Keep Your Fork! #12

Saturday, August 20, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Dear saints, we “keep our fork” because we know “dessert” is coming: Heaven is real, it is organized, it is defiled, and it will be restored (here is our eternal destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ). Even the “best thrills and chills” that life on Earth has to offer us do not compare to what lies ahead for we who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour. Only the depths of God’s infinite wisdom are the limit!

It has been estimated that there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on all of Earth’s beaches. (Try to wrap your mind around that!) These celestial bodies, where the angels live, are mostly unknown to us because of their extreme distances from us. There are innumerable worlds—planets, bodies of rock, ice, and gas—no human has ever visited. Father God has deemed them our realm of influence in the ages to come. Therefore, we must receive glorified physical bodies that can function in outer space.

“For our conversation [lifestyle reflecting citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things [the offices of government!] unto himself” (Philippians 3:20,21). After reflecting on God’s magnificent plans for us in the ages to come (covered in the first three chapters), the Apostle Paul burst into a doxology or praise of God: Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen (Ephesians 3:20,21). May we too reply with a hearty, “Amen!”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is a ‘sop?’

Keep Your Fork! #11

Friday, August 19, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

For many, “church” is just a “humbling” place where someone prattles in monotone about superstitious nonsense. Yawns can be frequently heard, and sagging heads and closed eyes can be seen regularly: here, it is a sin to whisper anything save a prayer. (Now we see why this strict, ceremonial setting is usually abandoned for an assembly “more exciting.” At this new “church,” dancing, jumping, lifting of hands, singing for hours—such entertainment, such “praise and worship”—will attract newcomers indefinitely!)

Though religion is tiresome and Christendom dull, life in Christ (whether now or in Heaven) is something else entirely. According to today’s Scripture, we the saints in the Body of Christ are bound for the heavenly places. In God’s mind, we already share in Christ’s influence there. We have been ascended and we sit together (as in seats of authority) in heavenly places in Christ. Father God’s purpose or intent in the endless ages to come is to “shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Grace, all that He can do for and with us through Christ’s finished crosswork, can be appreciated to some degree now, though its fullest extent surpasses our finite minds.

Furthermore, it is not merely “grace” but “the exceeding [beyond, above] riches [resources, treasures, reserves] of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” How we are so undeserving, but what Father God will do in and through us in eternity future is something so exceptional that it will take a literal forever to completely fathom it. His kindness to involve us in what He is doing and will do with His beloved Son—instead of letting us go to a permanent Devil’s Hell that we have so merited as sinners—is something that still escapes our total comprehension even now.

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Keep Your Fork! #10

Thursday, August 18, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Prior to the Apostle Paul’s execution, he wrote: “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18). This loops back to chapter 2: “[8] Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: [9] Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evildoer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. [10] Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. [11] It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: [12] If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: [13] If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”

Remember, there is a kingdom in Heaven (currently defiled by Satan’s angels, but a kingdom nonetheless). Jesus Christ, heir to King David’s throne, will extend His earthly government into the heavenly places—and here is our “inheritance” and destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ (recall Ephesians 1:8-12). “Eternal glory” is the praise and honor the Lord Jesus Christ will receive in and through us because of the fulfillment of our Father’s “eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11).

To wit, Father God’s plan to exalt His Son throughout the endless ages to come involves our appointment in the heavenly offices of government and Israel’s appointment in the earthly offices of government. All saints—filled with Christ’s life and teaching His doctrine—glorify Him by “reigning with him” in their respective roles. As today’s Scripture reveals, Heaven, like Earth, will be a realm of intense activity and profound instruction in eternity future….

Keep Your Fork! #9

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Obviously, Heaven is where angels live (see Matthew 24:36, Mark 12:25, Luke 2:15, Revelation 12:7, et cetera). Yet, they can (and do!) look down at our tiny planet and watch us as we go about our daily routines. Ephesians 3:9-11 informs: “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:….” To wit, Paul’s goal in ministry was to reach everyone, every nation, he could with the Gospel of Grace, so more human souls would believe and join the Body of Christ. God’s “manifold [multifaceted, complex] wisdom” would then be displayed in these saints’ lives, and the angels of Heaven would view and learn spiritual truths!

By God’s design, while angels have intellects far superior to our own, they must rely on believers in Christ to learn Bible truth (especially that which pertains to our salvation, which they can never experience themselves). First Peter chapter 1: “[10] Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: [11] Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. [12] Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”

As our ministry on Earth involves teaching angels Bible truth, so will our ministry in Heaven….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Was Christ’s earthly ministry an ‘epic failure?’

Keep Your Fork! #8

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 6: “[1] Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? [2] Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? [3] Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? [4] If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. [5] I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? [6] But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. [7] Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? [8] Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.”

The Corinthian assembly was so filled with human wisdom—especially Greek (pagan) philosophy—its members were unable to settle even the pettiest disagreements amongst themselves. Actually, these genuine Christians (!) had taken each other to the heathen courts of law so lost people (judges) could render verdicts for them. Imagine: God’s people appealed to Satan’s people for advice! One rhetorical question the Holy Spirit asked through Paul to prompt the Corinthian Christians to come to their senses is: “Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” Here, “judge” means “rule, govern” (cf. the 12 Apostles “judging” Israel’s 12 tribes in Matthew 19:28). If we saints will rule the angelic kingdom in Heaven, we are quite silly to seek unsaved governmental officials to determine what is good and fair among us….

