Saul, the witch of Endor, and one very angry prophet. 1 Samuel 28.

I get asked a lot of questions. Some of them are sound and reasonable, others, not so much. This one initiated with some vehemency about who the witch of Endor called up from the dead. Because the Dake’s Bible side notes indicate that this was a demon she called up, apparently several men bought into that lie. This was a study that I did on the subject in order to allay the false teaching.

The story begins by speaking of David. David has been running for his life, as Saul wants to kill him, but now the Philistines are mounting an attack and David has the fear that he may die at their hands. But this story isn’t about David; it is, about Saul, a witch, and Samuel – who has been dead for a period of time at this point.

I am using the KJV unless noted.

1 Samuel 28:3,4 KJV

Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land. 4) And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa.

1 Samuel 28:5,6 And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. 6) And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

Nothing is working for Saul, not even the prophets.

Prophet – nâbı̂y’ naw-bee’ From H5012; “a prophet or (generally) inspired man: – prophecy, that prophesy, prophet.” (To put this in perspective, Balaam was considered a prophet, although he was much like a gun for hire.)

1 Samuel 28:7 Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.

Understanding terminology such as a familiar spirit may be beneficial.

The NLT translation tells us, “Saul then said to his advisers, “Find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.” His advisers replied, “There is a medium at Endor.”

Unfortunately, simply saying a medium does not really help either, as a medium or one with a familiar spirit, covers two realms: the very real and often intense spiritual side, and the charlatan or fake.

The Hebrew word ‘ôb – obe has the implications of one that mumbles, that is, a waterskin (from its hollow sound); hence a necromancer (ventriloquist, as from a jar): – bottle, familiar spirit.

Strong’s tells us that ‘ôb is the same as H1, which is the Hebrew word ‘âb awb. This is the basis for the Greek word Abba with which we refer to God. The word ‘ôb also carries the implications of a chief and is apparently through the idea of prattling a father’s name.

To prattle is to talk too much on trivial affairs. So, in the case of a medium, they are most often deceiving you simply by speaking incessantly on nothing, much like an effective salesman.

1 Samuel 28:8 And Saul disguised himself and put on other raiments, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.

Why did Saul disguise himself? Because he knew the “Law” and, what should be done to someone who is a necromancer, or medium. Doesn’t this imply that Saul knew the potential that this person could really talk to spirits? If she was talking to spirits, who was she talking to? Demons/Fallen angels.

So, what then was the law?

Leviticus 19:31 KJV — Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

Lev 20:6 And the soul that turns after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go whoring after them, I will set my face against that soul and will cut him off from among his people.

Lev 20:27 A man also or woman that has a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

Deuteronomy 18:9-12 NLT  “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there.  (10)  For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft,  (11)  or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead.  (12)  Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the LORD your God will drive them out ahead of you.

1 Samuel 28:9 NLT  “Are you trying to get me killed?” the woman demanded. “You know that Saul has outlawed all the mediums and all who consult the spirits of the dead. Why are you setting a trap for me?”

Whether her abilities are real or not, her actions could mean her death.

1 Samuel 28:10,11 And Saul swore to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD lives, there shall no punishment happen to you for this thing. 11) Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.

Keep in mind our definitions of a medium, and add to the effect that these mediums, put on a show to convince the simple-minded.

1 Samuel 28:12 And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.

Samuel is not what she expected.

1 Samuel 28:13 And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.

Saul asks her, what do you see. Here, in KJV, we are told, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. However, she only describes one person or entity, Samuel. So, did she other things? Perhaps. The AMP states, “I see a god.” The Complete Jewish Bible conveys that she saw “a god-like being coming up”, and the ISV translated this as “I see a divine being.” So which is it?

Unfortunately, Finis Dake took the liberty of placing a capital E in front of the word elohim, a word which means god(s), among other things. He also stated that since it was not GOD Himself, then it had to be a demon. Really, a demon would not have known or cared about the prophetic Word spoken against Saul by Samuel; and, now we have Samuel continuing to elaborate upon that Word by telling Saul that the kingdom is stripped away.

gods,” in this case, is ‘ĕlôhı̂ym el-o-heem’. It is the plural of H433 and means gods in the ordinary sense; the supreme God; magistrates; angels, someone who is very great, judges, and mighty (ones.) H433 is ‘ĕlôahh el-o’-ah and implies a deity or the deity:

This is the same word used in Genesis 1:1 CJB  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. If, the word elohiym can represent God here in the creation, why would it represent a demon in 1Samuel 28?

So the question is, what did she see?

We can’t exclude multiple entities arising, but she only specifically identified one, whom both she and Saul believed to be Samuel. 1Samuel 28:12 shows us the woman turning to Saul; identifying the disguised Saul, and saying what have you done to me. She knew. Neither can we exclude the possibility that she saw Samuel. This brings up another question, do we have any way of knowing if she had physically seen Samuel while he was alive? No, but then neither had Peter and John physically seen Elijah and Moses and yet, they recognized them speaking with Jesus on the mount of Olives that night.

1 Samuel 28:14 And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man comes up, and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed himself.

And Saul perceived that it was Samuel probably based upon the description alone. Did Saul see what she saw? Maybe not, although the Hebrew word opens the door to the possibility.

The Hebrew for perceive is yâda‛ yaw-dah’ and means to know (properly to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially.

So, even though Saul may not have seen Samuel, he still fell on his face before the old prophet. This may represent respect or Saul saw something. We still do not have a definitive answer.

1 Samuel 28:15 And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted (disturbed) me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answers me no more, neither by prophets nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou may make known unto me what I shall do.

I can take this two ways. One is similar to the story of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. Having both died we find the rich man (a Jew) in torment, while Lazarus, also a Jew, is comforted in Abraham’s bosom. The rich man calls forth, declaring that he is in discomfort and that Lazarus should go and bring him some water. Saul may be conveying a similar attitude. Or, the second possibility, is that Saul is at a complete loss as to what to do, and calling a dead man back from the dead is his last resort. (Does this seem odd to anybody else? What changed that might have prevented followers of Christ from being brought back from the dead? Perhaps the mere fact that we followers of Christ are in Him, and that as Paul says, being absent from the body places us in the presence of the Lord.)

1 Samuel 28:16,17 Then said Samuel, Wherefore then do you ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from you and is become your enemy? 17 AMP) The Lord has done to you as He said through me He would do; for [He] has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to your neighbor David. 1

1 Samuel 28:18-19 MKJV  Because you did not obey the voice of Jehovah, nor execute his fierce wrath on Amalek, therefore Jehovah has done this thing to you now.  (19)  And, Jehovah will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. Jehovah also shall deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.

This was not what Saul wanted to hear.

1 Samuel 28:20 Brenton  And Saul instantly fell at his full length upon the earth, and was greatly afraid because of the words of Samuel; and there was no longer any strength in him, for he had eaten no bread all that day, and all that night.

1 Samuel 28:21-25 NET. When the woman came to Saul and saw how terrified he was, she said to him, “Your servant has done what you asked. I took my life into my own hands and did what you told me. (22) Now it’s your turn to listen to your servant! Let me set before you a bit of bread so that you can eat. When you regain your strength, you can go on your way.” (23) But he refused, saying, “I won’t eat!” Both his servants and the woman urged him to eat, so he gave in. He got up from the ground and sat down on the bed. (24) Now the woman had a well-fed calf at her home that she quickly slaughtered. Taking some flour, she kneaded bread and baked it without leaven. (25) She brought it to Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they arose and left that same night.

I had answered the question and it was clear that this was not some demon as Dake suggests. Obviously, there are no definitive answers as what took place that day, but we agreed that it was not a demon. However, one other thing became apparent as we studied this 28th chapter of Samuel, and I cannot remember a time that anyone said a thing about it; the witch of Endor was a Jew, for she baked the loaf without leaven. Give that some thought if you will.

1– I Sam. 15:22-28

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His invisible qualities—both his eternal power and his divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they can be understood from what he has made. Romans 1:20,21.

Although I ended on Romans 1:20 previously, that was several weeks ago, and we probably forgot what it says; besides that, it helps us understand verse 21 better.

Romans 1:20-21 CJB  For ever since the creation of the universe his invisible qualities—both his eternal power and his divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they can be understood from what he has made. Therefore, they have no excuse;  (21)  because, although they know who God is, they do not glorify him as God or thank him. On the contrary, they have become futile in their thinking; and their undiscerning hearts have become darkened.

I used to communicate with Pastor Paul Begley, but I don’t anymore as he has become inundated doing videos and speaking about prophetic events. His opening line for every breaking news broadcast is, “are you serious?” The implications are that the incident he is about to report on, is such a flagrant insult of logic and common sense that it must be challenged with a harsh reproof such as, “are you serious?”

Well, that is how I feel about Paul’s statement here, are you serious?

  • “For ever since the creation of the universe His invisible qualities – both His eternal power and His divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they can be understood from what He has made.

Everything around us, in terms of God’s handiwork, demonstrates both His POWER and, His NATURE. These two invisible aspects of God surround us. From where I live, only a few miles from the mountains with its trees, streams, and waterfalls, I can see the hills that lead up to the beauty that is hidden over the ridge. And then, there are the “natural” clouds and the spectacular shapes and effects they can have.

I accentuated the word natural, knowing that I really did not need to mention it, except that globally we have been inundated by chemical clouds. These clouds are the end result of those long trails spewed by airplanes as they cross the skies, at very high altitudes, on what seems like a continuous and daily mission. These “chemical trails” can create a spectacular colorization at sunset; however, they are incredibly harmful to our food supply, water supply, and our general health. (If you are interested, take the time to look up the incredible array of chemicals and particulates they are intentionally spraying in these chemtrails.)

The idea of seeing God’s handiwork in a pleasant outdoor environment has always been with me. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have come to the conclusion that there was a God on my own, as I can see the destruction in a piece of granite (Destruction is a concept that seems in opposition to creation.) So I am quite sure that my parents, by their conversations to and in front of us, must have imprinted this idea of God in the creation upon us as very young children because I cannot remember a time that I was not aware of God’s hand being involved with what I was experiencing. I also, cannot remember a time when I did not know God, and maybe that is a legitimate reason or explanation for my own understanding.

