"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW: Ch. 5 - The MESSIAH and HIS KINGDOM MESSAGE


By James Fire

CHAPTER 5:1-8

What does the word ‘beatitude’ actually mean, have you ever wondered? One rendering says, “To be supremely blessed, consecrated, and holy, in a state of bliss”. 
Those who follow the truth as expressed by the LORD in this chapter will certainly know (even if they don’t understand) this bliss and peace; yet there must be no mistake: in order to follow the Truth Incarnate, His Spirit must be the one to empower and enable them by indwelling their person!

Christianity is not, and cannot (successfully) be a mere philosophy or a set or principles for ‘moral man’ to abide by. The one statement alone, made by our LORD should put an end to any such endeavor: Matt. 5:48!

Christianity is “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27)!

The apostle Paul likewise deals with the moral man in his treatise found in the book of Romans 2:1-16 (See the TTUF study of Romans, chapter Two).
Certainly the principles laid out by the LORD here are absolutely contrary to the edicts and principles and philosophy of this world which is ruled by Satan. 


This is why the kingdom of God and Light is diametrically opposed to the world’s view which is under the kingdom of Satan and darkness, and why the true church that lives by the Spirit of God is so hated by those of the world:

JOHN 3:18-20


18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved
.

We are entering now into that area in the Gospel of Matthew where the King of Israel is laying down the holy law that applies in His kingdom, specifically in the case of Matthew’s account, the kingdom as it pertains to Israel and the Davidic covenant . This perspective will aid us in understanding many of the verses recorded in this section (Ch’s. 5 – 7).

Dr. Scofield comments:

“The Sermon on the Mount has a twofold application:


“(1) Literally to the kingdom: In this sense it gives the divine constitution for the righteous government of the earth. Whenever the kingdom of heaven is established on earth it will be according to that constitution, which may be regarded as an explanation of the word ‘righteousness’ as used by the prophets in describing the kingdom (e.g.) Isaiah 11:4-5; 32:1; Daniel 9:24. In this sense the Sermon on the Mount is pure law, and transfers the offence from the overt act to the motive: Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28.
“Here lies the deeper reason why the Jews rejected the kingdom. They had reduced ‘righteousness’ to mere ceremonialism, and the Old Testament idea of the kingdom to a mere affair of outward splendor and power. They were never rebuked for expecting a visible and powerful kingdom, but the words of the prophets should have prepared them to expect also that only the poor in spirit and the meek could share in it (e.g.) Isaiah 11:4. [Psalm 72 speaks of that] . . . which was universally received by them as a description of the kingdom . . . For these reasons, the Sermon on the Mount in its primary application gives neither the privilege nor the duty of the Church. These are found in the Epistles. Under the law of the kingdom, for example, no one may hope for forgiveness who has not first forgiven, Matthew 6:12, 14-15. Under grace the Christian is exhorted to forgive because he is already forgiven, Ephesians 4:30-32.


“(2) But there is a beautiful moral application to the Christian. It always remains true that the poor in spirit, rather than the proud, are blessed, and those who mourn because of their sins, and who are meek in the consciousness of them, will hunger and thirst after righteousness, and hungering, will be filled. The merciful are ‘blessed’, the pure in heart do ‘see God’. These principles fundamentally reappear in the teaching of the Epistles.”

Let’s come before the LORD Jesus as He takes His seat and teaches us in this sermon . . . on the mount.


MATTHEW 5:1-2

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying
,

The LORD sees with His holy eyes, two groups of people here: the multitude, and His disciples. As He ascended a mountain (interesting how He decided to teach there and not on the sea shore, or valley, or river or forest – a mountain is often symbolic in Scripture for a kingdom, and in this case, representative of the kingdom of heaven) He sat down, and His disciples came to Him and He taught them – that is, His disciples who looked for the kingdom of heaven to be established (this was in a very profound sense, a ‘pre-church’ time period!).

On the subject of ‘disciples’ – these were more than just students; in any classroom setting, once the class is over with, the students and the teacher leave and go to their own homes; not so with disciples and their teachers – they shared their lives with one another. The disciple would not only hear their master’s teachings, but observe how the truth they taught was applied to their life.

In John’s Gospel we read:

JOHN 8:31

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed
;

This 'continuing' involved more than just hearing and learning the truth as spoken by the Messiah, but in following Him and to continue to follow Him with obedience (Matt. 7:24-27) in disciplined fashion – this is the mark of a True Disciple


In today’s church one can hardly find the preaching of the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ, with the essentials of repentance, surrendering one’s life wholly, continually to the LORD, and living the crucified life of self-denial – so that Christ may be manifest more fully in us and receive the glory (Gal.2:20); this aspect of Christianity – the life of the Cross is what discipleship is all about!


MATTHEW 16:24-25


24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it
.


Discipleship – where elder saints come along side of new babes in Christ, novice believers, and live their lives together, expressing the love, grace, truth and practical living and all the Christian duties inherent to one who is born again in the LORD Jesus Christ: this is something significantly (and sadly!) uncommon in the church today!
One is hard pressed even to find parents who are faithfully discipling their children!

For an excellent book on True Discipleship, may I recommend William MacDonald’s work.


The other aspect of true discipleship is that we shall have such a love for one another as saints of God, that the quality of such will be indistinguishable from the very love of Christ for us (John 13:34-35), because it’s the same love as by the Spirit of God in us! Astonishing!

Paul Washer talks about true discipleship in a video, here (11 mins 14 secs).


Here begins the Sermon on the Mount and our LORD begins with what is called the Beatitudes. As followers of Jesus what should be ‘our attitude’ in life and our daily conduct? 


The greatest in the kingdom would be that one that fulfills the spiritual truths of these verses in their lives. None fulfills them better than the LORD Jesus Himself (even verses 3 and 4? I will address this a bit later) – He is the standard, the measure of true holiness by which any that would claim to be holy should look to for comparison.

The verses following are excellent as a kind of ‘spiritual barometer’ to determine where we are in the level of maturity we have (or not) in the LORD. Other such passages are 1 Cor. 13:1-8 and Gal. 5:22-23.

MATTHEW 5:3-4


3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted
.

How blessed to overflowing are those who are poor in spirit – does this sound like a contradiction to you? One would suppose the LORD would have said, “Blessed are those who are rich in spirit . . .” but this is not the case.
Exactly who would qualify as being “poor in spirit” and what does this mean exactly?

Spiritual impoverishment is something that all of humanity suffers from because spiritual wealth – holiness, purity, beauty, truth, peace, grace, wisdom and knowledge (and so very much more) are all held in the treasure houses that is God’s own heart! 


As sinners, sold under sin, in bondage to sin and separated from God (and all of the spiritual wealth inherent in His being), we are such poor and beggarly creatures that not only are deficient of such blessedness and riches, but also have the very perverted perception that ‘true riches’ are all about sin and sinful lusts and practices (that old ‘sex and drugs and rock n roll’ or even the devilish idea that ‘it’s MY life and I will live it as I see fit, and if God doesn’t like it, TOO BAD!’).

How then can we who are in such a deplorable condition ever think to be “blessed”? The LORD said of such that “. . . theirs is the kingdom of heaven”!
Of course, it’s those who come to the realization, by the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11) that they are in such a state. In life, knowing and admitting that one has a problem is the first step in getting it solved.

