Monthly Archives: January 2020

How many angels fell with Lucifer when he transformed into Satan?

HOW MANY ANGELS FELL WITH LUCIFER WHEN HE TRANSFORMED INTO SATAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

How many angels fell with Satan? Revelation 12:4 is frequently offered as a possible answer: “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.”

Revelation 12:3 speaks of “a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.” This is symbolic, of course, but that does not detract from its underlying reality. Verse 9 identifies that great dragon: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” The great dragon is the Devil, Satan.

So, if you read verse 4 again, it says: “[Satan’s] tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.” It is believed that one-third of God’s angels fell when Lucifer was thrown out of heaven long ago. (Angels and stars are closely associated with one another in the Bible—see Job 38:7 and Revelation 1:20.) Is there merit in this interpretation of Revelation 12:4?

Revelation 12:4 could not be speaking of history. It is prophetic, something future, beyond our day. The only explanation here is that these angels will not fall until sometime after our Dispensation of Grace. What makes me say this is Daniel chapter 8: “[9] And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. [10] And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.Here, the Bible describes some of the host of heaven and some of the stars falling to the earth as the Antichrist rises and begins to consolidate his power. This, of course, is not history, but prophecy. John the Apostle must be referring to this when he speaks of one-third of the angels falling from heaven in Revelation 12:4. If you study it in detail, you will see that Revelation chapter 12 describes the career of the Antichrist.

We read about Lucifer’s history by appealing to the Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel (which we will quote shortly). When the cherub (angelic-like spirit creature) Lucifer became infatuated with himself long ago, he began to think that he was wiser than God and he thought that he ought to be on God’s throne. Lucifer was originally God’s choir director, His composer and song-leader, someone to devise musical methods to praise his Creator God. However, Lucifer wanted to be worshipped as God rather than lead in worship of God. God kicked Satan out of the third heaven, and confined him to outer space and Earth.

Isaiah 14:12-15 says: “[12] How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! [13] For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: [14] I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. [15] Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”

And, Ezekiel chapter 28, which is God speaking to Satan through the Prophet Ezekiel: “[1] The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, [2] Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: [3] Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: [4] With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: [5] By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: [6] Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; [7] Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. [8] They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas. [9] Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee. [10] Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

“[11] Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [12] Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. [13] Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. [14] Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. [15] Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. [16] By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. [17] Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. [18] Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. [19] All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.”

Notice how Satan is guilty of an activity called “traffick” (verse 18). These are dealings or communications with others (think of our English word “drug trafficking”). In addition to Lucifer himself rebelling against God, he went out and enticed other angelic beings to follow him in that revolt. These are the Devil’s angels mentioned in Matthew 25:41, for which everlasting hellfire was created. They are contrasted with the “elect angels,” those that remained faithful to God and did not follow Lucifer (1 Timothy 5:21). God kicked all of these satanic angels out of the third heaven, and confined them in the second heaven (outer space) and below. They will never be allowed into His throne room again.

There are fallen angels—again, the Devil’s angels (Matthew 25:41)—operating in the heavenly places (outer space) today. For example, notice 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.” (The word “high” here is translated from the same Greek word as “heavenly” in Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 1:20, Ephesians 2:6, and Ephesians 3:10.) Hence, we read in Job 15:15: “Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.” And, Job 25:5: “Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight.”

These fallen angels will be cast out of the second heaven halfway through the seven-year Tribulation period. Here is where Revelation 12:7-12 picks up: “[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, [8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. [10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. [11] And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. [12] Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

So, then, what is Revelation 12:4 talking about? One-third of the fallen angels operating in the second heaven will come down to earth sometime during the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week (seven-year Tribulation). The rest of these fallen angels will be thrown out of the second heaven halfway through those seven years. It is the only way to make Revelation future instead of forcing it to be history. The Book of the Revelation cannot be history, as Revelation 1:1 says these are “things which must shortly come to pass”—they are future from John’s perspective!

