Love Exposes Sources of Division

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.  For your obedience is come abroad unto all. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.  And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” Romans 16:17-20  (KJB)

This is not dealing with the “love” the world professes; love and accept everybody, approving of all that they do – you know the verse most like to use, “Judge not, lest you be judged”.

The verses from Romans are dealing with division caused by those who are in ministry for power, popularity, and profit.  Love confronts evil of division; it never tolerates it; especially within the Body of Christ.

Some thoughts on this matter:

*There are people in some churches, or even who seek out churches where they can cause division; by teaching false doctrines, by the error of Balaam, ie., causing others to fall, etc..
*The one who teaches the truth of God’s Word and the gospel, and who labors for God and the people of God, and the ministry is not the source of division. The ones who come in trying to bring in heresies, and division are truly the dividers
* Unwillingness to be taught, false teaching, hatred envy, going outside God’s guidelines causes division in the local Church. An unwillingness to cooperate with godly leadership; a malicious, slanderous spirit and tongue are sources of division. The loving leader will expose, and correct those who are trouble makers within the Church.
*Do that which is good in the local Church. Be wise toward evil, its way and its harm.
*Grace is the element that sets Christianity apart from world religions.

Words of the Prophets – Genesis (5)

The Beginning of Sin

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Genesis 3:1-24 (KJV)

Take Hold; Draw Out

Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.
Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. Psalm 35:1-3 (KJB)

The thought that David is giving (concerning the “shield and buckler” v. 2) is that the LORD is his protection and strength against all his enemies; his accusers.  The LORD is our protection against the onslaught of the enemy, and our accusers.

There is none who can accuse quite as strongly, maybe even honestly as the devil, that old serpent, Satan himself.  John the revelator calls him the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10).  So when you are attacked, accused, ridiculed, or viciously beaten and bruised; yet, still living; God is your strength and your shield.

Let me make something plain from our text.  God, the LORD has no need of physical weapons such as a sword, a shield, or a buckler.  They are, however, great examples of God’s means for our protection and safe keeping.

When Stephen was stoned to death in the book of Acts chapter 7 verses 54 through 60 we find Jesus standing to welcome him to his new home with Him.  The Lord stands with us in our time of suffering and pain.  He is with you today.

If you have not trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior do that today.  He is your help, your shield, your strength. He is all those and more for all who trust in Him.

When The One Thousand Years are Complete

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 29:7-10 (KJV)

Satan is loosed from the abyss “to deceive the nations”, but only for “a little season” (v.3b).

Some have wondered why God would do such a thing. One thing it does is show us that God is in complete control and that the devil can do nothing but what God permits him to. Read Job 1 – 2, and you will see that Satan had to get permission to afflict Job.

Robert Govett, as quoted from the REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST by John Walvoord gives us four reasons why God looses Satan at the end of the millennium:

1. “To demonstrate that man even in the best environment will fall into sin if left to his own choice’;
2 ‘to demonstrate the foreknowledge of God who foretells the acts of men as well as His own acts’;
3. ‘to demonstrate the incurable wickedness of Satan’;
4. ‘to justify eternal punishment, that is to show the unchanged character of wicked people even under divine jurisdiction for a long period of time.”

The Gog and Magog seem to be likened to that of Ezekiel in chapters 38 and 39. This definitely shows us that it is not our circumstances that cause us to be righteous or evil, but it is the attitude of the heart. We see mankind has rejected the Most High and Holy during a long period of grace to the end of the tribulation period, and at the end of a long earthly reign of bliss.

How could children who have lived under the awesome rule of Christ turn from Him? We might ask Adam and Eve someday. The children born during the reign of Christ will be given a choice through the deceit of the devil. Those who choose the vices of Satan will rise up against our Lord only to be defeated.

Those who rise up against Christ, inspired by Satan, will surround the holy city only to fall in defeat in an instant.

Satan is judged. He is cast alive into the lake of fire. Notice the mention of the beast and false prophet (SEE also 19:20). After one thousand years they still exist in the lake of fire. Does this sound like annihilation? Not hardly.

There is an onslaught against the teaching and truth of an eternal judgment from professing Christians, as well as eager unbelievers to justify themselves and their lives.  Hell is just as real, and just as eternal as Heaven.  It is said that Jesus said more about Hell than He did of Heaven.  Now I have not checked that out, but if Jesus mentioned that often, then, He did it in warning to those who heard Him.

There is eternal judgment for those who do not believe and receive the precious Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  He died on Calvary’s cross, was buried, and He rose again.  You can spend eternity with Him or you can stay in your sin and condemnation, and spend eternity in Hell.  Christ Jesus died for us.  Call on His name.  He will hear you.

Cast Out of Heaven

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”  Revelation 12:7-12 (KJV)

When we read the book of Job in the Old Testament it appears that Satan has access to appear before God (Job1:6).

It seems that in the middle of the 7 years that Satan is cast out of Heaven, no longer having access to God. Because of this, he is allowed to wreak havoc on the earth – “cast out into the earth”. The last 3.5 years are catastrophic. In Colossians, we read…

“And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist…” Colossians 1:17

It is an encouraging thing for the Christian to know that God, through His Son Jesus, holds all things, all the elements under His control during the opening of the seals, the sounding of the trumpets, and the pouring out of the vials of wrath; Satan (the serpent) is deceiving minds and destroying mankind as never before.

“There was war in heaven”, John says. Michael [the fourth personality in this parenthetical scene], is representative of the great angelic host. These angels, ever faithful to God, stand firm to get the devil from before the throne of God.

In Scripture there are four references to the curtailing of Satan’s activities:

  1. Somewhere around the dawn of creation satan was cast out of his exalted position as an angel of God (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-15);
  2. Mid-way through the Great Tribulation Satan will be cast out from any access to God as accuser of believers (Revelation 12:10);
  3. At the beginning of the millennium he will be shut up in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-3);
  4. At the end of the millennium, he will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).

We will see, that since Satan will be cast out from even appearing before God that he will indulge in an all-out attack on the seed of the woman – anti-semitic attacks against all of Israel. He has always hated God’s people, whether it be Israel or the Church. Being no more able to accuse he attacks in all his limited wrath. God protects Israel.  We can see a great attack against Israel today.  Our President of the United States of America has declared Jerusalem as the Capital City of Israel.  His declaration was that the U. S. of A. will have our Embassy there going along with God’s declaration that Jerusalem is the City of David.

The “Loud voice” is one of rejoicing. It is not said whose voice it is.

It could be God’s. It could be the twenty-four elders. It could be the angels. It might be all the voices of heaven blended together as one.

It will be a glorious day in heaven when Satan will be cast out from being “The accuser of the brethren”.

HOW IS THE SPIRITUAL BATTLE WON?

  1. By the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross;
  2. By the testimony of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God;
  3. By loving Jesus with our lives [“loved not their lives unto the death”] (Mark 8:34-35; 10:31).

At this time there will be rejoicing in heaven, but great “woe” to those “Inhabiters of the earth”. Those refusing God’s grace through Jesus Christ will suffer both the wrath of Satan and the wrath of God. Satan will go all out. He will even try to destroy those who are his to lead them into eternal torment with himself. He knows his time is short. Satan is already defeated.  His head has been crushed.  All he can do is steal, kill, and destroy and wreak havoc in the world.

O will you turn your soul, heart, mind, and strength over to the Lamb of God who died to deliver you from Satan and from sin’s bondage?  Call on Him. He will hear you and save you.