Keep Your Fork! #7

Monday, August 15, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Let us take a few moments to address a pervasive misunderstanding. Correctors of the King James Bible frequently refer to “the heavenlies,” and this faulty terminology has crept into the vocabularies of common people who innocently repeat what they have heard from “the blind leaders of the blind.”

Dear friend, if you use a printed King James Bible, you will notice “places” is italicized in today’s Scripture (also, Ephesians 1:3,20; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12). That is, there is no Greek word directly corresponding to the English, but the implication is there: “en [‘in’] tois [‘the;’ plural noun] epouraniois [‘above the sky’ = ‘heavenly;’ plural noun].” Our translators inserted the noun “places” to complete the thought. In Greek, adjectives such as “heavenly” are usually written without the modifying noun (substantive). To avoid an incomplete thought, an English word must be supplied during translation. (Think of the English sentence, “The good die young.” Obviously, “good” suggests “good people/men/folks,” but we do not need a noun there because it is implied to us English speakers. The Greeks used adjectives in a similar manner, which our Greek New Testament reflects. To adequately convey the sense of the Greek adjective, our translators added a substantive or noun: “heavenly places.)

To remove the italicized “places” from “heavenly places” and make it “heavenlies” is to generalize and obscure Bible truth. Firstly, “heavenlies” is actually nonsense to an English speaker. Heavenly what? We are not told! Our King James translators therefore supplied us with the plural noun “places.” Secondly, to take away the italicized “places” from “heavenly places” and have it read “heavenlies” causes us to lose the cross-reference to the word “place” in Revelation 12:8 (read verses 7-9). By correcting the Bible, we have robbed ourselves of the realization that we members of the Body of Christ will take over the seats of government, the dwellingplaces, of Satan and his fallen angels currently occupying the heavenly places….

Keep Your Fork! #6

Sunday, August 14, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Upon hearing the word “government” (regardless of form), most people cannot help but frown and snicker. Why? No matter the nation or city, a great many politicians are fraudulent, corrupt, inefficient, abusive, wasteful, greedy, self-serving, and embarrassing, among other things. Remember, since Adam’s sin in Genesis chapter 3, this is a fallen world under Satan’s control (Matthew 4:8-11; Luke 4:5-8); the Devil is thus styled “the god [ruler] of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). What would Earth be like if every “public servant” actually served the public’s best interests by working righteousness? There would be no crumbling infrastructure, unpunished criminals, shortages of necessities, and so on.

Similarly, Satan and his fallen angels (devils, evil spirits) have corrupted Heaven’s governments, leading to the “spiritual wickedness in high [heavenly] places” of Ephesians 6:12. Whatever evils we behold running and ruining Earth’s governments, they are precisely the activities and attitudes running and ruining Heaven’s governments. “Behold, he [God] putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight(Job 15:15). “…[Y]ea, the stars are not pure in his [God’s] sight (Job 25:5b). Until Almighty God removes all fallen angels (Heaven) and sinful humans (Earth) from power and replaces them with His saints (believing Israel in Earth, and us the Church the Body of Christ in Heaven), creation cannot function as originally intended.

The future eradication of evil in the heavenly places is Revelation chapter 12: “[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, [8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Here is the cross-reference to today’s Scripture….

Categorized! #1

Saturday, April 23, 2022

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night (Revelation 12:10 KJV).

Behold, the evil categorizer!

In “the ages to come,” after our (“but now”) Dispensation of Grace has terminated, today’s Scripture will be brought to pass. Let us read it in context to get the flow of meaning: “[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, [8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

“[10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. [11] And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. [12] Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

These verses provide us with several names or titles for God’s chief enemy—“the great dragon” (Greek, “drakon;” a huge, snake-like monster), “that old serpent” (a sneaky or dishonest being that has existed for a long time; Genesis 3:1 and 2 Corinthians 11:3,4), “Devil” (Greek, “diabolos,” “throw through” or divide; as in creating rifts between Creator and creation or creature and creature), and “Satan” (Hebrew, “satan,” “adversary;” as in, rival of the truth). Another designation is he is the “accuser of our brethren.” Let us study this label by searching the Scriptures….

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….

The Great Eagle #2

Tuesday, July 27, 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?”

God the Holy Spirit designed the Scriptures with their own built-in dictionary. When a particular word or phrase appears, the Bible has defined it either in the immediate/situational context (the same passage) or the remote context (a passage elsewhere in the Bible canon). Sound Bible study is exegesis—literally, “to lead out.” When exegetic, we explain the meaning of Scripture by simply letting the Bible speak. This is in contradistinction to eisegesis—that is, “to lead in.” We are eisegetic when we express our own opinions or denominational biases. Exegesis is to let the Bible say what it says and mean what it says, to draw out its meaning; on the other hand, eisegesis is to force into the Bible text a meaning the Holy Spirit never intended. Oftentimes, what is passed off as “Christianity” is merely eisegesis.

Here is an example of exegesis: “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he [Jesus] expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). Christ took the meaning out of the Hebrew Bible; He avoided a distorted view by simply letting the Scriptures speak. Compare this to the eisegesis here: “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; 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” (2 Peter 3:15,16). These Bible corrupters (members of Christendom!) are “wresting” God’s words—twisting them all out of shape, obscuring their pure meaning.

The bald eagle is known for its majesty, strength, and longevity. Consequently, in 1782, it was chosen as the symbol for the United States of America. However, is this the key to unlocking the meaning of today’s Scripture? Let us use the Bible’s built-in dictionary to determine if this is exegesis or eisegesis….

Bible Q&A #860: “What does ‘discomfit’ mean?