How many angels originally fell with Lucifer in history then? We do not know an exact number because Scripture never provides such data. Still, we can infer that it was a large percentage because God never has many human followers throughout the Bible. At any and every point in history, just a very small fraction of believers appear in the Holy Scriptures. For instance, recall the eight believers on the Ark during the Great Flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 7:7; 2 Peter 2:5). Where were the millions—if not billions—of other people on the globe? Why, they perished in God’s wrath, being drowned in the floodwaters! According to Genesis 18:32 and Genesis 19:24-25, there were less than 10 believers in the whole city of Sodom! In Elijah’s day, there were 7,000 believers in the whole nation Israel (1 Kings 19:18)! There were only 120 believers in Jerusalem after Christ’s three-year earthly ministry (Acts 1:20)!

Notice these four verses:

  • Jude 14: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,”
  • Daniel 7:10: “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”
  • Deuteronomy 33:2: “And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.”
  • Psalm 68:17: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the LORD is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.”

The Bible speaks of God’s angels as “thousands,” “ten thousands,” “thousand thousands” (millions), and “ten thousand times ten thousand” (100 million). If these are rough estimates of the number of angels that stayed loyal to God, I would then assume that Satan has many more on his side!

Also see:
» Is there any chance more angels will leave God and follow Satan?
» How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?
» Did God give angels free will as He gave to mankind?

How is Jesus Christ the “firstborn” of every creature?

HOW IS JESUS CHRIST THE “FIRSTBORN” OF EVERY CREATURE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

This question stems from Colossians 1:15: “[God’s dear Son; verse 13] Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:….” Lest we misunderstand the matter, it is better to read all the way through to verse 20 to grasp the sense of the verse.

“[15] Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: [16] For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [19] For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

God the Son, Jesus Christ, made creatures (angels and humans, respectively) to occupy the offices of government in Heaven and Earth. These offices are the “things” in the above passage—“thrones, dominions, principalities, powers” (verse 16). In the original creation, creatures ruled for Jesus Christ’s glory. Alas, angels and humans sinned. Satan and his angelic cohorts corrupted the heavenly places with sin (Job 15:15; Job 25:5; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ephesians 6:12). When the first man, Adam, willfully followed that rebellion in Genesis chapter 3, he allowed sin to spread to the Earth’s governmental offices (Genesis 1:26-28; Matthew 4:8-11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 1:4).

The Holy Bible is the record of how the God of Scripture invented and enacted a plan to restore to Himself the offices of government (“things”) in Heaven and Earth. In the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, we see the final pieces to that scheme laid out. Both God’s earthly people (the nation Israel—the prophetic people) and His heavenly people (the Church the Body of Christ—the mystery people) are formed through Jesus Christ’s shed blood. Calvary’s finished crosswork makes it possible for both groups of sinners to become saints, people set apart for God’s purposes. Where Adam failed on Earth, redeemed Israel will succeed. What Satan and his angels defiled, the Church the Body of Christ will take over. This is the first step in understanding the excerpt from Colossians chapter 1. (We will return to this shortly.)

In the physical world, the “firstborn” son is said to be “the beginning of his father’s strength.” See Genesis 49:3: “Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power….” Moreover, Deuteronomy chapter 21 says the firstborn son received the double portion of his father’s estate: “[16] Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: [17] But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.”

When we consider Colossians 1:15-20, we should think of the firstborn son being the heir of his father’s estate. The governments of Heaven and Earth are Christ’s Father’s estate. Jesus Christ is “the firstborn of every creature” (verse 15) in that He is the Man who holds the place of headship over His Father’s house. Christ is the leader of both groups of creatures—redeemed Israel and the Church the Body of Christ—who will reign in their respective offices in eternity future. Father God has appointed His Son Jesus Christ as head of all governmental offices in Heaven and Earth. It is through the nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ—both of whom He is the Head—that Jesus Christ reigns in Earth and in Heaven throughout the endless ages to come.

