The Great Things The Lord Jesus Hath Done #6

Friday, October 11, 2013

“And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel” (Mark 5:20 KJV).

Who is this man, and what “great things” hath the Lord Jesus done for him?

While the story of the exorcism of the Gadarene (today’s Scripture) was indeed literal and should be believed as historical fact, it should also be understood as typical of (illustrative of) redeemed and restored Israel (prophetic fact). Whenever Jesus Christ cast out devils during His earthly ministry, it was literal, physical, visible proof for all Israelites to see and recognize as fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Remember, “for the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22a). In Israel’s program, the preaching of God’s Word was accompanied by miracles that validated those words of God.

The Bible says the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles preached, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; Matthew 10:7; Mark 1:14,15). This was “the Gospel of the Kingdom” (Matthew 9:35), and miraculous demonstrations—casting out devils and healing the sick—followed its proclamation (Matthew 10:5-8; Mark 16:17-20; Luke 8:1; Luke 11:20; Acts 2:22; Hebrews 2:3-5; Hebrews 6:4,5). In that earthly kingdom of Jesus Christ, there would be no sickness or evil spirits.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land (Zechariah 13:2). When Israel’s Messiah would come, He would rid her and her land of satanic captivity. Every time Jesus cast out devils, He was evicting Satan’s minions (although Israel rejected Jesus’ efforts; Matthew 12:24-32; Mark 3:22-30). Since Israel rejected Christ at His First Coming, and refused to let Him cleanse them and their Promised Land the first time (just as the Gadarenes asked Jesus to leave), Zechariah’s prophecy will not be completely fulfilled until Christ’s Second Coming (Revelation 20:1-3).

Let us now conclude the narrative and see Israel’s (future) restoration to her God….

God’s Idea of “Hope and Change”

Monday, January 21, 2013

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Hebrews 1:8,9 KJV).

We reserve this historic day in American history to remind ourselves not to confuse man’s feeble political achievements with God’s kingdom.

Human governments are literally bewildered in attempting to deal with all of society’s problems. Solutions to environmental issues, achieving world peace, eliminating poverty, and combating terrorism are most elusive. They distribute checks, impose bans, sign treaties, pass laws, provide handouts, and hold summits, but the problems these activities are designed to address still afflict society. If you have faith in your fellow man that he will ever accomplish harmony and solve his problems, history and the Bible tell you to forget it!

God knows that mankind is sinful, unreliable, and weakly, so He does not depend on us for anything… except to mess up His creation! For 6,000 years, Satan has been “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Thus, although world history has its few benevolent and respectable leaders, tyrants, God-haters, and crooks mar much of it. We can change leaders, but the evil world system that underlies society still exists, and it will remain until Jesus Christ returns and establishes His earthly kingdom. Sinful mankind cannot solve the world’s problems, for he is the world’s problem. We need help from Almighty God, and thankfully, He will solve our problems for us!

In today’s Scripture God the Father speaks to Jesus Christ (quoting Psalm 45:6,7, which describes the LORD, demonstrating Christ’s deity; notice the Father calls Christ, “God”). Jesus Christ’s kingdom will be one of righteousness and justice—a staff of righteousness is the staff of His kingdom. God’s will shall always be accomplished in it. Iniquity will not be tolerated, and it will be dealt with promptly. God’s idea of “hope and change?” Jesus Christ ruling heaven and earth, thus solving the sin problem. What a glorious day that will be! 🙂

The End of the World? #4

Sunday, December 30, 2012

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36 KJV).

We take the remainder of the year to contemplate the term “the end of the world.”

When the Bible speaks of “the end of the world” such as in Matthew 13:39,49; Matthew 24:3; and Hebrews 9:26, it refers to the future destruction of the underlying (satanic) world system that governs earth and its realms. The rebellious, anti-God attitude that operates in Satan is quite evident in the spheres of education, politics, society, religion, and economics: hence, “this present evil world(Galatians 1:4), to which world we Christians should not be conformed (Romans 12:2). Remember, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world(John 19:36).