Raised in the church, I can now say that a tremendous amount of the hurt and injury to my thinking came out of the church, or at least from some twisted religious concepts that were shoved down my throat. My mother, God rest her soul, had some dreadfully, distorted legalistic ideas. She did not seem to have any concept of grace; I assume that because she taught us to pray a ghastly prayer that goes like this – “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord, my soul, to keep…” I shall not go on for it caused me, for years, to live in a state of fear that the slightest indiscretion would cause God to stop loving me and send me to a fiery hell. I learned that a belief like that is not valid, but it took me years to undo the damage and change my misconceptions that conflicted with this nature and character of God. Sadly, I realized that I did not know God; fortunately, all that changed, and, it evolved through studying on my own. The overarching theme I found, is that He is Love, and He redeemed an entire world through the death of His only Son when it did not love Him.

So, because since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly seen, and understood through what has been made, they are without excuse. But the question must now be, who is the “they?”

The Jews knew they were chosen, but that did not stop them from worshiping everything but God, nor did it force them to honor or obey Him. This information makes them the prime suspect as I try to determine who Paul is speaking of.

As I sat in Bible study recently, the leader used background information, given in the form of a commentary on the Roman church. The author of this commentary was Dr. James Dobson. It turns out that Dr. Dobson saw history as an avid hobby. The leader of the Bible study, following Dr. Dobson’s lead, talked about Paul being a missionary to the Gentiles. Think about how, in every town Paul went to – he went to the synagogue; is this where you ordinarily find Gentiles? Not hardly. Paul himself, tells us, that eventually, he did take his message to the Gentiles, but after the Jews stoned him, flogged him, had him arrested, and a few other things.

The Jews considered anyone outside of Judaism to be a godless pagan – a Gentile, and so a generalization is to think of the “they” as the Gentiles because the presumption is that they were outsiders without God. We, in the Christian world, adopted the word Gentile to mean non-Jewish believers. At this point, the generalizations point me to, not only the Jews but just about anyone else.

One day I made a bold statement about how Jesus could come back at any moment. An acquaintance of mine attempted to angrily rebuke me, saying, that is impossible because we are told that every human being would have to have obtained a copy of the Bible for the prophecy to be fulfilled and therefore allow for Jesus to return. Paul didn’t see it that way, and neither do I.

Verse 21 tells us:

Romans 1:21 CJB  because, although they know who God is, they do not glorify him as God or thank him. On the contrary, they have become futile in their thinking; and their undiscerning hearts have become darkened.

Again, I am dealing with this vague “they.”

The Jews did not gain the title Jews until long after the exodus from Egypt. Upon their leaving, they were merely known as“my people,” or the people whose God is named I am who I am. The name Jew emanated from Judah, one of Joseph’s sons. In time they became the people of Israel.

If I were to say, once again, that Israel saw the signs, I would have to include, the plagues God dumped upon Egypt as He tried to impress upon Pharaoh the necessity to let His people go. Indeed, these signs would have demonstrated God’s power. Was Israel awed? Hardly, for it seems but days go by when (a bit over 40,) and, while Moses is gone up into the mountain without food and water for forty days – not something normal men survive, when this group of people, who should KNOW God, set up the “tent of Molech”, one of the many items they happened to bring with them out of this Egyptian bondage. They enlist Aaron, Moses’ older brother, to make the statue of Molech out of gold – a statue that was designed to roast children as sacrifices – while they indulged in a sexual orgy dance-off as they worship the goddess Rephaim.

Now, in light of Paul’s statement, although they know who God is, they do not glorify him as God, who do you think the “they” is talking about? Again, this is not just talking about Israel.

  • On the contrary, they have become futile in their thinking; and their undiscerning hearts have become darkened.

Futile is the Greek word mataioō and has the implications of becoming foolish, morally wicked, idolatrous, or to become vain.

The Complete Jewish Bible tells us that they became futile in their thinking. The Amplified Bible, which typically gives you all the other definitions without the Greek word, includes vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations.

This idea of absurd speculations takes on a valid meaning when someone, whom you would think would have a greater understanding of God’s Word, asks absurd questions about multiple levels of hell or heaven. That might seem reasonable to you, but when you realize that most of our ideas about levels within hell come out Dante Alighieri’s book The Inferno, where he placed corrupt politicians, priests who should have been defrocked, and persons who had harmed him, into some form of disgusting purgatory.

Since Jesus destroyed the fear of death and took the keys of hell from Satan, then this is a non-issue. Any answers we have for such a primarily come from two sources, the story of the rich Jewish man and the Jewish beggar, Lazarus. The rich man went to a place of discomfort where he complained about the heat. While Lazarus was now being comforted in paradise. Jesus, speaking to the thief on the cross, said, this day you will be with me in paradise.

Does this place, paradise, still exist today? We, don’t know, and can only conjecture. A conjecture is when you convey that something is real but have no evidence.

  • And their undiscerning hearts have become darkened.

It is even more brutal than that.

2 Corinthians 3:14 CJB  What is more, their minds were made stonelike; for to this day the same veil remains over them when they read the Old Covenant; it has not been unveiled, because only by the Messiah is the veil taken away.

But there is always hope.

2 Corinthians 3:15-16 CJB  Yes, till today, whenever Moshe (Moses = the Torah) is read, a veil lies over their heart.  (16)  “But,” says the Torah, “whenever someone turns to Adonai, the veil is taken away.”

A little more proof.

Deuteronomy 30:2 CJB  and you will return to Adonai your God and pay attention to what he has said, which will be exactly what I am ordering you to do today—you and your children, with all your heart and all your being.

Posted in Apostle Paul, bible study, creation, Creation, forgive, gentiles, God's character, grace, Hell, Jesus, Jews, overtaken, Romans, The supremacy of Christ, Thoughts on scripture, ungodliness, unrighteousness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This is a brief step aside from my study on Romans to look, once again, at the Peretti book, Piercing the Darkness.

I have been rereading a Frank E. Peretti book called Piercing the Darkness. Years ago I heard Dr. Dobson interview Mr. Peretti about the books he has written because there was such insight into the spirit world, and Dr. Dobson, like so many of us, wanted to know how he came to that understanding. It seemed that Mr. Peretti merely paid attention to what the Bible had to say and added that knowledge to what we know about the spirit world from public information. Frank Peretti simply added a little color and background story of his own.

Do we have anything in scripture that speaks to and about the spirit world?

The answer is absolutely and overwhelmingly. Now when I say spirit world, I am talking about one-third of the angelic forces that followed Satan in his mutiny against God. We call these fallen angels demons, and it would seem that in many cases, they represent themselves to their victims as bizarre and unusual looking creations. I would not be surprised that the so-called alien grays are nothing more than fallen angel representations.

  • One of the most ignored and misunderstood is Genesis 6, where we are told:
      In the book of Job, Satan comes strolling before God, right next to angels, called sons of God, that did not fall. (Job 1:6,7)

      Nephilim – Strong’s concordance defines them as bullies and tyrants. The Word Study Dictionary tells us this: “These beings evidently appeared on the earth in the ancient past when divine beings cohabited with woman, and Nephilim, the mighty men or warriors of great fame, were the offspring. This huge race of Nephilim struck fear into the Israelite spies who had gone up to survey the land of Canaan.”
      There is nothing cute or benign about this story. Fallen angels somehow began propagating with humans for the purpose of destroying God’s plan. Nephilim where not just big humans, they were Titans, people that were the basis of legends. And, because of their insertions into the human lineage, God had to destroy everyone short of Noah’s immediate family. Read Genesis chapter six to get the full story.

      • After flexing some “Godly” muscle, King Saul outlawed all mediums in his realm. Later, when things were not going so well for him, he found a medium and consulted with her to call up Samuel the Prophet, from the dead. When Samuel came forth Samuel was extremely irritated at Saul and demanded to know why Saul had disturbed him and brought him up? You can find this all spelled out in 1Samuel 28. The Complete Jewish Bible says the conversation went like this: “Try to find a woman who tells the future by communicating with the dead; I want to go and consult with her.” I recently learned from a site called End Times Headlines, that a Baptist church in Texas hired a psychic and put her on staff. She, the article said, frequently consults with the dead, and reports those conversations back to the church staff.
      • The Apostle Paul also had a run in with a medium. Acts 16:16 brings her into the story. Pay attention to how she is introduced. Read Acts 16 for the full story on how they dealt with her and what happened to them.

      A spirit of divination. Literally: “a python spirit.” That expression comes from Greek mythology; Python was a snake that guarded the oracle at Delphi. Essentially, this girl was a medium in contact with demons that could supposedly predict the future.” (Read Deuteronomy 18:9-12) – (John MacArthur’s commentary)

      As you read this excerpt from page 191 of This Present Darkness, think about your governmental leaders, how they talk and act. Do you see any correlation between the description in the last paragraph and their actions?

      In the Peretti book, the current editor of the Ashton newspaper Marshall Hogan is speaking with the former editor of the same paper, Ted Harmel about what happened to him and why he left town in such a hurry. Ted responded to a series of questions, which included questions about the operations of the local university.

      Marshall asked, “wasn’t it the tiff with them that got you run out of town?” Harmel responded, “That was only part of it. I wasn’t controllable anymore. I got in the way. The network took care of me before I could hurt them. But there’s no way I can prove it. It doesn’t matter anyway. The whole things too big; it’s like a huge organism, a cancer that just keeps spreading. You can’t just go after one part of it like the regents and expect to kill the whole thing. It’s everywhere, at every level. Are you religious?”

      Marshall responded, “In a limited sense, I suppose.”

      This is the part I want to pay particular attention to.

      Harmel replied, “Well, you’re going to need something to fight it. It’s spiritual, Hogan. It doesn’t listen to reason, or to the law, or to any set of morals but its own. They don’t believe in God – they are god.”

      Is this statement by Ted Harmel even close to reality? Yes, it is, and I will show you the scriptures that back up my assertion.

      First, Ted said, “It’s spiritual.”