A Great Wonder in Heaven

“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her Child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man Child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her Child was caught up unto God, and to His throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.”  Revelation 12:1-6 (KJV)

Jesus is the embodiment of God’s glory, born by Israel through Mary; the virgin at the time of His conception and birth; for the deliverance of sin, and to bring Israel through great tribulation to fulfill the promises of God, made to Abraham, David, Jesus, and all who believe, with much tribulation.

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 12:1-2 (KJV).

John sees a “Great wonder in heaven”. This is the first of seven persons…

“1) The woman, representing Israel, 2) the dragon, representing Satan, 3) the man-child, referring to Christ, 4) Michael, representing the angels, 5) Israel, the remnant of the seed of the woman, 6) the beast out of the sea, the world dictator, and 7) the beast out of the earth, the false prophet and religious leader of the world”. JOHN WALVOORD.

Beginning with chapter 12 through chapter 14 we have a parenthetical section which fills in some gaps during the trumpet and vial judgments.

The first of the seven characters is a “Great wonder”. Who is this woman? Is she the Church? Israel? Mary? When looking at her from scriptural understanding she is Israel (Romans 9:5). The nation, historically, gave birth to Jesus by Mary.

This woman being “Clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” can be identified with Genesis 37:9. The “sun” is Jaco, the “moon” Jacob’s wife, and the “eleven stars” Jacob’s eleven sons and Joseph making the twelfth.

Verse 2 seems to imply Israel’s trials and tribulations rather than Mary’s.

The second character in this scene is the “Red dragon”. He is evidently revealed to us as God sees him. Bloodthirsty and wicked. His “seven heads and ten horns, and crowns…” seem to identify him with earthly kingdoms – especially Rome. He is clearly representing the revived Roman empire and Satanic power.

Jonathan Edwards commenting on Hebrews 1:6-8 wrote, writing of Jesus’s birth…

“At that time when the Son of God appeared a poor little infant in a stable and manger then God said, ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him’ and then the angels had a great trial of their obedience greater than ever they had before.”

John Gerstner commenting on Edwards writes…

“…According to Edwards the fall of the angels occurred when announcement was made that they were to be ministering servants to men’s salvation.”  From THE RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS vol. 1, pg. 256

So we might assume that before the foundation of the world, before time, before history ever began, when Lucifer found out he was going to be a “Ministering servant” to mankind, he rebelled and took one-third of the angels with him. Some were confined to chains and some are loose.

Satan, the devil, hated that he was going to have to worship a baby human being, so instead of yielding allegiance to his Creator, he determined to do things his way. He set out to destroy this baby. He tried to tempt Him away from His destiny. Then, he tried to defeat Him in death. Lucifer, the devil has certainly tried to “Devour her child”. The child is the Messiah, the Savior of Israel. He is Jesus, my Savior, and Lord.

Verse 5 certainly makes clear who the man-child is. He is “To rule all nations” (Psalm 2:8). He will rule them with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 19:15).

If we look at this verse simply as read it would seem, that the child is born and is immediately “Caught up unto God and to His throne”, however, we must understand the way biblical prophecy works. In many Old Testament prophecies, there are gaps. Take for instance Luke 4:18-19 which is a quotation from Isaiah 61:1-2. Note, however, that Jesus only quoted through “…the acceptable year of the LORD”. The fulfillment of the rest is yet to come. The same is true of verse 5 of Revelation 12. “She brought forth a man-child who was to rule…”, but in the gap He was crucified, for the sins of men, was buried, rose again, then forty days later “was caught up unto God…”. The day is yet to come for Him to rule on earth.

The gap between the resurrection of Christ “Pentecost” and the “Rapture of the Church” is the Church age. The gap between the “Rapture” and the “Abomination of desolation” is a period of false peace. The time between the “abomination” and the rule of Christ on earth is the “Great tribulation”, or “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). “The time of Jacob’s trouble” is the final 3.5 years of “the tribulation” and that is when Israel will be divinely protected by God, according to verse 6. Evidently for the whole 1260 days of sorrow. This will work in them to bring out a remnant who trust Jesus as Messiah.

Will you trust in Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son for your eternal redemption?  Hear His voice, call on His name, and believe and be saved.  The greatest wonder of Heaven, and on earth is the Lord Jesus Himself.

When Allowances for Evil are Made

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath His eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 2:18-29

In these verses, we will see that Jesus, as the holy and righteous Judge, will not tolerate wickedness, corruption in His Church, but that He exposes and judges it, and sets apart those within the body who are not partakers of the vileness.

Jesus introduces Himself to the church of Thyatira as the Judge. He is one who exposes unrighteousness in the forms of heresy, idolatry, and all abominable acts.

This church was a corrupt church. Toleration of “Jezebel” is their chief sin. Refusing to confront and judge her themselves, Jesus would come and do so Himself.

False teachings still corrupt the church today. There is very little teaching of holiness or righteousness, but much about self-awareness and self-acceptance. There are also teachings of “Antinomianism” disguised as freedom in Christ, the priesthood of the believer, and the liberty of the Spirit. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” from the bondage of sin. We are not at liberty to sin, but at liberty to serve and follow Jesus Christ.

There may have been some who tolerated “Jezebel” in order to practice “Church Growth”. There is a “Jezebel spirit” in that area especially. BEWARE!!!

Verse 18 begins the longest letter, and it is addressed to the church of Thyatira.

This letter opens with a word of warning to the unrepentant church member. The way in which Jesus identifies Himself is the warning. “His eyes like unto a flame of fire and His feet are like fine brass” (1:14-15). His eyes are eyes which pierces through the hardest of hearts and determines the motive and sees the sin of every heart. The feet like fine brass. His feet are pure and He is worthy to judge all who fail to give Him place – His rightful place.

Thyatira was a small city approximately 40 miles East of Pergamum. It was known as a city which manufactured purple dye. It is mentioned in the book of Acts 16:14-15. Lydia, a purple merchant, was from Thyatira and very well could have been used by God to start this church.

The people of the church for reasons yet to be mentioned have to be reminded of the deity of Jesus Christ, therefore, in this letter alone does He identify Himself as the Son of God. What tragedy when the Church loses sight of His divinity.

This is a church that is the opposite of the church of Ephesus. It appears their love for Jesus was stronger, their works were not mere religion, but done out of true love for Jesus (v. 19).

The church of Ephesus had the works but not the love, but they hated false teaching and dealt with it. The church of Thyatira had the love but tolerated false teaching and evil. Both of these are in the extreme on opposite ends. There needs to be both a love for Jesus and hatred for false teaching and evil and confronting it. This church sounds much like many churches of the 21st century. “You can love the Lord, and other gods and things; we will love you, no matter what; and there will never be any judgment against you. Let’s love and tolerate one another.”

Sin and false teaching must be dealt with.

The condemnation against Thyatira is because of tolerance of evil, deceptive teaching led by a strong, domineering woman who is “Jezebel” in character. “Jezebel” is probably a symbolic character reminding the people of the domineering, deceptive practices of the queen of Israel in 1 Kings 16 and following, who led Israel into Baal worship while pretending to hold on to the worship of YaHWeH (vv. 20 – 23).

This woman may have had a large following because of her strong leadership abilities and her loose morals. She probably was seen by some as a peacemaker, a worker for unity, especially between Christians and the government, and employers who did not want Christians who stood up for their Savior. She was corrupting the Church. This was probably the beginning of Maryolotry. Putting the virgin Mary on equal, if not a greater scale with Jesus.

