"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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Saturday, August 15, 2015

The GOSPEL of MATTHEW: Ch. 14 – The MESSIAH and HIS KINGDOM MESSAGE

By James Fire


For the study of this chapter we will borrow substantially from an article FROM the MIND of FIRE entitled A SERMON ON A DIFFERENT MOUNT where the incident of Jesus Christ's walking on the sea of Galilee took place. There are myriads of applications we may procure in this event, spiritual lessons that we may learn. In the article from my blog, there are a few; as well as this, we shall examine the feeding of the thousands before that incident, and the beheading of JOHN the BAPTIST before that. I invite you to come along with me as we explore the awesome and inspiring and sustaining Word of God! 




MATTHEW 14:1-9
At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus,
2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife.
4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.
5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.
6 But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.
7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.
8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger.
9 And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her.

Why would Herod assume that Jesus was John the Baptist? There are a few good reasons for this; firstly, since Jesus and John were cousins, they could very well have resembled one another, especially from a distance. Obviously if this person really was John the Baptist, he would have risen from the dead – which in the minds of Idumeans (Herod was an Edomite) would explain the supernatural powers. It seemed that in Matthew's and Mark's Gospel accounts, Herod was of the opinion that the Baptist had arisen, but in Luke's Gospel, he expressed great doubts regarding Jesus being John the Baptist.

We recognize that the time of the recording of Matthew's and Mark's Gospels and that of Luke’s' own Gospel record, some significant time transpired, and during this time, Herod apparently changed his opinion (probably after receiving more information) regarding Jesus. Read more about this here

The recollection of Herod's birthday party is then recorded in which Herodias's daughter danced before Herod and pleased him to such a degree that he made a rather rash promise: “ . . . the half of my kingdom . . .” (MARK 6:23). What she was instructed to ask for earlier by her mother (MATT. 14:8), was the head of John the Baptist who was at that very moment incarcerated in Herod's prison. The Baptist had unflinchingly rebuked Herod for his incestuous relationship with his brother Philip's wife and for that, the King would have slain him – but because he feared retaliation from the people (who truly believed . . . and rightly so . . . that he was a prophet of God) – he merely had him thrown in prison.

Matthew and Mark both tell us that Herod was sorry about making such a rash oath (which to me suggests that he was pressured to kill John by his vindictive wife); he seemed to have a grudging respect for the Baptist, but not such depths that it restrained him from fulfilling his frivolous and foolish oath.

MATTHEW 14:10-12
10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.
12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

The Baptist at one point had doubted whether his cousin Y'shua was in fact the Messiah of Israel (MATT. 11:3), but the LORD gently reminded him via the messengers that he sent to the LORD, about His ministry and all that He was accomplishing in accordance with the Messianic prophecies. No doubt, John struggled with his faith – after all, if Jesus was indeed the Messiah, if His kingdom was about to be inaugurated (as he and so many other disciples believed), then why was he rotting away in prison, since he was the prophet that was ordained to precede the Messiah's coming, the “voice in the wilderness” that called Israel to “prepare the way of the LORD” (MATT. 3:3)?

With his mission accomplished and his following diminishing, there were some of the Baptist's followers who complained that his disciples were leaving him and going to Jesus. John's answer then was: 

JOHN 3:30
He must increase, but I must decrease.

Thus, with his beheading at the order of Herod, he was helped to 'decrease'. Suffering martyrdom for the sake of the LORD, he no doubt shall receive great reward, this Prophet of prophets, the greatest of them all. His disciples, grieved for such a loss, came and buried the remains of their murdered master and then told Jesus the tragic news. 

Throughout history we witness the slaying of such godly saints of the LORD – these citizens of heaven in whom the Spirit of the LORD resides, by vain, vulgar and vile souls who disdain and despise them. The LORD's greatest prophet: slain because of a birthday promise!
The LORD will not hold them guiltless who slay His innocents!

MATTHEW 14:13-18
13 When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.
14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
18 He said, Bring them hither to me.

We so often think of the LORD Jesus Christ as GOD made flesh, and so He is; yet, many times His humanity is overlooked. He, as fully man, became fatigued, agitated, angry, hungry, lonely, sorrowful as well as joyful and was found in great peace.