      Ephesians 6:12 tells us: our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (NASB)

      The Amplified Bible may make this more clear.

      For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. (AMP)

      For those, like me, who do not immediately comprehend the word despotisms. Webster’s Dictionary tells us that it is: Absolute power; authority unlimited and uncontrolled by men, constitution or laws, and depending alone on the will of the prince.

      What’s the problem with this definition? It does not take into account that Jesus disarmed them all.

      Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. (Colossians 2:14-15 NASB)

      If Jesus disarmed them, why then do we have such grief in our lives? Because Satan and his monstrous band of despots/fallen angels use deception as one of their primary weapons against us. Jesus told us that in this world we WILL have tribulations, hardships, discomfort, and a barrage of attacks from every angle; becoming a “Christian” doesn’t make anything go away, in many cases the trials of life only get worse. These fallen ones will be put away permanently, but not just yet.

      The character, Ted Harmel, continued to say, “It doesn’t listen to reason.”

      It” being the spiritual entity that seems to control, not only the people in this book but also controls people and power structures in the real world as well.

      Focusing on the idea of a spiritual entity is a polite way of saying Satan, but the glaringly obvious thing about Satan is that he is a singular entity – a fallen angel, and cannot be everywhere as God can, and therefore needs help. That help comes in the form of fallen angels/demons (they are one and the same,) and, by empowering people to act on his behalf. Some of those people, willing to work on his behalf, sit by you in the church (let that sink in for a moment.)

      We assume that an entity is intangible, but that argument goes out the window when some person acts like the devil. The Apostle John wrote,

      1 John 5:19 We know, that we are of God; and all the world is reposing on the evil one. (Murdock )

      There are many translations, it seems the majority took the easy road in interpretation as they use the phrase the whole world “lies in, or under the power of the evil one.” The James Murdock translation almost stands alone as he describes the world reposing most comfortably in the lap of Satan.

      (I am reminded how the world loves to refer to our relationship with Christ as a crutch. I suppose they say that because we have this innate propensity to limp back into relationship with Christ when our lives fall apart. While we may come back limping to the one who loves us, how might you explain your reasons for reclining in the arms of a fallen angel who tried to overthrow God?)

      The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury makes this comment about 1John 5:19 and the usage of the word Wickedness. As the translator Darby puts it, the whole world is seated in wickedness. Wickedness is used instead of “the evil one,”

      in wickedness”. “In this short expression,” says Mr. Wesley, “the horrible state of the world is painted in the most lively colors, a comment on which we have in the actions, conversations, contracts, quarrels, and friendships of worldly men.”

      Since we have ascertained that “it” is a spiritual entity, and that WE do not wrestle against flesh and blood, then we can focus our prayer attacks and come against the demonic forces that hold the people of earth captive.

      The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26 NASB)

      Perhaps now would be a good time to point out, that though we may not be able to stop the demonic activities entirely as they work to bring the end into its fullness, we can, and do hold back the enemies actions.

      2 Thessalonians 2:6 And you know what restrains him now so that in his time he will be revealed. (NASB)

      Ted Harmel said, “it doesn’t listen to reason.”

      Reason – according to Webster’s Dictionary, means: The cause, ground, principle, or motive of anything said or done; that which supports or justifies a determination, plan, or measure.

      Lately, the leadership of the United States and the world have demonstrated that they are incapable of listening to reason. Long before Donald Trump became president, things happened that demanded answers. Congressional representatives, on Congressional panels, tried to find the truth about such things as: why did American Special Forces operators have to needlessly die in Benghazi when there were ample time and support to save them and the American Ambassador who was also inside the compound in Libya? We, the public, may have never known much about this event except that former Senator Hillary Clinton told us all that these men lost their lives due to the outrage of the Libyan people over some movie. Many of those questioning Mrs. Clinton avoided the issue and refused to ask questions that might challenge the powerful, former Senator Clinton. The questions they did ask were pointless and futile. I, and others like me, assumed that their actions were intended to block and interfere with the questioning process. Why would they do that? Was their lack of action simply meant to protect the democratic party?

      The former editor added – “It doesn’t listen to reason, or to the law.

      Romans 2:14-15 MSG When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. (15) They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong.

      If God’s law is woven into our very fabric, and, we still live in some form of disobedience, then it is most likely a choice we have made. There are, however, exceptions as most are blinded in their minds; I can imagine many reasons for this blinding, we see it all the time, as the love and desire for money drive many on their quest for pleasure and comfort. Others are caught up in addictions of lust, or its sister, gambling. Since lust is merely the act of satisfying our own desires, we could all, easily be caught up in that trap.

      And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NASB)

      The last part of the former editor’s description of “it” was to say that it does not listen to any set of morals, but it’s own. They don’t believe in God – they are god.”

      We should by now understand that the “it,” while potentially looking like a corporation, is really nothing more than individuals who have similar desires. You have to admit, and we can use Nigeria as our example, in that individuals, acting corporately, can be deadly, as “Christians” are being slaughtered with frequency in that country, simply because they profess a relationship with Jesus.

      Islam professes that they have a set of morals, as do the lavishly wealthy, but they certainly have no need for a God of restrictions that may try to tell them to stop doing what they are doing.

      To say they – those detrimental characters in the book, don’t believe in God might seem odd to some, but this breakdown of moral character has been a problem since humanity fell in the garden. Man has ignored the known and chosen the presumed, in other words, idol worship has always been there. Immediately in the retelling of humanities entrance into the earth, Satan, in an attempt to circumvent God and His plan of redemption, tells Eve, you will be like gods.

      “For God knows that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5 NASB)

      If you think this process through, Satan tried a cunning play on words.

      Consider, that in the Genesis story we never see God speak to Eve until after sin came into the world, He only spoke to Adam (This pattern of passing along information also shows up in the story of Cain and Able. We never see God giving Adam’s two sons any instructions about the sacrifice, and yet they knew because Adam told them. See Genesis 4.) In His conversations with Adam, God must have told Adam all the rules, and it seems there was only one, to not eat from the tree in the middle of the garden. For all we know innumerable years passed with no problems, but on that particular day, Satan manipulated words by saying, did God really say that? How could Eve know the answer to that question? This becomes more viable if what I said was true – if what Adam had conveyed was true. Now Eve has to make a decision, did God say those things to Adam? Would Adam lie to me? What a horrendously painful whirlwind Satan creates when you allow him to play in your mind. With Adam standing beside her, close enough to hear all this foolishness come out of the mouth of the serpent, I can’t begin to imagine what Adam thought, and yet he stood silent.

      Eve is a clone of Adam; there is no mental frailty and Adam was an exacting image of the Father God. God gave the man control over the earth, and consequently, it was his responsibility to tell the woman, which he did. From what scripture tells us, the man Adam may have been here for thousands of years before God formed the woman, retaining that information in his head. If it played out this way, that conversation in which Adam told Eve of the forbidden tree was not one of dominance, for everything they knew and did was built upon the most free-flowing, trusting relationship humanity could have ever experienced, and their example was from God himself as He walked and talked with them in the garden. Since we know this was Jesus in a pre-incarnate state, it is easy to imagine the reality of that statement. Read Genesis chapter 3:9,10.

      So Satan plays the misrepresentation/doubt mind game that he utilizes on all of us – Did God really mean you when He said …? Of course, God meant it, but WE are broken people thanks to Adam’s sin, and that imperfection fuels our doubts. Eve, however, was not handicapped by sin; this was strictly a choice on her part. As I said, Adam stood beside her, and by his silence, he handed the earth over to Satan, and death came to all. The earth was cursed because of their actions. Death entered into the world. God had to kill animals to make clothing for them, and in so doing, taught them both how to make sacrifices to obtain a right standing with God. This was all new to them, but one thing was made clear, and we get a hint when He told Eve that one from your seed will crush his head. That head is Satan, and though this crushing and permanent removal is still a short distance away, it will come. As tragic and painful as this process was and is, WE who follow after Christ, have hope because that seed is Jesus the Messiah and I look expectantly for His soon return.

      Posted in angels, Apocalypse, Apostasy, bible study, Cult teachings, deception, End times, enemies, Faith, false teaching, God's character, gullibility, Hearing God, In Christ, invasion, Jesus, judgment, ministering spirits, one world religion, Prayer, spiritual gifts, strongholds, The supremacy of Christ, Thoughts, ungodliness, unrighteousness, war, wickedness, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

      After hearing these words, I felt like I could fit in somewhere. Romans 1:1-20

      This study will look at Romans 1:18.

      Romans 1:18-19 NASB For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (19) because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

      Now, if you are one of those that advocate that all sinners should be sent to the Great White and only find the portals of hell waiting for them, then perhaps this is for you, as the passage we are going to cover can give you that impression if you merely glance at the verse. But you should know me by now, as I tear everything apart, and we will do that; however, as I often do, I want to give you a glimpse into my life and hopefully make it relate.

      I recently had the opportunity to go to a men’s retreat put on by two Vineyard Churches. We had done something like this two years ago, and then it was titled “No Man Left Behind.” I felt like I got thrown under the bus, and I returned home as miserable as I came. These events, much like our relationship with Christ, will give you as much as you invest in them. With that in mind, I got to camp this time, and almost immediately, I decided to jump in with both feet; besides, the speaker caught my attention.

      The speaker was Dr. Eric Sandras (You can find several of his books on We were told to call him Dr. E, and we came to find out that he has a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Relations, and that he has spent nearly a decade as a Human Sexuality instructor at various universities and colleges. So, at one meeting, we had an opportunity to ask any sexual questions we had. You might think that in a “holy” environment we wouldn’t speak of such things, but our silence, discomfort, and false bravado along with our phony acts of sucking up the horrible pains around us, while trying to act brave is nothing less than passive-aggressive behavior. (Passive-aggressive behavior has been a lifetime battle for me, and, it is a battle that comes out of Co-Dependency.) The disastrous side of passive-aggressive behavior is that, like Mount St. Helens in Washington State, USA, you will eventually blow off that pressure with disastrous results. I know this from experience.