If we humble ourselves by admission of the truth, by such a confession of our guilt, and with genuine repentance the LORD will honor such and respond (Luke 18:9-14; James 4:9-10; 1 Peter 5:4-6).
Conversely, the religious who are sure of their supposed right standing before God, those who are rich in themselves and not of God, those who by pride in their religious accomplishments and deeds – these are those who will never share in the kingdom of heaven (See Luke 18:10-14 for an example of both kinds of people, the humbly repentant and the arrogantly self-righteous). The LORD will address this religious pride later on in this sermon.

This leads us to the second verse in our study – “blessed are they that mourn . . .”

This mourning is not merely regret or ‘feeling bad’ about wrongs committed by ourselves. This sort of grief is far deeper than that. The Greek word pentheo describes the kind of passionate grieving associated with the death of a loved one, or the destruction of one’s homeland. 

It is a grief that encompasses the entire being until the entire consciousness is consumed by such. It is not emotionalism – that would entail the idea that we are made sorry by an appeal to our emotions via the soul (the seat of our emotions) rather than an appeal to the truth of God’s Word convicting our hearts (the central and essential being of who we are).

Such mourning over our sin – for the extreme offense it causes the Holy God Who created us, and for the spiritual poverty and death it has wreaked in our lives – is what this passage is addressing (See also 2 Cor. 7:9-10).

As the model and holy standard for these beatitudes, the One Who alone was able to claim to fulfill the Law; how would the LORD be described as someone who is spiritually poor and in need to mourn for such?
While the LORD Jesus would not Himself have any spiritual poverty of His own, and thus a need to mourn for such a non-existent deficiency, He is our sin bearer and mediator – thus for our own sakes, He became poor (2 Cor. 8:9) and a Man of sorrows (Is. 53:3).

For such sinners then as we, who express this brand of deep, genuine, whole hearted repentance in acknowledging their sin and seeking for God’s forgiveness, these shall “be comforted” that is, they shall “called near, invited, invoked by imploration, . . . to beseech, comfort, exhort; to call to one’s aid”. I am reminded of the LORD’s own words:

MATT. 11:28-29


28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls
(see also John 7:37-38).


To comfort those who mourn is specifically a Messianic mission as spoken of in Isaiah 51:3, 11-12; 61:2-3.

That mission was (and is) intended to take place in what we know as the Millennium (mille – meaning one thousand; ennium – count of years). In these same passages it speaks of the LORD making the “wilderness (of Israel) like Eden” and “her desert like the garden of the LORD.” 

Also in the 61st chapter we read what the LORD Himself quoted (Luke 4:18-19) in reference to His ministry which He engaged in two thousand years ago, and yet from vs. 2 and on it speaks of “vengeance . . . to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion . . . and they shall build the old wastes . . . repair the waste cities . . . strangers shall stand and feed your flocks . . . and you shall eat the riches of the Gentiles . . . For Zion’s sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth, and the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness and all kings thy glory . . . (Isaiah 62:1-2)”. 

These things have not happened as yet . . . but they will.

Such ministry was to be a part of the rule of the Messiah in Israel, and such would have been the case had the Messiah been received two thousand years ago; but because He was rejected nationally, such ministry is postponed until later (at the Second Advent) when the LORD Jesus will inaugurate His reign alongside of His Gentile bride (the church; Matt. 16:18).


In the meanwhile, the ministry of the LORD involves comforting those who mourn for their sins and bringing assurance to those who have humbled themselves before Him in a spirit of meekness, that such will inherit the earth!

MATTHEW 5:5


5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth
.

Satan took away the stewardship of the earth from Adam who lost it when he fell into sin, subjugating himself and the human race under the enemy’s power; those of this world are ever seeking power and ruler-ship in this world over cities, districts, regions and nations, and now a global oligarchy is assuming power over the entire planet. 


Each of these have used power to take what they would (Nietzsche’s own philosophy of “the will to power”) without any appeal to a higher authority to bequeath such, but seizing upon it for themselves and their own selfish agendas. 


Suppose you were the son of David Rockefeller or one of the Rothschild’s – imagine the sort of inheritance you would come into upon their death as their Last Will and Testament was read! Yet as the result of the New Testament (covenant; see Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:8) we have a far, far greater inheritance than the mere pittance acquired from the aforementioned trillionaires!


The Maker of heaven and earth will simply deliver this world into the hands of . . . the proud? The arrogant? The selfish? Those that deem themselves gods? No – but to the meek (Ps. 37:11). Again, observe how diametrically opposed God’s ways are to the ways of this Satan-inspired world and how grateful I am that they are! 


Meekness is not weakness by any means! In the Greek it refers to: “mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness.


“Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend them against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time (Is. 41:17).” Quote from Scofield’s Commentary on Matthew.

The Messiah, the majestic God Incarnate, Who spoke all of creation into existence with only His spoken Word (thus demonstrating only one aspect of His omnipotence) could have wiped the universe out with another spoken Word when the Roman soldiers scourged the flesh from His bones, plated that crown of thorns on His Holy Head, and nailed Him to that rough hewn and blood stained cross – but He endured those things with meekness.


Great power under total control is part of this meekness; another is absolute surrender to God, leaving our own lives in His capable hands and looking to Him to address wrongs done to us, injustices suffered by us, sufferings endured and dire circumstances placed upon us and doing nothing to defend or save ourselves from such things that are entirely out of our hands any way. The LORD Jesus modeled this for us perfectly!


As the meekest Man in all the world (Matthew 11:29), the LORD Jesus shall inherit all the domains of creation as KING of Kings and LORD of Lords – and we shall partake of such at the grace of our LORD as we exhibit this quality of meekness. In such meekness, there is a rest from strife, from self-preservation, and burdens to ‘fend for ourselves’.

MATTHEW 5:6


6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled
.


Earlier this month I wrote an exhortation FROM the MIND of FIRE entitled A Passionate Thirst for God; please feel free to check this out as we continue in this study of Matthew’s Gospel.

Since much has been stated already in the FMF article above, let me simply say this (as I have quite often before): In a world of empty, sinful mirages, amidst the barren bleak deserts of parched souls – there is an O.A.S.I.S. Only the Almighty Savior Immanuel Satisfies.


We are not merely physical beings; otherwise physical things would satisfy us – but they don’t ultimately. We are not merely mental or emotional beings; otherwise intellectual and experiential things would satisfy us – but ultimately, neither do these satisfy us. 

We are spiritual beings: beings who because of sin are suffering from broken, ruined spirits that are incapable of anything at all in regards to responding to and receiving the LORD.

If you are thirsting and hungering in life, if you find that there is ‘something missing’ (despite the fact that we have tried everything this world has to offer) but the answer proves elusive, know that it’s because you are at heart a spiritual being, and nothing can ever satisfy you except the spiritual, and such spiritual satisfaction can only be acquired through the One Who created your spirit – the LORD Jesus Christ:


JOHN 4:13-14


13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this [physical] water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the [spiritual] water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life
.