Upon hearing of the death of His cousin, He no doubt was grief-stricken; He departed by ship over sea, and then into a desert place. He crossed some distance to be alone in His sorrow. When people realized where it was that He was going, they followed Him – no mere stroll, that! When the LORD saw the multitudes, did He become frustrated at being intruded upon in His sorrow? No – He was moved with compassion, and He healed the sick. 
Our LORD provided us, as always, the supreme example of being others-centered, rather than being self-centered. To deny our own needs, and seek out others in their needs and meet them by the power of God. He healed their sick. He followed God's will.

After a long day, the disciples came to the LORD Jesus and counseled Him (imagine that, the disciples counseling GOD!) to send away the multitudes. Perhaps they were only thinking of their LORD, Who wanted to be alone to begin with. Yet the LORD, ever merciful and gracious, caring and compassionate said otherwise! He then instructs them to feed the people! The disciples take inventory and realize that they don't have nearly enough food for such a multitude – just a handful of loaves and a couple of fish!

Then the LORD Jesus tells them: “Bring them to me”. May we learn this lesson well, and perhaps re-learn it in a refresher course (I've taken it myself!): it doesn't matter how small, insignificant, unimportant we may be, nor are we to consider our own inabilities, our lack of understanding, or the impossibility of the situation we are facing. When we bring our weaknesses to Jesus, when we offer up our own broken lives, when we confess our inadequacies and failings, He takes the little that we are, and the even smaller portions of what we can offer and transforms them into greatness and power, and efficacious grace and peace, love and joy, integrity and strength – so that not only are our own needs met (vs. 20), but those of the multitudes (vs. 21)!

MATTHEW 14:19-21
19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

In any ministry, we must always and firstly come to the LORD and receive from Him, if we ever hope to minister to others; note that the disciples brought what they had to the LORD, and first received from Him the blessed bread and fish. If the LORD doesn't bestow His blessing, our ministry to others will be short lived, stressful, ultimately ineffective.

If we desire to make an impact in the lives of others, we must firstly spend time with the LORD and allow Him to make an impact in us! We have nothing to offer other than what the LORD gives us. There are those in ministry who are so focused on giving out to others, and feel that it's a pious, sacrificial life to refrain from spending time with the LORD, so that He might use us in touching the lives of others. Yet this isn't sacrificial living, this is senseless, poorly equipped spirituality!

For more on this, consider this online little book by Andrew Murray WORKING for GOD 
We are merely the clay vessels that carries the glory of the LORD, His Spirit Who alone can reach and meet the needs of souls in this bleak and dark desert of a world (JOHN 7:37). We must be emptied of ourselves, and intent on our devotion to the LORD, sitting at His feet, learning of Him, seeking His will in prayer and in conformation to His holy image. By His Spirit, these are the torrential rivers of life (JOHN 7:38) that gush from our inward man, and provides the needs of spiritually thirsting souls!

Now we turn to the article written originally FROM The MIND Of FIRE: A Different Sermon From Another Mount (This article encompasses MATT. 14:22-33 as well as LUKE 8:22-35).

We all know the Sermon on the Mount; we've heard teachings on it ever since we became Christians and even before then.

Here we have a different sermon on the 'mount' and very few words were actually spoken by our LORD in this particular teaching. Am I referring to some 'lost gospel' of Jesus, and of writings only recently discovered by biblical archaeologists?
Rest assured, I am not. We have all read this account before . . . we will be looking at the crossings of the Sea of Galilee.

First of all, let's get a reading of this incredible event:

LUKE 8:22-35

22 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.
26 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.
27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.
28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.
29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.
32 And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them.
33 Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.
34 When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.
35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

vs. 22 “Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.”

"on a certain day . . ." It was on a day appointed: immediately after this event which is about to occur, we find the demoniac at Gadara is delivered by the LORD Jesus. Likewise the time of our deliverance from this world, and its god (1 COR. 4:4) is on a day appointed. On that blessed day, nothing in heaven or earth, or hell for that matter will be able to interfere or prevent God from physically delivering His people from both of these. This time saints is at hand, so be encouraged by this truth!