After our Dispensation of Grace closes (rapture), our planet will experience seven years of Tribulation, which Christ will end with His Second Coming. Jesus Christ will then bind Satan in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years, removing him from earth, so that God’s earthly kingdom can be established and accomplished throughout that millennium (Revelation 20:1-7). It will be the end of this present world—Satan’s evil world system—and the beginning of God’s authority and righteousness reigning on earth, which is called “the world to come” in Matthew 12:32, Mark 10:30, Luke 18:30, Hebrews 2:5, and Hebrews 6:5. However, that world to come—Christ’s reign on earth—will be interrupted.

In Matthew 28:20, our Lord told His eleven disciples, “…Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” That world is the world to come, which will one day replace this present evil world. That “end of the world”—compare verse 19 to Daniel 7:13,14 and 1 Corinthians 15:24,25—is the end of Christ’s earthly reign (the conclusion of the aforementioned 1,000 years). The world that Christ will establish will exist for 1,000 years, ending when God makes a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 20:1-21:1). Then, Christ will again reign, this time forever (Daniel 2:44; Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15).

Indeed, the definition of the term “world” in “end of the world” makes a “world” of difference in Scripture! 🙂

Wilt Thou Serve the Denomination, Or the Lord? #2

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23,24 KJV).

Beloved, we have a choice—we can serve a theological system (which is worthless), or we can serve the Lord (which is priceless).

When someone who is searching for the true and living God eventually does find out about Jesus Christ and trusts Him alone as personal Saviour, he or she then has a spiritual minefield to navigate. Deciding which denominational church to join is not as easy as it initially seems. After all, these 38,000-plus groups claim to be “Christ’s followers,” but they each teach something radically different. How will this poor Christian soul ever learn the truth? Which denomination, if any, is right?

Satan’s apostate religious system accomplishes exactly what he intended it to—it deters the Christian from serving the Lord. Soon, the person becomes loyal to the denomination and its (faulty) theology. Eventually, the issue is no longer, “What saith the scriptures?,” but “What saith the denomination, preacher, or statement of faith?”

We are not to serve man, nor seek to please him—we are to serve the Lord, not some (man-made) denomination! Today’s Scripture declares, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;….” Ephesians 6:6,7 confirm: “Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:”

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). If we want to do God’s will in our lives—if we are to be “throughly furnished [equipped] unto all good works”—the complete revelation is within “all scripture.” “Scripture” (“writings”) restricts the authority to a Book, thus excluding popes, teachers, theological systems, preachers, and seminaries….

The Counsel of the LORD Shall Stand

Monday, November 12, 2012

“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand” (Proverbs 19:21 KJV).

No matter what mankind has done, is doing, or will do, God’s “eternal purpose” will still be accomplished.

Christians disturbed by the results of the recent United States’ presidential election, are voicing their concerns. Some fear God’s impending judgment, while others believe those election results were “God’s decision.” “What saith the scriptures?”

Did God really foreordain the president-elect from eternity past, as claimed? We think not. American voters went to the poll. God gave voters the ability to choose who they wanted, and they did. There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that God chose our leaders today. God has merely “ordained” the offices and authority (“powers”) of government, not the people occupying and exercising them (Romans 13:1,2).

Will God judge America for its wickedness? Of course, according to Romans 2:6-11, but not in this the Dispensation of Grace. Today, God is extending to us through Christ’s finished crosswork His grace, His mercy, His love, and His kindness. God is not imputing the world’s trespasses unto it (2 Corinthians 5:19-21)… yet.

For the last 6,000 years, God has let mankind “do his own thing.” Mankind has devised his own way of life, his own beliefs, and his own rules (just as today’s Scripture declares). But, there is pleasure in sin only for a season (Hebrews 11:25b). This current arrangement of autonomous man ruling earth will persist only until Jesus Christ returns at His Second Coming to restore earth’s governments unto Himself (Revelation 11:15; Revelation 19:11-16).

“The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought [nothing]: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect” (Psalm 33:10).