So far we have observed that the poor in spirit will mourn over their condition, and as a result of being comforted, they are grateful, worshipful and full of meekness to the LORD Who has saved them. As a result of this comfort and salvation we find that we are no longer thirsty or hungry for the things of this world – but only such appetites that find satisfaction in the LORD Jesus the Righteous, the Bread of Life Himself is what we hunger and thirst for more of! 


See Isaiah 61:3 and 2 Cor. 9:10 to observe trees and their fruit of righteousness. 

God’s desire is that His righteousness would ‘branch out’ (every pun intended) into all aspects of our lives!

The blessed benefits of the righteousness of Christ in our lives as seen in: 2 Tim. 4:8; James 5:16; 1 Peter 3:12; 1 John 2:1, 29



MATTHEW 5:7


7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy
.



Those of us who have received the grace, mercy and peace from the LORD Jesus Christ have our lives so transformed, that we become a merciful people, people of tender mercies and loving kindness – even to our enemies, having the very character of Christ working in our hearts to fulfill all of His will for us, and through us! In sowing such mercies, we reap more mercy in abundance.


See 2 Sam. 22:26; Psalm 41:1-3; Psalm 112:4-9; Is. 58:9-11.

Remember that justice is receiving what you deserve.
Mercy is the opposite of justice: it’s something you don’t receive that you do deserve.
And grace is that which you receive that you don’t deserve.

The unrepentant sinner will receive God’s justice, and will perish forever in hell!
The repentant sinner will be spared from God’s justice and will not perish in hell!
The repentant sinner will not only receive the mercy of God, but also the grace of God, both via the LORD Jesus Christ – and be blessed by an eternity in heaven as the LORD’s gift of salvation; salvation from hell and for heaven!

Having received this mercy from God, and the Spirit that is working in us along with the Word of God, the ministry of sanctification is operative in our lives – working out the things of the old man, and instilling in our minds that which conforms us to the image of Christ in the new man.


We become purer of mind just as we have been made pure of heart (having that “new heart” as a result of our spiritual rebirth; John 3:3-5; 1 Peter 1:23; Ezekiel 18:31; 36:26).

MATTHEW 5:8

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God
.

No one can see God and live according to Exodus 33:20. In our natural state, such a visitation would prove our undoing.

Our Father dwells in heaven (Matt. 6:9) and only those who are pure in heart will see Him in the Kingdom that the saints shall inherit; thus the need for the spiritual rebirth, without which no one will enter or even see it! 


This perfection (of purity) is something so entirely alien to our humanity, though mankind strives to obtain it for himself by education, philosophy and esoteric knowledge, by medical and nutritional technology, through exercise; through the obtaining of monetary wealth and power, and what not. 

He is destined for failure in as much as he himself is a failure – a ruination of sin and all the destructive influences contained therein. Were God to enforce the Law that demands such perfection, aside from any aid or intervention on His own part, we would be utterly hopeless to ever see God in His glory.

Therefore God determined by His foreknowledge of all that would transpire from that point of transgression at the tree of knowledge of good and evil that by grace we would be saved (2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5-7; Eph. 2:8-9), and not of works – because no one can in fact, boast of their accomplishments which are absolutely void of any element of goodness and holiness. 


We will never know complete purity experientially while on this Earth, but one day we shall be complete in Christ when we see Him (1 John 3:2) and on that day, we shall experience for the first time in our lives that complete and entire purity that is unmatched by any other, save for the One Who’s purity has been granted to us!

That which was impossible under the commands of the Law, are now possible by the efficacious grace of God delivered to our hearts by the LORD Jesus Christ and His blood atonement and His Spirit! Psalm 24:3-4; Isaiah 1:25-26; 1 Tim. 1:5; 5:22; 1 Peter 1:22; also Eph. 5:27; Hebrews 9:22-26; James 1:27; 2 Pet. 3:14. 


Purity of heart is not a religious drudgery but life and joy and peace in the Holy Spirit! Romans 14:17; 15:13.

For those who know the mercies of the LORD and that such mercies are provided in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and knowing the blessedness of the purification process performed in us by the Holy Spirit, we saints endeavor to proclaim this good news to all far and near, heralding the reconciling peace that God offers to fallen man. Thus we become peace makers.

Thus we complete these first eight verses of the Beatitudes of the LORD Jesus Christ! We shall continue in this sermon on our next occasion of study on TTUF! Until then, may our LORD continue to work His blessed will in and through our lives by the power of His Spirit!
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW: Ch. 4 - The MESSIAH and HIS KINGDOM MESSAGE

By James Fire


CHAPTER FOUR –

PART ONE

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it wasn’t merely the arrival of the Son of God Who would bring the Gospel message to fallen man, for the redemption of souls; it was a Holy Invasion into enemy territory with the intent of defeating Satan, the ruler of the rebel world system, as was promised as early as . . .

GENESIS 3:15

15 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.


Satan being expert in the Scriptures, knowing full well what they said, realized the implications of the prophetic Word and understood that the Babe of Bethlehem would be the One to confront him in what would seem to be the Battle of the Ages, the War of all wars, the Supreme Strategy that would end, if he couldn’t stop it, the reign of sin.


Not long after the birth of creation, the enemy had observed Adam and Eve quite carefully. I’m sure before he made his decisive move of deception, approaching the woman with his enticements and allure for godhood – self rule, rather than being ruled by God – he looked long and hard for the weakest spot at the weakest moment. With the weapons in his arsenal he brought the human race to devastation and took out his rival, Adam – whom the LORD God gave stewardship over Earth and Satan obtained it for himself.

Likewise Satan must have watched Jesus throughout His childhood and adult life with singular focus and a keen eye for any sign of weakness whereupon he could launch his attack. When the LORD Jesus took that long, dusty trek from Galilee and into Judea and to the Jordan River, the devil kept vigil and observed this Promised One as He submitted Himself for baptism and heard the Voice of God proclaiming “This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

The enemy, no doubt, sat up and took notice as he watched the Spirit of the LORD descend upon Him and then immediately led Him into the wilderness – and Satan would meet Him there.
A celestial audience of angels, holy and evil must have been in attendance for the colossal confrontation between the Messiah of Israel and the god of this world – it would be a ‘winner takes all’ sort of fight.

Satan knew that the Scriptures foretold that the Messiah would one day rule the entire world – the world that he now governed according to his own pernicious precepts and odious ordinances of the kingdom of darkness.
He also observed that Jesus had taken upon a fast that lasted weeks – a fast of forty days would bring a human body to the very edge of starvation.
This Jesus had never, up until that point, exercised His divine powers. For thirty years He lived as a mere commoner, a seemingly feeble human weakling no different than these others that populated the world. The enemy then decided his means of attack . . .


MATTHEW 4:1-3
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread
.



Some think that Satan emphasized the word “If . . .” in his temptation, but I have the suspicion that the emphasis was on “. . . GOD . . .”
It was an appeal to Jesus to use His Divine power to gratify His own hunger and this would be a powerful temptation for One Who is the Creator, especially a starving Creator who trembled with the weakness of His denied bodily needs for nourishment; in the blink of an eye He could have transformed that wasteland into mountains of bread. He Who made man from the dust of the earth could easily have done so!
Rather than succumb to this seduction, the Messiah replied, not with a pronouncement of power in rebuking the devil, but with the power of the Word of God!


