Arrayed in Hypocrisy

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27,28 KJV).

“Looks can be deceiving” is not only true during Halloweentime, but confirmed year-round within Christendom.

Today is Halloween, when children dress up and feign themselves to be creatures they are not. Likewise, many church leaders today wear “Christian” garbs, but their ministries do not bring the Lord Jesus Christ glory and honor. They promote their denomination, and seek to perpetuate it, rather than serve and exalt the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. The Bible manifests these who appear to be good, as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

In today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ exposed Israel’s corrupt religious leaders who misled the nation in His day. In His Parable of the Tares, Matthew 13:24-30,37-43, Christ explained how just as He had sown good seed (wheat, believing Jews) in Israel, Satan had also sown tares/weeds (unbelieving Jews). Tares resemble wheat; unbelieving Jews resemble believing Jews. The unbelieving Pharisees and scribes, for instance, looked like God’s people (believing Israel). Judas Iscariot was another example of Satan’s tares—the apostles never realized who Judas really was until it was too late!

But Satan’s counterfeit believers are not confined to Israel’s program. Today, within local assemblies of the Body of Christ, there are people feigning themselves to be Christians: 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. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Beloved, beware of the church leaders who are arrayed in hypocrisy, “and avoid them” (Romans 16:17b). If their teaching does not agree with the rightly divided King James Bible, you have no business as a child of God to be listening to them.

*This is excerpted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see our special study, “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?

The Lowest Room #4

Friday, October 29, 2021

“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee” (Luke 14:10 KJV).

What is this “lowest room?” Can we gain any counsel from today’s Scripture?

Read Christ’s words immediately following: “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (verse 11). Their fundamental problem, of course, was that ugly sin of pride! Never should we forget this concerns religion, self-righteous people who considered themselves gods and therefore worthy of worship. “I give more than anyone else, pray more than anyone else, and fast more than anyone else!” The Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:1-18, exposes and condemns this attitude.

Also bear in mind that expression appears in another religious context, Luke chapter 18: “[9] And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: [10] Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. [11] The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. [12] I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. [13] And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. [14] I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Finally, we dare not forget Matthew 23:12, also regarding religious pride: “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (see entire chapter for context). The arrogant will be brought low, for apostate Israel will be destroyed in God’s wrath; however, believing, humble Israel will be magnified in God’s Kingdom (Matthew 18:1-4).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What does ‘choler’ mean?” and “What does ‘sith’ mean in Ezekiel 35:6?

The Lowest Room #3

Thursday, October 28, 2021

“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee” (Luke 14:10 KJV).

What is this “lowest room?” Can we gain any counsel from today’s Scripture?

How embarrassing it would be to assume we warranted a seat reserved for someone of a higher rank! Yet, the guests at this Pharisee’s house were so egocentric they were carefully placing themselves into the most admired spaces. As the Lord Jesus noted, “When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room” (verses 8,9).

Instead of praising themselves, they were to let someone else honor them. Far better was it for the host to bring them to a higher seat, than for them to assume they deserved the higher seat but then be forced to vacate it when the more praiseworthy person arrived. The Book of Proverbs had already educated Israel: “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips” (27:2). Yet, like with Proverbs 25:6-7, unbelieving Israel ignored these precious words of God.

Luke 14:10 again: “But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.” The King James translators have been faulted for rendering the Greek “doxa” as “worship” here, for, they are allegedly insinuating Jesus encouraged people to “worship” others. However, while “doxa” is often rendered “glory” in the Authorized Version New Testament (almost 150 times), Jesus’ usage of “worship” here is sarcasm or mockery. Essentially, “If you conceited people are seeking worship from your fellow man, here is how you get it! You let the host do it, not yourself!”

Now, let us make application….

The Lowest Room #2

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee” (Luke 14:10 KJV).

What is this “lowest room?” Can we gain any counsel from today’s Scripture?

Re-read the context of today’s Scripture: “[7] And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, [8] When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; [9] And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. [10] But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. [11] For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Let us describe the scene the Lord has just beheld. Guests are arriving at the feast and carefully selecting the “chief rooms”—the most prominent empty seats or reclining couches. Today, we would consider these the chairs at the head of the table, places that would naturally draw attention and evoke a sense of admiration. “Look where he sits! He must be the most important person here!” The “elite” of Judaism were so conceited or focused on themselves they had forgotten what their own Hebrew Bible had taught them through King Solomon centuries before. In order to rebuke them, Jesus cited Proverbs 25:6,7: “Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.”

To fail to heed God’s advice would result in embarrassment….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain ‘enmity?’

