We Suffer Persecution

Friday, November 18, 2011

“…Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day” (1 Corinthians 4:12bc,13 KJV).

Contrary to the damnable teachings of prosperity theology, the Christian life is not always pleasant and carefree. In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul explains we “suffer” persecution. While “suffer” means “endure pain,” its older English definition was “allow, permit.” Both definitions are applicable here.

In Acts 24:5, lost people called Paul a “pestilent fellow.” Jesus told His Jewish disciples: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you… I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18,19). The lost world hated Jesus Christ so much that they preferred a murderer’s release as opposed to Jesus’ release (Matthew 27:15-22; Mark 15:7-15)!

The Apostle Peter, writing to Jewish believers, the little flock, who will endure the seven-year Tribulation: “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified” (1 Peter 4:13,14).

Christians are the outcasts of society. Compared to the world, we think differently, we act differently, and we even look different. Accordingly, we are targets of their criticism. Christians down through the past 20 centuries have suffered some rather graphic treatment, far too explicit to mention here. This evil world system has never been God’s friend, so it will certainly be unfriendly to us Christians.

In fact, today’s Scripture tells us that the world will treat us Christians like “filth” and “offscouring” (trash, scum, castaways). We are called names, ostracized, and we may be imprisoned or even tortured and executed, but we are privileged to “suffer for righteousness’ sake” (1 Peter 3:14)!

Beloved, we suffer persecution… for God’s glory!

A Great Cloud of Witnesses

Thursday, November 17, 2011

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1,2a KJV).

In today’s Scripture, the author of Hebrews encourages believing Jews to endure the adversity and persecution of the future seven-year Tribulation.

The “great cloud of witnesses,” not our loved ones watching us from heaven, is actually the people of faith of chapter 11—Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, et cetera. God promised them an earthly kingdom (Matthew 25:34), yet Hebrews 11:39 says, “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise.” These saints are still waiting to see their kingdom, thousands of years later!

Believing Jews living during the seven-year Tribulation will be reminded of those saints of old who endured persecution and yet God was faithful in delivering them (Hebrews 11:33-38). These Tribulation saints are encouraged to endure those seven years—“the race” of today’s Scripture—by following the ensamples of the saints of old (that “great cloud of witnesses” of God’s faithfulness).

Hebrews 13:5,6 says: …for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

Hebrews is not written to us members of the Church the Body of Christ, but we are comforted in that just as God will not forsake those Jewish believers enduring the horrible Tribulation, He will not abandon us in Christ (Romans 8:35-39).

God will keep His promise to those saints to bring them through the Tribulation and into their earthly kingdom, so we can be sure He will keep His promises that He made to us in Paul’s epistles! If God will comfort those believing Jews during the worst period of human history, surely, God will comfort us in our Dispensation of Grace, to one day deliver us and usher us into our heavenly kingdom. 🙂

Special Devotion to the Virgin Mary?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

“And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked” (Luke 11:27 KJV).

Religion encourages us to direct “special devotion” to Mary, Jesus’ mother, but slyly reassures us that Marian devotion is not equivalent to worshipping God. Is this true? What does our Lord Jesus Christ think of any Marian devotion?

In the context of today’s Scripture (verses 1-26), Jesus is teaching. One woman is so amazed at the Lord Jesus’ doctrine that she begins to praise Mary, Jesus’ mother, not Jesus! Notice that this lady exalted Mary, giving her the “special devotion” that religion gives Mary today: “blessed is the womb and the breasts of Mary!” Such a statement originates from pagan goddess worship (and accompanying fornication) of ancient Egyptian and Babylonian religions.

Notice how Jesus responds: “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it” (verse 28). Recognize that Jesus immediately rebuked her: He corrected her. Our Lord Jesus knew that Mary was being exalted to a goddess’ position, and He clearly refused it with “Yea rather….” In other words, Jesus said, “Rather than singling out Mary for special attention, recognize that all who trust in God are blessed.” Notice Jesus never designated Mary to any special position whatsoever (Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21).

Our dear religious family members and friends need to realize that Mary is no superhuman or goddess. Although God used her body to generate the human body of Jesus Christ, the Bible never presents Mary as an object of worship. No believer in the Bible ever prayed to Mary. According to the Bible, God clearly hates all Marian devotion.

Marian devotion is blasphemous because it robs Jesus Christ of devotion. It was what God did through Mary that matters. Mary did nothing for our salvation. She is not our mediatrix, savior, or mother, so why does she deserve devotion? According to God’s Word, she does not.

The LORD Seeth Us Not?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth” (Ezekiel 8:12 KJV).

Foolish man has deceived himself into believing that he can commit sinful deeds in the dark, and God will never see. The Jews into today’s Scripture (mistakenly) have that mindset.

In the context of today’s Scripture, the prophet and priest Ezekiel, in Babylonian exile, receives visions from God (verses 1-4). According to the succeeding verses, the LORD shows Ezekiel just how wicked his people are: “Go in, [Ezekiel,] and behold the wicked abominations that they do here [in God’s Temple!]” (verse 9).

As Ezekiel goes in, verse 10 says he sees “every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about.” Despite God judging them with the Babylonian invasion, Jews in Jerusalem have drawn idols on the wall surrounding the Temple! Furthermore, seventy elders of Israel are burning incense to these idols. In today’s Scripture, God repeats what these idolaters say, “The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.” (“We are getting away with our pagan worship!”; cf. Ezekiel 9:9)

God proceeds to show Ezekiel “greater abominations [sins].” Jewesses are sitting at the door of the north gate of the Temple, the LORD’s house. Verse 14 says these women are “weeping for Tammuz”a pagan Babylonian god!

