Category Archives: SATAN AND HIS POLICY OF EVIL

Does Satan whisper evil words to us?

DOES SATAN WHISPER EVIL WORDS TO US?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Superstition flourishes to the degree that Bible ignorance abounds. Irrational fears permeate so much of “Christian” thought that the general public is simply unable to distinguish truth from error. This is exemplified in the words of a lady this author visited sometime ago. She claims to be a believer in Jesus Christ (although her testimony is somewhat nebulous, as she is heavily Charismatic in doctrine, claiming to possess the spiritual gifts of healing and tongues). Many times she has great difficulty even articulating the pure Gospel of Grace. Her emotions have so dominated her that she exhibits behavior unbecoming for a Christian. (Details of such ridiculous conduct will be skipped here.)

On this particular occasion, the dear lady was describing something this author completely unexpected. Allegedly, when her ailing (dying) daughter was complaining of having evil thoughts, that mother would tell the daughter that it was Satan himself speaking to her. Is that possible? Does Satan whisper words into our ears? If we sit alone, and hear a voice talking to us about something bad, would that actually be Satan’s voice? Could it be someone else? In this study, we will carefully consider such matters.

A genius can devise a way to accomplish something seemingly “insurmountable.” The greater genius, however, can achieve that end while appearing to be doing something else. For example, a genius thief will not only take, but will take while operating under the guise of honesty (that thief will likely be the most trusted relative, friend, employee, et cetera). Here is a genius supreme, but there is someone wiser. Satan is the wisest of God’s creatures (Ezekiel 28:12), although he is certainly no match for God’s intellect. Millions of people—especially Christians (both professing and genuine)—assume they can positively identify and avoid Satan’s policy of evil. They have been led to believe they are able to flee his influence. However, they really have no idea as to the depths of his demented wisdom. The Bible speaks of Satan’s “wiles” or schemes, stratagems designed to outwit Christians. Oftentimes, he does outsmart them too!

Ephesians 6:11 orders us, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” The Greek word translated “wiles” is “methodeia,” which is obviously the source of our English term “method” (as in “systematic course; procedure”). It is rendered “lie in wait” in chapter 4 and verse 14: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;….”

These Scriptures indicate that Satan himself does not need to whisper directly into our ears. No, his evil world system uses “men”human religious leaders—to deceive us. The poor lady all worked up about spiritual warfare is actually caught in her own trap—and she does not even know it! (See also Matthew chapter 23 and John chapter 8 for Israel’s spiritual dilemma… brought on by her corrupt religious leaders.) People in Christendom have been listening to denominational preachers spout speculations, but have not been turning pages in the Bible to see for themselves what is true and what is not!! This was ancient Israel’s downfall, and this contributes to so many wrecked Christian lives even now.

Turn to 1 Timothy chapter 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; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

What leads to this mass apostasy, departure from the truth? It is individuals listening to “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (verse 1). Who are these? They are the voices of those who are “speaking lies in hypocrisy” (verse 2). Remember, the genius of Satan’s evil world system is doing wrong while appearing to be good. For religious purposes, they will enforce celibacy and dietary restrictions (verse 3). Does this sound familiar? Friend, would you happen to know any such religious groups?! This has nothing to do with listening to the voices of evil spirits but rather people listening to the voices of heretical and apostate church leaders.

If we sit by ourselves, and we hear a “voice,” then there is one of three possibilities. Firstly, we may suffer from mental illness. Secondly, we can “hear” ourselves think. We are talking to ourselves, and we may not be aware of it. Lastly, our brains have recorded texts we have read, sermons we have heard, and images we have seen in our lifetime. Consciously or subconsciously, we can access these mental files and “play” them. If we use our memory, we can “re-hear” all sorts of things we have heard—voices of loved ones long gone, our favorite music being sung, and so on. This information can be good or bad, but it has nothing to do with Satan actually speaking into our ear or given us some supernatural glance into his realm. Here would be the superstitious nonsense that we will embrace if we are not holding to the written (!) Word of God, especially approaching it “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15). The reason we have evil thoughts is we have not let sound Bible doctrine renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 3:9-11)!! We have been listening to false doctrine in church, and it will not leave our memory unless we reprogram our minds.

