Pleasant Knowledge Delivers From Evil Flattery

“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: to deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths: to deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.
For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.”   Proverbs 2:10-18  (KJB)

With The Precious Blood Of Christ

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”  1 Peter 1:18-25  (KJB)

God of The Living

“Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto Him.” Luke 20:37-38 (KJB)

When He was asked by the Sadducees about a spurious thought, that was only being used to try and trap Him, the Master of life and death gave them that answer.

The Sadducees were a group who did not believe in anything spiritual – no angels, no spirits, no resurrection of the dead. Someone said, “That is why they are sad you see”.

Jesus uses the quotation from Exodus 3:6…

” ‘…Moreover He said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” Exodus 3:6

Jesus confirms that there is a resurrection; that when this body of flesh and blood dies and lies in the grave, returns to the dust from which it came, that there is life after death. He clearly states that “God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”, and that would include all the other saints who are with Him.

There are many people who do not believe in the resurrection. They are part of the same group of Sadducees, and desperately in need of a change of heart and mind. Hear the voice of the Master today.

You can believe Him, and live forever. You can reject Him and die forever. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again. He is one day returning to separate the believing from the unbelieving.  Where do you fit in?

God is the God of the living.

Believing All Things Written in the Law and the Prophets

“But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: and have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Acts 24:14-15 (KJB)

The apostle Paul is being tried for his faith in Jesus Christ, the crucified, buried, and risen One who forever lives and reigns as King of all kings, and Lord of all lords.

His beliefs are based on the Old Testament; the Law and the Prophets.  That does not exclude the history or the wisdom books either.  There are many Christians today who want to say and teach that the Old Testament is not needed.  It is the only Bible, the only Scripture that they had.  It is the only Scripture which Jesus knew and read.  It is the only Scripture which Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John relied on.  It is the Scripture which John the Baptist preached.

Preach and teach the New Testament Yes; but do not neglect the Old.

I have been spending this year staying with the New Testament.  I felt I needed to get more familiar with the words of Jesus, the apostles, and including the apostle Paul.  I will not shun, neither neglect the Old Testament though.  Without the Old there would be no New.

Someone has said, “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.”  A great thought.

There is a resurrection of the dead; both of the just and the unjust.  Which resurrection will you be part of?  We are only made just by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

He Is Before All Things

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.
And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all He might have the preeminence.”  Colossians 1:9-18

REFERENCES: Romans 12:2; Acts 5:41; 26:18, 23; Ephesians 1:7; 6:12; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 1:5; 3:14; John 1:1

The Plough Man

I grew up on a farm.  A small farm by some’s reckoning; and large to others thinking.  It was mostly a Dairy farm, and we had beef cattle too for some of the time.  It still required plowing ground once in a while to sow Alfalfa hay, and certain others types of grass hay.

To plough [plow] in a straight line requires looking ahead.  If you look back, for whatever reason, you will end up with a crooked row.  Having said that let us look at our Bible text for today:

“And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto Him, Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.’ And He said unto another, ‘Follow Me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.’ Jesus said unto him, ‘Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.’ And another also said, ‘Lord, I will follow Thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.’ And Jesus said unto him, ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’” Luke 9:57-62  (KJB)

For  the two men in the text, they wanted to follow Jesus, but they had other things to do.  The first would have had to wait for his father to die, then bury him. The second evidently had guests in his home, and saying their farewells would have taken much time away.

The lesson of the story, of these two men, and their desire to follow Jesus is this;  If you are going to follow Jesus, then follow Jesus, preach the kingdom of God – and that is Jesus – and do not look back.

Let me leave you with the commentary of John Gill on the “is not fit for the kingdom of God” closing of verse 62…

is not fit for the kingdom of God: that is, to preach the kingdom of God, as in Luk_9:60. He cannot serve God and mammon, his own interest, and the interest of Christ; he cannot rightly perform the work of the ministry, whilst his thoughts and time are taken up in the affairs of the world.” John Gill’s EXPOSITION OF THE BIBLE

The Opened Books

And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15 (KJV)

We now come to the last judgment. It is the judgment that many want to deny and that many, if they could, would completely dismiss as a lie. However, “Let God be true and every man a liar”.

There may even be some who see this as a time when they can present all their “good deeds” before God and believe He will justly award them eternal life. If you are at this judgment all you will receive is eternal damnation. Those reveling in their own good works had better take another think.

The “great white throne” of judgment is the judgment of the wicked dead. The dead who have died without saving faith. Please note again verse 6, “…on such the second death hath no power…”, [speaking of those who believed in Jesus] and look at verse 14, “This is the second death” concluding what the great white throne judgment is really about.

He that sits on the throne is God in the person of Jesus Christ (John 5:22). It is certain that the wicked dead will try to flee from His presence, but they cannot. This could be the meaning of “…earth and heaven fled away…” It could also mean that at this time is the old heavens and earth are destroyed (2 Peter 3:10). At any rate, it certainly implies the end of the wickedness of mankind and of their eternal destruction. There is “No place” for the wicked to flee from this judgment, except for now, we may flee to the cross of Jesus – until this door is closed.

It does not matter what class of people – the small and great will stand before God at this judgment.

There are at least three books opened. One book records their birth and life. One is the Word of God, the roadmap to justice and eternal life. The other is the Book of Life in which is recorded the names of every child of God redeemed to eternal life.

