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….

Satisfied in Superstition #2

Sunday, August 19, 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?

Mankind had unbridled access to and fellowship with the Creator God until Adam sinned by eating the forbidden fruit. After consuming the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Genesis chapter 3 remarks of Adam and Eve: “[7] And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. [8] And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”

While man’s communion with the LORD God was broken, God nevertheless instituted a blood-sacrificial system by which man could approach Him (see Genesis 3:21–4:8). However, during the next several centuries, mankind drifted further and further from his Creator rather than drawing closer and closer to Him. In chapters 6-8, worldwide wickedness (especially murder) was so widespread that God generated the Great Flood to cleanse the planet of evil. Once Noah’s three sons exited the Ark after the Flood, they fathered the world’s nations (chapters 9-11). Near the end of these first 2,000 years of human history, an extremely important event occurred.

Genesis chapter 10 reports: “[8] And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. [9] He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. [10] And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” Nimrod was Noah’s great-grandson, and he was quite wicked. Chapter 11 will demonstrate to us how Nimrod was the leading rebel influential in bringing about the spiritual ignorance of today’s Scripture… and of today….

Bible Q&A #525: “Which hymns are appropriate for us grace believers to sing?

Satisfied in Superstition #1

Saturday, August 18, 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 Greek word rendered “too superstitious” here is quite striking—“deisidaimonesterous” (“fearing more devils than others”). As Paul entered Athens, “his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry” (verse 16). He observed idols and shrines everywhere! The Athenians were afraid of this god, that goddess, this deity, that idol. One particular altar caught his attention—the one with the caption, “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.” It was this God, the God of the Bible, whom he had come to preach to the darkened pagans of Athens!

Why did they entertain such absurd ideas? How were they not worshipping Israel’s God with spiritual enlightenment? The Holy Spirit had already declared through Paul elsewhere in chapter 14: “[15] And saying, 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.

Romans chapter 1 describes this party: “[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.”

Now the situation in Athens becomes clearer….

Growing in Grace #7

Friday, August 17, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” Peter thus bids farewell to the Circumcision Saints, supplying them with the information needed to avoid the “error of the wicked.” These various doctrinal and practical sins—false teaching, confusion, doubt, non-dispensational Bible study, and so on—are to be replaced with an updated view of God’s program for man.

Israel’s Little Flock is to grow in the doctrines of grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ as revealed to the Apostle Paul. They must appreciate why their earthly kingdom has been momentarily suspended (but certainly not abolished!!). Despite ignorant mockers’ accusations, God’s promise to send His Son again stands firm. He has not forgotten about Israel; He has merely postponed her program to operate our mystery program. Rather than pouring out wrath, He is offering mercy to the whole world—Jews and Gentiles alike (Romans 11:25-32)!

Dear brethren, if God wanted the Circumcision Saints long ago and yet future to be “established in the present truth” (1:12), how much more does He desire it for us? After all, “the present truth” is that we (the Church the Body of Christ) and the mystery program have currently/presently interrupted and delayed Israel’s prophetic program. We are the reason why the Antichrist has not yet been revealed. The Dispensation of Grace, the Body of Christ, prevents the prophetic program from operating (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-14).

At the Rapture, our gathering together unto Christ in Heaven, our dispensation will close, causing the prophetic program to recommence. The Antichrist will rise, reign for seven years, and ultimately be destroyed by Jesus Christ at His Second Coming. Here, unbelievers are judged, including the scoffers who assumed that fiery wrath was fiction! Finally, Israel becomes God’s kingdom of priests, redeemed and ready to enter the Millennium. May we “grow in grace” too! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we call a minister ‘reverend?’

Growing in Grace #6

Thursday, August 16, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

Today’s Scripture is the very last verse God the Holy Spirit penned through the Apostle Peter. Indeed, it is the conclusion of Peter’s farewell epistle. The Spirit of God moved Israel’s chief Apostle to leave the Circumcision Saints (believing Israel, the Little Flock) with the mind-boggling thought of “grace.” This was not ordinary grace, but rather God’s grace manifested in a very special way. That unique exhibition of grace was committed to “our beloved brother Paul” (verses 15,16). Before passing off the scene and being with his Saviour and Lord, Peter reminds Israel’s believing remnant to remember the drastic dispensational changes that occurred with the Apostle Paul’s salvation and ministry.

As we can see so clearly in Pauline doctrine (namely, Romans chapters 9-11 and 2 Thessalonians chapter 2), prophecy has not (God forbid!!!) been fabricated or canceled but merely delayed. The God of the Bible has temporarily departed from the prophetic timeline, that He may form the Church the Body of Christ of all Jews and Gentiles who will simply come to Him by faith alone in His Son’s finished crosswork alone. God’s earthly kingdom—Christ’s Second Coming in wrath, power, and great glory—is indeed literal and physical, only postponed. As Paul’s own testimony shows, those worthy of God’s judgment can be spared it (1 Timothy 1:15,16)!!!!

When Peter wrote, prophecy had been delayed for approximately 40 years. He had no idea, and neither did Paul, that we would be here 2,000 years later with the Dispensation of Grace still operating and prophecy yet on hold. Friend, do you see why Bible preservation is necessary? Once our dispensation terminates at the Rapture—our gathering together unto Christ—Israel’s prophetic calendar will resume where God paused it. Believing Israel will read today’s Scripture, just as they did when our dispensation first started long ago. They will have an answer to all the scoffers of their own day. We can appreciate God’s wisdom in having Peter write those last verses, his finishing chapter!

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Growing in Grace #5

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (verse 9). What is this “longsuffering?” Who are these “all” whom God wants to come to repentance? Keep reading!

“[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” God’s “longsuffering” concerning the repentance of “all” is the Apostle Paul’s ministry. (Titus 2:11: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men….” First Timothy 2:6-7: “[Christ Jesus] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, … a teacher of the Gentiles….”)

First Timothy chapter 1: “[15] 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. [16] 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.” Saul of Tarsus being converted in Acts chapter 9 was the “pattern” of God’s longsuffering in this the Dispensation of Grace!!

Father God placed all unbelieving Jews (including Saul) on the spiritual level of the Gentiles, thus affording them all equal access to Calvary’s cross. Paul’s Gospel—Jesus Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—explains the delay of prophetic wrath. Father God wants to give all Jews and all Gentiles opportunity to escape the wrath to come!

Israel’s Little Flock is expected to grow in this knowledge….

Growing in Grace #4

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

Peter the Apostle is writing his second and final epistle for the following reason: “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth” (1:12). Israel’s believing remnant, whether back in the Book of Acts or beyond our day, needs some doctrine to believe, that Satan’s lie program not deceive them. One way the Devil troubled (and will trouble) the Little Flock of believing Jews is use scoffers to mock the promise of Christ’s Second Coming in fiery wrath. This mockery then causes the believing Jews to grow disheartened, and possibly wonder if Christ will return at all!

“[13] Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; [14] Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. [15] Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. [16] For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

Peter reminds them and argues, “we have not followed cunningly devised fables.” Jesus Christ is returning to judge God’s enemies, redeem Israel, deliver her into His kingdom, and reign gloriously on Earth. It is not a lie; while certain, it just is not the appropriate time. Something is holding back that magnificent return of Christ; the wrath has been delayed. Israel’s believing remnant needs to “be established in the present truth” (verse 12, above). What is the “present truth?” This brings us to the close of Peter’s farewell epistle.

Second Peter chapter 3, verse 9: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” The Lord is not lazy, unreliable, or deceitful. Rather, He is longsuffering, tolerant, purposely procrastinating….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does Acts 22:16 teach that water baptism washes away sins?