The Great Things The Lord Jesus Hath Done #2

Monday, October 7, 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?

Read an excerpt from the companion passage of the context of today’s Scripture: “And when he [Jesus] went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)” (Luke 8:27-29).

Jesus and His disciples meet this Gadarene (an inhabitant of Gadara, in northern Israel). Being possessed with many devils, this man acts very strangely—he howls, lives among tombs, cuts himself with stones, wears no clothes, and has bursts of amazing strength that enables him to break chains (Mark 5:1-5)!

Notice, the Lord Jesus says: “Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit” (verse 8). When the unclean spirit in the man sees Jesus, the spirit replies: “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not” (verse 7). The evil spirit audaciously commands Jesus “by God” not to “torment” him: the spirit does not want Jesus to cast him into hell. Instead, the evil spirit and the other unclean spirits want Jesus to allow them to possess a herd of swine grazing nearby (verses 11,12; Luke 8:32).

Why do these unclean spirits not want to leave the land of Israel? Let us see what will happen to the Gadarene, and what God is trying to teach Israel with this miracle….

The Great Things The Lord Jesus Hath Done #1

Sunday, October 6, 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?

In the context of today’s Scripture, Jesus and His disciples are sailing to the eastern edge of the Sea of Galilee, and they make their way into the country of the Gadarenes (verse 1). Once they leave the ship, a devil-possessed man who lives in the tombs comes out to meet them (verse 2). The following will be an experience that none of them will ever forget!

This Gadarene vexed with the devil is in a most pathetic state, and he has been in such a condition for quite some time. He is literally a wild man, one whom no one can control or arrest. He often breaks the chains and shackles meant to bind him, and day and night, he lives among the tombs and in the mountains, crying (shouting) and cutting his flesh with sharp stones (verses 3-5). In fact, as we will learn later on, this man was probably completely naked! (The many devils that possess him cause his odd behavior.)

“But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, thou torment me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many” (verses 6-9).

Notice this conversation Jesus is having is not with the man per se, but with the devils inside of the man. As we will see later on, actually, there may be as many as 2,000 evil spirits within him!

Let us see how Jesus Christ will handle the situation, thus observing some interesting parallels that teach Israel a lesson she will not forget, either….

Israel’s Walk By Sight

Friday, October 26, 2012

“And Israel saw the great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses” (Exodus 14:31 KJV).

While we in the Dispensation of Grace “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7), today’s Scripture validates this was not true of Israel in her program.

In Christendom, there is much discussion about “miraculous demonstrations.” Apparitions, snake handling, exorcisms, and healing campaigns are publicized as “the work of God.” They insist, “Come and see signs, miracles, and wonders!” Certainly, believers in Scripture did perform various miracles, but we need to understand why they carried them out, before we try to mimic them (and before someone gets hurt!).

The greatest hang-up in Christendom is a persistent, defiant confusing and combining of Israel’s program of “time past” with God’s current program operating in the “but now.” Just because God did something in the past, He is not necessarily doing it today. Do we still offer animal sacrifices? Are we building an ark like Noah? Should we stone to death those who work on the Saturday Sabbath like Israel did? Just as we understand the clarity of these issues, we should recognize that miraculous demonstrations performed in Israel’s program are not occurring today (according to the rightly divided Bible, anyway).

For instance, in the context of today’s Scripture, Israel has just observed God drowning the Egyptian armies in the Red Sea. Israel responded by faith, but not until after she had seen that miracle (today’s Scripture). After all, “the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22a). Jesus explained to Israel why He performed His miracles: “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48). Without miracles, Israel would not believe (cf. Exodus 4:1-9); Aaron performed signs before Israel, “and the people believed” (verses 30,31).

We are Gentiles, and unlike Jews, we do not need signs, miracles, and wonders—they were for the benefit of unbelieving Israel (see 1 Corinthians 14:21,22, for example). When we study and believe Paul’s epistles, we learn that the completed Bible replaced the miraculous demonstrations (1 Corinthians 13:8-13; 2 Timothy 3:16,17).

The Jews Require a Sign

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:” (1 Corinthians 1:22 KJV).

Today there is much discussion in Christendom about signs, miracles, and wonders. Charismatic preachers filled with the supposed “Holy Ghost” claim they cast out devils, handle snakes, speak in tongues, heal the sick, and, yes, allegedly raise the dead! The Bible does teach these practices, but are they really doing God’s work, or merely “wresting” God’s Word to make it say something God never said?

Unquestionably, the Lord Jesus Christ told His apostles to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils” (Matthew 10:8). He instructed them to “cast out devils,” “speak with new tongues,” “take up serpents,” drink poison, and “lay hands on the sick [so] they shall recover” (Mark 16:17,18). But, notice the context—Jesus is sending His apostles with “signs” to lost Israel (Matthew 10:5-7; Mark 16:17,20). Jews will only believe if they first witness God’s miracles.

Signs, miracles, and wonders were significant in Israel’s program. Jews always “required signs” (today’s Scripture). The Lord Jesus said (John 4:48): “Except ye [Israel] see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” Miracles in Israel first appear in Exodus 4:1-9, when God gave Moses the ability to heal sickness and handle snakes (to teach Israel that he was God’s servant to deliver them from Egypt). Verses 30 and 31 explain that once Israel saw these signs, “the people believed” (cf. John 4:48).

Jesus performed many miracles during His earthly ministry to prove to Israel that He was God’s servant, their Messiah-King, the God whom their fathers worshipped. Sadly, sinful Israel crucified Him in unbelief.

When God began turning to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul, these miracles transferred to the Gentiles, teaching Israel that God was now working amongst the Gentiles (Romans 11:11,12; 1 Corinthians 14:21,22). Eventually, when Israel’s program ceased, these miracles faded, and at the close of Paul’s ministry, he could no longer heal (1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:20).

So, it begs the question, today’s charismatic preachers are using whose power to perform their “signs, miracles, and wonders?” Not the God of the Bible!

Binding the Strong Man

Saturday, July 16, 2011

“Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house” (Matthew 12:29 KJV).

Do you ever wonder why the Lord Jesus Christ cast out devils during His earthly ministry? Why did Christ give His apostles the power to cast out evil spirits (Matthew 10:8; Mark 16:17)? From Genesis to Malachi, the Bible is almost silent about evil spirits. When we come to the Four Gospels, there is a tremendous rise in devil possession. Why?

The context of today’s Scripture is Christ has just healed a devil-possessed man, who was also blind and dumb (mute) (verses 22-30). Immediately, the Pharisees blurt: “This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils” (verse 24). The Pharisees wrongly accuse Christ of using Satan’s power to cast out Satan’s evil spirits.

Today’s Scripture is part of Jesus’ response: “I am binding the strong man.” Devil-possessed Jews is Satan’s method of hindering Christ from establishing His kingdom in the earth! In Matthew 12:28, Christ explains why He cast out devils: “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.”

Israel’s kingdom is near, so Satan has polluted Israel with his evil spirits. By casting out devils, Christ is cleansing Israel of her satanic possession and preparing her for her kingdom to be established. The devils indwelling the Gadarene man “besought [Jesus] much that he would not send them away out of the country” (Mark 5:10). The “country” here is Israel.

The prophet predicted what the LORD would do one day: “I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land” (Zechariah 13:2). Whenever Christ sets up His earthly kingdom at His Second Coming, He will bind Satan in the bottomless pit for 1000 years (Revelation 20:1-3).

Today, in the Dispensation of Grace, God is not trying to reclaim the earth. Consequently, devil exorcism is unnecessary today.