Who are these present at the great white throne? Those whom death and hell have delivered up. The saved dead have already been raised and rewarded (19:9; 20:6).

Hell would better be referred to here as sheol or hades – the abode of the wicked dead until the great white throne of judgment. It is the abode of the rich man in Luke 16:23-24 where he cries out, “I am tormented in this flame”.

There are many who want to do away with Hell by claiming only its fiery symbolism. The fire may indeed be symbolic, but only in that, there is no other human terminology to describe its pain and eternal torment. “This”, John writes, “is the second death”.

If your name is not in the Book of Life your eternity will be spent in the “lake of fire” to “be tormented day and night forever and ever” (v. 10b).

There are two classes of people mentioned in chapter twenty: 1.) Those who have part in the second death, which is eternal torment in the lake of fire, because they refused the free gift of God’s grace;  2.) Those who have part in the first resurrection by faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning work on Calvary.

I am not exactly sure of what those of us who have part in the “first resurrection” will be doing in the kingdom of Christ on earth, but I do know that I will be with Him. How about you?  If you do not have an assurance of salvation, then, call on the name of Jesus in faith and He will hear you and save you unto eternal life.

The Reign of Jesus Christ and Those Who Rule With Him

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 20:1-6 (KJV)

In these three verses, we find power is given to “an angel” to bind Satan for “a thousand years”.

Some have speculated and said, “an angel” is referring to Christ himself. It is unnecessary to speculate. Christ is completely capable of delegating power to whom He will. This angel is given a key and holds “a great chain in his hand” (SEE Judge 6).

The angel “laid hold on” the devil who is described in verse 2 in four different terms:

  1.  Dragon – this shows his beastly nature and leadership as he inspired the government of the beast of Revelation 13;
  2. Serpent – this name shows his subtle nature as a smooth operator, deceiver, etc.;
  3. Devil – this shows he is a liar, and murderer and Jesus said this was so, “from the beginning”;
  4. Satan – this shows him as the accuser – he accuses us before God. He was Job’s accuser.

After laying hold of the deceiver (Satan) the angel binds him for one thousand years, cast “into the bottomless pit” and “shut up” and “sealed”. This is for the purpose of giving the earth, under the administration of Jesus Christ, complete tranquility, without the deceit, fraud, and destruction of the old serpent.

There is, however, a somewhat sad note at the end of verse three. The devil will be released at the end of the one thousand year reign of Christ, but only for a short duration. Only the Lord Himself and give the answer to the multitude of questions that come to our minds.

These verses deal with the “first resurrection”, the ruling and reigning of the saints with Christ, and also speaks of the one thousand years we often call the “Millennial reign of Jesus Christ” on earth.

One thousand years is where the word “Millennium” is derived. We measure time by seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, and millenniums. There are at least three groups of interpretation concerning the millennial reign of Jesus Christ:

  1. Amillennial view – this group believes in no literal earthly reign of Jesus Christ – some in this camp believe that Christ is already ruling and reigning on earth…
  2. Post-millennial view – many in this camp believe Jesus will come again only after the Church has won the world to Christ, by the preaching of the gospel – the latter part of the victory being a thousand years (not necessarily literal) of peace, prosperity, and long life – with Jesus coming after the millennium…
  3. Pre-millennial view – Jesus returns again before the thousand years to rule and reign on earth with His saints. The pre-millennial view is literal concerning the one thousand years.

The thousand years is mentioned in Revelation 20 six different times, in only 15 verses. Is that an accident of, or a clue to interpretation? Six is the number of man. It could be a clue to being one thousand literal years of men. The very fact it is mentioned six times seems to stress the point “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” Psalms 90:4 (KJV).

Those whom John sees on the throne are most likely the saved of God. It could be that John saw the twenty-four elders on the thrones, but that does not negate the above statement if we keep in mind that the “elders” represent the redeemed. A great emphasis is placed upon the martyrs. Saints who gave their physical lives, through death, for Jesus during great trials and persecutions.

Sometime shortly after the fall of Babylon – religious, economic, political – those who die for Jesus during the Great Tribulation are resurrected and given new bodies. These are the last to be resurrected before the millennium begins. These are the ones who have part in the “first resurrection” along with all those who were raptured at the beginning of the tribulation. The “first resurrection” began with the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and others who came out of their graves also (Matthew 27:51-53). A third group to be raised – of the “first resurrection – are those who “died in Christ” before the time of “Jacob’s trouble” (the tribulation period). This will take place at the rapture when both the dead and living [in Christ] will be “caught up together” (1 Thessalonians. 4:16-18).

In verse six we find the fifth of the seven Beatitudes in the Revelation. “Blessed [Happy] and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:…” The promise is that “the second death” – eternal damnation will have no power, no affect, or effect on the ones who are of the “first resurrection”. What a blessing it is. Those who have part in the first resurrection will be “priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years”.

During the thousand years, those who survived the great tribulation without succumbing to the vices of Satan will live on earth and repopulate it under the rule of Jesus as the King of kings. Some aspects of Christ’s earthly reign will be 1) Complete peace, 2) Prosperity, 3) Long life, 4) The animal kingdom will be practically domesticated (Isaiah 11:1-9). There will be no fear of the animals or beasts of the field. There will be children born during this beautiful era.

To be sure you are in the group of the First Resurrection call on the name of Jesus for eternal salvation.  He is the only Savior there is.