The Ravings of a Madman! #10

Sunday, October 16, 2022

“And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself” (Mark 3:20,21 KJV).

Who here is “beside himself?” Why has this designation been applied?

Saints, as we manage our lives and ministries, we must (!) remember our loyalty is solely to the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not follow preachers, denominations, or theological systems. We are not here to share “feel-good messages” so everyone will love and praise us. Our Lord Jesus conducted His life and earthly ministry to think like and serve Father God (John 8:28,29). He was not here to please people. Likewise, we are to be about Father God’s will, thinking like He does, walking by faith in His rightly divided Scriptures—regardless of what any fellow humans say or think about us. What is of ultimate importance is Heavenly Father’s assessment of us.

This is precisely how the Holy Spirit caused our Apostle Paul to view his life and ministry: “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God(1 Corinthians 4:3-5).

Let them belittle us: we need not their applause anyway. Let them abhor us: we need not their love anyway. Let them kill us: we need not their world anyway. “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). If we have the renewed mind, we are truly not the madmen! 🙂

The Ravings of a Madman! #9

Saturday, October 15, 2022

“And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself” (Mark 3:20,21 KJV).

Who here is “beside himself?” Why has this designation been applied?

Christendom’s prevailing spiritual insanity is the false notion that a system of rules and regulations will bring victorious Christian living. First Timothy chapter 1: “[5] Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: [6] From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; [7] Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm [encourage, support]. [8] But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; [9] Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, [10] For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; [11] According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

In their lunacy, legalists—“understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm” (verse 8)—force people under the law system when it cannot give anyone a right standing before God. It can only point people to Christ the Saviour (Galatians 3:24,25). When we place ourselves and others under a performance-based acceptance system (obey to receive a blessing, failure results in a curse), this is legalism, the law system being contrary to the grace system. Understanding the Scriptures “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15), we recognize we live in this “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:1). “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [God protest, may God never let that happen!]” (Romans 6:14,15).

To avoid spiritual craziness, we must not only be Scriptural but dispensational too….

The Ravings of a Madman! #8

Friday, October 14, 2022

“And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself” (Mark 3:20,21 KJV).

Who here is “beside himself?” Why has this designation been applied?

Porcius Festus (Roman Governor of Judaea) and King Herod Agrippa II heard the Apostle Paul’s testimony in Acts chapter 26. As Saul of Tarsus, some two decades prior, Paul had led Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ: “[9] I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. [10] Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. [11] And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad [insane, crazy, lunatic] against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.” Saul had oppressed Israel’s believing remnant in chapters 7–9. Like his unbelieving nation, he had no renewed mind—but that all changed in chapter 9 when he met and trusted the ascended Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour (Acts 26:12-23)!

While listening to Paul’s testimony, Festus responded like any lost or natural man: “And as he [Paul] thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself [crazy]; much learning doth make thee mad [lunatic] (Acts 26:24). Paul was certainly an educated man (see Acts 22:3), but the Holy Spirit was also speaking through him so as to convict Festus. Festus’ human intellect, fallen and insane, was unable to make sense of God’s wisdom: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned [judged, evaluated]” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Hence, non-Christians find it impossible to understand God’s words that we speak.

Yet, if we are not careful, even we Christians can actually rave like madmen, falling into the trap of true spiritual lunacy ourselves….

Psalm 110:1 #6

Saturday, June 25, 2022

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1 KJV).

How does today’s Scripture, this Psalm of David, explain the Bible timeline for us?

One key incident in the prophetic program concerns God the Father directing God the Son to sit at His right hand in Heaven. The Son would remain seated there until it was time for His enemies to be made His footstool. A “footstool,” as the name implies, is furniture on which someone’s feet rests. Therefore, to be made a “footstool” meant utterly defeated, the victor placing his foot on the loser’s neck. Such imagery is violent and indicative of war.

As we now know, Psalm 110:1 was partially fulfilled when the Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry ended and He returned to His Heavenly Father in Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and Acts 1:9-12. “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19). The next event on the prophetic calendar, according to today’s Scripture, was for Jesus Christ to rise from His seated position. Peter proclaimed that in Acts 2:34-36, and Stephen witnessed it unfolding in Acts 7:55,56. Yet, the Lord paused prophecy so it was not completely fulfilled. He initiated that drastic dispensational change with Saul of Tarsus.

Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee” (Numbers 10:35). Psalms repeats the vocative, Arise, O LORD” (Psalm 3:7; Psalm 7:6; Psalm 9:19; Psalm 10:12; Psalm 17:13; Psalm 44:23; Psalm 132:8); here is believing Israel in the ages to come, pleading for JEHOVAH God to return and save them from the Antichrist. Isaiah 2:19-21 depicts the LORD arising to “shake terribly the earth.” Also, Isaiah 3:13: “The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.” Finally, Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence [return, Second Coming!!!] of God” (Psalm 68:1,2).

Today, Christ is once again sitting… for now….

Psalm 110:1 #5

Friday, June 24, 2022

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1 KJV).

How does today’s Scripture, this Psalm of David, explain the Bible timeline for us?

The most infamous Bible character present at Stephen’s murder was Saul of Tarsus: “And they cast [Stephen] out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul (Acts 7:58). Saul eventually got saved and become the Apostle Paul (see Acts 13:9). Years later, Paul (no longer lost) gave his testimony to lost Israel: “And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting [agreeing, approving] unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him(Acts 22:19,20). As an unbelieving religious leader, (Pharisee) Saul had led Israel’s rebellion against the Holy Spirit’s ministry during early Acts (Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-14; Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13,14,23; Philippians 3:5,6; et al.)!

Decades pass. In 1 Timothy 1:12-16, and late in his ministry, Paul reflected on his former life: “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief [leader]. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Indeed, Jesus Christ did return in early Acts—but not in the wrath and war of prophecy. Rather, with the introduction of the un-prophesied, unexpected mystery program commencing in Acts chapter 9, the Lord came back in grace, mercy, and peace to meet and save first and foremost Saul of Tarsus. Grace and peace have been offered to all the world ever since….

Bible Q&A articles #964 and #965: “Did Nebuchadnezzar appoint his own uncle or brother as King of Judah?” and “Why are the genealogies of Matthew 1 and Luke 3 different?

God’s “Imperceptible” Work #4

Thursday, May 12, 2022

“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:23-25 KJV).

Beloved, the LORD is never idle, so may we grow in His words to better see His works….

God is neither “asleep” nor “on vacation;” He is quite alive and alert. Are we? He does care, having appointed a day when He will lift the curse of sin, restore creation to its original state, punish evil, and cause righteousness to prevail in the Earth. That is Christ’s glorious Second Coming of Revelation chapter 20. However, the prophetic program to which all these events belong is momentarily suspended.

The Apostle Peter himself ultimately realized that in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack [lazy, inattentive] concerning his promise [coming in wrath], as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Peter learned this from the Apostle Paul (see verses 15,16); we should ascertain it too. God’s wrath is delayed because the Dispensation of Grace has interrupted prophecy, thereby allowing people to come to faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork alone, before that wrath does fall. Saul of Tarsus himself experienced that truth firsthand in Acts chapter 9 (cf. 1 Timothy 1:12-17).

Why does God not hurry up and accomplish His will in the Earth by judging sin now? He is forming the Church the Body of Christ, His heavenly people. Indeed, this world is a mess (Genesis chapter 3! Romans chapter 1! Romans chapter 8!)—and it will only worsen because it is headed for the Tribulation or Daniel’s 70th Week. Israel’s national restoration is delayed, for God is doing something amongst the Gentiles through Paul’s ministry (Romans 9–11); this parallels the LORD waiting to redeem Israel from Egypt until He had wrought a work with Gentile Pharaoh (cf. Romans 9:17,18). By faith, brethren, we see the Lord administering the mystery program, knowing full well the prophetic program will resume when “grace and peace” finishes!

A Life That Will Please

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can live a life pleasing in God’s sight!

Everyone does “good” deeds. Yet, doing “good” is not necessarily good. For instance, people often do “good” just to receive praise/reward, make up for their wrongs, feel good, et cetera. Furthermore, despite our “good” deeds, we have plenty more bad ones! Pride, lying, evil thoughts, being a false witness, and being contentious are some of the things the LORD hates (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Mankind cannot even keep 10 simple rules from God. However, religion continues to urge us to keep seven sacraments, utter various prayers, give assorted offerings and “tithes,” attend numerous feasts and festivals, and perform sundry other tasks to “hopefully” please God and avoid hellfire. Whether we attempt to keep a church’s laws, our laws, or God’s laws, our flesh is far too weak to ever measure up. Just look at what God’s religion did to Israel—how much worse some man-made religion does to us!

As Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee, a religious leader of Israel. He was a nitpicker concerning Law-keeping, and yet, after his soul salvation, he admitted that all of his religion was “but dung” compared to Jesus Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:3-11). Even for the Christian, to live a perfect life is impossible (read of Paul’s miserable existence in Romans chapter 7). Paul had to forsake his vain religion and learn today’s Scripture: the Christian life is NOT the performance of the Christian, but the Lord Jesus Christ living and working in the Christian, as the Christian walks in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to him or her!