Someone once spoke of the inexperienced person going against an expert as a game of a “checkers child” challenging a “chess grandmaster.” Unfortunately, this is where most professing Christians and most genuine Christians are in their Bible understanding. They attend local churches where men use the Bible as Satan himself would, and are thus vulnerable to Satan’s evil world system! While they assume they are not aligned with Satan, it is (in fact) a faulty assumption. No doubt, he will “beat” them because they have come unprepared.

Yes, Satan knows the Bible, and he quoted the Bible to the Lord Jesus (see Matthew 4:5-7; Luke 4:9-13). Never forget that, friend!!!!! The reality is Satan misquoted God’s Word—adding to it, taking from it, watering it down—and even ripped verses from their dispensational setting. Christ knew Psalm 91 is not a First Coming passage but a Second Coming passage, and refused to follow it in Matthew and Luke. It was not time for that passage to be fulfilled, so the Lord Jesus did not obey it. Even now, Satan encourages us to follow the Bible, so long as we do not use it dispensationally. Instead of going to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, God’s current dealings with man, Satan’s evil world system has us going to everything else in the Bible. Again, these are stratagems, and we know they are so effectual because over two billion people quote Scripture today and are still confused about God’s will for them. They are too busy following God’s will for someone else in Scripture!

No, Satan has no reason to whisper evil words to us. We do that pretty good by ourselves—listening to false doctrine in religious settings and later repeating it in our sinful minds.

Also see:
» What is the difference between apostasy and heresy?
» What are Satan’s current operations?
» Why does God let Satan exist?

Why did God place a curse on creation?

WHY DID GOD PLACE A CURSE ON CREATION?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Anyone familiar with the Bible knows about the Fall of man in Genesis chapter 3. Also therein is the institution of the infamous curse upon creation. Verses 16-19 relate the matter to us: “[16] Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. [17] And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; [18] Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; [19] In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

It often seems “unfair” that God, because of Adam’s sin, has punished creation. Why did He alter plants’ genetic makeup so they produce thorns and thistles? Why should wholly-herbivorous animals be forced to become carnivores, no longer having exclusive plant-based diets? Why must work be strenuous and exhausting? Why should women have conception/pregnancy pains and birth pangs? Why do we have to physically die? Pay close attention, dear friends. It is quite easy to explain and not impossible to understand. There is something terribly wrong with creation in the spirit world. Consequently, it is only appropriate that something be extremely wrong with the natural world to reflect it. In other words, we can see the physical effects of an invisible spiritual war. God placed a curse on creation in order to indicate to us something is amiss in a realm we cannot see with physical eyes.

Adam was God’s king or representative in the Earth. Notice Genesis chapter 1: “[26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. [28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

When Adam made a conscious choice and sinned, deliberately siding with Satan in the Garden of Eden (Genesis chapter 3), he as Earth’s God-given leader handed over that government to Satan. Adam relinquished his position of governing in the Earth, and Satan gladly occupies that office instead. Hence, Satan is called “the god [ruler] of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Notice the following exchanges with Satan and Jesus Christ; particularly observe how Satan boasted that he had usurped Earth’s governments, and then he used that as leverage to challenge Christ!

Matthew 4:8-10: “[8] Again, the devil taketh him [the Lord Jesus Christ] up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; [9] And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. [10] Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Luke 4:5-8: “[5] And the devil, taking him [the Lord Jesus Christ] up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. [6] And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. [7] If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. [8] And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

In addition to reflecting that spiritual war, there is a second reason why God put a curse on creation. We find it in Romans chapter 8: “[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

God in His wisdomnot recklessness or indifference—temporarily granted Satan the ability to exercise dominion over the Earth and all of creation, but Satan cannot use creation to its full potential. While a crude illustration, here is something that may help. Renters may vandalize or destroy real estate before they permanently move out, taking vengeance on the property’s owner. Similarly, before God momentarily gave creation over to Satan, He put limitations on it. Satan receives less worship in a fallen world than he would have in an un-fallen one. Additionally, a world that is dying is not perpetually trapped under his control anyway.

What is most important for us to remember here is the temporariness of the fallen creation. Creation has not always been fallen, and it will not always be fallen. The God of the Bible who cursed creation because of sin has left us with the promise—the hope—that He will remove that curse one day. Such a wonderful hope saves us from despair, hopelessness, doom and gloom.

