Monday, December 23, 2013

The Lord Will Return

The Bible is very clear that The Lord Jesus will be returning to this earth in full bodily form. In fact we are commanded to watch for and be constantly alert to this fact.

As we notice the world seemingly spinning out of control it is important to remember what God’s Word says about our attitude. First, we must without any reservation believe that Christ will come for us as He promised. Next we look to Scripture for our direct instructions as we wait for our Lord to come for us. We have the blessed assurance that what the Bible tells us will come to pass and we must follow its instructions to achieve its blessings.

Matt 24:42-44; Mark 13:33-37: Luke 12:35-40; 1 Thessalonians 4:4-
6; Revelation 16:15
Matthew 24:45-51; 1 Peter 31:13-15; 2 Peter 3:11-14; 1 John 2:28
Romans 13:11-12; Philippians 4:5; James 5:8-9; 1 Peter 4:7
1 Corinthians 1:7; Phil 3:20; Titus 2:11-13
Romans 8:23-25; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
2 Timothy 4:8; 2 Peter 3:12; Revelation 22:20
Matthew  24:12-13;  1  Corinthians  1:7-9;  2  Thessalonians  3:5;  
1Timothy 6:12-14; James 5:7-8

As we celebrate our Lord’s first arrival this Christmas it is important that we be mindful of this fact that He will return bodily to this earth. He told His inner circle of apostles, Peter, James, John and Andrew that he would be back. While He was speaking to Him they asked: “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age”(Matthew 24:3).

 Matthew 24:29-31
 29“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (ESV).

Jesus is talking about the Tribulation (Revelation 6:1-19:10) after which He will return (Revelation 19:11-16) to establish His Kingdom on this earth for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4-6). Now the text clearly says that all on the earth will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven. He will come exactly as He left, visible on clouds. The gathering of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other is a reference to the regathering of the nation Israel not the Church. The Old Testament Jewish prophets spoke frequently about a regathering of the nation Israel from two locations, Heaven and earth (Isaiah 27:12-13, Deuteronomy 30:4 etc.). The Jews who are regathered from the earth (four winds) will be living in Israel. Those from one end of heaven to the other will be resurrected Old Testament saints. Acts chapter one describes the Lord leaving after His resurrection.

Acts 1:9-11
9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven (KJV).

The book of Revelation describes His return right after the Tribulation.

Revelation 19:11-21
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (KJV).

Just as the angels told the apostles when Jesus left He will come back visibly and bodily from heaven. We know that the tribulation will last for seven years (Daniel 9:27; Revelation 13:5, 12:6). Therefore we clearly know that after the seven year Tribulation Jesus will return visibly and with great fanfare. Some confuse this return with the catching away commonly called the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:16-18) of the Church when Jesus returns for Her. In this instance He does not descend to the earth and He raptures us to Heaven with no warning.  These are some of the distinctions between the Rapture and the Second Coming. Some verses that support this distinction are:

Matthew 24:36-44
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh (KJV).

I Thessalonians 5:1-6
1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober (KJV)

Many passages in the Old Testament reveal exactly why the Tribulation is coming on the earth. It is to punish the nation Israel for their unbelief in Jesus. Without making a distinction between the nation Israel and the Church it is difficult to separate the rapture from the Second Coming. For example Jeremiah 30:4-6, states that it is the time of “Jacob’s Trouble,” and is compared in its sufferings to the “birth-pangs” of a woman. In Ezekiel 26:34 it is spoken of as the time when-Israel shall “Pass under the Rod; ” and in Ezekiel 22:19-21, we read how that God is going to cast Israel into His “Melting Pot, ” where they are to be refined as “gold is refined.” Also Malachi 3:1-3, and Zechariah 13:9. Daniel speaks of it as a “Time of Trouble” for his people, the Jews. Daniel 12:1. The Second Coming of Jesus will be after a known seven year Tribulation and it will be announced, not as a thief in the night.

Jesus Returns

 The Location

There will be a call to all the nations. God is very indignant toward the nations and specifically their
armies. He has destined them to a slaughter by the sword and the earth and heavens will shake. When the sword of God strikes all the armies of the nations it will be in the land of Edom. The specific location is the city of Bozrah (Isaiah 37: 1-7). Presently, this is the city of Petra located in Southern Jordan.
He will be on an elevated terrain in Israel looking eastward toward Edom. He appears as a magnificent bloodstained character approaching. The character is glorious and splendid in His appearance. Isaiah asks this splendid character a question. He says Who is this coming from Bozrah with dyed garments, in greatness and strength (Isaiah 63:1a)?

Interestingly the figure what is approaching him is coming from the land of Edom and the city of Bozrah. His features are reflecting His glory and His strength is apparent.  This character is clothed with gloriousness and strength. This is analogous to the view the apostle John had of the Lord Jesus in His resurrected glory, which is described in the first chapter of the Revelation. This is man is arrayed with the Shekinah glory. He is the Messiah.

 The Lord then gives Isaiah an answer to his question.

Isaiah 63:1b I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save
There is only one person in all of creation and Heaven who can “speak in righteousness” and has the power to save. It is our Lord Jesus. He is marching toward Israel from the city of Bozrah.

 Isaiah then responds to the Lord with another question.

Isaiah 63:2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?

Isaiah sees that the garments of this person are stained with blood. Isaiah then asks how is it that He received these stains.

Isaiah 63:3-6 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.

