The Great Eagle #3

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14 KJV).

Who or what is this “great eagle?”

If curious about the meaning of the eagle in today’s Scripture, we simply look up the word “eagle” in a Bible concordance and see related verses. These passages will then shed light on the verse about which we have a question. Remember, the Bible features its own built-in dictionary: we let it interpret itself. Obviously, though, it requires effort to find and read cross-referenced verses. However, the common church member is accustomed to being shallow in the Scriptures; therefore, Bible study is frequently dismissed as “boring,” and is thus rare. Yet, study and subsequent meditation is the only way to grow spiritually. Still, we are usually tempted to let someone else (preacher, priest, teacher, professor, church father, et cetera) study and think for us. Until we break ourselves of that bad habit, false teachers will continue to master us and we will remain in darkness and childishness.

The first “eagle” appears in a King James Bible in Exodus chapter 19, the LORD addressing Moses as touching Israel’s rescue from Pharaoh’s (Satan’s) bondage: “And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself” (verses 3,4). Four decades later, just before he dies physically, Moses reminds Israel of that marvelous escape: “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him [Israel], and there was no strange god with him” (Deuteronomy 32:11,12). Notice the striking parallels to today’s Scripture. Were American troops present to deliver Israel from Egypt? No! That was over 3,000 years before the United States existed!

Let us continue searching the Scriptures and forming our chain of “eagle” Bible cross-references….

333’s 3700th – Great Peace Have We

Saturday, July 17, 2021

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them (Psalm 119:165 KJV).

Dear saints, only by God’s grace, we have reached our 3700th daily devotional!

Indeed, the world is worried. Its primary concern, of course, is the coronavirus pandemic (underway 18 months now). Ensuing anxieties are still unemployment, financial hardships, isolation and loneliness, familial strains, and possible death. They need the peace of God in Christ!

Romans 8: “[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

“….[35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? [36] As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. [37] Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. [38] For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, [39] Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Satan may use our dire circumstances to distract us, but these last 3,700 days of dispensational Bible study have surely equipped us with tranquility. Let us share that Gospel of Grace with others!

Dear brethren, to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, onward to devotional #3800!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How could Israel welcome Messiah on Palm Sunday, but then demand His death later that week?

Reverend

Thursday, July 15, 2021

He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name (Psalm 111:9 KJV).

Long ago, when I was denominational and silly, I referred to pastors as “reverend.” It was ignorance, plain and simple, a church tradition that I—like billions of others—had never investigated. Then, a Christian brother showed me today’s Scripture. How enlightening! In all the King James Bible, “reverend” appeared once—an adjective for the LORD and not a man (or woman)!

Frankly, when we apply the title “reverend” to someone other than God, we are quite close to blasphemy—if not actually guilty of it. To say it in reference to a person means he or she inspires reverence: the individual awes us, and we have a godly fear toward him or her. This is certainly strange and nonsensical—but, not surprisingly, religion abounds with oddities and absurdities. How egos are stroked, how pride is gendered, when we cry out that flattering title, “Reverend!” (The inflated positions of “right reverend,” “very right reverend,” and “most reverend” are even more ridiculous.)

If we want to address someone in a church setting as “brother,” “sister,” “pastor,” “teacher,” “evangelist,” or “elder,” these are suitable titles. However, we should avoid using “father” in a religious sense, for this is wholly unacceptable (calling a priest “father” is a remnant of Baal/idol worship—Judges 17:10; Judges 18:19; Matthew 23:9). Apostles and prophets were necessary to form the foundation of the Body of Christ, but the completed revelation of the Scriptures has now taken their places (cf. Ephesians 2:20; Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 3:16,17). To use “apostle” or “prophet” to refer to someone alive today is to challenge the Bible’s authority.

Today’s Scripture delineates God’s goodness in fulfilling the Abrahamic Covenant via the New Covenant. Israel, now redeemed, is enjoying Millennial Kingdom living. In accordance with His “holy” (set apart, sanctified) and “reverend” name (inspiring awe or fear), verse 10 closes the Psalm: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” In closing, remember Psalm 99:3: “Let them praise thy great and terrible [same Hebrew as “reverend” in today’s Scripture] name; for it is holy.”

To Savour the Flavour of the Saviour #5

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men (Mark 8:33 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture and its context teach us about Satan’s policy of evil?

“Savour” means “give oneself to the enjoyment of, appreciate to the full, set affection on, place interest in.” Jesus’ “flavour” was the “indication of His essential character;” that is, He had fully given Himself over to delighting in working with His Heavenly Father. When we savour the flavour of the Saviour, we are thinking in accordance with the Head of the Church the Body of Christ: after all, His mind should govern us! (Recall Romans 8:5, Philippians 2:5, and Colossians 3:2.)