      When Dr. “E” opened the series of meetings, the first thing he did is read off a card that they use to introduce people to the church. It looks like this.

      Sanctuary Church welcome card

      After hearing these words, I felt like I could fit in somewhere. Since I am not in a position to move to Colorado Springs, I guess my mission is to make sure that others who correspond with this description fit in as well. Many will see a description like the one in the photo, realize that some of us are accepting those that are broken, and complain, loudly, that we are NOT pointing out their sin; how could I respond to that? Good lord, if they, in their broken conditions, are reading this, trust me, they know they are broken and thirsty; I know I did. John’s gospel tells us that Jesus had an answer to this.

      Now on the last day of the festival, Hoshana Rabbah (the Feast of Tabernacles,) Yeshua stood and cried out, If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drinking! John 7:37 CJB 

      There were no accusations or restrictions on when or how you should come; He merely said come, and by your coming and getting closer to Jesus, the more you begin to look like Him.

      Another example looks like this.

      Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. (24) The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. Matthew 4:23-24 NASB

      Matthew 4:23, though many see this verse talking about sickness’s for which you merely take some pill, it demonstrates the same attitude that the welcome card conveys, you are welcome here. Eugene Peterson’s Message puts it this way,

      From there, he went all over Galilee. He used synagogues for meeting places and taught people the truth of God. God’s kingdom was his theme–that beginning right now they were under God’s government, a good government! He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives. Matthew 4:23 MSG

      Jesus healed diseases, but the book of Acts in chapter 10:38 associated those same diseases with demonic oppression; however, there are, without a doubt, bad effects from our relationships and choices.

      As I sat through these meetings I heard things that my “religious” upbringing wanted to conflict with; but I also heard the Holy Spirit say to me, as He had done before, you relax and listen, and all will be explained to you. I don’t expect many of you to understand this, but I cried all weekend. Imagine a six foot four inch 280 pound bear of a man, crying. I had powerful men praying over me all weekend long. Some I voluntarily submitted to, while others just approached me, asking me if they could share what they had heard from the Holy Spirit, and then proceed to tell me things they would not have known otherwise. These guys poured into my life, life from the Spirit of God and spoke healing over me. For my part, I have to trust the process as I continue to put the Word of God into my life.

      With that in mind let’s look at Romans 1:18

      Romans 1:18-19 AMP For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative. (19) For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.

      Having sat through the question and answer session, I was a little overwhelmed; in moments like this, I have learned to relax and let the Holy Spirit sort things out for me. I trust the Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth and to help me discern when something is not right. Simply because the topics are uncomfortable to me does not make them wrong, and this was not wrong. For several in the audience, the things that were discussed were pure ungodliness and wreaked of unrighteousness, why? Because, as I explained to one of the attendees, some people, with their legalistic point of view, are wound much too tightly. After coming down off the mountain, I made this same statement to my friends/accountability partners, and one of them asked me, what does it mean to be wound too tightly? Since I had an excellent example of this at the camp, I demonstrated what a brother did and said while we were there. We had been given ice breaker questions, and one of the questions was, what was the funniest thing that happened to you this weekend? While my answer was not funny at the time, several hours later, at lunch, I could laugh about it. Now it was the turn of another Christian brother from the church I attend. When he opened his mouth, he began an angry rant about how we were merely accepting people’s sin, and how none of the pastors among us were addressing God’s wrath and outrage over such sins. I happen to know this brother, and he fatigues himself fretting about sin; and, when he attempts to teach mature believers, they too have to endure his rants about sin.

      It is sad how many are focused on God’s potential wrath and indignation. As I said, with a simplistic read, it is easy to perceive Romans 1:18,19 as nothing less than ominous. So let’s tear the verse apart.

      • Wrath is the Greek word orgē and means desire, (by analogy) violent passion; by implication punishment: – anger, indignation, vengeance, wrath.

      If I substitute alternate wording in for the wrath, I get, For the violent passion of God. I always look at everything in light of God’s character, which is Love. Can God get violently passionate? Absolutely, and we saw this when Jesus took the time to make a whip and drive the money changers, and buyers out of the temple’s outer court.

      And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. (John 2:13-17 KJV)

      The word wrath shows up in the book of Revelation in three chapters: Rev 6:16-17; Rev 14:10, and Rev 19:15. There is no doubt that God is angry in these instances, but the recipients are spelled out in scripture and have had their chances at mercy, no less than anybody else.

      • Revealed is the Greek word apokaluptō and means to take off the cover, that is, disclose:reveal. This word apokaluptō should be a familiar word as it has strong similarities to the title of the Revelation; here, the Greek word is apokalupsis but still means disclosure.

      To again substitute words in place of what we have so far, For the violent passion of God is disclosed from heaven, but for what purpose?

      • Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. Well, that sounds relatively decisive. The Greek word for ungodliness is asebeia and also means impiety, and or wickedness. Impiety defined is ungodliness; irreverence towards the Supreme being; contempt of the divine character and authority; neglect of the divine precepts. Unrighteousness is the Greek word adikia and means (legal) injustice (properly the quality, by implication the act); moral wrongfulness (of character, life or act): – iniquity, unjust, unrighteousness, wrong.

      In continuing to substitute words and phrases into the verse, we get: For the violent passion of God is disclosed from heaven, against all irreverence of God, contempt of His character, and neglect of His precepts.

      The dictionary explanation of the word precepts goes like this: “In a general sense, any commandment or order intended as an authoritative rule of action; but applied particularly to commands respecting moral conduct.”

      We who follow Christ are deemed by God to be in Christ. This wrath that is to be poured out would have been meant for us, but since Christ took the wrath that we deserved upon himself, we do not have to endure that wrath. Here is where most have problems, as they cannot disseminate between the tribulations that are a part of being in this world and the wrath that is to come (see Romans 5:9 or 1Thessalonians 1:10.) The wrath that is coming is to be poured out upon the nations, the Jews, and those have displayed irreverence of God, contempt of His character, and neglect of His precepts. Sorry, you don’t get to stop here as the wrath is directed at particular people.

      • Of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, Suppress seems simple enough, that is until you look the word up in the Greek. It is the word katechō and means to hold down (fast), in various applications (literally or figuratively): – have, hold (fast), keep (in memory), let, X, make toward, possess, retain, seize on, stay, take, withhold. Thayer’s definitions indicate: to restrain, hinder (the course or progress of.) Take a moment to read Romans 2:8,9

      Working off what we have so far: For the violent passion of God is disclosed from heaven, against all irreverence of God, contempt of His character, and neglect of His precepts, of men who have restrained others from finding the truth, and in many cases have hindered the people from the truth.

      Are you aware that Isaiah 53 is a forbidden chapter in Israel’s Synagogues? What does Isaiah 53 speak of? The Messiah and the price He was to pay by His death.

      I was angrily confronted one day when a brother in Christ tried to dispute the idea that Jesus could come back at any minute. This brother in Christ told me that everybody, according to scripture, had to have a printed copy of the Bible before Christ could return. I think for some, this will be bad news, and Romans 1:19 is the reason why.

      Romans 1:19-20 NLT  They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.  (20)  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

      Creation testifies of God, and therefore, nobody will have an excuse as they stand before God.

      Posted in Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

      Romans 1:16-17, I am not ashamed.

      As a child, raised in the church, the idea of being a missionary was shoved down our throats constantly. Being a missionary meant preaching, trying to convert all the people you came in contact with, and because most of these people did not go to our church, they were obviously lost and we had the exhortation to save their souls. (You can see a problem with that attitude I hope.)

      At one church, under pressure from a friend and the peer group, I became a part of the Sunday evening visitor contact team. To do this, I had to go through the short training that our church had put together; they called it the Roman road; you know, Romans 3:16 and others, where it says, God so loved the world and so on. I hated the home visits for the most part with one exception. A lady had filled out a card and asked for prayer; she was extremely heavy and had difficulty walking. Because she was one of our visits, I developed a friendship and relationship with her and her family and went back to visit several more times on my own.

      Overall, my public speaking ability was greatly hampered by introversion and childhood insecurities. We frequently got hard nudges from pastors and guest speakers, as they tried to push us to be exactly like them.

      I, for the most part, got over my insecurities, however, on occasions I still feel twinges of fear trying to assert its control over me. Fortunately, I have learned to conquer fears grip. One of those occasions came as I sat with a group of about 80 men to study at a church I was attending. The group leader got up and started introducing the speaker, saying how much he loved this guy, and then he called my name. I had no idea that we were that close. As I think back on that period of time I was also in a Celebrate Recovery group, and this particular leader would attend on occasions; maybe he heard me speak, which I did twice. Unannounced, with no intentional preparation, I chose to act like I knew what I was doing. In actuality, I had done the teaching just two days before on Sunday morning, so it was still reasonably fresh in my mind. I walked away from that moment much like Paul as he opens this next section of Romans, unashamed.

      Romans 1:16-17 NLT  For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.  (17)  This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

      • For I am not ashamed –

      Ashamed is the Greek word epaischunomai, and means to feel shame for something: or to be ashamed. The Webster’s dictionary explanation of ashamed goes like this: To be affected by shame; abashed or confused by guilt or a conviction of some criminal action or indecorous conduct, or by the exposure of some gross errors or misconduct, which the person is conscious must be wrong, and which tends to impair his honor or reputation.

      Had Paul broken any laws of the local government? No, but he was going against the grain of the religious system. In heavily populated Jewish communities, the Synagogue elders or council upheld the law of Moses. Since there were laws that restricted work on the Sabbath, then he could have been punished for that, but as a rule, if you know Paul’s story, you don’t see him breaking Sabbath laws.

      Paul was an expert in the law of Moses prior to preaching this good news about Jesus as the Messiah. Teaching about, Jesus the Messiah, now that could have got him in trouble, as the majority of the Jewish community submitted to the council elders and too would have seen Paul as blasphemous for preaching about a grace-filled life in Jesus. After all, their hope, as a Jew, was wrapped up in sacrifices.

      This teaching of grace alone would have put Paul at odds with the Jewish councils, for there was an entire economy wrapped up in the sacrificial temple system. In time we do find Paul being attacked by an angry mob for that very thing, as this good news Paul preached set some of those who worshiped idols free; these were the same idols that many of the townsfolk stopped buying and therefore impacted a local economy.