The Lord’s bloodstained garments were caused by the battle fought in the land of Edom within the city of Bozrah. He fought against the nations alone. During the course of the battle the blood of the combatants were sprinkled on His clothes staining them red. He had to conduct the fight to redeem the nation Israel. He fought all alone as there were none to help Him. Clearly the battle is initiated at Bozrah and by the time Christ reaches Israel He has stained His garments with the blood of the enemy.

All these passages pinpoint the place of the Second Coming as being in the land of Edom and the city of Bozrah. This matches the place where the Remnant of Israel will be located in the last days of the battle. The gathering at Bozrah and the Second Coming are coupled together in the fourth passage of Scripture.

Micah 2:12-13 I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men. The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.

Therefore the Remnant of Israel will be gathered at Bozrah where they will be besieged by the forces of the Antichrist. Finally, they will be able to break the siege because Jesus the King is leading them. The breaker, the King and Jehovah are all the same. At the Second Coming the Christ will enter into battle with the forces of the Antichrist, which have gathered at this city.

Christ’s Second Coming: The Approach.
The approach of the Second Coming is with the clouds of Heaven (Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:9-11). The angels didn’t speak of the place of His Second Coming just the manner in which He would return.

 The apostle John describes the Second Coming.

Revelation 19:11-16 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

This account of the Second Coming begins by describing Christ as the Judge. It then shows similarities to what we saw in the Isaiah passages. It is the same image of Jesus presented in the first chapter of the book of Revelation as the Risen Glorified Lord began to reveal Himself to the apostle John on the isle of Patmos in the Aegean Sea.

  1. The war He engages in is the result of His judgment as one who is faithful and true.
  2. He wears a diadem on His head indicating royalty that is natural, not given.
  3. His garments are stained with blood, just as Isaiah 63:1-6 described. This is indeed the Second Coming of Christ the Judge and the Incarnate Word of God returning to judge the nations in His righteousness.
When He returns armies will follow him. The plural here indicates that at least two will return with Him. One army is known as the hosts of the Lord or the angelic army. Matthew describes the Lord stating this.
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works
Another army that will return with Jesus is the army of the Church saints who were raptured prior to the Tribulation. Jude the Lord’s brother relates this event.
Jude 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard [speeches] which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (This quote that Jude uses is from the pseudegriphacial book of Enoch in which great detail is given of the cause of the Flood and the Lord’s redemptive measures?.
The Second Coming is also clearly described elsewhere in the Old Testament (Habakkuk 3:1-19). He has a vision of the second Coming. The prayer opens with a pleading of the Remnant to be saved physically (revive your works) and spiritually (in wrath remember mercy). In answer to the Remnants request God is seen coming from Edom in all His shining glory. At His coming He will begin to render judgment against the gathered nations by different means. Nature will also be greatly affected by the Second Coming as will the heavenly sphere. Christ is then viewed as marching in indignation and threshing the nations on behalf of the nation of Israel. The head of the armies who is the Antichrist will be smitten and the soldiers too. Habakkuk trembles at this knowledge the Lord has given Him to record and pass one. (Prophesied to Judah in the 7th Century B.C.) The world has had this prophecy at least 2700 years. Habakkuk takes comfort in the knowledge that his personal salvation rests in the Lord who will make all things right at the Second Coming.

 The Final Ascent Up the Mount of Olives

When the actual fighting finally comes to a close, Christ will then and only then ascend to the top of the Mount of Olives.

Zechariah 14:3-4a
Then shall Jehovah go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east.

Notice that it is only after He has completed the fighting will His feet stand upon the Mount of Olives. Along with the victory ascent a number of major earthly convulsions will happen (Revelation 16:17-21). Zechariah gives us additional information regarding the earthquake.

Zechariah 14:4b-5:and the mount of Olives shall be cleft in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee by the valley of my mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azel; yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah; and Jehovah my God shall come, and all the holy ones with thee.

The earthquake, which Jesus caused by His victory ascent from the Valley of Jehoshaphat to the Mount of Olives, will cause the mount to split into two parts causing a cleft, which will allow the Jerusalem Jews to escape the destruction of Jerusalem. They will be rescued in this way as Jesus rescued the Jews at Bozrah when He descended in clouds there. The text finishes with a comparison to the earthquake that occurred during the reign of Uzziah one of Judah’s kings.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Lord Always Restores Israel

Zechariah 9:12

12Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even to-day do I declare that I will render double unto thee (ASV 1901).

The prisoners of Zion are going to be rescued by God Himself and He will provide them with a double blessing. As promised in verse eleven “because of the blood of thy covenant I have set free thy prisoners from the pit wherein is no water.” Now God tells the Jews to turn to their stronghold (levetsahron), which is Him. This Hebrew word levetsahron, translated as stronghold is found only here in the entire Old Testament. It can mean citadel or place of safety. Some have taken this to refer to Jerusalem. It is better directed to the only one who is our only true stronghold, the Messiah. It is best to view Him here as the entire ninth chapter has been discussing His first and second advents. God Himself is referenced as the safe hiding place and defense of His people in other sections of Scripture (Joel 3:16). The third chapter of Joel uses a different Hebrew word for stronghold, which is oomahoz, but the conveyance of God protecting Israel is the same. He has blessed them and provided them with many covenants to certify His promises to bless them. In the Hebrew text the word hope is actually “The Hope.” The definite article personifies this hope and adds certainty to the observation that this refers to God in Christ the Messiah. Zechariah speaks about, this special hope of Israel, “the hope which offered them a future through all the years of expectation.” For most of the Jews this will not be fully realized until He appears again to establish His righteous rule on the earth.