Jesus Christ was “declared to be the Son of God with power…by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). When Colossians 1:18 says He is “the firstborn from the dead,” it refers to Him being resurrected to subsequently reign as King over Heaven and Earth. Having shed His sinless blood to form the redeemed nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ, the offices of government in Heaven and Earth will return to His Father’s authority (and no longer under the control of Satan and sinful man). Post-resurrection, Christ possesses His Father’s governmental power or political strength. Consider these two passages from the Book of Hebrews. Pay attention to Christ’s death and resurrection, and how His reign follows.

Hebrews chapter 1: “[3] [His Son, verse 2] Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; [4] Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. [5] For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? [6] And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

“[7] And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. [8] But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. [9] Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. [10] And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: [11] They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; [12] And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. [13] But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Verse 12 is the change in governmental officials, saints replacing sinners in both Heaven and Earth.)

Hebrews chapter 2: “[5] For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. [6] But one in a certain place testified [Psalm 8:4-6], saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? [7] Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: [8] Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. [9] But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [10] For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (The “sons” of verse 10 are Israel’s believing remnant, the Little Flock of Luke 12:32.)

Here is the government in the heavenly places to follow Christ’s resurrection as regarding us, the Church the Body of Christ. Ephesians chapter 1: “[19] And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, [20] Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, [21] Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: [22] And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, [23] Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

Of course, the actual reigning of Christ in Heaven and Earth has yet to be brought to pass. He is currently a royal exile in Heaven, where He has been for the last 2,000 years since Israel rejected and crucified Him. Yet, in due time, the Dispensation of Grace will close, the Church the Body of Christ will be complete, and we will be brought up to reign in the Heavens (at the Rapture). Then, the nation Israel will be redeemed to reign in the Earth (at the Second Coming). It is Father God’s will that all power in Heaven and Earth be consolidated in one Man—the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell” (Colossians 1:19). “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).

Ephesians chapter 1 thus summarizes: “[8] Wherein he [Father God] hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; [9] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: [12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” (The purpose of our salvation from Hell to Heaven, verses 11-12, is to make us be in the heavenly places the corresponding unit to redeemed Israel in the earthly realm, verses 9-10! Yes, it is God’s wise and prudent plan.)

SUPPLEMENTAL: COLOSSIANS 1 AND “THE NEW WORLD TRANSLATION”

It is no secret that the “Jehovah’s Witnesses”—better termed “the Russellites,” after their founder Charles Taze Russell—consider Jesus Christ “a god” and not JEHOVAH God. This is apparent in their controversial rendering of John 1:1: “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (cf. King James Bible: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”) The official Russellite position is Jesus Christ is a mere created being, Someone who is not co-equal and not co-eternal with God the Father. Allegedly, God created Jesus Christ, then God used Christ to create “everything else.” They use a depraved version of Colossians 1:16-20 to justify this claim. To them, Jesus is the “firstborn” of every creature in that He was the first being “Jehovah God” created. What nonsense!

Without any manuscript evidence whatsoever anywhere, they add the word “other” to the passage five times in their “New World Translation:” “[15] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; [16] because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. [17] Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist,…. [20] and through him to reconcile again to himself all [other] things by making peace through the blood [he shed] on the torture stake, no matter whether they are the things upon the earth or the things in the heavens.” (Bold emphasis mine. Notice “by” has been changed to “through,” which is how modern English versions—including NKJV—read here as well. Also, did you see how the New World Translation did not use “cross” but “torture stake?” Jesus dying on a pole or stake is another unorthodox or peculiar belief of the Russellites.)

Their insertion of “other” five times is an unmistakable indication of their spiritual blindness. The Holy Spirit did not inspire or originate such garbage. “Things” in this context does not refer to any creatures (check verse 16). The noun “things” points to governmental positions or offices. Could Jesus Christ be “another throne?” Could He be “another dominion/lordship?” “Another principality/government?” “Another power/authority?” The language refers to the political influence being exercised, not the people exercising that influence.

