Humble Yourselves

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With the development of New Age and “channeling,” Satan has managed to begin the mass marketing of what was reserved for the elite. Like spiritual “junkies,” these people have submitted to increasing levels of depravity because they have been promised that union with these demonic beings will give them immortality and enable them to evolve into gods through alchemy and black magic…

I knew what it was like to have my mind filled with the scalding hot fog of the “brilliance” of Lucifer. I experienced “more light” in Masonry with a vengeance! I knew the feeling of being linked mentally into a vast spider web of communications, and being part of an invisible army of slaves almost totally at the command of the Deceiver himself.

Along the way, I did meet a couple of other “pilgrims” who were deeply involved in esoteric Masonry, but most Masons were blissfully in the dark about the “light” they had. That is where their leaders want them. They didn’t even know the secret they were guarding so carefully.

Like workers in a classified project, they were only allowed to know as much as they needed to know to work in the system. These poor men, many of whom were church-goers, were ignorant of the big picture, and would be appalled to learn the truth concealed behind the layers of allegory. We are going to lift the veil off this “sanctuary” and expose the darkness of Freemasonry’s light! – William Schnoebelen, Masonry: Beyond the Light

The Prophet’s appeal to Judah that they repent of their occult practices and pagan pollution continues…

Gather yourselves together, yes, gather, O nation without shame, Before the decree takes effect— the day passes like the chaff— before the burning anger of the Lord comes upon you, before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you. Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth who have carried out His ordinances; seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger (Zeph 2:1-3 NASB).

King Josiah was one of the godliest monarchs to grace the Throne of Judah.  Under his leadership, Judah reformed, but not completely.  They continued to worship idols of pagan nations in rebellion against Jehovah and insisted on practicing their occult rituals along with worship of the One True God.

And He shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings?  Let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.  See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me; I kill, and I make alive, I wound, and I heal; neither is there any who can deliver out of My Hand.  For I lift up My Hand to Heaven, and say, I live forever.  If I whet My glittering Sword, and My Hand take hold on Judgment; I will render vengeance to My Enemies, and will reward them who hate Me (Deut 32:37-41 KJV).

This they will have in return for their pride, because they have taunted and become arrogant against the people of the Lord of hosts. 11 The Lord will be terrifying to them, for He will starve all the gods of the earth; and all the coastlands of the nations will bow down to Him, everyone from his own place (Zeph 2:10-11 NASB).

Remarkably, the LORD pronounces coming judgment on Judah, and then turns around and also pronounces judgment on those who have “taunted and become arrogant against the people of the LORD of Hosts.”  And then He describes the coming Kingdom Age when the Messiah will “starve all the gods of the earth” and men will worship Him alone.

“You also, O Ethiopians, will be slain by My sword.” 13 And He will stretch out His hand against the north and destroy Assyria, and He will make Nineveh a desolation, parched like the wilderness. 14 Flocks will lie down in her midst, all beasts which range in herds; both the pelican and the hedgehog will lodge in the tops of her pillars; birds will sing in the window, desolation will be on the threshold; for He has laid bare the cedar work (Zeph 2:12-14 NASB).

At the time of this Prophecy, Assyria had seemingly total power.  So, without Faith in the Truth of God’s Word, such a claim would have been preposterous.  But, of course, what the LORD said did indeed come about.  After its destruction by the Babylonians, Nineveh was not rebuilt and became “a desolation, parched like the wilderness.”

Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:5-7 NLT).

Jesus, Prince and Savior

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Excerpt from a blogpost I shared over two years ago…

Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. 26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned (Acts 5:25-26 KJV).

A report reaches the Sanhedrin that the apostles are at the Temple preaching yet again.  Officers find the apostles and request that they come with them.  They do not arrest them or bind them for fear that the people will rise up against them in violent defense of the apostles.

As Williams writes: “The phrase, ‘For they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned,’ proclaims their fear of the people, but they did not fear Him Who manifested His power in opening their prison, for their hearts and consciences were hardened with hatred against Him and His followers.”

27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 28 Saying, Did not we straightly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us (Acts 5:27-28 KJV).

The apostles were brought before the seventy-one member Sanhedrin.  The high priest confronts them on their continued preaching of Christ and Him crucified and glorified in resurrection, against their command to cease.  He is angry that they are filling the people with knowledge of God, which he feels threatened by.

29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29 KJV).

An amazingly simple, yet profound response!  “We must obey God rather than men!”  Unlike the council they stood before, the apostles feared God more than man.

As Hervey writes: “The rule is a golden one for all men, all circumstances, and all time.  Peter does not deny having received the prohibition, but pleads the superior force of the Command of God, as set forth in the following verses…”

30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:30-31 KJV).