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2). As the perfect Man, the Lord Jesus Christ exhibited this lifestyle during His earthly ministry. Consequently, Satan attacked Him by using the sinful world system around Him. In fact, the Adversary even used Peter, Christ’s chief Apostle of Israel. Never forget today’s Scripture!

Brethren, the application we can make here is quite simple. If we are working with our Heavenly Father in the “family business”—the grace ministry—we can be absolutely (!) sure (!) Satan will use whomever or whatever he can to distract, discourage, and destroy us. Whether fellow Christians (even beloved pastors and fellow grace saints!), spouses, sons and daughters, or dear friends, if they are not submissive to the aforementioned renewed mind; they will become Satan’s mighty vessels in causing us to stumble in sin (apostasy and/or carnality). Still, we follow Christ’s pattern in today’s Scripture. He was not sidetracked from the Father’s plan: “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8)! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘noisome’ mean?

The Judge—the Son of Man and the Son of God #5

Friday, July 9, 2021

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him” (John 5:22,23 KJV).

Why has God the Father committed all judgment unto God the Son?

Sinful man devises various and sundry “clever” excuses to free himself from all responsibility—or partly minimize his guilt. One such defense is, “How can Almighty God actually know what it is like to be a human? He has never experienced the pressures or situations in which I have found myself! How could that distant Deity fairly judge me? We are totally unalike!” Of course, the creature could never outsmart the Creator. Anticipating those excuses, the LORD God has already replied: “But [!] I [!] have [!] experienced the pressures or situations in which you found yourself! I can be touched with the feeling of your infirmities; but in all tempted like as you are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

At the Incarnation, when God the Son took on human flesh, He entered creation: once separate from it, He forever became part of it. In that instant, He became subject to the temptations of this evil world system currently besetting us (Galatians 1:4). As recorded in Matthew chapter 4, Mark chapter 1, and Luke chapter 4, He was tempted of the Devil. Although victorious (sinless) throughout, Christ Jesus nevertheless underwent the test that Adam and Eve, and rebellious Israel in the wilderness, failed. Hebrews looks forward to the test under the Antichrist.

John chapter 5 makes it clear Jesus Christ is both the Son of God (Deity) and the Son of Man (humanity). As God, He exercises supreme authority as to determining who is right and who is wrong, what His Father deems right and what His Father considers wrong; as man, He can fairly assess mankind concerning his failures. “You are without excuse! It was possible for you to overcome this evil world system! After all, I did it when I was on Earth! You could have relied on Me to have victory over sin too—but you did not!”

The Judge—the Son of Man and the Son of God #4

Thursday, July 8, 2021

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him” (John 5:22,23 KJV).

Why has God the Father committed all judgment unto God the Son?

In chapter 4, the writer of Hebrews penned: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (verses 15,16). Also, chapter 2, verse 18: “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour [aid, comfort] them that are tempted.” Obviously, these refer to Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12,13; and Luke 4:1-13. Here, Satan challenged Jesus—or, better yet, where Jesus allowed Himself to be tested or proved as per the Father’s plan. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:…” (James 1:13). Since God cannot be tempted, and John’s Gospel Record focuses on Jesus Christ’s Deity, John does not record Christ’s temptations.

As described in 1 John 2:16, Satan’s evil world system uses at least one of three avenues to entice us: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” The order of Christ’s temptations in Luke 4:1-13 follow this pattern: “the lust of the flesh” (bread, or “I want it!”), “the lust of the eyes” (kingdoms, or “It looks good!”), and “the pride of life” (angels, or “I deserve it!). It was also the configuration of Satan’s attacks on Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: “good for food,” “pleasant to the eyes,” and “a tree to be desired to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6). Where Adam and Eve failed, of course, Christ triumphed. He was the perfect Son of Man, able to fairly judge other sons of men….

Liberated to Serve

Sunday, July 4, 2021

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Today, as we in the United States celebrate the 245th anniversary of our nation’s independence, we invite our Christian brethren worldwide to rejoice with us concerning our freedom in Jesus Christ.

When we proclaim Romans 6:14—“Ye are not under the law, but under grace”—people tend to assume “loose living.” Does “grace living” really mean we can now live any way we want? Lest anyone be misled in that regard, God the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write in the next verse, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [May God never let that happen!]” (Romans 6:15). Grace living is not Law-keeping, but it certainly is not Law-breaking either.

God still cares how we live, albeit He is not operating the “weak and beggarly” system of “bondage” (Law) that He once did with Israel (Galatians 4:9). God proved to the entire world that since Israel could not keep His commandments perfectly, no other sons of Adam (the Gentiles) could either: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [Israel] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world [Gentiles] may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19).

We sinners cannot keep the Law. However, God in His grace provided us a way to escape that condemnation by sending Jesus Christ to offer Himself on Calvary’s cruel cross to pay for our sins. By simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the fully-satisfying payment for our sins, we can now be “made the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We can be delivered from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire) and the power of sin (flesh-walking).