Jesus gave her time to repent, but she refused. All who yielded to her teachings and practices would be cast into judgment with her. The bed that had been a bed of pleasure and peace would become a bed of pestilence. “Kill her children with death” is showing pestilence – disease, plague, drought – it would end in death.

By this judgment, all the churches will know that Jesus knows the heart, mind, and motives of His people – and of the wicked as well. When these have sown seeds of corruption what is the harvest, except corruption – destruction.

“Jezebel” would be an unredeemed person who crept in by stealth and deceit. Her only purpose is to lead astray, corrupt, and destroy. God’s purpose would be to strengthen the believers.

To those who are pure – have kept themselves from this doctrine of “Jezebel” Jesus’s promise is to put no other burden upon them (vv. 24 – 25).

This is the third letter in which Jesus has mentioned the enemy (Satan). To Smyrna, He calls the false Jews, “The synagogue of Satan”. To Pergamos, He calls it the place “Where Satan’s seat is”, “Where Satan dwelleth”, and then of Thyatira, “Those who have not known the depths of Satan” – probably referring to indulgence to sinful idol worshipping practices which “Jezebel” practiced along with her followers. “Give in to the world. Be silent about your faith. Do not lose your job because of Jesus, just go along with the crowd”. God forbid that we give up and give in to “The depths of Satan”.

Jesus says to those who are faithful, “Hold on to that which you have.” Keep the faith. Be patient, “Until I come”. This is a promise of deliverance to the faithful.

In verses 26 – 28 Jesus mentions the overcomer. The overcomer operates by faith and keeps His works unto the end. He has no other life. He knows no other position, than the one he has in Jesus Christ.

Notice the mention of the Millenial reign of Jesus. Yes, I believe the millennial reign of Christ to be literal. There are hundreds of Old Testament passages having to do with the Kingdom of Christ on earth where the lamb will lie down with the lion and wolf, and children play over the dens of serpents. The “Overcomers” will be given a position of authority in that day. Remember! We are joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) and “All things under His feet” (Ephesians 1:22). This rule will be one of shepherding people who are on earth at that time. When do you see the “Morning star”? At the beginning of a new day. A new day begins in Jesus Christ. He is the Morning Star. The “Overcomer” is one who is a possession of Jesus, and Jesus is their possession.

Verse 29 gives us the call to hear. It is the first of the seven letters that have the invitation to hear on the very end of the letter.

It is at the end of the following three letters as well. Perhaps to let all know, who are reading and hearing these words, and find themselves in a similar predicament. Jesus will be the judge of all sin and sinners who do not repent of their sin. Woe be to the one who does not hear and heed the message to the church of Thyatira.

In conclusion, wickedness abounds in this world. This is not the time for the church to be tolerating evil practices and/or false teachings. When we give allegiance to the world and “Christ” we give no allegiance to Christ.

The world around us is looking for hope and deliverance from all the things which plague our world. The Church has the answer. If we follow the world, who does the world have to follow? We are the light that shines in the darkness. Evil corrupts, but the light will overcome.

Be a source of hope to a dark world by building on the foundation principles of the Word of God and His righteousness in Jesus Christ. Let the world know there is right in the Light.
Jesus, to this very day, is the Judge of all evil and corruption and He still will not tolerate evil, especially within His Body, which is the Church.

Participate in Righteousness – Inherit the Earth

“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.” Psalm 37:8-10 (KJV)

Many times when I see an evil deed done, my first thought is; “Death to the evil one”. If you have any righteous thought in you at all then when you see evil done you will have the thoughts too.

Defining evil in our day has gotten a bit complicated to many though. What used to be evil is now good; and what used to be good is now evil. The complication has come in due to evil itself.

Evil through the lies of Satan has been confused by what is deemed as love, which is actually tolerance mixed up with hatred. If someone is genuinely loved those who love them will correct them when they are in error; and endeavor to aid them, and direct them the right direction. The new idea of “love” is just let them be who they are; and they continue on in their self lies and affliction, misery and sin. What would you think of a doctor who discovers a cancer in your body, but does not tell you of the cancer because he “loves” you and is willing to let you continue as you are?

The Psalmist says to us. “Relax! Don’t React!” at least not with anger. We ought always be angry with evil, and the outcome of it; but let us also realize that in the end days evil will be judged, and those who practice it will be judged, and it shall be done away.

To “Wait upon the LORD” is not sitting idly by, but to keep on believing, trusting, doing those things we know we are to do. Be busy about the word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We cannot change evil, but evil will be judged. They that wait upon the LORD shall inherit the earth, they shall also “renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). Those who “Wait upon the LORD” are the meek who inherit the earth (v. 11; Matthew 5:5), as well.

Part of living a righteous life through Jesus Christ is living a life that confronts evil with the power of the word of God, and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the strength against evil in our world. The Psalmist believed evil would lose in the end. So do we.

Put an end to the evil in your life by trusting Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, His burial and resurrection. He removes the evil, and gives you His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Rejoice, Because Your Names are Written

Luke 10:17-20

1.  The seventy disciples had returned from their missionary journey;

2.  They were rejoicing over the miracles which had transpired through their ministry;

3.  Jesus reminds them that the power and authority was from Him;

4.  Jesus also reminds them that there is a greater thing than miracles and power.

I.  SATAN NO LONGER HAS POWER AND/OR AUTHORITY OVER THE BELIEVER’S LIFE – JESUS WITNESSED THE FALL OF THE DEVIL (v. 18; Isaiah 14:12-14;  Ezekiel 28:12-15).

II.  THE BELIEVER HAS POWER TO TREAD ON THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL AND HIS DEMONS (v. 19a; Isaiah 59:60).

III.  NOTHING CAN HARM THE FAITHFUL BELIEVER, FOLLOWING JESUS CHRIST (v. 19b;  Isaiah 54:17).

IV.  DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY THE SENSATIONAL,MIRACULOUS WORKS OF GOD; RATHER REJOICE THAT YOUR NAME IS WRITTEN IN HEAVEN – BY GOD (v. 20; Ephesians 6:10-12).

i.  The power of Satan was diminished by the power of the cross of Jesus Christ; by the resurrection the head of the serpent was crushed.

ii.  As heirs of God, and joint heirs of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17), the enemy is under the feet of Christ.

iii.  We must trust the strength and power of our Lord to protect, and keep us during the trials of life.

iv.  We cannot let emotional sensationalism, signs and miracles detract us from what is truly important, and that is that “Your names are written in heaven”.

v.  Be sure, by placing your faith and trust in the finished work of Christ today.

Justified and/or Condemned by Our Words

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?  And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.  But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.  Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house.  He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.  Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.  Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.  O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 12:25-37)

Words for Christian Living – Better than Burning

“Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”  1 Corinthians 7:1-9   (KJV)

In a day when marriage has been weakened and mocked Christians must learn to love as Christ loved, cherish one another; and enjoy one another in Biblical marriage.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Fighting, The Spiritual Warfare

Let me give a disclaimer on the matter of “Spiritual warfare”.  I do not, nor will not claim to be an authority, or even very knowledgeable on the matter of the battle which we as Christians must fight everyday if we are to maintain a proper fellowship with the Father and the Son Jesus Christ.

I do believe Jesus taught us by example how to wage this war against the legions of Hell and their Desperator.  Since he is the agent of despair, doubt, and fear; and a theif, a murderer, and destroyer I believe the name “Desperator” would fit, though I cannot find this term used in a dictionary.  Maybe a new word?  Meaning the chief one who causes despair.  My focus is not, however, upon him, but rather upon the One who brought about his defeat.

