups” can easily cause us to assume the Holy Scriptures are totally irrelevant, a Book of fairytales and superstitions, a complete waste of time. (After all, countless souls have already been disenchanted in “church” to the point of resenting, forsaking, and opposing any and every notion of “Jesus,” “God,” “Christianity,” “Bible,” and the like.)

Dear friends, we must take our eyes off our fellow man—and instead look at literal, historical, rightly-divided verses—if we hope to ever see and rejoice in any Bible truth. It is not God’s fault if He has given willfully ignorant souls over to the darkness they preferred (Romans 1:18-32; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12). Remember, we must be sincere seekers of the truth, or we will wind up with the same spiritual blindness and displeasure unspeakable! When we think about the Bible laid out on a timeline—“time past,” “but now,” and “the ages to come” (see Ephesians 2:7,11-13)—we can appreciate how the past and the future are mirror images of each other. Whoever wrote the Book of Genesis knew what the Book of Revelation would say.

As we consider the decades of fruitless summits, treaties, and speeches regarding peace in the Middle East (or any other part of our Earth), let us remember sinful man will solve absolutely nothing. We live in “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4; cf. Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8), and it will remain that way until the Lord Jesus Christ comes back literally, physically, and visibly to fight and guarantee righteousness in the Earth. “Let them [Israel’s enemies] be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth [Millennial Reign of Christ!]” (Psalm 83:17,18). Only then will it be proclaimed, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). It is His battle!

God’s Battle #9

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

“And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15 KJV).

Indeed, “for the battle is not yours, but God’s!”

Remember, Zechariah 14:1-4 is Christ’s future return in power and great glory. Keep reading: “[12] And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. [13] And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. [14] And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.” (See Christ’s earthly kingdom founded in verse 9.)

Again, verses 13 and 14 remind us of the war of today’s Scripture. Whether history or prophecy, Israel’s enemies destroy each other, leaving their material riches behind for the Jewish people to enjoy (re-read 2 Chronicles 20:23,25). Furthermore, how interesting it is that the Gentile armies who sought to besiege Jerusalem during Jehoshaphat’s lifetime match those Gentile nations united with the Antichrist against Jerusalem and Israel in the ages to come. Compare Psalm 83:1-8 with 2 Chronicles 20:1,22,23—noting especially the Moabites and Ammonites.

In both past and future, Gentiles want the Promised Land that God gave Israel forever (see 2 Chronicles 20:7,10,11), and are determined to annihilate the Jewish people to achieve that end (Psalm 83:4,5). Read Psalm 83:9-18, believing Israel praying for Christ’s Second Coming to deliver them as He did with Deborah, Gideon, David, Jehoshaphat, and so on. The prosperity, fear, and peace of Jehoshaphat’s reign that followed the war of today’s Scripture (see verses 25-30) foreshadow Christ’s Millennial Kingdom (Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 9:10; Zechariah 14:11).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

God’s Battle #8

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

“And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15 KJV).

Indeed, “for the battle is not yours, but God’s!”

Zechariah 12:4-9 looks toward Jesus Christ’s Second Coming to defend Jerusalem: “[4] In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. [5] And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.

“[6] In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. [7] The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. [8] In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. [9] And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”

We should bear in mind how this closely resembles the context of today’s Scripture. As in the days of Jehoshaphat more than 2,700 years ago, so antagonistic Gentile armies have gathered to attack Jerusalem (yet future from us). Like long ago, the LORD ultimately controls the situation: He gives opportunity for Satanically-inspired men to oppose Him, but He causes them to turn on and destroy each other, sparing Israel and Jerusalem to enter His earthly kingdom….

God’s Battle #7

Monday, October 24, 2022

“And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15 KJV).

Indeed, “for the battle is not yours, but God’s!”

Zechariah chapter 12 says concerning the ages to come: “[1] The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. [2] Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. [3] And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”

Chapter 14 concurs: “[1] Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. [2] For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. [3] Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. [4] And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”

Verse 3 calls to mind the countless wars the LORD God fought on Israel’s behalf throughout the Old Testament economy. Those ancient conflicts and victories look forward to the future Battle of Armageddon, which the Apostle John describes in Revelation 16:12-16 and Revelation 19:11-21. Jesus Christ leaves Heaven to come to Earth and defend Jerusalem….

God’s Battle #6

Sunday, October 23, 2022

“And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15 KJV).

Indeed, “for the battle is not yours, but God’s!”

Some seven centuries before today’s Scripture, the Israelites were helpless slaves to Egypt—in bondage to the flesh (sin), the world (system), and the Devil (Satan). Since Pharaoh refused to release them, God’s purpose and plan for the Earth was being hindered. Thus, the LORD smote the land of Egypt with 10 devastating plagues (Exodus chapters 7–12). Pharaoh reluctantly freed the Jews, but he and his armies pursued them all the way to the Red Sea. Once again, the LORD was more than ready to show the Egyptians and the Jews who was God and who was not.

Read Exodus chapter 14: “[13] And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. [14] The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.Although pacifists argue there is no such thing as a “just war,” they are simply advertising Bible ignorance. They tell us a lie. In fact, Exodus 15:3 comments on this same event with the following: The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” Due to sin, war is inevitable or unavoidable (James 4:1,2). Unless God had intervened to save the Jewish people by drowning the Egyptian troops in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-31), Pharaoh’s minions would have continued bullying and abusing God’s people (and they would have never reached the Promised Land).

God’s war with Egypt and Pharaoh, His battle with the Gentiles of today’s Scripture, as well as other ancient conflicts (Genesis chapter 14; Judges chapters 4, 5, and 7; 2 Samuel chapter 5; Isaiah chapter 37; to name a few), are glimpses into the future, when God and Satan have their final confrontation at the end of the world….

God’s Battle #5

Saturday, October 22, 2022

“And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15 KJV).

Indeed, “for the battle is not yours, but God’s!”

Countless Gentile soldiers tried to slaughter Judah in order to take Judah’s land (verse 11). However, the LORD God had deeded that land to the Jewish people forever (verse 7), so He was not about to allow it to be stolen. Judah did not have to fight at all, for the LORD took care of the matter! With Judah’s foes now dead at the hands of each other (verses 20-24), the Scriptures report: “[25] And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much.

“[26] And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the LORD: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah [‘Blessing/Praise of God’], unto this day. [27] Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies. [28] And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD. [29] And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel. [30] So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about. [31] And Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah: he was thirty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.”

This literal, historical event is just a preview of something much grander in the ages to come….