“Other” is completely unnecessary; hence, the Greek Bible never had it! The Russellites translators added it—not once but five times. Such is nothing but a deliberate alteration to teach a pet denominational idea. It is awkward language, a sure testament to the false doctrine found among the Russellites and their authority (their sectarian “bible,” the New World Translation). No matter the cost—even if it means perverting God’s eternal words and diminishing the Lord Jesus Christ—they will keep their “traditions of men!” Again, the Holy Spirit would certainly not be involved in such a translation or denomination. When approaching Colossians 1:15-20, be careful not to fall in this trap!

Also see:
» Did Jesus Christ ever claim to be God?
» Is Jesus Christ God’s “one and only Son” or “only begotten Son?”
» What do you mean—“the prophetic program” and “the mystery program?”

Should it be “virtue” or “power” in Mark 5:30 Luke 6:19 and Luke 8:46?

SHOULD IT BE “VIRTUE” OR “POWER” IN MARK 5:30, LUKE 6:19, AND LUKE 8:46?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Mark 5:30 says in the King James Bible: “And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?” The parallel passage is Luke 8:45-46: “[45] And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? [46] And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.”

Also, Luke 6:17-19 says: “[17] And he [Jesus] came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; [18] And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. [19] And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.”

Our Authorized Version says “virtue” in these places where the modern English versions (including NKJV) simply read “power.” Is there a difference? Yes, there certainly is! While the Greek word “dynamis” can and has been rendered “power” elsewhere in the King James Bible (Matthew 6:13, Matthew 22:29, Matthew 24:30, et cetera), we believe the 1611 scholars correctly translated it as “virtue” in Mark 5:30, Luke 6:19, and Luke 8:46. Removing the word “virtue” from the English Bible text waters it down and robs us of valuable spiritual insight.

Mark 5:25-30 is a full picture of the account of the hemorrhaging woman: “[25] And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, [26] And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, [27] When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. [28] For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. [29] And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. [30] And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?”

Luke 8:43-46 is the parallel account: “[43] And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, [44] Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched [stopped, dried up]. [45] And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? [46] And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.”

Matthew 9:20-22 is the companion account, although the Holy Spirit does not emphasize the “virtue” aspect. We will read it for sake of comparison nonetheless: “[20] And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: [21] For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. [22] But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.”

To reiterate, Mark 5:30 and Luke 8:46 in the King James Bible use “virtue,” whereas the modern versions simply have “power.” Modern English versions are linguistically and theologically deficient here. The Authorized Version is superior and precise. Something much greater than mere “power” issued from Christ: from Christ came “virtue.” Depending on the context, power can be negative or positive; virtue, on the other hand, is always positive. Virtue is His moral excellence, righteousness, or uprightness.

Remember, this ill woman lacks bodily healing just as spiritually-sick Israel is without righteousness. God’s righteousness must heal her (both the woman and the nation Israel’s Little Flock). Righteousness, not self-righteousness, will rectify Israel’s sin problem. A spiritual healing accompanied the woman’s physical healing. When Israel is nationally converted, not only will she be spiritually healed but physically healed. “And the inhabitant shall say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity” (Isaiah 33:24).

Since “virtue”—and not just “power”—came forth from Christ, the hemorrhaging woman was delivered from her physical affliction. The same will be true of national Israel, her Little Flock, and her spiritual affliction (sin). Now redeemed, justified, and restored, Israel can enjoy life as God intended in the Millennial Kingdom. She can at last become His kingdom of priests.

By the way, virtue and power can issue from Almighty God today concerning our sin problem too. Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, like Israel of the future, we can be saved from our sins. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Romans 3:21-28: “[21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; [22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

Also see:
» How was there healing in touching Jesus’ garment hem?
» What are the “sins that are past” in Romans 3:25?
» Was God “unfair” to punish us for Adam’s sin?