The example of Jesus’s battle with the devil begins with,

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred.  And when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’  But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’  Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, ‘He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.’  Jesus said unto him, ‘It is written again, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’   Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, ‘All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.’  Then saith Jesus unto him, ‘Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’  Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.”  Matthew 4:1-11 (KJV)

Upon reading the passage from Matthew’s gospel we see that in Jesus’s weakness following a 40 day 40 night fast the  devil confronts Jesus concerning His identity and person.  I heard one preacher put it like this; “In the first temptation the devil attempts to get to His desire for SURVIVAL; in the second he attempts to get to His desire for SECURITY;  in the third and final temptation he attempts to get at his desire for SUCCESS.  These are seen in each of these temptations.

They are also relevant in light of the temptations which John the apostle mentions…

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”  1 John 2:16

and we find these also in the Garden of Eden as Eve is being tempted of the devil through the serpent.

For the Christian to grow more into the image of Christ Jesus we must be knowledgeable of the Word of God; live by it; make it our life daily; ruminate upon it.  In short “Hear, trust, and obey”.

Satan, the devil questions the Sonship of Jesus, “If you are the Son of God…”, then tells him to turn stones into bread to prove it; using the “lust of the flesh” and the need of SURVIVAL,  and Jesus responds with Scripture (Deuteronomy 8:3).  Then the devil assaults Jesus with a temptation of SECURITY, or “the lust of the eyes”, even using Scripture himself, and once again Jesus quells the temptation with Scripture (Deuteronomy 6:16).  At the final temptation the devil uses SUCCESS, or “the pride of life” in offering Jesus the world; with that again Jesus goes to Scripture, and puts the temptation back on the devil from whence it came (Deuteronomy 6:13).

We can learn from this event in the life of Jesus that there are three basic temptations the devil will hurl at us.  There are are many sins in this world; but all of them are connected to the three.  Jesus gives us a lesson on how to overcome the temptations of the devil.  We must be in the Scriptures – both the Old and New Testaments.  Remember, the only Bible that Jesus had, and the only Bible the apostles had was the Old Testament; and after the establishment of the Church, then the New Testament.

Without one or both of them we will be defenseless against the evil one.  Paul the apostle gives us good advice in Spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6:10-20.  I am fearful that we Christians; at least far too many of us have “Walked into the enemies camp, and laid our weapons down”; and to our peril.

Let’s take them up again; beginning with the Word of God, and making it our Word from God daily.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Hearing What GOD Says

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, ‘Yea, hath God said, ‘Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’  And the woman said unto the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ‘Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.’  And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.'” Genesis 3:1-5 (KJV)

There are a lot of people making or who have already made what we call “Resolutions” for this New Year.  They usually last until they make us uncomfortable, or until we lose interest; and it just becomes another day, and another year.  As we look at the Scripture above there is one thing we Christians need to learn, and that is HEARING THE WORD OF THE LORD.

Evidently Eve did not hear it right or it was told to her with error, of course by Adam.

Let us ask at least one question here;  Who or what is the serpent?  He was a subtle creature, and the devil, Satan inhabited his body for one distinct purpose; and that was to deceive the woman Eve.  The first thing Satan does it question the word of God.  “Yea, has God said???”  The minute, even the second the devil places doubt in our minds concerning the word of God a “Red flag” of warning should go up in our minds.

It does not help if one does not know what God said.  It seems by the text that she adds to God’s original commandment.  God’s commandment was,

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” 2:16-17

Thus, Eve clearly opens a door of doubt in which for Satan to enter.

In the beginning of this year of 2013; let us who are born of God through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ pray daily for hearing the word of God correctly; and by the Spirit of God live it as we truly believe it.  Let us live it in our family, our play, our work place, our place of business, and at our place of worship.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Rains of Repentance

The following devotional is from Dr. David Jeremiah and Turning Point.

Rains of Repentance
No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
Hebrews 12:11

Recommended Reading — Hebrews 12:7-11
Dr. Paul White, a missionary physician in East Africa, described a drought threatening his area. Day after day, the blazing sun beat down and the plants withered. The regular rains were months late. One day the chief visited the local clergyman, and Dr. White joined them. “Bwana, we have sinned,” said the chief. “We must ask God’s forgiveness and His help. Can we have next Sunday as a day of repentance and prayer for rain?”
The word went out and large numbers gathered. The African pastor preached a powerful sermon on repentance, and everyone united in earnest prayer. Within an hour, gentle rain was falling, and three inches followed within three days. 1
Every affliction isn’t necessarily an act of divine chastening, but we should bear this in mind — very often the Lord uses difficulty to discipline and deepen us. When facing a problem, ask, “What is the Lord trying to teach me?” Sometimes we think of discipline as being hurtful, but God’s discipline is helpful. It offers eternal benefits.

The godly have some good in them; therefore the devil afflicts them; and some evil in them, therefore God afflicts them.
Thomas Watson, Puritan writer

1Dr. Paul White, Doctor of Tanganyika (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955), 177-178.

 

 

Power Over Nations

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; ‘These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 2:18-29 (KJV)

For further study and reading follow this link.

-T.A.

Day 43 – Thoughts from Psalms; Enemies

Of all things for me to write about.  Enemies?  I really feel as though I have no enemies within the human race; at least as far as someone just out to destroy or hurt me.  However, I know that as a believer in Christ Jesus my Lord and Savior I do have enemies who would like to hush the message of Christ; and of God.  Therefore because there are enemies of Christ, His cross, His God and eternity they are and must be my enemies as well.

Have I noticed these enemies of the cross of Christ?  Most definitely.  They are those who hate God, hate righteousness, Justice, genuine peace and love, and all that is holy.  They are those who hate the way of God, and choose their own way.

My reading today took me from Psalm 108 through Psalm 121.  I found the word “enemies” seven times in those fourteen Psalms.  What is the deal with the Psalms and enemies?  It is quite apparent that David, and the kings of Israel had enemies.  You have enemies as well; especially if you are a Christian.

For the most part we need to realize that our enemy is the Devil, otherwise known as Satan, the Old serpent. He is also known as the “Accuser of the brethren”.  All conflict between human beings is because of sin and Satan.  Those people who hate God, God’s word and God’s people are full of hate for God because of the deceit of the devil.

I want us to look at what the seven verses have to say about “enemies”.

“Through God we shall do valiantly: for He it is that shall tread down our enemies.” Psalm 108:13 (KJV)

This comes from a Psalm which is called a Psalm or Song of David.  David of all people knows the strength and power of God to deliver from enemies, and from trouble.  He also knows that it is God who will give him the ability to do “valiantly” and that  God is the one who will “tread down our enemies”.

“The LORD said unto my Lord, ‘Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.  The LORD shall send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion: rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies.'” 110:1-2

Two uses of the word “enemies” is found in one Psalm and the first two verses.  It is a Psalm of David as well, and is directed as the LORD speaking to the Lord.  This, of course, has Messianic wording, and is speaking of the Messiah who is Jesus Christ.  This is not an argument.  It is a clear statement that the LORD – Jehovah, YHWH [YaHWeH] – has a Son and that He is deity.  The Messiah is being told by the Father, “Sit at My right hand, until I make thine enemies Thy footstool.”  Jesus’s former state before He was born a babe in a manger was a seated position at the Father’s right hand.  Following His death on the cross, burial and bodily resurrection He was given back that position, and all enemies were placed under His feet; where ultimately all the enemies of God and Christ will be destroyed.