MATTHEW 4:4

4 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
.


Why did the LORD use the Scriptures rather than His own power to rebuke the devil? I believe there are two primary reasons why. As verse one indicated, this was a testing of the Son of God and the Tempter was utilized by God the Father to do the testing.
If any one could find a flaw (theoretically) – other than the searching Eternal and flaming eyes of God Himself – it would be the chief enemy of God!

The other reason why the LORD answered with the Word of God: As our role model, He would not employ His own power of Deity, for we would obviously be unable to mimic such a demonstration and use power we don’t possess in ourselves.
Yet we could likewise employ the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit in our own battles against the enemy. And this, according to the admonition of Paul is precisely what we ought to do when confronted by the principalities and powers in the domain of darkness (Eph. 6:17; James 4:7).

Man shall live by bread, that is, his physical body requires physical needs such as sustenance and sleep – just as God designed it, but these should never take priority over spiritual needs and the greatest of these priorities is God Himself, and His Word – the Bread of Life.
Psychology talks about the hierarchy of needs which esteem physical needs over those higher needs as stipulated by God’s Word. Secular wisdom dictates physical needs come first, and later on emotional and spiritual needs once these others are procured.


The LORD Jesus taught the multitudes all sorts of spiritual truth, and at the end of days of such teaching, He turned to His disciples and told them to provide them some food so that they wouldn’t faint on the way back to their own homes (Matt. 15:31-39)! He told them to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all these other (physical needs) will be added especially unto such (Matt. 6:25-31) by God that brings rain upon all and opens His hand to meet provisions for all the inhabitants of the Earth.

Note what the LORD said, “. . . but by EVERY word . . . of . . . GOD” which tells us that there should never be ‘New Testament only’ Christians, or those who deem little value in prophetic Scripture or those who would esteem extra-biblical and apocryphal books as having spiritual value. This verse in our text also testifies to the inspiration of the Scriptures, for the LORD stated, that that which proceeded out of the mouth of God, was written down in Scripture such as Deuteronomy 8:3 which the LORD quoted here.

The base needs of man, and the enemy’s temptation to satiate His flesh failed Satan who then moved on to a greater temptation to assail the Son of God with . . .


MATTHEW 4:5-7
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 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.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God
.



Note here that Satan engages in some repartee; he has seen that Jesus used the Word of God to deny both the temptation as well as the ideology of such worldly, fleshly thinking and motivations, so now as he took the LORD up to the pinnacle of the Temple, he challenges Jesus to cast Himself down, because, after all . . . “it is written . . .” and he quoted Psalm 91:11-12; yet if one reads this passage in context, the meaning is far different than that which the devil employed. He basically took this out of context – something that Satan has done repeatedly as far back as the Garden of Eden.

Psalm 91 is all about how the LORD God will protect Israel in any dangers that present themselves to His people; this was NOT a license for any one, much less the Servant of YHWH to act presumptuously and commit an act that would seem to force God to move in order to protect a daring fool.

Imagine if the LORD Jesus had done as Satan had bid; such a sight of a man plummeting down from that pinnacle, only to come to rest mere inches off the ground, held up by invisible forces and then gently set down would be a miracle that would have won Him instant notoriety and fame . . . but He did not come to please Himself, but firstly and always to please the Father (John 8:29) and secondarily to minister to the needs of humanity, namely, the great need of salvation.

There are some that state, and with considerable justification, that in vs. 7 the LORD is admitting to His own Deity, that is, Satan is putting “the LORD thy GOD (the SON) to a foolish test”. The first temptation that appealed to the flesh and its needs failed; the second temptation to appeal to the ego likewise failed. The enemy had one last temptation that no doubt, he considered to be the ‘Ace up his sleeve’ . . .


MATTHEW 4:8-11
8 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;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 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.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him
.



I wonder which “high mountain” the devil took our LORD to. And how was it that he showed the LORD all the kingdoms of the world? Was it a vision that Satan gave to Him or what? Nothing in the text shows exactly what happened either way, we only know that by some means, Satan revealed all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus.


Imagine the pomp and splendor of all those kingdoms, but what no doubt grabbed Jesus’ interest even more, were the souls that populated those cities. After all, this was the very reason why He came, why the Father sent Him – for Their love for this world of lost and miserable and wretched souls.


And the devil was ready to deliver them all into the hands of Jesus, for Him to rule over – and without a bloody, messy, painful cross to endure. Isn’t this just like our great enemy! He often tempts us with things for us to enjoy in the here and now, rather than having us go the long road – to deny ourselves, and pleasures and fulfillments – so that the LORD may be glorified by our obedience to His will. 

Often we must endure a cross of our own, and that’s when the enemy whispers in our ear to have sympathy for ourselves; he speaks the same words to us as he did through the lips of Peter (‘Oh no, let this never be! Don’t allow this terrible thing to happen to you!’ Matt. 16:22).

Satan offering the world to the LORD (on a sin-stained platter?) would be an empty boast if he didn’t actually own the world (2 Cor. 4:4); yet he procured it when Adam succumbed to temptation and thereby abdicated stewardship over the world government of which he was the head.
Elsewhere the Word declares:


PSALM 24:1-2
The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
2 For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods
.


Is there a contradiction here? Not at all; God is the Only True Creator God. Satan or any other created being for that matter, cannot create anything in the sense that God can; He alone created (“barah” to create from nothing) the Earth, the World and all that is in it – from nothing other than His spoken Word. Satan for the last approximately 6,000 years as been a ‘god’ or ruler over this world system of governments and those agencies, organizations and productions that are contained in the realm of sinful man as well as those principalities and powers that followed him in the rebellion against the Almighty (a very dumb move!).

Observe now how the terrible power of sin can blind and mar that which was the most magnificent of all God’s celestial creations – Lucifer who “sealed up the sum” (Ez. 28:12-15) when it came to wisdom and beauty! The audacity and bold foolishness of this finite creature, in the full grasp of iniquity, stands before his Creator – the One Who holds the heavens in the span of His hand – and beckons Him to fall down . . . and worship him??!

(Another will receive such an offer from Satan, and for the price of Luciferian worship, the Beast shall inherit by the devil’s hand, that which the LORD spurned.)

This is the same kind of foolishness that prompts the perdition within the heart of man to declare that ‘there is no God’ (Psalm 14:1), all the while beholding the enormous intricacies and dizzying details on both the macro-cosmic and the microscopic levels, all of which is a visible testament to the creative genius and power of God (See Psalm 19:1-6)!

Now let’s hear the LORD’s response to Satan’s third temptation:

He finally tells Satan to “get out of here” but with a directive right back to Scripture:

“You shall worship the LORD God and Him only you shall serve”!

There is only One Who is worthy of our worship: God and Him alone! Anything or anyone that is a higher priority in our lives is an idol and it must be cast down without remorse, and leave the LORD alone upon the high throne of our hearts! 

We must ravage any sign or indication of anything that would rival our LORD as being supreme in our lives (As I have heard many times from Chuck Missler, “The LORD doesn’t want to be number One on a list of ten. He wants to be number One on a list of one!”). 
We must be as tenacious and adamant in ridding our hearts and lives of any affection or desires that would seek to usurp the LORD for His rightful place and priority! We must fulfill what I have called The Josiah Mandate.