The same hope is carried over to the New Testament as Paul speaks of it as “the hope of Israel,” for which the Jews of Rome caused him to be bound as a prisoner (Acts 28: 20). He also referenced this hope when he said in his defense before Agrippa: “I stand here to be judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers, unto which promise our twelve tribes earnestly serving God night and day hope to attain. And concerning this hope I am accused by the Jews, O King” (Acts 26:6-7). Paul also spoke of “the blessed hope and the appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13), for then the hope of the Church, and Israel, and the world, will be fully realized.

The double blessing mentioned in this verse references Exodus 4:22 and Deuteronomy 21:15-17. In the Exodus passage wherein God is commanding Moses saying, “And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith Jehovah, Israel is my son, my first-born:” Jehovah God is saying that Israel is the “First Born” of all the nations. The Deuteronomy passage presents some important aspects of the First Born status.

The double portion of the First Born is clearly stated in this passage. There is however a situation of forfeiture of the First Born status. Personal unfitness or transgression could cause the forfeiture of this coveted status. The Exodus passage shows that in a spiritual sense, God considered the nation of Israel as His firstborn among all nations. Jacob whose name was changed to Israel was not the firstborn son of his parents Isaac and Rebecca. He was born second, because his brother Esau emerged first from the womb. Nonetheless, though he was the younger, Israel still received the blessing of the firstborn. Esau despised the First Born (Genesis 25:34) status and sold it to his brother Jacob for a meal. Therefore Jacob/Israel became the First Born spiritual nation on the earth. Other instances of this forfeiture of the First Born status are in Scripture.15If a man have two wives, the one beloved, and the other hated, and they have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the first-born son be hers that was hated; 16then it shall be, in the day that he causeth his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved the first-born before the son of the hated, who is the first-born: 17but he shall acknowledge the first-born, the son of the hated, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath; for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the first-born is his (ASV 1901).

Jacob’s own firstborn son Reuben lost his rights to the First Born son status. From his deathbed Jacob gave each of his twelve sons as well as Joseph’s two sons Ephraim and Manasseh a forecast of what their tribes would become.  Jacob prophesied over Reuben:

Genesis 49:3-4

 3Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength; The pre-eminence of dignity, and the pre-eminence of power. 4Boiling over as water, thou shalt not have the pre-eminence; Because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; Then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch (ASV 1901).

Israel then divided up the blessings of the First Born status to two of his sons. Judah got the spiritual blessings, as the Messiah would come through his line. Joseph got the physical blessings as Israel blessed his two sons. The Lord Jesus stated this principle, But many shall be last that are first; and first that are last (Matthew 19:30). Here He was referencing the Jews who would be rejected during the Church Age but in the Millennial Kingdom would be running the world’s government along with King Jesus who will rule all from David’s Throne in Jerusalem. Moses prophesied this quite clearly to the Jews.

Deuteronomy 28:13

And Jehovah will make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if thou shalt hearken unto the commandments of Jehovah thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them (ASV 1901).

The dispensing of a double inheritance and punishment is also given in two other passages. In these passages Israel as God’s First Born among the nation had a corresponding responsibility of obedience to God’s Law. If Israel did not realize the blessing due to disobedience they would be doubly punished. Several passages affirm this.

Isaiah 40:2

2Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem; and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she hath received of Jehovah’s hand double for all her sins (ASV 1901).

Jeremiah 16:18

18And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable things, and have filled mine inheritance with their abominations (ASV 1901).

As the serious Bible student notices, Israel’s sorrows and sufferings surpass that of all the rest of mankind. But Israel’s disobedience and consequent sufferings will not last forever. In the diaspora they were, “prisoners of the hope,” and when restored to their land and brought back into favor as God’s “first­born” among the nations, then as He told the Jews through Isaiah:

Isaiah 61:7-9

7Instead of your shame ye shall have double; and instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be unto them. 8For I, Jehovah, love justice, I hate robbery with iniquity; and I will give them their recompense in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9And their seed shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which Jehovah hath blessed (ASV 1901).

The Victorious Road to the Millennium

Zechariah 9:13-15

13For I have bent Judah for me, I have filled the bow with Ephraim; and I will stir up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and will make thee as the sword of a mighty man. 14And Jehovah shall be seen over them; and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning; and the Lord Jehovah will blow the trumpet, and will go with whirlwinds of the south. 15Jehovah of hosts will defend them; and they shall devour, and shall tread down the sling-stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, like the corners of the altar (ASV 1901).

Zechariah now receives assurance that not only will their double chastisement not last forever but also He will use them to personally defeat their enemies. The example used here in Judah the southern kingdom metaphorically representing a military bow and the northern kingdom Ephraim metaphorically representing a missile to be projected from the bow. The actual force provided to the arrow will be God as He says, “And Jehovah shall be seen over them; and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning;” So in essence God Himself is the warrior using Judah and Ephraim as the armaments!  This section of Scripture chronologically depicts the persecutions of the Greeks against the Jews and their eventual victory over them by the Jewish Maccabees. Previously He turned Alexander away from Jerusalem by divine intervention. He will allow the Jews to be victorious over one of Alexander’s successors Antiochus Epiphanies IV in the war of 175-163 B.C. Jehovah God will be seen over the Jews and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning; and the Lord Jehovah will blow the trumpet, and will go with whirlwinds of the south. He will hover over them as a storm with the arrows leaving the bows as lightning quickly leaves the center of a storm to reach its target. The Greeks had dominated the Jews on a number of occasions for which the Lord will get His vengeance as described here.