How was there healing in touching Jesus’ garment hem?

HOW WAS THERE HEALING IN JESUS’ GARMENT HEM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

What is the significance of sick people receiving physical healing by touching Jesus’ garment hem? Why—of all things—was a garment border emphasized in these verses? In faith, we will take our King James Bible and search for answers!

Notice Matthew 9:20-22: “[20] And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: [21] For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. [22] But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.”

Read the parallel, Mark 5:25-29: “[25] And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, [26] And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, [27] When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. [28] For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. [29] And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.”

Luke 8:43-44 is also a companion passage: “[43] And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, [44] Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched [stopped, dried up].”

Matthew 14:34-36, while another occasion entirely, nevertheless highlights the idea of touching Jesus’ garment to receive physical healing: “[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.”

In order to grasp the significance of this hem, we must consult the Law of Moses. Read Numbers chapter 15: “[37] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, [38] Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: [39] And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: [40] That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. [41] I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 22:12 is a similar order: “Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.”

JEHOVAH God commanded the Israelites to sew a strip of blue cloth on the borders of their garments. This blue band served to remind them to obey His laws (the Old Covenant). They were His people and were thus expected to act like it. In fact, they had actually promised to obey Him back at Mount Sinai just prior to Him giving the Mosaic Law and entering that covenant relationship with Him. They were married to Him, and were required to have no other gods before Him.

Read Exodus chapter 19: “[3] And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; [4] Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. [5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. [7] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.” Although they boasted they would “do” “all” that God had commanded them (verse 8), they did not obey Him. They engaged in pagan idolatry from that time all the way to Christ’s earthly ministry over 15 centuries later. Their sinful nature and behavior necessitate the New Covenant (yet future).

Pay attention to Jeremiah chapter 31: “[31] Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: [32] Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: [33] But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. [34] And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” The New Covenant is God causing Israel to obey Him as opposed to their sinful flesh struggling but failing to obey Him. In other words, if they are to be His people, the arrangement must be based on His righteousness instead of theirs.

During Christ’s earthly ministry, there was a believing remnant present in Israel who understood their personal and national sin problem. The hemorrhaging woman pictures these believing Jews (Mark 5:25 and Luke 8:43 report she suffered her malady 12 years, 12 being Israel’s number in Scripture). We saw how she reached out in faith and grabbed the blue “ribband” (strip, ribbon, hem) on Jesus’ garment. Spiritual healing, depicted by the physical healing, is not in the sinner keeping the laws of God (an impossibility). Rather, spiritual healing is in the Son of God keeping those laws perfectly. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29).

Even now, it is Jesus Christ’s obedience to Father God—not our obedience—that delivers us from the penalty of sin (Hell and the Lake of Fire). Believing Jews in Israel’s program understood this, and we Christians in this the Dispensation of Grace understand that now. Unlike them, we have a complete Bible, and therefore possess a full understanding of Calvary’s crosswork. Christ’s shed blood delivers us from sin (Romans chapter 3) as well as ratifies the New Covenant to save Israel from sin (Hebrews chapter 10). The physical healing of the hemorrhaging woman and the physical healing of the others who touched Christ’s garment border all demonstrate Israel’s future redemption and restoration (spiritual healing).

The Law is “weak and beggarly” (Galatians 4:9), “weak through the flesh” (Romans 8:3) because we are naturally unable to keep God’s laws. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Romans 3:19-20 is so plain, we would have to want to miss it not to understand its simple words: “[19] Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. [20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in God’s sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Also, 1 Corinthians 15:56, “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.”