Did you know that when the LORD replied to Satan’s temptations, not only did He resort to the use of the Scriptures, but every citation He quoted from was from a single book of the Bible – Deuteronomy!

The first temptation He replied with Deut. 8:3.
The second temptation He replied with Deut. 6:16.
The third temptation He replied with Deut. 6:13.

Why would He limit Himself to the use of this single book?

I don’t really have a solid answer for that question; just a hunch really. When Moses was prepared to send the people of Israel off into Canaan land (Moses himself, as you recall, was forbidden to cross Jordan and into the land promised by God), the Law giver recited what was formerly given in the book of Exodus to his people. Reason being, there was a new generation at that time that wasn’t alive during the exodus from Egypt and a reiteration was in order.
They were apparently in need of a reminder that once they crossed the Jordan, they would be entering into a land full of pagan people and practices. Much of Deuteronomy is full of warnings to remain in obedience to the LORD and His Word, and not to adopt the practices of worshipping the false gods of the nations. Note especially Deuteronomy 28.

Those false gods would have demonic powers acting ‘behind the scenes’ to give legitimacy to the so-called glory and reality of those pagan deities (1 Cor. 8:4-5; 1 Cor. 10:19-21); and bowing down to those demonic powers is by proxy, bowing down to Satan himself. Thus, a rather appropriate book for the LORD to quote from considering who His opponent was, wouldn’t you say?

Verse 11 says that the devil left him; all of God’s holy angels perhaps let out a collective sigh of relief followed by a crescendo of glorious praise for the victory of their LORD – and yet the Gospel of Luke 4:13 adds one point to this, that the devil left him “… for a while”. The enemy would return and tempt the Messiah again to turn from the path that the Father set Him on, but in far more subtle ways than a ‘showdown in the desert’.

Yet in every encounter, at every scrutiny for the slightest semblance of sin, the enemy could find nothing in Him (John 14:30). He is the spotless Lamb of God!


1 PETER 1:18-20
18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
,
See also Isaiah 53:9; John 8:46; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22

Angels came and ministered to the LORD – and one must wonder what it was that they did for Him? Provide transportation from off that “exceedingly high mountain” perhaps? He had just finished a forty day fast; maybe they provided sustenance (Angel Food Cake perhaps? – sorry).

PART TWO -

MATTHEW 4:12-16
12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;
13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;
16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up
.

The Scriptures give us a kind of ‘fast forward’ because here we see that the LORD is no longer on the mountain and He heard about John the Baptist being cast into prison by Herod (later on in Matt. 14:2-5 the reason is explained).

The LORD went to His hometown of Nazareth*, and then left there to go to Capernaum which became one of His primary bases of operation, and this of course was a fulfillment of prophecy, for this city was within the regions of Zabulon and Nephthalim of which it is said:

(*Luke 4:16-19 reveals that while in Nazareth, the LORD went into His customary synagogue and read the passage from Isaiah 61:1-2a (but not 2b) and declared that this very passage was being fulfilled on the very day He read it (obviously fulfilled by Himself) denoting Himself as “the anointed One” or Messiah. He didn’t continue reading after “to preach the acceptable year of the LORD” because the rest of what we call ‘verse two’ refers to that time of vengeance when the Messiah as “the avenger of blood” (Deut. 19:6-12; Josh. 20:3-9) would seek out judgment against all who persecuted (and killed) His brethren, of the nation of Israel.).


ISAIAH 9:1-2
Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.
2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined
.
See also Isaiah 42:6-8

After 400 years of prophetic silence (for that was how long Israel had been without a prophet of God (Malachi) to speak on behalf of YHWH) the people who sat in such darkness were met, not by only prophet of God, but by God Himself in Whom is no darkness, neither shadow of turning, but Light in all its Holiest brilliance! See John 1:4-5, 9; 3:18-20; 2 Cor. 4:5-7; James 1:17; 1 John 1:5.


MATTHEW 4:17-22
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him
.



The message was the same from the lips of our LORD as John the Baptist’s; the same as all the prophets of Israel who had gone before. Yet as with those prophets, against such the people of Israel hardened their hearts, so also with the God Who spoke through those prophets did they (with some significant and blessed exceptions of course!) harden their hearts (Matt. 13:15).

Nevertheless, the message went forth – to repent of sin, to turn from wicked ways (1 Sam. 12:20; 2 Chron. 7:14; Neh. 9:35; Jer. 44:5; Ez. 3:19; 18:21, 24, 27; 33:9, 11, 14 and 19) and have the faith of Abraham who “believed God” (Gal. 3:6; note: not merely believing IN God, but believing Him, that is, believing His Word – obeying and acting on it).

Yet in today’s church, the Gospel without repentance is going forth; people are reciting ‘sinner’s prayers’ but living unchanged, unfruitful, ungodly lives and with the false assurance that all is well because, after all, I said a prayer.

We at TTUF are not opposed to ‘sinner’s prayers’ but there should be an emphasis of repentance included and a surrendering of one’s life: for if redemption is real – there is the spiritual reality that we are no longer our own, that we are the LORD’s upon our conversion. No longer are we living our lives for ourselves, but for the One Who purchased us with His own blood (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 6:19-20).


Whether one who says the ‘sinner’s prayer’ is genuinely saved is also not known by any observer (except for God of course) until fruit is in evidence, that is evidence of a changed nature and life and altered desires and hungers (a hunger to learn God’s Word, to pray, to fellowship with other believers; and a desire to rid one’s life of sins that grieve the Holy Spirit). See Matt. 3:10. Until such evidence is manifest, how can anyone truly declare another to be saved with absolute certainty?

As the Messiah of Israel proceeded in His preaching of repentance, declaring that the Kingdom was at hand (for it was the King Himself heralding the message!), He came across two men, engaged in their profession as fishers. He called to them to follow Him and take keen notice of that one word: “straightway”! 



They didn’t deliberate, they didn’t hold conference between themselves, they didn’t negotiate terms with the LORD – straightway they left their nets.
They abandoned the profession that they no doubt trained all their lives in, to the point of proficiency and gain. Yet, apparently they didn’t give those nets a second glance, or their boats, or their catch of the day.
Peter and Andrew sought first (as a matter of priority) the kingdom of God and His righteousness, counting on the LORD, that He would meet their necessaries at the times to come.

Later on when the LORD was addressed by the rich young ruler, who turned aside from following Him – because he had great possessions, Peter spoke up:


LUKE 18:28-29
28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.
29 And He said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake,
30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting
.



A little ways down the shore of Galilee the LORD along with Peter and Andrew, came across James and John and when the LORD likewise beckoned to them, the same results:

“Immediately…” and not only did they leave nets, but also their own father to follow Jesus!

In the Christian life this is always the case. In order to follow the LORD, we must leave behind the things of this world (not absolving ourselves of our responsibilities necessarily, particularly where our families are concerned) that would prove to be impediments to life with our Redeemer Friend. “All to Jesus, I surrender; all to Him I freely give!”