Then, Ezekiel saw “greater abominations.” In the inner court of the Temple, between the porch and the altar, 25 men have gathered. With their backs turned to the LORD’s house, they worship the sun (verse 16)! These Jews dare God, provoking Him to anger (verse 17).

Surely, God did see them and their evil deeds (after all, God is showing Ezekiel their deeds). Sinful man thinks he will escape God’s judgment, but he will not. No one has gotten away with anything… the LORD doth see us.

Unbelief, the Idiocy of Academia

Monday, November 14, 2011

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise” (1 Corinthians 3:18 KJV).

Of the ten major problems in Corinth, human viewpoint (wisdom) is the one that the Apostle Paul addresses in today’s Scripture. Understand that God is not anti-education: learning in and of itself is not evil. But, as the Holy Sprit through Paul teaches here, never expect to gain God’s wisdom by using human viewpoint (human intellect). Why?

Seminaries and Bible colleges are prestigious in man’s eyes, but God despises most of them because they are breeding grounds for unbelief. These institutions, where we would think faith in God’s Word would be encouraged, are oftentimes nothing more than glorified pagan temples that promote doubt in God’s Word! Furthermore, they emphasize the importance of the non-extant (non-existing) original Bible manuscripts instead of trusting the Bible’s existing manuscript copies.

For 2,000 years, heretical, educated minds have misled Christians, but Christians could retaliate by fleeing to the Bible’s doctrine. So, especially within the past 130 years, sinful academia (coupled with satanic influence) began to infiltrate the Bible itself! Bible scholars, “textual critics,” have emphasized scholarship and education to the extent that they have changed the Bible text! This is why Christendom has been deluged with nearly 200 modern “revised” (corrupted) English Bibles.

Textual critics believe that errors crept into the Bible over the centuries of its text’s transmission. Accordingly, they claim that God has commissioned them to “purify” His Word to its original readings. This is a blatant rejection of the promise that God would preserve His words perfectly forever (Psalm 12:6,7; Psalm 33:11; Psalm 100:5; Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33; et al.). God can do (and has done) without these arrogant, Bible-correcting “scholars.”

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain” (1 Corinthians 3:19,20).

Beloved, clutch your King James Bible tightly, and never let it go!

Shall the Meek Inherit the Earth?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

“But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (Psalm 37:11 KJV).

Our Lord Jesus Christ quoted today’s Scripture in Matthew 5:5: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” This is a favorite verse among Bible critics. They haughtily argue that not only has this verse failed to come to pass, but that it says, “the meek shall inherit the earth,” not heaven. So, what are we to believe? Is the Bible mistaken? Not at all, beloved.

The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12), which includes today’s Scripture, is speaking of a future day, a period after our Dispensation of Grace. Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7 apply to Israel’s program (specifically to their future earthly kingdom, or what we call the Millennial [1000-year] Reign of Christ). Notice how the term “kingdom [of heaven]” (the “heaven on earth kingdom”) appears throughout these three chapters (5:3,10,19,20; 6:10,13,33; 7:22).

Please note that while the meek will inherit the earth in Israel’s program, no believer today will inherit the earth (because Israel’s program is currently inactive). The Church the Body of Christ (believers today) will inherit the heavens, not the earth (2 Corinthians 5:1-3; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:6,7; 2 Timothy 4:18; et al.). Conversely, believers in Israel’s program will inherit the earth, not the heavens (Job 19:25,26; Daniel 2:35,44; Zechariah 14:9; Luke 11:2; et al.).

Today’s Scripture also says that the meek “shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Is that true today? Do the meek have peace today? Of course not, for this too will be fulfilled in Israel’s earthly kingdom when the Jews will safely and peacefully dwell in their land (Jeremiah 23:6; Jeremiah 32:37-42; Jeremiah 33:15,16; Ezekiel 28:25,26; Zechariah 14:11; Luke 1:67-75; et al.). No Arabs or Palestinians will be attempting to take that land because Jesus Christ Himself will literally be sitting on King David’s throne in Jerusalem and protecting Israel from her enemies (Zechariah 8:20-23; Luke 1:31-33; et al.)!

Israel’s meek will inherit the earth indeed. But, as members of the Church the Body of Christ, we will inherit the heavens indeed!

The Veteran Worth Thanking

Saturday, November 12, 2011

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15 KJV).

Yesterday, the United States of America recognized and thanked its veterans, living and departed, the often-forgotten men and women who risked their lives to secure our freedom. Just as we remembered flesh and blood veterans who fought for our physical liberty, we reserve our worship and utmost respect for the least esteemed Veteran, He who secured our spiritual liberty.

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Through Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary, we have eternal victory over sin, death, hell, and Satan. Everything that God has planned for us is dependent upon Christ’s victory at Calvary.

Jesus Christ nailed the Mosaic Law to His cross (today’s Scripture). Christ’s sinless blood covered our failure to obey God’s laws; Jesus’ righteousness annulled our unrighteousness (sin). Christ not only liberated us from sin and its penalty (the everlasting lake of fire), but today’s Scripture affirms He also triumphed over Satan himself!

Christ has “spoiled [destroyed] principalities and powers [Satan’s power], he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it [His cross].” Jesus Christ destroyed Satan’s plans. Through Christ’s cross, God has “delivered us from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13), Satan’s evil system of Ephesians 2:1-3.

During a recent cemetery visit, I noticed American flags flying above deceased veterans’ headstones. These individuals can no longer hear or regard our thanks, but Jesus Christ’s body is not decaying in some tomb. If there ever was a Veteran most worthy of our gratitude, it is our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He died in battle, allowing Himself to be executed on a Roman cross of shame and scorn, He resurrected. He is alive and well today, alive forevermore.

Saints, eternity will ring with our thanks to the Veteran worth thanking, the Lord Jesus Christ.