      So, if Paul is affected by shame; confused by guilt, or has a conviction of some criminal action, it seems rather apparent that it would have been at the hands of the Jewish religious community. Paul did nothing to draw feelings or guilt upon himself in any manner.

      • Of this Good News about Christ.

      Prior to his conversion on the road to Damascus, the only thing Paul knew about Jesus was what he witnessed from the sidelines, as the Synagogue elders cried out for the Romans to crucify Jesus. Saul, as we would have known him then, probably watched as they hung Jesus on the cross. He most likely did not know that Jesus said he would rise again. Paul would not have been aware of the numerous miracles that Jesus performed; nor did he know or experience the unique relationship Jesus had with the Father God. (Why say unique, because no one spoke to the Father, nor called Him Father, the way Jesus did.)

      So all that Paul learned of this grace either came from the vision on the Damascus road, or the three years that he spent seeking God’s face in Arabia. Consider how Saul/Paul was a master of the Law and the Prophets; in practicality, he was working on his Doctorate when the Lord found him that day (They did not have a Doctoral system of education.) That means Paul finished his education in the deserts of the Sinai peninsula, the same deserts that Moses had to wander in, and, if all that Paul preached was in God’s eyes, reworked information, then Paul found the grace and mercy that he taught in what many perceive as the most restrictive books in the Bible. (This restrictiveness is why many will not touch the Old Testament.)

      • It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.

      The phrase, it is, speaks of the Good News about Christ. If time permits and God is willing, we will eventually discuss all that the Good News/power of Christ entails. Since we have Bibles, something that neither Paul nor the early church had, we have God’s Word in a nicely packaged form. If you are like me, then you have concordances and can quickly look up the most straightforward of words and find intricacies you did not know existed. And, you can cross-reference items such as the phrase “it is the power of God at work.” That cross-reference work will lead you to passages like you see below.

      While Jeremiah 23:29 speaks of power, the mercy and grace evade me. NASB “Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?

      This next one is deep. 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 NLT  So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended, and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.  (24)  But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

      In pondering these two verses, I see that the truth is all wrapped up in Jesus submission to the cross. Christ is the power and wisdom of God, that is a lot, and it is all that I need to understand, but that is probably not going to happen in the few pages I allow myself to work with.

      In case you missed it, this process of understanding happens among those called by God to salvation. This means you.

      Paul tells us in Romans 1:17 NLT, that –

      • This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight.

      Whether it is instantaneous, or after a while, we are made righteous. What does that word righteous mean? Webster’s dictionary tells us that it means just; accordant to the divine law. Applied to persons, it denotes one who is holy in heart, and observant of the divine commands in practice; as a righteous man. Since we are born broken thanks to Adam’s treason, it would be impossible for us to attain any righteousness unless something extraordinary took place. Well, something did take place, and now we back to Christ crucified. Christ’s willing submission paid the price that our sin/brokenness demanded; it demanded our death, but He died in our place and took the penalty for that sin away.

      Are you kidding me, if God made us right, then that means I am a free man?

      Well, yes and no. Yes, your price was paid, but much like my adoption agency scenario, in which God comes and pays for all of us to go home with him. The No side of this is that we still, in a sense, have to get off our lazy butts, put down the game controller and sign the paperwork that demonstrates our willingness to go with Him. There is no paperwork in God’s plan, as acceptance comes in the form of you, by faith, asking Him to take over your life and the mess you have made with it. If this statement were to change anything, it should change the way we look at, and speak to people, for they are all loved, welcomed, and forgiven by the Father.

      • This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

      There is nothing you can do to make yourself righteous. I know, there are many religions that advocate works, such as Islam, but even they would not dare guarantee that you can obtain right standing with their god. It works this way in virtually every religion but Christianity. Sadly, because of false teachings and poor leadership you can find religious legalism in Christianity as well.

      An example of this legalism came a couple of years ago at a Sunday evening service I attended at a Christian church. The Pastor that evening said, if you have had a miracle in your life, then come forward so that you can pray for others; so I did. As expected no one came to me, so as I stood there twiddling my thumbs, the spirit of the Lord said to me, that lady. I pointed at her and motioned for her to come down front. There was, of course, some hesitancy as I am told that I can be seen as a big, somewhat scary man, but as I waited the Holy Spirit said, go get them. By this time she was gathering her husband and others to go with her. We all prayed as the Holy Spirit gave me the words to say to them. We cried, hugged and had a great time, and then they returned to their seats. Only moments later this tall, angry lady, came charging over to me and demanded to know who gave me permission to pray over people. I know what I wanted to say, like did you listen to anything the Pastor said? But I did not. I merely pointed to the Pastor and said, he did. She huffed and rattled on about classes that must be attended. I never attended those classes and no longer participate in that church. She, on the other hand, was laid off.

      Its all through faith and I have faith in the one who sent me. That faith also anchors me in the hope of an eternity of peace and joy with Him. I so long for that.

      Posted in Apostle Paul, bible study, confidence, Faith, finisher, forgive, Freedom from sin, Jesus, Jews, Mercy, restore, Romans, Sin, the good news, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

      He was reading a fictional story based on Revelation 13.

      Recently I turned to one of my “Christian” radio stations and heard Dr. David Jeremiah reading from his fictional book, which, he told us, is based upon Revelation 13. I had missed the introduction that he would have usually given, and so I cannot inform you which book Dr. Jeremiah was reading from; a strong possibility could be “Agents of the Apocalypse: A Riveting Look at the Key Players of the End Times.” Since Dr. Jeremiah wrote this book also, and it speaks of the Antichrist, a key player in the apocalypse, then it would be a logical assumption.

      Here is the problem; although he is reading a fictional story, he tells us that it is based on scripture. The immediate inclination, on the part of the naive, is to think that what he is saying is exactly the way this particular scenario will play out. Dr. Jeremiah, as I entered the radio program, was talking about a character, that in just a matter of minutes, is demonstrated to be the Antichrist.

      I get it that most choose not to believe how gullible we are so I will give you a powerful example.

      In 1938 Orson Welles produced and introduced a radio production of H.G. Wells novel “The War of the Worlds.” “The one-hour program began with the theme music for the Mercury Theater on the Air and an announcement that the evening’s show was an adaptation of The War of the Worlds. Orson Welles then read a prologue which was closely based on the opening of H.G. Wells’ novel but modified to place the story’s setting in 1939. The next half hour of the broadcast was presented as a typical evening of radio programming being interrupted by a series of news bulletins. The first few bulletins cut into a program of dance music and describe a series of odd explosions observed on Mars. The episode became famous for causing panic among its listening audience, though the scale of that panic is disputed, as the program had relatively few listeners. The program has become famous for supposedly tricking some of its listeners into believing that a Martian invasion was actually taking place. The illusion of realism was furthered because the Mercury Theater on the Air was a sustaining show without commercial interruptions, and the first break in the program came almost 30 minutes after the introduction. Popular legend holds that some of the radio audience may have been listening to The Chase and Sanborn Hour with Edgar Bergen and tuned in to “The War of the Worlds” during a musical interlude, thereby missing the clear introduction that the show was a drama; however, contemporary research suggests that this happened only in rare instances.[3]:67–69

      In the days after the adaptation, widespread outrage was expressed in the media. The program’s news-bulletin format was described as deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the broadcasters and calls for regulation by the Federal Communications Commission.[2] Nevertheless, the episode secured Welles’s fame as a dramatist.” (Sourced from Wikipedia:

      When I turned on Dr. Jeremiah’s radio program that day, he is introducing a character; based on the description, he easily could have been an Archbishop. Given permission to enter, the primary, fictitious characters office he steps forward and presents his case for a one world government and its one world religion. The person that we will soon understand to be the Antichrist responds with, excellent, as he refers to the Archbishop by name. I am glad you brought this up as it is something I feel strongly about; we need to talk about this more, but I must go ready myself for a critical, televised meeting. Hold your thought, and we will speak again about this matter. Within minutes of this meeting, the Antichrist character is shot in the head by an assassin. The doctors at the hospital declared him dead as there was no brain function and the Archbishop was called to the hospital room to say a prayer over the man. As the Archbishop begins to pray some standardized prayers over the deceased, the Antichrist character sits upright. Much to the surprise of everyone in the room the man who was dead only moments ago from an undeniable and severe head wound, now has no evidence of any injury to his head. With several short discussions, we find out that the plans are already in place to mark the citizens of the world in a manner that would cause all to be subject to this universal mark, and the “beast.”

      While it makes for an exciting read, it is FICTION and must be looked at in that light alone.

      Since Dr. Jeremiah informed his audience that the story is based in Revelation 13, then it behooves to study this out, and that is what we are going to do.

      Revelation 13:1-2 NASB And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. (2) And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.

      Alright, in reading the first two verses, especially those which describe the beast, you should be asking, is there anything like this? The answer is a resounding NO unless the beast represents some other things.

      Here is a massive clue for you, in attempting to “interpret” scripture, there is nothing new under the sun, and so you should be able to find comparable scriptures to help you understand. Do we have such a thing with this beast? YES!

      Read Daniel 7: 1-8, and you will discover four kingdoms referred to as beasts; descriptions of the same animals that we see in Revelation 13, and the mention of horns and heads. The Jews gave considerable credence to prophetic patterns, and so should we.

      In Revelation 13:3 we see one of the many heads sustain a head wound as though it had been killed.

      Revelation 13:3 NASB I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;

      As a child I can remember, while on the playground at school, learning that our, then President, John F. Kennedy, had been assassinated, shot in the head. It seemed that the entire religious world watched and waited for him to come back to life; not because they thought he was evil, but because he was so well liked. He did not come back from the dead, and so life went on, and everyone went back to looking for the next potential Antichrist.

      Another consideration for us. Daniel is one of the leading players when it comes to understanding the scheme of things in Revelation 13.

