Evil Communications #4

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

What are “evil communications?” Are we immune to their effects?

Returning to Ephesians chapter 5: “[14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;….”

The issue of “wine” is explained in Revelation 14:8: “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Also, Revelation 17:2: “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” The Antichrist’s political-religious system, while future from our day, nevertheless has elements that have been around since just after the Fall of man. Satan’s evil world system promotes mind-altering doctrines that corrupt believers. There is spiritual fornication, dabbling with devils, here. It enticed the Corinthians, lured the Ephesians, and even ensnared ancient Israel.

Ephesians 5:14, which we just read, loosely quoted Isaiah 60:1: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” This is Israel, gripped by spiritual ignorance and slumber, and God’s conversion and restoration of her at Christ’s Second Coming. Notice God’s warning to His people who will live during the Antichrist’s reign, and the final phases of religious Babylon: “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4). Yes, “evil communications corrupt good manners.” God’s people are not to be associated with Satan’s evil world system… past, present, or future!

If it happened to Israel, to the Corinthians, and to the Ephesians, we indeed are not immune….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What was the significance of Joseph’s ‘coat of many colours?’

Daniel, His Friends, and Separation #6

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself (Daniel 1:8 KJV).

Every Sunday School child knows about Daniel and his three companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Unfortunately, today, few adults practice what these precious children knew!

The idolatrous system that continually ensnared the nation Israel throughout the “Old Testament” is still with us. Ultimately, beyond our day, it will purge Israel of all unbelievers. Numerous “Old Testament” historical narratives, including today’s Scripture, preview what Israel will experience in the last days. Daniel’s Record will be very profitable to the circumcision (Jewish) saints during Daniel’s 70th Week—or “the seven-year Tribulation.” During that period after our Dispensation of Grace, Israel’s believing remnant is urged to follow Daniel’s example—remain separate from the Antichrist’s false religious system. Those believers in Christ will see themselves pictured in Daniel chapter 1, as well as his other writings (chapters 3 and 6, for example—separating from Satan’s evil system and suffering for it at the hands of wicked men).

Bible Books Hebrews through Revelation delineate the various aspects of Israel bearing the end-times scenario. For example, we see the suffering Jewish saints being encouraged in the Book of 1 Peter. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen” (1 John 5:21)—the whole Book highlights the stark differences between Jewish saints and Jewish unbelievers. The Revelation underscores Antichrist’s rise and fall, Jesus Christ returning to deliver Israel into her earthly kingdom (exactly like the miraculous deliverances of believing Jews throughout the Book of Daniel).

Complimenting Daniel’s pattern, the Apostle John wrote to Israel in light of the destruction of Antichrist’s political-religious systems: “[4] And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. [5] For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4-5). God will undoubtedly judge that evil world system, so, brethren, let us remember to also keep separate from it!

A Friend Forever

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5,6 KJV).

While today’s Scripture is to and about the nation Israel, there is a parallel with us today in the Dispensation of Grace. Let us see what it is!

Recently, I dealt with a despairing child. One “friend” had “stolen” another friend from her. Now, those two friends were associating… and ignoring her. My advice to her was that dissolved friendships are a part of life (this was her first direct experience of it). Sometimes, friendships can be repaired; other times, they cannot. Even after we reach adulthood, envy and self-centeredness divide us and our friends. My additional advice to her was though her friends disappoint, leave, and abandon her entirely, she still has the Lord Jesus Christ, one who never disappoints, leaves, or abandons. Israel has been granted such a promise in today’s Scripture.

To fully appreciate today’s Scripture, we must remember that the Book of Hebrews relates to end-times prophecy (see Hebrews 1:1,2; Hebrews 2:3-5; Hebrews 10:25-31; Hebrews 12:25-29; Hebrews 13:12-14; et cetera). It especially deals with Jews living in the future seven-year Tribulation, the Antichrist’s reign. This satanic political leader will institute his infamous “mark of the beast,” a special relationship needed to buy or sell in his economy (Revelation 13:16-18). Since Messianic Jews who believe in Christ will reject the Antichrist, they will also reject his “mark,” thus causing them inevitable economic hardships (namely, famine and homelessness). It will also break apart their families, unbelievers shunning believers in Christ (Matthew 24:9,10; cf. Matthew 10:21,31-37).

In the midst of their financial struggles, their “friends” and family abandoning them, the Lord speaks to Israel’s Little Flock, these circumcision believers, in today’s Scripture. They should be content with what they have. Most importantly, they should be thankful they have HIM, ever, ever, EVER faithful to them. He will provide them with the spiritual stability needed to get them through their troubles, until He returns for them. We have the same promise—a Friend in Christ forever! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does 1 John 1:8 mean, ‘We deceive ourselves?’

Love Commended, Love Rejected

Monday, February 6, 2017

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8 KJV).

Friend, one of life’s greatest disappointments and injuries occurs when you offer someone your love and they trample it underfoot. They did not deserve your love; you did not deserve their hate. Likewise, we do not deserve God’s love, yet we enjoy it; He does not deserve our hate, and yet He receives it.

“Haters of God” (Romans 1:30) gripe about how He was so cruel and bloodthirsty in the Old Testament. What stares them in the face is the groundwork, the predictions, of the cross of Christ, found in those ancient writings. As they mumble and grumble in total ignorance, they ignore the love that God commended toward them at Calvary. To “commend” means, “to offer/present as worthy of acceptance or praise” (similar to “recommend”). Howbeit, they will neither accept nor praise that love that motivated Christ Jesus to die for our sins! Since they reject Father God’s truth and His love proclaimed therein, He will give them exactly what they prefer.

