Children of Light #5

Thursday, August 29, 2019

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them” (John 12:36 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of three instances of the expression “children of light” in the Bible. What is the significance of this title?

Most Jews rejected the Lord Jesus: they were uninterested in being “the children of light.” Since they refused to believe on Him, God intervened and made them unable to believe on Him. The light of Christ’s earthly ministry was gradually withdrawn, and Israel was plunged into greater spiritual darkness (see verses 37-41, what follows today’s Scripture). Just a few days later, they demanded He be crucified as a common criminal, and He died on Calvary’s cross (see Acts 3:13-18). He resurrected victoriously and ascended back to Heaven still spurned!

Leaving Christ’s earthly ministry and entering early Acts, God lifts the blindness from Israel. Christ commissions the 12 Apostles to preach and convert Israel to Him. Even during this renewed opportunity of repentance—God wanting them to change their mind concerning His Son, moving them from unbelief to faith—Israel persisted in doubt and disobedience. By Acts chapter 7, Israel falls before God, and He sets them aside (exactly how He treated the nations back at the Tower of Babel over 20 centuries earlier in Genesis chapter 11).

In chapter 9 of Acts, Christ reached down in grace and peace to save His chief enemy, Saul of Tarsus. Many years later, Saul recounts in chapter 26: “[16] 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; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, [18] 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.”

God will reach the whole (darkened) world—even fallen Israel—through a new Gospel message. He still purposes to create “children of light….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How is the Holy Spirit ‘the Comforter?’

Children of Light #4

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them” (John 12:36 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of three instances of the expression “children of light” in the Bible. What is the significance of this title?

Romans chapter 2 remarks: “[17] Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, [18] And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; [19] And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, [20] An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.” Israel had been given spiritual light in the form of God’s Word (chiefly, the Mosaic Law), but, like the nations earlier, they chose to walk in Satan’s darkness instead.

Christ conducted His earthly ministry to recover them from that darkness. Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, spoke of Israel’s coming Messiah: “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78,79). Once Israel would, by faith, participate in God’s “light” program, He would shine in and through them and reach the pagan Gentiles worldwide.

Christ spoke to this end in Matthew chapter 5: “[14] Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid…. [16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Yet, they declined. They preferred to be like the unenlightened Gentiles….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain, ‘They be blind leaders of the blind?’

Hot Air—And Cold!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits (Ecclesiastes 1:6 KJV).

Behold, a most curious verse in a most interesting place!

Scoffers and skeptics portray the Bible writers as primitive, bumbling ignoramuses. They were not as “sophisticated” as we, “knowledgeable” as we, “enlightened” as we. Whereas they were so “superstitious,” here we are so “scientific.” The fact is, not only do we have an inflated view of ourselves, we hold a naïve view of them.

Earth’s atmosphere circulates in a highly complicated manner. We can think of it as a series of conveyor belts stretching from pole to pole, with “cells” or “belts” swirling up and down (vertically), and north and south (horizontally). Air parcels or air masses, depending on their temperature, will rise (warm) or fall (cool). This movement—greatly influenced by the Sun, Earth’s rotation, and vast ocean basins—drives our winds and the other weather phenomena we experience (as in fronts and storms).

Interestingly, today’s Scripture, written by King Solomon some 3,000 years ago, depicts wind movement just as we understand it according to modern science. The Bible is not a science textbook, but when it speaks of science, it speaks most accurately. Notice the word “circuits.” This is the idea of circles, or loops, or (if you prefer) a series of conveyor belts passing over rollers. The wind “returns” as it cycles around—down, south, up, north; or up, north, down, south. Most aptly, they are termed “wind belts.” Depending on the latitude, north or south of the Equator, wind travels along Earth’s surface in large sweeping motions.

Attempting to grasp the complexities of our natural world is quite exhausting. Our brains are fairly limited, yet our Creator has endowed us with some ability to analyze and understand His handywork. We, being so further removed from creation than the Bible writers, are actually less enlightened. Moreover, despite our technological advances, we (like them) still struggle with the basic challenges of this fallen world. We have yet to eliminate rampant crime, ceaseless war, rank cruelty, extreme poverty, absolute starvation, and so on. The human race, as a whole, has drifted further and further from the LORD God… just like the wind!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Saul of Tarsus not refuse his water baptism by Ananias?