“Prince and Savior” express royalty and atonement.  The apostles are telling the religious Jewish leaders that Jesus Christ, exalted by God, is the supreme Leader of the Church and of all of Israel, though rejected by them.

32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. 33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them (Acts 5:32-33 KJV).

By the Power of the Holy Spirit, the apostles were witnesses to the Gospel of Faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sin.  Their Gospel Message convicted the Sanhedrin—cut them to the heart.  I chose to cover this passage in KJV for those very words—“cut to the heart”—because that’s exactly what the Word of God will do.  Rejection of and rebellion against the Word of God is a matter of the heart for us all.

As Matthew Henry write: “Lord still has all hearts in his hands, and sometimes directs the prudence of the worldly wise, so as to restrain the persecutors. Common sense tells us to be cautious, while experience and observation show that the success of frauds in matters of religion has been very short. Reproach for Christ is true preferment, as it makes us conformable to his pattern, and serviceable to his interest. They rejoiced in it. If we suffer ill for doing well, provided we suffer it well, and as we should, we ought to rejoice in that grace which enabled us so to do. The apostles did not preach themselves, but Christ. This was the preaching that most offended the priests. But it ought to be the constant business of gospel ministers to preach Christ: Christ, and him crucified; Christ, and him glorified; nothing beside this, but what has reference to it. And whatever is our station or rank in life, we should seek to make Him known, and to glorify his name.”

As Williams writes: “’Rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name,’ presents the first sharp stroke of persecution.  It was bitter and painful to the flesh, but yet caused rejoicing in the Spirit.  Shame is glory if suffered for the Name.”

42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ (Acts 5:42 KJV).

Being that they could glory in persecution, the apostles immediately returned to preaching Jesus Christ.

The Firstborn from the Dead

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Here are excerpts from a blogpost over two years ago…

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven (Col 1:18-20 KJV).

Jesus is the Creator of the Church, and He was the first to be raised from the dead as it regards the Resurrection. The Cross of Christ addressed the fall of man, satisfying the just demands of the broken Law, that Believers might be reconciled unto God.

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister (Col 1:21-23 KJV).

Paul encourages the Believers of Colosse to continue in the Faith as delivered to them by the Apostles.

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: 25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints (Col 1:24-26 KJV).

Paul did not want to become sidetracked on some minor issue that did not emphasize the centrality of the Gospel, which is Christ and Him Crucified. The Mystery of the Gospel of Salvation by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ is made manifest in the Believers, not in the world.

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which works in me mightily (Col 1:27-29 KJV).

The full realization of Christ in the Believer, the Hope of Glory, will materialize at the coming Resurrection.

“There Is No Savior Besides Me”

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Inaugurationalism is an insidious denial of the cross, a faithless disowning of Christ crucified. If Paul were alive today, I think he would respond to its dogmatic proclamation the same way he responded to the realized eschatology of his day: “I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Tim. 2: 10– 13, NIV). – John P. Harrington, The Gospel of Christ Crucified

“You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. 11 “I, even I, am the Lord, and there is no savior besides Me. 12 “It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, and there was no strange god among you; so you are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And I am God. 13 “Even from eternity I am He, and there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:10-13 NASB).

The nations are invited to come together and challenged once more to vindicate their idols by fulfilled Prophecy.  But it is in vain that they will seek for witness.  The Messiah will bring forth His witnesses, even His Servant Israel to prove that there is no God but the God of Israel, that He “declares” and “saves” and “shows.”  He is from everlasting, and He is Almighty.

Thus says the Lord your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and will bring them all down as fugitives, even the Chaldeans, into the ships in which they rejoice. 15 “I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King” (Isaiah 43:14-15 NASB).

The “ships” speak of the ruling class of Babylonians who would attempt to escape.  Instead of the “ships” becoming their savior, they would be tombs.  The LORD is the only One Who can make such predictions as are outlined in this Passage and unfailingly make them come to pass.  And He tells His People here that He is their King.  However, some 750 years later, they claim to have no king but Caesar.

But they cried out, Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him.  Pilate said unto them, Shall I crucify your King?  The Chief Priests answered, We have no king but Caesar (John 19:15 KJV).

Thus says the Lord, Who makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters, 17 Who brings forth the chariot and the horse, the army and the mighty man (They will lie down together and not rise again; they have been quenched and extinguished like a wick): 18 “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. 19 “Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:16-19 NASB).

Jesus Messiah will reign supreme from Jerusalem, having extinguished Babylon.

“The beasts of the field will glorify Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people. 21 “The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise. 22 “Yet you have not called on Me, O Jacob; but you have become weary of Me, O Israel. 23 “You have not brought to Me the sheep of your burnt offerings, nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, nor wearied you with incense. 24 “You have bought Me not sweet cane with money, nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices; rather you have burdened Me with your sins, you have wearied Me with your iniquities (Isaiah 43:20-24 NASB).