If we want sin to reign in our lives and dominate us, the Law is the means whereby we can be defeated as sinners. Even in Israel’s program, the Mosaic Law was never meant to save anyone, never intended to give anyone a right standing before God. It was given to prove Israel’s failure, and it was to demonstrate our failure—for we are all, Jew and Gentile alike, sons and daughters of sinful Adam. Galatians 3:19 says, “The law… was added because of transgressions [sins, failures]….” But, the good news is that, “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). As the hemorrhaging woman reached out to Christ, depending on His righteousness and not her own, let us place our faith in Christ as sufficient payment for our sins. We will experience permanent, spiritual healing found nowhere else!

Also see:
» Should it be “virtue” or “power” in Mark 5:30, Luke 6:19, and Luke 8:46?
» What does “All Israel shall be saved” mean?
» What are the “sins that are past” in Romans 3:25?

Did the Lord forbid public prayer?

DID THE LORD FORBID PUBLIC PRAYER?

by Shawn Brasseaux

No. We should not misunderstand His words as found in Matthew 6:5-6: “[5] And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. [6] But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Please be sure to recognize the context. The type of prayer Christ is condemning here is not praying in public per se BUT RATHER praying for the sake of generating publicity. People—particularly Jewish religious leaders—were utilizing prayer as means to draw attention to themselves. Their motivation was nothing more than to advertise their piety: “Look at how religious I am! Do you see my spirituality?! Look at how devoted I am to God! What do you think of my ability to recite such elaborate, drawn-out prayers?!” Not only did they do this in the “synagogues” (Jewish houses of worship), the Lord also indicates “corners of the streets” (that is, at crossroads, where innumerable passersby would certainly notice them). Such empty religious works and “hypocrisy!” They were pretending to serve God when all they were really doing was serving self! (Works-religion people are no different today.)

Pay attention to “pretence” (the King James / British spelling of “pretense”) in the following two verses. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence [intended for display] make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation” (Matthew 23:14). “Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence [intended for display] make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation” (Mark 12:40). The parallel verse, Luke 20:47, makes it even plainer: “Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew [intended for display] make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation” (Luke 20:47). Such behavior—frankly, these are prayers made for dead people (!)—can be summarized as thus: “praying ostensibly,” or “praying to all outward appearances.”

The goal of prayer (regardless of the dispensation) is not to be seen of men, impress them, or gain their applause. Prayer is personal communion with the God of the Bible, we speaking to Him in light of His Word to us. It is the Holy Spirit better adjusting our minds as we walk by faith in what we do understand in His Book (see Romans 8:26-27). We really are praying for the wrong reasons if we are purposing to have people notice or praise us.

Continue reading Jesus’ instructions to His Jewish believers as found in Matthew chapter 6: “[6] But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. [7] But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. [8] Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” Instead of praying to be “seen of men,” the members of the Little Flock were encouraged to enter a private closet and pray there. Found in the houses of Palestine, this room had one door and no windows (thereby limiting spectators, thus reducing the temptation to become the praying hypocrite defined earlier).

However, even in Israel’s program, the aforementioned instructions do not prohibit all public prayer. Read below about Jewish believers in Christ whom the Holy Spirit led in early Acts. Surely, these were public prayers—not individuals hiding in personal prayer closets! Once again, Jesus did not forbid public prayer in and of itself, just hypocritical prayer (prayer designed to generate publicity as opposed to fellowshipping with God).

“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:14). “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour” (Acts 3:1). “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31). “Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them” (Acts 6:6).

Now, lest there be more misunderstanding, we issue some final remarks about public prayer and us today. When a local Bible assembly meets, or a Christian group eats together, public praying is wholly in order. If present, a Christian man should lead the prayer! His job is to guide the listeners’ hearts and minds into God’s truth for us today. In a true sense, the prayer leader is a teacher: he is instructing people to see how Bible verses apply to specific life situations. What is God doing today? How does that Divine work relate to us? Prayer is the way whereby we determine how informed (or how ignorant) we are concerning those truths of Scripture. Get into Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, and pray in accordance with them. This is how we guard against falling into the trap of the silly, empty, worthless, hypocritical prayers of religionists!