The Lowest Room #1

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee” (Luke 14:10 KJV).

What is this “lowest room?” Can we gain any counsel from today’s Scripture?

On a Saturday Sabbath, Christ Jesus was invited to eat at the house of a chief Pharisee (verse 1). After the Lord performs a healing miracle (verses 2-6)—gendering great animosity from his snobbish, coldhearted, religious detractors—He continues exposing unbelief and other forms of wickedness in Israel.

Read The Parable of the Great Supper (which actually spans to verse 24): “[7] And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, [8] When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; [9] And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. [10] But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. [11] For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Remember, this was spoken in the house of a Pharisee (verse 1)—a strict, ascetic, works-religionist obsessed with rules and regulations. Many conceited Pharisees are undoubtedly present. “But all their works they do for to be seen of men:…. and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,…” (Matthew 23:5,6). “Beware of the scribes, which love… and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:…” (Mark 12:38,39). “Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and lovethe chief rooms at feasts;…” (Luke 20:46). Jesus is witnessing this firsthand in the context of today’s Scripture….

The Good Samaritan #7

Monday, August 23, 2021

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:33,34 KJV).

How can this classic passage, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, enlighten us concerning God’s purpose and plan for the nation Israel?

The lawyer in the context of today’s Scripture was incorrect (verse 29). Using Jesus’ definition, a “neighbour” is anyone we encounter in life whom we can and should help—not necessarily someone whose house is next to ours, but even complete strangers. Here was the original teaching of Leviticus 19:18, as JEHOVAH God Himself described for us here during His earthly ministry (verses 30-35). To show the impossibility of a sinner keeping the Law, the Lord ordered the lawyer to love everyone (!) he met to the degree (!) the Samaritan loved the wounded traveler (verses 36,37). Yet, have carefully examined that well-known story, we can look at it with mature spiritual eyes to see more than the common, simple Sunday school children’s lesson of “Jesus wants us to do good to others.” The Parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates what the Lord Jesus Himself did and will do for Israel.

Whereas the Law of Moses (the priest and the Levite) could do nothing but condemn Israel as a nation of sinners worthy of death (spiritual and functional), Christ (the Samaritan) offered them grace, forgiveness, and restoration through the New Covenant. He delivered her from deception in Satan’s evil world system by imparting spiritual light to her (preaching during His earthly ministry). When they rejected Him to the point of crucifixion and exile to Heaven, He temporarily left her in the care of His 12 Apostles, kingdom doctrine being their “goods” to trade until His Second Coming (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 12:35-48; Luke 19:11-27). When He returns from His Heavenly Father’s right hand, He will bless Israel with the New Covenant, forgiving their sins and making them His kingdom of priests (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-28; Acts 3:19-21; Romans 11:25-32; 1 Peter 2:9,10). No more will they be helpless and hopeless, for the Samaritan was “neighbour unto them!” 🙂

The Good Samaritan #6

Sunday, August 22, 2021

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:33,34 KJV).

How can this classic passage, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, enlighten us concerning God’s purpose and plan for the nation Israel?

Let us return to verse 29, the question that led to that renowned parable: “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” This lawyer, wishing to be made right in God’s sight on the basis of keeping the Mosaic Law, was endeavoring to find an escape. He assumed “love thy neighbor as thyself” simply meant “seek the highest good of those who live literally right next-door to thyself.” The parable he subsequently heard, however, corrected his erroneous belief. To say the least, he was shocked to learn this magnificent story would be Jesus’ response to his self-centered inquiry!

To briefly recapitulate the Parable of the Good Samaritan. A man was traveling when thieves assaulted, robbed, and left him for dead. Whereas neither a (Jewish) priest nor a (Jewish) Levite came to his aid when they encountered him on that lonely road, a Samaritan (half-Jewish/half-Gentile) came from afar to tend to his wounds and pay for his recovery. After relaying this story, the Lord Jesus asked the lawyer, “[36] Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? [37] And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” The lawyer, being Jewish, knew the “good guy” was indeed a Gentile, but he could not even bring himself to say, “The Samaritan was neighbour unto him that fell among thieves.” His lame, simple reply was, He that shewed mercy on him,” upon which hearing Jesus retorted, “If you want to keep the Law perfectly, you go and follow that Samaritan’s example!”

We have a few more closing comments, so let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

The Good Samaritan #5

Saturday, August 21, 2021

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:33,34 KJV).

How can this classic passage, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, enlighten us concerning God’s purpose and plan for the nation Israel?