“His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.” 112:8

This Psalm is speaking of the “man that fears the LORD” (v. 1).  The heart of such a man is stable, trustworthy, and is not afraid of anything that enemies can throw at him.  He is a man who will see his desire come about upon his enemies.  Now for the Christian we pray for our enemies; our prayer being that they might have their eyes opened, their hearts opened to Christ, and be saved.  Then they would no longer be our enemy, but our brethren and friends.

“Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.” 119:98

Because the Christian has the commandments of God, trust them, believes them, and lives by them he/she will be wiser than the enemy of Christ.  The commandments of the LORD are forever, and they are forever with the one’s who love God, and His word.

“My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten Thy words.”  119:139

The following is from the TREASURY OF DAVID on Psalm 119:139;

In Psa_119:137-138 David spoke concerning his God and his law; here he speaks of himself, and says, “My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words”, this was no doubt occasioned by his having so clear a sense of the admirable character of God’s word. His zeal was like a fire burning within his soul. The sight of man’s forgetfulness of God acted as a fierce blast to excite the fire to a more vehement flame, and it blazed until it was ready to consume him. David could not bear that men should forget God’s words. He was ready to forget himself, ay, to consume himself, because these men forgot God. The ungodly were David’s enemies: his enemies because they hated him for his godliness; his enemies, because he abhorred them for their ungodliness. These men had gone so far in iniquity that they not only violated and neglected the commands of God, but they appeared actually to have forgotten them. This put David into a great heat; he burned with indignation. How dare they trample on sacred things! How could they utterly ignore the commands of God himself! He was astonished, and filled with holy anger.
FROM the Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon.  e-Sword

We will end these thoughts from Psalms with the final verse in the reading today.

“Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from Thy testimonies.” 119:157

Sometimes it seems we have all kinds of persecutions and enemies; but in all these things we are to be victors.  We are to never decline from the testimonies of our LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 33 – Weary of Life

Does life ever seem like a weary process to you?  Do you ever feel like you are all alone and that no one cares?  Not even God?  There are many Biblical characters who experienced these thoughts, and the one we will look at today is probably the most known.  His name is Job.

My reading today was Job 10 – 23, but let me do a little recap of chapters 1 – 9; particularly the first chapter or two.

It is said of Job that he was “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed (avoided) evil”.  He was a man who had a large family of seven sons and three daughters, and he was a wealthy man (1:1-3).  We are told by Scripture that the “sons of God” which probably is referring to angels came before the LORD, and Satan came too.  Then we learn that the devil is challenging God’s treatment of Job.  God has protected Job and blessed him.  “No wonder”, the devil says, “he will not turn away from you the way you have blessed him.  However, if you would take all that away he would curse you.”

Job loses all his children, his wealth, and finally he loses his health as well; and he begins to feel as though God will not hear him.  He has three wonderful friends; Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar; who show up to give him comfort.  We should all be so blessed to have friends who are willing to come, sit with you and listen to your heart, aches and all.  For seven days (2:11-13) they sat with him, weeping and mourning with him, not saying a word; but then, they should have gone home.  I had a friend who is now in Heaven with the LORD who had the philosophy of time on the phone should be no longer than three minutes; and if you spent any longer than that you started saying much more than was necessary.

It is great to mourn and weep with those who mourn and weep; however, it is probably best to let them do the talking, and you be silent, and just listen.  Understand, they are hurting, they are expressing their anguish and pain.  It is not the time for big theological discussion.

Be assured Job was encouraged by the visit of the three friends, but when they started talking, accusing him that this was all due to the sins of his children and his own sins; then, they became a source of further pain and grief.

There is much evidence in Job’s testimony that he was feeling like God was not listening to him.  You will never hear him deny God’s existence, or see a lack of faith in God, in any of Job’s words.

“My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.” Job 10:1 (KJV)

It seems sometimes like all I get done is go to the doctor.  I have blood pressure problems, heart problems, with five stents put in veins of my heart last April.  I am not telling you this to feel sorry for me, please do not.  My wife had heart surgery on September 21, 2010, and she sees the doctor quite a bit, and we are still a young couple; we feel that way.  There are times, however, I feel a lot like Job felt.  Job was a far more righteous man than I am.  He was a man of much faith; mine seems weak much of the time.  My soul gets weary of this life, my life at times.  Life, however, is in God’s hands.  That is where I will leave it.

I know there are many others who are suffering much more than my wife and I are.  So many have cancers eating away at their bodies, weakening them physically, and gradually taking their lives.  Some overcome the cancer; and we struggle with God, and our faith.

There are many faith statements which Job makes in these 14 chapters read today.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him.” 13:15

With this statement Job is saying that he will continue to trust the LORD even if He does not grant him a session with Him.  He will trust God and believe His word no matter what.  If you never heard from God again, never sensed His presence again; would you still trust and believe Him?

Another statement of faith from Job;

“If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” 14:14

Though put in the form of a question you will notice that Job is waiting for that day when he rises from the grave, and “My change comes”.

The final one I leave you with today –

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” 19:25-27

To me that statement is probably the strongest statement of faith that Job has made thus far.  “I know that my redeemer liveth…”  Even though we may question God in our pain and grief, those questions are a statement that we believe God and are trusting Him.  If we did not would we be calling out to Him.  I think not.

That redeemer that lives is Jesus the Christ, Son of the living God.  He is the One on whom Job believed, trusted and confided in.  No Jesus the babe in a manger had not yet been born, but here is another manifestation of the presence and glory of Christ even in the Old Testament.  He is LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Observations From Matthew – 030811

Matthew 14 – 16 is our reading for today.

The text we look at today is from the 16th chapter following Peter’s great confession that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Who do men say that Jesus is?  The disciple’s answers were that He was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or some other of the Old Testament prophets; giving answer to some comments people had made as to who He was.  The all important question asked by Jesus at this point was, “Whom say ye that I am?”  That is the clincher for the actual answer.  Peter’s answer, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, and that is the answer by all who will have eternal life.

Following this confession of Peter, however, it seems that the devil himself confuses Peter, and is rebuked for his speech;

“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.  Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.’  But He turned, and said unto Peter, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.'” Matthew 16:21-23 (KJV)

From the time of the confession of Peter Jesus begins to teach them that His destiny is to go to Jerusalem and die.  This is what the disciples were hearing, and that is the reason for Peter’s words of denial in the above passage of Scripture.  Jesus didn’t leave the matter without hope; He did speak of His resurrection of being “raised the third day”, yet Peter’s response comes from the dark recesses of his being.

We must think about this for an instant.  Peter loved Jesus, and to hear him speak of His coming death was a shock to his ears and heart.  That, nevertheless, does not excuse his mind being opened for the devil’s use.  Peter has been called “The disciple with the foot shaped mouth”, slow to think, quick to speak.

Can you just see Peter taking Jesus aside and rebuking Him.  Peter, do you know what you are doing?  He is thinking from the way of men, not the way of God, God’s Word and God’s will.  Many a time I have heard said that Jesus is calling Peter “Satan” in His words.  Not so.  Jesus recognizes who the infiltrator is, though there is a two fold action here.

Jesus first directs His rebuke to Satan who has tempted Jesus before (Matthew 4:1-11); and then to Peter telling him that his heart is not on the things of God, but those of men.  It is my conviction that the devil never wanted Jesus to go to the cross and die; he tried to misdirect our Savior from His atoning work; thus the temptations of chapter 4; the temptations from the masses to be king, and so forth; and now through Peter the devil attempts it again.