The book of Joel references a time before the Babylonian captivity when the Phoenicians delivered Jews to the Greeks to be used as slaves. The following paragraph excerpted from the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties explains this.

Joel 3:6 reads: “You [Phoenicians and Philistines] sold the sons of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks [Yewanim] in order to remove them far from their territory” (NASB). The very wording of this verse precludes dating the composition of Joel at any time subsequent to the conquest of Asia by Alexander the Great. The Greeks are referred to here as a people living “far from the territory” of Judah, and probably also far from the territory of the Phoenician and Philistine slave-raiders themselves, who swooped down on defenseless Judean towns in order to sell the captives on slave markets very far from Canaanite territory.
 From Gleason Archer’s Bible Difficulties.

 The Greeks already came to public notice, of course, after the collapse of Xerxes’ attempted conquest of Greece in 480–479 B.C. But Greek coins are found in Palestinian hoards from as early as the late sixth-century issues of Peisistratus. Greek mercenaries or adventurers served in the court and army of the Babylonians as early as the Lesbian poet Alcaeus, who refers to his brother Antimenidas as engaged in such service. Alcaeus’s date was the seventh century B.C. Neo-Babylonian ration tablets published by F. F. Weidner mentioned Ionian carpenters and shipbuilders as recipients of these rations. (Edwin Yamauchi’s Greece and Babylon [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1967], p. 33, discusses the Cretan Linear B tablets dating from 1500 B.C., and gives full documentation for all these references, and also includes references to Egypt, Beirut, Tyre and Phoenicia, in general.) In the light of such data as these, it is nothing short of naive to suppose that a late ninth-century Joel could not have known anything about the Greeks, or to imagine that no slave-traders ever went to Greek ports with captives from Near Eastern slave raids.[1]

The Maccabean war is one instance where the Jews miraculously prevailed against the Greeks in spite of the Greeks superior strength. The Greek Antiochus Epiphanies sought to force Greek culture and manners on the Jews. In imposing Hellenism, Epiphanies was following the intentions of Alexander whose dream was to create an empire, not just by the sword but by culture. Because of this Hellenization, the region was speaking Greek by the time of Christ and the New Testament, which was written in Koine Greek and spread quickly.

By the introduction of Hellenistic cults and non-biblical foods, Epiphanies tried to put an end to the Jewish religious community. The events were the cause of the Maccabean struggle. Severe punitive measures merely brought the matter to a head and the revolt followed. [2]

Women who had had their children circumcised were put to death…with their babies hung round their necks.”
(I Macc. 1:60, 61) As a result of the persecution many Jews hung on to God and His commandments.

Many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die.  Very great wrath came upon Israel. (I Maccabees 1:62-64)

In 170 B.C.  A law was announced requiring all citizens to present themselves four times a year to pay formal homage to Antiochus Epiphanies as the senior god of the Seleucids. The day chosen for these periodic submissions was Shabbat, the Jewish day of prayer and they preferred not to leave their homes. Epiphanies was met by a revolt and the setting up of a small state in which the high priest was the central figure. He launched a war of persecution against the Jews soon after that. The Maccabean revolt gained the Jews their independence for a short while. God let the Jews get themselves out of the trouble they brought upon themselves.

The Zechariah prophecy continues chronologically to the time of the end when God will defeat all their enemies, as all nations shall besiege Jerusalem in the final stages of the Campaign of Armageddon. God is using the Greek persecutions as examples for His defeat of Israel’s enemies. For then will God issue the judgments to be inflicted on the world’s armies who shall be gathered against Jerusalem, not only directly by the hand of God, but also by the hand of Israel, who shall then be made strong in Jehovah, so that “the feeble among them shall in that day be as David, and the house of David shall be as God, as the Angel of Jehovah before them” (Zechariah 12:8).

The fifteenth verse illustrates the word of the Psalmist, “Through God we shall do valiantly, for He it is that shall tread down our adversaries (Psalm 60:12) Jehovah of hosts will defend them; and they shall devour, and shall tread down the sling-stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, like the corners of the altar” The devouring (or “eating”) and “drinking” is understood in a figurative sense.

[1] Archer, G. L. (1982). New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (p. 296). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[2] Josephus, Flavius. The Works of Josephus Translated by William Whiston. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1987, 323.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Beware of the Leaven of the New-Evangelicals

Few movements of Satan in his fueling of apostasy are as destructive to fundamentalist Bible-believing churches as New Evangelicalism. People who are trying to be “with it” or up to date with “where Christianity is going” are confronted with it on every hand-through popular Christian radio and television preachers, at the local ecumenical bookstore, through members of other churches, through ecumenical evangelistic crusades, through political activity, and through interdenominational organizations such as Promise Keepers. The social good they seek to attain such as fighting abortion or same-sex marriage brings them together with Catholics, Mormons and others in their fight for social justice. Politics makes strange bedfellows.  In the Bible we see the Pharisees making league with the Herodians (Two groups diametrically opposed to each other) for the sake of opposing Jesus (Mark 3:6; 12: 13). There is nothing new under the sun.

This is perhaps the most insidious of all the apostasies.  It is characterized by catering to the desires of the people. Instead of being inculcated with God’s Word and having our personal world view and behavior patterned after God’s Word, The New Evangelicalism gives the people what they want.  One NT passage clearly predicts this reversal of worship of God to worshipping man.

Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

The idea with this new wave of apostasy is to soft sell the Bible and salvation. It is not attempting to save anybody from the fires of Hell but from an aimless and meaningless life here on earth. Our experiences and quality of life here are more important than the total service to God and the blessed assurance that He will soon come to lift us out of this sinful decaying world. Salvation is given lip service and evangelism with real confrontation is thought to be too divisive. This apostasy does not want to upset anybody. There is never any mention of Hell, which is the outcome of an unsaved life.  They may say that they believe strongly but their actions differ sharply from what they say. They want to flatter instead of present truth. The New Evangelicalism appeals to the carnal nature of man.

Usually their Bible teaching is characterized by an over emphasis on application. This of course is the middle of the road approach. They avoid doctrine as too divisive.

Paul warned us that the end times would be characterized as a departure from sound doctrine and a departure from the truth. Their over emphasis on application and departure from doctrine is a pathway away from God to the Humanist’s world betterment philosophy.

2Ti 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.


We are saved by believing from the heart the right doctrine of the gospel (Rom. 6:17). This shows why we cannot accept someone as a genuine Christian if they are committed to a false gospel, such as Rome’s sacramental gospel.

  1. We are to separate from those who teach false doctrine (Rom. 16:17).
  2. We must be careful of every wind of false doctrine (Eph. 4:14).
  3. No false doctrine is to be allowed (1 Tim. 1:3).
  4. The preacher is to take heed to the doctrine (1 Tim. 4:16).
  5. The Bible is given for doctrine (2 Tim. 3:16) and is to be preached with doctrine (2 Tim. 4:2).
  6. The preacher must be able to use doctrine to edify and protect the church (Tit. 1:9).
  7. We abide in Christ by sound doctrine (1 Jn. 2:24-27).

Fearing divisiveness they believe that they will lose members of their congregation and therefore funds. They are concerned with money and man-made approaches to self-help. A total dependence on God for their resources is abandoned for “sound business” practices or “fundamental marketing techniques.”  Total reliance on God by elders through prayer and patience is exchanged for parliamentary procedure and schemes for man made self-advancement and career goals. The pastor is considered as a CEO, not the teacher of God’s Word. Mission statements and strategic plans are formulated to accommodate personal plans. The Bible is subordinated to man’s desires.

The thought of prophecy is anathema to the New Evangelical for they say it causes division. This division of course is between those non-literal Bible expositors and the literal Biblical expositors.  Some have characterized the New Evangelicalism as being seduced by the world spirit of this present age.
It is evident in the leaders who are popularized. Usually they have a high degree of prominence in the government or sports and their testimonies are sought after for paid speaking engagements and book endorsements.

You will never see a Sunday school teacher or poor inner city pastor held up by them as pillars of the faith. Christ went to the lowest members of society to bring the truth to the world. He did not go to the popular and prominent.

This is a spirit of disobedience and a mood of compromise. It is a rejection of many of the negative but truthful aspects of New Testament Christianity. It is an attitude of positivism. They would rather be diplomats not fighters, positive rather than militant, infiltrators rather than separatists. They would not be restricted by a separationist mentality. The New Evangelical would rather pursue dialog, intellectualism, and appeasement than Biblical Militiantism. Psychology is fast becoming their guide. Some characteristics are in the following list:

  1. A repudiation of separation.
  2. By replacing separation with dialogue.
  3. By a love for positivism, by a repudiation of the more negative aspects (sin, Hell etc) of biblical Christianity, by a judge-not philosophy, by a dislike of doctrinal controversy.
  4. By exalting love and unity above doctrine.
  5. By a pragmatic approach to the ministry.
  6. By a desire for intellectual respectability, by pride of scholarship.
  7. By an attitude of anti-fundamentalism.
  8. By the division of biblical truth into categories of important and not important.
  9. By exalting social-political activity to the same level as the Great Commission.
  10. By a mood of softness, a desire for a less strict Christianity, weariness with fighting, and neutrality toward spiritual warfare.


Our culture has become deeply and extensively psychological. The weakness and carnality of the church in recent decades has allowed this psychological mind-set of the world to flow into the church. This process has brought about a redefining of many foundational matters of the Christian faith. We used to correctly understand that man's problem was sin and God's remedy was His saving and transforming grace (Romans 5:12, 17). Now, the trouble is the disorder of codependency, and the solution is group therapy. Formerly, we understood that man tended to stray from God to follow his own self-willed path (Isaiah 53:6), and that he needed to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Christ (Luke 9:23). Now, we think that man must esteem himself, affirm himself, and actualize himself. All of this new thinking is coming from psychological theory, which is primarily a philosophy of life. We are strongly warned in the word of the Lord not to be guided by the philosophy of the world.

Colossians 2:8 "Beware lest anyone take you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" .

Beware of the leaven of the new-evangelicals.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Revealed Biblical Demonology

Many in the first four centuries of the Church, such as Lactantius and Augustine, wrote of the demons. This doctrine has fallen silent for nearly 1600 years except for a few obscure writers. With Adolph Hitler’s appearance and his known demonic influence the subject has received some attention by theologians. Paul Tillich, the liberal protestant German theologian, wrote of the demonic forces controlling modern history. It is most important to see what the Bible reveals about the demons and demonic forces.