The man leaving Jerusalem for Jericho represents wayward Israel, forsaking the center of God’s presence and words (cf. 1 Kings 11:36; Isaiah 2:3) and preferring a cursed, idolatrous city as its destination (cf. Joshua 6:26; 1 Kings 16:29-32). As the thieves robbed the traveler, so Satan’s evil world system spoiled and fatally wounded Israel. Distracted, unrighteous (lacking spiritual clothes), and now dying, she can do nothing to save herself. Her sin has found her out!

Along walks a Levitical priest, but this Jew cannot help the man, for the man is mortally wounded and unable to offer a sacrifice. Here comes a Levite, a teacher of the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 31:9-13,24-26; Deuteronomy 17:18; 2 Chronicles 15:3; Ezra 7:6,10,11). However, while this Jew can teach the man what he needs to do according to Moses’ instructions, the dying man cannot perform according to the LORD’S strict rules and regulations. The priest and the Levite, both having looked at the unfortunate soul and gone on their way, can do nothing for him. All hope is lost!

Suddenly, there appears a Samaritan—a societal outcast in Israel. He notices the dying man and pities him, applying antiseptic wine and soothing olive oil to treat his wounds. Whereas the Jews (priest and Levite) did none of this, the Samaritan takes it a step further. He pays to lodge the man in a hotel, that he recover from his injuries. The next day, the Samaritan entrusts the man to the innkeeper, and finally leaves after promising his return. Here, Christ turns Israel over to the 12 Apostles (cf. John 19:25-27; Luke 19:12-27), dies, resurrects, and ultimately ascends to His Father’s right hand wholly rejected. He is coming again to repay them for their service (Matthew 16:27; Revelation 22:12)! Indeed, the Samaritan of that noteworthy parable symbolizes Jesus Christ Himself and His work on Israel’s behalf….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Whose are the ‘words’ of 1 Samuel 3:19?

The Good Samaritan #4

Friday, August 20, 2021

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:33,34 KJV).

How can this classic passage, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, enlighten us concerning God’s purpose and plan for the nation Israel?

Circa 722 B.C., the Assyrian Captivity of Israel’s 10 northern tribes began. Scripture says in 2 Kings chapter 17: “[23] Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day. [24] And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof. [25] And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them. [28] Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD. [29] Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt. (See also verses 30-32.)

After removing Israel from the Promised Land, the King of Assyria settled Gentiles therein. These idolatrous heathens subsequently intermarried with the Jews, creating a hybrid religious system of paganism and Mosaic Law. Children resulting from these unions were the Samaritans of Christ’s earthly ministry. Such national/religious differences caused great animosity between these “half-Jews/half-Gentiles” and the pure-blooded Jews. As chapter 4 of John bears out, “For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (verse 9). Therefore, to a Jew, Jesus making the Samaritan a “hero” in that famous parable was the equivalent to Him commending a Gentile!

Now, let us delve into the symbolism….

The Good Samaritan #3

Thursday, August 19, 2021

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:33,34 KJV).

How can this classic passage, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, enlighten us concerning God’s purpose and plan for the nation Israel?

In ancient times, the road between Jericho and Jerusalem was lengthy, steep, winding, and lonely. Caves and crevices made excellent places in which thieves could hide as they waited to assault and rob any passersby (particularly merchants). Such was the case of the unfortunate soul traveling this route in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (verse 30). As the Lord delivers this message, His audience knows all too well its plausibility. Having departed Jerusalem and heading toward Jericho—the order highly important, as we will see later—the traveler is beaten up and his clothes are taken. Suffering extensive injuries, he lies helplessly, dying on the side of the road.

By “chance” or coincidence, and not by Divine design, a priest is using that route when he encounters the dying man. Nevertheless, the priest does not come to his aid; he moves to the farther side of the road and continues his journey (verse 31)! A Levite, also traveling, then makes his way to see the dying man. While the Levite looks upon the vulnerable soul with a bit more sympathy, he too “switches lanes” and carries on with his trip (verse 32)! Finally, a Samaritan arrives on the scene, and is moved with such compassion as he beholds a most terrible sight (verse 33). Here is a naked man, bloodied and bruised, and left to die! The Samaritan rescues him, tending to his injuries and paying for his recovery in an inn (verse 34). In closing, the Samaritan speaks to the innkeeper, promising to return one day and recompense in full any debts accumulated (verse 35). Paraphrased, Jesus thus reasons: “Lawyer, you go love your neighbor like that Samaritan esteemed that hopeless soul” (verses 36,37).

To be blunt, this parable was extremely disturbing to Jesus’ Jewish listeners….