We must give our hearts to God, His Word and His will for our lives.  We, like Peter, may not always be able to understand what is going on, in fact, we may never understand; we are called to trust, believe and be faithful in what God says.  Jesus was faithful unto death.  That is our calling as well.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Works

The King’s Works

 

“Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” Matthew 12:22-24 (KJV)

The man could not see, nor could he speak. It is highly probable that this man could not hear as well. Scripture tells us he was “Possessed with a devil [demon]”. Now we live in a sophistcated society which tries to deny the spiritual in many ways. There are people who see “ghosts”, who see “spirits” and all kinds of certain phenomena, but the thought of demons seems to elude people. Many refuse to see evil as it is often seen.

Whether this man who was brought to Jesus and possessed by the demon had been made mute and blind by the demon is not seen. At any rate when Jesus heals the one possessed he is no longer possessed. He had been shunned because of his condition. Unable, because of strict religious ceremonial laws to attend worship at the temple. Jesus simply heals the man.

Due to Jesus doing this miracle many began to see Him as “the son of David”. This title is a Biblical title for the Messiah. The long awaited promised son of David who would come and deliver God’s people from their sins.

Upon hearing the people saying, “Is this the son of David?” the Pharisees react without grace, without mercy, and begin condemning Jesus. They are blind to the works which Jesus has done and is doing. His works are evidence of who He is. Old Testament Scriptures tell of the Messiah/King doing mighty deeds. The question arose partly from doubt because of Jesus’s position in life – “Acquainted with grief” (Isaiah53:3), and the Pharisees and all religious leaders had no confidence that their Messiah could be suffering or be acquainted with grief. They missed the parts where God speaks of the Suffering Savior, by appointing those verses to themselves, rather than to He who was to come. They saw only one coming of the Messiah, and appointed these miracles of Jesus to acts of the devil. Thus they put themselves in the precarious situation of eternal condemnation. They would take the triumphant Scriptures and appoint them only to the coming of a ruling conquering King, thereby, missing the point of the coming suffering servant, dying for the sins of the world.

In rejecting His works they rejected their king. By rejecting Jesus and His works they condemn themselves by giving Satan the glory for these marvelous works (v. 27). They were more concerned with preserving their traditional laws, and especially their own interpretation of the laws, than they were with meeting the needs of the people. When the preservation of traditional interpretation of the law becomes more important than the saving of a soul, that is when we open ourselves to judgment, and being rejected by our Lord. We must always stand on the truth of the gospel, and stand for it. Without the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, ie., the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; we have no salvation.

These religious leaders were blinded by jealousy, rage, and just an out and out blindness for the truth, in order that Jesus might fulfill the very word of God, and glorify the Father, and provide salvation to a lost world.

When we appoint the works of God and His Son Jesus Christ as works of Satan we put ourselves in the spot of condemnation. No true child of God – follower of Jesus Christ – is going to be condemned; so no true child of God is going to equate the works of Christ to that of the devil. It is sad that people who seem to know the Scriptures will often twist them, or distort them to come to their own interpretation, and in their interpretation miss the whole picture of the Scriptures. The picture is of Jesus; the person is Jesus. John the Revelator wrote by the Spirit, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10b).

-by Tim A. Blankenship

One Greater Than the Sabbath

Greater Than the Sabbath

“At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” Matthew 12:1-8 (KJV).

It seems that there are several times in the gospels where Jesus is doing something on the Sabbath day. In doing so He gains the attention of the religious leaders, where He evidently doesn’t in His teaching and preaching, or in the miracles that he does. These religious leaders believe in the Sabbath day celebrations, and worship. It is odd, but it was for their violations of the Sabbaths that Israel went into Babylonian captivity. At least that was one partial reason. They were in Babyonian captivity one year for each Sabbath which had been violated. This includes the sabbaths of the land, jubilees, and other (Read Leviticus 26). There is much said about Israel profaning the holy things in Ezekiel 20 – 23. One of those holy things is the Sabbaths of the LORD. When the LORD is speaking to them, warning them of the the dangers of disobedience He told them, “I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scater you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.” Leviticus 26:32-34 (KJV). This warning was carried out according to Jeremiah the prophet, “…To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil three score and ten years.” 2 Chronicles 36:21.

It could be because of the past that these Jewish leaders had taken such a strong stance on the sabbath. Not a good excuse or reason. It is nothing short of blindness. They are really not so concerned with the keeping of the sabbath day or special sabbaths as they are their power and authority. They were more concerned with popularity, than truth. The reason I make that judgment is because Jesus Himself told them they were blind, and in the above passage they seem to be unfamiliar with the Scriptures they are so fond of. They had the written truth, were familiar with the truth, but when the Truth was standing before them, they knew Him not.

“For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” How can religious leaders be telling the Creator that it is unlawful to walk through a field on the sabbath day, “harvesting and eating” grain? It is a very foolish effort on their part. Being the Creator He is greater than the sabbath day. He is the greatest rest. When we know Him we rest from our foolish attempts at righteousness, and rest in His righteousness alone.

Jesus is accused of profaning the sabbath and it happened many times. He dealt with His accusers justly, and with righteous judgment, and for the good of the people. The accusations of profaning the sabbath day was more rejection; and had no merit. The “righteous-guilty” are really the one’s who are first to condemn those who are really most righteous. Despite overwhelming evidence these self-righteous men continue to be bound by the one Jesus called their father.

Many of the people who came to Jesus, the multitudes who were fed of the five thousand and the four thousand, would later turn from Him. Many seek to follow wonders and signs, then, reject the Lord. To ask the Lord for signs in order to believe is not faith.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

THE WAYMAKER

THE WAYMAKER

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:7-13 (KJV)

In verses 7 – 13 I want to see Jesus revealed in His glory as sovereign, and ruling in His Church, determining when and where His Church and people are to minister, and preach the gospel of grace, and the whole counsel of God.

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;”
The city of Philadelphia is approximately 28 miles Southeast of Sardis. The name means “Love of the brethren” or “Brotherly love”.
The main religion of Philadelphia was the worship of Dyonisus. To a certain extent the city was known as “The keeper of the gateway to the plateau” W. M. Ramsay THE LETTERS OF THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA, pp. 404-405. This city was also earthquake prone and destroyed and rebuilt.
Now, we see how Jesus identified Himself to this local assembly. Holy is the first. To declare Himself as that which is holy He declares Himself as God – He is. He is holy in His character. He is holy in His judgment. He is holy in His actions, words, and purposes.
He also is identified as “He that is true”. He is not a copy, but the original. Because He is true He can be trusted with history, the present, the future of our lives. He can be trusted to bring about that which we have entrusted to His care (2 Timothy 1:12).
There is little reference back to His characteristics revealed in chapter one. In verse eighteen of chapter one Jesus describes Himself as having the “Keys of hell and of death”. The “Key of David” is a reference to Isaiah 22:22. Surely Jesus is saying that great missionary efforts can only come about because He opens the door. They cease when He closes the door, thus, He is the One who holds the key [has the authority]. From around 1700 even to the present we as the Church have enjoyed an open door of evangelism. It appears that this door will remain open for mission work until Jesus comes to take His Bride home. No man can open or shut these doors, only Jesus does. While the doors are open we must take advantage of it. Jesus could come at any moment for His Church.