We have seen that sin was originated in Satan (Ezekiel 28: 15). He is a king with a kingdom (Matthew 12:26) and a portion of that kingdom consists of demons (Matthew 12: 24). Scripture does not give us the exact origin of the demons. The New Testament tells of the angels who defected with Satan and “kept not their first estate” and “are reserved unto judgment of the great day” (II Peter 2: 4; Jude 1:6). Most competent conservative Bible teachers view the demons as the fallen angels. Some refer to them as disembodied spirits. This fall happened during Satan’s second domain, the Jeweled Garden of Eden. The Bible is vastly superior in its exposition of demonology compared to the superstitious exaggeration in the general population.

Demons do exist, because the Bible says they do. In the Old Testament they were the power behind the idols prohibited by God for the Israelites to worship. In Hebrew, the demons are called Shedhim (Deut. 32: 17; Psalm 106: 36-37) as well as Seirim (Lev. 17:7; II Chron. 11: 15; Isaiah 13:21; 34: 14).

The New Testament scripture has much to say about the demons:

• They exist (James 2: 19; Revelation 9:20).

• They know who Jesus is (Luke 4: 41).

• They cannot disobey Jesus’ commands (Matt 12:29).

• They are organized under Satan (Matt 12:26; Ephesians 6:12).

• They know their rulers (Luke 8:31; Rev 9”11).

• They are characterized as foul, unclean spirits (Luke 4:33; 6:18; Rev 18:2).

• They are deceitful and perform miracles through unsaved human beings (1 Tim 4:1; Rev 16:14).

• They can possess humans (Mark 1:32).

• They are cast out of humans by Jesus and his disciples (Matt 15:22, 28; Luke 9:1, 42; 10:17).

• They can be rebuked (Mark 5:8).

• They know their final doom (Matt 25:41).

• They are served by the unsaved (1 Corinthians 10:20).

• They cannot be served by those that are in Christ (1 Corinthians 10:21).

The demons have keen and supernatural knowledge. It is not as powerful as God’s holy knowledge or our saving knowledge. They are confirmed in evil, never seek forgiveness and never plead for purity. They know that Jesus is the Lord of the spirit-world but don’t have a trust in Him or submit to Him. They worship Christ but not in adoration or joy in Holy Communion. They bend to His will in resentment and hate. They, like Satan, have limited knowledge and ceaselessly attempt to thwart God’s plans and purposes. They are depraved and completely morally corrupt. These evil beings have a desire to corrupt and are frequently called unclean in the Bible (Matthew 10:1; Mark 1: 27; 3: 11; Luke 4: 36; Acts 8:7; Revelation 16: 13).

Where are the demons today? It is an impetuous conclusion to say that there are no demons active today; much has been written about demonic possession. Many cases of demonic activity up to and including possession (I Peter 5:8) have been validated. Satan walks about like a lion seeking whom he may devour, Peter tells us to be sober and vigilant.  Paul tells us that Satan is like an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11: 14). These two revealed characteristics of Satan are important for us to consider and both of these apostles want us to “be aware”. Satan and his demons will masquerade as an angel of light to deceive us into sin so he can devour us. Satan and his demons are adeptly deceptive through out the various ages of human history from the beginning of the Church.

In the primitive societies the Devil can move about openly as a roaring lion.

Missionaries within these societies report much open demonic activity and possession. Only unbelievers can be possessed. In nominally Christian polite society, Satan has to deceive people to turn away from God in order to achieve his goals. The general population of regions of the world have standards of living that are based on Biblical standards. This drives the demons into using tools of deception. Some of the deceptions are:

  •     Rejecting supernaturalism altogether.
  •     Rejecting the authority of God’s Word.
  •     Giving rise to rational thought instead of revealed truth.
  •     Causing people to be unaware of the origin of their thoughts.
  •     Causing people to think that no disease has a direct demonic cause.
  •     Causing people to think that some sins are really “not so bad”.
  •     Corrupting doctrinal integrity of the Scriptures so some parts of Scripture are thought of as more important that others.
  •     Causing the belief that magic is harmless (not sleight of hand).
  •     Causing a belief that paganism is harmless in its three root forms; magic, divination (seeking fortune tellers) and necromancy (seeking communication with the dead).
  •     Corrupting the Hebrew Mazzeroth (God’s message in the star constellations of Christ and the Gospel) with astrology.
  •     Causing myth to come into Christianity replacing truth.
  •     Causing a belief that all religions are equal, whatever the doctrine.
  •     Causing schisms in Christian fellowship over doctrine.
  •     Bringing deception in world governments controlled by wicked ruler and dictators to renounce Christianity and provide a channel for the demons to have a great effect on large numbers of people.

By far the greatest field of activity for Satan and his demons is the Church because Satan can influence believers. The body of believers is charged with bringing converts into saving grace knowledge of Christ and His work. The Church is to teach the truth of the Bible. The powers of darkness are increasing in our day and age and dupe the world against the truth of the Bible and historic Christianity. Satan is dedicated to turning people from God. When men do believe the gospel, Satan exerts every effort to turn them away from God’s will (Matthew 13:19). He knows that once they are saved they are beyond his power to destroy so he seeks to corrupt (Numbers 25: 1-3; 31: 16; James 4: 4;  Revelation 2: 14). Therefore, he determines to do them as much damage as he can, seeking to ruin their Christian life and testimony for God.

Satan is unrelenting and pitiless in his hatred for God and the people of God. What makes the devil a fearful foe is the fact of his great power. This is augmented by the assistance of a vast number of fallen angels or demons. Consequently, satanic forces constitute a mighty, evil spiritual reality to be seriously reckoned with by the entire fallen race, both redeemed and unredeemed. We must be aware of the demonic activity and what we are charged with to defeat it.