The LORD Jesus said: "Let us go over to the other side of the lake." The disciples (four of which were accomplished fishermen, intimately acquainted with the fits of temperament and weather patterns of the sea of Galilee) mentioned nothing of any noticeably approaching storm. Had they detected any such impending storm, surely they would have mentioned it. Life is like this; we often are unaware of what's about to blindside us, but its best to remember that while we are often taken by surprise, our LORD never is, and He has made every necessary provision for such inevitable eventualities.

"And they launched forth." MARK 4:36 mentions that other little boats accompanied the disciples and the LORD on this venture. We often picture the disciples with their singular boat struggling on Galilee, but there was in fact an entire fleet out there!

Life is about launching out; like that motivational poster we've all seen on corporate walls: "Life is a journey, not a destination." The boat does no good resting at the shore, or as Elizabeth Elliot was always fond of saying, "a parked car is hard to steer." Likewise we must also be about our Father's business, we are His vessels to be directed as He wills, where ever that may lead us - either to a sea of tranquility or tumult.

vs. 23-”But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.”

Jesus falls asleep, and then the storm hits! With the disciples in apparent danger, the LORD is asleep? Have you ever felt like the LORD was asleep during your most crucial time of needed help in severe trial? Is God 'asleep on the job'?

We may be in distress and doubt, not knowing what's to become of us, but God is not dismayed, because all things are under His control, either directly or indirectly. Even Satan at his worst and most ruinous self, is under God's watchful eye, and as with Job, He allows the adversary certain liberties, but He also draws a forbidding line that he can't cross!

In the midst of the storm, there is our LORD, asleep, at peace, unperturbed. He is LORD of all, as familiar with the future as He is with the present and the past. We are not omniscient however, we don't know "all things" and we don't know what the future holds, but we do know Who holds the future!

It reminds me of Shakespeare's play, Hamlet when his uncle, the treacherous brother of the now dead King, who stole the crown through subterfuge and murder, and busily plots his own nephew's demise, cryptically asks him, "Do you see my purpose, cousin?"
To which Hamlet replies cheerfully, "I see it not; but I see the cherub that sees it!"

The LORD sees every aspect of our lives, He sees it all, and knows every turn and unforeseeable road we will travel. We can rest peacefully in the Everlasting arms (DEUT. 33:27), if we will only keep our eyes upon and trust the Trustworthy Shepherd with Whom we have to do.

vs. 24 - “And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.”

The disciples are firmly convinced in their belief: "we perish!" Yet at the least they had enough presence of mind to approach the One Person who could affect any change. I myself am guilty of approaching other sources when trouble and trial pounce on me: a bank account, a doctors visit, a pharmacy, a phone call to a friend, my own resolve and determination to roll up my sleeves and 'fix it' myself.

I sometimes wonder if we deprive our precious LORD of some awesome opportunities when we resort to fixing problems in the natural, instead of first praying and seeking God for a solution. This is not to say that other resources are invalid or inappropriate, not at all; what is inappropriate I think, is when we look to these other sources of help without first 'checking in with Headquarters' to see what our Captain would have us do.

God isn't against doctors for example, He uses them often. They should by no means however be depended on as equally as the LORD Himself. Such is the case with all other resources at our disposal.

In the midst of our trials, are we hasty in our assessment of the situation? We may believe we are perishing, and the enormity of the trial may be such that we are fully persuaded of this belief. The assessment of those four (possibly more) fisherman on that boat, for all their education, training, experience, and abilities was "we perish!".

The vessel was full of water! They reached the point of no return. The situation was unsolvable. Have you ever experienced this? I have. I know that I will experience this again, and again in this life; we mortal creatures in this world of sin are prone to the painful experience of loss in all it's distasteful varieties. 
Yet in these times, we may taste and see that the LORD is good; so good that the bitter experience can be turned sweet in Him, and in the wondrous work of the cross in our lives (EX. 15:23-25). Here is what's known as "the fellowship of His sufferings" (PHIL. 3:10).


vs. 24 con't. - "Then He arose . . ."