We give the LORD all of our hearts, all of our souls, all of our minds and all of our strength (Matt. 22:37) with the motive of agapeo love (unconditional, loyal, selfless love whose focus is entirely surrendered to the object of that love) – and why is that? Because the LORD loved us first – with all of His Being (1 John 4:19). And He proved that love as being the Highest and Greatest: by dying on that cross in Judea, more than two thousand years ago (John 15:13)!


MATTHEW 4:23-25
23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan
.



What is the “gospel of the kingdom” exactly? Is it “the kingdom of God”? Remember that the Gospel of Matthew presents Jesus as the MESSIAH-KING of Israel, and in light of this fact, this is a clue as to what the LORD was preaching here.

We have a gracious and compassionate LORD Who always leaves a crowd with their sick ones healed. No one ever remained sick who knew the presence of Jesus! Yet these miraculous healings had a specific purpose as well; they were evidence that the LORD Jesus is indeed the Messiah, because these things were prophesied.

There are ample Scriptures that speak of the time when Messiah will come and establish His kingdom, righting every wrong that was suffered by Israel at the hand of her many oppressors from among the nations, and at such a time, He will bring healing and restoration to His people as well as a replenishing of the Earth itself. We see both aspects in such passages as these:


ISAIAH 35:1-10
The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.
3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away
.
(See also: 2 Sam. 7:10-17; Psalm 89:3-4, 18-37; Isaiah 40:9-11; 61:1-11; 62:1-12 among so many other passages)



Virtually every book of the prophets of Israel came with warnings of judgment and chastening upon the people in their rebellion; yet they were never left despondent in such pronouncements. The LORD gave the Word to His prophets regarding the restoration of the kingdom in the latter days and if you turn to the last page(s) of the minor prophets you will see such exhortations such as Haggai 2:8-9, 20-23 and Zechariah 14:4-11, 16-21.


After the LORD’s resurrection the disciples asked their Messiah if He would then at that time “restore again the kingdom to Israel” as the LORD had promised to David by Covenant. The LORD didn’t deny that Israel’s kingdom would be restored (as some of the Replacement Theology sort like to say) but that its timing was in the Father’s keeping (Acts 1:6-7).



Dr. Scofield has the following to say regarding the Davidic Covenant a.k.a. the Kingdom of Israel:


The Davidic Covenant


2 Samuel 7:8-17.
This covenant, upon which the glorious kingdom of Christ "of the seed of David according to the flesh" is to be founded, secures:


(1) A Davidic "house"; i.e. posterity, family
(2) A "throne"; i.e. royal authority
(3) A kingdom; i.e. sphere of rule
(4) In perpetuity; "for ever"
(5) And this fourfold covenant has but one condition: disobedience in the Davidic family is to be visited with chastisement; but not to the abrogation of the covenant 2 Samuel 7:15; Psalms 89:20-37; Isaiah 24:5; 54:3.


The chastisement fell; first in the division of the kingdom under Rehoboam, and, finally, in the captivities. 2 Kings 25:1-7 . Since that time but one King of the Davidic family has been crowned at Jerusalem and He was crowned with thorns. But the Davidic Covenant confirmed to David by the oath of Jehovah, and renewed to Mary by the angel Gabriel, is immutable Psalms 89:30-37 and the Lord God will yet give to that thorn-crowned One "the throne of his father David." ; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 2:29-32; 15:14-17. 



Thus when we read about the Gospel in Matthew’s account, its specifically in regards to the Gospel as it pertains to Israel and the reign of the Messiah over all those Jews who have “like faith as Abraham”, that is spiritual Israel (Note: Gentiles that are born again are NOT spiritual Israel as some might say, they are spiritual Gentiles. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph along with Elijah, Elisha, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist – these are spiritual Israel. Those who refused the Messiah Y’shua are a part of national Israel (ethnically speaking “of the seed of Abraham”) but are not children of Abraham.

While we as Gentiles are ‘grafted in’ to the olive tree (Israel), which were by nature a “wild olive tree” that is distinct from Israel, but we share in the blessing of salvation via the LORD Jesus Christ by faith (See Romans 11:16-24).
It’s because the LORD Jesus was primarily rejected by Israel as a nation that the kingdom was not restored at that time, but the promises of God stand sure so that when the LORD returns to this world (after Daniel’s 70th week (Daniel 9:24-27), also known as the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:6-8) He will inaugurate the Kingdom by His own power (Daniel 2:44-46) – and without the help of ‘the church’ (a popular teaching among Dominionist groups as well as the Emergent Church Movement, and even in a rudimentary way, the New Age Movement (with their New Age ‘Christ’ as described in the writings of Alice Bailey; Barbara Marx Hubbard, Jean Dixon and Neale Donald Walsh).



Now, getting back to the Gospel of Matthew – there are liberal theologians that disdain the ‘old fashioned notion’ of demon possession and rationalize such as merely mental illness. What’s interesting is that in this passage those who were possessed of demons are differentiated from those who were “lunatick” (though sometimes a person was afflicted with both, see Matt. 17:15).

The fact that the spiritual dimension is a reality as the Bible describes, attests to the reality of both angels and fallen angels (demons) and even various classifications of angelic beings such as arch angels, cherubim, and designations of offices for angelic beings like principalities and powers, thrones, dominions, etc. (Eph. 6:12; Col. 1:16). Demonic spirits are quite real, and as these current days continue to become spiritually darker, we can expect that such spiritual activity will increase dramatically, and so knowledge of the armor of God and spiritual warfare (of the legitimate kind) is essential for this reason and many others. For more on this subject, type “armor of God” and “spiritual warfare” in the search engine on TTUF.


Lastly we observe the far range of traveling that people endured in those days in meeting with the Messiah and hearing His message, as well as receiving healings from their varied and extreme ailments. They came as far as Decapolis and other regions beyond the Jordan River; this was no trivial pursuit!
People were hungry for the Word of God, and they were in desperate need. The hope they held in their hearts was that this One, who claimed to be the Messiah of Israel would be able to help, and so He did! Picture for a moment the vastness of these great multitudes and how many required healing – and the LORD in His Almighty power brought by the droves, deliverance to them all!

As was prophesied, the Messiah would bring healing to His people, He would bring the promised restoration to the Kingdom, and He would also preach the Gospel to these lost souls (as well as teach His disciples) and we are about to enter that phase of this Gospel account where the King begins to lay out the principles and truths of “the kingdom of/from heaven” in the next chapter, starting immediately with the Beattitudes!
Read more!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The LAST DAYS of LAWLESSNESS – TIME of the SIGNS

By James Fire


THE KING THAT DWELLS OUTSIDE CHRONOLOGY –


The ETERNAL GOD is not subject to time or space, and therefore is well able to observe past, present and future events simultaneously and knows all things before they happen; whereas we who are creatures (both human and angelic) bound within the confines of the space/time continuum, when left to ourselves, see the present, remember the past, and can only guess at the future.

This is where the Holy Bible leaves all other religious books that claim authenticity as the works of Deity behind; the Scriptures audaciously speak of future events before they ever happen because the Author of these Scriptures has ‘been there, done that’.

ISAIAH 46:9-10
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

God is the only One Who can make that boast. Earlier in Isaiah the LORD taunts the false gods of the nations and challenges them to foretell the future (if they can!):

ISAIAH 41:21-24
21 Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob.
22 Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.
23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.
24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.