In its spiritual war, the Church must be knowledgeable about the strategems of our enemy. In physical wars, military strategists are keenly aware of the necessity of knowing the enemy. Accordingly, they employ intricate networks of intelligence and counterintelligence. Missions involving espionage are frequently as crucial to winning a war as actual battles. Without intelligence of the enemy’s strength and position, victory in any military encounter would be doubtful. Yet believers mostly display an obvious disinterest in what the Bible reveals about Satan and demons. The only sound approach is to know the enemy. Only as his wiles are revealed will the believer be able to anticipate and outmaneuver him. Satan’s chief tactics are to hide his identity and his attacks. The Christian must recognize him and anticipate his moves.

Only as the believer knows the powers of darkness will he be able to win against them in his superior position and strength in Christ. The rampant demon activity of these last days (1 Timothy 4:1) means we must “Know our enemy!”

1 Timothy 4: 1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Although we do not always know this enemy, one thing is sure. Satan always knows us! He is thoroughly acquainted with all of God’s children and is quite aware of those who fall for his strategies. He also knows those who recognize and count on their position in Christ and who find and fulfill God’s will for their lives. These saints are what the devil fears most, for they constitute the deadliest threat to his plans and ambitions.It is to us that he attacks in the subtlest manner. He brings us into temptation for the activities, which we know we should not be engaged. We fail to realize or admit his involvement and think that our activities are harmless or out of the purview of anyone else including God.

Ephesians 6: 10-11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Paul starts this section with two commands to make us aware of the enemy’s plan of attack. The enemy wants to thwart God’s plan for our families and will do whatever he can to draw us away from God. Our protection against this enemy is to avail ourselves of all available God given resources to protect ourselves against the strategy of the enemy… Satan. Christians are not to attack Satan, or advance against him; they are only to “stand” or hold the territory Christ and His body, the church, have conquered. Without God’s armor, believers will be defeated by the “schemes” of the devil, which have been effective for thousands of years.

Understanding the Spiritual Battle Introduction (6:12).

Ephesians 6: 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

This struggle implies hand-to-hand combat. It is not a casual annoyance that is being referred to here. Paul is describing a battle that happens in the mind, for control of the mind, and gets manifested in the flesh.  The Devil and his Demons want to destroy us and will take every chance we give them to do that. These are genuine powerful beings not mere fantasies. They live outside of time and space where we will be when we leave these bodies in which we temporarily reside. Once a person becomes a believer in Jesus Christ we become their enemies and they begin their attack. The two major mistakes Christians make toward this evil empire are to ignore it or to give it too much attention.

“High Places” is Hebrew phraseology for the connecting medium to the world that Christ spoke of as life (Matthew 18:8-9; 19: 17; Mark 9: 43; 45). The high places of gross idolatry are physical locations where interaction with demons is carried out to connect to the demonic inhabitants that live there and not to God. These interactions with demons are carried out in the sphere of conflict seeking to damage and kill those who would come to God and find eternal salvation. The Old Testament referred to the phallic idols of the Canaanites, which the Hebrews followed and set up on hills as “High Places.” It occurs ninety times in the OT in the exact phrase “High Places.” It always refers to an effort to thwart God’s plans. Darkness refers to the ugly nature of evil that has entered the earth’s domain when Satan caused Eve to ignore the Word of God and follow the temptation offered by Satan.

Idolatry in itself poses a terrible danger and has to be destroyed. The Hebrew’s were commanded to perform a “herem”, which is a total destruction of the “High Places” and all associated with them. These places are demon energized and an affront to God. Their existence violated the first two commandments of the Decalogue as well.

Exodus 20: 1- 6 And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

The principal entities which represent the demons in time and space in the OT are the:

  •     Idolaters who burn incense to Baal, the sun, moon and stars and planets also known as astrologers.
  •     Adorers of Ashera or sexual worship.
  •     Sodomites.
  •     Male and female prostitutes.
  •     Worshippers of Molech who offered their children as sacrifices, which is modern day abortion.

So, images and idols are intimately connected with occult and demon worship because the entity behind the idol is a demon enticing the worshipper to some desirable sensual experience. If there were not some “charge” or excitement the worshipper would not be attracted to an inanimate object.

Standing Your Ground

The Whole Armor of God (Withstanding Evil).

Truth, The Breastplate of Righteousness

Shoes of the Gospel of Truth

Faith as a Shield

Salvation as a Helmut

The Word of God is our Sword

Prayer in the Spirit of God

 The principal danger the Christian faces is whether the demonic world is credible or not.  The problem is not unbelief but credulity. Satan stands ready to take advantage of this in an era when occult religion  and liberalism is threatening to replace pure biblical Christianity. Liberalism produces a fuzzy imprecise rendering of the Bible reducing its credibility. This draws people away from the truth and protection of God’s Word causing a spiritual vacuum. The occultic religions seek to invade the vacuum opened by liberalism. Satan then is let in to deceive in greater measure. One example of this is to reject the activity of the demons altogether and fail to discern a condition of the general nature of the fall vis-à-vis direct involvement of demons. For example, in demon-ridden China of the nineteenth century the natives had no difficulty differentiating between mental disease and demon-possession. Dr. Alfred Lechler, a German psychologist, stressed the need to distinguish between the diseased and the demonic. In this connection he showed the difference between schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, neurosis, psychopathy, senile dementia, and the demonic. Christians must exercise every precaution to avoid falling prey to Satan’s two popular tricks of either seeing Satan and demons in nothing or else seeing them in everything.