Romans chapter 8 again: “[21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Just think, dear friends, we are moving closer and closer to this day of redemption. Time is indeed running out on Satan’s reign and the bondage of corruption. Deliverance for creation is coming, and in God’s (!) own (!) time (!) we will see it with physical eyes. He who subjected the creation to a cursed condition will one day subject that same creation to a glorious restoration! “Then do we with [!] patience [!] wait [!] for it.” 🙂

Also see:
» Why do we suffer?
» Is God “unfair” to punish us for Adam’s sin?
» Can you explain “knowing” good and evil with respect to the Garden of Eden?

How can man rebel against God after the Millennium?

HOW CAN MAN REBEL AGAINST GOD AFTER THE MILLENNIUM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

How can mankind rebel against the LORD God after the 1,000 years have run their course?

We turn to Revelation chapter 20: “[1] And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. [2] And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, [3] And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

[4] And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. [5] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. [6] Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

“[7] And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, [8] And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. [9] And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

Indeed, it is unfathomable that the nations will actually unite against Jesus Christ the King at the end of the Millennium. After witnessing what they did for the last 1,000 years—seeing the benevolent reign of the perfect, wisest King over a restored, breathtaking creation—they side against Him. Satan, having been imprisoned for the last 10 centuries, is now free and he persuades the nations to attack Jerusalem and the saints. Why did these Gentiles not convert to the Lord Jesus Christ while He was reigning? Beholding the wisdom of God during all those centuries, we would expect them to have become His children at some point. Alas, with the Millennium expired, they are just as determined to destroy Jerusalem and kill Christ’s followers as Satan himself had intended before the 1,000 years!

According to Revelation 19:11-21, prior to the Millennium, the Second Coming of Christ and the Battle of Armageddon occurred (see also 16:14-16). The Old Testament Prophet Zechariah already predicted the necessity of this war between God and Satan, Jesus Christ and Antichrist.

Zechariah chapter 12: “[2] Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. [3] And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it…. [9] And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”

Chapter 14: “[2] For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. [12] And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth…. [16] And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.”

Throughout Daniel’s 70th Week, the seven-year Tribulation, sinful men wanted to follow Satan in destroying Jerusalem. Near the end of that time, God will grant them their wish to come against His capital city. Through the Antichrist’s agenda, He gathers them and then returns to defeat them in power and great glory (Christ’s fiery Second Coming in Revelation chapter 19). Then, the Millennial Reign of Christ begins and Satan is bound in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-6).

After these 1,000 years, as we saw in our opening remarks, Satan is released and the nations again purpose to assault Jerusalem and the followers of Christ. The generations of people born during the Millennium must make a choice between God and Satan. Even during those 1,000 years, they still have a sin nature—but there is individual rebellion as opposed to national rebellion. (Zechariah 14:16-19 and Matthew 5:29-30 show there is most definitely unbelief and sin in the Millennium.)

Though God punished Satan for a time, notice how he has not been reformed. Satan resumes his plans that he attempted to accomplish 10 centuries earlier. God confined him to the bottomless pit, but God has let him free and he still intends on resuming his previous activity of trying to establish his kingdom in the Earth (and man will go along with it). While they plan on having a battle, it will be nothing like Armageddon 1,000 years earlier. Jesus Christ will not bother to go out to fight against His enemies as He did at His Second Coming. Instead, fire from God out of heaven falls on Satan and his followers and they are vanquished. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). Then, the unsaved are judged at the Great White Throne Judgment and finally tossed into the Lake of Fire where Satan was already permanently placed (verses 11-15).

Also see:
» Who will have children during the Millennium?
» What is the “Apocalypse?”
» Are we “doom and gloom” Bible-prophecy believers?

What are “vanities” in Scripture?

WHAT ARE “VANITIES” IN SCRIPTURE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“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” (Deuteronomy 32:21). What are these “vanities?”

Using context clues, we surmise that they are bad. Notice how Israel’s “vanities” have made JEHOVAH God jealous. The Jews should be paying attention to Him, but they ignore Him because these “vanities” have preoccupied them. Thus, He is angry with them, and will not overlook their association with “vanities.”

First Kings 16:13 says: “For all the sins of Baasha, and the sins of Elah his son, by which they sinned, and by which they made Israel to sin, in provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.” And verse 26: “For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.”

We read in Jeremiah 8:19: “Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?” Jeremiah 10:8 says: “But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.” Jeremiah 14:22 provides even more information: “Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.”