The fulfillment of biblical prophecy is a testament to the reality of the God of Israel Who is the Creator of the Universe. It’s a remarkable study to consider the fulfillment of Messianic prophecies regarding Jesus of Nazareth involving His First Advent, and of all the prophecies that surround the nation of Israel.

And there is far more yet to come, some of which is developing even now. For more on this, get the dvd entitled The Daniel Project (with Jacob Prasch of Moriel ministries.

Here is a 7 min 54 sec clip.


HOW PROFOUND AND PARAMOUNT IS PROPHECY –


Today we are seeing prophecy coming to fruition with such rapidity, that to keep up with all the events in news media (and cross referencing these with the Bible!) is quite the challenge. These are not ambiguous prophecies that mere chance would afford their fulfillment, but are very specific in their wording and clear in their meaning.

Regardless of what some (apostate) pastors might say regarding the study of, and prayerful watching for, Bible prophecy is very much our “business”! Keeping our hearts watchful for the Blessed Hope of the Return of Christ Jesus has a purifying effect on our conduct (1 John 3:2-3), thus the study of prophecy and watching for such prayerfully has practical value of the highest sort.

Let us turn to a portion of Scripture that speaks of prophecy, but not just any sort; specifically eschatological prophecy, that is those writings in Scripture that have to do with the very last days in the world prior to the Second Coming of Christ.


THE CLOSING CHAPTERS OF ATROCIOUS HUMAN AUTOCRACY –


In Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 24 (and 25) we find such Scriptures that deal with eschatology (also Mark 14 and Luke 21; Luke’s presentation however is a bit different in its perspective and has slightly different time differentials. John’s Gospel has an absence of this Olivet Discourse, but instead the LORD gave to him, The book of Revelation); we covered this chapter before in TTUF, but we shall plumb the depths once again now.


The LORD Jesus foretold of the destruction of the Temple at the beginning of this chapter, and this quite naturally alarmed His disciples who knew their history. The last time that happened, it meant the ruin of the nation and the captivity in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. The disciples asked then, when these things should take place, and the sign of the LORD’s coming and of the end of the age (“world”).

The very first thing that the LORD spoke on these matters is recorded in vs. 4:


MATTHEW 24:4-5
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many
.


Rank deception in all forms would be in the world during the time foretold by the LORD; religious as well as political, media, social, and academic deception.
This sort of deception would be tied to the various false Christs and false prophets that would appear on the scene.

The title of Christ (Messiah) is as much a political one as it is religious/spiritual; when Christ Jesus appears, He will rule as the rightful King of Israel and over the Gentile nations as well. Just as He is both the spiritual and political leader of Israel and the church, so too these false leaders would come from both religious as well as political arenas, most particularly prominent will be the Beast (as spoken of in Daniel and Revelation).


Ray Yungen, author of For Many Shall Come In My Name, pointed out that the “many” that will come in His name, saying “I am Christ” (Matt. 24:5) could be speaking of people adhering to New Thought Spirituality who claim to possess ‘the Christ Consciousness’ and thus these groups encompassing whole populations of deceived souls would make such a bold and blasphemous declaration.

False prophets are going to come and increase in numbers (Matt. 24:11, 24) and we assume that these would come from a Christian or Jewish background; yet any one claiming to be a prophet is one who would speak on behalf of some deity or another and the New Spiritualists (Agers) have their rank and file of false prophets; they all speak of ‘the Christ’ who is coming, according to the ‘god’ that speaks to them.


These seducing spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1-2) have had their ideas recorded conveniently in books (and other media) via new age channeling by so many that have claimed to ‘hear from God’ from A. Bailey to Neale Donald Walsh.

Wars to various degrees from full scale to smaller armed conflicts is on the increase and so are rumors of such (Matt. 24:6).

Nation against nation (Matt. 24:7), kingdom against kingdom – not only conflicts of a political nature, but ethnic as well shall increase in violent upheavals (Note the many diagrams at this link, especially the one at Fig. 4). We can expect racial hatred and severe civil tensions to increase world wide, most notably among countries where a greater number of ethnicities are present (such as the ‘great melting pot’ that is America).


Famines also are present and escalating alarmingly (Matt. 24:7); pestilences (diseases)* and earthquakes (and storms and bizarre phenomena in the atmosphere and on - and in - the earth) are all signs of the times foretold.

* “A U.S.-led team of scientists has developed the first definitive proof that emerging infectious diseases are increasing in number. The researchers, led by University of Georgia Professor John Gittleman, analyzed 335 incidents of disease emergence occurring since 1940.”



Matthew 24:8 is the essential verse to understand the nature of all of these signs; obviously all of these different events have been occurring throughout history and these phenomenons are not significant in and of themselves, but the fact that they are increasing both in frequency and intensity is what this verse addresses. As a woman undergoing birth pangs, so these events would take place in such a manner, the Bible declares – and so they are!

Likewise we find that the persecution of God’s people, the saints, is on the increase. Be sure to visit TTUF’s own page Christian Persecution Alert for updated prayer needs for the saints in lands both distant and not so distant.

Watch this brief video on the issue of persecution of the church from Open Doors called The World Watch List.


We understand that Scripture speaks of a one world government (Daniel 7:7-8; 19-20, 23-25) and a one world religion (Rev. 17:1-18; Rev. 18:1-24) and these agencies are also proceeding to coalesce into recognizable dual entities.


Indeed, everywhere we look, the Word of God is revealing to us that we are unquestionably living in the last days; the prophetic Scripture is ever clearer in diagnosing our current situation as well as recent events just past the horizon at our backs.


LAWLESSNESS AS OUR LETHAL LEGACY –

Matthew 24:12 indicates that because iniquity (that is, lawlessness or rebellion) will increase, that the love of many will grow cold*. Due to the fact that so many false prophets and spiritual deceptions will be (and already are!) rampant, it’s not unreasonable to include lawless rebellion against the Word of God, that is, rebellion by departing from and standing opposed to the Truth within the pages of the Holy Bible.

*The Word of God is sometimes represented by “water” (as in Eph. 5:26); its interesting that the words “grow cold” refers to the process of cooling by evaporation - or the departure - of water (“of the Word”)!

This is ever so clearly demonstrated in the Emergent Church Movement which chaffs at the very notion of propositional, objective, knowable and absolute truth as found in the Bible!

(For excellent articles that expose the errors of this pernicious movement, visit Lighthouse Trails Research Project; you can access all of the links along the left side column under the title How Is The New Spirituality Entering The Church? and get informed if you’re not already. Also use the search engine at TTUF (as well as FROM the MIND of FIRE and The RED PILL Consortium and enter “emergent” to look at our own articles. Links to FMF and RPC can be found in the links section at the right hand column).

Apostasy is the word for this conduct (1 Tim. 1:19, 4:1; 2 Tim. 4:4; Heb. 3:12; 1 Peter 3:17)! And there is only one antidote for it!

And because we as a nation are forsaking the God of the Bible, we are reaping the dire consequences (See Psalm 9:16-20; be sure to read this three page report from Last Trumpet ministries at the preceding link).
If we refuse to live in the liberty of Christ (Gal. 5:1) as graciously provided by the Father, then we will live under the tyranny of man and the spiritual deception and subjugation of Satan!