Ephesians 6: 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

The apostle knowing that this front is a battle uses the illustration of Roman soldier’s armament for us to utilize in our war with the enemy. This is so that we may be able to stand against the wiles and stratagems of Satan, against his power and might, to oppose his schemes, and resist his temptations. Because this is a battle it is fitting that the battle gear is used to describe the spiritual equipment given to us to succeed in deflecting the “arrows” of the evil one. We routinely meet him to face to face and give him battle, being fitted with the whole armour of God. Satan and his dominions are very busy bringing about trials, afflictions, and persecution because of the Word of God.  We are then told having put on the whole armour of God in order to stand, we can as conquers withstand the enemy.

Ephesians 6: 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Keep your ground, do not desert the army which is the church of Christ, nor his cause. Continue in the station in which you are placed, keep your post, be upon your watch, stand upon your guard. Have your loins girted about with truth; by which is meant the Gospel as depicted in Ephesians 1:13. It also means that we are not to embrace superstitions but check everything against the Word of God (Acts 17:11). Girding our loins with the truth shows that the Word should be near and close to us, and never departed from it. It is a means of keeping us close to God and Christ, and of strengthening us against the assaults and attacks of Satan; and is great use in the Christian’s spiritual conflict with our demonic enemies. The girdle is the part of armour, that is so important that it sometimes represents the whole armament (Isaiah 5:27). The breastplate of righteousness is a reference to 
Isaiah 59:17, meaning not works of righteousness done by men (though these are a deterrent when correctly used against the reproaches and charges of the enemy as they were by Samuel in 1Samuel 12:3). Therefore it seems best to understand this of the righteousness of Christ, which being imputed by God and received by faith, is a guard against and repels the accusations and charges of Satan, and is a security from all wrath and condemnation.

The Whole Armour (The Gospel fights Wickedness).

 Ephesians 6: 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

Our sure footing and stability in battle is due to our having our feet shod with the gospel of peace. We have the blessed assurance that we are God’s children and we receive peace with God at the time we accept His gospel. Among the armour of soldiers to provide balance and keep them upright were shoes, or boots, sometimes made of iron, and other times made of brass. The Gospel is our firm foundation. A firm, solid knowledge of the Gospel, as it emanates peace by Jesus Christ, yields a sure foundation for the Christian soldier to set his foot upon and stand fast. The gospel of peace means we are no longer at war with Him (Romans 5: 1). Our countenance reflects this peace as the war with Him is ended, and we have become a traitor to Satan and his demons and their overwhelming influence over us prior to conversion. Once saved, we receive the peace of God who will bruise Satan under our feet shortly (Romans 16: 20; Philippians 4: 7).

Ephesians 6: 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

The Whole Armor (Word of God is our weapon).

Our faith is based upon truth as given by Christ and revealed in the Bible. When we accept that and believe, our faith becomes as strong as a shield to buffet the many attempts we will experience to erode our faith. Satan is a formidable foe. If we take up our faith seriously he can’t hurt us. He will try and we must resist.

Ephesians 6: 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

The helmet protects the head, which is the control center of our bodies, and our salvation acts in the same way. Salvation by Christ is a defense of the head against false doctrines. Just as the helmet is a piece of armor for the head, our salvation is a protector of the head in times of difficulty, affliction, and distress. Like a helmet, it covers the head in the day of battle when engaged with Satan, the enemy of souls.

The word of God is compared to a “sword” for its two edges: Christ’s New Testament law and Gospel. The one convicts of sin and cuts to the heart, and the other cuts down all the goodliness of man. The Scriptures in general are a sharp sword, in convincing of sin, reproving for it, threatening with wrath and ruin, in refuting error and heresy, and repelling Satan’s temptations. They will be used in the destruction of antichrist. God’s word may be called the sword of the Spirit because it is not carnal, but of a spiritual nature because the Holy Spirit is the author of it. He furnishes us with it, teaches us how to make use of it, and makes it powerful and effectual. The Jews say the words of the law are like to a sword, and speak of “the sword of the law” (Bereshit Rabbah, sect. 21. fol. 19. 1.).

The Whole Armor (Spirit filled prayer and utterances).

Ephesians 6: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

The last weapon is prayer. It says that a man should pray as often as he has an opportunity and particularly in times of darkness, desertion, and temptation. This, when performed correctly, is performed in the Spirit with the heart, soul, and spirit engaged in it. It is offered up with a true heart, and a right spirit of fervent sincere prayer knowing that God hears us and will answer our petition. If we do these things Satan has no chance to dissuade us from God. But he will try and we must resist.

James 4: 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.

Ephesians 6: 19-20 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Paul asked his readers not only to pray in general for all saints but also specifically to pray for him that he might make known the mystery of the gospel. He had to be clear regarding the “mystery of the gospel” when he would be on trial before Caesar in Rome. The Romans looked on the Christians as a sect of the Jews, but the Jews considered them as a heretical group. In his trial, Paul needed to make clear that Christians are neither a Jewish sect nor a heretical group but a new entity. This new entity is called the church, the body of Christ, which is composed of Jewish and Gentile believers. This recalls Paul’s lengthy discussion of this “mystery of the gospel” in 2:11-3:11. For this reason Paul was an ambassador in chains (Acts 28:16, 20; Eph. 3:1; 4:1; Phil. 1:7, 13-14, 16; Col. 4:3, 18; Philippians 1, 9-10, 13).