Once God arises to the occasion, all other considerations, no matter how daunting, no matter how dire, can be confidently disregarded! No matter how hopelessness and failure may assail our senses and attempt to persuade us of our imminent perdition; no matter how many enemies, that would overtake our souls, are gathered against us, when weighed in the balances against God rising up to deal with them, they're utterly insignificant and carry no weight.

Indeed . . . 

PSALM 68:1-4
Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.

Note - The LORD rebukes the storm; He doesn't merely command it to cease, He rebukes. The word in the Greek is used for a wide variety of applications of rebuke: demons, winds, fevers, disciples, etc. In this instance, is it possible that the storm had satanic inspiration? Perhaps the great enemy realized where the LORD was heading (into Gadarea) where one he had possessed resided, and as he is loathe to lose any soul, he vainly attempted to stifle any such salvation.

LUKE 8:25
And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

"Where is your faith?" the LORD Jesus asks them. In considering the situation, had the disciples exercised their faith, could they have stilled the storm? If that had been the case, it would have revealed an intimate knowledge and implicit trust in the LORD, and the realization that by faith such storms could be silenced. Yet they don't possess such depth of knowledge or trust of this Man . . . not yet; for they say themselves "what manner of man is this!"

At the very least, if they couldn't have faith enough to still the storm themselves in Christ's Name (as some would find fault in the disciples for such a thing), they might have exhibited faith in Him for who He is. And what manner of Man is this?

This is the God-man! Of whom it is said:

JOB 9:4-10
He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered? Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger. Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars. Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.

And . . . 

PSALM 29:1-4
Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

The lesson here learned was necessary for the disciples, and prepared them for a deeper lesson and teaching from a different sermon, a sermon of few words, on the mount of cresting, mountainous waves of another tumultuous storm!


MATTHEW 14:22-33
And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.

This time the LORD sends His disciples on ahead while he disperses the multitude that He had just miraculously fed; He is not with them now, but sent them by command to "go to the other side."
The LORD goes up to a mountain to pray. We aren't told what He prayed about, but as our faithful Intercessor, it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that they, His disciples, were the subjects of His prayers.

Likewise, the LORD is no longer with us, physically, yet He declared that "I will never leave nor forsake you." HEB 13:5

Of His High priestly ministry it is said "He ever liveth to make intercession for us." HEB 7:25

The LORD doesn't resort to a valley or a grove, nor to a river bank or the shore of Galilee to pray; nor does He climb a mere hill, but a mountain. In this exalted position our humble King deigns to pray for His disciples who He can see, but He himself is not seen by them. So it is with us today; no storm can obscure His view of us!

vs. 24 - The disciples came to the midst of the sea and found themselves in turmoil once again, fighting a raging storm. John's Gospel states that they had up to this point rowed tenaciously for 25 - 30 furlongs! They persevered doggedly and were encouraged by past experiences that taught them not to despair, but to maintain their hope in the faithfulness of God. Such are the benefits of our tutors: the trials our Father lovingly administers to us.

1 PETER 1:6-8
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Also: 1 PETER 4:12-13

ROM 5:1
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed (does not disappoint); because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Paul knew what he was talking about: he suffered storms and ship wrecks himself!
In all our trials and tribulations, our problems are opportunities to answer God's question of us: "Do you trust Me?" How far does our trust go? He desires us to trust Him with absolute abandon and loves us enough to walk us through to that place of peace and joy. So, step by loving step, He draws us into ever deepening water, just as He did with these disciples. Let us proceed . . .

Often in scripture "the seas" are a type of the world, that is, the gentile nations, as opposed to Israel, which is typified as "the land". While Galilee is actually a lake, rather than a sea, the principle still applies here in this illustration.

Isaiah himself speaks of the nations as the seas:

ISAIAH 17:12-13
Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.

Interesting that God here is presented as One who rebukes the nations "which make a noise like the seas" and "they flee off."