Not only is there rebellion against the Word, and the Law of God Who is the rightful Ruler over all of creation, but lawlessness against the law of the land: in our case the Constitution which is premised in the Scriptures as the Standard for its just and liberating guidelines. The current President has gone on record as saying that this document “is deeply flawed”.


Not only our political leaders, but those who preside over the highest chairs of academia, such as this Georgetown University professor who speaks disparagingly of this priceless light of literary liberty; they likewise are advising Americans to forget about the Constitution!

Both the Bible and our Constitution clearly regard theft as immoral and yet there is increasing acceptance by the US population of socialism, which is in effect ‘legal plunder’ that is, government via taxation coerces the citizens to provide for non-productive members of society, provide funds for programs they may not only find objectionable but utilized in the delineation of personal liberty, and bring productivity and prosperity to a grinding halt (Socialism is a mechanism that has never brought prosperity wherever it’s been implemented; the only members of such societies that live prosperously are its leaders who were never voted into office, but appointed). This is stealing in Socialist style and it stands opposed to God’s Eighth Commandment: Thou shalt not steal.

We also observe rebellion in society as a whole, something that is celebrated; expressing opposition to those institutions as founded by the Word of God, such as marriage, and the family unit. Today ‘gay’ marriage is being accepted by Federal Law, and now that this has been ratified, it’s opened a Pandora’s box; discussions about the legitimacy of polygamy and even bestiality are increasing (WARNING: Parental discretion is advised regarding material in the preceding article for its explicit nature; note particularly the contributing comments after the initial post and observe how many people are in favor of non-restrictions re: these two forms of sexual perversion). 


Self centeredness, lying and deceit, promiscuity, violence and every other aspect of a rotting society is evident in America today and it reveals the heart of our nation that is quickly being corrupted so that the entire nation is being affected (Our situation is not unlike that of Israel in the days of the prophet Isaiah; See Isaiah 1:4-7).


The laws of nature as well from a scientific perspective are likewise being rebelled against; that is, those laws of nature as designed by our Creator are being challenged by brazen scientific endeavors that breach those Divinely appointed boundaries established by the Almighty. Such unethical scientific practices as the utilization of brain stem cells for the curing of diseases – but too often at the expense of being harvested from aborted babies; at the article provided, there lists ten current scientific spheres that to one degree or another, challenges God’s Law!

Most alarmingly is the idea of transhumanism! Watch this video!

We have thumbed our noses at God as our Creator, claiming He is not necessary for the existence of the universe; it would be offensive to the LORD to attribute creation to a false deity, but we have gone even further by teachings our children that no deity was even necessary. It just happened by random (lawless) chance!

For Scientific Facts and Evolution visit this incredibly information-wealthy site.


INHERITING THE WHIRLWINDS OF WICKEDNESS –


HOSEA 8:7

7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up
.

This nation, and indeed this world is striving to distance itself as much as possible from any traces of a godly heritage, removing the Ten Commandments from public schools (Socialist/Humanist propaganda centers) and society; also prayer and even any mention of God, let alone the blessed Name of the LORD Jesus Christ. With zealous vehemence school teachers and university professors are on aggressive assault upon Christians who espouse a biblical world view. And this attack is by design!

Instead they are embracing evil and rebellion and plucking the cords of conscience from off their minds and hearts so as to be free from God and His Holy Standards of Law and Judgment (Psalm 2:1-3). They think that they can disregard the Holy One with impunity, without bringing upon themselves the repercussions of ruination.
Yet the Word of God stands fast – they have sown to the wind, and they will reap the whirlwind.
This year, as well as previous years we have seen incredibly powerful tornados . . . even in Europe, Russia and China – and witnessed their awesome powers of destruction. Yet these pale compared to the destructive power of sin and spiritual darkness; while humanity seeks a death-style of sin and rebellion, transgressing the will of the LORD in his lawlessness, there is no way we can escape the spiritual law of sowing and reaping!

ROMANS 6:23a

The wages of sin is death . . .


Not just physical death is addressed here, but spiritual as well, and not just death as we typically think of it, but death as in destruction, ruination, an irreparably damaged state of being; sin will bring about the death of relationships including marital (as in the sin of adultery), the death of enterprise (by underhanded and immoral choices of conduct), the death of physical well being (AIDS and other STD’s, alcohol and drug abuse), and so very much more.

EZEKIEL 18:4

Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die
.

Sin has spiritual repercussions and this is why our “soul” dies, and not just our bodies. Sin is a spiritual condition of direct and intentional disobedience to the will of God. The LORD told Adam that the very day he would eat the forbidden fruit, he would die; and yet once he disobeyed God and ate the fruit – did he fall over dead? No, he lived for hundreds of years afterwards. Yet the LORD told him that on that very DAY he would die! How? Spiritually: note the relationship humanity had with God after the fall of Adam; this indicates a change of heart, which since that day means a heart of desperate (“incurable”) wickedness (Jere. 17:9)!


JOB 4:8

8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same
.

If one plants an orange tree, it would be unreasonable to expect apples to grow; likewise we cannot expect to “plow iniquity and sow wickedness” and experience no ill effects. We will inevitably harvest hellish and heinous consequences in real life fashion if we live our lives for ourselves alone, and not surrender both heart and life to the LORD in an attitude of humble repentance (See Matt. 16:24-26; Gal. 6:7-9; 1 John 1:9).

See also Prov. 6:14; 22:8; Isaiah 17:11; Jeremiah 12:13; Joel 3:12-13

REVELATION 14:15-19
15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God
.



These “last days” are typified by the state of lawlessness against God, which Satan is orchestrating, promoting and utilizing for his own purposes, namely to prepare humanity to utterly reject the God of the Bible and instead, receive another who is the Beast (John 5:43), the son of perdition (2 Thess. 2:3-12) and in so receiving both him, and his number (Rev. 13:16-18) will damn their eternal souls to perdition themselves.

Such is the spiritual climate in the wicked weather that is changing before our very eyes; the land is indeed growing dark, just as our brother Tony Kiar observes in his article.


The title of this, my article seems depressing, and yet there is also profound hope and encouragement to be found in it as well, for it speaks of another spiritual truth!

These are indeed the last days in which we find this world in a state of increasing lawlessness, but we also understand that the darkness, lawlessness, perversion, and rebellion of mankind that has been present since the beginning (but growing exponentially in these current generations) is in its FINAL and LAST DAYS!!

Though it is dark, and growing darker, we are living our lives in a state of expectation, for the sunrise! Whether one’s eschatology supports a (commonly referred to) 'pre-trib' rapture (I prefer the term, pre-Daniel’s 70th week) or a mid-, post-trib or pre-wrath rapture, there is coming a day when the reign of sinful man and the greater reign of Satan ‘the Sire of the sinful’ will come to an end and be NO MORE!! For the LORD is returning to claim His own!


2 CORINTHIANS 4:14-18
14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

PHILIPPIANS 3:17-21
17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

2 PETER 3:12-14, 17-18
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

LUKE 21:27-28
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

1 THESS. 4:16-18
16 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.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

REVELATION 11:15-16
15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God
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