Satisfied in Superstition #6

Thursday, August 23, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

God intended the Abrahamic Covenant to bless all nations (Gentiles) through Israel (Genesis 12:1-3). However, Israel disallowed God’s Word, thus declining to be His messengers to Gentiles. Jesus Christ saved and directly commissioned Paul to preach to all in Satan’s lie program (unsaved Jews and unsaved Gentiles—Hell-bound idolaters!).

Paul and Barnabas preached in Acts chapter 14: “[15] Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities [idols] unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: [16] Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.” Escape Satan’s darkness by trusting Christ!

Also, Paul announced: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (verses 29,30—the context of today’s Scripture). Think properly! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and forsake this pagan nonsense! “Turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Sadly, many “intellectual” Athenians were satisfied in their superstitious silliness (Acts 17:32).

Yet, Paul had converts from heathenism: “And you hath he [Father God] quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 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” (Ephesians 2:1,2).

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What if I was never thanked?

Satisfied in Superstition #5

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

Romans chapter 1 describes the nations (Gentiles) whom the God of the Bible renounced at the Tower of Babel. They refused to think about Him and His Word so He gave them up and over to their desired empty, worthless, satanic views. However, this is also true concerning individuals. People convince themselves not to think properly about the Creator God and spiritual matters. They willfully (key word!) reject the information He has freely offered them.

God caused Israel to fall nationally in early Acts when she ignored the Holy Spirit’s testimony of Jesus Christ. With their deliberate stoning of His prophet Stephen in chapter 7, He set them aside (albeit temporarily). They thereafter became like all the Gentiles—enjoying Satan’s lie program, his dark and evil world system (2 Corinthians 4:4). God could have righteously destroyed them all in wrath, but instead He poured out grace and mercy in chapter 9 to Saul of Tarsus (the leader of Israel’s rebellion against God). “Even so have these [Israel] also now not believed, that through your [Gentiles’/nations’] mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:31,32).

Saul of Tarsus became the Apostle Paul. The crucified, buried, risen, and ascended Lord Jesus Christ told him on the day of his salvation unto eternal life: “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, 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 26:17,18). The Lord removed Saul from spiritual darkness, Satan’s “power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13) so he could preach to others how they too could be delivered through Christ Jesus. Paul did that in today’s Scripture….

Satisfied in Superstition #4

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

The world’s “mess”—madness, mayhem, wickedness, injustice, religious confusion, spiritual darkness—should not surprise us. Moreover, it is not accidental that Satan and sin reign among us! God has let mankind exercise free will (volition). Romans chapter 1 outlines man’s threefold declension from his natural knowledge of God to his tenacious abandonment of said knowledge. Blame us—not God—for sin!

“[19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

“[24] Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: [25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. [26] For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections…. [28] And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;…. [32] Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

It was these people, the nations, to whom the Apostle Paul ministered in today’s Scripture….

Satisfied in Superstition #3

Monday, August 20, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

Genesis 11:1-9 describes the postdiluvian (after Great Flood) nations assembling in Shinar (Babylon, or modern Iraq) to “build [them] a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven.” Nimrod led the construction of this Tower of Babel—an international, political-religious system. (Its antitype is the Antichrist’s [future] Whore of Babylon described in Revelation chapters 17-18.) The LORD God gave those nations over to their preference—Satan worship, pagan idolatry, one-world religion (an amalgamation of all spiritual ideas). There, the nations fell as Adam had. Again, it was a willful rejection of God’s truth and a plunge into spiritual darkness (cf. Acts 14:15,16): “[God] in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.” Hence, the Gentile (non-Jewish) nations originated.

With Genesis chapter 11 closing and chapter 12 opening, the LORD God began forming a special nation—Israel. Beginning with Abram/Abraham, Israel will accomplish what Adam and the nations deliberately declined to do. They are the vessel whereby God will fulfill His earthly purpose. He thus expects and commands Israel to avoid her neighbors’ heathen beliefs and idolatrous practices. Read Deuteronomy 4:16-19, but especially notice verse 19: “And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.” Indeed, at Babel, God gave the nations over to the gods and goddesses of superstition.

Sadly, Israel did not keep herself pure either. Eventually, when her Redeemer (Jesus Christ) came, she was so polluted with error that she crucified Him in unbelief. She persisted in that unbelief, that rejection of God’s Word, until He placed her on the same spiritual level as He had put the Gentiles 2,000 years previous. Now we get to today’s Scripture….