Second Thessalonians chapter 2 pronounces their impending doom, the coming of Satan’s emissary, Antichrist, the extreme depths of human wickedness: “[10] And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. [11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Once they are consumed in Jesus Christ’s fiery Second Coming, and swiftly ushered alive into the everlasting fires of hell, they will know that it is not God who is “unloving.” No, they were unloving in that they “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” from such a hateful place!

My friend, hate God no longer. Come to Him by faith in His Son, and His Son alone!

The Precious Blood of Christ #5

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18,19 KJV).

God the Father and God the Holy Ghost think the blood of Jesus Christ is “precious.” And you?

When Scripture says the blood of Christ is “precious,” it means “valuable” or “esteemed.” That word is rendered “had in reputation” in Acts 5:34 when referring to the respected rabbinical scholar, Gamaliel. Paul confessed that, despite all his afflictions for preaching the Gospel of Grace, he did not count his life “dear” to himself (Acts 20:24). We read about “precious” stones (or gemstones) symbolizing good doctrine at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:12). Marriage is called “honourable” in Hebrews 13:4. God’s promises to Israel are called “precious” (2 Peter 1:4). That word “precious” is also used to describe the immense wealth of the Antichrist’s future religious-political system (Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:12,16). “Precious” is descriptive of the radiant stones that make up New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:11,19).

Chapter 2 of 1 Peter, not far away from today’s Scripture, declares: “[4] To whom [the Lord] coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious… [6] Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture [Isaiah 28:16], Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. [7] Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is become the head of the corner….” This is the cross-reference for the precious blood of Christ” in today’s Scripture.

Father God “laid in Sion” a “chief corner stone” means His Son’s earthly ministry, culminating with His crucifixion. Believing Israel (to whom Peter is writing) embraced Jesus, while the nation’s religious leaders encouraged most Jews to reject Him. To Father God, Jesus Christ is “precious” and His blood is “precious.” Believing Jews agreed. Still, what makes Jesus’ blood so “precious?” It is ever so valuable because it holds together God’s purpose for creation….

False Prophets

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:11 KJV).

While actually describing the future state of the world, today’s Scripture is easily seen today.

Recently, while visiting a local park, I encountered four cult members distributing free literature at a sidewalk booth. They undeniably call themselves “Christians.” While they were friendly people, and probably more generous and loving than the average Christian, their doctrine is so far removed from sound Bible teaching that they could not be rightly called and never be rightly called Christians. Having spoken with a friend who was saved out of that group, having read their literature, and having spoken with several of them over the years, I know their denominational hierarchy has them slaving away in doing good works in hopes of them entering God’s kingdom. You can be sure these four heard the Gospel of God’s Grace from me. What they do with God’s Son is on them now!

The Lord Jesus gave His Second Olivet Discourse in Matthew chapter 24—the context of today’s Scripture. His apostles wanted to know the characteristics of the end-times, events that would occur leading up to His return (Second Coming). He issued seven warnings not to be deceived (verses 4,5,11,23-26). The chief characteristic of the end-times is deception. In the words of Jesus Christ, “Many” deceivers deceiving “many.” Why?

People will be claiming to be “Christ,” God manifested in human flesh. There will be people professing to be “prophets,” God’s spokespeople to mankind. People will be performing miracles using Satan’s power, but claiming to be God’s miracle-workers. They will all pave the way for the Antichrist, the epitome of deception, the Man of Sin and the Son of Perdition (Damnation), the physical representation of Satan’s lie program. The world having been so deceived in the 2,000 years since Jesus spoke today’s Scripture, it is so easy to see just how easily the Antichrist will enter with little opposition. Having rejected the love of the truth, they can now enjoy “strong delusion [deception]” and “believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:2-12).

Friends, let us stay with the Word of God rightly divided. ‘Tis the only way to avoid the deceivers!

Our special-edition Bible Q&A #275: “Was the Apostle Paul a false prophet?

The Holy One in Israel

Monday, April 4, 2016

“So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel” (Ezekiel 39:7 KJV).

The King has returned!

Friend, hopefully, you read today’s Scripture slowly. Lest you did not, we duplicate its final words: “…the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.” Note the little two-letter (seemingly insignificant) preposition “in.” Usually, in the Old Testament, we read of “the Holy One of Israel.” That term highlights that the Being separate from sinners—the Creator God—belonged exclusively to the nation Israel (as opposed to all nations). But, in today’s Scripture, the underlying thought goes beyond Israel merely having a relationship with God. Here, He is “in” Israel—not the “the Holy One of Israel” but rather “the Holy One in Israel!” You must be cognizant of the context of today’s Scripture to fully appreciate the change in terminology.

Chapters 38 and 39 of the Prophet Ezekiel’s giant book explicate the Antichrist’s reign and Jesus Christ’s return to fight and destroy him and his confederacy of nations (Battle of Armageddon). Also highlighted is the re-gathering, salvation, and restoration of the nation Israel so that she enters Jesus Christ’s Millennial Kingdom on Earth. The Jews, punished by God for centuries of pagan idolatry, have been scattered for over 2,500 years throughout every nation under heaven. At the point of today’s Scripture, this dispersion has ended.

At the time of today’s Scripture, Israel’s Messiah (Jesus) is no longer a royal exile in heaven. He went there 2,000 years ago when they refused to have Him as their King and demanded His crucifixion. Now, He is back, and He is literally standing in the land of Palestine (cf. Zechariah 14:4; Zechariah 8:23). The whole world can see Him in a physical body, the visible representation of the invisible God, literally right there in Israel’s midst! How exciting! Little wonder, we read: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen” (Revelation 1:7).