Also -

ISAIAH 57:20-21
But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

The sea is a perfect picture of the nature of humanity; both are fickle, unstable, lacking in solidity (one physically, the other morally). From a placid surface that can appear eternally blissful, a chaotic storm can erupt that creates an ever changing topography of terror. Nothing is so terrifying as what meteorologists call 'the perfect storm' that is, conditions created when two or more storm systems collide and cause a such a frenzy that, for those caught in it, would seem to emulate the fury of hell itself, but in the element of water rather than fire.

As we look over the world scene today, we see the storms rising, building, and approaching; even now, we feel the precipitous winds of adversity picking up with force: harbingers of disaster.

These 'systems' are nearing the point of collision, with the inhabitants of the world caught in the middle! Storms of erratic economic uncertainty, political turmoil, upheavals in wars and rumors of such, mounting waves the size of looming mountains seem poised to crash all around us; much of this 'weather' appears to be contrived by the power elite, forces of fallen men (and fallen angels) in this world-system, this new world order as it were, governed by Satan.

Then there are the storms of a more personal nature: storms of financial pressures, and debt, even bankruptcy; dreaded hurricanes that assail our health with threat of life and limb; cyclones of besetting sins and addictions, strong holds all; gales of gloomy forecasts and of a foreboding future!


vs. 25 - And yet, here is our precious Savior! How glorious is a Savior when one finds oneself in the midst of such calamities! Behold Him, as He walks victoriously, as the Over-comer of the world, marching in a wordless walk that speaks volumes to us! And as He does speak, those few words carry incredible weight:

"Be not afraid, it is I, be of good cheer!" And He says again:

JOHN 16:33
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.

He has trod upon the raging seas, and is LORD over it; He it is that steers the events of our lives as certainly as He does the affairs of this stormy world!

In Daniel ch. 7, in the first three verses, the prophet witnesses a storm himself - the winds and the sea in turmoil and then he observes four beasts rising up out of it. We learn that these are four world empires, rising up out of the world system of the gentile nations, who regard gods of their own making, made after their own image and do not acknowledge the God of heaven.

These four world empires speak of power, and domination, oppression and tyranny, rather than of liberty and love, peace and justice, these latter attributes characterize a FIFTH world empire under the leadership of the KING of Kings, and LORD of Lords, Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate!

On a side note: It's interesting to observe that when man rejects God in order to enthrone himself as an autonomous deity, he actually becomes less than what God intended in His creation of our once noble father, Adam, endowed with goodness and virtue.

Yet in the mind of fallen man, he is a god: self-interested, self-invested, self-esteemed, self-glorified; truly a selfish being with little or no compassion and empathy towards his fellow man. He disdains those whom he deems as lower than himself intellectually, financially, socially, etc. Friendship is based on those whom he can benefit by resulting in self advancement.

Indeed a devolution from man to self-appointed god, inevitably to a selfish, ego-enthroned monster who, like death itself, devours all and yet is never full!

Such are the characteristics of these world empires from God's point of view, these brute beasts of power, and none more so than the fourth beast, a great and terrible beast, which prophetically speaking is coalescing all about us, even as you read this article. The proponents of this empire, these monsters or 'goblins' as I call them (read that, global socialists) are all jockeying into position to obtain supreme leadership in the very empire they are striving to build, with the same zeal as the builders of the Tower of Babel!

These double and triple digit billionaires, and these trillionaires are truly a pathetic, pitiable lot, who strive and contend and pour their lives out in order to obtain their own fiefdoms of power. However, what shall a man give in exchange for his own soul, and what will it profit him if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?

Little do they know that at the height of power, in the midst of these various tumults and storms, this world empire will have a life expectancy of a mere seven years!

Yet over all of this, our LORD rides the crests of catastrophic, apocalyptic reign of ruin; He is above it all. Yet He cares for the lowly, the orphan, the widow, the weak. Read throughout the Psalms and you witness how mightily God stands against the proud, and uplifts the humble.

The dual delusions of Deicide (the killing of God) and of self-deification will come to a climatic, shattering, and abrupt ending when the LORD appears to take back this world which He purchased with His own blood. While goblins seek sacrifice from others whose blood they will freely spill for their own benefit, our LORD and KING willingly sacrificed Himself and shed His own blood for our good!