Finally, Acts 14:15: “And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:….” Our English word “vanity” means “the quality of being worthless or futile.” It comes from the Latin vanitas, from vanus “empty.” That perfectly describes the “vanities” in Scripture.

Looking closely at Deuteronomy 32:21, notice two sets of parallel clauses. “That which is not God” is equivalent to “their vanities”“those which are not a people” is the same as “a foolish nation.”

Jeremiah 8:19 again: “Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?” Notice the “graven images” (carved idols) and “strange vanities” (“strange” as in “foreign”). Jeremiah 14:22 again: “Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.” So, “vanities” are “strange” (foreign) or “of the Gentiles.”

Acts chapter 14: “[11] And when the people saw what Paul had done [healing the lame man], they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. [12] And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. [13] Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. [14] Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, [15] And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: [16] Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.” Clearly, Israel’s “vanities” are the Gentiles’ pagan idols!

Again, “vanity” means “emptiness.” Earlier, we saw that “vanities” in Scripture actually refers to idols (“that which is not God”—see Deuteronomy 32:21). Why are they “empty?” Psalm 115 is a believing Jew speaking: “[1] Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. [2] Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? [3] But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. [4] Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. [5] They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: [6] They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: [7] They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. [8] They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them” (cf. Psalm 135:15-18).

Idols have mouths but do not speak. They have eyes but do not see. They have ears but do not hear. They have noses but do not smell. They have hands but do not handle. They have feet but do not walk. They have throats but do not speak through them. To wit, idols are totally useless, worthless, profitless. “They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” This is certainly harsh. It means, “Idol makers and idolaters are as incompetent/useless as their idols are to them!”

The God that created the nation Israel is “the living God” and He is starkly different from “vanities” (Acts 14:15). Yet, throughout the “Old Testament,” most of Israel forgot the one true God (JEHOVAH God). They embraced that which was totally void of anything worthwhile. Deuteronomy 32:21 says that, unlike the idols, the “living God” can and will react to such disrespect.

Recall the two sets of parallel phrases: “that which is not God” with “their vanities,” and “those which are not a people” with “a foolish nation.” Now, we are particularly interested in the latter set. Who are these “not a people,” this “foolish nation?”

Deuteronomy chapter 32 is “the Song of Moses.” Some of Moses’ parting words to the nation, it covers Israel’s history and future (prophecy, events beyond our day). Verse 21 points to the future by first pointing to the past. Remember, Israel was to be God’s nation of priests. Every Jew was to have a spiritual relationship with JEHOVAH God, that every Israelite, in a coming earthly kingdom, would share the message of his God with the Gentiles/nations (see Genesis 12:1-3, Isaiah 60:1-3, Isaiah 61:6, Zechariah 8:20-23, Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:47-48, Acts 1:8, et cetera).

Jeremiah 2:11, almost 1,000 years after Moses spoke in Deuteronomy, says that Israel worshipped idols and abandoned the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: “Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.” God actually gave Moses the insight to see Israel’s apostasy that Jeremiah witnessed centuries later. Deuteronomy 32:21 takes it a step further though. God will still get a Jewish people for His name. He will reach within the nation Israel and pull out a believing remnant. That believing remnant will become “new Israel,” His kingdom of priests.

Notice what the Lord Jesus said 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.” In contrast to the idolatrous Jews, His followers would be that “foolish nation,” heirs of that earthly kingdom. Just as unbelieving Jews had given Him up for idols, He will give them up for believing Jews.

Speaking to the apostate (anti-Jesus, idol-worshipping) Jews, especially Israel’s religious leaders, the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 21:43: “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” This “nation” is the “foolish nation” of Deuteronomy 32:21 (the “Little Flock” of Luke 12:32). In the eyes of their lost and idolatrous Jewish relatives, they are “foolish” for believing JEHOVAH God’s Word (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14; Acts 26:24; Acts 4:13).

In 1 Peter 2:8-10, the Apostle Peter spoke to “new Israel,” that believing Jewish remnant: “[8] And [Jesus Christ is] a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient [unbelieving]: whereunto also they were appointed. [9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

Every Jew should have had a personal relationship with the one true God. After all, JEHOVAH God had promised Israel various covenants He had not given the Gentile nations (cf. Romans 9:4-5 and Ephesians 2:11-12). Alas, most Israelites preferred to worship idols (cf. Deuteronomy 32:21). This will be true even after our dispensation. God will consume them in His wrath (seven-year Tribulation and Second Coming), leaving the believing Jews to enter His earthly kingdom and become His priests (Millennium).