The Holy Spirit contrasts “Jacob” and “Israel.”  He attempts to make them into “Israel, the Prince of God,” while they insist upon being “Jacob, the schemer and supplanter.”

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?  Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom (James 3:13 KJV).

The Word of God

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From my blogpost two years ago…

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of soul and of spirit, or joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:11-12 ESV).

Paul is telling Believers that if they do not register continued Faith in Christ and what he did at the Cross, which means they are placing their Faith in something else, they ultimately they are going to fall. The Holy Spirit is the One Who makes possible to our benefit all that Jesus paid for at the Cross, and He will work mightily on our behalf. We saw only the beginning of this mighty work on the Day of Pentecost.The Word of the LORD is in a mysterious way the written form of the Living Christ. It is energized at all times by the Holy Spirit, as the Holy Spirit inhabits the Word. God always honors His Word, and Satan always respects God’s Word. Satan does not respect our efforts as it regards our own works, but he respects the Word of God, which proclaims the Sacrifice of Christ.

The Roman sword was commonly made in the manner of two edges. The fact that it had two edges made it easier to penetrate, as well as to cut in every way. The emphasis here is the twofold effect of the Word of God, as it demands a choice on our part—belief or unbelief. The Word of God pierces the soul and the spirit, proclaiming what man ought to be and can only be in Christ.

Source: Hebrews 4&5– Jesus Our Eternal High Priest

“These Things I Have Spoken Unto You”

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Here are excerpts from a blogpost that I called “I Have Overcome the World.”  It was two years ago that I put this together, and I’ve had to edit it slightly because I’ve become aware that some of the people I used to quote were not reliable sources…

Many believe that the kingdom of the Antichrist with its One World Government and Religion will be patterned after the Roman Empire of Jesus’ Day and the first couple of centuries following His Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. It was during this time that Christianity was spread throughout the Roman Empire, though under great persecution. The Roman Caesars persecution and martyred Christians because they would not recognize him as a god, nor would they accept the worship of other gods as equal to Faith in the One True God…

Rome built a system of courts for social justice. They made not Latin, their own language, but Greek the international language, the lingua franca. And by so doing the Gospel was able to spread. There was a very large Jewish Diaspora after the Babylonian Captivity. So throughout the major cities of the Roman Empire there were established Jewish communities. Not only that, but there was also the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Tanakh) which was now available in the international language. The stage was set for the Gospel to prosper among the Gentiles during Pax Romana and God actually used it.

On the other side of the coin, Pax Romana would only provide peace and prosperity to those who put their trust in it, followed it, and submitted to it. The Antichrist will reinstitute the emperor worship of pagan Rome. This is seen in the typology of the Nativity. When Jesus was born the emperor undertook a headcount in order to gain economic control of the world. That is what was going on then, and somehow that alludes to what is going to happen when Jesus comes back. Rome went from being a republic to a dictatorship. During times of war the Senate would elect a dictator and his word became law. But when someone is in constant war they have constant dictatorships.

The other thing that happened was hyper-inflation which has always historically produced dictators. Napoleon, Hitler, Mao Zedong—even in modern times most dictators came to power following periods of hyper-inflation. And this is what happened back in ancient Rome. Something like it will happen again when the Antichrist is revealed. In times of trouble he will promise the world peace and safety just like every other false prophet and would-be prime minister and president. And just as people had to bow the knee to the emperor on the Lord’s Day one day a year, so it will be under the Antichrist. Everyone will be forced to worship his image or be killed (Rev. 13:15).

Rumors abound that Brussels is already drafting legislation to make illegal any religion that does not respect all other religions as its equal. Thus the Treaty of Rome would put true Christians and the Taliban in the same boat: religio illicita! The pope will declare all religions to be equally valid as long as he is the spiritual head of all religion, and no one will be able to contest his claim without in turn claiming a superior knowledge— which would be illegal!

So what Rome did in the second and third centuries teaches something about what is going to happen at the end of the world. Remember that the early Christians identified Rome with Babylon. The early Christians, being Jews, knew that the mystery religions, the false religious system of the world which began with Nimrod in Babylon (Gen. 10:10), found its way to the city of Pergamum in Asia Minor in the Greek world, and from there to the Roman world. The Greeks called him “Zeus,” the Romans called him “Jupiter,” but that is how it came about.