      In Daniel chapter two Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. Daniel not only told the king what the dream was, but he explained what it meant. Daniel spoke in a language that the king could understand; in other words, he did not get all religious and spout high church theology. Daniel started by saying, “that head of gold is you oh king.” Gold represents the noblest position, and although Nebuchadnezzar may not have been the noblest representative for God, he is undoubtedly a resounding message to us all, as this first kingdom was the Babylonian empire. If God’s Word is true and logical, and it is, then it easy to assume such standards for the other kingdoms as well, and Daniel told us that there were to be three more. Daniel and history have helped us to understand.

      In Daniel chapter five Nebuchadnezzar we must assume is dead and his son Belshazzar is now king. We learn that Belshazzar gave a great party, and God saw fit to provide him with a great sign, handwriting on the wall. Daniel was eventually brought in to interpret, and this is what he read:

      “This is the interpretation of the message: ‘MENE’–God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. ” ‘TEKEL’–you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. ” ‘PERES’–your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.” (Daniel 5:26-28 NASB)

      Clear cut evidence that the second empire, or head, is the Medo-Persian empire.

      Wikipedia gives us this information:

      In 334 BC after re-imposing control over the southern Greek City-States, Alexander began his invasion of the Persian Empire by conquering Asia Minor (Turkey), then Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. He then invaded Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), defeated the Persians at the Battle of Arbela (or Gaugamela) and conquered Babylon.

      Thanks to history we can understand that the third empire is the Grecian empire under Alexander’s rule.

      The fourth empire is a bit of a mystery as the typical, but ill-conceived school of thought tries to tell us that we should be looking for a resurrected Roman Empire. The “evidence” they use to back their argument for this comes from Daniel chapter 9.

      “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26 NASB)

      Most attribute the title of “prince” to Antiochus Epiphanes, a Roman general who, desecrated the temple, but the scripture gives us every reason to believe that another temple (a third temple) will be built and that it once again will be desecrated.

      Another argument is one that ignores the historical record given by both Josephus and Tacitus and attributes the destruction of the temple to the Roman army, an act in conflict with recorded history.

      Josephus indicated that conscripted Assyrian troops, marching under the Roman flag, disobeyed commands from Titus to desist, and because of their violent hatred of the Jews, destroyed the temple. (Wars of the Jews, book 6 chapter 4.) This train of thought should help to undo the theory that we are looking for the Antichrist to come out of a restored Roman empire.

      So what are we left with for options? Some common sense and history can help us figure that out.

      After the death of Alexander, the Grecian empire dissolved under two remaining generals of Alexander, Ptolemy in the South (Egypt and Northern Africa), and Seleucid in North. The Seleucid empire took in the Assyrian empire which included the Babylonian empire, extended into Egypt, and North where they held allegiances with the Scythians of Asia and Southern Russia. Remnants of the Seleucid and Ptolemaic empires still exist today, as does the Assyrian empire under Islamic rule.

      Since this head is NOT a man, although it is definite that a man will soon step up and try to lead whatever this entity is.

      What then are we talking about? An ideology such as Islam, a fallen angel/demon that controls blindsided nations and people? In 1924 the world thought they had killed off Islam and the damage the Ottoman Caliphate was causing. Only a fool would believe that the Caliphate is still dead. Hopefully, I have given you something logical to think about and therefore make a proper decision as to whom or what this head that sustains the mortal wound is.

      Posted in Antichrist, Apocalypse, apologetics, Assyrians, bible study, dragon, End times, false prophet, gullibility, Islam, Jews, leopard, lion, and bear, mortal wound, one world religion, Prophetic, Revelation, Revelation 13:3, seven headed beast, ten horns and seven heads | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

      I shall be blessed by the will of God to come to you. Romans 1:8-12.

      When I was young, I rarely found a trek through the Bible interesting. I suppose that had more to do with the person who was doing the teaching and their personality. I often find my character to be a bit quirky, and that adds a flair to my teaching efforts. In many ways I see things differently; I like to call it putting flesh and blood on the biblical characters. Perhaps that adds a bit of undue negativity but we all came out of the same mold, and therefore, struggle with similar issues.

      An example of this is my perception of Paul when he says; I unceasingly make mention of you in my prayers. How do I take this, especially when my trust-er is slightly broken? Paul had a history of throwing himself into his work; and, there is this tenacity that we find when we learn of his interactions. By paying attention, I have learned that I can trust Paul, just as I trust God and His word.

      With that being said, let’s dive in.

      Romans 1:8-10 LITV  First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of in all the world.  (9)  For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of His Son, how without ceasing I make mention of you  (10)  always at my prayers, beseeching if by any means now at length I shall be blessed by the will of God to come to you.

      • First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all,” …For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of His Son, how without ceasing I make mention of you  (10)  always at my prayers,”

      Paul tells us why he prays unceasingly for them.

      • Because your faith is spoken of in all the world.”

      This sentence is a positive accolade.

      Here are some verses that say something comparable.

      2 Corinthians 3:2-4 LITV  You are our letter, having been inscribed in our hearts, being known and being read by all men,  (3)  it having been made plain that you are Christ’s letter, served by us, not having been inscribed by ink, but by the Spirit of the living God, not in tablets of stone, but in fleshly tablets of the heart.  (4)  And we have such confidence through Christ toward God;

      Paul had a similar conviction about the church at Colossae; and, therefore, prayed unceasingly for them

      Colossians 1:9 LITV  For this cause also, from the day in which we heard, we do not cease praying on your behalf, and asking that you may be filled with the full knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding,

      And we can contrast Paul’s thoughts against John’s, as John says:

      3 John 1:3 LITV  For I rejoiced greatly at the coming of the brothers, also bearing witness of you in the truth, as you walk in truth.

      John’s audience bore witness to the truth and walked in it.

      • beseeching if by any means now at length I shall be blessed by the will of God to come to you.” So Paul has an earnest desire to be able to come and “visit” with them. I doubt that ever happened.

      Romans 1:11-12 Moffatt NT (11) For I do yearn to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift for your strengthening — (12) or, in other words, that I may be encouraged by meeting you, I by your faith and you by mine.

      • “For I do yearn to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift for your strengthening,” What that spiritual gift is we are not told. Later in this letter to the church in Rome Paul begins to clarify the idea of giftings.

      Romans 12:6 NET. And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If the gift is prophecy, that individual must use it in proportion to his faith.

      Again, what did Paul say to the church in Rome?

      Romans 1:11 NET. For I long to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you,

      What is my keyword here? Impart – To give, grant or communicate; to bestow on another a share or portion of something; To confer; To communicate the knowledge of something; to make known.

      So, through the laying on of hands, we can impart, not only spiritual gifts, but bestow, confer, and make known – to the best of our/God’s ability, the information concerning those gifts.

      In the case of Peter and John, the first realization they had of the Holy Spirit was on the Day of Pentecost. Is it possible that they had to learn by trial and error, or did they have a teacher? The best was Jesus, but aside from the examples He left them, we do not see Jesus teaching them directly about hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. The point here is that there is hope for us.

      • that I may be encouraged by meeting you, I by your faith and you by mine.”

      This letter to the church in Rome is what Paul says to, not only this church body but to your body as well. Obviously, Paul is no longer with us, but we who follow Christ are now His hands and feet, and we are compelled by this to encourage others and impart or convey any of a variety of spiritual gifts.

      Often, a simplistic reading only shows you what seems like selfish motives, such as Paul’s comment – “that I may be encouraged by you,” so it becomes necessary for us to pursue the context of the passage. Since Paul has given us his thoughts on multiple occasions – in his letters to the churches, we can understand that he cares about those that have come to follow Christ. Considering who he was and his personality that is difficult at best to comprehend.

      The annoying part of this process was a technique that my mother loved to push at us when we had a problem with someone. She would say, you need to ask God to change you. Now, why would I do that when clearly they are the problem? Mom would be relentless, and in time I would pray that prayer. Much like a wound that had been bothering you for weeks, and you suddenly realize that it was gone, this change would take place in me, and I would begin to see those people who caused me grief differently. I can only explain this as God intervening to change my heart.

      Merely telling you these things triggered a string of memories; memories in which I felt hatred toward certain people. In all honesty, I held this hatred, in many cases, for years, but something changed, and almost without notice I found myself able to see the value in them, and I cared for them. No, it did not happen all at once, or overnight, but with some, it did happen. Apparently, we can change.

      Posted in apologetics, Apostle Paul, bible study, confidence, disciple, disciplined, Faith, Freedom from sin, God's character, heart, impart, In Christ, Jesus, Jews, laying on of hands, Prayer, Romans, spiritual gifts, Thoughts on scripture, understanding | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

      Questions a friend asks me. Today’s is based in Matthew 18:10.

      Matthew 18:10 NASB “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.

      What are these angels doing in Matthew 18:10, do they guard children?

      When I look at the notes in my Dake’s bible I am referred to Psalm 34:7
      Psalms 34:7 NASB The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.

      So I can understand that angels operate on our behalf. But what does a child understand about fear for and of the Lord? They don’t unless we indoctrinate them with the notion that God can kill them, which He can, but that is not the nature and character of God, and certainly would not explain the caring and compassion God has for children.

      Knowing that God cares for children, then why would He allow such horrible things to happen to them, especially since there are angels assigned to them, just as they are assigned to us?

      I am not sure I can answer this appropriately, as there are innocent children, on a daily basis, kidnapped, tortured, blown up, and they were nothing more than innocent victims. One of my friends read a statistic that said there were 200,000 children that go missing every year in America.

      Where then were these angels?

      Perhaps God’s plan surpasses our understanding and is, therefore, a part of this mystery.

      In what other ways do angels surround us?

      • In the case of Elijah and Gehazi, they were surrounded by the Syrian army. Gehazi was the only that seemed terribly concerned by this and cries to Elijah about the situation as though Elijah did not know.

      2 Kings 6:15-17 NASB Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” (16) So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (17) Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

      • On behalf of Daniel, an angel shut the mouths of the lions.

      Daniel 6:22 NASB “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.”

      • The angel Gabriel came to deliver a message to Daniel and had to physically fight.