What has God planned from eternity past, despite what mankind “devises” he will do? God is determined to glorify His Son, Jesus Christ, in two realms, heaven and earth (Ephesians 1:9,10), using two agencies, the Church the Body of Christ, and the nation Israel, respectively (Colossians 1:16-20). When our dispensation closes, God will begin to execute that plan. That is the “counsel of the LORD,” and that shall stand! 🙂

Why Am I Here?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

“For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:18 KJV).

Although philosophers and religious “scholars” still stumble over the age-old question, “Why am I here?,” God’s Word settled the matter long ago.

Creation is not the result of some random, mindless, cosmic explosion billions of years ago, as scientists often tout. Our universe exists with “divine design in mind”—this is particularly true of Earth. Today’s Scripture explains that, in addition to creating the heavens (outer space), God also created planet earth not in vain.” God had a special purpose for Earth. It is no accident that mankind lives here, as opposed to other celestial bodies.

We exist because the triune Godhead (God the Father, God the Son [Jesus Christ], and God the Holy Spirit) wanted to share with us the love and fellowship they shared with each other before creation (John 17:5,24). In the person of Jesus Christ, the triune Godhead would manifest itself to mankind, a unique race of creatures whom the Godhead appointed to rule over Earth (Genesis 1:26-28). But, why Earth?

When God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, God was preparing to establish His kingdom on earth (Matthew 25:34), where He Himself would live with mankind: “For the LORD hath chosen Zion [in Jerusalem]; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it” (Psalm 132:13,14). Unfortunately, Adam sinned, postponing that earthly kingdom for 6,000 years now. God formed Earth, not to simply give us a home, but to one day make Himself a home (Christ’s Millennial Reign on earth). “He formed it to be inhabited”… by Himself! Amazing!

Friends, we are not accidents. We exist for God’s glory, not for our own glory. God wants us our faith, our trust, to rest in His Holy Word, the King James Bible, the record of how He paid for our sins, and thus restored His fallen creation unto Himself.

Tremble, Thou Earth, at Thy Creator’s Presence

Thursday, October 11, 2012

“Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob” (Psalm 114:7 KJV).

Psalm 114 provides a glimpse of God’s power over creation.

“When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language; Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion. The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back. The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs? Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of water” (Psalm 114).

The above psalm is a brief narrative of God delivering Israel from Egyptian bondage, and her subsequent journey to the Promised Land. Notice at least three instances where the LORD demonstrated His power over creation:

  • Verse 3a: “The sea saw it, and fled” refers to God miraculously parting the Red Sea so Israel could pass on dry ground (Exodus 14:21,22).
  • Verse 3b: “Jordan was driven back” portrays God miraculously damming the Jordan River when Israel’s priests stepped into it, allowing the nation (following the priests) to enter into the Promised Land, due north of the Dead Sea (Joshua 3:7-17).
  • Verse 8: “[God] Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters” recalls God miraculously causing water to gush forth from the rock, quenching Israel’s thirst (Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:1-13). Interestingly, Psalm 114 alone—not Exodus and Numbers—identifies that rock as flint.

As the psalmist inquired, what “ailed” (troubled) the Red Sea, and the Jordan River, to do what they did? It was their Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ! They obeyed His commands. The whole earth—especially the “mighty” mountains, hills, rivers, and seas—trembled in reverence of their mighty Creator.

And yet, for us, “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). WOW!

My Kingdom is Not of This World? #5

Thursday, September 27, 2012

“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36 KJV).

What did Jesus mean when He spoke today’s Scripture?

Iniquity—a selfish, rebellious, anti-God attitude—existed first in Lucifer/Satan (Ezekiel 28:15), who is now “the god [ruler] of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Hence, the world’s governments abound with injustice and iniquity (“not equal;” that is, “not fair”). “[T]he mystery of iniquity doth already work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7), whose context describes the seven-year Tribulation, when the antichrist will epitomize this world’s blasphemous political system by claiming to be and exalting himself as God (Daniel 8:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4), just as Lucifer did in Isaiah 14:14.