Also see:
» How do I know I am praying to the living God and not false gods?
» How can I have an effectual prayer life?
» Should I recite “The Lord’s Prayer?”

Was Israel’s fall a secret?

WAS ISRAEL’S FALL A SECRET?

by Shawn Brasseaux

No. Let us be clear: even in the prophetic program, God had revealed the truth of Israel’s national and spiritual fall. However, this in no way detracts from the mystery truths committed to the Apostle Paul’s trust.

Many years ago, when he was new to dispensational Bible study, this author was surprised to read Luke 2:34: “And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;….” Either his grace teachers and preachers had not expressed it clearly enough to him, or they had done so but he had not paid close enough attention, but he had been misled. Israel’s fall was not kept secret prior to the Apostle Paul’s ministry.

See Luke chapter 2: “[25] And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. [26] And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

“[27] And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, [28] Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, [29] Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: [30] For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, [31] Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; [32] A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. [33] And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. [34] And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; [35] (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

The Holy Spirit had revealed to aged Simeon that young Jesus would eventually be rejected (leading up to His rejection and crucifixion, Calvary causing His mother Mary great emotional trauma). Even going all the way back to Moses, though, Israel’s national unbelief and fall was understood. Deuteronomy 32:21 says, “They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.” Paul quotes this in Romans 10:19: “But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.” This group known as “not a people,” this “foolish nation,” is what the Lord Jesus called “the little flock” in Luke chapter 12: “[31] But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. [32] Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

See Matthew chapter 21 now, Christ commenting on the kingdom of God being taken from apostate Israel (especially her unbelieving religious leaders) and given to her believing remnant: “[41] They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. [42] Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? [43] Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. [44] And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. [45] And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. [46] But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.”

The mystery committed to Paul’s trust is not that Israel would fall—for even Israel’s fall was known in the prophetic program. The mystery committed to Paul’s trust was that through that fall God’s salvation would still come to the Gentiles. Again, Israel’s fall was not the secret revealed to Paul. The secret revealed to Paul was God would reach the Gentiles despite Israel’s fall (this was unheard of prior to Paul’s ministry). God would use Paul’s ministry and Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) to evangelize the Gentiles, thereby leading to the formation of the Church the Body of Christ (yet another secret committed to Paul’s trust—Ephesians 3:1-11).

Romans chapter 11: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: 14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”

Also see:
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?
» Who is “the Israel of God” of Galatians 6:16?
» “All Israel shall be saved?”

Is that sinless perfection in Matthew 5:48?

IS THAT SINLESS PERFECTION IN MATTHEW 5:48?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Indeed, this is often assumed to be sinless perfection… but the context does not allow that interpretation.

Verses 44-48: “[44] But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; [45] That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. [46] For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? [47] And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? [48] Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

God’s sinlessness is not under consideration here: His absolute kindness, nothing lacking, is being stressed in this passage. The Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5–7) is designed to bring the Messianic Church—Israel’s Little Flock—to spiritual maturity. It is not enough for them to love people who love them, for even the unbelievers love those who love them. Spiritual maturity concerning kindness is they should love those who hate them! As the Creator God deals gently with people who despise His words and refuse to believe them (going so far as to give these people material sustenance such as sunshine and rain), so believing Israel is to deal tenderly with their persecutors. This will be especially crucial in the end-times scenario, when Messianic Jews are mercilessly pursued, imprisoned, tortured, and executed! Their suffering is described most graphically in Matthew 10:16-42, Matthew 25:31-46, 1 Peter 3:14-17, 1 Peter 4:12-19, 1 Peter 5:1-9, among other places (see also Daniel 7:25, Psalm 10, James 5:10-11, Revelation 13:15, Revelation 20:4, et cetera).

Also see:
» Will Israel’s Little Flock be put to death or not?
» Who are “the fatherless and widows” of James 1:27?
» Is Matthew 25:31-46 a plan for our salvation unto eternal life?