For your edification, may I encourage you to read:
PSALM 2:1-12 and PSALM 9:1-20

On that day He will be glorified, He shall reign overtly that which He has presided over from heaven since the dawn of creation; He shall establish His reign on the Earth, removing every trace of rebellion from His grand eternal Kingdom!

Until that blessed day, whatever we are suffering in our personal or national storms, whatever instability and darkness we may be enduring and may yet endure, let us turn, and keep our eyes on JESUS the LORD, just as Peter did when he began to walk on the water.

The LORD identified Himself when the disciples thought He was a ghost. It must have been some storm to have obscured Him so from their clear view! Yet His voice would be unmistakable!

So when Peter asks "IF it is You, then bid me to come to you."
In the Greek there is no mistaking Peter's title of this man when he says 'Lord'; also in the Greek there are four possible tenses to that word 'if':

1) IF, and it is not so; (2) IF and it probably/possibly is not so; (3) IF and it probably/possibly is so; (4) and IF and it is so!

I believe the last is the tense that Peter used. What then was the LORD's answer to Peter? "Come."

Have you ever wondered why the LORD allowed Peter to step out of that boat, when He knew he would fail? To teach Peter a lesson? Yes, indeed! Also to teach us, that in overwhelming situations, we need not be overwhelmed; if we only keep our eyes, hearts, and minds focused on Him and not on the prevailing storms.

Yet even if we should fail and consider too long the imminent storms that approach our nation, and the world, and as a result sink into despair: He is still with us! His love for us hasn't diminished in the least! He is ever faithful, loving, full of tender mercies for us! We may indeed fail Him, but He won't fail us! More than this, He is able to work in us, by His Spirit, such grace and power that we can righteously stand in faithfulness of no artificial origin, but rather heavenly!

Do you want to be faithful to your LORD Jesus? Even in the midst of such things that we see heading our way? He has the power to grant you this desire. Only reach out to Him, allow Him to clasp His Hand around your own, yield to His Almighty touch and let Him raise you up out of the mire and storming seas!

Like Peter, no fancy prayer or oratory is required; a simple heart-felt prayer is all that's required: "LORD, HELP!"
Like Peter, we will stand victoriously along side our LORD Who will faithfully stand by our side, on the churning waters of sin, violence, and destruction that this world is prone to!

HEBREWS 12:2
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

MATT. 14:32-36
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
34 And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.
35 And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;
36 And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.

All of humanity is caught in a tumultuous, devastating, ruinous, horrifyingly breath-taking storm of sin. While not acknowledged as such, we are witness to the abject sufferings, the intolerable injustices, the slack-jawed tragedies of apocalyptic proportions – as well as the personal afflictions that hound our bodies, the anguished writhing of mental purgatories, the depraved darkness that haunts our hearts. We testify of the 'inhumanity of man towards his fellow man' and we wonder “why” such terrible things happen. The answer is sin, whether personal attributed to individual(s) or generally as a result of the curse of sin upon the whole race because of Adam's fall.

We may try to avoid the storm, to protect and fortify ourselves against it, but it is a storm that rises up from within our midst if not our own hearts. There are no answers or solutions that will remedy this problematic climate, save one.

When Jesus enters our lives, the storm of sin ceases and we recognize Him for Who He is – the LORD God, Creator of heaven and earth and all that is within, the seen and unseen. When the LORD enters our hearts, the raging devastation of this sin is absolved as is the very penalty of sin by the propitiation of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our transgressions and trespasses. While the storm may howl and thunder without, and we are still under its canopy of chaos, we are sheltered by our Refuge from this storm!

It's as we acknowledge Who He is, that we enter into a place of awe and wonder at this Man Who is the Son of God, and we cannot but help to worship Him. The disciples and their LORD came to shore and were met by the sick and needy, and He healed them all as they simply touched the hem of His garment. Likewise He is one day coming to this world to establish His rule of holiness, righteousness and perfection, ridding this world of the storm that is sin and all of its horrid consequences once and for all! AMEN!

This concludes the 14th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew; we are now mid-way through this Gospel account and will proceed with chapter 15 when the LORD allows and leads, by His grace! In the mean time, may the LORD truly and deeply bless you – WAY TOO MUCH!

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