The Great Things The Lord Jesus Hath Done #4

Wednesday, October 9, 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?

The Gadarene of today’s Scripture, possessed by many unclean spirits, consequently pursues a rather bizarre lifestyle. When the Lord Jesus confronts him, and commands these evil spirits to leave him, notice what the unclean spirits desire of Jesus.

“Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea” (verses 11-13; cf. Luke 8:32,33).

The Lord Jesus commands these unclean spirits to leave the man, but He gives them permission to possess a nearby herd of almost 2,000 swine (pigs), animals God considered unclean for Israel’s consumption (Leviticus 11:7; Deuteronomy 14:8). These pigs then run into the sea and perish.

Notice how these evil spirits sought safety and solace in a body of water. They possessed and drove the pigs into the water. In fact, throughout the Middle East, evil spirits such as these still hide in various bodies of water (rivers, lakes, et cetera). During the future seven-year Tribulation, God will dry up these water masses to expose these evil spirits—these creatures will kill one-third of the human race (see Revelation 9:13-15, for example)!

“And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done” (Mark 5:14; cf. Luke 8:34). Those who fed the pigs are aghast. They have just witnessed 2,000 pigs wildly stampede into the sea and violently drown. As they flee for their lives, they spread the news to the neighbors!

A crowd is now approaching Jesus, and what they discover is quite shocking….

Consider Your Ways, Mankind! #5

Monday, September 30, 2013

“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:29,30 KJV).

Mankind, in his natural state, is apathetic to JEHOVAH’S desire to build a temple… using him….

Ephesians 6:12 talks about “spiritual wickedness in high places” (the Greek word here rendered “high” is translated “heavenly” in Ephesians 1:3 and Ephesians 2:6). “Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight” (Job 15:15; cf. Job 25:5). Satan has corrupted the heavens (outer space) with sin, and he will not be banished from there and cast down to earth until a future date (Revelation 12:7-10).

“The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men” (Psalm 115:16). God had given the earth to man in order to keep earth out of Satan’s hands, but Adam sinned and Satan’s policy of evil, which rebellion started in heaven, infiltrated earth. Both the heavens and earth are corrupted by sin. Until we come to the salvation and ministry of the Apostle Paul in Scripture, we only read about God’s purpose and plan for the earth. God, until revealing it to and through the Apostle Paul, was silent about how he would restore the heavens unto Himself (Colossians 1:16-21).

Through Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, alone, we learn God’s purpose and plan regarding the heavenly restoration. The ascended Lord Jesus Christ will use the same pagan Gentiles He had given over to Satan back in Genesis chapter 11, He will save them from their sins and give them a place in heaven (Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:6,7), even giving them bodies to function in outer space and replace Satan’s minions (2 Corinthians 5:1). This is the story of the pagan Greeks to whom Paul spoke (today’s Scripture)—it is our story, too!

No one would have guessed that God would use formerly idolatrous Gentiles such as us to be His vessels, His temple, to glorify Himself in the heavens forever…!

The End of the World? #3

Saturday, December 29, 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.”

The King James Bible uses the expression “the end of the world” seven times. We want to focus on the latter five instances—Matthew 13:39,49; Matthew 24:3; Matthew 28:20; and Hebrews 9:26.

In Matthew 13:39,49, our Lord spoke of the end of the seven-year Tribulation period, when He will send His angels to sort believers from unbelievers: “the harvest is the end of the world… so shall it be at the end of the world.” Later, His disciples ask about “the sign of [His] coming, and of the end of the world(Matthew 24:3). Christ’s Second Coming here is contemporary with the harvest of Matthew chapter 13 (above). But, exactly what is “the end of the world in these instances?

Ever since Lucifer/Satan was cast out of heaven, he has tainted every region of creation with sin. In fact, on earth, he encouraged mankind to join him in rebelling against God. Ever since man’s fall into sin, Satan and sin have ruled planet earth. Hence, the Bible calls Satan, “the god [ruler] of this world(2 Corinthians 4:4; cf. Matthew 4:8,9); Satan’s fallen angels are called, “the rulers of the darkness of this world (Ephesians 6:12). Galatians 1:4 mentions, “this present evil world.” This is the “world” of Matthew 13:39,49 and Matthew 24:3 (previous paragraph).

One day, the evil, anti-God system that governs society will be abolished—that is “the end of the world.” Earth’s wicked social, economic, religious, and political systems will pass away. Satan’s reign on earth will come to a violent end, for the glorified Lord Jesus Christ will descend from heaven, militarily defeat Satan and his minions, and then usher in everlasting peace and righteousness on earth (Christ’s Second Coming; see today’s Scripture). This victory over Satan’s evil world system is accomplished through Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary: hence, Calvary’s crosswork is termed to have occurred, “in the end of the world” (Hebrews 9:26).

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).

Why Does Satan Exist?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

“Then shall he [Christ] say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Matthew 25:41 KJV).