Unbelieving Jews will be permanently cut off from the God whom they could have had as their own. With Him accepting believing Jews, it will make the unbelieving Jews “jealous” (He was supposed to be their God by covenant relations too). As the unbelieving Jews replaced Him with idols (“vanities”), so the Lord Jesus Christ will replace them with believing Jews.

Also see:
» Who is the “foolish nation” of Romans 10:19?
» How can God be “jealous” and not sin?
» Who were the “strong bulls of Bashan” standing before Christ’s cross?

How did Satan “take” the Lord Jesus during His temptations?

HOW DID SATAN “TAKE” THE LORD JESUS DURING HIS TEMPTATIONS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

How did Satan “take” Jesus during His temptations? Was the Lord hostage to the Devil, the Adversary?

Matthew chapter 4: “[5] Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,…. [8] Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;….”

Luke chapter 4: “[5] And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. [9] And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:….”

No, Satan did not snatch up the Lord Jesus and then drop Him in specific locations. We are not to suppose it is some kind of a violent, forceful capture like a law-enforcement officer holding and transporting an inmate. A better way to look at this is that Christ and Satan walked together to that pinnacle of the Jerusalem Temple and they walked together to that mountaintop. For example, if someone “takes” a person on a tour of his or her city, this is not in the sense of seizing or arresting the visitor and making him or her go on a tour. It is a walking together.

The Lord Jesus, exercising volition, has agreed to go with Satan to the roof of the Jerusalem Temple and has decided to go with Satan to the exceeding high mountain. Please understand that Christ was not a powerless prisoner here. The Lord was not forced into any of this. Even as a Man, He is still mightier than Satan. Notice how He orders Satan like a superior commands an inferior individual. If Satan had control over Jesus here, then Jesus could not have issued such decrees.

Matthew 4:10: “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Luke 4:8: “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Due to manuscript differences from the King James Greek text, in Luke 4:8, nearly every modern English version eliminates that command, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” If this is omitted, we cannot make the very point we are attempting to get across here!)

Also see:
» Why did Jesus Christ quote Deuteronomy during His temptations?
» Did Jesus ever claim to be God?
» What are Satan’s current operations?

Who were the “strong bulls of Bashan” standing before Christ’s cross?

WHO WERE THE “STRONG BULLS OF BASHAN” STANDING BEFORE CHRIST’S CROSS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Indeed, they are some puzzling statements. King David, some 10 centuries beforehand, quotes Jesus Christ as He hangs on Calvary’s cross. Psalm 22: “[11] Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. [12] Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.” What or who are these “strong bulls of Bashan?” Are actual four-legged bovine standing before Jesus? We think not.

An important rule of thumb concerning Bible study—which we would do well to always keep in mind—can be summarized in one simple statement. It is, “If the literal sense makes sense, seek no other sense.” In the case of Psalm 22, however, we cannot see why God’s Word would here draw our attention to literal animals. Something more sinister is being accentuated here, and if our spiritual senses are sharp enough, we will grasp it.

Turning to Matthew chapter 27, we make some comparisons: “[35] And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. [36] And sitting down they watched him there; [37] And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. [38] Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. [39] And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, [40] And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. [41] Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, [42] He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. [43] He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. [44] The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.”

Calvary’s cross—with Christ nailed to it—is center-stage. They have gathered to watch the Son of God suffer and die. Whether standing or sitting, they have come to taunt Him in His final hours. The “strong bulls of Bashan” have surrounded Jesus. Who are they? Why, dear friends, they are “the chief priests, scribes, and elders” (verse 41)! These are Israel’s religious leaders, her spiritual advisers, having guided her down a most perilous path. Remember, it was these very people—the “religious” hierarchy—who had persuaded the Jewish nation to condemn Jesus to death just moments earlier! (Mark well, God never said anything here about drug dealers, gang members, drunkards, prostitutes, and publicans!!)

Consider Mark chapter 15: “[9] But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? [10] For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. [11] But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. [12] And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? [13] And they cried out again, Crucify him. [14] Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him. [15] And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.”

If the “bulls of Bashan” were actually human, why does Psalms call them thus? More verse comparisons are necessary.