“I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”
The “I know” is nowhere near one of condemnation.
This church was weak, but possibly only in number, finances, or of little power to influence society because of sin and so called “Openmindedness” toward all religions. This weakness mentioned is not mentioned as a rebuke. It is mentioned more as a reminder of their need [our need] of His strength.
What is good about this church? They have an “Open door” for evangelism and missions. They have kept the Word – obediently. They have been faithful to His name despite the persecution they have gone through. “Open door” may also be a reference to readiness to receive the Word of God. Could be both evangelism and the Word.
It is a great blessing to have God open the doors in order that we might tell many who are condemned in and by sin of the wonderfu, marvelous grace of God.

“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.”
The “Synagogue of satan” can refer back to the letter to Smyrna chapter two verse nine.
Satan often uses religious people to try and stop the work of our Lord. The Jews have long worked against Christianity and the ministry of Jesus. Ever since Jesus ministry began they have sought to destroy Him. They have been unwittingly and are the “Synagogue of satan”. This is not an anti-semitic statement. They, as a nation, are a reprobate nation, lost and condemned until they receive Jesus as their Messiah. God is still working to bring the Jew to Himself. This work is in the person of Jesus Christ.
There are times when those who oppose the Church most vehemently will be the ones who trust the Lord best. Take, for example, the apostle Paul, who was Saul, who set out to destroy these Christ followers, and ended up one when he met the Christ face to face.
There will come a time when even the whole nation of Israel will know Jesus (Romans 11:25-26). They will recognize God’s institution of the Church as the instrument used in reaching the world for Jesus with the gospel and of glorifying God.

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”
In their faithfulness to Christ and His Word they receive a promise of deliverance “From the hour of temptation…” This may very well be speaking of a specific time which has yet to take place. Of course, it had some significance for the church of Philadelphia, a promise for them to be kept from a certain “Temptation”. Keep in mind that these seven churches represent the whole Church throughout the Church age, but we could also see that each church represents separate times during this age. I have not made, nor did I intend to make, a case for each church representing a period of time during the Church age. This church of Philadelphia could be seen as the church which would see the rapture of the church.
This “Temptation” mentioned in the paragraph above could be what Jeremiah the prophet called “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). A time of judgment on the Jewish nation, because of their rejection of Jesus. It would be their final judgment when the nation is brought to faith in Messiah Jesus.
There would be no purpose for the Church which has kept His Word and been faithful to go through the sorrow of trial that is meant for the purification of Israel and the judgment of unbelievers. In order for chaos to have the “Upper hand” the people who are possessed by God’s Spirit will be delivered. The Scripture says, ” God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Something needs said here. Paul is speaking to Christians who have already been saved from their sin. The verse would, at least to me, be quite clearly speaking of a future wrath of judgment on the world, from which the Christian Church is to be delivered.
It is fairly clear that the “Open door” age, and the “Lukewarm” age overlap one another. We, today, are living in the greatest age of human history. The Lord has opened doors for gospel preaching in places all over the world, but for how long? While some are hot in evangelism and loving Jesus others are wrapped up in comfortable, dead formalism, more concerned with “Artificial unity” than true unity, pushing social programs, and political proponents, and moral laws, rather than the gospel which has the power to change hearts from immorality to moral living without a law demanding it.

“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”
There are a lot of Christians who are questioning the imminent return of Christ. He says here, “Behold, I come quickly…” He is not speaking of minutes or seconds. He is speaking more of suddenness. “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” (Luke 12:40). He is coming suddenly to take His Bride home with Him. That is called the “Rapture”. NO! The word is not mentioned in Scripture, but the principle is, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess 4:16-17). This is certainly speaking of a “Catching away”.
Jesus speaks also of a crown. These crowns have nothing to do with salvation. They are rewards for a life of faithfulness to our Lord. There are five crowns mentioned in God’s Word. The Crown of Life (James 1:12); The Incorruptible Crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-27); The Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20); The Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:5-8); and the Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:2-4).
Jesus says, “Hold on to these rewards, don’t let anyone take them from you”. Envy or jealousy can rob us of these rewards. It is called yielding to “Peer pressure”. “Hold fast” means make them your own – protect them at all cost. No material blessing is worth your life. Eternal blessings are…

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”
Sometimes in this city of earthquakes the only thing left standing was marble pillars of the temples which had been built for varied purposes.
Since all of Heaven is the temple of God every overcomer will be identified as one who stood when everything around them fell, cracked and was destroyed.
“Go no more out” is speaking of seeking shelter outside the city when it was falling. In God’s city, the New Jerusalem, none will ever have to flee.
In this new city the overcomers will also have a new name. In ancient cities they often put the names of important people upon the pillars which supported a building. These overcomers will stand forever with the new name which has been given them by Jesus Himself.

” He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
Once again a call for every individual to hear the Spirit, and what He says to the churches. Hear the call of the Holy Spirit and you hear the call of God.

In conclusion, Jesus is THE WAYMAKER. He gives the Church an “Open Door” which He alone can open, and He alone can shut. He is THE WAYMAKER, because He has a way of deliverance from the great day of wrath for these overcomers. Jesus is THE WAYMAKER, in that, He has crowns awaiting those who are ever faithful. He is THE WAYMAKER, because He has a new name, “Up in Lights” you might say, for every overcomer.

Edited for tags, spelling by t.a. 03/26/10

THE CUTTING EDGES

THE CUTTING EDGES

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. Revelation 2:12-17 (KJV)

In this we unveil Jesus Christ as One who hates compromise in His people, especially of doctrine and morality, and how He deals with it.

Pergamum was a city of compromise. There were many temples of worship there. From emperor worship, there was also Dionysus, Esculapius (the healing serpent god), and Zeus. These were worshipped as well as others. It was legal to worship anything you please as long as you bowed first to worship the Roman emperor. I you did not bow to the emperor, then, you most likely would die.
Writing of Esculapius, J. Vernon McGee wrote, “Then the other outstanding temple was of the god Asklepios. Down from that great ancient world. It was the Mayo Clinic of that day. It was, first of all, a temple to Asklepios. If you are looking at the Greek god Asklepios, it is a man, but when you see the Anatolian or Oriental Asklepios, it is a serpent. There in Pergamum it was a serpent. I have pictures which I took of that great marble pillar which stands like an obelisk now but apparently was a pillar in the temple of Asklepios. The construction of the temple was unusual in that it was round. There they used every means of healing imaginable. They used both medicine and psychology – and about everything else.
Put yourself in this situation: you go down long tunnels, and above are holes that look like airholes for ventilation but are not. As you walk along these tunnels, sexy voices come down through the holes, saying to you, ‘You are going to get well. You are going to feel better. You are going to be healed.’ (Does that have a modern ring?) You go down to the hot baths where you are given a massage. There is a little theater there where they give plays of healing. If they haven’t healed you by now, as a last resort they put you in that temple at night and turn loose the nonpoisonous snakes which crawl over you. (That is known as the shock treatment in our day!) If they don’t heal you, they will drive you crazy, that’s for sure. They have a back door where they take out the dead. They don’t mention the ones they don’t heal; they speak only ot those who recover.” (From Thru The Bible pg. 908 by J. Vernon McGee).
Warren Wiersbe wrote of this also, “The city aslso had a temple dedicated to Aesculapius, the god of healing, whose insignia was the entwined serpent on the staff.” (BE Commentary vol. 2, pg. 573).
In the church at pergamus some Christians died because they refused to pay homage to the emperor. Some people came in dressed in “Sheeps clothing” saying it was the patriotic and dutiful thing to do. According to this teaching it was okay to bow to another god as long as you continued to worship “god the emperor”. “It is okay to compromise to say your life. After all, how can you be a witness for Jesus when you are dead”.
This is the religious atmosphere the church was in. How tempting it must have been for them to compromise their faith. We will see Jesus hates the sin of compromise.