God is perfect, so how could He create a sinful being such as the devil? Also, why does God allow wicked Satan to exist?

When God originally created the heaven and the earth, He made creatures, angels and humans, to serve Him in those realms. One of God’s chief angelic creatures, “Lucifer” (the “light-bearer”), was “perfect in all [his] ways from the day [he] was created, till iniquity was found in [him]” (Ezekiel 28:15). Initially, God created Satan sinless, but he became prideful, and he desired to conquer God, to “be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-15; cf. 1 Timothy 3:6).

God then cast Lucifer (now Satan, “adversary”) out of heaven (Luke 10:18). Instead of immediately destroying Satan after his rebellion, God allowed him to exist so he could author an alternative plan to following God (thus allowing mankind a chance to exercise free will: follow God or Satan). Ever since Lucifer’s fall, his “policy of evil”—his “lie program”—has been operating. Satan’s goal is to rob God of His glory by ignoring the Creator and deifying the creature and the creation (Romans 1:25). In the Garden of Eden, Satan tempted Adam to rebel against God, which Adam did. Adam plunged mankind into sin and mankind became anti-God; consequently, lost mankind is cooperating with Satan’s policy of evil, even today.

In the context of today’s Scripture, we read of Gentile nations who refused to bless Israel during the future seven-year Tribulation (verses 42-46). These Gentiles who rejected God’s will—“goats” (verse 33)—will be cast into “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (today’s Scripture). These Gentiles will be guilty of following Satan in rebellion against God (persecuting God’s people Israel), and there is a penalty for anyone and everyone who rejects God’s Word to them.

The destiny of Satan, his fallen angelic cohorts, and every human who refuses to trust God’s Word to them, is the everlasting lake of fire (Revelation 20:10-15; Revelation 21:8).

Be Not Blinded by ‘Bright Lights!’

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

“Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head [Christ]…” (Colossians 2:18,19a KJV).

Religious—and even nonreligious—people claim to see heavenly “visions” or angelic creatures (“Mary,” “Jesus,” “deceased relatives,” et cetera). Seeking monetary gain, some have written “Christian” books discussing how they allegedly died, visited heaven (or even hell!!!), and then returned to earth. Are these experiences of God?

“Bright lights” and “supernatural” visits do not belong in our dispensation. Look at today’s Scripture: those people are intruding into those things which [they] have not seen….” Interestingly, modern “bibles” omit “not,” stating the opposite of the King James Bible!!!

Our sin-tainted minds and our deceptive emotions can get so hyped up about having a particular religious experience that it seems to come to pass (when it actually did not happen). We imagine we see things (“angels,” “devils,” et cetera) that are not really appearing. Beware; Satan and his “seducing spirits” use these phenomena to draw us away from the truth of God’s Word (1 Timothy 4:1).

Notice the Bible’s description of false teachers: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13,14). Satan is the master counterfeiter: he wanted to be “like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Satan appears not as an evil-looking monster, but as “an [INNOCENT-LOOKING] angel of light!”

Paul wrote, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed(Galatians 1:9). Why would any “angel” “appear” to you in this the Dispensation of Grace? It would only be to deceive you! Angels have no ministry to us; their ministry and appearances belong in Israel’s program.

The Bible is the Final Authority, not emotional experiences. Let no one trick (“beguile”) you with false teaching… that includes preachers, “angels,” and “dead saints!”

Do We Have Guardian Angels?

Monday, February 6, 2012

“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (Psalm 34:7 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of the scores of verses that speak of “guardian angels.” But do we have guardian angels today, in our Dispensation of Grace?

Throughout the Old Testament, angels protected and guided the nation Israel (Exodus 23:20,23; Exodus 33:2; Judges 6:11,12; 2 Kings 19:35; et al.). “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11,12).

In the New Testament, angels ministered to Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:11; Luke 22:43). Angels rescued the imprisoned apostles (Acts 5:18-26) and delivered the Apostle Peter from prison (Acts 12:1-11). Yet, when we come to our Apostle Paul, God uses an earthquake—not an angel—to free him from prison (Acts 16:23-28). Why?

Notice what Paul writes about angels today. They should not be worshipped (Colossians 2:18) and that, if a supposed “angel” appears to us today, it would do so only to deceive by preaching to us a false gospel (Galatians 1:8; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:14). But, Paul’s epistles are silent about guardian angels in our Dispensation of Grace. We are not guaranteed physical protection with angels like God promised Israel, but we Christians have some better: we have eternal spiritual protection because the indwelling Holy Spirit is guarding our souls (Ephesians 4:30; cf. Romans 8:35-39).

Furthermore, Paul writes that, while angels have no ministry to us today, we have a ministry to them! The angels are curious about what God is doing, so they learn this by watching us, the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Corinthians 11:10; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Timothy 5:21). Smile, they are watching! 🙂

But, what about Hebrews 1:14: “Are they [the angels of verse 13] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Notice, this is the book of Hebrews—this is speaking of future Israel.

We do not need angels today—they need us.