      Daniel 10:13 CJB  The prince of the kingdom of Persia prevented me from coming for twenty-one days; but Mikha’el, one of the chief princes, came to assist me; so that I was no longer needed there with the kings of Persia.

      • Angels are commissioned to work for us.

      Hebrews 1:14 NASB Are they, not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

      • In the latter days (days which we may see.) Michael will stand up and deliver those whose name is found written in the book.

      I can apply this to the church, or to the Jews in general. If I project the idea of latter days into the time of wrath, then it becomes those who are to be delivered because of their testimony. Sadly, for many, deliverance comes by the sword or some other form of death.

      Daniel 12:1 CJB  “When that time comes, Mikha’el, the great prince who champions your people, will stand up; and there will be a time of distress unparalleled between the time they became a nation and that moment. At that time, your people will be delivered, everyone whose name is found written in the book.

      • On our behalf

      Psalms 91:11 CJB  for he will order his angels to care for you and guard you wherever you go.

      The standard argument is, why then did He let me go through (insert the horror you experienced here?) The answer lies in God drawing your heart back to Him, and, should you survive it, making you the great witness that you are today.

      • If God knows already who his heirs are, then why do we need angels to guard us, and how does play into fate/destiny vs free will?

      The angels guard us because we are flimsy, weak, mortals, with an inherent genetic defect that drives us to sin. To prove my point the flood scenario depicts a pre-flood world left to its own devices, the world was filled with violence and every thought of man was evil.

      Free will works in opposition to God most every time. Free will is overrated. And fate is an allusion to sin. God is in control, no matter what it looks like, and sometimes it looks like the bad guys just won.

      Posted in angels, apologetics, bible study, children, delivered, End times, Gabriel, God's character, guard, Heaven, Hope, In Christ, Israel, Jesus, Jews, Matthew's gospel, Michael, ministering spirits, Prophetic, rescue, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

      The Apostleship of Paul. Romans 1:1-6.

      Do you ever wonder what our purpose and goals are? I am not talking about standing at the door of a grocery store and passing out Jesus loves you tracks; I am talking about our hope and destiny. Well, I have and the conversations I have had with God sound a little like this. If this is not real and there is no home with you, living in peace, something I have rarely experienced, then I might as well go party with the fools, or eliminate some of the world’s bullies. In other words, without this hope, there is no purpose.

      Regardless of how I occasionally feel, there is hope and the promise of a life with the Father in this place we call heaven. All of His promises are for real.

      Paul’s words in his letter to the group of believers in Rome begins to spell that out to them.

      Romans 1:1-3 NLT  This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News.  (2)  God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures.  (3)  The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life, he was born into King David’s family line,

      Since I previously elaborated on Paul and this idea of being a slave of Christ Jesus, I will bypass that and move on. We make huge assumptions about the amount of time and the quality of that time that Paul spent with some of these groups of people. If he had, then they should have understood the calling(s) placed on Paul, but apparently, they did not, so Paul begins to tell them that God chose him –

      • To be an apostle
      • and that he was sent out to preach the Good News about Jesus Christ.

      Let’s pause here for a moment.

      Paul was, without doubt, a disciple, although not among those that Jesus hand-picked to walk with Him. That word merely means one disciplined; and Paul, when he went by the name Saul, was an adept disciple among the Pharisees.

      If someone wants to claim discipleship, you should be asking, for and of what? Consider how MMA fighters discipline themselves in multiple fighting styles to take on and defeat whatever comes against them; isn’t this is the goal and purpose of Apologists, such as Ravi Zacharias and others. 

      I am not good at Apologetics as my memory is not working so well anymore. I think about the religious groups that occasionally come to our door; most are young, trained to argue their theologies, and their memories are not betraying them as mine does.

      We would certainly expect an apostle to be a disciple or disciplined one. Apostles, on the other hand, are typically thought of as one set forth in the authority of another (like a pastor) – in our case, Jesus Christ. I, like many of you, assumed that an apostle was so much more than merely being a pastor. I suppose I got that impression because speakers with titles came to a couple of the churches I went to. The pastors in both cases made a big deal about these speakers, almost as if we should bow to them, and how they were not only an apostle but the pastor at their own churches. In the case of one church I attended, these guest speakers poured out accolades upon my pastor, announcing that he too was also an apostle (at one of them Pastor was almost like one of us in the sense that he rode a motorcycle with us.) For me, the problem with all this is that there are the implications that this man who assigns himself the title of apostle is automatically demanding that you treat him differently, almost as if he were some pontifical ruler.

      Definitions of an apostle read like this: Apostle – one sent forth. In the New Testament, the term was applied to the twelve disciples whom Jesus sent forth to preach the gospel and to be with him during his ministry on earth. It also implies ‘one commissioned’ – a Hebrew word which signifies that the person is not merely a messenger but a delegate, bearing a commission, and, within the limits of his commission, wielding his commissioner’s authority. And, finally, A person sent by another; a messenger; envoy. This word is used as a descriptive designation of Jesus Christ, the Sent of the Father (Hebrews 3:1; John 20:21).

      So, with the little we know about the Apostle Paul let’s see if we can match Paul with some of these characteristics I see in this definition above?

      • One commissioned.
      • not merely a messenger but a delegate
      • bearing a commission
      • wielding his commissioner’s authority
      • A person sent by another;

      Paul was all those things, as he preached and taught a message of good news.

      I, Paul, am a devoted slave of Jesus Christ on assignment, authorized as an apostle to proclaim God’s words and acts. 
      (Romans 1:1a MSG)

      It doesn’t take a vivid imagination to picture what life was like under the oppressive rule of the Pharisees, and the Roman law. A hot shower and a flushing toilet were unheard of, for anyone to stand their ground against the constant draw toward selfish hedonism could have been unbearable. Not so dissimilar to how we live today.

      So, what to them would have been good news?

      To the Jews, who longed for the Messiah to come and rule over them in a peaceable kingdom, good news meant just that. There is a problem with that, as their Jewish leadership only just a short time before, they rejected and killed the Messiah. (Most Jews did not know that Jesus death was all a part of the more excellent plan to redeem humanity.)

      Those outside of the Jewish religion might have only seen the oppressiveness of Roman rule, or the lack of sustenance. The good news it seems means different things depending upon the condition. The sad part is that we, with our inherent brokenness, do not realize that the sadness we feel comes from brokenness inside of us which calls out to be redeemed and longs for the hope – the good news.

      God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures.”

      What exactly did God promise?

      While most might miss the promise in Genesis chapter three, it is there. Genesis 3:14-15 NASB

      The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; (15) And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

      God, speaking to Eve about her descendants/seed, promised that they would bruise him/the serpent, on the heel. This ability to damage the serpent, no less than the promises made to Abram, were taught and passed along through oral history.

      Genesis 12:1-3 NASB Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; (2) And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; (3) And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you, all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

      • A land
      • a great nation
      • I will make your name great
      • And you shall be a blessing

      One last thing.

      • I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you, all the families of the earth will be blessed.

      How could all families on earth be blessed since there are atheists, and diverse religions not accepting of the one true God? The answer is only found in Jesus, and the price He paid on that cross. That price was more than enough to cover all humanity, for all time, obtaining their forgiveness.

      You would think that what Jesus did on that cross should have removed everyone from any list destined for the great white throne and any eternal damnation, and it did. Sadly, we know some will follow Satan to his destruction, so how do I explain that? Simple, since no man comes to the Father, but through Jesus, the Son, then there has to be an acceptance, not only of who He is, but what He did for the individual. Because you and I cannot see the heart, we do not know what that looks like. I am quite convinced that it does not have to look like some standardized religious experience. So, this blessing is obtained through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

      We should be able to grasp some of Paul’s direction at this point, and one of those directives was to preach the Good news, which Paul spells out in the following verses.

      • The Good News is about his Son. (Romans 1:3 NLT) Jesus, and
      • He was shown to be the Son of God (Romans 1:4 NLT)
        • In the gospels, we are introduced to family lineage. This heritage is something intensely relevant in the Jewish community, as it is traceable to King David’s family line, and the information we are given fulfills prophecy.
        • He, Jesus, was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. And the words of Jesus who said,
        • He is Jesus Christ our Lord.
      • Romans 1:5 in the NASB it reads like this – “through whom we have received grace and apostleship.”

      The NASB has that word I struggle with, apostleship, so let’s look at it in another translation and see if it makes any more sense.

      Through whom grace has been given to us, sending us out to make disciples to the faith among all nations, for his name: (Romans 1:5 BBE)

      An emissary, which we are, is merely one commissioned on behalf of another, most often thought of as a representative. Every nation has its ambassadors, but I wouldn’t want to have someone who is drunk trying to represent me, but that is another story. Look at these words in the CJB version, “promoting trust-grounded obedience.” Trust must be developed, and it is built through words and actions. Doesn’t that imply that we are to demonstrate those words and actions ourselves?

      • (This grace and apostleship) includes you, who have been called by Yeshua the Messiah. (Romans 1:6 CJB) Unless you were born of Jewish heritage, you were considered a gentile, but through your acceptance of Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah you have been grafted into the rootstock, Israel. Since that grafting took place, we who follow Jesus are part of the vine that God pours His heart and life into. This integration into spiritual Israel is a disappointment to those who believe in replacement theology. To others, salvation is something distant that they can never attain, nor be accepted into, but you are wrong. Redemption and love like you have never known is only a breath away, as you, by your acceptance, hand your life over to Jesus the Messiah, and accept the mercy and grace that was paid for at the cross.
      Posted in apologetics, Apostle Paul, apostles, bible study, commissioned, Cult teachings, Deception, disciple, disciplined, End times, false teaching, gentiles, good news, hypocrisy, Jews, preach, Romans, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

      On the idea of judgment. 1Corinthians 6:2,3.

      The conversation was wrapped around a challenge from the local university students who asked my friend what he thought of the idea that angels are superior to humans, God’s creation. I suppose this challenge emanated from some liberal professor who suggested the idea. While my friend offered a reasonable response to the students, who asked, it opened the door to more questions in my friend’s mind. That led him to open the mornings Bible study with the following verse, an aspect of his response to the students.