Jesus once again addresses this letter to the messenger of the local congregation at Pergamos (v. 12).
Jesus is identified here as in verse sixteen of chapter one, as “He which hath the sharp sword with two edges.”
The sword held a special place in Rome of which Pergamos was an active emperor worshipping city. The sword was a symbol of power and authority. Thus, by Jesus being identified this way says to the Christians in this city, “I am mightier than Rome”. Rome will fall. It did. He never will.

Once again we have Jesus’s “I know” statement in verse 13. He knows our works, our location, and our tribulations. He also knows our compromises.
Pergamos was a very pluralistic society, especially when it came to religion. Roman emperor worship being number one, the worship Esculapius, which was the serpent god of healing, Zeus, and Dionysus and others were all worshipped there.
The probable reference to “Satan’s seat” as “Satan’s throne” is to the worship of the Roman emperor. This city was probably one of the strongest advocates of emperor worship. All those other gods could be worshipped freely as long as they would bow and give allegiance to the emperor.
Jesus’s words of commendation are strong. Even though they lived in such a place they were holding fast to the name of Jesus. They were not denying the faith. Jesus then recognizes one martyr who was slain for his faithful testimony of Christ. There is not much said or known about Antipas. Tradition says he was broiled alive inside the carcass of a bull.
When there is such a multiplicity of religion with all bowing to the government, that is certainly the dwelling place of Satan.

There is a strong rebuke for them in verse fourteen. Jesus can use the “Sharp two edged sword” to comfort and encourage. Now He is wielding it in order to warn.
The rebuke is against those that were teaching and following “The doctrine of Balaam”. Balaam was a prophet for profit – a prophet of compromise. He betrayed his calling for a price. In Numbers 22-25 we find the narrative of Balaam.
Balaam was asked by Balak, who was the king of Moab and he greatly feared Israel, to curse this nation of many people. He must have known of Balaam’s tendency. However, God would not let him do it. Remember God’s promise to Abraham, “Whosoever curseth you shall be cursed”.
The “Doctrine of Balaam” is a doctrine of compromise. Just blend in to your environment. Go ahead and bow to the Roman emperor, save your life, and still worship Jesus. After all, is the worship of Jesus worth your life, your possessions, your reputation?
THE WAY OF BALAAM = Ministry for pay.
THE ERROR OF BALAAM = To think God would do the opposite of what He promised.
THE DOCTRINE OF BALAAM = Counseling others on how to curse God’s people.
Jesus know and knows that to compromise thus, is to kill the witness, to stop the work of the gospel. Compromise is Satan’s greatest threat to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Balaam could not curse Israel, but he found them capable of compromise. Numbers 31:16 says, “Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague (Numbers 25) among the congregation of the LORD”.
It seems Balaam played “Peacemaker” and Israel compromised the Word of God. Peace at any price is not the right way. It is the way of disobedience and death. The “Stumbling block” was intermarriage with the Midianites and Moabites. The “Stumbling block” for Pergamos was the same teaching; just go along, marry the lost, worship the emperor, even if it is not sincere, do it for the sake of preserving your life.
If you would note Numbers 25 you will see the devastation that came upon Israel because of their treachery of faith. Twenty four thousand Israelites died because of the sin of compromising the Law of God.
Those who have God’s law and keep it will always be at enmity with those who do not (John 14:21). If there is no friction, there is no motion.

Once again we learn of a teaching which was growing and leaching in the early church (v. 15). The teaching of the Nicolaitans fits with the “Doctrine of Balaam”. They fit like a hand in a glove. Jesus says, in verse 6 and 15, this is that “Which I hate”. “Conquer the people” teaches the people to compromise their place as priests. The man appointed priests will pray for them. When they sin come to the priests, confess to them, and they will pray for your forgiveness. You go on and live, do not worry about your sin. Just confess on confession day.
This is the thing Jesus hates. A compromising church who leaves all the work of the ministry in the pastor’s hands. We the people of Jesus Christ are the priests of God. We are individually and daily responsible for confessing our own sins to God, not to a man, unless that man/woman is someone we have offended or sinned against, and it would be proper to do so. We are all responsible for obedience to the Word of God.
If Jesus hates these doctrines we should as well. This was a problem in this church. It was hated by the church of Ephesus, for which Jesus commended them. It is something every church and Christian individual must deal with, and if we come to any conclusion other than that of Jesus, we oppose Him, and choose our own way.

Jesus calls for this church’s repentance (v. 16). Remember repentance is a change of mind, change of direction, a 180 degree turn.
Jesus wants His Church to view compromise and all sin as He does. To repent is to cme to full agreement with Him concerning compromise and all that He has declared to be sin.
Repentance and faith are the ingredients of salvation. Repentance is also the need of Pergamos’ church and of the Church today. If there is no repentance, He says, “I will come quickly”. This has nothing to do with His second coming. If the church refuses His word as the means of detecting evil, false doctrines, and compromise; His own Word will be used to “Fight against them”. The Word of Christ not only convicts and comforts it also condemns when He is not obeyed. “The sword of My mouth” can only have reference to the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12, “The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword…”. Ephesians 6:17, “And take… the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God”.
Our Lord seems to make a distinction between a remnant of faithful, and those who are the compromisers. His words, “Will fight against them” indicates that if this problem of compromise is not dealt with in a quick and decisive manner, then those, the “Them(s)” will be cut by the cutting edges of the “Two edged sword”. He will take this sword of His Word and cut away all that is unseemly, sinful and compromising, and He will come surely and quickly and do it. A-MEN.

The final verse of this letter is once again addressed to the individual.
We have to remember every one who has their names on the roll of the local church is not an “Overcomer”. The “Overcomer”, Jesus promises they will eat of the “Hidden manna”. There was a bowl of manna hidden within the “Ark of the Covenant”. This manna is revealed in the person of Jesus who is the true manna from Heaven (John 6:31-33). The “Hidden manna” can only be eaten by those for whom the “Holy Ark” is opened through the shed blood, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The only way into the presence of God (which the Ark of the Covenant represents) is through the blood of Jesus.
It is not sure what the “White stone” represents. It is possible it was one of the twelve stones worn by the Levitical priests on their robes. It is also possible it represents a symbol of security.
Your name written in God’s stone is certainly more sure than written on a local church’s membership roll. The question could be asked, “Is your name written on the Rock, or is it written on a roll?” God’s Ten Commandments were written in stone. They abide forever. Maybe, that is true of the ones who receive a “New name written in stone”. Jesus the One, THE CUTTING EDGES.

In conclusion,
Pergamos had one thing going for it. It had some who had been faithful to Christ, even in the face of death. They dared not to compromise.
Fear has a way of causing compromise, and when a smooth talking, charismatic personality comes along saying, “A compromise is alright. You do not have to give up your beliefs. Just go along. It will keep you alive.” That when coupled with the fear makes it all sound pretty good.
However, Jesus says He hates it. Compromise destroys our fellowshp with God and Jesus. It ruins our witness, and it robs us of our peace with God.
There is great blessing for the “Overcomer”. He gets to “Partake of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) of Jesus and live eternally. They also have a “New name” written in stone. One thing is for sure THE CUTTING EDGES of that two edged sword will do what is necessary to make His people holy.

Edited for tags by t.a. 03/26/10