If we trust a Saviour who will save—the Lord Jesus Christ—and trust a Book that will teach—the King James Bible—we can redeem the year for the great God and our Saviour, “who loved [us], and gave himself for [us]!” 🙂

The Secret Things #12

Monday, September 27, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

In the beginning, Father God intended to glorify His Son, Jesus Christ, in Heaven and Earth. From Adam onward, an earthly kingdom exemplified the Creator’s message to man (Matthew 25:34; Acts 3:19-21). In this prophetic program, once Adam sinned by following Satan (a spirit being who had already corrupted Heaven with sin), the LORD began forming a new people in the Earth to be His kingdom of priests. The nation Israel was born, eventually receiving God’s words through Moses (today’s Scripture). As more centuries transpired, however, it became clearer Israel would not receive their King or their kingdom. In unbelief, they crucified Him, the Lord Jesus Christ! Israel’s temporary spiritual fall before God concerning Messiah’s rejection was no secret (Luke 2:34).

Of course, the God of Scripture is omniscient: Satan would not outsmart Him at Calvary’s cross (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). In eternity past, the Godhead had already determined to use that blood shed on the cross to form a second group of believers. Here is the mystery program, information God never told anyone about until He revealed it to and through the Apostle Paul (Romans 16:25,26). What would happen to the world through national Israel’s temporary fall? To save Paul (Saul of Tarsus) and those Jewish and Gentile unbelievers like him, God revealed a new Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3,4): through Israel’s fall and Paul’s ministry and message (Romans 11:11-14), the Lord would make an heavenly kingdom of people: the Church the Body of Christ.

Now, with all prophetic truth revealed through the non-Pauline Scriptures, and the Pauline Scriptures unveiling “mystery” (previously hidden) truth, we know all God’s will (Ephesians 1:8-10). As Israel was without excuse concerning the “prophetic” things revealed to them through Moses (Dispensation of Law), so we are without excuse concerning the “secret” things revealed to us through Paul (Dispensation of Grace). We know what God is doing today (Romans through Philemon), and what He is not (the rest of Scripture). “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:38).

The Secret Things #11

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

Father God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit were not surprised when Israel murdered their Messiah-King by nailing Him to Calvary’s cross in unbelief. Jesus’ death was already known to the Godhead, planned since eternity past: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:22-24).

Centuries beforehand, the Old Testament prophets glimpsed Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection in types and shadows (Genesis chapter 22; Psalm 16; Psalm 22; Psalm 69; Isaiah chapter 53; et cetera; cf. Hebrews chapter 9)—although God intentionally withheld all details until later (see 1 Peter 1:9-11). By Satan and his angels participating in Jesus’ death, they assumed the prophetic program was forever destroyed—the King’s very people had rejected and executed Him! Yet, in God’s wisdom, after Calvary transpired, He revealed to the Apostle Paul the “mystery” or secret things, the full scope of Jesus’ finished crosswork.

Had Satan been omniscient (all-knowing), he would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)! Not only would that blood shed on Calvary pay for Israel’s sins via the New Covenant, that shed blood would become the basis for another entity—the Church the Body of Christ. Both the nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ would thereby become God’s people in Earth and Heaven (respectively), thus glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ in both realms—just as Father God had wisely purposed all along (Colossians 1:14-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; Ephesians 3:1-11).

We now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

The Secret Things #10

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

As there was a secret coming of Jesus Christ to save and commission the Apostle Paul, thus commencing the mystery program and starting the Church the Body of Christ, so another secret coming of Christ (the Rapture) will close the mystery program and finish the Body of Christ. If we are ignorant of the first secret coming, then we will be of the second secret coming—and most church members are aware of neither!

In Acts chapter 9, the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saul of Tarsus to justify him unto eternal life and reveal his apostolic commission: “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles(2 Timothy 1:10,11). Again, this un-prophesied appearance of Christ anticipates His “Rapture” appearance for us yet future. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 6:14).

First Corinthians chapter 15: “[50] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. [51] Behold, I shew you a mystery [secret, un-prophesied truth]; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” This resurrection of saints, not that of Revelation 20:1-6, is the bodily resurrection of the Body of Christ (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), our corporation translation into the heavenly places so the mystery program can stop and the prophetic program can resume….

Bible Q&A #880: “Did Moses write about his own death?