Daniel 2:31-45 is King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and God’s interpretation as spoken through the prophet Daniel. Essentially, Nebuchadnezzar saw a giant image, symbolizing major Gentile world empires (most of which were future from his time). Nebuchadnezzar then saw a “stone cut out without hands” demolish this image, which stone “became a mountain [kingdom], and filled the whole earth” (verses 34,35).

This stone is “cut out without hands, meaning it is not of human origin: it is “not of this world” (this is what Jesus meant in today’s Scripture). This stone is Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:6-8) at His Second Coming to set up His glorious kingdom on earth, a kingdom established by “the God of heaven” (Daniel 2:44), one not founded by “the god of this world,” Satan, nor influenced by his autonomous spirit.

Try as we might, political reform is impossible in this world. Though politicians can and are replaced, the underlying corrupt political system (described earlier) remains the same. Political reformation is only possible if the existing satanically inspired world system is replaced with God’s, and none of us mortal humans can achieve this. In God’s own time (Christ’s Second Coming), He will abolish Satan’s evil world system that has dominated earth for 6,000 years, and replace it with His righteous world system.

Indeed, Christ’s kingdom is “not of this world!”

My Kingdom is Not of This World? #4

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36 KJV).

What did Jesus mean when He spoke today’s Scripture?

In the context of today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ, just hours before His crucifixion, is standing before Judaean governor Pontius Pilate. Pilate asks Jesus, “Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?” Today’s Scripture is Jesus’ response.

Pilate asked Jesus how His own nation, Israel, and its chief priests could deliver Him to the Roman government to be sentenced to death. Our Lord’s reply was simple: (sinful, unbelieving) Israel rejected Him as their Messiah-King because He was righteous. They did not want God ruling over them, as the psalmist prophesied: “The kings of the earth [Roman rulers] set themselves, and the rulers [of Israel] take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed [Messiah/Christ], saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (Psalm 2:2,3; cf. Acts 4:25-28).

Interestingly, our Lord said, “but now is my kingdom not from hence.” His kingdom would be established on earth, just not “now,” not during His First Coming. As He knew, He could not reign as King until after He had gone to Calvary’s cross and died for man’s sins (Luke 17:24,25). In addition, the institution of our 2,000-year-long Dispensation of Grace has further delayed Christ’s reign on earth.

Upon Christ’s Second Coming, to conclude the seven-year Tribulation, Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit during the 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth (Revelation 20:1-3). Satan’s evil world system, and all its governments, will be demolished when Christ establishes His earthly kingdom (see Daniel 2:31-45). “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (verse 44).

My Kingdom is Not of This World? #3

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36 KJV).

What did Jesus mean when He spoke today’s Scripture?

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Within these two realms, God also created governments: “For by him [the Lord Jesus Christ] 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” (Colossians 1:16).

God also made creatures to occupy those offices of government: He formed the angels to rule in heaven for His glory, and mankind to rule on the earth for His glory. One of God’s chief angelic-like creatures, a cherub named Lucifer, rebelled against God by wanting to rule for his glory: Lucifer proclaimed, “I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14b). This title “most High” means “possessor of heaven and earth” (Genesis 14:19,22). Essentially, Lucifer (Satan) purposed to usurp all of God’s authority, in heaven and in earth.

Satan was able to recruit a portion of God’s angels to follow him in his rebellion in heaven (Ezekiel 28:18; Matthew 25:41). When God placed man on the earth, man was to rule earth for God’s glory (Genesis 1:26,28). Unfortunately, man (Adam) willingly chose to relinquish his God-given authority to Satan, by sinfully following Satan in his rebellion against God (Romans 5:12).

Today, the governments of heaven (Ephesians 6:12) and earth (2 Corinthians 4:4) are in rebellion. Earth’s governments are corrupt because Satan is “the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). In fact, Satan tempted Christ with a proposal: if Christ would worship him, Satan would give Him the world’s governments (Matthew 4:8,9; Luke 4:5-7).

In today’s Scripture, when Christ claimed His kingdom was “not of this world,” He meant that His kingdom would not originate from the evil world system underlying today’s governments. His reign would restore earth’s governments to God (Colossians 1:20).