Ezekiel 1:10 says, “As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.” Now, chapter 10, verse 14: “And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.” Did you notice how “the face of an ox” and “the face of a cherub” are used interchangeably? This is significant because Satan is titled “the anointed cherub that covereth” (Ezekiel 28:14). Satan has a body that resembles a bull or an ox (cf. “cattle” of Genesis 3:14). These religious leaders are called “bulls” because they are operating under Satan’s influence. False religion has corrupted them. They have allowed themselves to be used of the Devil. Like their cunning spiritual father Satan, they are called “vipers” and “snakes” (Matthew 3:7; Matthew 23:33; cf. Genesis 3:1,4).

Why is there a connection to Bashan? Let us turn to Deuteronomy chapter 3: “[10] All the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, unto Salchah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. [11] For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man. [12] And this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, and half mount Gilead, and the cities thereof, gave I unto the Reubenites and to the Gadites. [13] And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, being the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants.” (Moses is pointing back to the historical events of Numbers 21:33-35 and Numbers chapter 32.)

Bashan was east of the Jordan River. It was home to giants—yes, physically enormous men—who were tools of Satan to keep the land polluted and make Israel too intimidated to take over the land. The LORD God enabled Israel to conquer them under Moses in order to take the land back for God’s glory. See Joshua 13:12: “All the kingdom of Og in Bashan, which reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei, who remained of the remnant of the giants: for these did Moses smite, and cast them out.”

Like the giants of Bashan, Israel’s religious leaders were Satan’s instruments to defile God’s land. Both classes were involved with pagan religion, devil worship. In the case of Israel’s religious leaders, that false religious system drove them to crucify the Son of God. These representatives of Satan’s policy of evil stood and sat to mock the Lord Jesus as He died for our sins.

Also see:
» Who, crucified on Calvary, mocked Jesus?
» Were there five crosses on Calvary?
» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?

What is the “mountain” to be removed in Matthew 17:20?

WHAT IS THE “MOUNTAIN” TO BE REMOVED IN MATTHEW 17:20?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The concept of “moving mountains” actually appears thrice in Scripture. What does it entail? Let us scan the contexts for answers.

  • Matthew 17:20: “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
  • Matthew 21:21-22: “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
  • 1 Corinthians 13:2: “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”

As the Oxford English Dictionary testifies, the phrase “move mountains” is often interpreted to mean “achieve spectacular and apparently impossible results.” The sample expression supplied is, “faith can move mountains.” Of course, we can see the Scriptures have greatly influenced the dictionary and our English language. Nevertheless, if we compare verses, we can refine that definition. A mountain in Scripture often symbolizes a kingdom—whether a good one (God’s rule) or a bad one (Satan’s rule).

Perhaps the easiest example of Scripture connecting mountains to kingdoms is situated in Daniel chapter 2: “[35] Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth…. [44] And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. [45] Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” (This describes Jesus Christ, the “stone cut out without hands,” at His Second Coming, demolishing the current evil world system and establishing God’s earthly kingdom. The “great mountain” is that kingdom, a worldwide kingdom!)

Let us now look closer at the Matthew chapter 17 example: “[14] And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him [the Lord Jesus] a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, [15] Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. [16] And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. [17] Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. [18] And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. [19] Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? [20] And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. [21] Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

What the Lord is saying here is that His disciples can overcome Satan’s kingdom by prayer. The Apostles can cast evil spirits out of their Jewish brethren by placing their faith in God’s Word to them. Since they were not walking by faith in what God had already revealed to them, they were unable to perform the exorcism on the young man. (See our related study linked at the end of this article.) Now, we re-read Matthew 21:21-22: “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.God has given His Apostles the ability to rid their nation of satanic influence… if only Israel would let them by believing their Gospel message (Jesus is Christ/Messiah/King)!

Likewise, as concerning us in the Dispensation of Grace, when the Apostle Paul spoke of “removing mountains” in 1 Corinthians 13:2, he was writing with respect to Satan’s current operations. Paul received revelation from the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ for over 30 years (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:1). Eventually, he gained all Divine information for this dispensation. That was not true at the time of 1 Corinthians 13:2 (as we can see in 2 Corinthians 12:1). Paul argued that, even if he had all the truths needed to conquer Satan in the mystery program, and he did not have charity (love motivating his ministry endeavors), it would profit him nothing and his work (Christian service) would be worthless. “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”

Also see:
» Why could the disciples not cast out the devil in Matthew 17?
» “I believed the Gospel, so why do they not believe?”
» “O ye of little faith?”