Early Christians associated Rome with Babylon, particularly as a confederation of the false religions and corrupt politics of a fallen world. That is how they understood Rome, as Babylon. When the early Christians looked at the Book of Revelation and saw a woman on seven hills who represented a most evil city, they immediately thought of the Capitolina. To them Rome was certainly Babylon. Keep in mind that the Romans had found a way to give people not only relative peace and prosperity, but also autonomy and their own identity and religion by imposing just one condition: they bowed the knee to the emperor once a year. – Jacob Prasch, The Dilemma of Laodicea

I want the kind of Faith that the early church had… The kind of Faith that those persecuted and even killed in foreign land through the years and yet today have… The kind of Faith that holds firm to the Truth regardless of the consequences… And I’ve started asking myself, What made the early church continue to preach the Gospel in Truth and not compromise by bowing to Caesar or accepting idolatry as equally valid to Christianity?

And the thought occurred to me that maybe sometimes the answer is a lot more simple than I might think in this complicated, psychologized world… Maybe these Christian martyrs stood for what was Right and True simply because it was Right and True… Maybe they did the right thing because it was the right thing… Could it be that simple? I don’t know… I mean, the world says we do things only to get things… Even the church seems to preach a message that tells us to do things in order to be blessed or have greater pleasure… But is that the Gospel? I mean, wasn’t it pagan Greek philosophers who taught that we are to give up lesser pleasures for superior ones in this life?

What I do know is that the early Christians didn’t hold fast to the Truth and testify boldly to It for pleasure or gain in this life… In fact, most lost everything for their Testimony and lived under the constant threat of persecution and even death… And yet, under these conditions, Christianity spread and spiritually prospered… How could that be? I can’t help but think it was only because people were transformed by the Power of the Spirit to love unto death that which was Right and True…

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33 KJV).

When reading the Word of Jesus concerning the seven Churches of Asia, we find Him telling them to be overcomers. And we know that we overcome through the word of our testimony and the Blood of the Lamb.

Personally, I believe in a pre-tribulation rapture but I don’t rule out the mid-tribulation scenario either, as I’ve heard of late some pretty convincing arguments for the Antichrist being revealed before the Church is snatched away… And regardless of pre-trib or mid-trib, we know for certain that there is going to be a great spiritual deception and falling away before the Return of Christ…

“Of Which Salvation the Prophets have Enquired and Searched Diligently”

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In this way, the day of the Lord is also the primary unifying reality of the Scriptures. The Old and New Testaments speak the same message because they end in the same event. Consequently they hold to “the same hope” (Acts 24: 15, NIV). They look forward to the same “new heavens and new earth.” They believe in the same “resurrection of the dead.” They expect the same “glory,” the same “salvation,” the same “inheritance,” the same “kingdom,” etc. The New Testament simply asserts that the Messiah had to suffer before entering his eschatological glory (cf. Luke 24: 26; Acts 17: 3; 1 Peter 1: 11), bearing sin before bringing salvation (cf. Acts 3: 18– 21; Heb. 9: 28), being set forward as a propitiation before the day of wrath (cf. Rom. 3: 25; 1 John 2: 2), providing justification in anticipation of the day of judgment (cf. Rom. 5: 9; Titus 3: 7), and offering redemption in light of the day of recompense (cf. Eph. 1: 7; Col. 1: 14). – John P. Harrigan, The Gospel of Christ Crucified: A Theology of Suffering before Glory

The LORD will deliver Zion from captivity…

Awake, awake! Stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of His fury; You have drunk the dregs of the cup of trembling, and drained it out. 18 There is no one to guide her among all the sons she has brought forth; nor is there any who takes her by the hand among all the sons she has brought up. 19 These two things have come to you; who will be sorry for you?— Desolation and destruction, famine and sword— by whom will I comfort you? 20 Your sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, like an antelope in a net; they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of your God (Isaiah 51:17-20 NKJV).

At the Battle of Armageddon, the Antichrist will attempt to annihilate the Jews.  As there was no one to help Israel during the times of the Babylonian siege, neither will there be anyone to help during the time of the Battle of Armageddon when it seems that every nation in the world will either side with the Antichrist or remain neutral.  There will only be One Who can comfort Israel—the Messiah Jesus—and He will do just that at His Second Coming.  Only when Israel is destitute, trapped like an “antelope in a net,” panting, exhausted, and incapable of the least resistance, will her finally turn to the LORD.

Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men; 15 So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider (Isaiah 52:14-16 NKJV).

This Prophecy predicts the sufferings of the Messiah in His First Advent, and the glories that shall follow in His Second.  Isaiah seems to sit at the foot of the Cross of Calvary and view the Redeemer as hung upon the accursed tree.  Just as the Messiah astonished men by the humiliation of His First Advent, so will He astonish them by the Glory of His Second.

Of which Salvation the Prophets have enquired and searched diligently.  Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the Glory that should follow.  Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did Minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them who have Preached the Gospel unto you with the Holy Spirit sent down from Heaven; which things the Angels desire to look into (I Peter 1:10-12 KJV).