      1 Corinthians 6:2-3 ISV  You know that the saints will rule the world, don’t you? And if the world is going to be ruled by you, can’t you handle insignificant cases?  (3)  You know that we will rule angels, not to mention things in this life, don’t you?

      The premise is that “we,” those of us who are in Christ, from the millennial reign forward, will rule angels. The KJV has a much harsher tone.

      1 Corinthians 6:3 KJV  Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?

      If I had nothing else to work with, I suppose I could make an argument against the idea that we, those who are in Christ, not just humankind, are the people who are engrafted into the vine shall judge the angels (A huge but legitimate assumption here is that these are the fallen angels. I am not sure what role we might play in that decision-making process seeing as they have already been judged.) I do not think that a general population should or would be able to judge angels. I certainly don’t remember a moment in time when I felt like I was capable of judging any angelic being. If I thought I could apply this to Satan, there is this verse that puts me in my place.

      Jude 1:9 NLT  But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.)

      What this tells me is that my words, without the power of the Holy Spirit and the name of Jesus, are pointless and ineffectual against an angel created by God – regardless of whether the angel is fallen or not. Ah, but we who are in Christ are not impotent against Satan and the uncountable number of fallen angels/demons who fell with him; however, the name of Jesus is the only effective weapon we have. Since Satan has proven that he too knows the Words of God, then you should know that he will challenge everything you do and say – it is his nature.

      In a sense, I suppose that I have judged Satan merely by speaking against his actions in Jesus name, but not really. Satan has already been judged, although his final fate is yet to come in its entirety. What I am doing when I stand against him in Jesus name, is little more than taking advantage of a right given to me as a Son and an heir.

      By the way: in Hebrews 1:7 the writer is talking about angels and the context is adequately laid out when he refers to angels as ministering spirits. Now moving forward to a few verses in Hebrews 1:14 we see that these same angels are working and on behalf of those who are heirs of salvation. We, who are followers of Christ are those heirs.

      Having covered the topic of judging an angelic being let’s move on to the context of Paul’s thoughts – the judgment of a person within the church body/community of believers.

      1 Corinthians 5:1 CJB  It is actually being reported that there is sexual sin among you, and it is sexual sin of a kind that is condemned even by pagans—a man is living with his stepmother!

      Having spent some time around “pagans” I find they are fairly accepting of most anything that can be deemed fun, that is until it comes to someone messing with their woman or wife.

      Ask yourself this question. How would anybody have known this kind of nonsense was going on unless the man was telling far too many people about his actions?

      • The offender is taking pictures of his lewd acts with this participating woman and sharing them with people. Actions like this are nothing less than bragging about what he has done. And, you must assume that he has shared this information at church. I know many of you think I am preposterous thinking that this would never happen, but I am telling you this because I worked with such a man; a man who claimed to be a Christian just because he was a Catholic, who during his working hours on the customer service floor, would share pictures of partially clothed women with his fellow employees. These were pictures of women with whom he claimed he had committed adultery.
      • What kind of father would not have a clue about this activity?

      For the most part, I have no idea what kind of massive failures you are involved in unless you share that information with the wrong people or you speak too freely.

      Watch Paul’s response.

      “And you stay proud? Shouldn’t you rather have felt some sadness that would have led you to remove from your company the man who has done this thing?” 1 Corinthians 5:2 CJB 

      Think about this for a moment; under ideal circumstances, which rarely happens in church communities, we are supposed to be able to share, or confess, if you will, our shortcomings and struggles. Assuming we feel safe enough to share the worst of it, and the group reacts poorly to what you say, and removes you from the entire church community, where else do you go? If you were serious about wanting some change in your life, what then becomes of you if they excommunicate you? It all seems a bit short-sighted, unless, your sin (missing the mark – or moral standard set up by the community,) is something intentional, blatant, forward, and little more than bragging.

      Another example that may help us all understand.

      Many years ago, there was a television pastor by the name of Dr. Gene Scott. He was an intense man, who had done his homework and taught with a passion I rarely see. But, Dr. Scott also understood this grace that Paul preached, to the point of taking it much too far. He seemed to ignore Paul’s words, which tell us that we are not to offend our weaker brothers. Dr. Scott’s attitude was more of buckle up, shut up, and hang on. I stopped watching him when he began to sip scotch and smoke cigars while he taught.

      Perhaps this brother in Christ we see in 1 Cor 5:1 had a much broader vision of grace than I have. I find myself struggling with the grace some people live in; not because they are “sinning” but because my childhood and early church indoctrination pushed me toward a life of restrictions, and therefore I struggle with the personal freedoms of others when I want to have a little freedom myself.

      Paul’s solution to a horrendous sin problem within the church.

      1 Corinthians 5:3-5 CJB  For I myself, even though I am absent physically, am with you spiritually; and I have already judged the man who has done this as if I were present.  (4)  In the name of the Lord Yeshua, when you are assembled, with me present spiritually and the power of our Lord Yeshua among us,  (5)  hand over such a person to the Adversary for his old nature to be destroyed, so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord.

      This scenario wasn’t just about the man sleeping with his father’s wife; the whole church, by their lack of action, seems to have played some sick role in this.

      1 Corinthians 5:6 NLT  Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough?

      Who is Paul talking to when he says, “your boasting about this is terrible.”? He is talking about the congregation.

      We have such a twisted idea of manhood if we feel that we have to smile, laugh, and condone garbage like this. I see this type of activity as high school jock mentality, and sadly it emanates from broken father-son relationships.

      1 Corinthians 5:9-11 NLT  When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin.  (10)  But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that.  (11)  I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.

      The idea of sexual sin seems so disgusting, especially when you think about how you might come to know this information. If it is shared in small groups, it is supposed to stay private within the group, unless it is harmful or illegal; even then, let management handle it. But what of this terminology which we find so much easier to accept, like people who are: greedy, abusive, or one who cheats people. These individuals are people within the church body, and apparently, they are bragging about what they do.

      So, if we deal with problems aren’t we then judging? Again, watch what Paul says,

      1 Corinthians 5:12-13 NLT  It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.  (13)  God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

      • It is NOT my responsibility to judge outsiders, Why not? Because Jesus took all wrath and judgment upon himself on the cross. The only thing left to be judged would be, what did you do with Jesus?
      • but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.” Paul already spelled out what that looks like, and it doesn’t have to be a colossal waste of words, although I can almost guarantee you that the offender will believe they deserve punishment.

      “In the name of the Lord Yeshua, when you are assembled, with me present spiritually and the power of our Lord Yeshua among us, hand over such a person to the Adversary for his old nature to be destroyed, so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord.”

      So, it is not merely sending the person to hell, as many seem to desire, but the eventual preservation of the soul in the Day of the Lord.

      How can that be? Because Jesus NEVER lost one that was His. Imagine what this does to Judas?

      • “ God will judge those on the outside.”

      In Deuteronomy 17 God lays out the details for dealing with anything God finds detestable. Here is the Complete Jewish Bible version on this.

      If there is found among you, within any of your gates [in any city] that Adonai your God gives you, a man or woman who does what Adonai your God sees as wicked, transgressing his covenant by going and serving other gods and worshiping them, the sun, the moon, or anything in the sky—something I have forbidden— and it is told to you, or you hear about it; then you are to investigate the matter diligently. If it is true; if it is confirmed that such detestable things are being done in Israel; then you are to bring the man or woman who has done this wicked thing to your city gates, and stone that man or woman to death. The death sentence is to be carried out only if there was testimony from two or three witnesses; he may not be sentenced to death on the testimony of only one witness. The witnesses are to be the first to stone him to death; afterward, all the people are to stone him. Thus you will put an end to this wickedness among you. (Deuteronomy 17:2-7 CJB)

      All of this leads to 1 Corinthians 6:1-3 and the question that was presented to me, as the result of this challenge by the university students, when they asked if angels were superior to humans?

      Since my friend typically barrages me with several random questions each evening, this was no different. In this case, he gave them a reasonable answer and was looking to validate his response to them.

      1 Corinthians 6:1-3 CJB  How dare one of you with a complaint against another go to court before pagan judges and not before God’s people?  (2)  Don’t you know that God’s people are going to judge the universe? If you are going to judge the universe, are you incompetent to judge these minor matters?  (3)  Don’t you know that we will judge angels, not to mention affairs of everyday life?

      From the information we obtain in verse three, one might reasonably assume that we are superior to the angels. Since we know that Satan and his band of fallen angels have already been judged, then why should God need us to do any further judging? It is preposterous to think that we should judge Michael or Gabriel for not moving quick enough, when they are typically busy, on our behalf, fighting what seems like a life or death struggle with demons bent on our destruction. So the obvious conclusion is that there is something here that goes beyond merely judging, the answer to which might require us to look at the original words that constitute the sentence.

      To judge is the Greek word kékrika, and it means to separate, distinguish, discriminate between good and evil, select, choose out the good. In the NT, it means to judge, to form or give an opinion after separating and considering the particulars of a case. Word Study Dictionary

      If we are to separate, then I can easily associate this Jesus separating the wheat from the tares. You do realize that wheat and tares (weeds such as foxtails,) have similar properties. For some, telling them apart could be difficult. Perhaps what we should be concerned with is the idea that the angels are not so dissimilar. But angels are not the only thing we will judge.

      We will judge the universe, but what does that look like?

      The universe or the world is the Greek word kosmos and means the orderly arrangement, that is, decoration; by implication the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants.) Strong’s concordance

      Since Isaiah 45:18 tells us that the earth was made to be lived in, then we can only assume that the “orderly arrangement,” was right or perfect. Genesis 1:2 speaks in opposition of this orderly arrangement. The obvious point here is that something horrendous happened. We know that God made a garden called Eden and put it in the center, but that doesn’t speak to the extremities, and this may play a role in this restoration of orderly arrangement.

      Again, how or why would we do that? We wouldn’t unless we are in Christ (integrated) as we are, and because of this integrated relationship however Christ judges we judge, and His judgments are true and right. While angels are created beings, we are created in God’s image, and because we are in Christ, then we are also God’s sons and will one day rule over the angels.

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