Why are we Christians free? To selfishly live any way we want? NO! Today’s Scripture says we are liberated to now serve others, especially our Christian brethren, just as Jesus Christ selflessly served His Father and selflessly died on our behalf. That is grace living!!!!

Please see our 2011 Fourth of July Bible study “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land,” which can be watched here or read here.

Eyes Fixed on the Lord!

Saturday, July 3, 2021

“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31 KJV).

We often hear of “doubting Thomas,” but what can “doubting Peter” teach us here?

The Lord Jesus instructed His disciples to board a boat and meet Him across the Sea of Galilee (verse 22). On land, He prayed high in a mountain, delayed for several hours (verse 23). A mighty storm arose, blowing against the disciples’ ship; they have made very little progress traversing the lake (verse 24). Suddenly, Christ appears, walking on the water, but, not expecting Him, they assume it is a spirit (verses 25,26). As per superstition, a “water spirit” was a bad omen. Supposing disaster, they scream in terror! “But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid” (verse 28).

As Matthew indicates in today’s Scripture, Peter desires to walk on the water to meet the Lord. Once Christ gives Peter permission, Peter begins to tread across the lake! “But when he saw the wind boisterous.” Peter took his eyes off the Lord, looked at his circumstances, and began to sink! Similarly, if we look at our fellow man—and even many of our genuine brethren in Christ—we will surely grow discouraged. They just have little to no understanding of sound Bible doctrine. If we gaze at the evil world system around us, we will definitely wind up in spiritual ruin. We must keep our eyes on Christ!

While Paul was preaching in Acts chapter 20, verse 9 tells us: “And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.” Eutychus, sitting between light and darkness, looked away from Pauline doctrine, and literally perished as he fell from the third floor. Beware!

Shine

Friday, July 2, 2021

“[The great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14 KJV).

Christian friend, there are at least two reasons people have distasteful feelings about “church.”

Firstly, having a sin problem, the mere thought of any “higher power” reminds them of the Creator whom they will eventually face in judgment! “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 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:…” (Romans 1:18-20). Avoiding dealing with their sins, they contrive defenses: “There is no God, no afterlife, no Heaven or Hell.” They have conveniently “forgotten” what they know to be true!

Secondly, it does not seem they are angry at Christianity per se. Rather, their ire stems from their misperception of it. They saw something hypocritical in a church setting and assumed that was Christianity. Unfortunately, what they beheld was vain religion and nothing more. Actually, they likely never understood the Scriptures in the first place. Yet, they concluded that jumble of thoughts was a fair and adequate assessment of the Bible. “Look at all these contradictions and mistakes! I do not believe the Bible!” Concerning the scoffers with whom I have dealt through the years, nearly all of them did not even have a working knowledge of the Scriptures. They were just repeating what someone else said—and that “someone else” was just as clueless about the verses as the one reiterating the matter!

In sharing the Gospel of Grace with others, we cannot avoid the “offensive message” that Jesus Christ is the only answer to their sin problem. However, let us endeavor to be Christians skilled in the Scriptures and full of good works—that they know the immense value of what they are rejecting. Remember, unless we prove we have something of worth, we cannot expect someone else to want it!

Separated!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV).

Disgusted with local assemblies he has visited these last 30 years, a dear Christian brother voiced his frustration: “I am finished with churches!” In the future, such disgust just might cause him to embrace dispensational Bible study that he has bitterly opposed this past decade. Like an increasing number of church members from various denominations, he sees Christendom is hopelessly incorrigible.

To wholly purge every group of sectarian bias is impractical in this life; it will only be accomplished once Christ returns to deliver genuine believers (now in Heaven, thus no longer confused) and comes to punish unbelievers (Earth finally rid of false doctrine, pagan religion, philosophy). Until then, brethren, if we are to serve Jesus Christ, we must separate from organized religion (if we have not already done so). Denominations, sects, and cults are all polluted with man’s opinions to varying degrees. There is no perfect church, that we freely confess; rather, we seek a pure church.

If we cannot find a pure local church to attend, then we should start one ourselves in our home. The day is coming—and, whether we want to admit it or not, it is true—when the Christian church even in the United States of America will have to go “underground.” Governmental agencies will attack the most prominent groups: megachurches will be disbanded and shuttered, yet, that will not be detrimental, for sound Bible doctrine has survived without them anyway. What will remain is innumerable home grace churches, whose focus all along was sound teaching instead of formalism-upholding… institution-building… theological system-forming… edifice-constructing… social club-joining… bu$ine$$-managing.

Bible Q&As #854 and #855: “What does ‘brutish’ mean?” and “Is ‘should’ a mistranslation in Romans 6:4?